31 July 2016

Bisset's 'Magnificent Directory', 1800

Hen & Chickens (Plate V, placed at the front of the directory)

Following is the Magnificent Directory section of James Bisset's 1800 publication A Poetic Survey Around Birmingham (see the A Poetic Survey section here). The Directory contains 24 copper-plates of Birmingham scenes, manufactories and manufacturers, with lists of names.

Click on the images to enlarge.
Title Page.
Reference to the Plates.

Bankers & Gentlemen adjacent to Birmingham

Plate A.
A: Bankers include Spooner, Attwood & Co, and Taylor & Lloyds.

Miscellaneous Professions on New Street

Plate C.
C: The image behind the scroll shows the Theatre Royal on the right, and Bisset's Museum on the left. 

Miscellaneous Professions on High Street

Plate D.
D: The group of buildings on the right of the scroll include the apothecary shop of Richard Pratchett, the offices and printing shop for Aris's Birmingham Gazette, and the Swan Hotel. On the left is the spire of St. Martin's church. 

Inns & Taverns, with a view of Swinney's Type Foundry

Plate F.
F: Swinney's type foundry was behind the Swan Hotel. 

Artists, including Henry Clay

Plate J.

Plate J from the Magnificent Directory which accompanied James Bisset's A Poetic Survey Around Birmingham in 1800. This plate consists of two adverts, the top image is for 'Henry Clay, Japanner in Ordinary To his Majesty and his Royal Highness The Prince of Wales'. The classical imagery is apparent; the vase on the left contains a wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. What is notable is that the classical scene is one of imagined ruins rather than an actual view; perhaps the suggestion to readers is that the industrial and artistic significance of Birmingham is rising from the ruins of the ancient civilisations. Beneath the classical image is one of the sources of Birmingham's industrial strength, the canal system that had arrived in the town in the mid 1770s. Why the canal image was placed here, or whether it is connected to Clay's manufactory is unknown.

Beneath Clay's advert is a list of Birmingham's Artists accompanied by an engraving of the tools of their trade. These are an artist's palette, a folio, paper, a portrait and bust, an easel, a mirror/magnifying glass, and books (the latter probably to signify the artists as learn'ed). Many of the artists listed were involved in the making of the engravings used in the directory (see below); the names are in alphabetical order and are James Bisset, George Bullock, Francis Eginton, Allen Everitt, Albert Fiedler, J Gregory Hancock, Moses Haughton, William Hollins, Samuel Heartland, James Millar, Joseph Patrick, C Richards and Son, Edward Rudge, John Smith and Thomas Willets (click on the names in red to find out more).

Brass Founders

Plate L.
L: The building at the top is the Brasshouse, and still stands on Broad Street today.

Toy Makers
Plate M.
M: The townscape of Birmingham is in the background with cherubs in the foreground, one with a package and another with a print of a selection of toys. Two eagles hold up the scroll.

The toy makers listed are Adcock & Ivey, Coleshill Street; Anderton & Calley, Weaman Street; John Barnet, Snowhill; James Bisset, Museum; Baggins, Biddulph & Baggins, St. Paul's Square; John Ellis & Co., Livery Street; Thomas Hadley, Newhall Street; Ralph Hammersley, Bath Street; Caroline Hands, Edmund Street; Kettle & Son, Suffolk Street; John Moore, New Market; Thomas Patrick, Great Hampton Street; Samuel Pemberton & Son, Snowhill; Thomas Pemberton, St. Paul's Square; Rudder & Ledsam, Edmund Street; William Scott, Pritchet Street; W. L. Simmons, St. Paul's Square; Sturges, Darby & Fareday, Charlotte Street; James Swaine, Weaman Street; Edward Thomason, Church Street; Thompson & Co., Price Street; William Tongue, Weaman Street; Samuel Toy, Newhall Street.

Miscellaneous Professions

Plate N.
N: The church in the background on the left is St. Paul's Chapel. 

Miscellaneous Professions

Plate P.
P: The central oval at the top is for John Allin's Cabinet of Curiosities, and is topped with the Union Jack, as the actual shop was. 

Button Makers

Plate R.
R: Surrounded by the tools of the trade.

Eagle Foundry & Mr. Whitmore's

Plate U.
U: The Eagle Foundry was on Broad Street and Whitmore's was on Newhall Street.

Aston Glass House

Plate W.
W: Exterior and interior view.

Edward Thomason's Manufactory

Plate X.
X: With a carriage and the new patent steps at teh top, and Thomason's manufactory at the bottom.

The 1800 edition of the directory was published by Swinney and Hawkins (of High Street) with 24 plates for Birmingham businesses, as well as three for outside Birmingham, printed in 'plain, proof and colour plates', with the plates being engraved by 'Hancock, Reynolds, Smith, F. Eginton' among others.* The directory was re-printed in 1808 with about 20 additional plates and the Poetic Survey omitted. Bisset also planned to produce a Grand National Directory (the three plates included in the 1800 edition were intended for this purpose), but it was never published, though Bisset did produce a preliminary copy.
Golden era of ballad literature

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