Soho House
Soho House , Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton, FRS was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the...

's home (from 1766 until he died in 1809) in Handsworth
Handsworth, West Midlands
Handsworth is an inner city area of Birmingham in the West Midlands, England. The Local Government Act 1894 divided the ancient Staffordshire parish of Handsworth into two urban districts: Handsworth and Perry Barr. Handsworth was annexed to the county borough of Birmingham in Warwickshire in 1911...

, Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, is now a museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 (opened in 1995), celebrating his life, his partnership with James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

 and his membership of the Lunar Society of Birmingham. It was designed by Samuel Wyatt
Samuel Wyatt
Samuel Wyatt was an English architect and engineer. A member of the Wyatt family, which included several notable 18th and 19th century English architects, his work was primarily in a neoclassical style.-Career:...

 and work on the current building began in 1789. Work on extending the building was completed in 1796 following the submission of designs by James Wyatt
James Wyatt
James Wyatt RA , was an English architect, a rival of Robert Adam in the neoclassical style, who far outdid Adam in his work in the neo-Gothic style.-Early classical career:...

, Samuel's brother, for the additions of a main entrance front. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Boulton acquired the lease of the five-year-old Soho Mill in 1761 and developed it into Soho Manufactory
Soho Manufactory
The Soho Manufactory was an early factory which pioneered mass production on the assembly line principle, in Soho, Smethwick, England, during the Industrial Revolution.-Beginnings:...

. He expanded the cottage next to it into Soho House, changing it several times. It is faced with sheets of painted slate to give the appearance of large stone blocks. Boulton moved in to Soho House when the Manufactory was completed in 1766. The Soho Manufactory was demolished in 1863.

In 1766 Boulton became one of the founders of the Lunar Society of Birmingham. Soho House was a regular venue for meetings of the Lunar Society.

As a Community Museum, that is branch museum, of the Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery it is owned and run by Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council
The Birmingham City Council is the body responsible for the governance of the City of Birmingham in England, which has been a metropolitan district since 1974. It is the most populated local authority in the United Kingdom with, following a reorganisation of boundaries in June 2004, 120 Birmingham...

. It hosts exhibitions of local and community interest. Previously free, since April 2011 admission charges apply for entry to the house. It remains free to under 16s. Gardens, grounds and visitor facilities are free to all visitors. It is open to the public 2nd April - 31st Oct, closed Mondays except for Bank Holiday Mondays. Open 12pm - 4pm.

There is a Blue Plaque
Blue plaque
A blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person or event, serving as a historical marker....

 commemorating Matthew Boulton on the house

In the years between Boulton's leaving and the house becoming a museum, it had several uses, more recently as a residential hostel for police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...


External links

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