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Meeting Report - April 2019

There were 36 members present at the meeting of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society on Tuesday 23rd April. Mary Bodfish gave a talk on The Early Years of the Soho Foundry.

Last year we visited Soho House, the home of Matthew Boulton. Mary's talk was interesting as she told us the history of his factory and its production of steam engines and the partnership of the three great engineers, Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdock.

In 1795 Matthew Boulton chose the site of the factory, on his land, near the mill at Hockley Brook, Handsworth. At first he made small metal goods and silverware but when he met James Watt and later William Murdock, the factory expanded making steam engines to pump water out of mines. The sons of Boulton and Watt worked at the foundry too, and it became world renowned, using the canals around Birmingham to transport the goods.

The employees were well cared for. Apprentices from Charity Schools were trained at the works and the workers were provided with homes, gardens and pig sties! The Foundry was eventually bought in 1895 by the Avery Company, and parts of the factory can still be seen today. Mary illustrated her talk with many fascinating photographs.

The History Society's Annual Outing on 11th September will be a guided tour of Historic Bromsgrove. There will be meetings of the Court Rolls Group on Wednesday 18th September and Wednesday 9th October. The Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 28th May followed by Slides of Stourbridge, a talk by Julian Hunt. The meeting on the 25th June will be Remembering the Swinging 60's by Ray Sturdy. Everyone is welcome.

Pat Evans

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