In the 19th Century, Birmingham was the centre of the world’s pen trade. Here, in an area called Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, various writing utensils were created. An upgraded pen nib was created that could be mass produced in a manner that allowed them to be made efficiently and sold cheaply. These were sold worldwide, allowing many more people to write. The Birmingham Pen Trade not only boosted the economy but also provided people with writing instruments for cheaper – which boosted education and literacy for all. The irony of that, however, is that the history of this pen trade is not taught very widely in school. And so, in 2001, the Pen Museum was opened in one of the former pen factories.
On World Calligraphy Day, I had the absolute pleasure of spending the whole day at the museum. It only seemed appropriate to visit such an important location on this day. The Pen Museum has three spaces. The first contains the history of the museum and the pens, a beautiful display of nibs and a great little shop. The second has more nibs that a stationery shop. They walk you through the manufacturing process here and you can even make your own nib to see how it’s done! The last space is where they set up several little workshops. I wanted to take a moment to share some of the things that happened on the day at the museum. Continue reading “Celebrating Calligraphy – Featuring the Pen Museum”