Birmingham Guild

Biography

Birmingham Guild was an Arts and Crafts organisation operating in Birmingham. Its motto was “by hammer and hand” and it was set up in 1890 as part of the Kyrle Society based in Vittoria Street School for jewellers and silversmiths. It the silversmith and architect Arthur Stansfield Dixon (1856-1929) who was the head of the Guildfrom the outset and the first director was the lawyer Montague Fordham. Arther Dixon was also the main designer and ran the metal workshop. Other members of the Guild included Albert Edward Jones, Thomas Birkett and Bernard Sleigh.The Guild manufactured furniture and metal ware, particularly concentrating on the changing market to electric lighting and the need for new light fittings. The designs were simple and not ornate, using skilled hand work rather than machinery wherever possible.In 1895 Edward R. Taylor from the Birmingham School of Art helped the Birmingham Guild to set up as an independent workshop and limited company. William Kenrick, a local MP, became director of the company and a few years later, in 1898 the Guild moved to 44-5 Great Charles Street.

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