Coffin Works are housed in the Newman Brothers Museum, a grade II* building, at 13-15 Fleet Street in the Jewellery Quarter. It displays high class coffin furniture, which over the decades produced fittings for the coffins of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900-2002), Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) and Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914). Also on show are the tools of the trade.
Coffin Works were established in 1882 by Alfred Newman and his brother, Edwin. They were brass founders who mainly made cabinet furniture until 1894, when they moved to the present address in Fleet Street, and were operational until 1999. Alfred became the sole owner of the business in 1895 and ran it until his death in 1933. Eventually the market for metal handles and hand engraving dwindled. Joyce Green, a doughty figure, originally company secretary, rose to become the last owner of the company and was eventually key to its becoming a museum, something she was determined would happen. Advantage West Midlands took it on, and the dream was realised with help from the Birmingham City Council, which enabled Birmingham City Trust to buy it.
Many of the original features have been retained, including the machinery used, examples of coffin furniture, linings and shrouds, and at the end of the tour, an actual coffin suitably prepared.
See it on these walks
A medal was purchased for this point by: The Weston Foundation