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Archives of Soho

Matthew Boulton strived for innovation through his various business partnerships and friendships with the influential thinkers of his day. His most well known partnership with James Watt (1736-1819) developed the steam engine for use with industrial machinery. His intentional focus on quality improved Birmingham’s reputation for silverworks, led to the establishment of the city’s Assay Office in 1773 and the coining of money for the Royal mint in 1797. The records also tell the stories of those who worked in the manufactory at Soho and as servants in their households.
This is brief introduction to the Archives of Soho, now held by Birmingham Archives and Heritage. The Archives of Soho holds documents from all elements of Boulton and Watt’s business as well as their individual endeavors and personal papers, such as diaries, letters and notebooks.

Matthew Boulton

Archives of Soho - Figures

The important contributors to the Archives of Soho -  Matthew Boulton, James Watt and the members of The Lunar Society.
Sun and Planet Engine. MS 3147/5/239c

Archives of Soho - Innovation

This section includes the Sun and Planet engine, Soho Manufactory, coinage, pattern books, coach design and the copying press.
Letter. Fothergill to Boulton with newspaper cuttings on new hospital. 5 November 1765. MS 3782/12/6

Politics and Philanthropy

Matthew Boulton helped to found a Silver Assay office in Birmingham and supported many institutions, including a General Hospital.
Heathfield plans. MS 3219/4/235/1

Archives of Soho - Family Life

Family Life for the Boultons and Watts at Soho House, Thornhill House and Heathfield.
Portrait of James Watt Jr.

Archives of Soho - Successive Success

The next generation - Matthew Robinson Boulton and James Watt Jr. Also a brief look at Farming and the Boultons. 
Soho Manufactory engraving

Archives of Soho Gallery

Matthew Boulton (1728-1809), arguably the most important businessman in Birmingham’s history, was intrinsic in the industrial growth of Birmingham.