1756-1764

1756
Erasmus Darwin moved to Lichfield to practice medicine.

1758
William Small was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at William and Mary College, Virginia, where he taught Thomas Jefferson. Erasmus Darwin met Matthew Boulton. Benjamin Franklin visited Birmingham and met Boulton, Darwin and Whitehurst.

1759
Beginning of the construction of the Bridgewater Canal by James Brindley.

1761
Joseph Priestley joined the staff at Warrington Academy. Opening of the Bridgewater Canal. Its economic success encourages canal development in the Midlands. John and Charles Wood at Wednesbury took out patents in 1761 and 1763 for converting pig iron into wrought iron.

1763
Coventry was the first town in the West Midlands to secure an act establishing town commissions to collect a rate for better paving, lighting and cleaning. The Treaty of Paris with France confirmed Britain’s colonial dominance in Canada and India. James Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny.

Articles in this time period

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Curiosities in Greene’s Museum

Image: “Miss Seward”. John Jackson, History of the City and Cathedral of Lichfield(London, 1805). Anna Seward, the Lichfield poet… read more »

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David Garrick as Sir Brute in The Provok’d Wife by John Vanbrugh, 1765

Johann Zoffany (1733 -1810, b. Frankfurt/Main – d. Strand-on-the-Green, London) Wolverhampton Art Gallery. OP 607. Acquired in… read more »

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Detail of Landscape with a Rainbow

Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797). Image from: Derby Museum & Art Gallery

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Enlightenment and Dissent: A Poem

By Roi Ankhkara Kwabena, Poet, Writer and Cultural Activist Roi was born in the Caribbean island of… read more »

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Entrance of Shrewsbury Castle

Image from: Photograph by: Nabi Heydari (April 2003)

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Entrance of Shrewsbury Gaol

Photograph by: Nabi Heydari (April 2003)

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Fire in Rome

Originally called Fire in Rome, this image is probably one of Wright’s drawings of the Girandola firework… read more »

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Floyer and Samuel Johnson

Image: Print of Samuel Johnson from John Jackson, History of the City and Cathedral of Lichfield (London, 1805). Image from: Local… read more »

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Floyer and the Medical Importance of Bathing

Image: Stowe Pool, Lichfield from John Jackson, History of the City and Cathedral of Lichfield (London, 1805). In front of… read more »

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Floyer’s Pioneering Medical Publications

Image: St John’s Hospital, Lichfield. Floyer based much of his evidence in his book, The Physician’s Pulse-Watch, from evidence… read more »

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Francis Duke of Bridgewater

From Samuel Smiles, Lives of the Engineers, vol. I (London, 1904). From: Private Collection

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Frontispiece: View of Birmingham from Bordesley Fields, near the Coventry Road

Image from: William Hawkes Smith, Birmingham and its Vicinity as a Manufacturing and Commercial District (London and… read more »

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Georgian houses, Shrewsbury

Photograph by: Nabi Heydari (April 2003)

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Girandola with St Peter’s Rome (1774/5)

Image: Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797). Sepia wash with brown ink. Image from: Derby Museum & Art Gallery This… read more »

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Gunpowder Joe: Priestley’s Religious Radicalism

Image: Cartoon: The Friends of the People, showing Joseph Priestley on the left Image from: Birmingham City Archives, Priestley… read more »

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Holt Castle on the banks of the Severn

From Picturesque Views of the Severn, 1824 by Thomas Harral

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Home of Robert Darwin, and birthplace of Charles Darwin

Photograph by: Nabi Heydari (April 2003)

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Industry and Genius; or, the Origin of Birmingham. A Fable

Image: Portrait of John Baskerville (1706-1775), Type Founder and Printer, painted by James Millar in 1774. Oil on canvas. Industry… read more »

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Introduction

Image: Portrait of Joseph Priestley. Image from: Birmingham City Archives, Priestley Collection by Samuel Timmins Joseph Priestley’s importance as… read more »

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Introduction

Image: Print of Joseph Priestley Image from: Birmingham City Archives, Priestley Collection by Samuel Timmins Two hundred years ago,… read more »

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Introduction: Interpretations

The “Priestley” Riots of July 1791 are one of the best-documented episodes in Birmingham history. The initial… read more »

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Introduction: William Shenstone and the Leasowes

“…they observed a Gentleman in his own hair…the now celebrated Mr. Shenstone, whose place began to be… read more »

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James Brindley, Canal Engineer

Portrait of James Brindley from Samuel Smiles, Lives of the Engineers, vol. I (London, 1904). Brindley is… read more »

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Joseph Priestley: Trail-blazing Experimenter

Image: Print of Joseph Priestley, 1782, showing examples of scientific equipment beneath the portrait. Image from: Joseph Priestley Collection… read more »

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Joseph Wright of Derby and his Visit to Italy 1773 – 1775

Image: Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), Eruption of Mount Vesuvius (1774). Gouache on paper. Image from: Derby Museum &… read more »

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Landscape with a Rainbow

Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797). Image from: Derby Museum & Art Gallery

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Letter from Erasmus Darwin to Matthew Boulton, 1762

Darwin writes to Boulton about the experiments of Dr. Petit and Dr. Franklin —————————————- Dear Boulton Dr… read more »

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Letter from Erasmus Darwin to Matthew Boulton, 1763/07/01

Darwin asks Boulton to help him with some apparatus for his scientific experiments. —————————————- Lichfield Jul. 1.… read more »

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Ludlow Castle, c 1800

Panorama with River

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Maria and her dog Silvio (from Sterne’s Sentimental Journey)

Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797). Oil on Canvas. Image from: Derby Museum & Art Gallery

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Masson Mill and the River Derwent, Matlock Bath near Cromford, Derbyshire

The picture shows the rural landscape in which many 18th century factories were located. The Derwent Valley… read more »

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Matthew Boulton and Birmingham Silverware in the late 18th and early 19th centuries

Image: The painted sign for the King’s Head Inn, New Street, Birmingham showing the Head of George III.… read more »

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Mill and Warehouse Building, Cromford, Derbyshire

This five-storey building was built in 1785 to 1790. The four upper floors contained machinery for spinning.… read more »

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Photograph of gravestone of Dr Priestley in Cemetery of Northumberland, Pennsylvania

Image from: Joseph Priestley Collection by Samuel Timmins, Birmingham City Archives.

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Photograph of Joseph Priestley’s gravestone

Image from: Joseph Priestley Collection by Samuel Timmins, Birmingham City Archives.

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Photograph of Joseph Priestley’s house in the United States of America

Image from: Joseph Priestley Collection by Samuel Timmins, Birmingham City Archives.

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