1765-1775

1765
William Small moved to Birmingham from Virginia. James Watt invented a separate condenser which improved the efficiency of Newcomen’s engine by providing a separate chamber for condensing steam. John Taylor, button maker and Sampson Lloyd II, ironmaster set up Birmingham’s first bank.

1766
Erasmus Darwin met Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Three canals were started in the West Midlands: The Birmingham to Wednesbury Canal, the Trent and Mersey Canal and the Staffordshire to Worcestershire Canal. Thomas and George Cranage at Coalbrookdale took out a patent for converting pig iron into wrought iron.

1767
James Watt visited Erasmus Darwin. James Keir settled in West Bromwich. Publication of Joseph Priestley’s History of Electricity. Publication of Burdett’s Map of Derbyshire, the first properly surveyed English county map.

1768
The import of foreign silk was prohibited. This encouraged the development of the silk industry in Derby, Leek and Macclesfield and ribbon weaving in Coventry, Bedworth and Nuneaton. Richard Arkwright developed the water frame to spin cotton.

1769
James Watt patented the single-action steam engine in Scotland.

1770
Thomas Day settled in Lichfield and Richard Lovell Edgeworth visited him there.

1771
Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Thomas Day visited Jean-Jacques Rousseau in France. Jesson and Wright in Wednesbury took out a patent for “potting and stamping iron” which was adopted by other Black Country firms. Richard Arkwright’s water frame was first used in Nottingham. A water-powered version was also created at Cromford in Derbyshire. Josiah Wedgwood created a new factory at Etruria to manufacture his pottery.

1772

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and the Birmingham to Wednesbury Canal were opened to traffic.
Supported by Lord Shelburne until 1781, Joseph Priestley had the leisure to develop his scientific experiments.

1773
James Keir established a chemical works at Tipton</a, supplying alkali, potash, soda soap and red lead to the glass industry.
Thomas Day's poem The Dying Negro published. Establishment of the Birmingham Assay Office.

1774
John Wilkinson developed a method of boring cylinders with mechanical precision.
Encouraged by Matthew Boulton, James Watt came to Birmingham from Scotland. John Wilkinson’s invention enabled him to produce the high quality cylinders he needed for his steam engines.

1775
The name Lunar Society was first used. Deaths of William Small, John Taylor, button maker and John Baskerville, printer. William Withering moved to Birmingham taking over William Small’s practice and his place in the Lunar Society. Start of Matthew Boulton and James Watt partnership. Baddeley introduced transfer printing into the pottery industry. The earliest recorded building society was Ketley’s in Birmingham in 1775. It was followed by the establishment of others in the West Midlands. Start of the American War of Independence

Articles in this time period

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3956-0

Caddy Spoon

Silver caddy spoon, probably by Samuel Pemberton, c.1800.

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Cast-iron Aqueduct, Cromford Derbyshire

The aqueduct carried water from the Greyhound Pond and Cromford Sough to power the water wheels of… read more »

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4247-0

Catherine the Great and her non-visit to Soho House

Image: Death of Catherine the Great. Double-headed eagle and bust of the monarch. 1796. Designed by Conrad Heinrich… read more »

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4247-0

Catherine the Great’s Medals

Image: Death of Catherine the Great. Double-headed eagle and bust of the monarch. 1796. Designed by Conrad Heinrich… read more »

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4923-0

Charles Bage, the Flax Industry and Shrewsbury’s Iron-Framed Mills

Image: View of Ditherington Mill in April 2003, the world’s first completely iron-framed building. The factory was built… read more »

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4507-0

Chemical Philosophers of the Present Day: Dr Priestley

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

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529-0

Colebrook Dale

Image:The Iron Bridge, near Coalbrookdale Shropshire. Thomas Harral, Picturesque Views of the Severn (1824). Harral’s views were largely based… read more »

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3721-0

Conclusion: Classical Order versus Romantic Nature

Virgil’s Tomb (1782), Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), Oil on Canvas. Derby Museum & Art Gallery. Wright painted several… read more »

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3738-0

Cottage in Needwood Forest

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

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2317-0

Cromford: A Factory Community

Image: Housing in North Street, Cromford, Derbyshire. Richard Arkwright built houses to attract people to work in his… read more »

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3536-0

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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3719-0

Darwin, Priestley and Romantic Materialism

Image: Bridge through a Cavern, Moonlight (1791).  Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), Oil on Canvas. Derby Museum & Art Gallery.… 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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3750-0

Detail of Landscape with a Rainbow

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

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4078-0

Dr John Ash, M.D.

Image: Print of a portrait of Dr John Ash (1723-1798) from R K Dent, Old and New Birmingham: A… read more »

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643-0

Enamel Box

Les Amusements Champetres engraved by B.Audran (1678-1772) after Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). Lid of oblong box, transfer printed… read more »

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644-0

Enamel Box – Side

Children as Arts. Side of oblong box, transfer printed in grey on white enamel. Birmingham, 1765-1770.

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645-0

Enamel Box – Side

Children as Arts. Side of oblong box, transfer printed in grey on white enamel. Birmingham, 1765-1770.

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5217-0

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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4673-0

Entrance of Shrewsbury Castle

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

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4669-0

Entrance of Shrewsbury Gaol

Photograph by: Nabi Heydari (April 2003)

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3746-0

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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3537-0

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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3534-0

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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2346-0

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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1380-0

Francis Duke of Bridgewater

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

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4681-0

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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4677-0

Georgian houses, Shrewsbury

Photograph by: Nabi Heydari (April 2003)

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3745-0

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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4539-0

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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544-0

Holt Castle on the banks of the Severn

From Picturesque Views of the Severn, 1824 by Thomas Harral

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4660-0

Home of Robert Darwin, and birthplace of Charles Darwin

Photograph by: Nabi Heydari (April 2003)

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946-0

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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Inland Navigation

INLAND NAVIGATION, AN ODE. HUMBLY INSCRIBED TO The INHABITANTS of Birmingham, AND PROPRIETORS of the CANAL. The… read more »

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4506-0

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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4509-0

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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3716-0

Introduction: Between Enlightenment and Romanticism

Alchymist in Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, (exhibited 1775, reworked 1795). Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), Oil on… read more »

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4502-0

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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1365-0

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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4503-0

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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3735-0

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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