Reading Buildings: An Architectural Tour of Smethwick


Lions of the Great War

High Street, Smethwick, B66 3AP

Smethwick, England, GB, B66 3AP

Become a historical detective and learn to read the clues of the past in the buildings around you on this exclusive workshop in Smethwick

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, It’s an important historical clue! Learn to read the buildings around you and become a history detective in this walking workshop.

Join your hosts Lizey Thomson and Dr Simon Briercliffe and learn about how to research your local history by observing the built environment around you.

We’ll be heading into the action and exploring the industrial Victorian landscape of Smethwick for some hands-on learning as you develop your historical research skills.

Join us for this workshop, and you’ll get the chance to:

• Visit key historical buildings in Smethwick

• Learn about your local history

• Build the skills you need to conduct your own historical research

• Learn from our friendly professionals, and share your own knowledge with fellow history-lovers!



Lizey Thomson is an expert on buildings conservation who has worked on the restoration of important buildings like the Birmingham Roundhouse. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in the history of Black Country brickmaking at the Black Country Living Museum.

Dr Simon Briercliffe (MA) is a historian (Black Country Living Museum) and Doctorial Researcher at the University of Birmingham. Simon specialises in the history of the Black Country, and has worked in museums and heritage. Alongside his research, Simon is an avid public speaker and reader, and even runs a local history blog!



Where is this event happening?

We’ll meet at the Lions of the Great War memorial, opposite Guru Nanak Gurdwara, High Street, B66 3A.

Once everyone has arrived, we’ll then head out on the walk.

Do I need to bring anything?

Please bring any snacks or refreshments you may need for the duration of the hour-long walk. This session will be outdoors, so please dress appropriately and wear suitable footwear.

• Any snacks or refreshments

• Suitable footwear

• Weather appropriate clothing (waterproofs/hats/suncream)

We’d also recommend bringing something to make notes as your build your new skillset!

What happens if it rains?

This event will go ahead rain or shine. We strongly suggest you check the forecast ahead of time, and prepare for rain if necessary – don’t forget waterproofs and a brolly!



Made in Smethwick is an exciting season of events and activities taking place in and around Smethwick, highlighting the rich global history of local area.

Focusing on stories relating to two former industrial sites – Chance Brothers Glassworks and Soho Foundry and Mint – the events are a chance for people to explore the town’s industrial heritage, discover the history of their neighbourhood, and share their own ideas about what it’s like to live, work, and grow up in the area.


This isn’t the only event! Check out the full programme here.


This project has been funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.



Chance Heritage Trust is on a mission to raise the cultural profile of Smethwick’s industrial heritage, and bring former industrial buildings – like the iconic Chance Glassworks – back into use within the community.

Now, with help from the Community Renewal Fund, Chance Heritage Trust is starting to develop plans for the Chance Glassworks site.

This survey is part of a wider programme of community consultation, which will help to shape these plans.

How would you like to see these buildings used? And, apart from living and working spaces, what kind of opportunities and facilities should they contain for community use?

Fill out this short survey to have your say.