Birmingham Buildings

Birmingham Assay Office – Newhall Street

Birmingham Assay Office - Newhall Street

Birmingham Assay Office - Newhall Street

Opening in 1773 following the Hallmarking Act, the purpose of the Birmingham Assay Office was to validate the quality of the precious metal used and to hallmark the item to attest to this measure having been validated (the hallmark indicating the maker and date of item and the anchor symbol indicating the Birmingham Assay Office).  With a flourishing ‘Jewellery Quarter’ at Hockley, the Assay Office was destined to be an increasingly busy place and, interestingly, its first customer was Matthew Boulton who had tirelessly campaigned for the opening of a local Assay Office due to the restrictive practice of having to send all products to London to be assayed.

In 1877, the Assay Office moved to its current location on the corner of Newhall Street and Charlotte Street – opposite the Elkington’s Silver Electroplating Works that was later to become home to the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry.

An enduring success story in the history of Birmingham, the Assay Office in Newhall Street is today the largest in the World handling in excess of 12 million precious metal items a year!

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