Drake’s “Picture of Birmingham”

HomeDrake’s “Picture of Birmingham”Drake’s “Picture of Birmingham”
Fig 1 - Cover
Fig 2 - Frontispiece
Fig 3 - Town Hall
Fig 4 - Grammar School of King Edward V1
Fig 5 - Market Hall from S E
Fig 6 - St Philips Church

There are fewer second-hand bookshops these days which means that scrounging around for good old second-hand books is much more difficult and searching the net is not really the equivalent. The thing to do is to have a good search wherever you find a pile of old books. I have had some successes, but it has been useful to have a couple of contacts who knew of my interests. The chance of finding something good in mint condition is rare; it is much more likely to be “distressed”.

This was the case with Drake’s book shown in Figure 1, actual size about 18 x 11 cm. and Figure 2 is the frontispiece which tells you what it is all about. As so often happens the map is missing and in this case there are a few pages missing too, but it is still a readable account of Birmingham, leaning heavily on Hutton’s “History of Birmingham” as the author, James Drake freely admits. It must have been reasonably successful as this is a copy of the third edition, published in 1837, the first being, I think, in 1834.

There are twelve “newly engraved” views of public buildings, quite small, and four of them are reproduced here in Figures 3-6.

One thought on “Drake’s “Picture of Birmingham”

  1. tom pyke

    Hello John,
    Interesting pictures, especially the heavy Victorian use of the Cathedral churchyard as a cemetery laid out with lots of stones – that also seemed to me a blind avenue to take when space is at suchg a premium; churchyards should be places to rest for a bit in, not to stay forever immortalised in.


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