Birmingham has always been noted for its manufactures. In 1538 Leland says: “There be many smithes in the towne that use to make knives and all manner of cuttynge tooles, and many loriners that make bittes, and a great many naylors.” Camden, who visited Birmingham some forty or fifty years later, speaks of “Birmingham, full of inhabitants, and resounding with hammers and anvils, for most of them are smiths.” In 1777 Burke called Birmingham the “great toy shop of Europe;” and since that time its industries have increased to such an extent that many volumes would be required for a full and detailed account. We must content ourselves with guiding the visitor to the most interesting and characteristic of this infinite variety.
Source: The Foresters’ Guide to Birmingham and Its Neighbourhood. Presented by the Demonstration Committee to the Delegates In High Court Meeting, Assembled in Birmingham, August, 1883.Specially Prepared For the Occasion by John Alfred Langford, LL.D; F.R.H.S. Birmingham: James Upton, Baskerville Printing Works, Great Charles Street. 1883