Dig Digbeth – The Essential Guide to Digbeth

355fly digbethReview by Marie Haddleton

I would not have known about this Guide but for the regular visits to our office of Anna Gibson and Andy Munro who, of course, have published the annual ‘Essential Guide to The Jewellery Quarter’ for many years on behalf of The Jewellery Quarter Advertising Initiative.

This new ‘Essential Guide to Digbeth’ is fascinating and makes one realise how little we sometimes know about places just outside our own specific area. I know just about everything there is to know about every building and its occupants – past and present – but Digbeth…

Being a ‘Temp’ shorthand typist for many years I worked for several businesses in Digbeth. around the 1960s/1970s. I remember it as a drab place with lonely, almost deserted streets, such as Bradford Street, but reading this brand new Guide it would appear that the area has changed almost beyond recognition e.g. The coach station was somewhere you escaped from as quickly as possible and Digbeth was just a ‘place at the back of the Flea Market’. I remember my dad (PC77 Richard Evan Jones) who was based at Kenyon Street, complaining when occasionally he was diverted to be on duty in Digbeth because of the notorious gangs and Irish fights and brawls.

But – what a marvellous surprise – the area is now revealed as having a really interesting history and has become an area for music and art lovers, with many interesting shops and eating places!
The Custard Factory is of particular interest (I visited the venue several times with Bennie Gray when he was first refurbishing the derelict factory) because my mother-in-law was Elizabeth Bird, a member of the Bird family.

It is worth getting a copy of this Guide as it reminds us all of how lucky we are to be a part of Birmingham’s Heritage.
Details of the Guide:
Publisher: AMS email:
Compiled and designed by: AMS – Anna Gibson and One Design – Martin Astley
Editorial consultant: Andy Munro
Original Photographer: Anna Gibson Photography/Various.,

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