New Heritage & Training Officer for Birmingham Assay Office

Sally Hoban

Sally Hoban has joined The Birmingham Assay Office in a new role as Heritage & Training Officer. The role is two-fold, bringing together aspects of the history and heritage of the Assay Office with a key strand of its future development, which is to provide a high-quality education and training service for the professional jewellery trade and members of the public.

Sally has over 20 years experience in the UK antiques trade and is a specialist in the history of design. She has an in-depth knowledge of jewellery and silver, particularly historical pieces from the Arts and Crafts Movement, and is currently working on a research project at The University of Birmingham on 19th and early 20th century women jewellers and silversmiths in Birmingham.

Sally is a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham and an accredited lecturer for NADFAS (National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies). She is the author of the book Miller’s Collecting Modern Design and she contributes features on antiques and design to the local, national and international press. She is also the Chair of the Heritage Committee of Birmingham Civic Society.

Sally says, “The Birmingham Assay Office has a fantastic history, having been founded by an Act of Parliament in 1773, and it is now the largest Assay Office in the world. We have a wonderful collection of historic, mainly Birmingham, silver which includes pieces from the 18th Century to the present day. At the moment, we run a series of Silver Visits, which are open to recognised groups. These give visitors a rare chance to see the Assay Office’s magnificent collection and learn more about the history of hallmarking. We are planning to extend our programme of educational activities and tours and give greater opportunities for members of the public to visit us, for example through public silver tours and specialised day courses on discovering silver and the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Birmingham Assay Office also has an existing and popular portfolio of specialist training courses aimed at professional jewellers and retailers, including an introduction to hallmarking and understanding diamonds. However, there is much potential for us to expand our current training provision. Feedback from the courses we already run is excellent. Delegates come to the Assay Office because they know they will receive a quality learning experience in an organisation with a long and distinguished history.”

“We are planning to launch a new Heritage and Education Blog shortly, with a view to sharing some of the treasures from our collection with a wider audience and providing up to date news on our current and future education and training opportunities.”

For further information about forthcoming training courses at the Assay Office visit www.theassayoffice.co.uk and click on the training and education section.

Leave a Reply