The faces of history – Benjamin Winchurch 1829 – 1891

Benjamin Winchurch was my great grandfather. He was born at 3, Lord Street Birmingham on 3 December 1829, married Ellen Eliza Tester in London in 1862 and died at 120, King Edwards Road, Birmingham on 7 April 1891.

His parents were Thomas and Ann Winchurch, who for part of their lives were landlords of the Cross Keys Inn at 45, Upper Windsor Street, Aston, Birmingham.

Benjamin was a glassmaker by trade and I believe that he was the ‘B Winchurch’ cosignatory on the plea from about 1875

To the Worshipful the mayor the Aldermen and Members of the Town Council of the borough of Birmingham.


WE, the undersigned Artizan GLASS MKERS residing in the Borough of Birmingham, having associated ourselves into a working Committee, for the purpose of founding an INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM, which it is intended shall represent the working of one of the staple Trades of this great Town, Pray your Honourable council : .

I To give your countenance, both individually and collectively, to the exertions of your Memorialsts.

2. To provide a room, either in Aston Hall or in some other public building belonging to the corporation, and have therein suitable arrangements made for the reception of such articles as may be contributed.

3. To use your influence with the science and Art Department of the Government to obtain from South Kensington a special Loan of Glass Articles having skill or artistic Merit displayed in them.

4. To consider if a grant could be made by the Town towards furthering the object your Memorialists have in view, in accordance with the expressed desire of the government that Industrial Museums shall be founded in large towns.

5. The great advantages of Industrial Museums to a manufacturing population have long been admitted, and it would be superfluous for us to repeat the arguments that may be used in favour of establishing them.

Your Memorialists urge the following reasons in support of their prayer

FIRST That the industry which your Memorialists represent would be peculiarly benefited by the establishment of such a Museum. The fact is probably within the knowledge of all the members of your honourable Council, that the ancient city of Venice fortunately possesses an Industrial Museum which, containing records of ancient Manufacturing skills has recently had a most important influence in reviving the art of Glass Making in that city. Other and similar examples might be mentioned, but we think one good illustration will be sufficient.

SECOND It appears to us that the duty of founding Industrial Museums does not devolve upon any special individual, or body of individuals. Your Memorialists therefore hope that the steps they are now taking, may be followed by persons engaged in other trades, and that the countenance And assistance of your honourable body, to our proposals, may in time be the means of establishing a central Museum for Birmingham, which shall contain some records of all the industries of the town.

THIRD That there is growing feeling in the public mind in favour of Industrial Museums , and your Memorialists hope that by gaining. your countenance the project, it may be the means of inducing; the richer inhabitants of town to present or lend valuable works of Art Manufacture, or that they may be induced to subscribe funds for the purchase of the same

FOURTH That though your memorialists consider that Aston Hall is not the most suitable place for an industrial Museum, yet there are many rooms in that building at present unoccupied which might be fitted up, at trifling expense, sufficient to answer every purpose for the present. At the same time your Memorialists cannot help expressing a hope that it may not be long before a great Industrial Museum may be established, centrally situated in the town of Birmingham, for (be use the whole of this manufacturing district.

FIFTH That the Government officials at South Kensington having hitherto expressed their willingness to lend to the Artisans of the town of Birmingham any articles that might be considered useful as models, your Memorialists believe that if representations were made from the right quarter, there would be no difficulty in getting loans for the use of special industries.

LASTLY That the government having expressed a desire to deal question of industrial Museums by conferring the power upon the corporations of large towns to raise money under the “Free libraries and Museums Act” for that purpose , your Memorialists respectfully suggest that your honourable Council might reasonably take into consideration the granting of a sum of money for establishing a central Industrial Museums for the town and district generally.

Your Memorialists will ever pray, & c &c &c

Names of Committee







T. C. BARNES, president.