Birmingham’s Shakespeare Memorial Library
Explore a series of materials introducing the world-leading but too-much-forgotten Birmingham Shakespeare Memorial Library. Housed in the iconic Library of Birmingham, it is the first, oldest and largest Shakespeare collection in any public library in the world, as well as one of the UK’s most important cultural assets.
- Illustrated booklet: Splendid Introduction to the Shakespeare Collection.
- Podcast: The First Great Shakespeare Library - A Forgotten Birmingham Story. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Blog post: ‘Everything to Everybody’: Birmingham’s Secret Shakespeare collection. By Ruth Millington
‘Everything to Everybody’ Project Themes
Project Director Professor Ewan Fernie introduces the 6 core themes of the project. Each of the themes offers a way of ‘slicing through’ the collections. Each brings (1) elements from Birmingham’s historic Shakespeare collection together with (2) the uniquely progressive historical ethos of democratic inclusion it expresses, offering (3) a meaningful point of connection for Birmingham communities now.
These themes are intended as useful background information for people and communities to use and build on as they wish. We welcome new responses to Birmingham’s forgotten Shakespearean heritage.
- Resource: Introduction to Project Themes and Resources. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Resource: Shakespeare, Inclusion and Working-class Communities. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Resource: Shakespeare, Nonconfomity and Diversity. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Resource: Birmingham and Europe. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Resource: A Shakesperean Commonwealth. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Resource: Beautiful Birmingham: Art and Welfare. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Resource: Festival Theme - Ophelia's Flowers, Bringing Shakespeare to Life in Birmingham. By Professor Ewan Fernie
Get to know George Dawson! A radical preacher, lecturer and activist, George Dawson founded the Library as part of a pioneering ‘Civic Gospel’, which helped make 19th-century Birmingham the world’s most progressive modern city.
- Article: George Dawson The Lost Prophet. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Podcast: Meet Birmingham's Lost Philosopher George Dawson 1821 - 1876. By Professor Ewan Fernie
- Video: Tristram Hunt Talks About George Dawson
Professor Tobias Döring - former President of the German Shakespeare Society, the oldest national Shakespeare society in the world - reports on the extraordinary wealth and sheer extent of the German material held in Birmingham’s world-significant Shakespeare Library.