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Community trip to Coffin Works and Pen Museum

We all met up at The Jewellery Quarter ready to explore the industrial heritage of Birmingham and our first port of call was The Coffin Works, home of the coffin furniture manufacturers which produced handles, breastplates, crucifixes, decorative ornaments, shrouds, robes and many more.

We were guided around by Cornelius who was full of historical facts and fascinating stories. 

Cornelius also showed us around the museum demonstrating using machines that still worked to show how breastplates were made, what different rooms were used for. Some of the highlights was learning about the Wedding Shroud (which isn’t morbid as it sounds!) and seeing what shroud Ozzy Osbourne (of Black Sabbath fame) wanted to wear when he dies.



After lunch, we went to the Pen Museum where there was much riveting information about how pens have changed throughout the history and the creation of the biro pen which led to the decline of pen nibs. We got to see how pen nibs are made with a demonstration using the machines still working. 

There were so many different nibs used for different purposes such as teachers’ nib, conductors’ nib and so on! We then watched a brief video about what it was like to work in a pen factory in the early 20th century, some of us were surprised to learn if a woman was married, she wouldn’t be allowed to work! There were several different types of typewriters which brought back memories for some of our community group to when they used to work in offices before the computers were popularised. They were very proficient typists making it look effortlessly!




We would like to thanks the museums for hosting us and showing us around, we all had a great day and is excited for the next trip!

To be kept up to date regarding our future trips, please contact our Community Development Officer-

 Sean Noone at


Zebra Access CIO provides services and support to Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hard of Hearing people with thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund. Services includes Employment Services, English/Maths tutorials, Advocacy, Community Development, BSL/Deaf Awareness, drop-in sessions dealing with a range of queries, complaints, form filling, and many more. Zebra Access staff and volunteers have the right to work in a safe and abuse free environment. The organisation will not tolerate any kind of abuse against its staff, volunteers or property.

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