Soho House

Something´s not right. You´re in a fine Georgian house surrounded by the furniture and fittings of the 1790s, but there on the wall is a large photograph of the moon. This must be a mistake. But it´s not. It´s actually a painting, meticulously made through observations with a primitive telescope in about 1795. It is so detailed and real, that it is almost impossible to believe it is not a modern photograph.


The moon has special significance to this house. It was a favourite meeting place for members of the Lunar Society, so-called because its members met on the nights of the full moon, so that they could make their way home safely by its light. They were some of the most important and influential men of their time - Matthew Boulton, owner of this house, and a brilliant engineer, James Watt (of steam engine fame), Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles) and Joseph Priestley (discoverer of oxygen). They discussed everything from advances in science to how to abolish slavery.


The house had many modern innovations, including a flushing toilet and central heating (probably the first time it was installed in England after Roman times). Today you can step back into Boulton´s home as it was in the 1790s in a tour of the house and its gardens. There is also an engaging exhibition of Boulton´s work in developing the steam engine with Watt, and of the products of his Soho Manufactory, which made coins, buttons, buckles – and clocks - for the world.

Soho House
Soho Avenue (off Soho Road) Handsworth
B18 5LB Birmingham
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 121 - 5549122