About Us

Based in a former pen factory in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, the Pen Museum tells the story of how modern pens evolved. The museum celebrates the Birmingham pen trade during the 1800s, and the lives of the manufacturers and workers whose expertise placed the city at the centre of this worldwide trade.

  • Learn about the many pen companies of Birmingham and the history of the trade from quill, to steel nib, to fountain pen.
  • Make your own nib using traditional machinery, and experience the tough working conditions of the pen workers.
  • Try your hand writing with feather quills, reed pens and steel pens, and use our early typewriters and braille equipment.

The Museum is dedicated to keeping Birmingham’s industrial legacy alive through displays, activities, classes and talks.

Our collection

Amongst our collections we have examples of nibs from all of the local pen manufacturers, as well as speciality items such as musical stave nibs. The museum also houses a range of objects associated with the pen trade and the history of writing, including inkwells, escritoires and period retail packaging from all over the world.

It is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the country.

The museum

Start your visit in the ‘Pen Room’, which aims to recreate a traditional pen factory. Have a go at some of the manufacturing processes involved in producing steel pen nibs and learn about the tough lives of the female pen workers as they churned out thousands of pieces per day.

Dress up in our Victorian school room and practice writing your lines with a traditional dip pen or quill. Then make you way to the ‘Philip Poole Room’ which features many fantastic objects, including pyramids and stars made entirely from nibs. You’ll also find a gift shop selling nibs, pens and pen holders, as well as books and souvenirs.

Our history

Opened in 2001 by the Birmingham Pen Trade Heritage Association, the Pen Museum is a charity run entirely by volunteers.

The Birmingham Pen Trade Heritage Association was established in 1996 and registered as a charity in 1997. The Association works to ensure that Birmingham’s role in the importance of the pen trade is explored, appreciated and celebrated world-wide.