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Call Out for Second World War Stories

Call Out for Second World War Stories

3rd June 2014

Birmingham people are being asked to donate their stories and objects from the Second World War for a new exhibition about the Supermarine Spitfire. From papers to postcards, flight suits to lunchboxes, Birmingham Museums is looking for artefacts to help tell the story of the iconic Spitfire in a new gallery at Thinktank

Birmingham Museums is now working on the development of a new gallery at Thinktank, dedicated to the iconic Supermarine Spitfire, and its legacy to the city of Birmingham. Thanks to funding support from Heritage Lottery Fund and DCMS Wolfson and others, the new gallery will open April 2015.

Birmingham Museums wants to hear from you and your family about local connections to the Second World War efforts. Rebecca Fletcher Spitfire Project Officer explains, “Work on the new galley is now well-underway, and we want to hear from local families about the role their ancestors played in the Second World War. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who had family working in the aircraft factory in Castle Bromwich, or anyone with connections to the RAF at the time.”

In particular, Birmingham Museums are looking for the following objects;

  • Items from Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory, Austin Motor Company at Longbridge, Bolton Paul Aircraft Limited at Wolverhampton, or other factories involved in the war effort (for example, lunch boxes, tea caddies, factory uniforms/work wear, certificates of employment, entertainment leaflets or any other documentation)
  • Items connected to the Spitfire Fund campaign, including pins, badges and documents
  • RAF or flying items, such as helmets, masks, boots, goggles, uniforms and flight manuals

In addition, Birmingham Museums are searching for more modern items, including Airfix kits, jewellery inspired by the aircraft or other Spitfire memorabilia.

Owners of the items chosen for display will be asked to either donate the pieces, or provide them to Birmingham Museums on a five-year loan period.

Both a Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX and a Hawker Hurricane Mark IV are currently on display at Thinktank, (suspended from the ceiling) and both of these aircraft have a special connection to the region. Spitfires were manufactured in the Castle Bromwich ward of the City from 1940 - 1945 and parts for the Hurricane were made in the city. Through displays of objects, specially created hands-on exhibits, and stories from people involved in the industry from 1940 to present day, visitors to the new gallery can explore the history of the aviation industry in the West Midlands and discover the science of flying. By using the Spitfire as case study, and contrasting with the Hurricane and modern aircraft, the exhibition encourages visitors of all ages to find out how technology has changed over time and how aeronautical designers and pilots have always sought to push boundaries and innovate.


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