James Watt came down from Scotland at the invitation of Matthew Boulton in the late 18th century after Watt had made improvement's to Thomas Newcomen's steam engine. Boulton who owned the Soho Manufactory obtained a patent from 1775 onwards.

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Boulton & Watt - the founding fathers of Birmingham!





James Watt came down from Scotland at the invitation of Matthew Boulton in the late 18th century after Watt had made improvement's to Thomas Newcomen's steam engine. Boulton who owned the Soho Manufactory obtained a patent from 1775 onwards.


You can see one of Boulton & Watt's engines at Dartmouth Circus. Easier to see if you enter the subways and walk past it. But is visible from the road in cars or buses etc. It was built in 1817 and was used at the Netherton Ironworks.

The Smethwick Engine is now located at the Thinktank science museum, it was made in 1779. It's the oldest working steam engine and the oldest working engine in the world. Originally located in Smethwick close to the Soho Foundry. It was previously at the Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry at the Newhall Street site in the Jewellery Quarter (now Newhall Square). Was moved to Thinktank from 2001.

The gold leaf covered statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch was by William Bloye. Unveiled at this site in 1956. But was planned from 1939 (before the Second World War). It was removed to storage in 2017, and will return to the other side of Broad Street at a new site in Centenary Square.

The statue of James Watt used to be in Chamberlain Square outside the now demolished Birmingham Central Library until it was removed to storage in 2015.

Close up view of the James Watt statue. He seemed to have more sculptures of him than Mr Boulton did!

Boulton and Watt - there is a pair of busts of the pair in the Drawing Room at Soho House in Handsworth. It was the home of Boulton during the late 18th century.

Matthew Boulton

James Watt

Portaits at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Matthew Boulton by Carl Frederick von Breda in 1792.

James Watt by Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1812.

This bust of James Watt was found at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre. It is similar to the one found at Soho House (see above).

All photos taken by Elliott Brown