Matthew Boulton Discovery Day at Aston

Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
14 September 2009

Entrepreneur and inventor Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) is one of Birmingham’s most celebrated sons and Aston University hosted a free Discovery Day to celebrate his life and work.

2009 marks the Bicentenary of the death of Boulton, a leading figure of the Industrial Revolution.

He was instrumental in founding Birmingham’s Assay Office and developing steam technology with his colleague James Watt.


He was also a key member of the Lunar Society, a group prominent in the arts and science.

Aston University's free Discovery Day, starting at 10am on Thursday 17th September, will be packed full of lectures, exhibitions and interactive workshops designed to reveal more about Birmingham’s most influential entrepreneur.

Introduced by Aston University Vice Chancellor, Professor Julia King, speakers include Dr Malcolm Dick, Dr Michael Jepson, Graham Fisher MBE, Sue Tungate and Barbara Fogarty.

Lecture topics will include Matthew Boulton's life and work, the medical dimension of the Lunar Society, the history of canals, the 'Mechanical Paintings' of Matthew Boulton and Francis Eginton, and how Matthew Boulton revolutionised British coinage.

Exhibitions and workshops will include Aston University’s European Bioenergy Research Institute; the Birmingham Astronomical Society; Birmingham Science City, UK Business Incubation and Birmingham Science Park, Aston; and The Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre (JIIC), which is part of Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery.

The JIIC will be demonstrating some of the processes involved in creating replica candlesticks for the current Matthew Boulton exhibition ‘Selling what all the world desires’ at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Gay Penfold, who is the Centre Manager of the JICC said: ‘Our brief was to recreate replicas which would provide visitors to the exhibition with the opportunity to examine closely the intricacies of the design of the candlestick, and to be able to touch them. There is a great deal of opportunity for the technologies that we used on this project to be used further to recreate other objects so that the museum visitors’ experience is enhanced. We look forward to demonstrating some of these processes to visitors at Aston University’s Discovery Day on 17th September.

The Discovery Day will conclude at 6.30pm when Professor Julia King will deliver the Lunar Society’s Boulton and Watt Memorial Lecture on Technologies for Sustainable Development.

Admission to the Discovery Day is free, however a ticket is required for attendance at the lectures, which also includes a buffet lunch. To obtain a ticket, or for further information about the day, please email events@aston.ac.uk or call 0121 204 4552.


For further press information please contact the Press Office on 0121 204 4552 or 204 4549.

Notes to Editors

Schedule of the Matthew Boulton Discover Day at Aston University

9:30 - 10:00: Tea and coffee

10:00 - 10:15am: Introduction by Professor Julia King

10:15 - 11:15am: Dr Malcolm Dick, Director of the Centre for West Midlands History, University of Birmingham, on Matthew Boulton’s Life and Work

11:30 - 12:30pm: Dr Michael Jepson, Aston University, on the Medical Dimensions of the Lunar Society

12:30 - 1:30pm: Lunch and opportunity to visit the exhibitions and displays in the Great Hall

1:30 - 2:30pm: Graham Fisher MBE on the history and importance of canals to Matthew Boulton and the development of the Industrial Revolution

2:30 - 3:00pm: Refreshment break and opportunity to visit the exhibitions and displays in the Great Hall

3:00 - 4:00pm: Sue Tungate, History of Art, University of Birmingham, on Matthew Boulton and his revolution in British coinage

4:00 - 5:00pm: Barbara Fogarty on Matthew Boulton and Francis Eginton's Mechanical Paintings

5:00pm - 6:30pm – Refreshment break (in G63)

6:30pm - 7:30pm - Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor, will give the Boulton and Watt Commemoration Lecture for the Lunar Society on Technologies for Sustainable Development (Great Hall).

Break out sessions for schools and the public, which run in parallel with the lecture programme. Participants can choose which of these, if any, they would to attend instead of the main lectures in G11. Locations will be confirmed on the day.

Planned workshops include (subject to confirmation):

  • Bioenergy research at Aston University
  • Engineering modelling at Aston University
  • Business entrepreneur game organised by UK Business Incubation and Birmingham Science Park, Aston 
  • The relationship between Art and Science

 Great Hall displays and exhibitions (running all day) will include:

  • Aston University’s research excellence
  • Birmingham Science Park Aston
  • Birmingham Astronomical Society
  • The Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre
  • Birmingham Science City
  • Soho House
  • Friends of the Centre for West Midlands History

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