In pursuit of educational excellence across the city for all

Open Menu


“Thresholds” an exhibition currently in Birmingham Museum’s Water Hall Gallery highlights and celebrates the important role the city played in the birth of photography in the 19th Century. This pioneering art project by artist Mat Collishaw and photographic historian Pete James, will take audiences back to the dawn of the photographic era using virtual reality technology.

Wearing a VR headset visitors are transported back to King Edward’s School in August 1839, where an exhibition of manufactures, inventions, models and philosophical instruments was held in “The Model Room”, New Street. Alison Wheatley, Archivist for The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham said “We were delighted to be able to provide archive material including photographs and drawings to help shape this fascinating exhibition.”

The event in 1839 which included 93 photogenic drawings by William Henry Fox Talbot, was one of the first major public displays of photography in the UK.

“Thresholds” runs until 6th August and costs £4.50 to access the virtual High Street of Birmingham and King Edward’s School. Below are some of the stereoscopes which are also on display in the exhibition.

K.E. Archive Stereograph Slides Box 1 KE2

Supported by both King Edward’s School and The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, the exhibition reveals how Birmingham was at the forefront of developments in the technology that revolutionized the way we see, record, represent and understand the visible and invisible world.

Below are just a few of the photographs of the magnificent school building which was on New Street adjacent to where the Odeon cinema is.K.E. Archive Stereograph Slides Box 1 KE1

K.E. Archive Stereograph Slides Box 1 KE24