Birmingham father of industry honoured

Matthew Boulton memorial service to take place at Westminster Abbey.

On Friday 17th October at 12.00pm, a special service will be held at Westminster Abbey to dedicate a memorial in honour of Matthew Boulton – the Birmingham-born entrepreneur who helped lay the foundations for Britain’s Industrial Revolution.

Birmingham City Council’s flag will be flown from The Abbey which will close for the day to accommodate one of Birmingham’s largest civic events outside of the city.

Over 1000 people are expected at Westminster Abbey for the unveiling of the new memorial, which will sit alongside the existing memorial to James Watt to reflect their historic business partnership and joint contribution to British and world history. Commissioned by the Birmingham Museums Trust, the tribute to Boulton follows a series of commemorative events held since the bicentenary of his death in 1809.

Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: “We are delighted that Matthew Boulton’s major contribution to British and World history will finally be recognised with this new memorial.”

Toby Watley, Director of Collections at Birmingham Museums Trust added: “Birmingham Museums is dedicated to preserving and promoting Birmingham’s great cultural, scientific and industrial heritage. Matthew Boulton was an incredibly important figure not only for Birmingham, but for British and world history. We are delighted that his extraordinary achievements are being recognised by this memorial at Westminster Abbey.”

Marion Roberts, Chair of the Matthew Boulton memorial advisory board said: “It was the driving forces of both dedication and collaboration which allowed the two great engineers, Matthew Boulton and James Watt, to give to industry what it most desired – steam power – and which, in turn, would lead to the Industrial Revolution and to the modern world.”

Cllr Shafique Shah, Lord Mayor of Birmingham said: “Matthew Boulton was one of the pioneers of the early Industrial Revolution, one of the founders of the Lunar Society and Fellow of the Royal Society. We are pleased to see Westminster Abbey commemorate one of Birmingham’s most famous and influential figures.”

There has been a memorial to James Watt in Westminster Abbey since 1825, and Boulton’s memorial – the first ever memorial at The Abbey to be constructed of cast iron- will see him finally join his business partner as the 18th century industrialist’s contribution to British history is celebrated.

The Dedication Service at Westminster Abbey will take place between 12.00pm–1.00pm, followed by an opportunity to view the unveiled memorial to Matthew Boulton. Entrance to the service is free and by ticket only. Tickets are available from