Recognition for Birmingham museum

Coffin Works knocks Houses of Parliament into second place.

Birmingham’s new visitor attraction, Newman Brothers at the Coffin Works, knocked the “highly commended” visitor services team at the Houses of Parliament into second place for the coveted Customer Service Award at the prestigious Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence 2016. Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence’s volunteer “team to die for” was recognised as the best in the UK.

The winners and runners-up were announced by comedian and TV personality Marcus Brigstocke yesterday at the Historic State Rooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue in central London.

On awarding the accolade, Marcus Brigstocke described the Coffin Works team as: “Quirky, innovative. They keep evolving, always trying new ideas and always with fun, passion and enthusiasm, and all in the most unexpected of settings.”

Birmingham Conservation Trust’s Director, Simon Buteux, said “This is an award for our fantastic volunteers at the Coffin Works, who welcome the visitors and lead the guided tours of the time-capsule factory. It is a triumph of friendliness, fun, enthusiasm and dedication over slickness. It feels a bit like Leicester City winning the Premier League!”

This is the sixth major award for Newman Brothers at the Coffin Works, currently in its second year of operating. With grant support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, the Association of Independent Museums and others, Birmingham Conservation Trust rescued and restored the purpose-built Victorian coffin fittings manufactory, which has a unique history.

Established in 1894, Newman Brothers made coffin fittings for the great and the good, including Sir Winston Churchill, George V and VI, Princess Diana and the Queen Mother. Experiencing the factory as a time capsule, visitors immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and smells of factory life, and hear the stories about workers on our guided tours.

“If people want to find out what all the fuss is about, just book onto one of our factory tours”, Mr Buteux said. “All the details are on our website or phone 0121 233 4790. Or you may want to join ‘the team to die for’ yourself; we are always looking for enthusiastic new volunteers – in which case phone 0121 233 4785.”

Now celebrating its fourteenth year, the annual Museums & Heritage Awards, organised by the sector’s largest event, The Museums & Heritage Show, recognise the innovators and leaders of the UK and Europe’s diverse museums, galleries and visitor attractions. Regarded as the Oscars of the museums and heritage industry, the Awards ceremony is attended by hundreds of sector professionals who join to celebrate the incredible achievements and groundbreaking projects of the past twelve months.