Friday, 8 July 2011

Chance are Forging Links

It's almost one year on from my last blog post regarding the Chance Brothers cataloguing project and I am pleased to report that the collection has created a great amount of interest over the past year. Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC) has been working in partnership with arts organisation Multistory on a project called Forging Links. It is part of a regional programme of work called New Ways of Curating, initiated and funded by MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council) and ACE (Arts Council England). The focus of the project is on the heritage of the local metal bashing trades and industries and the communities that have been shaped by them. The archives of these important industries are held at CHAS and the project seeks to work with the local community to bring these collections to life by exhibiting photographs, stories and artwork in and based on these collections.

One of the most exciting pieces of artwork to come out of the project is a full scale foghorn, based on the photograph below of one of Chance's foghorns. The oral histories of local residents whose lives were touched by these industries will be broadcast live by the Sandwell Foghorn. The Foghorn was built by local Blacksmith Ian Moran in Cradley Heath and will be unveiled at the Queen's Square Shopping Centre in West Bromwich from 11.30am tomorrow as part of the Sandwell Arts Festival launch. So head down to West Brom to hear and take a look at this impressive structure!

For more info please refer to


  1. Hi Laura! What fun this project must be. Have you discovered anything on the Chance Brothers' work for British Columbia lighthouses? I am writing a book on BC lighthouses (my 17th lighthouse book! and am looking for pictures and info on the lenses and other equipment made for British Columbia. Thanks for any information. You can contact me through or Thanks! Elinor DeWire, Seabeck, WA, USA

    1. Hi Elinor
      Thank you for reading my blog. I no longer work at Smethwick Library where the Chance collection is held but I will forward your enquiry on to them. Also, have you considered contacting Trinity House? Their contact details are availible at
      Best wishes