Good Money – A Currency Competition for Handsworth


Birmingham Museums is inviting people who live and work near Soho House (former home to industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton); to design their own coins celebrating people of Handsworth.

Soho House, part of Birmingham Museum Trust, is a new partner joining the national New Expressions programme, an Arts Council England-funded scheme unlocking the creative potential of museums.

Local artists Chris Poolman and Elizabeth Rowe are launching an initiative entitled ‘Good Money – A Currency Competition for Handsworth’.

Inspired by the innovations and technical breakthroughs in coinage at Boulton’s Soho Mint in the 18th century, the artists are running a competition to design coins which will be minted and distributed into the local community. Through a series of free creative workshops and events in autumn 2014, Handsworth residents can design their own currency, and nominate local Handsworth ‘visionaries’ who will have their profiles cast on the coins. To promote the project, the artists have produced and distributed their own newspaper in Handsworth.

The selected coins will be minted and the project will ‘go live’, with an exhibition and series of celebratory events from May 2015. The coins will be given to local people as a limited edition artwork, as a celebration of local heroes.

Oliver Buckley, Property Manager of Soho House said: “Handsworth is an amazing place, full of energetic and dedicated individuals who are improving the area and making a difference to people in their communities. This is a chance to give something back and nominate your own local heroes. And what better way to celebrate local achievement than by following in the footsteps of Matthew Boulton, the great innovator who revolutionised coin-making at his Mint near Soho House.”

People can get involved in the project by nominating an inspirational person who lives or works in Handsworth to be immortalised on a coin. Or get creative and send their artistic designs (drawn in a circle) for the ‘Tails’ side of the coins. Entries (including contact details) should be sent to with ‘Currency Competition’ as the subject. Also, entries can be posted to ‘Currency Competition’, Soho House, Soho Avenue, Handsworth, Birmingham, B18 5LB.

There will be a range of prizes for the winners, and the chance to feature in an exhibition at Soho House in the Spring of 2015. Local schools are also invited to participate.

For more details