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Soho Mint - A World First!

Date   Age   Event

 

1728     0    Matthew Boulton born, 3rd September (14th September New Style) at

                  Birmingham

1745   17    Enters his father's 'toy' business. Invents inlaid steel buckle

1749   21    Marries Mary, daughter of Luke Robinson of Lichfield

1759   31    Deaths of his father and his wife Mary

1760   32    Marries Ann Robinson, sister of his late wife Mary

1761   33    Takes lease of property at Handsworth, including Soho House (built 1757)

1762   34    Work starts on Soho Manufactory. Boulton enters into partnership with

                  John Fothergill

1766   38    Co-Founder of the Lunar Society with Dr William Small & Dr Erasmus

                 Darwin

                 Matthew & Ann Boulton move into Soho House

1767   39    Extension to the Manufactory. King George III patronises the products of

                 Soho

1768   40    Daughter Ann Boulton born, 29th January. First meets James Watt

1770   42    Son Matthew Robinson Boulton born, 8th August

1772   44    Boulton's business affected by trade depression

1773   45    Prime mover in the establishment of the Assay Office in Birmingham

1774   46    Acquires Dr John Roebuck's interest in Watt's steam engine patent

                 Watt comes to Birmingham

1775   47    Extension of Watt's patent for 25 years. Boulton enters into a partnership

                 with Watt for the same term

1777   49    Engages William Murdock who became Boulton's right-hand-man in Cornwall

1778   50    Visits Cornwall for the first time.

                 Engages Francis Eginton to copy pictures

1779   51    Visits Cornwall again

                 Enters partnership with Watt and Keir in the copying press business

1780   52    Becomes interested in the Cornish mines

1781   53    Dissolves partnership with Fothergill

1782   54    Death of Fothergill

                 Josiah Wedgwood's Etruria factory becomes the first to be powered by a

                  Boulton & Watt rotary engine

1783   55    Death of his wife Anne followed by a breakdown in his health

                 Visits Scotland

                 Starts the Albion Mill in London

1784   56    Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

                 Joins in Loyal Address to King George III

                 Opposes Pitt's taxes on raw materials

                 Founds the Chamber of Manufacturers, to meet in London, and represent

                 the manufacturing interest in Government circles

1785   57    Co-Founder of the Cornish Metal Company

                 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, London

                 Boulton & Watt engines first used to power a cotton mill

1786   58    Visited Paris, and the Hotel des Monnoies. Met Jean Pierre Droz

1788   60    Gives evidence on the state of the coinage to the Privy Council Committee                   on Coin

                 Work begins on establishing the Soho Mint

1789   61    Establishes the Soho Mint

                 Rebuilds Soho House

1790   62    Takes out a Patent on the steam powered coining press. Samuel and James

                 Wyatt engaged on remodelling Soho House

1791   63    'Church and King' riots in Birmingham. Soho defences readied but not

                  needed

1793   65    Boulton becomes Chairman of the Birmingham Theatre Proprietors'

                 Committee

1794   66    Firm of Boulton, Watt, & Sons founded.

                 Boulton appointed as High Sheriff of Staffordshire

                 Chairman of the Governors of Birmingham Dispensary

1795   67    Soho Foundry in course of construction.

1796   68    Boulton & Watt open Soho Foundry at Smethwick to manufacture steam

                 engines

1797   69    First Government coinage contract for Great Britain

1798   70    Patents Hydraulic Ram for pumping water, for Joseph Michel Montgolfier

1799   71    Work begins on converting the Royal Mint to Boulton steam presses

1800   72    Partnership with Watt ends. Firm of Boulton, Watt & Co founded

1802   74    Is the first to light his Works by gas, to celebrate the Peace of Amiens

1807   79    Helps to establish the Birmingham Theatre

                 Boulton's health begins to fail

1809   81    Boulton dies at Soho House, 17th August, and is buried at Handsworth    

                  Church, 24th August 1809

Matthew Boulton the Man - Timeline

Surprisingly, there are not many biographies of Matthew Boulton, certainly far fewer than his eminence would justify. One of the best known is 'Matthew Boulton' the work by H W Dickinson, published in 1936, and more recently reprinted, 1999. Featured in this work is a tablulated 'Chronicle of the Life and Works of Matthew Boulton' which sums up the main milestones in Boulton's career and forms the basis of this list.

Timeline Before Soho Mint
Timeline After Soho Mint
Soho Manufactory

Front view of the Principal Building, seen on a token by Birmingham maker Peter Kempson, issued around 1796