Although Bromsgrove was well-known for its nail-making industry and other crafts, The Bromsgrove Guild is its most famous institution, whose legacy can still be seen in many places today.
It was founded in 1898 by sculptor Walter Gilbert, at the same time as he was appointed headmaster of the Bromsgrove School of Art. The Guild was established to work in many different materials, including bronze and other metals, stone, plaster, and glass, to produce works of art, large and small, for churches, institutions, houses and passenger liners. Gilbert quickly assembled a band of highly skilled craftsmen, many recruited from Europe, and in the period up to WW1 became famous for the high quality of its products. Many products were quite small, such as lamps, but many were large such as garden ornaments, and there were some famous special commissions such as the gates of Buckingham Palace, and the Liverbirds in Liverpool. Many, possibly most, of these items can still be seen today, and were sent all over the world including many Empire countries.
The 1930s, with its economic depression, saw the Guild decline, and although it continued to exist till the 1960s, its hey-day had long passed.
There are a number of items from the Guild in the Norton Collection, the trustees have plans to build a new frontage, and create extra space at the rear which it is intended to devote to the work of the Guild.