The Coffin Works Archive is an ever evolving project that
brings together the diverse Newman Brothers’ Collection,
which until now have been unconnected.


Gateway Objects

Using Gateway Objects the larger collection
can finally begin ‘communicating’ with each other.


Exploring the online archive thematically will help you navigate the collection if you wish to focus on a specific area in depth.


This project wouldn’t have been possible without the Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund, run by the Museums Association. A grant of £56,600 was awarded in August 2015 and has allowed us to build this resource and ensure it continues to grow.


Growing Archive

Keep coming back to see our archive grow, as we add more objects, stories and features.


Our current online collection is a great place to learn about Newman Brothers and The Coffin Works.


Using our themes (links below) you can navigate your way through our collection with related objects and stories.


The Coffin Works Archive is fully searchable – use this symbol in the navigation at any time to search for objects and stories.

Learn more about our wonderful collection through our Themes…


This theme deals with significant historical milestones in the trade, and the key historical figures associated with the company.

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Learn how changing attitudes towards death and mourning had an impact on the coffin furniture fashions of the day.

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Industry & Manufacturing

Learn why Birmingham was at the heart of the coffin furniture trade, and how Newman Brothers embraced the highs and survived the lows of the industry.

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Learn about the roles at the factory and how the high Victorian child mortality rate played a key part in the social obsession with the funeral.

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The Victorians

Newman Brothers was a Victorian company with a reputation for quality, selling to the country’s most elite funeral furnishers, including the royal undertakers.

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Find out about the key characters who made a difference, and discover how pay, pension rights, and tea breaks had an impact on the workforce.

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By far the most comprehensive archive of objects and stories related to death and the funeral industry on the web!

Sarah Hayes, Collections Manager

It was really fun getting to know the team during the project. They were all helpful in answering my questions and made me feel completely at ease. The design ended up being twice as good as I could have ever envisioned! Don't wait any longer to call up the team, you're only hurting yourself by postponing!

Paul Tranter, Graphic Designer

It's been amazing to watch this archive grow, and we couldn't have done it without the hard work of Sarah Hayes, and the funding from Esmee Fairbarn

Simon Beatux, Birmingham Conservation Trust

Coffin Works wins ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ in West Midlands Tourism Awards

| At The Coffin Works, Awards, Blogs | No Comments
The Coffin Works Museum secured the prestigious award for ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ in the West Midlands Tourism Awards, in partnership with Visit England. The category commends small...

It’s all in a name: finding Jane Saunders

| Blogs, Blogs, Collection | No Comments

A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog about our recent exciting research findings at Newman Brothers. Thanks to the 1921 census, we now have a host of new…

All the Single Ladies, Well Nearly

| At The Coffin Works, Blogs, Uncategorised | No Comments

For International Women’s Day we’re looking back at our most recent research on the 1921 census and our theme is Working Women. Of the 32 employees at Newman Brothers in…

We’ve clocked its age at last!

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Our clocking-in machine or ‘time recorder’ has been central to welcoming visitors since the Coffin Works opened in 2014. Visitors take their admissions tickets and ‘clock in’ for a tour,…