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Joseph Gillott

Bust of Gillott, in the foyer of The Council House, Birmingham.
Born October 11, 1799(1799-10-11)
Sheffield, England
Died January 5, 1873 (aged 73)
Resting place Key Hill Cemetery
Known for Pen maker
Children Joseph junior

Joseph Gillott (October 11, 1799 - January 5, 1873) was an English pen-maker and patron of the arts.

Gillott was born in Sheffield. For some time he was a working cutler there, but in 1821 he moved to Birmingham, where he found employment in the steel toy trade, the technical name for the manufacture of steel buckles, chains and light ornamental steel-work generally. About 1830 he turned his attention to the manufacture of steel pens by machinery, and in 1831 patented a process for placing elongated points on the nibs of pens. Subsequently he invented other improvements, getting rid of the hardness and lack of flexibility, which had been a serious defect in nibs, by cutting, in addition to the centre slit, side slits, and cross grinding the points. By 1859 he had built up a very large business which continues today as Mitchell & Gillott (following a merger with the firm of William Mitchell).

Blue plaque on the wall of Victoria Works

Gillott was a liberal art-patron, and one of the first to recognize the merits of J.M.W. Turner. He died in Birmingham and was buried in Key Hill Cemetery.[1] His collection of pictures, sold after his death, realized £170,000. A white marble bust of Gillott stands in the main foyer of Birmingham Council House, and may be viewed by members of the public.

Victoria Works

His son, also Joseph, continued the family business of manufacturing steel pen knibs and continued to live in the Birmingham area, close to the large factory in the Jewellery Quarter known as the 'Victoria Works' on Graham Street. The family home for many years was 'The Grove' on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston and this was were Joseph junior grew up. In later years, Gillott (jnr) purchased a vast estate in the village of Catherine-de-Barnes, Solihull on which he built New Berry Hall, a large gothic mansion with North and South Lodges. He also built the school in the village.


  1. ^ Official Guide to the Birmingham General Cemetery, E H Manning, Hudson & Son, Livery Street, Birmingham, 1915. Birmingham Public Libraries (Reference, Local Studies, B.Coll 45.5)

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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