Soho House is an 18th-century Georgian home as handsome as they come, with its white-slate walls set in stark contrast to its colourful flowerbeds and lush, manicured lawns. It makes for a lovely outing on a sunny Birmingham day. These days, it’s home to an excellent museum, but from 1766 to 1809, it served as the beloved home of local industrial pioneer Michael Boulton.
Boulton lived in Soho House so he could be close to his business, the Soho Manufactory. Over 50 years, he transformed the site from a small farmhouse into a forward-thinking and stylish country home. The home itself reflected Boulton’s love of new technological inventions and innovations; for example, Soho House was likely the first English house to have a central heating system since Roman times. The home was also ahead of the times for having flushing toilets and steam-heated bath.
What’s more, Soho House is famous as the meeting spot of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, of which Boulton was a co-founder. The Lunar Society was an inspiring group of freethinking 18th-century intellectuals who would gather around Boulton’s table on the night of the full moon to dine, discuss scientific and philosophical ideas, and perform experiments.
Today, you can explore this lovingly restored historic house, which showcases the style and tastes of the bygone Georgian era. Be sure to check out the array of original silver, coins, clocks, buttons and vases that were products of the now-demolished Soho Manufactory. The 18th-century gardens and reconstruction of Boulton’s hermitage – a place to which he would retreat to relax and think – are free to roam and enjoy as well. To get to the museum, catch either bus 74 or 75 from Birmingham’s city centre.
Please note: Soho House is currently open to the public 28 March through 1 November.