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Wholesale Memory Hub with Friction Arts

  • Wholesale Markets Pershore Street Birmingham, England, B5 6UU United Kingdom (map)

For Birmingham Heritage week Friction Arts is holding an exhibition at the Wholesale Memory Hub on site at the Smithfield precinct. This free exhibition will be open each day from 12-5pm, and consists of exhibits about the 900 year history of markets on the site, contemporary photographs and interviews with traders, workers and customers and Sunday carboot sale. Friction Arts have been working as artists on the site since 2001 and have gathered a unique archive of photographs, artefacts and interviews with some of the fascinating characters that inhabit Smithfield.  As well as the free exhibition, we will be hosting guided tours of the Sunday Market on the 10th and 17th September at 9.30 and 11 am. To book your free place, or to find out more, email –


Markets are in the blood in Birmingham. Carl Chinn, local historian commented:


‘We don’t discover the markets, they’re a part of us...Markets are vital to who we are - without the markets there could never be a Birmingham’


Friction Arts have been talking to the customers, traders and staff for whom the Smithfield site has become more than just a place to work:


‘To me it’s my home.  It’s where I’m from.’


The Smithfield site is the biggest Wholesale Market in the UK and literally feeds the other markets, and through the retailers buying their goods there, feeds a large portion of the people of Birmingham.


The exhibition, located at the Market itself will offer unique insights into the life of the Wholesale Market and car boot sale, using film and photography, portraits and interviews with the people of the Market.  The exhibition will make use of augmented reality accessible via your mobile phone to explore the stories behind the pictures - the stories of our city.


As Carl Chinn commented:


‘There are only two constants in our history - one is the markets and the other is change.’


The Wholesale Market will be demolished in 2018 to make way for a mixed use development as part of the Smithfield regeneration site.  Friction Arts Project ‘Wholesale Memory’ is supported by Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council funding.






Later Event: September 15