The terracotta front may look like a merchant bank, but enter its big blue front doors, walk up the Minton tiled stairway and you find 28,000 square feet of industry and making. You will experience a working factory. The old: Victorian equipment treasured and preserved. The new: soldering and moulding, side by side. All used to create a famous finished product ---the Acme Thunderer, the Police Call and 83 other well-known whistles. Every process in the manufacturing is shown.
Amusing anecdotes are told throughout the tour with surprises in store and original features such as bomb damage from 1940 and the great inventor, Joseph Hudson’s bench, inspirational violin and the first rattles and Police Whistles. Archive material from 1870 to the current day is on display. The factory ghost may not appear, but you will hear about it. You will hear the Lion Roar, the dangerous duck call, the clangers whistle, whistles from the TITANIC and the cyclists road clearer.
Furthermore, in a recent exciting development, we have been able to track down a very rare item of military history that we produced for US paratroopers to use during the D-Day Landings, the ACME clicker. You can read more about our search and subsequent discovery of one of the very few remaining original D-Day Landing Clickers here. This incredibly rare piece of military history is now on display at our factory and will be a showcase part of our factory tours from June 2019 onwards.
DAY:Wednesdays & Thursdays
TIME: The tour starts at 10:30am takes an hour with questions and refreshments adding about 30 to 40 minutes.
WHO: The tour is for adults, young children over 10 are admitted but each child must be accompanied by an adult.
NUMBERS: Groups must be of no less than 15 and no more than 30. We are sorry but it is not possible to give individual tours. Nor is it possible to just turn up or to look around.
HOW: Tours are by appointment only. We can only offer a limited number of tours and only on weekdays. There are no weekend tours.
COST: Each tour costs £14.50 per person including refreshments. MONIES RAISED ARE DONATED TO LOCAL CHARITIES. YOU WILL BE TOLD ABOUT THESE ON THE DAY. If members of your tour fail to turn up, they must be paid for.
ACCESS: There is no wheelchair access other than on the ground floor. As this is such a small part of the tour, we would not recommend it for wheelchair bound visitors. There are three flights of stairs.
ADDRESS: 244 Barr Street, Hockley, Birmingham B19 3AH, UK
To book your place on one of our tours, please fill in the form below to let us know who is attending and when you'd like to come.
"Everyone thoroughly enjoyed our tour this morning - I have received many extremely complimentary comments. Please pass on our sincere thanks to Simon for giving of his time and delivering such an interesting, humorous and informative tour - and for donating the fee to such a worthy cause. It was fantastic to see something of quality being successfully made in Birmingham. The refreshments on arrival were really appreciated. Thank you for arranging our visit for us. Best wishes and many thanks again"
- Roger Giddings, Barston U3A, 23rd May 2019
"I am writing to say a big 'thank you' for arranging the visit for us today. We all enjoyed ourselves immensely and learnt so much about whistles. Please give Simon our very special thanks for an excellent tour, an entertaining and interesting talk, and for answering all our questions. I look forward to meeting you again."
- Hilary Derby, Solihull U3A, 11th October 2017