Secret City Arts

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Specialist Search for Skills in Handsworth: what we found!

We spotted so much on our Specialist Search in Handsworth, we weren’t able to include everything on our trail map. Here is some more of our work and writing by pupils from 6H and 6W.

Skills today in Handsworth
As Handsworth residents, we come in contact with many skilled workers, such as doctor, nurse, dentist, teacher, lawyer, chef, electrician and many more.


Examples of skilled workers are doctors for health treating, mechanics for MOTs and hairdressers for haircutting. Skills in baking, tailoring, optician, dentist and more. Why do you think there are so many skills in Handsworth? Where do you think people learn these skills from?

Handsworth has people who are making or selling items for the community to use. We learn from teachers who get their knowledge from previous generations. We can be apprentices to learn to become bakers, chefs, mechanics, printers etc.

All these are possible if you really want to do something. If you put your mind into it, anything is possible.

You can learn other skills at school or college or as an apprentice. You can learn different skills and pass it on to the next apprentice and so on and so on. In this way your skills are being passed on from generation to generation.

In Handsworth library the librarians have lots of skills. They have to be patient and good organisers.

Our specialist search
Working in ten small specialist teams, such as Skills Detectives, Foodists and Alphabetists, we searched for evidence along Soho Road. Here’s what we found!

Our role was to spot anything science related. We spotted many things from a tiny phone to a giant hospital, which could contain many screens, cameras and computers. Have you ever seen the machine’s secrets?

We spotted lots of different kinds of cables, for example we saw a cable connected to an electric car which was very surprising. We saw lots of electric alarms for protection.

We saw lorries and cars which have fuel in them, diesel or petrol. Have you ever seen an electric car?

Can you make up a story with ideas from shop names or find things in shop windows to make up a story? For example beads in a charity shop window which might have magic powers.

On the Red Lion pub (now closed) have you noticed stone men holding up the arches? Is this something you could make a story about?

Historians looked for clues in the environment about what might have been in the past. One of our most fascinating finds was the gate next to the NHS building because that was the only thing left from Handsworth Market which used to be on that site.

For example, on the walls of Soho Bazaar are snooker tables, which suggest that this previously was a snooker hall. The most surprising thing was to spot dates on buildings. Can you find some of them? Have you ever wondered what could be standing before us a hundred years ago?

How did the steam engine come into James Watt’s mind?