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Lottery grant boosts Lunar Society heritage project

New capital will go towards creating a trail highlighting key properties in the history of the society alongside talks and tours

Soho House
Soho House was a meeting place of the original Lunar Society

A new heritage trail celebrating Birmingham's historic Lunar Society is being created.

The project has received a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the development of the trail which will highlight key buildings and locations associated with the famous society of great thinkers.

The Original Lunar Society was founded in the late 18th century and brought together some of the nation's great thinkers - the Lunar Men - for dinners and conversation.

The society took its name from the fact attendees would walk home late at night by moonlight and previous members included physician Erasmus Darwin, entrepreneur and manufacturer Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt.

The group still exists today after a modern version of the society was established in the 1990s and works with other like-minded organisations to run activities.

The new trail will tell the story of the original Lunar Society and venues featured will include Soho House in Handsworth, which was Boulton's home and also a meeting place for the group, the Black Country Living Museum, Erasmus Darwin House in Lichfield and Derby Art Gallery.

Alongside the trail, the project will also offer a number of public talks and tours on the society and its members.

Society committee member Peter Mayer said: "A key objective of the new trail is to make people aware of, and encourage them to visit, the fascinating range of historic sites, museums and other heritage attractions associated with the original Lunar Society.

"Hopefully, this will enable a better understanding and appreciation of the Lunar Men and their achievements and why they were such a Midlands phenomenon.

"We are extremely grateful to National Lottery players for making this HLF grant possible and enabling our project to proceed."

The project is being coordinated by Chris Rice, a freelance curator, historic buildings expert and heritage project manager.

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