Portrait by Inès Elsa Dalal

Marie Haddleton was born in Tenby Street in the Jewellery Quarter and has spent most of her life in and around the area. Marie left the area when the slums were cleared just before the Second World War, to move out to the cleaner air of Great Barr. She returned to the area to work in the 1960s as a shorthand typist and worked as a temp at various companies in the area, and found the conditions to be rundown, dirty and polluted. She recalls that the first real change in the area was marked by the building of The Hockley Centre (now the Big Peg) in 1966, and soon after the area changed from being ‘trade only’ to seeing more retail outlets.

By 1985 Marie, her husband Kenneth and son Mark, had moved the office for their bookkeeping business into the second floor of the Natwest Bank on Frederick Street. Marie decided to distribute a notice to local businesses suggesting the idea of a monthly flyer with local news and advertisements which would fund it. On her return to the office that afternoon, Marie found that there were enough adverts for a magazine and the Hockley Flyer was born. For many years, Marie distributed the magazine in her trolley which is immortalized on the pavement trail outside the premises. Marie also founded the Jewellery Quarter Association from this address nearly 25 years ago and earnt the title ‘Queen of the Jewellery Quarter’.

Marie now works from her home in Great Barr, and still publishes the Hockley Flyer with her son Mark.

I’ve always said that anyone who has lived or worked in the Jewellery Quarter, it’s like as if you’ve got a piece of elastic tied between you and the Chamberlain Clock, and every time you try to escape, it pulls you back.

– Marie Haddleton

Watch Marie

Marie talks about the Jewellery Quarter and the importance of heritage