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100 Years of Birmingham City Laboratories

The history of BCL reads very like a history of urban Britain, with services developing to meet the needs and aspirations of Birminghams burgeoning population and subsequently being made available to a wider audience.

In 1888 the newly chartered City of Birmingham began to develop basic utilities that provided unrivalled services of water, sewerage, gas and electricity to the local community.

The need for a Public Analyst to monitor the health of the new, growing city quickly became apparent.

The origins of BCL were established as early as 1912 as a specialist laboratory initially to carry out research into explosive manufacture and metallurgical processes. BCL's services developed to assist the city industrial efforts in the two world wars, and to provide technical support for many local industries.

In 1948 BCL's Engineering Services (Industrial Reseach Laboratories) was established as a commercial unit by a special act of Parliament and administered by the City Council to serve the needs of local authorities, industry and commerce alike.