Frank Sidney Smith
Frank Sidney Smith from Kings Heath – Artist, uses Druids Heath and Birmingham Central Libraries.
Frank Sidney Smith has crammed an awful lot into his 82 years, and is more than willing to share his stories in a variety of ways that demonstrate his creativity and sheer appetite for life.
Born in a Kent workhouse and evacuated to the Midlands as a child, Frank is known in art circles for his autobiographical paintings and sculptures, charting the highs and lows of his eventful past. Highly detailed and rich in history, the pick of Frank’s work was featured in his book A Brush With Life, and a 2001 Telegraph article hailed the Kings Heath resident as ‘Better than L.S. Lowry’. Frank’s works are displayed proudly in Brindleyplace’s Number 9 The Gallery and also in Druids Heath Library, which Frank has come to regard as a home from home.
A regular visitor, Frank is a familiar face at the library, be it to enjoy a cup of tea with friends, attending adult learning classes, and, of course, a spot of reading.
Frank has also been a regular visitor to Birmingham Central Library and still has sketches of the work in progress as it was being built in the 1970s. Despite painting from what he calls ‘a photographic memory’, Frank ventures into the library’s research facilities ‘just to make sure’ that things are exactly as he remembered them . . . according to Frank, they always are!
Frank speaks warmly of Birmingham Libraries, saying: “The library has helped me a great deal because you get research from books, you can borrow them, and it doesn’t matter what it is, they will find the research for anybody. I have to thank them, all the tutors, all the helpers, everyone who works in the libraries. You feel at home here, and they always make you welcome”.
Rewriting the Book with the Library of Birmingham