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Elliott Brown People & community
11 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration
Northfield - Take a tour with us!

Northfield - Take a tour with us!

Birmingham has much more to offer than its magnificent city centre. There are some fascinating places to experience out in the neighbourhoods. Here's a look at Northfield. Well worth a visit. For history, there's St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone. Victoria Common is a great open space and not far away is Manor Farm Park.

Take our article.

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Northfield - Take a tour with us!





Birmingham has much more to offer than its magnificent city centre. There are some fascinating places to experience out in the neighbourhoods. Here's a look at Northfield. Well worth a visit. For history, there's St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone. Victoria Common is a great open space and not far away is Manor Farm Park.

Take our article.


How to get to Northfield?

Take the no 61 or 63 bus from Birmingham and travel along Bristol Road South to Northfield High Street; catch a train on the Cross City Line to Northfield station; or take a cycle ride which will take in some great sights along the canal.

If travelling by train, we recommend you buy a ticket in advance using the West Midlands Railway app and you will get a QR code to scan at the ticket gates at Birmingham New Street. Paper tickets are still available to buy at the automatic ticket machines or at staffed ticket desks.

The train takes a scenic route via Five Ways, Birmingham University, Selly Oak and Bournville, before arriving at Northfield. Some sections of this run alongside the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

 

Northfield Station

Welcome to Northfield Station. You get off the train at Platform 4. Head towards the exit via the subway. You can either take the exit towards Station Road, or via the subway head to the station building and exit at Copse Close via Quarry Lane.

dndimg dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Northfield%20Station%20(Apr%202018)%20(2).JPG" />

Take the Station Road exit if you want to head to the old Northfield Village, where you will find St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn.

From Station Road, walk up to Church Hill Road. Walk under the railway bridge, until you get to St Laurence's Church.

 

St Laurence's Church

St Laurence's Church has origins going back to the 12th century, with elements dating from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The church is part of a conservation area.

The last major change to the church took place in the year 1900, when G F Bodley built the north aisle in the 14th century style.

The major 13th century feature is the chancel. The south chancel and lower stage of the west tower also dates to the 13th Century.

A 4 bay octagonal pier arcade at the south chancel dates to the 14th Century.

The upper tower was built during the 15th Century.

The roof is most likely a 15th century replacement of an earlier 13th century nave roof.

The church has Royal Arms from the Hanoverian period. The church was built of sandstone.

dndimg alt="St Laurence's Church, Northfield" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St%20Laurence%20Church%20Northfield%20(5).jpg" />

After the church, it is a short distance to the Great Stone Inn and the Village Pound, at the corner of Church Hill and Church Road.

 

The Great Stone and the Village Pound

The Great Stone Inn is an historic public house at the corner of Church Hill and Church Road.

The Inn probably dates back to the 18th century. 

It is a timber-framed building with painted brick and a tile roof.

The Inn is close to St Laurence Church in the historic old Northfield village. It is now a traditional pub with a beer garden run by Great Pubs.

dndimg alt="The Great Stone" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Great%20Stone%20Inn%20Northfield%20(2).JPG" />

A few meters away on Church Road is The Village Pound, and the current location of the historic Great Stone which the Inn was named after.

Dating back to the 17th century, The Village Pound was a high walled structure used to keep livestock in, such as stray cattle, pigs and sheep.

The Village Pound is now the home of the Great Stone, moved by Birmingham City Council to this site in 1954. It is a glacial bolder formed in a volcanic eruption 450 - 460 million years ago. 

For generations The Great Stone was at the corner of Church Road and Church Hill in Northfield, where it protected the Inn wall. A glacial erratic bolder that was former in an explosive volcanic eruption during the Ordovician period, 450-460 million years ago. During the ice age, possibly up to 400,000 years ago, it was carried by an ice sheet from the Snowdon area of North Wales and deposited with many others around Northfield when the area was a frozen wasteland.

Birmingham City Council moved the boulder to this site in 1954 for road safety reasons.

dndimg alt="Village Pound" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Village%20Pound%20Northfield%20(3).jpg" />

Next, we recommend taking a short walk up Church Road towards Great Stone Road.

Cross over the road at the traffic lights, then walk towards Northfield Library.

Walk up Meeting House Lane to get into Victoria Common Recreation Ground.

 

Victoria Common

This is a great recreation ground hidden behind Northfield Shopping Centre.

You will find playgrounds and tennis courts here plus paths for walking. There's plenty of green open spaces to enjoy.

dndimg alt="Victoria Common" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Victoria%20Common%20Northfield%20(Jun%202010)%20(2).JPG" />

After your walk round Victoria Common head to the path that leads to the Bristol Road South, and walk down Northfield High Street for a bit of retail therapy. 

You can alternatively walk down Sir Herbert Austin Way and pop into the Starbucks Coffee Drive Thru. Alternatively, there are many cafes and places to eat in Northfield.

If you fancy a meal in a traditional pub, in addition to the Great Stone Inn, there's The Black Horse located on Bristol Road South (near Frankley Beeches Road).

 

The Black Horse

The Black Horse opened on the 1st December1929  and was designed for the Davenport Brewery,by Francis Goldsbrough (from the local architectural practice of Bateman and Bateman).

The Black Horse is one of the largest and finest examples of a Brewer’s Tudor-style public house in the country.

It was registered a Grade II listed building in 1981. JD Wetherspoon refurbished the pub in May 2010. 

dndimg alt="The Black Horse" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Black%20Horse%20Northfield%20(Oct%202020).jpg" />

If you are not too full, next have a walk to Ley Hill Park. Leave the Black Horse, and head past Sainsbury's via Sir Herbert Austin Way. Or if you had a toastie or panini with your coffee at Starbucks, you just have to walk up Vineyard Road, past Bellfield Junior School. The park is at the top of the hill.

 

Ley Hill Park

You can enter this park from the entrance at Merritt's Brook Lane. Take any path you want for your walk, or walk onto the grass if it's not too wet. Head up to the top of the hill for views down to the Northfield High Street.

There is a play area, plus benches to sit on.

You can exit the park at Merritt's Hill and walk down the road towards Brookside.

dndimg dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Ley%20Hill%20Park%20(April%202017)%20(5).jpg" />

Now head into Merritt's Brook Greenway, and walk along the path, following the Merritt's Brook towards Bell Hill. Cross over the road at the traffic lights near Whitehill Lane and enter Manor Farm Park.

 

Manor Farm Park

This park was once the home of George and Elizabeth Cadbury, who lived at the Northfield Manor House (until their respective deaths).

The park opened to the public in 1951.

Follow the paths around the park with a 2 kilometre walking route. See our suggested trail HERE.

You will walk past a lake. The Manor House is nearby. The park also has a play area and old farm buildings. dndimg dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Manor%20Farm%20Park%20(April%202017)%20(1)%20.jpg" />

If you exit near the lake at New House Farm Drive, perhaps have a detour up to the Northfield Manor House? Just walk until you get to Manor House Drive.

 

Northfield Manor House

The original house was built in the early 1800s.

George Cadbury purchased the property in 1890, and he moved in with his wife Elizabeth in 1894.

They named it Manor Farm.

The lived here until his death in 1922 and her's in 1951.

The University of Birmingham took it over, and converted it into a hall of residence from 1958, but it ceased this function by 2007.

Years of dereliction lead to arsonists (teenagers) burning it down in 2014.

Partial demolition in 2015, followed by a full restoration between 2019 and 2021.

dndimg alt="The Manor House, Northfield" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Northfield%20Manor%20House%2010042022%20(6).jpg" />

Head down Manor House Drive, back onto New House Farm Drive and onto Bristol Road South.

Leave the park at Bristol Road South. A short walk away is another property once owned by George Cadbury. This is the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

 

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

A house called The Woodlands was built on this site around 1840.

It was later to become one of George Cadbury's homes, who in 1907 gave it to the then named "Cripples Children's Union".

After various mergers, what has now become known as the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, was firmly based on this site.

At one point they had an Outpatients Department on Broad Street at Islington House (this lasted until the end of the 20th century). One of the surgeons based here was Mr Naughton Dunn (from 1913 to 1939), who was a national pioneer and Birmingham's first orthopaedic specialist.

The hospital has been part of the NHS since it's founding in 1948.

dndimg alt="Royal Orthopaedic Hospital" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/ROH%20Northfield%20(Mar%202012)%20(4).JPG" />

We hope you enjoyed this tour of Northfield. 

If you have return tickets on the train, walk back to Northfield Station. Alternatively, head to a bus stop on Bristol Road South. If getting a bus, we recommend that you have a Swift card, and buy your ticket at National Express West Midlands in advance. Otherwise, you will need to pay a cash fare, or use contactless. Alternatively, you can have the NXWM app and buy your ticket on there. Bus routes include the 20, 61 and 63 from National Express West Midlands or the 144 from First Midland Red.

dndimg dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Northfield%20BRS%20(Feb%202019)%20(3).jpg" />

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Your Place Your Space People & community
23 Mar 2022 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Ghost signs found at Lamp Works site on Great Hampton Street

During site preparation works at Codia Blackswan's Lamp Works on Great Hampton Street, old painted shop signs often referred to as "Ghost Signs" were found.

Wow, isn't uncovering hidden gems just wonderful!

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Ghost signs found at Lamp Works site on Great Hampton Street





During site preparation works at Codia Blackswan's Lamp Works on Great Hampton Street, old painted shop signs often referred to as "Ghost Signs" were found.

Wow, isn't uncovering hidden gems just wonderful!


Whilst the signs are slightly hard to decipher, they are believed to mark the former home of J.R. Stevens, a tailor, hosier, and general outfitters store which traded on Great Hampton Street around 100 years ago.

On the other side of the building, two further ghost signs were also revealed during the demolition. The ghost sign in view is the home of ‘Strawbridge Painter & Glazier’ at 30 Great Hampton Street, estimated to be at least a century old.

These are believed to showcase the former home of a business involved in ‘glass, china and all kinds of Earthenware’. Earthenware is glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery that is normally fired below 1,200 degrees celcius.

dndimg dndsrc="https://cordiablackswan.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/IMG20210803110506-scaled.jpg" />

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The Lamp Works will be a residential led mixed-use scheme of 148 apartments, with the industrial heritage of the site reflected in the design of the building, its form and materials used.

A steel frame from one of the original buildings will be retained in memory of the original central factory space, referencing the sites key history in Jewellery Quarter.

Construction of the Lamp Works will begin in August 2021 with apartments ready for occupation in 2023.

Connect with us HERE.

Become part of our Great Hampton Street community HERE

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Your Place Your Space People & community
23 Mar 2022 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Ye Olde Engine Tavern uncovered and rediscovered!

Wow! Look what was found by Cordia Blackswan at 184a Great Hampton Row, the former site of Nightingale Knitwear - does the Engine Tavern or names Thomas and Annie Rose ring any bells with anyone?

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Ye Olde Engine Tavern uncovered and rediscovered!





Wow! Look what was found by Cordia Blackswan at 184a Great Hampton Row, the former site of Nightingale Knitwear - does the Engine Tavern or names Thomas and Annie Rose ring any bells with anyone?


When undertaking a recent removal of the shop frontage, Cordia Blackswan discovered an old mosaic façade for the ‘Ye Olde Engine Tavern’.

dndimg dndsrc="https://cordiablackswan.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/IMG20210722112525-scaled.jpg" />

According to the Birmingham History Forum and Midland Pubs, the Engine Tavern was trading from the 1830’s originally as a beer house. In the 19th Century, it was believed to be a homebrew house along with other pubs in this throughfare including the Balmoral Inn, Saint George’s Vaults and the Star and Garter.

The electoral roll shows the Engine Tavern occupants in 1930 were a couple by the name Thomas and Annie Rose. Does the name sound familiar? We'd love to hear from anyone that has any details. 

Cordia Blackswan will be transforming The Nightingale into a small number of New York loft-style apartments as a future phase of The Gothic. The apartments will be sold as individual units for buyers to design and bring to life in their own personal style. For more information about any of these exciting developments or to share in uncovering more hidden history, we'd love to hear from you. 

Connect with us HERE.

Become part of our Great Hampton Street community HERE

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Elliott Brown Classic Architecture
17 Mar 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Theatre Royal on New Street (1774 to 1956)

If you ever visit Superdrug, Bella Italia or Boots on New Street, were you aware that they are on the site of the Theatre Royal? It existed from 1774 until it was demolished in 1956 (with a couple of redevelopments in it's almost 200 years of existence). It was replaced from 1958 to 1964 by the Woolworth / Charters Building (refurbished in 1990) and Platform 21 (from 2020-21).

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The Theatre Royal on New Street (1774 to 1956)





If you ever visit Superdrug, Bella Italia or Boots on New Street, were you aware that they are on the site of the Theatre Royal? It existed from 1774 until it was demolished in 1956 (with a couple of redevelopments in it's almost 200 years of existence). It was replaced from 1958 to 1964 by the Woolworth / Charters Building (refurbished in 1990) and Platform 21 (from 2020-21).


Theatre Royal - New Street, Birmingham (1774 - 1956)

What is now Platform 21 (formerly the called the Charters Building, and previously the Woolworth Building) was built on the site of the Theatre Royal, which existed on New Street from 1774 until 1956. It was rebuilt a couple of times following fires. A pair of plaques of William Shakespeare and David Garrick were saved (during the 1956 demolition of the theatre) and are now at the Library of Birmingham. The only indication on New Street now of the theatre existing is a blue plaque from the Birmingham Civic Society (between Superdrug and Bella Italia).

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Theatre Royal 1774 1956.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Details below taken from the Arthur Lloyd webpage on The Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham.

There has been four theatres in total on the site of 102 New Street between 1774 and 1956 (a period of 182 years).

 

New Theatre, New Street (1774 - 1792)

The first theatre opened in June 1774, was called the New Theatre. Built for Richard Yates, the architect was called Saul. A new façade added in 1780 and portico designed by Samuel Wyatt, which survived until 1902, despite the rest of the building being destroyed by fire twice.

 

Theatre Royal, New Street (1794 - 1820)

There was a fire at the theatre in 1792. After the fire, the theatre was completely rebuilt by 1794 by George Saunders and Charles Norton, except for the Wyatt façade which survived the fire of 1792. This would be the second theatre on the site. The theatre changed it's name to the Theatre Royal in 1807 when a Royal Patent was granted to the theatre.

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1965V22141 Theatre Royal New Street Birmingham.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />Lithograph - Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham, 1805. Lithographer: T Woodfall. Birmingham Museums Trust

 

Theatre Royal, New Street (1820 - 1902)

Sadly the Theatre Royal, New Street was destroyed by another fire, this time during January 1820. The theatre was rebuilt again by 1820, making it the third theatre on the site, this time designed by the architect Samuel Beazley, who replaced everything behind Samuel Wyatt façade.

The only changes after this was in 1875 with alterations to the stage and auditorium, and then in 1885 there was more alterations to the building. Then a refurbishment in 1898 by the architect Frank J. Bill.

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1965V22132 Theatre Royal Birmingham.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />Engraving - Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham.1820 rebuild.  Artist: Thomas Radclyffe. Birmingham Museums Trust

 

Theatre Royal Plaques

In 1902 the third Theatre Royal was completely demolished, to make way for a new theatre on the same site. A small part of the 1820 theatre survives in the form of a a pair of plaques of William Shakespeare and David Garrick. They were at Birmingham Central Library (until 2013) but are now located at the Library of Birmingham.

The Theatre Royal Plaques were on display at the Library of Birmingham, in the Gallery back in 2016, during an exhibition called Our Shakespeare, which commemorated the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Garrick was on the left, while Shakespeare was on the right.

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/OS Theatre Royal LoB (Apr 2016) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/OS Theatre Royal LoB (Apr 2016) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/OS Theatre Royal LoB (Apr 2016) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Theatre Royal, New Street (1904 - 1956)

The fourth theatre opened in December 1904, it was the last Theatre Royal to be on the site. This one was designed by Ernest Runtz with a new frontage designed in the Adam Style. It was built for Theatre Royal Birmingham Ltd. The building was five stories in height. The New Street façade was built in Monk's Parkstone in the semi-Classic style of George III. Above the upper story was a series of bronze figures representing Comedy, Industries, Charity, Justice, Science and Tragedy. The Theatre Royal closed it's doors for the last time in December 1956. Demolition began shortly after it closed for good.

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/City Theatre Royal New St.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/City Interior Theatre Royal New St.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />The Theatre Royal, New Street, early 20th century (date unknown). Photographer unknown. Public domain.

 

The Shakespeare Tavern (1774 - 1904)

Underneath the theatre was a bar called the Shakespeare Tavern, also known as the Brags' Vaults. This was in existence since the very first theatre on the site (1774) and remained until the rebuild of 1904 (at one point known as the Pit Bar of the Theatre Royal). It later moved to Lower Temple Street, where a Neo-Georgian pub called The Shakespeare was built. This was built from 1910 to 1911 by the architect Arthur Edwards. Before it was built, the theatre ran to Lower Temple Street. At one point The Shakespeare was run by Mitchells & Butlers, later by Nicholson's.

dndimg alt="The Shakespeare" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Shakespeare Lower Temple Street old facade (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Woolworth Building / Charter Building (1962 / 1964 - 1990 / 2020)

An office building called the Woolworth Building was later built on the site. It was  designed by Cotton, Ballard & Blow, and built in two parts. The east side from 1958 to 1962 for Woolworths. The west side from 1962 to 1964 for Jack Cotton & Partners. It was made of Portland stone, mosaic cladding and green slate. The building was up to ten stories high. In 1990 there was a refurbishment by Temple Cox Nicholls. This included a glass lift. It is now known as the Charters Building. Retailers on the ground floor include Superdrug, Bella Italia and Boots. The Birmingham Civic Society blue plaque is located between Superdrug and Bella Italia.

dndimg alt="Charters Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Charters TR (Mar 2014).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Charters Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Charters TR (Jan 2018).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Bella Italia" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bella Italia Theatre Royal (Aug 2015).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Platform 21 (2021 to present)

The offices at 102 New Street were renovated again, this time during 2020 to 2021 at 23 Stephenson Street. The development was called Platform 21. Grade A office space up to 112,000 Square Ft.  HM Government Civil Servants moved into the building near the end of 2021. It was renamed from Charters to Platform 21 in 2016. Workers will probably not be aware that they are at the former site of the Theatre Royal or a Woolworths store (which moved off site at one point into the Pallasades until it closed for good in 2008). Architects was Associated Architects. The client was Evenacre and LaSalle Investment Management.

dndimg alt="Platform 21" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Platform 21 (Sep 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Platform 21" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Platform 21 (Dec 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Platform 21" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Platform 21 (Dec 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Historic images of Theatre Royal from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource.

Early 20th Century photos via Phil of the Birmingham History Forum (2011).

21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Daniel Sturley Construction & regeneration
15 Mar 2022 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

Refurbishment of The Gothic as part of wider regeneration of Great Hampton Street

In glorious Birmingham sunshine, we give you the magnificent architectural gem that is The Gothic, both a masterpiece and masterclass in historical regeneration located on Great Hampton Street in the Jewellery Quarter. Having had its exterior scaffolding removed, this refurbishment project is rapidly nearing completion.

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Refurbishment of The Gothic as part of wider regeneration of Great Hampton Street





In glorious Birmingham sunshine, we give you the magnificent architectural gem that is The Gothic, both a masterpiece and masterclass in historical regeneration located on Great Hampton Street in the Jewellery Quarter. Having had its exterior scaffolding removed, this refurbishment project is rapidly nearing completion.


All photography taken on 14th March 2022:

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.yourplaceyourspace.net/uploadedfiles/IMG_3464b_GOTH.jpg" />

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.yourplaceyourspace.net/uploadedfiles/IMG_3467b_GOTH.jpg" />

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dndimg dndsrc="https://www.yourplaceyourspace.net/uploadedfiles/IMG_3491b_GOTH.jpg" />

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

AND HOW THE GOTHIC WILL LOOK ONCE COMPLETE:

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="https://www.yourplaceyourspace.net/uploadedfiles/CGI%20-%20The%20Gothic,%20March%202022.jpg" />

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="https://lc.zoocdn.com/b2732d6c984aad9ec179e849b5b5b07680fcef2d.jpg" />

All artist's impressions are the property of Cordia Blackswan.

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