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Birmingham - Did you know? History, heritage art and all things culture

A community-led digital space full of facts about Birmingham's wonderful history, hertage,art and culture.  All content supplied by our People with Passion.

This is part of the largest collaboration of community ever undertaken by any city in creating a digital space where people can learn all about the great history, heritage and culture of a city with a great past and a great future.  

This is part of an initiative by Creatives We Are and connected with their two collaborations, Birmingham Gems and Art & Culture Trail which showcase all that is great about Birmingham - a great resource for visitors and brummies alike. 

What we found out

What difference has it made

Passions

History & heritage, Art, culture & creativity, Classic Architecture

Project dates

21 Apr 2020 - On-going

Contact (for more details)

Admin FreeTimePays

0121 410 5520
Admin@ FreeTimePays.com

Classic Architecture
27 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Blue Coat School from Colmore Row to Edgbaston

Did you know that The Blue Coat School in Birmingham was founded in 1722, and was located at a site on Colmore Row on what is now St Philip's Place from 1724 until 1930 (opposite what was St Philip's Church). They moved to a site in Edgbaston near Harborne on Metchley Lane and Somerset Road. The new buildings were built in the 1930s on the site of what was Harborne Hill House.

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The Blue Coat School from Colmore Row to Edgbaston





Did you know that The Blue Coat School in Birmingham was founded in 1722, and was located at a site on Colmore Row on what is now St Philip's Place from 1724 until 1930 (opposite what was St Philip's Church). They moved to a site in Edgbaston near Harborne on Metchley Lane and Somerset Road. The new buildings were built in the 1930s on the site of what was Harborne Hill House.


The Blue Coat School

The Birmingham Blue Coat School was founded in 1722, and was originally located at a site on Colmore Row opposite St Philip's Church from 1724 until they moved to a site in Edgbaston (near Harborne) in 1930. The school was founded by Reverend William Higgs, who was a Rector of St Philip's Church (now Birmingham Cathedral). The buildings on the site today are on St Philip's Place and are offices.

In 1930 the school moved to a site on Metchley Lane and Somerset Road in Edgbaston. The new buildings were designed by Henry Walter Simister. Although some elements of the original buildings were moved to the Edgbaston site.

The schools original purpose was to educate children aged 9 to 14 from poor backgrounds. In the early years, 32 boys and 20 girls for educated, clothed and fed there.

The school was rebuilt several times during the 18th century. Mainly between 1792 and 1794. As a four storey neo-Classical building.

In 1930 the new school was planned to be built in Edgbaston, built on what was the site of Harborne Hill House. Statues of a boy and girl in uniform dating to the 1770s were moved to the new school, but placed inside. Copies were made in 1930 and placed in the main entrance porch.

Historical information above taken from The Blue Coat School - History.

 

The Blue Coat School, Colmore Row, Birmingham, watercolour painting by James Billingsley. Topographical view of Birmingham, from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection.

Engraving of the Blue Coat School, Birmingham. One of a collection of engravings of local views contained in volume: Wilkinson Collection, Vol.ii.

Etching - Entrance to the Blue Coat School, Birmingham by F. Gould. Topographical view of Birmingham, from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection.

Public Domain Dedication images free to download from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource.

 

In February 2010, I got photos of the current building from Cathedral Square (or St Philip's Churchyard as I used to call it myself). This was the then home of the the Government Office for the West Midlands at 5 St Philip's Place. This was built in 1935-37 and was the former Prudential Assurance building. Built for the Prudential Assurance Architects' Department. The original architect was P B Chatwin. Built in the Beaux Arts classicism style in Portland stone. Additions by Temple Cox Nicholls from 2002. Information taken from Pevsner Architectural Guides: Birmingham by Andy Foster.

There is an old blue plaque at 5 St Philip's Place about the Blue Coat School. It stood on this site of this building from 1724 to 1930. Since removed to Edgbaston.

Next door was Hays Recruitment at 4 St Philips Place. This was probably Provost's House. Built with a Cotswold stone front. It replaced a Rectory of 1885 by Osborn & Reading. The rest of the building was by Caroe & Partners in 1950. Rebuilt behind by Temple Cox Nicholls from 1981-82. There is a NatWest bank to the right at Temple Row.

Got this photo in December 2010 so I knew what was in 5 St Philip's Place, which at the time was the Government Office for the West Midlands. But the Coalition Government came in May 2010, so this wouldn't last much longer.

By April 2011 the Government Office for the West Midlands had moved out of 5 St Philip's Place.

The plaque had been removed by this point. Today this building is occupied by Communities and Local Government.

 

Time to head over to the Edgbaston / Harborne border.

In May 2018 there was a bus diversion, as Harborne Park Road in Edgbaston was closed, and I took this view of the Blue Coat School from the no 23 bus. One advantage of this site was a playing field for sport, which the old site probably didn't have (unless pupils played sport in what is now Cathedral Square?).

The walk up Metchley Lane and Somerset Road past the Blue Coat School. Starting with the School Chapel. It was dated 1932.

Above the door as seen from Metchley Lane ws this stone in Latin.

AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM MCMXXXII ~ THE GLORY OF THE MAJOREM 1932

Above the chapel is this bell tower with cross at the top.

This was probably the Gatehouse, on Somerset Road.

Onto the main school building built in 1930. Near Somerset Road.

Above the middle part of the Blue Coat School was this clock tower and weather vane. Stone dates the school: AD MCMXXX ~ AD 1930.

The weather vane on the clock tower has a cockerel sculpture on top.

Flag of the Blue Coat School flapping in the wind.

Pedestrian Entrance to The Blue Coat School at this gate from Somerset Road. The sign also has the schools badge. It reads: The Blue Coat School Birmingham 1722 * Grow in Grace.

Modern 21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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70 passion points
History & heritage
20 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The remains of a fortified manor house at Weoley Castle

Did you know that Weoley Castle was once a fortified manor house for the Lords of the Manor of Dudley? Dating to 1264, it was built for Roger de Somery. There is evidence of the site dating back to Norman times and being surrounded by a moat. Now owned by Birmingham City Council and run by the Birmingham Museums Trust. I saw it in December 2015 from outside of the gate / fence.

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The remains of a fortified manor house at Weoley Castle





Did you know that Weoley Castle was once a fortified manor house for the Lords of the Manor of Dudley? Dating to 1264, it was built for Roger de Somery. There is evidence of the site dating back to Norman times and being surrounded by a moat. Now owned by Birmingham City Council and run by the Birmingham Museums Trust. I saw it in December 2015 from outside of the gate / fence.


Weoley Castle

I went to check out Weoley Castle during December 2015. At the time the site was closed, so was only able to get my photos through the green gate and fence. It is located off Alwold Road in Weoley Castle (the suburb that was named after the castle / manor house).

Now run by Birmingham Museums Trust and owned by the Birmingham City Council. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade II listed building. There is more details on the offical Birmingham Museums website About Weoley Castle. The ruins are well over 750 years old. The fortified manor house was built for the Lords of Dudley. The castle used to be surrounded by a large deer park which stretched for 1000 acres.

The castle had arrow slits, a moat, a curtain wall, towers and battlements. But all of that is gone now, apart from the stone remains visible above ground.

In 1264, Roger de Somery was licenced to crenellate his manor house. Fragments of a 13th century wooden buildings have been found here. There was also a detailed survey of the site in 1422. Most of the ruins we see today dates to the 1270s. The King at the time (Henry III) gave the Lords of Dudley permission to fortify his castle in stone.

Although described as a castle, it was just a fortified manor house, surrounded by a large moat. Moated sites were common across Birmingham, but none remain today.

 

On this sign below is drawing of what Weoley Castle could have looked like in it's heyday. The Bourn Brook flows under the castle site, it used to feed the water into the moat. It's now in a culvert. There had been a farmhouse on this site for many centuries, but was described by the 17th century as a ruined castle. The Birmingham Corporation bought the estate in 1930.

The nearby road Alwold Road was named after a Saxon chieftain in the local area. After the Norman Conquest the land was given to William Fitz Ansulf who became the Lord of Dudley and lived at Dudley Castle. What you see today was built for Roger de Somery, who was the Lord of Dudley at the end of the 1200s. By 1485 the castle was owned by William Berkeley, who lost the castle when he fought for Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. The Dudleys sold the land in 1531 to Richard Jervoise a wealthy cloth merchant. He didn't live here. A farmhouse was built nearby in the 18th century. It remained rural land until 1930 when Mr Ledsam the then owner of the land sold it to the Council. The archaeological digs took place here between the 1930s and 1950s.

It would have been nice to walk around the grounds, but when I went in December 2015 the gate was locked, so could only see it from the outside. I've yet to go here on an open day, but was probably best when it was closed to get it without any other people.

The ruins of the stonework to the left.

This was one of the oldest remaining buildings in Birmingham.

The moat would have gone all the way around the castle, where the lower grass levels are now.

There used to be an imposing gatehouse and a great hall, but you can't really see that now.

There would have also been private rooms for the lords and ladies of the manor, and there used to be a kitchen with a large fireplace for cooking. Bit hard to tell now where that was though.

It's remarkable that any of the stonework has survived. I suspect that it must have been destroyed by the mid 17th century (or in the 16th century?).

Probably buried for centuries until archaeologists dug up the remains. Then later the grass layers were changed to keep the stonework above ground.

More stonework details.

By this point I was running out of things to take, so was retaking the same stone wall again.

I also took a panoramic, of which a crop is seen below (was only grass to the right anyway).

More stonework details.

The ruins here reminds me a bit of the Priory Ruins in Dudley.

There also used to be a family chapel and stables on the site back in the 13th century onwards.

Also missing from Weoley Castle was a brewhouse that used to be somewhere on the site.

The ruins can be views from a Viewing Platform which is open every day. There is also tours of the site once a month from January to November each year (for a fee). Direct access to the ruins is on open days with a pre-booked guided tour. The viewing platform is free, but there is usually a charge for events.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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70 passion points
History & heritage
05 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham over the Centuries from the Romans to the City Council

Did you know? A Birmingham post going over the centuries of Birmingham history and pre-history. Not just covering what is now the City Centre but areas of Birmingham's suburbs. The Romans had a fort at what is now the University of Birmingham. The town developed after the 1166 Charter for a market was granted. Timber framed houses popped up all over by the 16th and 17th centuries.

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Birmingham over the Centuries from the Romans to the City Council





Did you know? A Birmingham post going over the centuries of Birmingham history and pre-history. Not just covering what is now the City Centre but areas of Birmingham's suburbs. The Romans had a fort at what is now the University of Birmingham. The town developed after the 1166 Charter for a market was granted. Timber framed houses popped up all over by the 16th and 17th centuries.


Did you know Birmingham from the Romans to the City Council

Roman Birmingham at Metchley Roman Fort, AD 48

Although there is nothing to see above the ground, between the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston, it was discovered that the Romans had built a fort here called Metchley Fort. It was on the Roman road Icknield Street. The fort was built a few years after the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43. The fort was built in AD 48 and was made of timber. The fort was abandoned in AD 70, only to be reoccupied a few years later before being abandoned again in AD 120. The remains were first discovered in the 18th century. Further excavations took place in the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s. The most recent excavations took place in the 2000s.

For more on Metchley Roman Fort have a look at this post: Metchley Roman Fort between the University of Birmingham and the QEHB .

Beorma Ingas ham, 7th century

This sculpture is located on a bridge over the River Rea on Gooch Street in Highgate. The Beorma was the name given to a 7th century Anglo-Saxon tribe who settled in the future Birmingham area, on a site around the River Rea in what is now part of Highgate. This was before the first mention of Birmingham in the Domesday Book in 1086 by the Normans. They were an ancient Anglian tribe. Beorma Ingas ham means The home of the people of Beorma. And early origin name for what later became Birmingham. This tribe pre-dates the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia, which later had their capital at Tamworth. Throughout history there has been many different ways of spelling Birmingham (starting with Bearm, Berm, Beor, Bearma, Beorm and Breme). Think of Bromwicham, or Brumwicham. The nickname now for the people of Birmingham is Brummies! Beorma also gave their name to West Bromwich, Castle Bromwich, Bromsgrove and other local places in the Midlands. The sculpture was made in 2002 (or 2006). Beorma gives their name to the Beorma Quarter development in Digbeth.

Peter de Birmingham, Lord of the Manor of Birmingham in 1166

In 1166, the Lord of the Manor, Peter de Birmingham got a Charter to hold a market from the King (Henry II). He lived in a moated manor house (which today would be on the Smithfield site). His market would become the Bull Ring which is still trading after 850 years. The market was so successful, that it led to his town of Birmingham expanding. That meant some of the land that was the deer park could be built on.

Weoley Castle built after 1264

These ruins are of Weoley Castle. Grade II listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is thought to date to about 1264 and built for Roger de Somery who was licenced to crenellate his manor house. He was probably the Lord of the Manor of Dudley, who was given permission by the King (Henry III) to build and fortify his castle in stone. In the Middle Ages the castle was at the heart of a large deer park covering nearly 1000 acres. The estate was bought by the Birmingham Corporation in the 1930s. And is now one of the properties of the Birmingham Museums Trust.

I'll expand a post on the Weoley Castle ruins soon.

William de Birmingham, Lord of the Manor in 1300

In this Moated Manor House around the year 1300 lived the Lord of the Manor, William de Birmingham. In the years since his ancestor Peter got a Charter for a market, it had been very successful and the town was growing. Not far from the moat was St Martin's Church. As early as the year 1300, the roads Edgbaston Street, New Street and Park Street existed. But William still had deer park surrounding his town. He taxed the inhabitants of the town, but later allowed houses to be built on parts of his deer park (there used to be a ditch near Park Street separating the town from the deer park). The moat was filled in by the 19th Century to make way for the Smithfield market (later the site of the Birmingham Wholesale Market and future Smithfield redevelopment site). This model is in the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

For more of 1086 to 1300 check out this post for more details: Birmingham from the Domesday Book in 1086 to 1300 when William de Birmingham was Lord of the Manor.

The Old Crown, Digbeth 1368

This old pub in Digbeth, claims to be one of the oldest surviving buildings in Birmingham. The Old Crown claims to date to the year 1368, although most of the timber framed building today probably dates to the 16th century. It is believed that the building was built between 1450 and 1500 with some evidence suggesting 1492. It is a Grade II* listed building. It was originally built as the Guildhall and School of St. John, Deritend. It might have first gained the name 'The Crown' in the late 16th century after the failed Armada invasion. Evidence shows that it was first used as an in during the early 17th century, around 1626. It was converted into houses in the late 17th century. The pub was saved in the mid 19th century from demolition. In the late 20th century and into the 21st the pub has had several restorations by the present owners.

Tudor Merchant's House, Kings Norton 1492

Probably the oldest building in Kings Norton is the Tudor Merchant's House, later known as the Saracen's Head. A Grade II* listed building. The house was built in 1492 by a wealthy merchant, Humphrey Rotsey (it is now the north range). The house faces the Church of St Nicholas. The range of buildings were expanded by 1510. In 1643 Queen Henrietta Maria of France stopped here on the way to join King Charles I at his headquarters in York. It had become a pub by the 18th century. Another wing was added in the 19th century. In 2004 it won the BBC's Restoration programme along with The Old Grammar School and both were fully restored and reopened by 2008 under the name of St Nicolas Place.

For more on Kings Norton follow the link to this post: Kings Norton around The Green including Saint Nicholas Place.

Blakesley Hall, Yardley 1590

This tudor hall was built in 1590 for Richard Smalbroke. Blakesley Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham. At the time Yardley was in Worcestershire and the timber-framed farmhouse was built for Smalbroke's farm. Many other buildings followed over the years. After 1685 the farmhouse passed to the Greswolde family and was a tenant farm for the next 200 years. Henry Donne acquired the hall in 1899. The hall became a museum after 1935. It is now a Grade II* listed building and is run by the Birmingham Museums Trust.

For more of Old Yardley check out this post about the nearby village: Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall. I will have to do a detailed Blakesley Hall post soon.

Stratford House, Highgate 1601

Seen from the Moseley Road in Highgate (in front of the modern Highgate Middleway) is Stratford House. A Grade II* listed building. It was built in 1601 for Ambrose Rotton and his wife Bridget. It has survived over 400 years despite recent fires. There had been lead light replacements in the 18th century. Had internal alterations in the 1820s to 1830s. There was a restoration in the 1950s. In recent years it's been either offices or a night club, or just been vacant. There was a fire here in the mid 2010s, but that damage has since been restored.

Aston Hall in Aston Park 1635

Aston Hall was built between 1618 and 1635 for Sir Thomas Holte (who moved in 1631). It was a leading example of a Jacobean house. The house is a Grade I listed building. It was built within a large parkland which included the land where Villa Park, home of Aston Villa is now. The remaining park now surrounding the hall is Aston Park. The house was severely damaged in 1643 when it was attacked by Parliamentary troops during the English Civil War. The house remained in the Holte family until 1817 when it was leased to James Watt Jr.. In 1858 the house was purchased by a private company who used the hall as a museum. It was later bought by the Birmingham Corporation (later Birmingham City Council) in 1864 becoming the first historic house to pass into municipal ownership. The Birmingham Museums Trust took over the running of the hall from the Council in 2012.

For my post on Aston Hall and Aston Park follow this link: Aston Hall and Park in autumn and winter. I've prepared another Aston Hall post (coming soon), where you can see what it looks like fromt the inside.

Soho House, Handsworth 1766

The home of Matthew Boulton, one of the members of The Lunar Society and business partner to James Watt, was his home from 1766 until his death in 1809. Soho House is a Grade II* listed building and now run as a museum by the Birmingham Museums Trust. Samuel Wyatt in 1789 and James Wyatt in 1796 built extensions to the house. After Boulton's death, it was inherited by his son in 1809 and his grandson who later sold it in 1850. It then had numerous owners and uses including as a hostel for police officers. Birmingham City Council acquired in in 1990 and turned it into a museum in 1995. The Lunar Society met here when their was a full moon, and their discussions contributed to the Industrial Revolution.

Soho House is covered slightly in this post along with Stratford House and Selly Manor: A selection of Birmingham's great Manor Houses. I have prepared a Soho House post and you can see it soon.

Sarehole Mill 1771

There has been a mill on a site in the Sarehole area of what is now part of Moseley (near the Hall Green border) since about 1542. Sarehole Mill is near the River Cole, and was used to grind corn. Previously it was known as Bedell's or Biddle's Mill. By 1727 it was known as High Wheel Mill. Matthew Boulton leased the previous mill  on this site in 1755 for use for metal working. The current building was built in 1771 and was used until 1919. It is known for it's association with J. R. R. Tolkien who lived nearby in the area as a child on Wake Green Road (from 1896 to 1900). These days the mill is a museum, having been restored in 1969. Another more recent restoration was in 2012-13. The Bakehouse was restored early in 2020, and during the lockdown they have opened up a shop selling food such as bread, pastries, pasta, flour and other items. Nearby is the Shire Country Park with various satellite parks (such as Moseley Bog), good for walks.

For my recent post on J. R. R. Tolkien in Sarehole, featuring the mill, have a look at my post here: J. R. R. Tolkien in Sarehole from 1896 - 1900.

Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square 1879

The Council House was built from 1874 to 1879 from designs by Yeoville Thomason. The first stone was laid by the then Mayor of Birmingham Joseph Chamberlain. The clock tower behind is known as Big Brum. The Council House was expanded in 1881-85 again by Yeoville Thomason. Birmingham gained City Status from Queen Victoria in 1889.  The second extension was built from 1911 to 1919 (by architects Ashley & Newman). Both buildings includes the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on the upper floors. They are a Grade II* building. In 2019, Birmingham celebrated it's 130th birthday as a City, but as you can see above, our history goes much further back.

For my Council House post follow this link: Birmingham Council House - the seat of local Government in Birmingham.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at more than 1,130 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
Classic Architecture
04 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

King Edward's School from New Street to Edgbaston

Did you know that one of the oldest schools in the country is in Birmingham? King Edward's School was founded by Edward VI in 1552. Taking over from the Guild of the Holy Cross. Located on New Street until 1936. They moved to a site in Edgbaston close to the University of Birmingham where they remain to this day. Former pupils include J. R. R. Tolkien, Sir Edward Burne-Jones and more.

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King Edward's School from New Street to Edgbaston





Did you know that one of the oldest schools in the country is in Birmingham? King Edward's School was founded by Edward VI in 1552. Taking over from the Guild of the Holy Cross. Located on New Street until 1936. They moved to a site in Edgbaston close to the University of Birmingham where they remain to this day. Former pupils include J. R. R. Tolkien, Sir Edward Burne-Jones and more.


King Edward's School

During the English Reformation which led to the Dissolution of the Monasteries, by 1547 all lands and religious buildings were confiscated by the state. This included the Guild of the Holy Cross in Birmingham. Which was located on New Street. It was founded in 1392 by three men: John Coleshill, John Goldsmith and William atte Slowe. The Guild was so important that by 1482, they placed the Master of the Guild higher than the High Sheriff of the borough.

Birmingham had no Grammar School, so John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland (who was the Lord of the Manor of Birmingham by 1552, having replaced the last Norman descended member of the de Birmingham family) gave permission to turn the Guild into a School in it's former hall on New Street. John Dudley gained the ownership of the Manor of Birmingham in 1536 (after falsely accusing Edward Birmyncham, the last of the line of Norman barons of highway robbery). 

King Edward VI granted a Royal Charter early in 1552 to found a school in his name. By the 1680s there was nearly 200 boys at the school and a foundation was set up. A Georgian building was built on the New Street site between 1731 and 1734.

The old image below shows the Free Grammar School as it was in the Georgian period. It was from an engraving published by W. Emans, 1829. It was demolished in the early 1830s. It suggests the building was built in 1706 (and not the 1730s dates).

Public domain image taken from Wikimedia here KES Free Grammar School original without tower. The original uploader to the Wikimedia Commons took it from a book called The Making of Birmingham: Being a History of the Rise and Growth of the Midland Metropolis, Published by J. L. Allday. By Robert Kirkup Dent in 1894.

This was replaced by the Victorian building designed by Charles Barry which was built from 1833 to 1837. He employed Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin for the interiors. Together they later designed the current Palace of Westminster (after the fire destroyed the old one in the 1830s).

This image below was from a photograph by Whitlock on New Street. It shows the spire of Christ Church in the distance (demolished in 1899).

Public domain image taken from Wikimedia here KES Free Grammar School Charles Barry. The original uploader to the Wikimedia Commons took it from a book called The Making of Birmingham: Being a History of the Rise and Growth of the Midland Metropolis, Published by J. L. Allday. By Robert Kirkup Dent in 1894.

The old building had become a fire risk by 1936, and they acquired a site in Edgbaston from Calthorpe Estates. Between Edgbaston Park Road and the Bristol Road (close to the University of Birmingham). The new school was finally completed by 1948, although there was some expansion in the 1950s.

Barry's school was demolished and replaced by the current office building called King Edward House at 135A New Street, built from 1936 to 1937. It includes restaurants and shops on the ground floor. The architects was Essex & Goodman. Pevsner refers to it as bland classical. The Odeon Cinema was built at the same time (1936-37) replacing the girls school. It was by Frank Verity & Samuel Beverley for Paramount Pictures. The Paramount Theatre opened in 1937. It didn't become an Odeon until 1942, months after the death of Oscar Deutsch. 

This view of King Edward House on New Street during January 2011. As you can see it is to the right of the Odeon Cinema.

I got a new photo of King Edward House back in January 2020. Hard to believe that we lost both a Georgian and Victorian building here. Yet alone the Tudor building that preceded both of them.

New Street in January 2013 while it was snowing. The cramped site of the old school didn't have it's own sports field at the back. And with Birmingham New Street Station behind, there wouldn't have been room for expansion on this site anyway.

Early morning on New Street in February 2020. Hard to believe a pandemic and lockdown would be declared at the end of March 2020. King Edward House seen to the left. Britannia Hotel on the right. Imagine the Houses of Parliament in Birmingham, well it would have been down here as King Edward VI Grammar School. Sadly after 100 years in 1936 the old building was in a bad condition and the school moved to the Edgbaston site, and the old building sadly demolished.

In early November 2008, a cousin from Australia came to visit us (several weeks before I lost my brother to cancer). And we took him to King Edward's School in Edgbaston (we thought his father went to this school, but it later turned out he went to King Edward VI Five Ways School instead).

The only building to survive from New Street was the school chapel. It was originally built as the upper corridor of the 1838 New Street School (by Charles Barry) and it was moved to Edgbaston in pieces (1938-40) by Holland W Hobbis, and was renovated and rebuilt in the 1950s.

The Chapel is a Grade II* listed building. It used to link the Grammar School to the Library ranges of Barry's school in New Street (built from 1833-38). Built of brick with stone dressings. The Chapel is used for services every Wednesday morning, when the Eucharist is celebrated by the school Chaplain.

Some more views of the exterior of King Edward's School. We did take my cousin inside, but I only took photos outside.

The Royal Coat of Arms above the main entrance to the school.

More buildings to the left, dating to the post war era of the late 1940s or into the 1950s.

On this site they had more land to build the school compared to the old New Street site.

In January 2018, on one of my many walks around the University of Birmingham's Edgbaston Campus I got some new photos of King Edward's School from Edgbaston Park Road. I've not been in the grounds of the school since we had my cousin with us 10 years earlier.

This building is the King Edward's Schools' Foundation Office. You can also access the King Edward VI High School for Girls from here (more on that further below).

Another Royal Coat of Arms above the Foundation building. Clearly the arms of King Edward VI.

There was also a Royal Coat of Arms on the school gate from Edgbaston Park Road.

Another walk around the Edgbaston Campus of the University of Birmingham, this time in February 2019, and I tried to get a couple of photos of King Edward VI High School for Girls. The sunlight was a bit bright from Pritchatts Road. The school was founded in 1883 and was sharing the boys school on New Street. They moved to Congreve Street in 1887 (the former Liberal Club building). In 1896 they moved to a new school building on the site of the Hen & Chickens pub on New Street. They moved to their present location on Edgbaston Park Road in 1940 to new buildings designed by Holland W. Hobbiss. The New Street site was bought by the Prudential Assurance Company and leased for the Odeon cinema.

Royal Coat of Arms on the Girls school building. Same one as the Boys school.

In February 2019, I was able to get this photo from the no 63 bus on the Bristol Road of King Edward's School. The long hedge that was here was cut down and replaced by a fence. You can see the large Rugby field from here. A new sports hall was built in 2018 near Vince House (it was complete by 2019). Not far from here is the Park Vale Gate. I think we drove up here back during the 2008 Sunday morning visit. The Chapel was visible from here to the right.

The modern 21st Century photos were taken by Elliott Brown between 2008 and 2019.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at more than 1,120 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
History & heritage
27 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham from the Domesday Book in 1086 to 1300 when William de Birmingham was Lord of the Manor

There is a model in the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, showing what Birmingham might have looked like in the year 1300. The Lord of the Manor was William de Birmingham. Did you know why Moat Lane is called Moat Lane? There used to be a moat in what is now the Bull Ring area and the de Birmingham family lived in a manor house there.

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Birmingham from the Domesday Book in 1086 to 1300 when William de Birmingham was Lord of the Manor





There is a model in the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, showing what Birmingham might have looked like in the year 1300. The Lord of the Manor was William de Birmingham. Did you know why Moat Lane is called Moat Lane? There used to be a moat in what is now the Bull Ring area and the de Birmingham family lived in a manor house there.


Birmingham has a history going back centuries, way before we gained City Status in 1889. And way before the Chamberlain's of the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries and way before Boulton and Watt in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. The Roman's had a fort in Birmingham close to the site of what is now the University of Birmingham around 48 AD.

 

The following photos below were originally taken at The Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in November 2012. These were in the section called Origins up to 1700.

This panel is about Medieval Birmingham. It mentions that in 1086 Birmingham was valued at just £1. It was recorded in the 'Domesday Book' by the Normans (20 years after the Norman Conquest of England). 200 years later Birmingham was one of the wealthiest trading centres in Warwickshire.

This panel about Birmingham before Birmingham. The town came into existence in the 1160s. People have lived in the area for hundreds of thousands of years. Many of Birmingham's place names are of Anglo Saxon origin. Archaeology at the Bullring from 1997 to 2001 didn't find any finds before the 12th century (or evidence of a major settlement before then).

When Birmingham got a charter to hold a market, this was in 1166 by the Lord of the Manor Peter de Bermingham. That's when Birmingham began to develop. Around the area that is today's Bullring. This is what Peter de Birmingham could have looked like.

It was the year 1166 when Peter de Birmingham as the Lord of the Manor bought a market charter from the king, Henry II, which entitled him to hold a weekly market. He made profits from the rent paid by the craftspeople who settled here and the traders who came to sell their goods.

This large model was near the entrance of the gallery and was what Birmingham could have looked like in the year 1300 when William de Birmingham was the Lord of the Manor.

At this end of the model, it shows the moat where the Lord of the Manor's house would be.

A close up look at the moat. The de Birmingham family might have decended from Norman ancestors, other sources suggest they decend from an Anglo-Saxon family. The market would have been held within the land of the moated manor house, or just outside it. Today the site of the moat is where Moat Lane Car Park is (it has been renamed to Markets Car Park) and the former site of the Birmingham Wholesale Market (demolished for the proposed Smithfield development). The moat was filled in during the 19th century. Maps from the 19th century show the moat was still there in 1816, but gone by the 1830's as by then the Smithfield Market was on the land.

Settlements to the north of the moat. There was a church in the middle. That was St Martin's Church.

This direction towards St Martin's Church and Market Place with the Manor House and Moat at the far end. Today this would be the location of the modern Bullring (built 2003). East Mall would be to the left (Selfridges) and the West Mall would be to the right (towards Debenhams). Spiceal Street would wind around up past St Martin's Church then up St Martin's Walk. The market place has changed a lot in 850 plus years.

This map in the exhibition might make things a bit clearer. To the south was the Manor House and Moat. Above that was the Market Place. A Watermill was near the moat. And most of the countryside was Deer Park. By the year 1300 around 1,500 people were living in Birmingham. New Street, Park Street and Edgbaston Street all existed by the year 1300.

This is William de Birmingham. He's the Lord of the Manor and everyone who lives in Birmingham pays him rent. He reduced the size of his deer park so that people can build houses on his land and he increased the rental income.

Another map of Birmingham in 1300. The centre of Birmingham is marked by the yellow rectangle including the Church (St Martin's), the Market and the Manor House. The Deer Park is on two sides of the town. To the north west was the Priory Hospital. New Street goes to the west. To the south west was the Parsonage. The River Rea flows from the north east to the south (passing the areas later known as Deritend and Digbeth but not marked on this map).

There is a series of four history panels located around the Bullring. I got photos of them back in 2009 and 2010. They mention that archaeological digs were carried out as part of the Bullring redevelopment. The digs uncovered evidence of Birmingham's medieval origins about 2 metres below the present ground level and it is known that by the 1300s Birmingham was a thriving medieval market and industrial town.

1. High Street.

This was located outside of the Pavilions. Seen in October 2010.

It says Birmingham by the year 1300 had a population of 1,500. It had houses, markets and industry and was thriving. The Priory or Hospital of St Thomas was located at the northern end of Dale End between Bull Street and Old Square (where the name The Priory Queensway comes from).

2 Edgbaston Street

Located on the walk towards Debenhams. Seen in May 2009.

Edgbaston Street was one of the oldest streets in Birmingham. In medieval times it linked the moated manor house with Parsonage Moat and carried traffic to and from the busy Bull Ring Market. An archaeological dig on Edgbaston Street (below the Indoor Market building) showed that a 13th century tannery was tucked in at the rear of the houses fronting the main street. Was one of the earliest tanneries now known to have existed in the Bull Ring and Deritend.

3 St Martin's Square

This was on the wall below Selfridges, but was moved in 2011 when the Spiceal Street development was built (Hand Made Burger Co was at this site until 2020). Seen in August 2009.

St Martin's, the parish church in Birmingham was built in the 12th century. The dig done in advance of the landscaping around the church as part of the Bullring development. Most of the burials found remains dating to the late 18th and throughout the 19th century. No remains from Medieval times were outside.

4 Park Street

This was on Park Street near Birmingham Moor Street Station. Seen in August 2009.

This area was the Lord of the Manor's deer park. Archaeological digs at Moor Street and Park Street (below what is now Moor Street Car Park) discovered a large ditch that was the boundary between the town and deer park in the 12th century. By the 13th century, the park's use for hunting gave way to the demands for the land close to the Bull Ring. As a result of the success of the markets, the Lord of the Manor abandoned the deer park. The ditch was infilled and Moor Street and Park Street were created to provide additional building land. 13th century pottery was made here, including metal-working, horn-working, born-working and textile production.

No wonder they called Birmingham The Workshop of the World. And this was as early as the 13th century!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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