Hands up, who remembers the old Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry along Newhall Street? Does anyone remember it from before it was a tourist benefit, back when it was a factory contributing to Elkington & Co? Whether you do or not, you’ll soon see the unsociable site displayed in the spotlight with its fashion modernised, its layout updated, and its purpose altered.
The Museum’s Demise.
Elkington & Co originally made use of the site as a factory in 1830 but work closed in the 1950s; this left the site to become a museum, showing people the pulse of the industry that had once beat inside the factory walls. To the devastation of many people in Birmingham, the attraction was closed in 1997, breaking the hearts of old school students who had spent school trips there while preparing for projects, and families who had enjoyed spending their weekends examining the old machinery. Many people believe the museum was closed due to the lack of practicality – it may have been a treasure trove, but it was one consisting of numerous, tiny rooms which were all rammed tight with exhibits and visitors.
The museum is thought of as the original ThinkTank, but the unsafe building and suffocating layout had the attraction move location, taking with it only a few of the exhibits (the rest ended up at Birmingham City Council’s Museum Collections Centre).
The building work planned for the old factory’s land is ambitious to say the least. The tallest building will go up to 11 stories, but that is not impressive compared to the amount of buildings there are going to be in general. Prepare yourself – this will feel like a bombardment. There are to be;
– 133 one bedroomed flats
– 82 two bedroomed apartments
– 6 three bedroomed townhouses
– a residents’ clubhouse
– public square
– 4 units for shops
– parking spaces for 61 cars and 83 bikes.
The project is part of the regeneration of Newall Square, meaning that some builds have already been completed. Renovated office space and a new Travelodge hotel were developed in 2008, followed by a Co-Operative store and a nearby hotel in 2015, only a few months apart.
Part of the old factory is a Grade II listed building which means the exterior is protected; only strengthening procedures can happen, but no changes will be made to its outer appearance. This may well be good news to nearby residents since this small section of office space is instantly recognisable due to its yellow colour, the cheerful decoration brightening up the area.
Resident’s Rest-bite Options.
These new accommodations will become even more appealing once you know what else lies nearby. It has an upgrade on your regular pubs used for your girls’ or lads’ night out (although it does have a few of those around the area too), but there is also The Jam House. The Jam House is a jazz-centric venue playing a mixture of jazz, blues and rock music, where there is not only food and drink, but also live performances.
More laid back locations nearby include St Paul’s Church for any church-goers who wouldn’t mind a short amble before the Sunday morning service. Also only a short walk away are Birmingham City Church, City Centre Gardens and even Birmingham Snow Hill, meaning you would have excellent transport connections only a tiny meander away from your front door.
To find other renovation projects happening in Birmingham, or to see what other properties we have been able to sniff out for you, visit our blog and read other articles; www.enlightenea.co.uk/blog