Jewellery Quarter Historic Building Trail
A self guided walking tour around the Quarter reveals many outstanding, historically important buildings of which a selection are listed below:
Newman Brothers Coffin Fittings Works in Fleet Street is to be refurbished and opened to the public. Production stopped in 1998, but the company made some of the world’s finest coffin furniture, including fittings for the coffins of Churchill, Chamberlain and Diana, Princess of Wales. Thanks to the unique atmosphere of the interiors, the building reached the finals of the BCC programme ‘Restoration’ featuring Griff Rhys Jones.
Established in 1881, J W Evans is one of the most complete surviving historic factories in the Jewellery Quarter. Behind the terraced house frontage, the workshops retain their original drop stamps and fly presses, and are packed with thousands of dies for the manufacture of silverware as well as the whole of the working equipment, stock and records of the business. To walk into the factory today is to step into a lost industrial world. English Heritage stepped in to rescue the factory in March 2008, after all other efforts to secure its future had failed. Phase 1 of the project, which commenced on site in April 2009, is tackling the repair of the building exterior, including full re-roofing. Once further phases of the project are complete, public access to the factory will be possible. The Phase 1 project is being funded by English Heritage, with assistance from Birmingham City Council.
With two free museums, several art galleries, over 100 jewellery shops and 200 listed historic buildings, the Quarter is a great place to spend the day and don’t forget the many restaurants, bars and pubs for that refreshment stop!
75-79 Vyse Street
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter built as a small jewellery factory from 1909.
69-70 Great Hampton Street
Two houses of 1830, later typically converted to workshops.
80-82 Great Hampton Street
A former button works of 1872 – button-making was an important industry in Birmingham.
44-45 Great Hampton Street
Pelican Works, a former electro-plating factory circa 1868 – note the stone Pelican!
Jewellery Business Centre, Spencer Street
Redeveloped former houses and workshops in 1989 by the Duchy of Cornwall, including the famous contemporary designed ‘Prince of Wales’ gates.
Plantagenet Buildings, Spencer Street
A development of houses and workshops of about 1871, in Italianate style.
94 Vyse Street
House and workshop of about 1860.
120 Vyse Street, The Big Peg
A flatted factory opened in 1971, originally open plan to allow interacting of jewellers. However, this never proved popular with the trade and a plan to replicate these factories was never followed through.
Rose Villa Tavern, Vyse Street
Of 1919-20 and the adjacent Jewellery Quarter Clock Tower, built to mark Joseph Chamberlain’s visit to South Africa in 1903.
Aquinas House, 63 Warstone Lane
The former jewellery factory of Manton & Mole, built 1882.
27-29 Warstone Lane
Two ornate small factories built between 1860 and 1875.
7 Warstone Lane
Workshops dating from between 1855 and 1886, where through the window, a jeweller can often still be seen at work.
Reliance Works of Pickering & Mayell jewellery case makers, 42 Caroline Street
Built as two houses with workshops in the late 1820s.
14-16 Regent Parade
Two small houses and a separate warehouse of the late 1830s.
27-32 Mary Street
Former house and adjoining workshops,1818-1827.
35 St Paul’s Square
A former late 18th Century townhouse with workshops added to the rear, previously a rope and twineworks to service jewellery packaging.
St Paul’s Club
Originally two townhouses of the late 18th Century with rear workshops facing Caroline Street – location of one of Birmingham’s oldest business clubs.
St Paul’s Church
Built 1776-79, designed by Robert Eykyn.
95 Livery Street, Former Vaughton Gothic Works
Medal and badge making works of 1902. Designed in free Jacobean style, the factory specialised in mayoral chains and civic jewellery. The FA Cup was made here.
Bismillah Buildings, Constitution Hill
A former electro-plating works.
1-7 Constitution Hill
A former die-sinking works of 1895-96.
Birmingham Assay Office, Newhall Street
Britain’s busiest Assay Office.
Victoria Works, Graham Street
A former pen-nib making factory of 1839.
The former Albert Works, a pen and pencil-making factory of 1862-63, built in Lombardic Renaissance style.
Gwenda Works, Legge Lane (formerly Union Works)
Built in 1913 for a silver-smith and manufacturer of cutglass. Later used to manufacture enamelled powder compacts and bells for cats’ collars!
Alabaster & Wilson, Legge Lane
A small jewellery factory dating from 1891.
54-61 Albion Street
1840s houses converted to offices and workshops.
25 Frederick Street
A former metal warehouse of 1888.
The School of Jewellery, Vittoria Street
This includes a modern extension which won an international design award.