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The Restoration Project

Project Update, April 2005

As you will know if you came along to our Open Days on the weekend of 12th and 13th February 2005 , the excellent news is that building work was completed on schedule at the end of January 2005, just over eight years on since the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust first became involved.

Congratulations and thanks are due to everyone who has contributed to this achievement; most notably, for their devotion to the quality of the repair and conservation work, this means the professional team of S.T.Walker & Duckham (architects), John Austin & Partners (quantity surveyors), Hancock Wheeldon & Ascough (structural engineers) and of course the specialist contractors William Sapcote & Sons Ltd (Sapcote).

The Sapcote team started the building work as scheduled on 19th April 2004 and generally the work progressed according to our original programme. A few delays along the way resulted in a minor re-scheduling of the completion date to 31st January 2005.

An official opening was held on 11th February. Local historian and radio presenter, Dr Carl Chinn, cut the ribbon as well as broadcasting live interviews from the event on BBC Radio WM.

Other speakers at the event were Maria Perks of the Architectural Heritage Fund, key supporters of this project, and Ian Pearson MP. As well as being the local Member of Parliament, Ian is also a family descendant of the Pearson family from the Harris & Pearson Company. You will be able to find out more on this subject when the family history of the founders of the business is added to this project website.

In total over 400 visitors attended the events held to celebrate the opening. A souvenir booklet was produced for the occasion; to obtain a copy please send your request and address details, along with a donation, to:

The West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust
Canal Street
West Midlands

Whilst the building work is now done and the sale to a new owner is being finalised, there is of course other work to be completed; work in progress includes tape-recording the memories of former employees of the Harris & Pearson Company, work by a focus-group of teachers from nearby schools to produce education resources for use by school-children, and work on the family history. More on all of this work will follow in future project updates.

Ways in which you can help at this stage…..

  • Would you like to be kept informed about the ongoing work of the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust? Then please contact us about becoming a member.

  • And we are always in need of sponsors. If you know of any organisation likely to be interested in making a donation towards the general running costs of the Trust, or towards specific future building conservation projects, please contact us.
David Trevis-Smith
Project Director

Cutting the Ribbon - select the image or caption to see a larger view
The official opening on 11th February. Dr Carl Chin cuts the ribbon.
In the foreground from left to right: Alan Smith MBE (WMHBT Chairman), Marie Allport, Jennifer Milton and Margaret Davis (former employees), Maria Perks (AHF), Dr Carl Chinn.
In the background from left to right: Ian Pearson MP, Arthur Cook (Sapcote site manager).

Select the image or caption to see larger view
The official opening on 11th February
(Photographs above reproduced courtesy of the Express & Star Newspaper.)

Landing and stairwell showing the replaced balustrade and window The design of the etched glass was copied from original panes that had survived. Photos by Alan Smith MBE & Robert Tolley.
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Stonemason repairing the stairs. Photo by Sapcote. Select the image or caption to see a larger image.
New stone was pieced into the original stairs to replace areas of damage, rather than replacement. Here the stonemason is at work in this process.

More about the restoration project

Condition Before Restoration

Making Restoration Possible

Costs and Funding

Progress Reports
 April 2005

 November 2004
 (Work in progress)
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