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Latitude: 52.485 / 52°29'6"N
Longitude: -1.9126 / 1°54'45"W
OS Eastings: 406031
OS Northings: 287461
OS Grid: SP060874
Mapcode National: GBR 5X7.L2
Mapcode Global: VH9YW.SSRV
Entry Name: 54-57, Albion Street B1
Listing Date: 8 July 1982
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1075759
English Heritage Legacy ID: 216715
Location: Birmingham, B1
Electoral Ward/Division: Ladywood
Built-Up Area: Birmingham
Traditional County: Warwickshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands
Church of England Parish: Birmingham St Paul
Church of England Diocese: Birmingham
The building was up-graded from II to II* on 17th June 2003.
997/28/3 ALBION STREET B1
Manufactory, formerly a terrace of houses. 1837, with workshop extensions between 1867 and 1883, the rear yards roofed over by c.1904. Brick with stucco, below shallow pitched roofs with slate coverings.
PLAN: original terrace of houses, with a single passage entry to rear yards and their workshop ranges.
EXTERIOR: Front elevation of 3 storeys, 8 bays, with c.1900 2 storey canted bay windows to Nos. 54, 55 and 56, and a ground floor bay window to No.57. Sash frames to ground and first floor windows, mostly without glazing bars. 7 rectangular second floor openings with mostly C20 multi-pane frames, but a single 6-pane sash survives to No.54. 4 doorways with approach steps, semi-circular arched heads, panelled reveals and inset architraves. Passage entry between inner pair of doorways leads to shopping in rear yards. The 4 rear workshops are of 2 storeys, those to Nos.54 and 57 with monopitch roofs and rear wall chimneys. The workshops to Nos. 55 and 56 are set back-to-back beneath a pitched roof with ridge stacks. The yard between Nos. 53 and 54 is now enclosed beneath a glazed roof. The workshops are built of red brick with blue brick detailing, multi-pane metal window frames and slate roof coverings.
INTERIORS: The interior of No.54 is known to retain the original staircase, which has stick balusters and treads studded with brass nails, fireplaces and plaster cornices. A rear extension, added between 1867 and 1883 retains a domestic cast-iron cooking range with pot crane and overmantle shelf. This extension is now part of the manufactory and shelving carrying industrial equipment surrounds the hearth. The 2 storied workshops to the rear of Nos. 54, 55 and 56 remain fully equipped for industrial use, with fixed in-situ machinery, benching, furnaces and shelving for stamp dies and other equipment. No.55 has six drop stamps, 3 powered from in-situ line shafting, 3 hand powered. The stamp pit is concealed beneath boarding. In the enclosed yard between Nos. 54 and 55 are long workbenches with line shafting above, and the location of the former gas engine which powered the line shafting before the introduction of electricity. The workshop to No. 55 has 7 drop stamps and a small furnace in the party wall with No.56. The workshop to No.56 has 4 drop stamps, and a small furnace sharing a common flue with the furnace to No.55. A large hand press is located at the south end of the workshop, on a raised platform. Upper floor workshops retain benching and hand presses.
HISTORY: Directory evidence suggests that the buildings were all in industrial use by 1886, a process which began between 1860 and 1867. A rate map of 1855 shows the buildings as terrace of houses with rear extensions and yards. A rate map of c.1867-1883 shows the rear yards almost completely overbuilt by workshops.
Forms a group with No.52 Albion Street (q.v.)
Nos.54-57 Albion Street are considered to be the best-preserved example of a manufactory developed from domestic premises in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter. This site is also notable for the extensive survival of hand -operated and powered equipment in the workshops, or 'shopping ' which were built in the rear yards and gardens of the former houses. This pattern of development was later replicated in the construction of numerous purpose-built manufactories, and helped create this highly- distinctive industrial community, now considered to be of international significance.
SOURCES: Cattell, J Ely, S and Jones, B 2002. The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter ; An Architectural Survey of the Manufactories.
NBR No.105502. October 2001. Evans and Sons Limited. 52-57 Albion Street Birmingham.
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