Back to the future for Birmingham’s former Science Museum

Aug 4 2008 By Jon Griffin of the Birmingham Mail.

Newhall Square Artist Impression

Newhall Square Artist Impression

IT’S full steam ahead for the £65 million redevelopment of Birmingham’s former Science Museum site – after more than a decade lying derelict.
Developer ROSB has unveiled its designs for the transformation of the former Science Museum’s engine hall at its Newhall Square development.

The images show how the hall, which once housed a display of steam engines, will become an open plan space ideal for a restaurant, bar, retail unit or workspace.
The 487sq metre hall features exposed beams and brickwork, combining the original character of the building with contemporary skylights and glass doorways.
Along with the new £5 million 100-bed Travelodge Hotel and a 1,007 sq m office building, the former engine hall forms part of the first phase of the £65 million redevelopment of the Science Museum.

The 2.3 acre site, originally home to the Elkington Plating Works, has lain derelict since 1997 when the Science Museum, which opened in 1951, closed, before reopening at Millennium Point in 2001.
ROSB is building new shops, cafes, bars, offices, galleries and apartments set around a new public square fronting the canal – and the first phase is due for completion in February 2009.

Robert Neaveson for ROSB, said the former engine hall, which opens onto Newhall Street, had been transformed into a bright, lofty space. “The possibilities this space offers to the right commercial occupier are very diverse,” he said. “It is in a fantastic location at the heart of the Newhall Square development and would make a great home for a trendy new bar or restaurant.”