Battle is on to save Birmingham Victorian factory

Conservationists call for renewed efforts to restore and reuse Grade II listed Whitemore Warehouse, in Newhall Street – via the Birmingham Mail

The Grade II listed Whitemore Warehouse, in Newhall Street
The Grade II listed Whitemore Warehouse, in Newhall Street

Conservationists have called on the council to crank-up its efforts to restore and reuse a Victorian factory before it crumbles.

The city conservation panel, a Birmingham council planning watchdog group, are concerned Grade II listed Whitemore Warehouse, in Newhall Street, has not been included in plans for the development of a new hotel on the former Museum of Science and Industry site.

Instead, the new canalside hotel will almost wrap around the empty three-storey workshop – leaving its future in the balance.

The 1838 warehouse is all that remains of the Elkington Mason and Co electro-gilding and plating works in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.

The building is owned by the city council and is at the centre of a wider Newhall Square development.

An artist's impression of the wider Newhall Square development
An artist’s impression of the wider Newhall Square development

English Heritage describes the building as: “The surviving part of one of the most important and influential 19th century manufactories in Birmingham, which forms part of a notable group of historic buildings, including the Birmingham Assay Office, on the southern edge of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, now recognised as a manufacturing district of international significance.”

The proposals for the five-storey 194 bed Staycity apartment-hotel are likely to be approved by the council’s planning committee next Thursday.

The conservation panel welcomed the designs as a major improvement on previous plans for the site.

But in a report to the planning committee, it states: “We have concerns over the future redevelopment of Whitmore Warehouse and suggest Birmingham City Council should get involved to include this building into the scheme.”

The council has struggled to find a developer to take on the building but hopes the hotel and wider development could encourage fresh interest.

A spokeswoman said: “The warehouse is just part of a wider site and there is already planning consent for developments such as offices, restaurant, pub, bank, building society. We are looking at options for the site, potentially re-marketing it.”