Author Topic: Industrial Birmingham  (Read 961 times)

Compressorman

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Industrial Birmingham
« on: July 23, 2017, 09:02:25 AM »
I have worked in and around Birmingham since the early 70s and still do 45 years latter.


The change over the years has been amazing with so many of the small firms just disappearing and many small industrial streets being redeveloped into city living or such like.


All this time I have worked as a Service Engineer working on air compressors and associated equipment - visiting tiny companies where one man might be working on his own up to some of the larger well known names employing hundreds of people.


Today very few of those small companies exist and most of the bigger ones have gone too or been swallowed up by even larger companies and the once famous names are then lost for ever.


Much of Industrial Birmingham has been redeveloped into newer modern units or in some cases just demolished and the site cleared - there are still the old established areas left like around the Jewellery Quater etc and it's nice the some of our Industrial Birmingham still exists.


Since 1981 I have worked for myself and still repair and service machines in and around Birmingham - usually on the new modern industrial estates but still have some customers in the older industrial buildings.


It is often said the progress is a good thing but I still enjoy our Industrial Heritage and the old buildings - I wonder how long it will be before most of them are gone too.


Is it just me being nostalgic or do other people feel the same as me and miss the old companies and buildings - perhaps it's just me but I think the soul is now missing out of these areas.


Compressorman - Born in BirmingaHam and proud of it.

countrylad

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2017, 06:09:14 PM »
Hi Compressorman


I know what you mean about progress, it has to happen but must admit I don't always like it. The landscape of Brums' industrial past has almost vanished.


I think back to when I was contracting in the early 70's to about 1980. I saw the inside of many industries. Mainly from the boiler house and pipework end.


Some of the old steam boilers had been in place since the turn of the last century and still coal fired. They were all pieces of industrial art. I can only remember a few of the makes of boilers; Lancashire, Babcock, Cockcraine, Robin Hood, to name a few. They were mostly looked after by men (it was all were men in those days) that almost knew the personality of the boiler and how to get the best out of it. Brasswork always polished and boiler house floors clean.


Sadly, as the 70's wore on I saw many of theses being  demolished with sledge hammers and carted off for scrap. Some of the brass that went for scrap would be valued today by industrial antique collectors or the Steam Punk scene.


A small firm in Brum that I did a bit of work for was Birmingham Battery and Metal Company. I think this was in the Selly Oak area. The amount of brass melted down there on a daily basis was incredible.


Does anyone now if Birmingham Battery and Metal is still going?       





Phil

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 06:40:58 PM »
Countrylad

Birmingham Battery on Bristol Road has gone and has now been demolished, there was a bit of an uproar over the demolition of the old office buildings, but as usual the developers got their own way. The site has now been renamed Birmingham Battery Retail Park.
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countrylad

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2017, 07:07:17 PM »
Phil


Thanks for the photos. Another memory that has come back to me was the Cafe next to the entrance to the works (town side). A great cafe, run by a couple of ladies, that grafted through the day.


The front of the cafe was built at road level but as the cafe went back it was supported on hefty wooden stilts and braces as the ground dropped sharply away. I cant remember if it was a railway embankment or a canal. I can see railway goods wagons to the left of your picture, so may be it was railway embankment.

Phil

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 07:27:46 PM »
Countrylad

I believe the café stuck it out to the bitter end, but that also is gone now, the factory was pretty close to both a canal wharf and railway sidings as you can see from the map.
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countrylad

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 08:50:02 AM »
I can now see from the map why the ground under the cafe fell away so steeply, there are at least three levels of transportation, from, road, rail and canal.


Great to see the picture of the old cafe, thank you. 


countrylad

JudithM

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 01:45:54 PM »
I go past this site on my daily work commute.  It was really sad to see the old office buildings & café go.  You would have thought they would have found a way to incorporate the office building in (or at least turned them into student accommodation like so much of the rest of Selly Oak) but no  :(

Still waiting for them to start building on the cleared site.  Nothing yet, but they have tarmacked over what where the wood merchant was - possibly to use as a car park - so maybe things will start soon.
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countrylad

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 05:36:56 PM »
Having a quick look around re the history Birmingham Battery Metal and came across a short film shot, I think in 2009. It shows a lot of the interior of the administration building, although the building had suffered from vandalism.


I hadn't realised it was grade 2 listed.  I wonder if this was part of the plan to leave it empty knowing that it would deteriorate, so that it became an uneconomical restoration.


http://livingprooffilms.co.uk/takeonlyphotos.html


I'm not so clever with links, so I hope the one above works

JudithM

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 01:31:51 PM »



I hadn't realised it was grade 2 listed.  I wonder if this was part of the plan to leave it empty knowing that it would deteriorate, so that it became an uneconomical restoration.



I heard similar about the old Breedon Bar.  It wouldn't surprise me, a rather 'handy' way of getting rid of inconvenient listed buildings  :P
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Phil

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 06:52:45 PM »
You generally find with listed buildings that mysteriously the roof gets opened up to allow the weather in. The weather will demolish a building almost as quickly as a demolition team. Either that or it's an equally mysterious fire. Although listing means you can't demolish a building it doesn't mean you have to keep it in good condition either.

Just look at the Golden Lion in Cannon Hill Park, a prime example it has been scaffolded twice now and neither time has the scaffold been protection scaffold for the building, it's just protection scaffold to stop members of the public getting hurt when it does collapse.
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JudithM

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Re: Industrial Birmingham
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2017, 01:23:36 PM »
You generally find with listed buildings that mysteriously the roof gets opened up to allow the weather in. The weather will demolish a building almost as quickly as a demolition team. Either that or it's an equally mysterious fire. Although listing means you can't demolish a building it doesn't mean you have to keep it in good condition either.

Just look at the Golden Lion in Cannon Hill Park, a prime example it has been scaffolded twice now and neither time has the scaffold been protection scaffold for the building, it's just protection scaffold to stop members of the public getting hurt when it does collapse.

It's shocking about the Golden Lion.  Makes me very angry  >:(

Another way is for the building to just disappear overnight. You might get a fine, but the building's gone forever & you can do what you like with the land afterwards.  There was one in Solihull where the owner just demolished it one night!

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