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Modern Doors Meet Grand Architecture

Birmingham is notable for having over 200 listed buildings…

Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is full of grand listed buildings. Credit: Brian Clift [https://www.flickr.com/photos/42129133@N06/8216172261] License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode
…whilst also being a thriving multi-cultural metropolis that has grown to be the home to well over 1 million people.

Some buildings in the city can be dated as far back as the 18th Century and, as such, have been protected and listed. Birmingham has always been one of the most populous parts of the country. As far back as the 14th century the then town was classed as the third-largest in Warwickshire.

Manufacture and industry has been a key to the city’s success, with huge development taking place from the 18th century to the Industrial Revolution taking us right through to present day. However, this success and relentless pace of progress has proved to be as much a blessing as a curse. In the years before the preservation of buildings was considered a serious matter, many unique structures were demolished in favour of building new factories. Although the boost that this industrial change brought to the city is undeniably positive and (some might say) necessary for its progress, it lead to Birmingham becoming a main target during the Second World War.

The city suffered significant damage during this time, which led to a spate of new buildings rising throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Thankfully, many of Birmingham most prestigious and important buildings have survived to this day, despite many of them remaining empty or disused for years on end:

Birmingham Moor Street Railway Station

Birmingham Moor Street Station has been rebuilt to reflect its 20th Century heritage. [Credit: Geof Sheppard License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode]
Although visitors from outside the city are more likely to arrive through the recently renovated Birmingham New Street station, Moor Street is the unsung hero of the three that, ironically, remains the least changed out of all them, thanks to a number of recent renovations made which combined the original with the newer station (built in 1987) restoring both buildings to a 1930s style.

Victoria Law Court

Birmingham’s Law Courts are still in regular use today. Credit: Tony Hisgett [https://www.flickr.com/photos/37804979@N00] License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode
The iconic red brick that was used to build the Victoria Law Courts can be spied in public buildings all across the city and was chosen to encourage pride amongst the city’s inhabitants for the spate of changes that were taking place during the late 1800s. The building has maintained its austere Victorian feel, whilst managing to keep up to date with the times (the ‘Digital Court’ concept is currently being tested there).

Cornwall Building

Credit: Robin Stott [https://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/34609] License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode
The Grade-II listed Cornwall Building can hardly go unnoticed with its impressive brick and terracotta fronting placing it firmly in the late 19th century. Although the building was unloved for a number of years, it gained its listed status in 1982 and has since been through a number of hands. Its currents owners have transformed its lofty spaces into a hub for creative minds and businesses, satisfying the demand for new office space in Birmingham. The renovation has been a careful one, with the designers ensuring that the building retains it’s original spirit whilst also adhering to proper safety regulations. Wall to ceiling glass must be properly marked out with glass manifestations and fire exit signs must be properly installed in order for this handsome building to meet modern standards.

Perrott’s Folly

Perrott’s Folly is said to have influenced J.R.R. Tolkien in writing The Lord of the Rings. Credit: Oosoom [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Oosoom] License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode
There aren’t many buildings in Birmingham that are surrounded by as many myths as the eye-catching Perrott’s Folly. The 18th century tower stands 29 metres tall in Rotton Park, towering over the mostly residential properties in the nearest vicinity.

Only rumours remain to explain why John Perrott commissioned the building. Some suggest that it was built to entertain guests, or for Perrott to survey his lands, where as other (rather romantically) hold that it offered him a view of his wife’s grave, 15 miles away.