New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Birmingham has 2 of Britain’s 10 most endangered Victorian Buildings

Posted September 25th, 2008 by Birmingham Conservation Trust with No Comments

Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath and the Red Lion Pub in Handsworth have made it onto a list of the Victorian Society’s 10 most endangered buildings in the UK. The list was a product of a public vote and campaign.

As a city that saw massive expansion in the 19th century we have a large proportion of Victorian buildings, so it’s no great surprise that two Birmingham buildings are on the list. What is interesting and encouraging is that the local communities felt strongly enough about these buildings to vote them into the top ten.

Red Lion handsworth

Image from olovecharlieo on flickr.

The Red Lion closed more than a year ago and the local Victorian Society’s casework group (chaired by one of our Trustees Joe Holyoak) writes:

A possible sale by auction of this remarkable grade II* listed pub of 1901-2 by James and Lister Lea in December did not take place, and the building with its fantastic interiors stands empty and vulnerable. We have urged Birmingham City Council to take action, and a full record of the building is currently being made. Efforts are also underway to resolve structural problems, negotiate new tenants and find a suitable use. We are particularly concerned that this building should not suffer a similar fate to other local pubs, as was highlighted through the Society’s “Crawl to Save our Pubs” last August, and resulted in some positive media coverage, including a short piece in the Guardian. Last year the grade II listed Duke of York, Hockley was lost, though its fittings and those of the now derelict but also grade II listed George and Dragon, Albion Street had been stolen some years ago. The grade II listed Wharf Inn, Cradley Heath is about to be demolished following several fires, and the interior of the grade II* listed Bellefield Inn in Winson Green was destroyed in a fire three years ago, and is now being converted to housing. Across the region unlisted, but nevertheless often interesting pubs of the 19th and 20th centuries are being closed at an accelerating rate and stand boarded up, many of them awaiting almost certain demolition or less than suitable conversion to other uses.

It is also on CAMRA’s list of pubs under threat.

The Moseley Road Swimming Baths are the last working Grade II* Edwardian baths in Britain, according to the Victorian Society. They are the centre of a longstanding campaign to keep the pools working, often led by Cllr Martin Mullaney (a onetime trustee of ours!). See this, the first of many youtube films he has made to help the cause:


Recently Dr Ian Dungavell included the baths on his round Britain swim of endangered pools.

Other buildings on the list include:

Stonebridge School, Brent, London
Gustav Adolfs Kyrka (The Swedish Church), Liverpool
Newsome Mill, Huddersfield
St Maries’ Church, Widnes, Cheshire
Chapels at Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff
Holy Trinity, Hove, East Sussex
Palace Theatre, Plymouth, Devon
Fletcher Convalescent Home, Cromer, Norfolk

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