New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

After Thirteen Years BCT bids a fond farewell to Director Elizabeth Perkins

Posted October 3rd, 2012 by Suzanne Carter with 3 Comments
 For many, Elizabeth’s name is almost synonymous with the name Birmingham Conservation Trust and it’s strange that the time has arrived to say goodbye – but say goodbye we must as Elizabeth takes up an exciting new post as Project Manager at Ditherington Flaxmill in Shrewsbury after 13 years as Director of Birmingham Conservation Trust.


In that time Elizabeth has expertly led BCT through some challenging projects and has chalked up an impressive track record for the Trust in saving and bringing new hope to  some of the city’s most significant buildings at risk; including the Back to Backs and Newman Brother Coffin Fitting Works.

I asked Elizabeth to reflect on working for the Trust for over a decade.


Can you tell us your four highlights of working as Trust Director?

“My first highlight would be the 90 year old lady arriving uninvited to join the (rather smart) hand over celebration of the Back to Backs to the National Trust on completion of the building works having walked 4 miles to be there because she regarded them as her inheritance!

Second would be discovering from research on tourism that instead of the Newman Brothers Coffin Fitting Works associations with death and funerals being a problem, it was actually it was a huge selling point!

I’ll never forget the first performance of the Tin Box Theatre Company at the Coffin Works on a lovely balmy summer evening last year when the audience were moved to tears and fourth, the most recent Heritage Open Days at the Coffin Works, working with all our lovely newly signed up volunteers”.


What have been the biggest challenges?

“I’d say raising millions of pounds and getting all the funding in the right place at the right time. Also it was really difficult  having to go back to drawing board with the Coffin Works after the funding was withdrawn by Advantage West Midlands. A difficult time.”

What you have enjoyed about working for the trust?

“I loved seeing projects that I have imagined and created coming to life and being successful and valued by others.  I have enjoyed working with some really special people and I have really appreciated the amount of freedom I have had.”

What are you most proud of?

“For me, it is the Back to Backs and their continued success”.


What you will miss the most?

 I will also miss my trustees and the people I work with closely. I will also miss seeing the work take place on Newman Brothers.  I love that stage of being on site..”

And finally, what are you going on to do?


“I am going to be project manager for a large heritage project in Shrewsbury – the Ditherington Flaxmill, the first iron frame building in the world and the first fully steam driven factory”.


Elizabeth, on behalf of the Trustees we want to say a huge thank you for all your hard work and commitment to the Trust for over a decade and we wish you continued success for whatever the future holds. 


3 Responses to “After Thirteen Years BCT bids a fond farewell to Director Elizabeth Perkins”

  1. Michael Reddy October 3, 2012

    I first met Elizabeth following a discussion about bringing ghost walks into Newman Brothers courtyard. Since then I’ve so enjoyed being in the presence of Elizabeth with her boundless enthusiasm. I’ll miss the ad hoc conversations about the work of the trust when I’ve bumped into Elizabeth on one of her bike rides between the Trusts properties. A sad loss for the BCT, a great prize for Ditherington Flaxmill. My very best wishes to you.


  2. Sarah Ashley October 3, 2012

    Good luck and best wishes Elizabeth! It was lovely to have (briefly) worked alongside you. x


    • Stephen Hartland October 4, 2012

      Good luck, Elizabeth. You leave behind you an enduring legacy in many parts of Birmingham, including Perrott’s Folly in Edgbaston, which would be a pile of rubble now, had you not been involved in securing funding for essential building works.


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