I’ve had an interest in Timber Framed buildings ever since I set eyes on the Merchants House at Avoncroft Museum in my home town of Bromsgrove. There is just something so organic about the feel of these old places; altogether historic and beautiful in equal measures. I loved it that much that I spent a couple of years as an Historic Building Interpretation Volunteer talking to people about timber framed buildings. I’ve moved on now, however I never lost my love of all things wooden and its this love that takes me around Brum and the surrounding areas to try and find some interesting old timber frames places. And what a surprise!! The list below will show that we still have many timber framed buildings in and around the Birmingham area and some in the last place you’d expect. Here they are then, a Top 5 list of my favourite Timber Framed buildings around these parts (and just beyond). CLICK ON THE LINKS.
1) The Oak House Museum – A very beautiful building built sometime between 1590 an 1630 which is situated close to West Bromwich town centre. Its a really child friendly place as well as I discovered when I took my 9 year son Matthew there on a recent ‘adventure’. Plenty to see in the house and there’s a kids playground in the grounds as well. For those who visit, see whether you have the same reaction as me – “……….I can’t believe this is here………….”.
2) The Trust School – Old Yardley Village – Again a lovely old building slap bang in the middle of Yardley. Probably dating from as far back as the 1400’s (with some later additions), this former school house is a gem – and so is Old Yardley Village for that matter! You will just not believe where it is (Blakesley Hall is just around the corner also).
3) Handsworth Old Town Hall – Another gem of a ‘cruck’ framed house in the middle of Handsworth. The cruck refers to the shape of the timbers used in the end or gable wall of the house. Handsworth has quite a bit of decent architecture and it’s great to see that old places like this have been ‘looked after’ by the community. Be careful here however, this is somebody’s home.
4) The Old Manor House – Not so close to West Bromwich town centre as the Oak House Museum however not too far away, this great example of ‘close-studded’ timber framing is a delight. Close-studding means that the timbers are closer together thus meaning more wood is used in the construction – this gives rise to the theory that more wood equals more cash spent building, which equals status!! A bit like having a brand new Mercedes on your drive.
5) Middleton Hall – A little bit further afield, close to Tamworth, this Hall has various dates attached to its architecture however there is a wonderful Tudor Hall within the complex and again it seems as if close-studding was the order of the day. Its a nice trip as you can visit the bird sanctory here as well!