The Friday Photo: Fort Dunlop
Today’s Friday Photo is of the Fort Dunlop building, in Erdington. The original Dunlop Rubber Company was established in 1901 to manufacture tyres for bicycles and motor vehicles. Due to an increase in demand during the First World War, the Fort Dunlop site was built as the main flagship factory. The building that is now Fort Dunlop was the storage warehouse for the former factory area. It was designed by Sidney Stott and W. W. Gibbings in the 1920s and is now Grade A locally listed. By the mid 1900s the motor industry had grown and at one point the Dunlop factory was said to be the world’s largest. During the 1970s an increasing number of imported cars led to a decline in demand, the main factory and the Fort Dunlop building closed in the 1980s. The former warehouse was derelict from the 1980s onward until it was acquired by Urban Splash, who redeveloped the building into office spaces, a hotel and retail/leisure outlets, re-opening in 2006. The shell of the building was retained, with all windows removed and a new structure built behind it. Architectural insertions of the hotel block and light wells through the building were added and a new green roof planted. Urban Splash are also behind the redevelopment of the Rotunda, another important 20th Century Birmingham landmark.
Caroline May 8, 2015
I passed this distinctive building yesterday, travelling the M6 to Loughborough. I didn’t realise the windows were not actually in the shell of the building. I believe BCC Education department have offices there for training and development. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m mistaken.