New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Posted September 2nd, 2016 by Ellie Gill with No Comments


Inspired by the up-coming open days at the Wake Green Road Prefabs, my Friday photo today is of Central Avenue in Austin Village, Longbridge. 

Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor company in Longbridge in 1905, as there was a large increase in his workforce due to the war effort, and transport to the rural setting of his factory being limited during war time, he needed a quick way to house his production workers. His solution was to create dormitory accommodation on nearby farm land, which he purchased in 1916.

The development needed to be constructed quickly so he procured pre-fabricated Canadian cedar wood bungalows from the Aladdin Company of Michigan, USA and the estate was laid out geometrically in the shape of a horseshoe. There was apprehension regarding a potential fire outbreak, so pairs of traditional brick houses were built between the sets of bungalows to act as a fire break (you can see one pair to the left of the photo)

 After the War in the 1920s when the company’s workforce reduced, the houses were sold to families of Austin employees. The deeds stated that the timber bungalows could be replaced with brick built structures on the same plots, though this was never done. Austin Village achieved conservation area status in 1997.

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