Blog by Dave Evetts
At the bottom of Corporation Street in the city centre, across the multiple lanes of traffic on the Queensway, stands an impressive white tower. This is the entrance to the former Central Fire Station built in 1935 to the design of Herbert Humphries and Herbert Manzoni. Brick facades extend away from the tower along two sides of a hollow triangle that butts up against the main building of Aston University.
It closed as a fire station in 2006 and now has a new lease of life as student accommodation. That may seem an odd transformation if you think of a fire station as just a garage for the engines. It was also the fire brigade headquarters and a training centre so the upper floors were designed from the start as domestic spaces, homes for a whole community of fire fighters and their families. The larger spaces such as the garages and ballroom (yes, a ballroom!) now contain pods that provide modern self-enclosed living spaces. The listed features of the building have been preserved. There are retail units on the street levels which look to be more upmarket than those in my student days. I think it’s great to see the old station breathing again.