New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Friday Photo- Central Fire Station

Posted August 25th, 2017 by Anne-Marie Hayes with 3 Comments

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.

3 Responses to “Friday Photo- Central Fire Station”

  1. Amanda Owen September 2, 2019

    Hello, I was born on the fire station in 1958. My father was a fireman there. His name is Gary Owen and whilst in service he became world amateur snooker champion , 1963. Me and my siblings live firstly in flat 19, and then to flat 7 as the family expanded. My memories of the fire station are wonderful. We got up to so much mischief there – climbing into the bell tower, playing on the roof alongside Potters Lane, climbing up the tower amongst the drying hoses and best of all, sneaking into the building near the kitchens and sliding down the poles. I went to Bishop Ryder’s school, I seem to remember it was innGem Street. Gone now of course. The fire station was my home until I was 12 years old, and my memories are treasures. Thank you for this space for me to write this snippet of life in a city I still feel very connected to even after all these years. Amanda Owen.


    • Vicki Cox September 5, 2019

      Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for sharing your lovely recollections. It certainly sounds like you had great fun living at the station.


    • Kim Barrett June 30, 2020

      Hi Amanda, I remember your family very well especially your mom & dad, do you remember the Connolly’s with all their foster children? well I was one of them Kim (born in 1957) I know we would have played together.


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