New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Newman Brothers Coffin Works

outside CW

The Trust’s major project over the last decade has been to create a sustainable ‘rescue’ package for the Newman Brothers coffin fittings factory in Fleet Street, in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter.

In 2014 the grade II* listed building, built in 1894, was taken off Historic England’s (was English Heritage) ‘Buildings at Risk Register’ after a 15 year campaign to save this remarkable building and its contents.

Below is a short film put together to show how Birmingham Conservation Trust conserved the Newman Brothers factory, and continue to preserve the collection and memories of the people who worked there.

The Newman Brothers Conservation Story in under 4 minutes from BirminghamCT/Garbi on Vimeo.

Whilst our building preservation project is now complete in a sense, the work continues as The Coffin Works is now open to the public, offering both a ‘time capsule’ museum, commercial units to let and a range of events and activities centred around its historic courtyard. The Birmingham Conservation Trust has also relocated its own office to the factory.

We are really proud of all the awards that the Coffin Works Project has received. They acknowledge all the hard work that the staff and volunteers at Birmingham Conservation Trust have put in to bring this important and inspiring slice of Birmingham’s history alive.

 

2015 Awards logos

Please visit the Coffin Works website where you will find a wealth of information about arranging a visit, its history, collections and a detailed look at the building conservation project. A marketing leaflet can also be downloaded HERE.

Read on for a brief and illustrated overview of the project which turned this vacant, semi-derelict industrial factory…

c. National Monuments Record

c. National Monuments Record

 

… into a thriving historic space with a new bright and sustainable future…

courtyard 960

Brief Illustrated Overview

The office at the factory. All the contents were left in the factory as if at the end of an ordinary working day.

The office at the factory in 2007. All the contents were left in the factory as if at the end of an ordinary working day.

Joyce Green, final owner. Image c. National Monuments Record

Joyce Green, final owner. Image 2001 c. National Monuments Record

The electroplating shop 2001. Image c. National Monuments Record

The Electroplating Shop 2001. Image c. National Monuments Record

Street view 2001. Image c. National Monuments Record

Street view 2001. Image c. National Monuments Record

Simon Buteux, Director of the Trust in July 2013, handing the keys to contractors Fairhurst Ward Abbotts

The Electroplating shop before the transformation into modern office space began in 2013.

The Electroplating Shop before the transformation into modern office/workshop space began in 2013.

 

Plating Shop after conservation

A usable space once more and, like all our units in 2014, fully occupied by tenants.

Children became history detectives during school visits before conservation works began.

Children became history detectives during school visits before conservation works began.

Sarah Hayes in the warehouse where over 800 boxes of objects needed to be explored whilst in storage, along with machinery, work benches, furniture and dies. A huge job led by Sarah with an amazing group of volunteers who both documented and conserved a large proportion of the Newman Brothers Collection.

Sarah Hayes in the warehouse where over 800 boxes of objects needed to be explored whilst in storage, along with machinery, work benches, furniture and dies. A huge job led by Sarah with an amazing group of volunteers who both documented and conserved a large proportion of the Newman Brothers Collection. Work is on-going.

The Making Of The Coffin Works Final MP4 from BirminghamCT/Garbi on Vimeo.

Officially opening the Coffin Works from left to right: Cllr Bob Beauchamp, the Lord Mayor 2014, Simon Buteux and Les Sparks Chair of the HLF Committee

Officially opening the Coffin Works from left to right: Former BCT Chair Cllr Bob Beauchamp, the Lord Mayor 2014 Cllr  Shafique Shah, BCT Director Simon Buteux, and Les Sparks Chair of the HLF Committee.

At the official launch on 28 October 2014 from left to right are some of the key people involved in the project: Cllr Bob Beachamp former Chair of BCT, Former Director Elizabeth Perkins who led the project for over 13 years, Current Director Simon Buteux who led the project from 2013, former Development Officer Suzanne Carter who delivered the programme of community engagement from 2012 until 2015, including the development of the visitor attraction and former BCT Chair Cllr Peter Douglas-Osborne. A proud day for all concerned.

At the official launch on 28 October 2014 from left to right are some of the key people involved in the project: Cllr Bob Beauchamp former Chair of BCT, former Director Elizabeth Perkins who led the project for over 13 years, current Director Simon Buteux who led the project from 2013, former Development Officer Suzanne Carter who led the programme of community engagement from 2012 until 2015, including the development of the visitor attraction, and former BCT Chair Cllr Peter Douglas-Osborne who set the ball rolling for BCT to purchase the building in 2010. A proud day for all concerned.

 

More details about the project can be found at www.coffinworks.org