As you will know if you came along to our Open Days on the weekend
of 12th and 13th February 2005 , the excellent news is that building
work was completed on schedule at the end of January 2005, just
over eight years on since the West
Midlands Historic Buildings Trust first became involved.
Congratulations and thanks are due to everyone who has contributed
to this achievement; most notably, for their devotion to the
quality of the repair and conservation work, this means the professional
S.T.Walker & Duckham (architects), John Austin & Partners
(quantity surveyors), Hancock
Wheeldon & Ascough (structural
engineers) and of course the specialist contractors
Sapcote & Sons Ltd (Sapcote).
The Sapcote team started the building work as scheduled on 19th
April 2004 and generally the work progressed according to our original
programme. A few delays along the way resulted in a minor re-scheduling
of the completion date to 31st January 2005.
An official opening was held on 11th February. Local historian
and radio presenter, Dr Carl Chinn, cut the ribbon as well as
broadcasting live interviews from the event on BBC Radio WM.
Other speakers at the event were Maria Perks of the Architectural
Heritage Fund, key supporters of this project, and Ian
Pearson MP. As well as being the local Member of Parliament,
Ian is also a family descendant of the Pearson family from the
Harris & Pearson
Company. You will be able to find out more on this subject when
the family history of the founders of the business is added to
this project website.
In total over 400 visitors attended the events held to celebrate
the opening. A souvenir booklet was produced for the occasion;
to obtain a copy please send your request and address details,
along with a donation, to:
The West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust
Whilst the building work is now done and the sale to a new owner
is being finalised, there is of course other work to be completed;
work in progress includes tape-recording the memories of former
employees of the Harris & Pearson Company, work by a focus-group
of teachers from nearby schools to produce education resources
for use by school-children, and work on the family history. More
on all of this work will follow in future project updates.
And we are always in need of
sponsors. If you know of any organisation likely
to be interested in making a donation towards the general running
costs of the Trust, or towards specific future building
conservation projects, please contact
Landing and stairwell showing the replaced balustrade and window
The design of the etched glass was copied from original panes that
had survived. Photos by Alan Smith MBE & Robert Tolley.
See Larger Images ...