£3.3 Million Raised for the Roundhouse: What Will It Bring?
Birmingham is proud of its heritage. Countless, vintage buildings all have own stories to tell that even the oldest of us were not around to be a part of. It is therefore heart-breaking to see so many of them being brought to their knees, crumbling as though their bricks are made from nothing more than breadcrumbs, and at risk of being forgotten. The old Roundhouse building in Sheepcote Street, standing head and shoulders above the canal, is one such example – or at least it was until recently. The National Trust partnered-up with the building’s current owners, the Canal and River Trust, with the aim to bring new life back into the once loved building, giving it a second purpose and a second chance at life.
The Grade-II listed building was built in 1874 when it was originally used as stables, storage holds and stalls. Collections of coal and minerals were brought into its walls, making it a spotlight for business, especially since the convenient canals swept right past its door step. The local architect W.H.Ward designed the building in its unusual but firmly recognised horse-shoe shape, with a cobblestone courtyard inside.
Today, after ten years of falling deeper into disrepair, the roof tiles are becoming dislodged around open joints, and the bricks are disintegrating while playing host to the growth of plants. Even the courtyard is showing signs of neglect with the cobbles worn down by the heavy activity of car traffic and parking. In fact, the building is so beaten-and-bruised, that in 2014 English Heritage placed it on the “At Risk” register. It was soon calculated that the building would need around £3.3 million to be brought back to its former dignity.
The Help and the Project.
An initial development grant of £225,000 was given by the Heritage Lottery Fund 18 months ago for renewing the Roundhouse. However, although generous, this was not enough. It was not until the Heritage Enterprise Programme got involved and granted £2.5 million towards the project that it started to seem feasible. With just a few additional funds from the partnered National Trust and the Canal and River Trust, they finally had the target of £3.3 million to renew the Roundhouse.
The new purpose for the building still going to be partly commercial with options such as a shared workspace, but there is going to be a twist to it this time. The two Trusts want to celebrate Birmingham’s heritage and bring the population back in touch with their past, which is why they have made plans for a social side to the building. It is estimated that these new facilities will attract around 50,000 visitors a year. Inside the Roundhouse, there are going to be a range of facilities including:
- a café
- a cycle hire and repair workshop
- volunteering opportunities.
That’s not to say that everything is going to be plain sailing from here on out. The Roundhouse is going to be a big task, and dangerous given the current state of the building. The owners are therefore asking the public to help in any way they can, whether that be volunteering or donating some extra funds.
We cannot wait to see the finished project and hope that it brings people back into love with their area.
For more news regarding property in Birmingham, visit our blog and have a fish around: www.enlightenea.co.uk/blog.