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Birmingham Conservation Trust

Birmingham Conservation Trust works to find imaginative and sustainable solutions for historic buildings in the City that are threatened with dereliction and decay. With its charitable status, the Trust can draw in funds from Lottery and other charitable trusts to tackle buildings no one else will touch and in the process create attractive places to work, live and play.

The Trust also has an educational remit to promote an understanding and awareness of Birmingham's architectural heritage. It does this through talks, lectures and running open days at relevant properties. In this way it remains close to the local communities, who have an interest in the buildings being restored.

The group is run by a board of trustees with a wide range of skills, who represent interest groups in the City and the City Council Planning Department. Once projects are completed any proceeds are ploughed back into future projects.

In recent years the Trust has:

  • Saved the last courtyard of Back to Backs in Birmingham.

    In 2004 the Trust completed an exciting and ambitious scheme to rescue the last courtyard of Back to Backs in the city and secure their future. The Trust raised over .8 million and undertook a complete programme of repairs.

    The buildings were then handed over to the National Trust who has taken on the long term management. The project, which featured in a five-part documentary by Carlton TV, has been an outstanding success, drawing in over 40,000 visitors in the first year, becoming a focus for community links and attracting a number of prestigious awards.

  • Completed a feasibility study for Perrott Folly, Edgbaston.

    This magnificent seven story Grade II* listed 18th century tower had serious structural problems and needed a new use to secure its future maintenance. However, this is not an easy project as the rooms are small and the stairs are steep and difficult. Working with the local community, the Trust has completed a detailed study, which explored all available options. As an immediate result of the study, the Trust undertook emergency repairs.

  • Developed a scheme to open Newman Brothers Coffin Works to the public.

    Newman Brothers is a most unusual survival of a Victorian coffin fittings factory, complete with all its machinery and much of its stock. In its heyday the company exported its goods across the world and their name is a byword for the highest quality coffin handles and shrouds.

    Listed Grade II* by English Heritage in 2000, the factory was under serious threat of re-development but following an application from the Trust to Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency bought the factory and agreed to fund Birmingham Conservation Trust to implement a mixed use scheme, whereby the most interesting parts would be opened to the public and the remaining areas converted into offices to generate income for the public parts. This is now the Trust major priority and is likely to costs approximately £2.5 million.

  • Improved the capacity of the Trust.

    The Trust has continued to increase its capacity to undertake its challenging work. Not only has the Board has been strengthened by the introduction of several new active members with appropriate skills but staffing hours have also been increased.

    Thanks to the huge publicity and success of the Back to Back project the Trust has been transformed from a relatively unknown organisation to one is recognised regionally and nationally.

    The Trust website contains full information on all aspects of the trust work. www.birminghamconservationtrust.org

Priorities for the Future

  • Continue to develop partnerships with local communities and other organisations in the City to facilitate the repair and renewal of buildings at risk
  • Full develop and implement the Newman Brothers Coffin Works scheme
  • Continue to raise awareness of the potential of the City buildings for re-use and regeneration
  • Encourage access and enjoyment of Birmingham historic buildings by opening them to the public

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Last Updated : 5th September 2012