History of Bartholomew Row

From terrace housing in the 18th century to the closure of the Christopher Wray lighting factory in the 21st century.

While on the face of it these rather dilapidated buildings appear of limited architectural interest, they are of historic interest and this is largely why they are listed. Their historic interest is related to their almost continuous alteration since their construction as houses in the mid 18th century to their final 20th century factory uses, which, in some ways, reflects in microcosm the development of Birmingham itself. They started off as a terrace of houses in Bartholomew Row in the mid/late 18th century, overlooking the newly built St Bartholomew’s Chapel in a new suburb of the growing city. By the end of the century, they were partly being used as maltings and by the early 19th century shops and a warehouse had been constructed. The mid 19th century saw the loss of two of the houses, which were re-built by the 1860s, and by the early 20th century the buildings which survive at 9 to 12 and to the rear were all built. 7 and 8, the church and the buildings north of No 12 were lost during or soon after the war and, as a consequence, the surviving buildings at 7 and 8 were re-built when Christopher Wray took over the buildings.

In summary, the buildings are an unusual surviving example of how domestic 18th century buildings have been adapted and extended to meet the needs and aspirations of their times.