SP 80 NE BIRMINGHAM BARTHOLOMEW ROW
Premises of the Christopher Wray’s Lighting Company
Houses and workshops, now brassware factory. Mid C19 with possible late C18 and early C19 remains, and late C19 and early C20 additions. Brick with some painted stone or stucco dressings, and slate roofs. The façade to Bartholomew Row is of 3 storeys above a cellar and 7 irregular bays. A straight joint suggests that it is of 2 builds and the ground-floor brickwork is painted. It has painted surrounds to the openings and the parapet is rendered. The windows are casement. The first floor windows have a sill band, and lugged architraves with cornices and pulvinated friezes. The second floor windows have plain surrounds. The lefthand bay on the ground floor contains a blocked window opening. The second bay has a doorway with plain reveals and a painted round arch. The third bay contains a wide doorway with timber lintel. The fourth and seventh bays have doorways which are similar to the first floor window surrounds, the left-hand one now containing a window. The fifth and sixth bays have windows with plain reveals and painted lintels. Between them is a door with a painted surround with round arch, keystone, and impost blocks. In line with this doorway there is a ridge chimneystack. The main part of the Fox Street façade is of painted render and of 2 storeys and 3 bays. On the ground floor there are 2 wide entrance doorways with elliptical arches, with a blocked window between them which has an architrave. The first floor windows have plain surrounds with a sill band, and casement windows with glazing bars. The central window is tripartite. To the right is the end wall of a late C19 workshop range, of 2 storeys under a narrow gable at the left, and of 3 storeys and 2 bays under a monopitch roof at the right.
The main Fox Street building is linked to the rear of numbers 7-10 Bartholomew Row by ranges of shopping of 2 and 3 storeys, including a workshop with a lantern light rising above the roof. The late C19 workshop range extends, under a monopitch roof, from Fox Street to the rear of numbers 11 and 12 Bartholomew Row.
Interior. The former houses facing Bartholomew Row have brick vaulted cellars, a mid C19 staircase, slate or marble fireplaces of mid and late C19 type, and some brick floors. The interiors of the workshop areas retain many features, including fixed workbenches directly lit by ranges of single side-wall windows. At ground floor levels, sunken walkways accommodate access to stamping machines. One area, central to the ground floor workshops retains a two bay vaulted ceiling reminiscent of fire proof construction in C19 textile mills. There is a single cast metal pillar with a decorative capital associated with this vaulting. An upper room, rectangular on plan was lit by the raised lantern roof; an inserted C20 ceiling now obscures this feature.
History. Map evidence shows that Bartholomew Row was built up by 1779 and Fox Street by 1810. Numbers 7-10 may have late C18 origins, but numbers 11 and 12 were probably rebuilt in the early 1860s. The earliest building fronting Fox Street may be William Spurrier’s malthouse of 1800, altered in the late 1870s or earlier 1880s when the premises were occupied by a glass tablet maker. The shopping at the rear of numbers 7-10 Bartholomew Row was in existence by 1855 and may be the buildings listed as Spurrier’s warehouse and shopping in 1823. The shopping behind numbers 11 and 12 Bartholomew Row was built c1894 by Henry Austin Aquila, a ginger beer maker. In 1910 H.B. London and Bros., Stampers, moved into 10 Bartholomew Row and by 1928 occupied the entire complex. London Bros. were incorporated into Christopher Wray in the early 1980s.