An update on the façade work of The Grand Hotel in Birmingham
The Grand Hotel, Colmore Row, Birmingham
(Thomas Plevins, 1875, Grade II*)
To see pictures of the progress as at March 2014, click here: Grand Hotel Façade Progress
Our Regional Chairman, Stephen Hartland and Casework Chairman, Joe Holyoak, were invited by the CEO of Hortons’ Estate, Tony Green, to inspect the current state of work on the repair and conservation of the façade of The Grand Hotel in Birmingham in March 2014.
Stephen, Joe and Tony were joined by Jason Graham and Martin Phillips from Midland Conservation Limited, the contractors responsible for the stone conservation and repair works, for a tour of the façade.
The building had been threatened with demolition just over a decade ago, but that following an Application for Listing by the Society, English Heritage had designated it Grade II*.
Over the past few years Hortons’ Estate, the owners of the building, had been working with the Society, as well as English Heritage and Birmingham City Council to find a way of restoring and conserving the building and bringing it back into use.
Much of the stonework at the three upper storeys has suffered from weather erosion, poor maintenance and even poorer past conservation efforts, involving cement slurry. Each area of the stone façade is treated on its merits and some stonework is replaced, some dressed (ground back by mechanical tools) and some re-carved to re-define the detail.
The Bath limestone comes from a quarry at Keynsham, between Bristol and Bath, and some of the red sandstone that exists in bands across the façade, that needs replacing, is sourced from Uttoxeter in Staffordshire and is called Red Ollington.
We looked at the different approaches to each storey, depending upon its state of repair and whether it can be re-used. This involves re-carving much of the foliate details to columns, pilasters and ornate bands. It was very interesting to see what work had been undertaken already and to see stonework being assembled by masons, as well as the stone being carved on-site.
It is spectacular to see the use of traditional skills deployed to such good effect and for such up-to-date methods also used.
The works on the façade are due to be completed in 2015 and we look forward to seeing the progress on the façade over the coming months. In the meantime, Hortons’ Estate are to be highly commended for the quality and extent of this excellent restoration of the façade
The hotel has a fantastic Banqueting Hall, the Grosvenor Room, and is a fine example of a Victorian commercial travellers’ hotel.
The Grosvenor Ballroom as it appeared recently in the BBC drama “Dancing on the Edge”: