Pelican Works, Birmingham

The Grade II-listed Pelican Works in Birmingham, built c.1868.

The Grade II-listed Pelican Works building in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham was built for Thomas Wilkinson of Sheffield as an electroplating works, and the company was noted for its cutlery production. The elegant frontage part of the red brick building is like a small Italian Palazzo, with the sculpture of a Pelican –the company crest – placed above the central main entrance. It is a significant landmark on one of the main thoroughfares of the Jewellery Quarter conservation area. Currently only the frontage part of the building is apparently occupied by a fashion company and the structures appear to be generally increasingly neglected. In May 2019 there was a serious collapse of part of the Hockley Street shopping range, which closed the road, and part of this rear range has been demolished on safety grounds. This could be reinstated, but little seems to be being done at present to secure the future of this extraordinary building, and other recent collapses at historic factory buildings in the Quarter, including a tragic loss of life on another site, mean that we are extremely concerned that the Pelican Works is currently at risk.

Christopher Costelloe, Director of the Victorian Society, said: ‘The Jewellery Quarter, one of Birmingham’s most loveable areas, combines increasing development pressure with some very derelict historic buildings. The Pelican Works is a prominent symbol of the area, and it must be repaired before more of it collapses.’

Photos here.


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