Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Warehouse Wednesday: Pickering & Mayell Ltd

Pickering & Mayell Ltd
If you ever find yourself planning a little shopping in Birmingham's famous jewelery quarter, don't get an early train as many of the shops don't open until after 10am. Arrive at 9:05 and you'll need to entertain yourself for a while.
After a sausage sandwich in a corner cafe, I took a stroll looking at the buildings. There's much to enjoy and my favourite was Pickering & Mayell Ltd. Set up to produce packaging materials (boxes etc.) for the local firms, they sold out to the Talbots group in 1981. A few years later, the group "changed direction" and in 2012 the original premises were no longer suitable, the business moving to Princip Street, 5 minutes away.
Warehouse at Number 42  
The building is Grade II listed and it's interesting to read the details:
Manufactory, formerly a pair of dwellings with rear workshop ranges. Early C19.

MATERIALS: Red brick with bracketed eaves to a hipped slate roof and plain band corniced chimneys.

PLAN: Rectangular plan comprising a pair of former dwellings with workshop ranges extending to the rear.

EXTERIOR: Near-symmetrical three-storeyed frontage of four bays onto Caroline Street. The fenestration consists of revealed sash windows, some of which retain their glazing bars. The ground and first floor window openings have painted stone sills and reeded lintels flanked by shallow consoles to thin cornices over. The entrance is sited in the second bay from the left. The door case has engaged, slender, fluted Greek Doric columns which support an entablature and open bracketed pediment. There are plain reveals to the round-headed doorway and a six-panel door with a plain fanlight. A panel above the first floor windows reads `PICKERING & MAYELL LTD / RELIANCE WORKS'. The north return (Kenyon Street) of the attached workshop ranges which extend from the rear of both houses retain some original wooden-framed multi-pane windows.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: To the front (west) are cast-iron railings with crescent heads of distinctive Birmingham type.

HISTORY: The area around St Paul's Square to the north west of the city centre was developed as a residential and industrial zone from the 1820s and was eventually to become the Jewellery Quarter. The jewellery-case-making works of Pickering and Mayell Ltd, known as Reliance Works, was built in around 1826, originally as a pair of houses (Nos.41-42) with rear workshops. Early occupants included the noted Birmingham silversmiths George Unite and Nathaniel Mills. The company of Pickering and Mayell has occupied the premises since circa 1900.

SOURCES: John Cattell and Bob Hawkins, The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter: An Introduction and Guide (2000), pp. 14, 48

REASON FOR DESIGNATION: 42 Caroline Street is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Early-C19 dwellings with rear workshops that retains the distinctive architectural and plan form characteristics of a jewellery-manufactory building
* Strong group value with other listed jewellery manufactory buildings
* It exemplifies the early pattern of development of a manufacturing district of Birmingham now considered to be of international significance
Source: English Heritage

I'm not the only one who appreciates the building, Shopfront Elergy has covered it as well. You might also be interested to read more on the Talbot Group which includes a little history.

From a modellers perspective, the front door could be out of a Wills Building parts pack and the window lintels wouldn't hard to make. The extension to the factory in a very different brick is a useful feature too. We tend to model buildings as though they appear fully formed but in real life, they grow as required and those changes are part of the visible history and character.


PortlandPostcards said...

Thanks Phil. I hope you're familiar with Phyllis Nicklin's photos of Birmingham in the 1950s and '60s. Brilliant work and hugely inspiring for modellers.

--Jeffrey Showell

Phil Parker said...

There was a display of them outside Snow Hill station a few months ago. As you say, fascinating.