Brookhill Tavern


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
484 Alum Rock Road, Alum Rock, Birmingham


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
484 Alum Rock Road, Alum Rock, Birmingham
Birmingham (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


A public house of 1927-8, designed by George Bernard Cox of Harrison & Cox for Mitchells and Butlers.

Reasons for Designation

The Brookhill Tavern, an ‘improved’ public house of 1927-28, designed by George Bernars Cox of Harrison and Cox, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: the building is an accomplished exercise in careful planning to maximise the impact of the site on which it stands and to combine the features of a prominent road house and a local pub. This interest extends to the detailed finish and to the carved detail on the exterior; * Historic interest: the Brookhill Tavern is a notable example of the Birmingham type of ‘reformed’ public house, which was designed to appeal to families. It was built by the notable brewers, Michells and Butlers, who did much to promote this type of public house.


The Alum Rock area of Birmingham expanded considerably in the 1920s. The Sutton Estate, immediately to the west of the Brookhill Tavern, was started in 1915 as a charitable community and further housing was subsequently added in clustered developments along Alum Rock Road. The Brookhill Tavern continued to operate as a public house from its completion in 1928 until its sale in 2012. A former off-premises sales counter was adapted to form an off-licence shop in the 1950s or 1960s, and the bay window in the assembly room was altered at roughly the same time to a larger bay. The building has, otherwise, been little altered externally. Within, the bar counters and bar backs to the service areas have been removed.


A public house of 1927-8, designed by George Bernard Cox of Harrison & Cox for Mitchells and Butlers.

MATERIALS: brown, hand-finished bricks laid in English bond with painted stone dressings and a plain tile roof. The style is loosely Jacobean.

PLAN: the building has two storeys with a basement and has a butterfly plan. It faces west towards a road junction, with angled wings at either side. The eastern face fronts the extensive gardens, which are terraced with a bowling green on higher ground.

EXTERIOR: the entrance front has a central door with an elaborate, moulded stone surround featuring stone pilasters at either side. At either side are paired windows with mullion and transom. The first-floor windows are paired single casements and share a deep band at sill level and below the eaves, which have moulded square bosses set at regular intervals. The central window has an overthrow which rises above the eaves and has a sceptre finial. To either side of this, each angled wing has a large, projecting chimney stack with three flues and diaper patterns to its lower body made by projecting bricks. At the base of the left-hand chimney is a further doorway, with lateral pilasters and a moulded surround. The walling beyond the chimneys at each side has a central, moulded drainpipe with a hopper which bears the entwined M&B initials of the brewery, Mitchell and Butler. The south-western front has a gable at left with two, three-light mullioned and transomed windows to the ground floor and a canted oriel to the first floor. The top of the oriel and the eaves beneath the gable have square, carved bosses, as before. To the right of this is a single-storey portion of walling, with hipped dormer windows to the first floor. There is a doorway with moulded surround at left, and mullioned and transomed windows to its right. At far right are a pair of original wooden gates with metal grilles set between brick and stone piers.

The north-west flank has a projecting gabled wing at far right with paired, mullioned and transomed windows, each with three lights, as on the south-west front and an oriel above. To the left of this is a canted bay window placed in the re-entrant angle with the rest of the recessed front. At left again, the front was re-ordered in the 1950s or 1960s and the doorway to the former off-premises sales counter was adapted to give entry to an off-licence shop with a new square shop window inserted at left of the door. The external, ground-floor walling at either side of the new window is pebble-dashed. There are two dormer windows to the first floor above this with hipped roofs. To left again is a lower and slightly recessed service area, which formerly housed a coal cellar, larder and scullery. Ramped walling connects the pub to the gate piers of the rear yard and a lavatory block with louvered vents to the slopes of the hipped roof.

The east front has the projecting, single-storey assembly room at centre. This formerly had an angled bay window to the centre, which has been replaced by a larger, bowed, projecting window at some time in the mid-C20. There are single casements at either side of this, and a panelled, brick parapet to the first floor. To the centre of the first floor is a chimney stack with moulded shoulders. Openings to both floors are original. Roofing materials across the building appear to be original and chimneys survive to their full, original height.

INTERIOR: the configuration of the principal rooms on the ground-floor level remains as originally planned. The central public bar, and lateral gentlemen's smoking room and mixed smoking room all retain fixed bench seating to the perimeter walls, together with their moulded plaster ceilings, and Lyncrusta decoration above the picture rails. Leaded windows remain to the majority of the lights, although they have been lost in the Public Bar. The assembly room, overlooking the garden, has had a sizeable, semi-circular bow window added to its external wall, but the moulded plaster ceiling decoration is still in situ. Fire surrounds have been removed. The central service area, common to all bars, has been removed, and bars and bar backs to the three main bars and the hall have largely gone. The remaining fragments of the bar backs and panelling above the former counters, indicate that the service areas had been modified or replaced at some time. Some first-floor rooms have been subdivided. Many have numbers to the heads of their door frames, indicating possible use as rented hotel bedrooms. The cellars retain their barrel stands and barrel drops and hoists.

Pursuant to s1 (5) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the large, mid-C20, semi-circular bowed window at ground-floor level, to the east of the assembly room, is not of special architectural or historic interest.


Books and journals
Brick Builder, (March 1933), 13-16
Crawford, A, Dunn, M, Thorne, R, Birmingham Pubs 1880-1939, (1986), 49
Mitchells & Butlers, , Fifty Years of Brewing, (1929), 79-82
Oliver, B, The Renaissance of the English Public House, (1947), 87 (Plan 18)
Yorke, F W B, The Planning and Equipment of Public Houses, (1949), 201


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

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