Former Blue Bird Toffee Factory: Administration Building

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1464601
Date first listed:
18-Oct-2019
Statutory Address:
Bromsgrove Road, Hunnington, Halesowen, Worcestershire, B62 0JW

Map

Ordnance survey map of Former Blue Bird Toffee Factory: Administration Building
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Location

Statutory Address:
Bromsgrove Road, Hunnington, Halesowen, Worcestershire, B62 0JW

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

County:
Worcestershire
District:
Bromsgrove (District Authority)
Parish:
Hunnington
National Grid Reference:
SO9657581389

Summary

The former Administration Building to the factory designed by S N Cooke and built in 1925-7 for Harry Vincent Limited of Birmingham, manufacturers of Blue Bird toffee.

Reasons for Designation

The former Administration Building at Blue Bird Toffee Factory (Harry Vincent Limited), Hunnington, Worcestershire, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural Interest: * the neo-Georgian design of the Administration Building by prominent Birmingham architect SN Cooke is assured and well-realised, remarkably so for its provincial location; * the building retains high quality fittings and fixtures throughout, including sumptuous fittings to the Director’s Office and stair foyer in the Administration Building, as well as tiled corridors and lobby spaces, and timber fenestration to internal spaces.

Historic Interest: * the factory and Hunnington Model Village was developed in the spirit of the period: sited in a clean, rural location with good modern transport links and with improved standards of welfare and well being; * as a regionally significant element of the continuation of model village development, begun nearby at Bournville in the late C19.

Group Value: * with the adjacent former Welfare Building (listed at Grade II) it forms a legible grouping of the administrative and social focal points of a notable interwar factory at the centre of a new model village; * the front boundary treatment (listed at Grade II) provides a distinctive and contemporary setting to the building and to the factory site as a whole.

History

The factory was designed and built in 1925-7 for Harry Vincent Limited of Birmingham, manufacturers of Blue Bird toffee. The factory scheme was by S N Cooke F.R.I.B.A., of Birmingham, and included a model village (24 of the planned 100 houses were built) village shop with post office, cricket pavilion and other leisure buildings. The modern and hygienic factory design was noted in the Birmingham Gazette in May 1920, as part of an article tracing the swift rise to prominence of manufacturer Harry Vincent. It also remarks on the generous facilities provided for the workers and villagers.

The Administration Building is shown as part of the factory on the Ordnance Survey Map of Worcestershire of 1938 (Epoch 4), with the Welfare Building (listed at Grade II) to the south west and two warehouse buildings to the rear (west) of the site. Some alterations have been carried out to the Administration Building in the later C20.

At the end of the C20 the factory ceased operation and parts of the site have served other uses since that time. In 2019 the buildings were subject to proposals for redevelopment.

Details

Former factory offices of 1925-7 constructed to the designs of S N Cooke for Harry Vincent Limited.

MATERIALS: constructed of red brick, with stone dressings. The roof is flat with an unknown covering and lantern lights. The interior has oak, stone and bronze fittings to the Director’s Suite and to some other principal rooms. The entrance hall and main stair are stone-clad, and there is glazed tiling to the corridors on each floor. The interior window frames are of timber and the exterior window frames are of powder-coated aluminium. Some internal doors are modern.

PLAN: set back facing the road it is of two-storeys and of single-depth. The building is constructed on a north-east/ south-west orientation and the attached factory to its rear is not of special interest.

EXTERIOR: the principal front is of neo-Georgian design with brick quoins and ashlar dressings to the mixed-bond brick elevations. The central portico entrance is in the Doric Order including two columns with entasis. The brick parapet above has inscribed tablets that read HARRY VINCENT LTD. Set back to either side of the entrance are eight-window wings plus corner bays breaking forward. The wings have ashlar plinths and parapets, and regularly-spaced openings with later-C20 margin-glazed frames, stone cills and flat brick heads with ashlar keystones. The flank elevations each have margin-glazed openings to each floor and a door with ashlar case. The rear elevation is enclosed within the factory building and finished with glazed tiles.

The recessed, semi-circular main entrance has Doric pilasters between Flemish bond brickwork, and is stone-flagged. To the left is a foundation stone inscribed: THIS STONE WAS LAID/ BY/ MRS HARRY VINCENT/ JULY 25TH 1925. The central door entrance has a stone case with moulded architrave and hood. The double-leaf doors have bronze furniture and leaded glazing to a shell design.

INTERIOR: the entrance vestibule and open-well staircase is clad in stone. The staircase has a steel balustrade with stone newels. The balustrade is carried through to the upper level landing that is lit by a lantern. A stone block to the half-landing wall is inscribed: SIR HARRY VINCENT/ LLD/ 1874-1952/ FOUNDER OF THIS COMPANY/ A man of hope/ and forward-looking mind/ Even to the last. Late-C20 double-leaf doors lead to the tiled first-floor corridor, which is lit by four lanterns. There are single-flight stairs at each end of the corridor with oak handrails, square newels and stick balustrades, which have been enclosed in later glazing at ground floor level. At the north end of the first floor is the Director’s office, fitted with oak panelling and columns, a marble chimneypiece with bronze grate, and light fixtures. The adjacent office has oak wainscoting and a stone chimneypiece with marble tiling. Other offices to the first floor include fittings and feature of note: a stone chimneypiece with oak overmantel, a leaded ceiling lantern and a strong room with door by Whitfield’s Safe and Door Company, London. To the ground floor are further oak doors, glazed partitions, timber sashes with leaded and frosted glazing, and a stone chimneypiece. The corridor is covered in glazed tiles to dado level. Some rooms have been reordered. A door with upper glazing is at each end of the ground floor and each gave access to the former factory building.

Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Brooks, A, The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, (2007), 581
Websites
Romsley & Hunnington History Society: An Industrial Romance, The Midlander, February 1927, accessed 10/07/2019 from https://www.rhhs.org.uk/local-history/bluebird.html
Other
'Messrs Harry Vincent's Model Factory and Garden Village.', The Retail Confectioner, January 1927, 13-17
One of the largest toffee makers in the world, Birmingham Gazette, 13 May 1930

Legal

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 s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.

End of official listing

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