Photo of a bricklayer, working on a wall
Bricklayer repairing the deteriorated brickwork © Historic England DP248998
Bricklayer repairing the deteriorated brickwork © Historic England DP248998

Roundhouse Stables Become Activity Centre

The Grade II* Roundhouse in Birmingham is being recycled through reuse as a base for land and water-based activities by the Canal and River Trust.

Tucked away in the middle of urban Birmingham’s expansive canal network is the Grade II* listed Roundhouse.

Built in 1874 for the Birmingham Corporation as a stables and store, the unusual horseshoe shaped building was in use until the 1980s but became vacant, subdivided and sold. The Canal and River Trust (then British Waterways) bought it in 2001.

Deterioration of the roof and brickwork led to the Roundhouse being added to our Heritage at Risk register in 2014. As the building crumbled and threats to its existence rumbled on, a joint venture in 2017 between the Canal and River Trust and the National Trust began to convert the Roundhouse into a base from which to explore Birmingham by foot, bike and on the water, and an enterprise hub for local businesses.

Grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England have enabled the work to begin to bring this fantastic building back to life.

The fact that the Roundhouse has a strong heritage connection and is listed at Grade II* is far from a disincentive, this has added value to the importance and legacy of re-using this building.

The carbon impact of re-using this building is undoubtedly less than it would be for demolition and new build for the same site and use. Meanwhile the benefits of bringing an iconic Birmingham building back into the forefront of society and culture through collaborative working and investment is a really positive story for the city.