Birmingham's Victorian Coffin Works
Newman Brothers Coffin Works was established as a brass founders in 1882 by brothers Alfred and Edwin Newman in Birmingham.
By 1894 they had begun to specialise in the production of coffin furniture making handles, breastplates, crucifixes, shrouds, robes and other decorative ornaments.
The business ceased trading in 1989 and the building is now under the care of Birmingham Conservation Trust who have transformed the once semi-derelict building into the Coffin Works – the only surviving example of a purpose-built Victorian coffin furniture manufactory. It now operates as a visitor attraction and mixed-use development, which has ensured the unique site and its unusual industrial history has been preserved for future generations.
Birmingham Conservation Trust applied to the COVID-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund, part of the Culture Recovery Fund, for essential repairs and overdue maintenance work to the front of the building.
The project was awarded £5,000 and essential repairs to the front façade of the building were undertaken successfully in June 2021. Works included clearing gutters and downpipes and repairing broken guttering joints to help address damp patches. Essential putty repairs to the window frames were undertaken along with replacing cracked glass panes to help protect the exterior of the building but also safeguard its unusual Accredited collection.
Sealing faulty windows will ensure temperatures and humidity within the Coffin Works museum will be kept stable and allow the building management system to operate effectively and efficiently. The exterior window frames, made of cast iron, were painted and treated to help address rust and corrosion issues and to prevent further deterioration. The grant-aided project to the front of the building will help to minimise future risks and their impact.
Newman Brothers’ Coffin Works windows
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