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COFFIN FURNITURE WORKS, 13-15 FLEET STREET (south east side)
BIRMINGHAM, BIRMINGHAM, WEST MIDLANDS
18 April 2000
Date of last amendment:
18 April 2000
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SP 0687 SW BIRMINGHAM FLEET STREET
997/28/10273 (Southeast side)
Coffin Furniture Works
Metal Working Factory, including warehousing, workshops and office. !892, with C20 alterations and additions. By Richard Harley, of Birmingham., for Newman Brothers, coffin furniture manufacturers.
MATERIALS: Smooth red brick rising from a blue brick plinth, with ashlar sandstone dressings and slated roof coverings.
PLAN: Rectangular courtyard plan, with frontage range and parallel rear workshop ranges enclosing a long narrow rectangular yard, accessed from frontage range.
FRONT ( north-west ) ELEVATION: Asymmetrical 9-bay frontage range of 3 storeys,
with wide flat-headed waggon entrance with boarded doors to bays 3 and 4 to left, and entrance doorway with panelled door to right-hand end. 6 window openings to ground floor, arranged 2:4 either side of waggon doors, with shallow segmental -brick arched heads with attenuated keyblocks, all below continuous string course. Continuous cill bands to all floors, with arched heads to first floor openings, and lintel band to upper floor at eaves level, below shallow moulded parapet. First and second floors each with 9 closely spaced openings separated by narrow brick piers. Multi-paned cast iron frames to most openings. Return elevation to left, formerly concealed by now -demolished works with truncated workshop hearth stacks rising through eaves.
REAR COURTYARD: Shopping ( workshop ) range to north-east side of 3 storeys extend full length of plot, with closely-spaced windows with mostly multi-paned cast-iron frames incorporating pivoting panes for ventilation. Continuous blue brick cill bands, arched blue brick heads to ground and first floors, and flat heads to upper floor at eaves level. To centre of ground floor, 3 grouped door openings, the 2 outer ones with plank doors and overlights, giving access to ground floor workshops, the central opening leading to stairway to first floor shopping. South-west side with C20 replacement stores and office range built over basement of former metal-casting shop. Former engine room in semi-basement at south-east end of yard.
INTERIORS: Frontage range with entrance lobby, leading to stick-baluster stair giving access to first and second floors. Access to attached shopping at upper floor level from frontage range. Ground and first floors served as warehousing, with the office and showroom at the stair head at first floor level. Upper floor used latterly as shroud-making workshop. Original joinery and fittings survive throughout the frontage range, together with a hand operated hoist serving all floors. Workshop range to north-east with press shop to left and plating shop to right of stair access. Press shop with exposed cross-braced joists and fixed benching below windows, supporting hand-operated fly presses. Battery of 4 drop stamps against rear wall, with wall shelving for stamping dies. At the northern end, a larger single stamp , and above, line-shafting with pulleys and reducing wheels extends along the shop. Plating shop to right-hand end retains C20 vats and electrical equipment for the electro plating process . Upper floor workshops, used for polishing and finishing of goods retain workbenching, and evidence of gas fittings for soldering, (known as Birmingham side-lights ) and floor-level line shafting. A small brick furnace survives at upper workshop level.
A near -complete example of a C19 Birmingham metal -working factory complex, which specialised in the production of coffin furniture , and which retains the different constituent parts found in such factories, including characteristic 'shopping ' range to the rear courtyard, with much surviving original in-situ machinery for the shaping and finishing of metal wares . Such survivals are now extremely rare in Birmingham, an internationally -significant centre for the production of metal goods of this kind.
Nos. 13 and 15 Fleet Street form a group with nos. 9 and 11 Fleet Street.