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Cadbury Building Crooked Lane

Rupert

master brummie
I have wondered about the location of Cadbury's in Crooked Lane for a while. We know that the first factory was there but the exact location has eluded us I think...unless I have missed a post or two. Anyway, I was looking through saved photo's and artwork and would like to put forward the following location as a distinct possibility.
The first photo is one of Crooked lane looking up to the junction with Little Cherry St and Union Passage (not Street). The second one is trimmed and sharpened a bit. The third one is artwork with a defined sketch of the building.

I think that the building shown at the junction of Crooked Lane and Little Cherry is the one. Number of stories is right..number of windows is right (allowing for a higher ceiling on the ground floor). The loading hatches can not be defined well but the ledges on the closest openings are lower which may indicate hatches. Surely this has to be the place. How many buildings could match the openings and floor numbers in that relatively small location. The bend in the artwork lane is consistant with the photo.

This building is said in the link to have been demolished for a railway in 1847 which would have made a photo impossible, but we know that the railway did not occur and the Corporation St. and Martineau St developments did not happen till much later. Meaning that the building would have survived till later and making the photo easily possible.

The workmen could well have gone for a lunchtime pint at The Crown just around the corner and up Little Cherry St. past the Meeting House on the left. Cadbury's would have moved well before the photo was taken. The last two pictures (see next post) are pre war I think and fifties also showing the exact corner (at the immediate left of the first picture) of Little Cherry and Crooked lane and looking down towards Martineau St. and Dale End. The ladies are walking down Crooked Lane to the latter day exit in Martineau St, past the workings of Goering et.al. Actually a shot from the same location as the first two.

https://www.bhamb14.co.uk/index_files/CADBURY.htm
 

Attachments

Rupert

master brummie
The buildings might have been aquired by the city for demolition in 1847 for the construction of the railway to Snow Hill (the reason given for Cadbury's moving). But it was not required and only Martineau Street was put through but quite some time later. Residential density of Crooked Lane might never have been that great just looking at the photo's.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
This extract from Birmingham Uni Field Archaeology Desk Based Research report of 1997 tells us it was probably originally tenements:

".... Crooked Lane appears to have been lined by rows of low status two-and-a-half storey tenements which were in the process of being replaced by warehouses in the later part of the 19th century....."

Viv
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes, that is what is stated, Carol. The 1845 directory does not list Cadbury at Crooked lane, only Bull St. This may be just because it was just a small part of the business, or because they had already moved out. The 1841 Pigot directory lists Bull St and crooked lane (though no number for crooked lane)
 

Rupert

master brummie
The photo of the building was taken in 1886 from the text in the book and Martineau St. construction was started in 1887 after being delayed many years. So perhaps the photo was for refference. Cadbury's moved out in 1847 because of impending railway construction. Presumably the ditch to Snow Hill and perhaps the land was aquired by the city at that time. But the tunnel was only ditched and covered at the Great Western Arcade stretch as far as I can tell and the tunnel from there down was dug underground. and in any case missed this building by quite a bit. Even Martineau St. would not have impacted totally on the building. So why would this building have been demolished in 1847 when the plans for construction were delayed. What would have been the point of it...much more decrepid buildings were left standing like The Lamb House and the Corporation St. construction would not have affected this location at all. So, it is hardly likely that another building would have been put there in the interveneing years...especially totally like it. I suspect that plans were made on the run and delays happened and the building was used for temporary accomodation for businesses that were displaced from the Corporation St. dig. Hence the photo op. in 1886.
So all in all, I guess, perhaps the move was for railway construction but it turned out to be unneccessary and the building survived at least until 1887 and we have a photo that is just like the Cadbury artwork picture, which is styleized for effect...well you can't show an accurate 4 storey high building from 10 feet away across a dingy passage, can you.
 

Speedwing

gone but not forgotten
The National Archive has an interesting document hidden deep in the Rail 39 collection which contains many hundreds of documents related to the Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway which was opened in 1852 through to what became later known as Snow Hill station.

Rail 39/470 contains a copy conveyance of property fronting Crooked Lane and High Street which was part of land offered for sale by Brunel on the 6th June 1854 and was located above the recently completed tunnel to Snow Hill. The tunnel itself being constructed from a series of brick arches set in a cutting which was later backfilled and the land later sold off.

The buyer being Samuel Briggs, a builder of some note, who set about clearing the soil above the newly constructed arched brick roof of the tunnel under Brunel's Resident Engineer John Hewitt's supervision and began laying the foundations for a three storey structure directly on the tunnel's brickwork.

By early November the walls had been raised and Mr B realised the tunnel's arch was not designed to support the concentrated weight of the building.

He instructed Briggs to infill the entire space between the ground floor and the tunnel crown with concrete to evenly distribute the load but Briggs refused on the basis that Brunel had unconditionally approved his plans in advance.

Brunel then declared the building "unsafe" and sought an injunction to make Briggs reinstate the land back to its former condition prior to the excavations Briggs had made.

Then the wheel really came off as the Mayor of Birmingham weighed in with an injunction preventing the railway from using the tunnel on the grounds it was unsafe due to the weight of the buildings above it.

Smart move given the city was also the significant beneficiary from land development above the tunnel route and perhaps reason why the northern end at Victoria Arcade remained undeveloped for quite a number of years.

The Archive collection runs to several dozen items describing the long and costly battle between the parties and where none of those involved came out smelling of roses.

Today this must be in the region of Marks and Spencer's Food Hall or thereabouts.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Speedwing
Surely if the property fronted Crooked Lane and High St, then it was on the opposite side of High st to Marks & Spencers now ? Or is there a food hall separate from M & S on the opposite side?
 

Speedwing

gone but not forgotten
Speedwing
Surely if the property fronted Crooked Lane and High St, then it was on the opposite side of High st to Marks & Spencers now ? Or is there a food hall separate from M & S on the opposite side?
Quite correct, my initial orientation based on the TNA document was a bit skewed. The plan of the building was rather general and didn't provide a good reference point.

Carrs Lane to Union Passage.jpg

Here is a cross section of the tunnel which shows the section around the junction of Crooked Passage and High Street and a later drawing showing the scene in the mid 30's

P1030479-3.jpg
 
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Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Hi mike
have you got a map of pleck lane just off news street please you could put on as i was reading the thread on crooked lane
and i was thinking of some think else that was built in 1730 thinking it was crooked lane
when i was a little kid and i mean a litle kid our momtook to see her mom at new cannal street as you have read many times
when she took me and mom shoping she was always buying us both clothes
she would take us to the coop ; then come out and take us into m spencer to buy mom her clothes
when we came out of there we would walk down the crooked lane to the bottom and walk down to the shop and home
meaning nans house and the coffee shop but there was also another nic nac she took us down the side of a rail way
with a big wall running down the lane thats what i was thinkg of thanks alan,astonian;;;
 

Speedwing

gone but not forgotten
Hi mike
have you got a map of pleck lane just off news street please you could put on as i was reading the thread on crooked lane
and i was thinking of some think else that was built in 1730 thinking it was crooked lane
when i was a little kid and i mean a litle kid our momtook to see her mom at new cannal street as you have read many times
when she took me and mom shoping she was always buying us both clothes
she would take us to the coop ; then come out and take us into m spencer to buy mom her clothes
when we came out of there we would walk down the crooked lane to the bottom and walk down to the shop and home
meaning nans house and the coffee shop but there was also another nic nac she took us down the side of a rail way
with a big wall running down the lane thats what i was thinkg of thanks alan,astonian;;;
Peck Lane vanished with the clearance of the Froggery way back but the alignment roughly crossed New Street station from what became Stephenson Street to Queens Drive above the platforms.

Maybe it was that memory perhaps.

This was covered some time back in https://birminghamhistory.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=32462 but here is a clip from an 1839 map of Birmingham which shows the original nature of the streets before the railway arrived.

Peck Lane.jpg
 
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