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Rookery House, Erdington

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
Article in the Birmingham Post. The council are thinking of selling this off! Not seen it myself yet (don't go to Erdington as I'm from the south of the city)

Historic Rookery House in Erdington to be put up for sale by Birmingham City Council

Historic Rookery House, once the Birmingham home of anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce, is to be put up for sale by cash-strapped Birmingham City Council – with a pledge that community access will be guaranteed.
The 18th century home in Rookery Park Erdington has gradually fallen into disrepair over many years and this hastened after the city council stopped using it as an office five years ago.
Now council bosses have decided to sell up as the Grade II listed three-storey house requires major investment and currently drains £115,000 a year from council coffers just to keep secure and from falling further into dereliction.
The Labour cabinet has agreed to sell Rookery House as a package with the former Spring Lane depot and Western Road depot behind – which are likely to be snapped up for a housing development. No price has as yet been put on the site.

They have pledged that any sale will include a lease back deal on part of the building to ensure continued community use.
But local Conservative councillors say that does not go far enough and want proceeds from the depot sale ploughed into the full restoration of Rookery House and the entire building left for an agreed community use.
It was built in the late 1720s for industrialist and iron merchant Abraham Spooner. His grand-daughter Barbara married political activist and anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce in 1797.
The house, which was extended during the 19th century, was later handed to Erdington district council for use as a town hall and its grounds became a public park. This was taken over by Birmingham City Council which continued to use it until 2008.

 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Hi Ell: I saw the article posted yesterday in the online "Birmingham Mail". https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/erdingtons-historic-rookery-house-costly-1723974 This follows other articles in the recent past regarding the building and the fact that there are no funds available to save Rookery House. It is really a shame since Erdington doesn't have hardly any historical buildings anymore. If and when the property is sold it is doubtful in my mind that the building will survive. The "lease back" deal mentioned in the article sounds workable, however, if no one comes forward to purchase Rookery House and renovate it then this "lease back" deal won't exist. What will happen then I wonder? Developers have snapped up the Depot Land behind the House already.
Last year someone posted interior shots of Rookery House and it is a fine building.
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
Could any future owners turn it into a museum / stately home that you can visit? Similar to Soho House or Aston Hall. Add period furniture etc. Sounds like it has had a couple of historical individuals live here - Abraham Spooner and William Wilberforce.

Would the National Trust be interested in it, if Birmingham Museums don't get it.
 

Frothblower

Lubrication In Moderation
Scan.jpgA cutting from the Erdington free magazine. With the depot in on the deal something might happen, I hope so.
 

sistersue61

master brummie
Sounds promising Chris. I wonder if they are talking housing development if they could do something like they did with the old workhouse and latterly hospital in tamworth, where the listed parts of the building were maintained and apartments incorporated into them?
Sue
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
That would be great Sue. The council owned property when sold and developed should have money from the real estate sales channeled into
the refurbishing of Rookery House. The important proviso for the sale is for Rookery House to remain standing as it has a heritage listing. Hopefully, a buyer
can be found soon as the months and years pass by Rookery House becomes more and more dilapidated and more expensive to fix.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Then and now in Erdington ...
In the early part of the 1900s someone produced a post card showing the Rookery House lodge on the corner of Kingsbury Road and Spring Lane.
ImageiOS2.jpg
In 2016 the lodge was still there in the changed scenery and a postcard today would look like below.
Image1.jpg
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
The Birmingham Live website that has been quoted above says that Rookery House was at one time home to anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce. (March 2013)

I can’t find any record of WW being there. He married the daughter of Isaac Spooner, Barbara, in 1797 at Bath. She had been recommended by Thomas Babington.
 

zzf00l

master brummie
Please keep updating us on developments (pics) are great.. I no longer live in the area so don't get chance to take any pics myself..
 

zzf00l

master brummie
A bit of a long shot here but does anyone recall the 'Peacock' statue (cast iron) I believe, it used to be somewhere by one of the sets of steps outside of the sunken formal garden?
 

SON

New Member
Article in the Birmingham Post. The council are thinking of selling this off! Not seen it myself yet (don't go to Erdington as I'm from the south of the city)

Historic Rookery House in Erdington to be put up for sale by Birmingham City Council
Hi there,
I used to work in Rookery House back in the late 70’s. It was then occupied back then by a civil engineering company but for the life of me I just can’t remember their name.
I’ve searched the web but with no success.
Any advice in this regard would be most welcome my friend.
Many thanks,
S.O.N
 

SON

New Member
Welcome S.O.N. This July 1967 article suggests Sir Herbert Humphries & McDonald, consulting engineers, were about to take up residence and to use the house as offices. Viv.
Just to say that I am extremely grateful for your speedy reply and for the information you so very kindly provided.
 

Terrypin

proper brummie kid
As a lad living in Edwards Road near the junction with Moor End Lane and Spring Lane I spent many happy hours playing in the park.

I found this thread while doing some detective work. A neighbour, also from Erdington, told me to my surprise that Tom Jones had visited Rookery Park in the early 60s to open it or celebrate something. After several hour of googling I’ve still not found any mention of this. Can anyone confirm it please?

Terry, East Grinstead
 

Brasscaster

proper brummie kid
As a lad living in Edwards Road near the junction with Moor End Lane and Spring Lane I spent many happy hours playing in the park.

I found this thread while doing some detective work. A neighbour, also from Erdington, told me to my surprise that Tom Jones had visited Rookery Park in the early 60s to open it or celebrate something. After several hour of googling I’ve still not found any mention of this. Can anyone confirm it please?

Terry, East Grinstead
Report in Birmingham Post on Monday 31 May 1965IMG_0245.jpg
 
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