The Chamberlain Highbury Trust are delighted to have secured Birmingham City Council cabinet approval this month for their request for a grant of £3.5million to support the £11 million restoration of Highbury and its grounds.
Birmingham City Council and the Trust are joint partners in the project to restore the Grade II* listed mansion and grounds that was built by Birmingham’s radical Mayor Joseph Chamberlain in 1878.
Chair of The Chamberlain Highbury Trust David Kidney said:
“We are proud to be at the head of an alliance of local communities, heritage professionals and Birmingham City Council working towards a full and faithful restoration of Joseph Chamberlain’s family home in Moseley. We are assembling the necessary funding to make a success of this ambition project and to make Highbury sustainable, in every sense of the word. We will ensure that all Birmingham’s citizens will be able to benefit from a vibrant visitor attraction and centre for community activities – which is what Joseph Chamberlain’s family always intended.”
Initial estimates for the project were around £8 million but since the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded funding for development of the project plan in September 2021, inflation, detailed surveys and design works have increased that figure to £11 million.
The Trust will be submitting its National Lottery Heritage Fund application for £4.6 million in August this year. That funding will be added to the grant of £3.5 million from Birmingham City Council, approximately £1m in property values form the original Highbury Trust and a further £2m from other funding sources.
The mansion was designed by the Birmingham architect J H Chamberlain who also built the Ikon Gallery building and the Birmingham School of Art. The grounds were designed by Edward Milner.
The mansion and grounds have benefitted from the Trust’s continued efforts to protect them from further damage and decay with a successful Council-led £750,000 urgent works project to the roof in 2020. A further £300,000 project in the grounds, completed in 2021, restored the driveway and pathways in the grounds allowing improved accessibility. The Trust’s volunteer workforce of over 50 people carried out a programme of heritage planting alongside these works.
Other funders include Historic England, The Architectural Heritage Fund, Birmingham Heritage, The Grimmitt Trust, The Pilgrim Trust and West Midlands History.
For further information call David Kidney on 07966 378844 or email email@example.com
Built in 1878 Highbury became famous for political and social gatherings where Chamberlain delivered a number of important policy speeches. Winston Churchill visited and said Chamberlain was “the man who made the political weather”. After Chamberlain’s death in 1914, Highbury was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers during World War 1. In 1919 son Austen transferred Highbury to a civic trust for ‘the general benefit of the citizens of Birmingham’. and in 1932 Birmingham City Council took ownership of the property as sole trustee. For the next 50 years Highbury was a care home until in 1984 it was partially restored for civic entertaining and conferences. Today, the aim is to fully restore Highbury as a major visitor attraction, and especially for the communities around it, Kings Heath, Moseley and Stirchley, to accommodate business enterprise, youth leadership training and sustainable development.
About Chamberlain Highbury Trust
The Chamberlain Highbury Trust was formed 6 years ago to lead on this re-purposing. We are a small, young and independent charitable trust, responsible for managing and making accessible the Grade II* listed Venetian Gothic mansion and Grade II listed gardens that form the Highbury estate. The mansion is now weather-proof and we have extended accessibility around the gardens with the benefit of grants from Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Now we have big plans for a Lottery-funded complete restoration project to fully deliver on our “public benefit” duty – welcoming more visitors, delivering on our youth leadership education ambition and providing start-up business spaces for local entrepreneurs.
About Joseph Chamberlain
In the 19th Century, Joseph Chamberlain was a towering presence in Birmingham’s political world. As Mayor, he brought huge improvements to water, gas and sewerage services for residents and slum clearance. As a Birmingham MP, he was a radical who pressed for free school education. His home, Highbury, was a hive of political and community activity and he was an incredibly popular, albeit controversial, Member of Parliament.