Lottery boost for famous Birmingham landmark

Roundhouse Birmingham and moored barge
Published : 17 Jun 2016 Last update : 07 Nov 2016

A project to breathe new life into Birmingham’s historic Grade II* listed Roundhouse, has come a step closer to fruition with the award of £2.2million* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The project marks a new partnership between the Canal & River Trust and National Trust and will transform the Roundhouse into a city base from which to explore Birmingham’s revitalised canals on foot or by bike.

Situated on Sheepcote Street, next door to the newly re-opened Fiddle & Bone Pub, the Roundhouse is owned by the Canal & River Trust. Built in 1874 by the Birmingham Corporation it was originally used as stables and stores. Designed by local architect W.H. Ward the horseshoe shaped building is now an iconic and much loved Birmingham landmark.

For the last 10 years the majority of the building has been disused and has been steadily falling into disrepair. This new collaboration between two major heritage organisations, plus this vital investment from HLF, will put an important and underutilised building back at the heart of the city’s canal network and give it a new lease of life.

As well as offering a base from which to explore the canal network, plans for the Roundhouse include a cycle hire and repair workshop, volunteering opportunities and a shared working space for conservation organisations. HLF has awarded an initial £225,000 development grant which will be used to work up these plans into a larger £2.9 million scheme that will see the full restoration of this unusual building.

The grant has been awarded through HLF’s Heritage Enterprise programme.  It is designed to help when the cost of repairing an historic building is so high that restoration simply is not commercially viable. Grants of £100k to £5million bridge the financial gap, funding the vital repairs and conservation work needed to convert derelict, vacant and under-used buildings like The Roundhouse, into new, usable commercial spaces that can have a positive impact on local economies.

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said:  “Distinctive and highly adaptable, investing in historic industrial buildings like Birmingham’s Roundhouse, has been proven to deliver economic benefits for both business and local communities.  This vital National Lottery investment is helping to unlock that potential and promises to ensure the building has a sustainable future whilst triggering wider investment and job creation.”

Stuart Mills, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Roundhouse is a truly iconic building and part of the history of Birmingham.  We’re really delighted to be working in partnership with the National Trust to bring it back to life, transforming it into somewhere for local communities and visitors to connect with the waterways and the broader history of Birmingham.”

Lizzie Hatchman, General Manager for the National Trust in Birmingham, said: “We’re very pleased with this announcement; it’s a positive step towards saving an important part of Birmingham’s history and heritage. This funding will allow us to start fully developing plans on how we can breathe new life into the building, and how we best showcase it to Birmingham’s residents and visitors alike. The partnership between the National Trust and Canal & River Trust underpins what we hope will be a truly collaborative project, working with partners across Birmingham.”


*Heritage Enterprise applications are assessed in two rounds.  A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.