Northfield Manor in better days, by Ash Matadeen

For those people like myself who had never heard of Northfield Manor it’s been an enlightening couple of months.  Together with a few like-minded people I’ve been trawling around for information to see what the future holds for the Manor House at the back of Manor Park Farm.

The starting point was to look at the English Heritage report – it made very interesting reading and it seems as though EH had put some work into investigating the house, it’s architecture and history and come up with a big fat NO with regard to listing it.  From their point of view, although the main internal structure of the original house (built in 1701) was still there, due to the fact that it’s been altered so much, it didn’t retain enough interesting features to be worthy of listing.  Neither did it feature in the story of the Cadbury family significantly enough to be deemed as historically important for listing.

After getting hold of an archaeological report from the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeologists Society (written in the 1980’s by a lady called Sally Jeffery), it seems as though this assumption had already been made back then – the house had been too far altered from its original design.  Although the architectural alterations were done by some fairly well respected local architects, again for statutory listing purposes, they would need to be either architecturally or historically important.

Whatever your opinion, and I’m sure you know mine, this building won’t be listed any time soon (other than locally, which does offer some protection).

Finally a word from the current owners themselves, Birmingham University, based on a request sent to them recently for information:

“THE UNIVERSITY HAS ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT TO SELL THE SITE SUBJECT TO PLANNING APPROVAL BEING OBTAINED FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT.  ANY PLANNING APPLICATION THAT IS SUBMITTED FOR THE SITE WILL BE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND SUBJECT TO CONSULTATION”

So from the horses mouth, there you have it.  Will this mean we will be able to object to any plans for demolition?  Let’s wait and see what the plans are first………………!

by Leigh Walker

8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,
    I am not a legal minded person and you probably have been down all of the avenues already.
    If the the house was given to the University by the Cadbury Family, were there any rules or obligations to that gift.
    It seems to me that if something was given as a gift of this magnitude there should have been some rules attached.
    Also what a cheek for them to sell it off just to get the cash.
    It was built with love and care for a wonderful Family.

  2. Interesting.

    *looks at bank account balance*

    No, I can’t afford this place yet… ;-)

    I expect if the prospective buyer opted to keep the main building (the Old House as it was known back when the place was a hall of residence) and redeveloped the rest of the buildings, there wouldn’t be much objection.

    Looking forward to seeing the plans.

    • I don’t think we could afford it even if we clubbed together, unless there are any secret multi-millionaires among us! A security guard told us the price tag was several million!

      Very interested to see the application,too!

  3. What a terrible shame! I had no idea until I stumbled across your blogs that it was closed and in such a terrible state! I lived in Northfield and Bournville from 1980 until the mid 90’s and have great memories of Northfield Manor. We lived in Vineyard Road which was a bit, well – worn at the edges say and my friends and I used to play in Manor Farm Park. We would make up any excuse that we could think of (lost footballs, looking for pet dog etc) to get close to the Manor. Being kids from a council estate we thought that the Manor was magical and the students that lodged there were very posh (blushes at the thought lol). It was a beautiful house set in lovely gardens and should absolutely be saved. Sadly the developers will more than likely chop it up into apartments which will of course completely destroy the charm and history of such a wonderful building. Please keep up the good work in highlighting this

  4. I lived in Manor House from October 1972 to July 1974, and I attended the farewell dinner in 2007. If anyone has any questions about Manor House, I may be able to answer them.

    Michael.

    • hello im really interested into finding out about the house, is there any intressting facts you can tell me about it like why it went down hill e.g thanks

  5. The origins of Manor house do indeed go back to 1701 – it was a home for delinquent boys. Judging by my own knowledge of Manor House, nothing changed – and that was only the lecturers…

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