UPDATE 7.50am 1/8/2014 West Midlands. Police have confirmed that three youngsters have been arrested in relation to arson at Manor House. The schoolboys, aged 12, 14 and 15, were taken into custody where they were questioned yesterday evening and later released on bail pending further enquiries.

Enquiries are on-going and witnesses are still urged to come forward.

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111



The historic Northfield Manor House, former home of George Cadbury, suffered a huge fire just after 8pm on Wednesday 30th July.

nfmfire2At the height of the blaze, 20 appliances from across West Midlands Fire Service were in attendance, along with police and West Midlands Ambulance Service’s HART teams, along with staff from National Grid, Western Power and the Environment Agency.

At just after 11.30pm, Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach tweeted: “Fire at Manor House Northfield, suspected Arson. Firefighters will be here through the night. No injuries to public or [firefighters] reported”

CFO Loach also said that although firefighters had contained the fire to the main building, the tall unsupported chimneys were making the area hazardous. He anticipated fire crews will be working through the night to fully extinguish the fire.

And this morning (31st July) West Midlands police have confirmed that the fire is being treated as suspicious. Enquiries are ongoing and a forensic specialist will examine the house once it is deemed safe to do so.

Video by onenarrowdoor on YouTube

Manor House in 2002 by Ash Matadeen on Flickr. Click for original

Originally built in 1820 (although there was a building there at an earlier date), Northfield Manor House was the home of George and Elizabeth Cadbury,  from 1894 until George passed away in 1922. During the summer months, the family accommodated disadvantaged children from around the city there, to give them a taste of the countryside. It was bequeathed to the University of  Birmingham and previously used as halls of residence. It has been empty since 2007 and is Grade A locally listed which offers it some protection from demolition.

Over recent years, there has been a lot of discussion on the future of the building, as the University attempted to sell the building to developers.

In 2012, Banner Homes submitted a planning application to Birmingham City Council  to turn the main building, and others on the site, into apartments, maintaining key features such as fireplaces, stained glass and stairways.There is no update on the council planning site since the public consultation period ended in March of this year.

Tonight’s fire is a sad ending to a long discussion on the future of another building that Northfield will be sad to lose.

What are your memories of the Manor House?

If you have any information regarding this incident, please call West Midlands Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

View all past B31 Voices posts on the fate of Northfield Manor

Student memories of Manor House




  1. how very sad. it wouldn’t have mattered if the old halls of residence had burnt down but this part of the building is a gem.. was a gem. It has been empty and vandalised for years I guess it was only a matter of time before some idiot set fire to it. What shame.

  2. Its a scandal that this manor house was neglected for so many years , esp as it was once owned by George Cadbury who did so much for the people of birmingham not only in employment ,but in the housing and recreational areas. I feel this man has not been given the credit he deserved by the people of birmingham or the council in life or death !!! As for the moron ( s ) who if it was arson lit the fire ,should be caught , and handed a stiff penalty !!

  3. Its been scandalous that such a historic part of b’hams history should be neglected for so long !!!! I feel george cadbury never got the recognition he deserved by not only the council, but the people of birmingham for whom he did so much ! And even more sadly if it was arson ,the moron ( s ) who did this will get a slap on the hand thats all !! personally i would make them write an essay on what the cadbury family did for the people of birmingham ! (assuming they could write which would be highly unlikely i think )

  4. The fact it had been abandoned for so long proves that nobody really cared about the building anyway. Of course, the council puppets will all shout about how sad it is that it’s been destroyed. The cynic in me suspects that deep down they are probably thinking “Well that’s one less thing we have to deal with”.

  5. The university and developers should be held accountable for not providing better security. The twit who set tbe fire should be locked up for endangering life. The council should make sure the building is returned to its previous glory. As someone mentioned previously George cadbury gave so much to Birmingham and makes this so much worse. The castle up beacon hill was donated by cadbury too and that has been vandalised recently. I feel Birmingham owes it to the great man to have this building put back to former glory and maybe handed tl national trust

  6. What about the other house that used to be next door to the woodlands it was demloshed to make way for that housing site of new builds nothing was said about issue here another lost cadburys house which mr cadbury shot himself in the garden.Next house is the cadbury summer house heanor on top of beacon hill.What will happen now.

  7. I lived in Manor House for five years in the 70s, as a tutor to some of the students. It was an idyllic place, with statues in the grounds and the sound of owls at night. It was a privilege to have been there. What an utter waste.

  8. How sad. I tried to visit recently to show my kids where i used to live when i was at Uni in 1995. Such a shame lots of great memories here.


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