Unity House, 134 Bromsgrove Street
My favourite abandoned building (I won't say derelict as it still looks
good to me) near the city centre has always been Unity House. I
never knew it was called this, I only found out when I went to
photograph it in October 2006.
It lives on the corner of Bromsgrove Street and Lower Essex Street and
a new view of the building had opened up following the clearing of a
nearby site to make way for the iLand development
As I snapped, a workman shouted that the it was to be demolished!
I was outraged - how could it have been left empty so long only to be
demolished to make way for yet more city centre apartments?
A bit of Googling and I'd found the planning
. Reading this made me happy. Unity House
was Locally Listed Grade B and the application made it clear that the
building would be incorporated into the proposed development.
Now, I've been caught out with this before with 15
Lower Severn Street
so I'll be keeping a close eye on this
one. Its listing status gives me some confidence, however.
I took a picture of the building way back in 2001 and I dug it out to
see if it explained the Unity House name. I had vague
recollections of there being signs saying something about a
metalworkers union on it but they had already gone in 2001. My
brother took an apprenticeship in sheet metalwork and he remembers
going to Unity House almost 30 years ago as his union was based
there. Sean got in touch to say that, "Unity House housed a
few Trade Unions as I recollect including the one I was a member
of which was SLADE - Society of Lithographers, Designers and
Engravers.", and , "I attended loads of monthly meetings there
run by the local branch secretary Reg Gillott." I've struggled to
find anything on the net about it but
Dave was kind enough to share some of his memories about a business in
"I used to visit a firm in the 60's & 70's there (on the Bromsgove
St side) when I worked in the menswear trade in Birmingham (Lewis's,
Cecil Gee, Harry Fenton, and High & Mighty).
The firm in there was called Shapero and they were wholesalers of
tailor's trimmings, things like trouser pocketing material and tape
measures. It was a throwback to an old victorian scene and is imprinted
on my memory. I pacticulary remember Mr Shapero, the owner. "
I hope you agree that it's a fine looking old building and I very much
hope to see it sensitively brought back into use.