First up, a little history thanks to Wiki.........
The Newman Brothers, brass founders and metal coffin fittings manufacturers, moved into the works in 1894. The company was set up by Alfred Newman and his three sons: Horace, George and John. During its time at the factory, the company produced some of the finest coffin furniture in the world that was used in the funerals for Sir Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain and Diana, Princess of Wales. The owners and managers would have entered the building through the front entrance of the building whilst the poorer workforce would enter via the gated cart entrance. In the 1960s, the original single-storey range was demolished and replaced with a two storey brick building containing managerial, electroplating, warehousing and barrelling facilities. At its peak, the firm employed 100 people. In the 1950s, the company was exporting products internationally to West Africa, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the Caribbean, Canada and Malta.
When the firm closed the factory in 1999, it was one of only three remaining coffin furniture manufacturers in England. In 2000, the building received Grade II* listed status from English Heritage. In March 2001, the Birmingham Conservation Trust carried out a feasibility study on the building and became worried about the threat of redevelopment and possible loss of the building. As a result, they appealed to Advantage West Midlands who purchased the building in 2002 and agreed to fund the Trust in their scheme to bring the building back into use.
In 2003, the factory was one of the candidates on the first series of Restoration in late 2003. It did not receive enough votes to reach the final.
In 2007, plans were announced by the Trust and a planning application was submitted on June 20, 2008 for the refurbishment of the factory building to create a visitor's centre and office space.
I'm afraid to say that funding was pulled last year, and as a chance to try and raise interest a photo shoot was arranged. A couple of my shots were used on the Advantage West Midlands site.
The end for the Coffin Works Project? | Birmingham Conservation Trust
Coffin Works Birmingham and Advantage West Midlands | Birmingham Conservation Trust