18 June 2012

Charles Edge: Architect

Example of Charles Edge's architectural drawings. From a proposed
building on New Street, 1842.



















Architect. 1800-1867.  
Charles Edge was a talented Birmingham born and based architect. Furmansky et al, in exploring Charles Edge’s children and grandchildren, state that the Edge family ‘traced its respectable lineage to 1340’ and that their ‘stationary bore the family’s crest’;*** this contradicts Peter Baird’s theory that Charles was poorly educated, which he derived from some spelling mistakes on the architectural drawing produced by Charles.** Charles’s brother was Thomas Edge Esq. whose son Francis, before becoming a clergyman, was an architect, perhaps training and working with his uncle.* Charles himself was possibly trained by the self taught Thomas Rickman** and began his career in about 1827 producing classical Greek Revival buildings. He was responsible for a number of buildings in the Bennett’s Hill and Waterloo Street development, living himself at number 18 Bennett’s Hill till 1840, but after that using the building only as his office. He was highly adaptable though and developed his style over the decades that he worked.

Following is a list of Charles Edge's Birmingham commissions;
c. 1827: Wesleyan Chapel on Constitution Hill (demolished)
1827: 1-6 Bennetts Hill (facaded)
c. 1828: 102 Colmore Row (attributed by D. Hickman)
1828-1835: The Market Hall on High Street (fountain added in 1851) (below, bombed then demolished)
1829-1838: Enlarged the Public Office on Moor Street (demolished)
1832: Office for New Hall Coal Co. on Bennetts Hill (demolished)
1833: Bank of Birmingham on Bennetts Hill (demolished)
1834-1862: Key Hill Cemetery and Chapel on Key Hill (chapel demolished)
1835: Rebuilt St. Peter's Church on Dale End (demolished)
1835-1851: Completed and extended the Town Hall on Paradise Street
1837: 15 Chad Road, Edgbaston
1838: Albert Street (road) (not completed)
1838: Holy Trinity Church in Smethwick (mainly demolished)
1838: Regent Works on Regent Street (attributed by A. Foster)
1838: Enlarged St. George's Church on Westbourne Road, Edgbaston (enlarged further in 1856)
1839: Victoria Works on Graham Street (attributed by A. Foster)
1841: Altered the New Royal Hotel to accomodate the main Post Office on New Street (demolished)
1843: Joseph Gillot premises on the corner of New Street and Bennetts Hill (bombed then demolished)
1846: Norwich Union fire engine house at 17 Temple Street
1850: Protico to Apsley House at 39 Wellington Road, Edgbaston (probably also the main house)
1852: Lily House at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Westbourne Road, Edgbaston
1853: Infant School and the mistress' house for the parish school on Ampton Road, Edgbaston
1860: Proof Hole at the Proof House on Banbury Street
1860-1861: Shop and works for Mr. Powell, gunmaker, at 35-37 Carrs Lane
Some other work was completed outside Birmingham, but this article is concerned with Birmingham architecture. The list above owes a great deal to the book 'Birmingham's Victorian and Edwardian Architects'.**
"Birmingham Market Hall. Now erecting from the Design of Mr. Charles
Edge, Architect." Built between High Street an Worcester Street 1831-5.

















NOTES
* References available on request.
** Peter Baird, 'Charles Edge', in Birmingham's Victorian and Edwardian Architects, ed. by Phillada Ballard (Oblong, 2009).
*** Dyana Z Furmansky, Dyan Zaslowsky and Bill McKibben, Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy: The Activist Who Saved Nature From the Conservationists (University of Georgia Press, 2009).
You can visit the Friends of Key Hill Cemetery forum here.

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