25 September 2012

Architectural Focus: Court of Requests

The Court of Requests is initially thought to have been built as the grand dwelling house for the wealthy John Jennens; it was built in about the 1650s and exhibits some early classical influences. The door surround (top image) is known as an aedicule and consists of two pilasters topped with and arched open pediment which allows for a decorative vase filled with foliage. There may well have been more decoration originally within the pediment. There is no frieze in the entablature.
In the second image you can see the architraves of the sash windows punctured by the dropped keystones which project from the cornice, and the decorative quoins at the corner of the building. You can also see some detail of the brickwork.

You can find out about the history of this building's usage here. The photographs were all taken from about the late 1860s when the building would have been about 200 years old. By that time the building had ceased to be used as the Court of Requests; hence the blind in the enlarged window (top image) stating 'Old Courthouse'. To the left is the alley leading off High Street to Court House Yard where the old house stood. Below is the whole building sitting in Court House Yard with all the later buildings tacked onto it and built nearby.

Photographs used courtesey of the archive services at the Library of Birmingham.

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