The Absent City Nᵒ.1: Grosvenor House by Cotton, Ballard & Blow (New Street & Bennetts Hill, 1951-3)

Grosvenor House. A rainy day in June 2012.

On the west corner of New Street and Bennett's Hill stands Grosvenor House, built in the early 1950s. There are two previous layers known for this site.

'one of Birmingham's earliest post-war buildings, Grosvenor House by Cotton, Ballard & Blow, 1951-3. The first designs of 1949 were plain. Manzoni asked for some improvement in the architectural treatment and the result has rows of sawtooth projections, little pointed iron ballustrades on the corner, and a brise-soleil. Flashy but undeniably effective'. From: Andy Foster, Birmingham, Pevsner Architectural Guide (London: Yale University Press, 2005), p. 111.

Layer One: Post Office Buildings (1843-c. 1943)

60-54 New Street in circa 1851. Designed by Charles Edge and built in 1843.

Grosvenor House replaced Charles Edge's row of shops and offices built in 1843, which were bombed during WWII. These were called the Post Office Buildings because they replaced the original Georgian post office. Although called Post Office Buildings, the post office had moved over the street. 

Layer Two: Georgian Post Office (c. 1812-c. 1842)

The Georgian post office was older than the street of Bennett's Hill, so it originally stretched along New Street (see image below). Bennett's Hill was laid out in the early 1820s, so the post office building was altered to make it smaller, and other nearby buildings were demolished.

Birmingham's first post office on New Street, c. 1815.

The post office probably opened in the early 1800s, but the building was older. 

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