In 1894 George Cadbury opened the Selly Oak Institute, 648 Bristol Road, B29 6BJ.

Photograph by Elliott Brown

Photograph by Elliott Brown

This Grade 2 listed building (English Heritage 216815, detail here) was ‘gifted’ to the ward by the Cadbury family for educational use, but apparently with no protective covenant. A detailed history of the area written by Francis Leonard is of general interest but, written for an Anglican audience, contains only a passing reference to the ‘Friends Institute’.

Detail from photograph by Elliott Brown

Detail from photograph by Elliott Brown

Plans were submitted to turn the Arts and Crafts building for student accommodation with 16 bedrooms sharing multiple bathrooms and living space. Selly Oak Community Partnership commented:

selly oak institute side“We do not believe that this design will be attractive to students.

“The space will be shared with management offices but the size of the residences do not warrant a large management suite so we suspect there may be an intention to use this for professional services such as a letting agency. This would be class A2 use – not as described in the planning application”.

The magazine of the Victorian Society (July 2014) records the society’s objection to the plans: ‘as many of the interior features would have been altered, concealed or possibly damaged by the introduction of partitions and false ceilings’.

Permission has been refused and more sympathetic proposals are awaited.

 

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