Expert gun makers made a nostalgic journey into the past while getting a sneak peek at what the future holds for an old gun factory in Birmingham.
Gunsmith House, which was once at the centre of the world’s gun making trade, has been transformed into luxury apartments as part of a multi-million pound development by Birmingham-based Elevate Property Group.
The developers invited gunsmiths and former employees of the factory in Price Street to take a look at the transformation, before enjoying a chance to catch up and swap memories over a drink at The Bull pub, opposite.
Gunsmith and Price Street neighbour Brian Bateman was astonished by what had been achieved by Elevate. He said: “My friend worked here for years and I have fond memories of popping in to see him in the workshops.
“It’s unbelievable – I can’t imagine how it’s possible to transform a building like this. It’s mind-blowing. I remember the walls were bare painted brick and now everything has such a fantastic finish, it really is a first-class job.
“The most important thing is they’ve kept the character of the building, and the renovation has been sympathetically completed. I would quite happily live here.”
Craftsman Phillip Duffell has been engraving shotguns by hand since he left school in 1969 and has his workshop next door to Gunsmith House. He remembered visiting “Robert the Case”, who made the gun cases, and said the building was a hive of activity, very warm and with bare brick walls.
He said: “What Elevate have done is absolutely fantastic, I can’t get over it. It’s a total transformation. They have put a lot of thought into how the space is used, adding balconies and making the most of the original features.
“It’s wonderful to see this building transformed and being put to good use. We’ve pulled down so many old historic buildings in Birmingham over the years and it’s fantastic to see Gunsmith House preserved and restored. May it continue to stand proud in the Gun Quarter for many years to come!”
For gunsmith Steve Horton, from Horton and Sons, it was a step back to where it all began. He said: “I started my career many years ago in this building on the top floor, so it holds fond memories for me.
“I remember it being draughty, paint peeling off the walls with bare floorboards, essentially a proper old workshop. The transformation is amazing, they’ve done a great job. I’m pleased the building can continue to live on.”
Elevate managing director James Costello was delighted with the gun makers’ reaction to the development.
He said: “Coming here today and seeing the reactions to the transformation from some of the people who have worked here over the years has made it so worthwhile.
“It’s always a journey into the unknown when you take on a building like this. There’s usually a moment when you ponder and think “how are we going to make the transformation?”, but credit has to go to the design team and and Steve Dodd, our CEO, who had a fantastic vision for this development.
“We’ve also worked closely with the local conservation officer to ensure windows and external features have been replaced like for like to keep the character of the building, so it’s been a real team effort.
“There have been a few surprises along the way, as you’d expect from a city centre industrial heritage building, but the reactions today made it all worthwhile.”
Gun making is recorded in Birmingham from the 1630s and the area rapidly grew to be the centre of the world’s gun trade, supplying the British Army through numerous wars and exporting small firearms across the world.
The original Gun Quarter buildings were largely demolished when the inner ring road was built in the 1960s, but Gunsmith House survived to find a new purpose.
The three luxury apartments inside Gunsmith House are part of a wider £23m development on the site, which includes a further 82 brand new one and two-bed apartments built to the side of the original building.
Construction work is due to be completed early in 2024 and more than 65 per cent of the new homes are already sold.
The three apartments in the original Gunsmith House include a one-bed on the ground floor, with a terrace, a two-bed on floor two and a unique two-bed duplex with mezzanine and vaulted ceilings on the top floor. Both of the two-bedroom apartments have private balconies
The 82 new build apartments will enjoy their own residents lounge and access to a communal courtyard and many of the apartments have balconies.
The Price Street location is less than ten minutes’ walk to Snow Hill offices and train station, Colmore Row’s financial district, Birmingham City University, and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
One-bed apartments start from £215,000 with the largest two-bed apartments reaching £520,000.
For further information contact selling agents Savills on 0121 200 4567, via mail on [email protected] or Elevate Property Group on 0121 272 5729.