Coffin Works

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2013 – 2014 Newman Brothers at The Coffin Works


Between July 2013 and September 2014, building contractors Fairhurst Ward Abbotts, along with architects Rodney Melville and Partners  and the wider professional team contracted by Birmingham Conservation Trust, worked hard to transform Newman Brothers at the Coffin Works from a semi-derelict building into a visitor attraction and mixed-use development. This transformation has always kept the historical integrity of the building at the heart of the project, so that as many original features have been restored and retained as possible. There were some conservation challenges though.

Find out about them HERE from the professional team behind the capital works side of the project.

Click HERE for galleries of images taken by photographers before conservation works began. They capture the beauty of detail and also the transformation of the non-museum spaces, many of which are now inaccessible to the public.

Click HERE to see the awards we have won for bringing Newman Brothers Coffin Works back to life.

The Conservation Story – Behind the Scenes

Over this period there was lots of activity going on behind the scenes; we were running tours, working in schools, putting together research groups, creating resources and interpretation, and preparing for opening!

During the last 15 months of our 15 year project we have been working with some wonderful volunteers, freelancers, professionals and a great team of staff. This film, The Making of the Coffin Works, ties this all together. Paul Brook and Debbie Underhill followed us around during a 12 month period to capture our story and the huge team of people who have been involved. Enjoy!

The Making Of The Coffin Works Final MP4 from BirminghamCT/Garbi on Vimeo.

Following the story…

TNT News Team, Ladywood, have also followed our progress. Their enjoyable news reports take us from before building works began in 2013 right up to our launch day on 24 October 2014.

coffin works tnt sept 2007 m

Here are the news reports in chronological order.








The three storeys of the front range of the building have been preserved, so that it retains its many original features, resembling the space it was prior to construction when Newman Brothers were still in business. The remainder of the building has been converted into units and workspace which were almost immediately full let. See HERE for the small businesses which are now located at the Coffin Works.

Visitors explore this historic range on our guided tours, stepping back in time to experience how the company operated and what it looked like in the 1960s.

This era was chosen as Newman Brothers never really updated their décor and furniture after this period, so that the building in 1998 outwardly resembled a company from the 1960s. We also know that this was the heyday of the business, when it experienced a revival in both its product range and sales. The work of our research team has directly influenced the interpretation on site, specifically focussing on the 1960s’ archive, so that we have been able to create a visitor experience that will truly allow you to absorb the day-to-day atmosphere of the sights, sounds and smells of this historic company.