Curzon St Station to be boarded up

Interesting bit of news passed my way today. Bear in mind the usual disclaimers of hearsay and gossip but I have it on damn good authority that Curzon St Station is to be boarded up and not used for any events until it’s permanent future is decided, something that could take a number of years.

The Station, a glorious piece of monolithic railway architecture first opened in 1838 and a monument to Birmingham’s industrial history, has lain dormant for years. Recently it’s become something of a venue du jour for local arts organisations housing events run by Fierce, 7 Inch Cinema, Capsule, Rhubarb Rhubarb (who made a big noise about the venue for their international featival this year) and many more including a number of graduate shows. (A quick search on this blog will give you a snapshot of some of the things that took place there this year.)

But as of some time early next year all this will stop. It’s been decided by someone at Council level that it’s cheaper to essentially shut the building down than to let it be used by arts groups or anyone wanting to do something interesting with the space. From a purely balance sheet perspective this may well be right but it does rather stink of an ignorance of what’s been going on there these last 12 months. And not just from an arts venue perspective – having the building opened in its current state has been fascinating for any residents interested in Birmingham’s history not to mention all the train nerds.

Very disappointing.

Top panorama by Futurilla. Other photos taken by me during the Rhubarb-Rhubarb photography festival.


  1. I’m surprised at the shortsightedness of this – considering the station’s proximity to Millennium Point, Think Tank and the burgeoning activity in Digbeth. Do you get the impression that some people think that because a building is old and utilitarian (even in this case if it is rather grandiose too) that it must be worthless? I assume it’s a listed building. I hope it is.

    And, the trouble with boarding things up is that all too often they become subject to suspicious fires and ultimately have to be demolished. That may not happen in this case – after all it’s not a grand old pub with fat corporate chain hovering above it.

  2. Anthony Hughes

    Here we go again!

    It’s not the first time that our regions cultural heritage has been overlooked in the rush to reinvent Birmingham as a giant car park interspersed with ugly architectural loft house living.

    I was fortunate to have been one of the last people to work in Curzon Street Station when I was graphic artists for Prince’s Trust.

    It was and is a beautiful building (with a staircase that leaves Vertigo sufferers clinging to the walls – as I did each morning) and one of the few remaining treasures we have. What better purpose for it than to house creative art based events. Or even permanent exhibitions if our regions council and developers could see fit to invest in the cultural aspects of our society rather than corporate and consumer.

    It has been empty and boarded for years on and off since I left from my brief spell there, but what is needed here is a clear Civic strategy to save it from becoming prime office space or apartments in the future and depriving future generations of the pleasure of great architecture and interiors. Or maybe that is the long term plan…again?

    Can we get it right for a change?

    PS – Ken did you study at Bournville?

  3. I should have put this in the original post (in my defense I was blogging when tired, but that’s no defense really) but as I understand it there are five proposals on the table for the building including the photography museum idea and one of these will happen. In the meanwhile, though, the building will be mothballed. So it’s a short term thing.

  4. Rich

    That’s RUBBISH!! Yet another prime venue gets shut down and you just know there’s gonna be a horde of empty apartments for business execs built right next door…

    Luckily it is a listed building as far as I know!

  5. Hi all, just so you know – I came from a meeting where this was raised with some senior people who have the influence to do something about this. Nothing promised, but in general a very positive meeting about the assistance the council other public and private organisations can give and where it could be best directed. I’ll keep Pete posted about anything I hear about this.

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