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The History of House of York

Part of an 1887 map showing the site of House of York
Part of an 1887 map showing the site of House of York
The course of the Whitmore's Arm
The course of the Whitmore's Arm
The Whitmore's Arm bridge parapet in George Street
The Whitmore's Arm bridge parapet in George Street

The 1887 map shows the area now occupied by House of York. In the bottom right-hand corner Charlotte Street can be seen crossing diagonally. On the left is George Street and between the two is the Whitmores Arm of the Birminghan & Fazely Canal, which is now the space between House of York and the Perry Beeches II school ( formerly the Severn Trent Water) car park. Part of the site is marked as a Printing Works.

Construction of Whitmore’s Arm began about 1808 but much of Whitmore’s Arm was filled in after 1950. The part beside the old Museum of Science of Industry (now the site of the Travel Lodge) remained in water for several years, from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal to a wharf beside the museum. There was until recent years a length of narrow gauge tram track on this wharf that was probably associated with the Electroplate Works, marked by a blue plaque in Newhall Street.

Plaque in Newhall Street

Charles Reeves had a sword factory beside Whitmore’s Arm facing Charlotte Street and opposite his works was the Globe Foundry (clearly marked on the map) owned for a time by Robert Lloyd Crosbie, who made brass and iron bedsteads, cots and folding beds. Also shown is the Milton Works in George Street that made iron and steel wire.

Today the course of the Whitmore’s Arm of the canal can be clearly seen running beside House of York, as shown in the photograph. The old warehouse on the opposite side of the arm marks the course of the navigation before it reached George Street. Compare this with the buildings on the map.

At George Street the canal passed under the road. The bridge parapet can still be seen, although the small red door used by fire fighters in the Second World War (and still a feature of many of Birmingham’s canal bridges) has now been bricked up. The slight hump in the road, where the canal crossed under, can still be seen in both George Street and Charlotte Street.

After crossing under George Street the arm turned left towards the George Street sandpit, which is believed to have been the main reason for building the canal arm. The road name "Sand Pits" still remains as evidence of this long gone industry.

The Twenty-First Centuary

In December 2005 Quartz Homes (Charlotte Street) Ltd was set up and in April 2006 they paid 1,710,000 for the whole of numbers 27 to 31 Charlotte Street. Their parent company Quartz Homes Ltd. had been set up in October 2003. The site was developed by rebuilding and by converting the remaining Grade 2 listed building. The first residents of the new apartments moved in on 12th October 2007.

Before being converted into apartments, numbers 27-31 Charlotte Street were the head office of Casa D'italia (Imports), a furniture retailer (their postcode was B3 1SH and telephone number 0121-236 5677). They moved into the Charlotte Street in November 2002 and moved out (to Brordesley Hall, The Holloway, Alvechurch, B48 7QA) in March 2006.

Prior to this the site was occupied by Montgomery's (Birmingham) Ltd a wholesale carpets and rugs company (their postcode was B3 1PT and their telephone number was 0121 236 8101).

For more information see Charlotte Street History.