Junction Works, 2018

Junction Works is a grade II listed building located in the Warwick Bar Conservation Area of Birmingham, situated at the intersection of the Grand Union Canal and Digbeth Branch Canal.

It is comprised of three connected buildings, together with an additional single storey wing and cobbled yard.

The strong industrial character of the buildings and blue brickwork serve as a focal point in Fazeley Street.

Location

Junction Works is located in Fazeley Street, Digbeth. It is four minutes walk from the HS2 Curzon Street Station, and close to the Bullring shopping centre and Birmingham City University.

A brief history of Junction Works

Extract from ‘Panoramic view of Birmingham’ 1847 published by Ackermann and Co. shows a building on the Junction Works site and the warehouse buildings and two canal basins at Warwick Wharf.

• 1790
The creation of the Digbeth Branch Canal and the Warwick and Birmingham Canal triggered urban and industrial growth in the Digbeth area. Junction Works was first taken over in 1812 by Pickford & Co. and then subsequently rented by the Grand Junction Canal Company. It is an early example of a purpose-built canal office.

Pattines were manufactured at the site in 1884.

• 1876
In 1876 the Grand Junction Canal Company withdrew from canal transportation. In 1884 Junction Works was leased to C.T. & W. Holloway, the producer of Voice Confectionery. No longer reliant on its connection on the wharf, Junction Works focus was realigned towards the street and would likely have housed steam pans for boiling sugar, mixing machines, presses, starch rooms and packaging rooms.

‘Canal Office’ pediment

• 1909
By 1909 the site fell back into use by the canal companies. From 1911 to the 1960s the rear sections of the site were in use as a screw manufactory by Robsons Limited. Various outbuildings were added and removed – evidence of the former building can still be identified today.

Boxing ring, photo by Stuart Whipps

• 1970s – 2000s
From the 1970s onwards, industry declined in Digbeth meaning that many of the buildings on Fazeley Street are derelict or under occupied. In 2004 several elements of the Junction Works buildings were subject to fire damage. There has been a shift in the pattern of use in the area with an increasing focus on creative and cultural businesses and events spaces.

• 2017
Junction Works is bought by Homes England. Grand Union launches a £3.25million fundraising campaign to restore the building and turn it into a new home for contemporary art.