Preparatory work is under way to enable the repair and reconstruction of the splendid 1870’s structure of the building. This is along Colmore Row and round the corner into Church Street. Left is an example of the treat in store for us when works are complete in the summer of 2014.
Tony Green, Chief Executive of Hortons’ Estate Ltd, the owners of the Grand, has kindly sent me a status update below plus some recent photos taken inside the scaffolding.
Grand Hotel – Façade Works – Church Street & Colmore Row
Update as at 26th February 2013
• Large areas of the two main façades have long been recognised as being in a state of severe disrepair.
• The cause has been attributed to a number of factors including the use of a relatively low-durability stone; incorrectly bedded stones; poor detailing; pollution; repairs using materials and techniques now considered inappropriate.
• The façade have been shrouded in scaffolding since 2003 on the grounds of health & safety following a fall of masonry.
• Different opinions existed as to whether or not it could be economically repaired leading to the appointment of Arup Façade Engineering to produce a definitive report.
• Its initial recommendation was that repairs should be possible but that a trial area should be attempted. In February 2011 permission was given to undertake works in Church Street.
• The works were undertaken by Linford Construction and were completed in October 2011.
• The findings confirmed the initial view that repairs were possible. At the higher levels this would require almost total replacement of the stone whilst at the lower levels the removal of paint and render should reveal a stone that was capable of repair.
• In August 2012 a contract was awarded to Midland Conservation Limited to undertake the repairs to the Colmore Row façade and half of the Church Street façade.
• Work commenced in October 2012, the first task being to replace the existing protective scaffold with a working scaffold. This was completed (on schedule) by the end of January 2013.
• Work has begun on the upper levels (starting in Church Street) and has involved the removal of a number of failed stones. The ease of removal of some very large chunks has more than justified the decision to erect the protective scaffold.
• Masons have begun developing the techniques to be used on repairable stone.
• Works remain on schedule for completion in summer 2014.
How to Get the most out of the photos.
Incidently, the Grosvenor Suite in the Grand can be seen on BBC2 in a new 5 part period drama, Dancing on the Edge.
Set in the early 1930’s, the drama follows black jazz musicians, the Louis Lester Band, as they find fame among London’s upper classes.
My personal experience of the Grand was spending an evening in the Grosvenor Suite in July 2002 at which the jazz band King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys performed as part of the Birmingham Jazz Festival. Not long after the hotel closed. I still recall how impressed I was with the ambiance of the venue and eagerly look forward to my next evening there.