Scholars Gate, which is located on Severn Street and is parallel to The Mailbox, is one of the quaintest developments Birmingham city centre has to offer.
Stepped in history and dating back to around the 1780s, beyond its four walls were luscious greenlands that have now become the city we know today.
In a first for the city, a school was built on the site by Joseph Lancaster in 1809 that was not a grammar, fee paying or sponsorship school – it was free and non-sectarian.
The school was open to ‘children of the labouring classes in reading, writing and arithmetic’ and was incredibly popular with the people of the city.
Within six year over 1,500 boys had passed through its doors – leaving with an education and opportunity to make something of their lives.
Some of the brickwork still remains today with ‘British School’ etched into the stone just as it is into the city’s history.
In 1851 Birmingham Town Hall architect Charles Edge led further development at the site as girls and younger pupils were granted access to the school with Yeoville Thomason adding further buildings including synagogue at the top of the street.
In 1880 Messrs Chamberlain and Martin added a final block to the site – leading to four of Birmingham’s greatest architects working on Scholars Gate.
Over the coming years education would come to the forefront of British politics with lobbying, local education boards creation and finally in 1901 education being handed over to local authorities.
Education is engrained in every aspect of the buildings and Scholars Gate became home to what a Quaker movement that we would now recognise as Sunday school – known then as First Day Schools.
It gave people the opportunity on their only day off to come and learn to read and study and became the first adult school in Britain.
Joseph Sturge was the founder of the First Day School and you can see his statue outside the Marriott Hotel at Five Ways still to this day.
The school eventually ran its course and was closed in 1933 – left empty for years it then became home to the Birmingham Athletic Institute during World War Two – playing a vital role in fitness and health.
In the 1970s the buildings sat under Birmingham Technical College and the buildings were redeveloped into stunning apartments and homes by Piper Homes accentuated the historical aspects of this building where possible and blending it with modern touches.
If you would love the opportunity to live in one of Birmingham’s most historic developments in Scholars Gate Barrows & Forrester currently have a two bed duplex for available for sale.
For more details visit Barrows & Forrester or call on 0121 296 2600.