For some time the Assay Office, currently located on Newhall St, has been looking for a new home to enable it to expand and diversify. Thankfully it has found a site in the Jewellery Quarter and now a planning application has been lodged with Birmingham City Council. The site fronts Icknield St(the Middleway ringroad) and is bounded by Pope Stand Carver St. If you want to view the planning application go to http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/planningonline and enter the number 2012/06674/PA. You can record your comments online also.
According to the application the Birmingham Assay Office is one of Birmingham’s oldest institutions and is the largest Assay Office in the world. It has a statutory duty to hallmark precious metals such as jewellery and silverware. It was founded in 1773 and has been located in the current Assay Office building on Newhall Street for 135 years. The Assay Office employs some 150 members of staff and has hallmarked over 100 million articles since 2000.
The new building is a welcome use of a vacant site on the Industrial Fringe of the Jewellery Quarter but what will become of the old Assay Office on Newhall St. It is a beautiful listed building and has a large car park ripe for development but what would we like to see there? Office or other commercial use? Hotel? Community? Residential?