Old Curzon Street station building
HS2 has announced the start of a major refurbishment project to restore the Grade 1 listed Old Curzon Street Station in Birmingham, one of the world’s oldest surviving pieces of monumental railway architecture.
Over the next twelve months, a team of local experts will carry out intricate restoration work on the iconic building, which was designed by the notable architect Philip Hardwick and opened in 1838 as the Birmingham terminus for the London and Birmingham Railway Co. (L&BR) line that connected to Euston Station in London.
The project will be undertaken by national contractors KN Circet transport and Infrastructure division, a multinational company with offices in Solihull, who are working for HS2’s enabling works contractor LMJV (Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons).
The Grade I listed building has been integrated into HS2’s plans for the new Curzon Street Station, which provide an enhanced setting to reflect the history of the old station as well as the Grade II listed Woodman pub. The public space surrounding the station will feature the historic track alignments of the former goods yard that used to lie to its east, and the gardens and new eastern concourse façade have also been designed to complement the architecture of the building.
Work on the old Station building will include a new steel structural frame to strengthen the building, a new lift giving access to all four levels, new glass balustrade for the historic staircase, internal fit-out, roof repairs, structural repairs to the external façade, and a full clean of the external building masonry.
The restoration will present an exciting challenge for the team which will include local specialists who have traditional skills including carpentry and stonemasonry. Companies on board so far to work with KN Circet include Solihull-based Umberslade doing the strip-out, Redditch-based Orton Group supplying mechanical and electrical design and installation, and Rugeley based J.F.E. Attridge Scaffolding Services Limited.
Unearthing and preserving Old Curzon Street Station’s history
Old Curzon Street Station was the first railway terminus serving the centre of Birmingham and built during a period of great significance and growth for the city. Having suffered extensive damage during the Birmingham Blitz, and surviving two applications for its demolition in the 1970s, it is now listed on the ‘Heritage at Risk Register’ maintained by Historic England. The refurbishment will see this status change for the first time in over a decade, with future plans to use it as an HS2 visitors centre, with flexible facilities for office space, exhibition purposes and catering.
Digs around the site of the new Birmingham Curzon Street Station discovered a real gem of our industrial heritage: the remains of the world’s oldest locomotive roundhouse, part of the station’s 19th Century predecessor and designed by iconic railway engineer Robert Stephenson.
Few 19th Century roundhouses have survived in their original form, so the dig, which began in early 2020, has provided a rare opportunity for archaeologists to investigate the full footprint of a major early railway terminus.
The future of Curzon Street
The site will once again be at the heart of the rail network within the new Birmingham Curzon Street Station complex.
The arrival of HS2 will see the site become home to the first brand new intercity terminus station built in Britain since the 19th Century. Birmingham Curzon Street station will be at the heart of the country’s new high-speed railway network, providing seven platforms, a new public space, and integration with an extended tram network.