2009 Yearbook

r e v i e w 43 Trigpoint Conservation & Planning Limited Stephen Bradwell founded Trigpoint Conservation & Planning in 2005. This specialist consultancy combines planning with the more creative challenges associated with listed buildings, conservation areas and archaeology. The preparation of historic building impact assessments is an important part of Trigpoint’s work. Historic building impact assessments are required where a listed building is affected by development proposals. The assessment provides the in-depth research and analysis that a conservation officer might not have the time to carry out, but which are essential if the planning authority is to make an informed decision. One of the most interesting projects undertaken by Trigpoint involved the conversion of a factory at Nos 60–62 Constitution Hill, Birmingham, to flats, a restaurant and offices. The factory is a Grade II listed building in the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area. The brief was to examine the physical and visual impact of the proposals on the listed building and, where appropriate, to advise on measures of mitigation to minimise any adverse impacts. Not unusually, the assessment combined an understanding of the site’s history and chronological development with a detailed visual survey of the existing building. This allowed Trigpoint to provide an understanding of the factory’s form, function and fabric, and to identify features of particular architectural significance. In a case like this, historical research usually requires a trip to the local records office to study trade directories, rates books, building plans and old maps to confirm occupiers, uses and dates. When pieced together, such information can establish a chronological development of the site. This documentary evidence also carries forward into the visual survey of the existing building, helping to identify surviving historic fabric and also to explain changes and adaptations to the building. Bringing all this information together in a report allows us to make informed decisions as to what is important and worthy of retention and what opportunities there are for change. In the case of Nos 60–62 Constitution Hill, the development proposals affected quite a close-knit complex of different buildings from different periods of growth. The impact assessment identified the original buildings which had been constructed in the early 19th century as offices and workshops, and those added at the end of the 19th century, when the site was in use as a foundry. The project was particularly interesting as an insight into a little known and extinct manufacturing process. The earliest building was originally constructed by the company of Jennens and Bettridge, the leading manufacturer of papier- The front elevation of Jennens and Bettridge’s works at Nos 60–62 Constitution Hill, Birmingham: the frontage building, c1820, was used as a showroom for the display of papier-mâché products and furniture manufactured at the site. (All photos: Stephen Bradwell) The main entrance of Jennens and Bettridge, framed by a pair of giant elongated, coupled consoles and a simple entablature with a moulded cornice, and protected by a rather unsympathetic roller shutter box