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106 Garrison Lane

A Grade II Listed Building in Nechells, Birmingham

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Latitude: 52.4803 / 52°28'48"N

Longitude: -1.8729 / 1°52'22"W

OS Eastings: 408727

OS Northings: 286933

OS Grid: SP087869

Mapcode National: GBR 668.CS

Mapcode Global: VH9YX.HX7H

Entry Name: 106 Garrison Lane

Listing Date: 8 July 1982

Last Amended: 12 September 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1075601

English Heritage Legacy ID: 217093

Location: Birmingham, B9

County: Birmingham

Electoral Ward/Division: Nechells

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Birmingham

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Small Heath

Church of England Diocese: Birmingham

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House, built as the master's or caretaker's house to the adjacent Garrison Lane School. 1873, by Martin and Chamberlain, for the Birmingham School Board.


MATERIALS: Red brick, with ashlar dressings; tiled roofs and tall brick end stacks.

PLAN: L-shaped plan, having a rear wing to east.

DESCRIPTION: Two storeys.

Exterior: The south-facing elevation, fronting Garrison Lane, is of two bays with gabled half-dormers. To east, the doorway and a window, both with flat, chamfered, stone lintels. To west, a larger window with pointed tympanum and brick arch. The first-floor windows have flat, chamfered ashlar lintels; the gables contain bands of chevron moulding, with brick billets following the line of the gables, and there are terracotta sill bands. The decorative elements are carried through to the other elevations. The northern wall of the rear wing contains a door and window, protected by a full-length tile-hung lean-to porch.

Interior: The interior has been much altered, and retains few original features.


The Birmingham School Board was brought into being by the Elementary Education Act of 1870; the Act, which empowered school boards to create new schools and pay the fees of the poorest children, was largely the result of campaigning by the Birmingham-centred National Education League. By 1902, when the Education Act abolished school boards and passed the responsibility for education to local authorities, the Birmingham School Board had built fifty-two new schools. All but four of these schools were designed by the architectural practice Martin and Chamberlain - from 1900 Martin and Martin - appointed Architect to the Board in 1870.

John Henry Chamberlain (1831-83) and William Martin (1828-1900) formed the practice Martin and Chamberlain in 1864. Following the death of Chamberlain, Martin was joined by his son, Frederick Martin, and the practice continued under the same name until the death of William Martin when the practice was renamed Martin and Martin. The board schools operated as focal points within each district, serving as symbols of municipal pride and civic achievement; Martin and Chamberlain created a house style for their schools, which were characterised by their red-brick construction, tall ventilation towers, proliferation of gables, and decorative use of terracotta displaying naturalistic forms. Chamberlain believed that school architecture might offer children some compensation for drab homes, and in 1894 the Pall Mall Gazette commented that, `In Birmingham you may generally recognise a Board School by its being the best building in the neighbourhood... with lofty towers which serve the utilitarian purpose of giving excellent ventilation, gabled windows, warm red bricks and stained glass, the best of the Birmingham Board Schools have quite an artistic finish'.

J. H. Chamberlain, the leading creative force within Martin and Chamberlain, was profoundly influenced by Ruskin and his promotion of Venetian Gothic; Chamberlain had a unique impact on Birmingham's civic architecture during the 1860s and 1870s, helping shape the city's celebrated movement of social and artistic improvement. He designed a number of other important public buildings, including libraries, baths, and hospitals, but in setting the style for the board schools he made an especially significant and lasting contribution to Birmingham's built environment.

Garrison Lane School opened in 1873, providing places for 867 boys, girls, and infants, with the junior school to east and infant school to west. The detached former caretaker's house stands immediately to the east of the junior school. The buildings were in use as a school during the C20, although there were periods of closure. The site is currently occupied by an educational organisation.

Reasons for Listing

* Architect: the house was designed by Martin and Chamberlain, one of the leading architectural practices in late-Victorian Birmingham
* Historical: thought to be the earliest surviving caretaker's house built to serve a Birmingham Board School; Garrison Lane School, with which the house is associated, is one of twenty-six surviving schools built by the Birmingham School Board, which together form one of the most important groups of board schools in the country
* Intactness: externally, the house remains largely as built, though the interior has been considerably altered
* Design: for its idiosyncratic design, resulting from the restricted site, in which the reduced scale of the building is emphasised by dominant gables and chimneys of exaggerated height; the decorative elements of the house are in keeping with the school buildings
* Group value: with the junior and infant buildings of the former Garrison Lane School (qv), standing to west

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