History in Structure

Samuel Heath and Sons Head Offices

A Grade II Listed Building in Birmingham, Birmingham

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Latitude: 52.4673 / 52°28'2"N

Longitude: -1.8859 / 1°53'9"W

OS Eastings: 407848

OS Northings: 285489

OS Grid: SP078854

Mapcode National: GBR 63F.HF

Mapcode Global: VH9Z3.87CX

Plus Code: 9C4WF487+WJ

Entry Name: Samuel Heath and Sons Head Offices

Listing Date: 25 March 2022

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1472627

ID on this website: 101472627

Location: Highgate, Birmingham, West Midlands, B12

County: Birmingham

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Birmingham

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands


Offices for Samuel Heath and Sons, designed by David Henry Ward in 1888-1889 and extended by Bateman and Bateman in 1891 and 1897.


Offices for Samuel Heath and Sons, designed by David Henry Ward in 1888-1889 and extended by Bateman and Bateman in 1891 and 1897.

MATERIALS: constructed of brick with stone dressings and slate roofs. Windows are metal framed.

PLAN: the principal office and flanking ranges form a linear range running north-west to south-east along Leopold Street.

EXTERIOR: the 1888 office block is a symmetrical five-bay range with Jacobean influences over two storeys, with two gables to either end fronting the street. The offices are red brick with a blue-brick plinth, all in Flemish bond. The gables are capped with stones which scroll at the apex, with stone urn finials topping giant brick pilasters framing the end bays, sections of which are fluted. The right-hand urn on the southern gable is missing. At the centre of the gables, on the first floor, are a pair of brick double-arch Italianate windows with contrasting stone keystones. The windows are framed by brick pilasters supporting a pediment above containing acanthus leaves and a dentilled cornice. At the ground floor the left-hand bay contains the office’s principal entrance with a timber door and fanlight situated under a brick semi-circular arch. Above the arch is an elaborate stone pediment with a central urn surrounded by acanthus leaves. The pediment is open and deeply moulded and is supported below by stone Ionic capitals. To either side of the entrance is a very slim window with a horned sash-window. The right-hand bay contains the entrance to a former carriageway at ground floor, which historically lead to the yard to the rear of the offices (now infilled), with timber double doors under a wide three-centred arch with stone keystone. This entrance is also topped by a pediment containing brick acanthus detail with a stone finial at the centre, supported by the projecting keystone below. The connecting three bays between the gables contain a central entrance door under a flat rubbed brick arch, flanked to either side by a pair of windows with stone sills with projecting brick ogee detail below. A rendered band with incised lettering between the ground and first floor reads: ‘SAMUEL HEATH & SONS.’. On the first floor are five further windows symmetrically arranged. All windows on this original range appear to be late-C20 replacements save the two slim lights flanking the principal entrance.

The building curves south to continue along Leopold Street with a significantly taller three-storey range, also in Flemish bond with a blue brick plinth. This range matches the details of the earlier building to the north, particularly the ground floor which dates to 1889 and is also by David Henry Ward. The extension is sizeable at twelve bays in total, each bay delineated by brick pilasters and housing a metal multi-pane window to each floor. The ground floor windows are under segmental brick arches with brick keystones and blue brick sills. The first-floor windows are also under segmental arches with the second-floor windows under flat arches. A brick dentilled cornice has been retained between the ground and first floors, with an additional chunkier dentilled cornice at the second floor.

The building extends north-west past the office block with the three-storey 1897 range by Bateman and Bateman. The building is significantly shorter than the three-storey range to the south, due to the sloping ground on Leopold Street. This range has wider bays, each with a pair of windows on the upper floors. Again, the bays are delineated by brick pilasters, with a further dentilled cornice above. Windows at ground floor are multipane with opening sections, under flat rubbed-brick arches. First-floor windows have metal casements with large glazing. At basement level are a series of window openings with brick infill. A timber door in the opening next to the principal office entrance gives access beyond.

To the north-west, the 1897 range is met with the large post-war replacement block, with the site continuing around the corner along both Stanhope Street and Darwin Street (not included in the listing).

INTERIOR: the principal entrance to the office block leads to the main reception area, with a late-C20 internal glazed screen and door leading to the reception area beyond. The interior of this room, along with the principal stair on the left-hand side, all dates to the late-C20. Above on the first floor are a series of offices, with a corridor running along the rear of the building. Some late-C19 doors and joinery appear to survive though the majority of the finishings and fixtures within the offices are late-C20.

In the late-C19 flanking range to the south-east, the ground floor has been opened entirely, with a steel-joist structure supporting the upper floors. The upper floors are in use as offices, with late-C20 partitions and a corridor running along the front of the building, overlooking Leopold Street. On the second floor of this block is a large, open-plan office space with a staircase at the southern end.

The later 1897 Bateman and Bateman range to the north of the principal office block contains a series of offices at ground floor, with C20 glazed partitions. The first floor contains further offices and a boardroom.


The brass founders Samuel Heath and Sons were founded in 1820, based at Cobden Works on Leopold Street. In the C19 the firm were successful in producing a wide variety of products, from gas lamp standards and light fittings to bedsteads, with the focus shifting to window furniture and bathroom accessories in recent years. In the late-C19 the firm commissioned architect David Henry Ward to design a new office building at the site. The offices were completed in 1888 and soon after, by 1889, a single-storey extension to the south-east had been erected, also designed by Ward. In 1891 this single-storey range was raised by two storeys designed by father and son JJ Bateman and CE Bateman. A balancing three-storey range to the north-west was added in 1897, also by Bateman and Bateman.

Further additions were erected by Bateman and Bateman over the course of the C20 including a post-war block constructed following bomb damage during the Second World War. These buildings are not included in the listing.

The office blocks have seen periods of refurbishment in the late-C20 with the principal entrance with reception and staircase altered in the 1990s.

Reasons for Listing

Samuel Heath and Sons offices, designed by David Henry Ward in 1888-1889 and extended by Bateman and Bateman in 1891 and 1897, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* Ward's 1888 office building is a striking and well-balanced design with good quality Jacobean influences and ornamentation;
* both the stone and brick detailing are well executed, with understated ornamentation across the facade demonstrating an attention to detail by the architect;
* Bateman and Bateman's late-C19 additions are considered in their materials and detailing and skilfully complement the earlier building.

Historic interest:

* the brass founders Samuel Heath and Sons were founded in 1820 and have been based at the site since its inception; it stands as an important part of the industrial development of this area of Birmingham.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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