A pleasing wander here today with CatV...
Anyone interested in the kind of Industrial Porn that I love would have noticed Frosts. Sat slap bang in the middle of a post industrial wasteland, not quite city centre, not quite Jewellery quarter, the roads that run of Great Hampton Street are a maze of former metal bashing works that today are mostly half occupied by Importers of everything from E-cigs to cheap clothing.
Frosts stood apart from the others because on the side of it's wall was a huge enamel sign. As an avid collector of such signs, I had stood and gazed longingly at it many a time, mainly because it was next door to a boozer that I frequent often, and being forced to stand in the cold to smoke was made all the better with some "street jewellery" to stare at. The whole affair became more tantalising when said pub had a make over and boasted a smoking terrace, which put the sign almost at arms reach!
In Barr Street you have to take what a building is saying it is. Barr St Castings is a suitcase warehouse, Lambourne's Cufflink works a church. Looking at Frost's decrepit crumbling exterior, and the fact that through the front window was a rusting strip light hanging by only one chain, it was safe to assume Frosts were not electroplating or Barrel Rolling any more... Well at work the Maintenance engineers have a saying..."Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups and indeed when I knocked on the peeling door, expecting an Asian importer to answer, I was in fact greeted by an electroplater! Frosts were in fact still in operation!
Well one day I was up on that terrace when I noticed something was a-miss... The sign had gone!! Quick check on google revealed that Frosts had relocated from their crumbling premises to a new purpose built unit, complete with bumper cars for the staff on for the opening party. Whilst I was sad to see the sign gone, it was good to know that for a change, a firm respected and cherished their history rather than leaving it behind as we see so often.
Speed's text of "Frosts is open" was a very pleasing development in the story, and the explore did not disappoint.
Cadby's had been a jewellers, making tie pins, collar studs and cuff-links. (Ashford's and the near by Lambourne's did similar products, is this Birmingham's forgotten "Cuff-link Quarter"?!)
It seems the works is actually three works. Ashfords, Cadby and Frosts. This amalgamation of three factories made the whole affair a bit of a maze and I'm sure we missed bits. By far the most interesting was the offices of Ashfords, a former jewellers. The bizarre four doored sales counter(?) sported some kind of crazy chain operated latch on each door, I presume so the salesman could let in a perspective client into the booth without leaving his desk.
I would like to add how odd seeing the inside of that building was... All along I had assumed it was empty, as from the street it has broken windows, has NEVER been open as long as I have lived in Brum and ticks all the boxes on the check-list for an empty building... in fact it was the most pristine part of the whole site!
Ashford's and Frosts respectively
Cadby's original frontage
Doormat in Ashford's
This had been the "gold lab"
It seems fitting that a building that was originally spotted for having an enamel sign should be harbouring another!