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Report - G S Smart, Metalcraft Ltd, Birmingham



dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#1
This place was done ages ago by Bubblehead and Co, and never fired my rockets. However with it being on the doorstep of my new gaff I decided it was worth a poke around one sunny afternoon.

Smarts were general metal crafters, making metal furnature, greenhouse frames, pelmets etc. They are listed in a 1950's trades directory I own as "hearth furnishing manufacturers", and there was certainly evidence of this with log boxes and companion sets still being stored in the cellars.

The works is an odd collection of buildings, fronted by a row of Georgian houses. From the paperwork I found it seems they were booted out of their former works in the 1950's as the area was up for development. It seems they got little help from the council in finding a new works, so perhaps they settled for what they could get. I am only speculating there, but from the letters it seems they were pretty desperate for a new premisis!

The houses still contain many of their Georgian features, from windows, fireplaces and staircases. Two of them to the right of the external picture were never converted, only used as a stores. Although virtually ruinous, they are still as they would have been when the domestic occupants moved out.

The works was pretty stripped, apart from the odd bedstead or (garish) metal chairs. The older stuff from the pictures was very stylish, from an era when heavy wood and stone was out and chique curved gleaming chromium was in.

The loft of one of the houses was crammed full of 40's/50's paperwork from a range of Black Country foundries, metal stockists and every other imaginable trade from signwrighters to the milkman, an amazing insight into the running of a company of the time.

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