Report - Typhoo Tea, Birmingham, June 2015

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A man called Martyn

cultural theorist
28DL Full Member
Aug 30, 2008
A little background information care of the Birmingham mail

BIRMINGHAM’S famous Typhoo Tea factory site has been sold and part-converted into a car park – but the future of the historic premises remains uncertain.

The former tea factory on the corner of Bordesley Street and New Canal Street in Digbeth has been acquired by the Gooch Estate, one of Birmingham’s most prominent land-owning groups.

Birmingham-based Gallan Parking has now opened a 148-space pay and display car park, breathing life into the site for the first time since it became vacant in 1999.

The plot had been granted planning permission for a mixed-use scheme, including more than 350 flats, which would have seen the factory part demolished with only the frontage retained.

But the economic downturn has left the project unlikely to go ahead, and the future of the 160,000 sq ft factory building unclear.

The Typhoo site was one of Birmingham’s most prominent landmarks for decades, with tea production continuous from the 1930s until its closure by then owners Cadbury Schweppes in the late 1970s.

The factory, well known for its predominantly Irish workforce, enjoyed a proud industrial history in Birmingham, surviving bombing by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War.

Founded by 1903 by Birmingham grocer John Summer, Typhoo merged with Schweppes in 1968 and the Digbeth factory closed in 1978.

Workers led an unsuccessful campaign to stave off the closure, with the Transport and General Workers Union calling a work to rule. Demonstrations and protests by MPs eventually led to a settlement which resulted in improved cash terms for redundancy.

Former convenor Tom Burke, who organised a reunion of ex-workers in May 2004, said at the time: “There used to be a great spirit at the place. You could say it was a delightful place to work. It was more or less a family.”

The Gooch Estate comprises the remnants of what were the original manorial estates of Birmingham, with around 200 property interests from the A38 through to Eastside.