The new home of the Birmingham Assay Office is starting to take shape, with construction of the modern building changing the landscape of the region’s Jewellery Quarter.
The new building will be situated on Icknield Street within the border of the St George’s development – a dedicated Enterprise Zone.
The Birmingham Assay Office was founded in 1773 by leading industrialists Matthew Boulton and has been located in its current Grade II listed building on Newhall Street for 137 years.
However, after years of add-ons and extensions it was decided the Assay Office had outgrown its location and needed to find another.
During the groundbreaking ceremony in May, Birmingham Assay Office chief executive and Assay master, Stella Layton, commented: “The new building will enable us to offer better facilities to our customers in terms of efficiency and security and much better, working conditions for our staff. It will provide a centre of excellence to the local trade and make our important private collection of silver and our library more accessible to researchers and other enthusiasts.
“The move is crucial to our future business development, offering a more flexible and more environmentally friendly facility to support our ambitions as we continue to grow our portfolio of innovative services to the jewellery, precious metal, gemstone and other associated trades.”
The building project has also been supported by an ERDF grant of £1.2m which, coupled with the financial incentives of the Enterprise Zone, have enabled the Assay Office to pursue plans for the move.