July 17th - Further up the road in less salubrious Tyseley, the incinerator that destroys Brum’s non-recyclable rubbish is still running flat out. A workmate said the other day that he hadn’t seen it running for weeks. I pointed out that you only see vapour from the flues in colder temperatures. The incineration is so thorough that very few visible particulates remain in the fumes generated.
The huge furnaces of the waste (sorry, ‘energy recovery’) plant overlook the lost gem of Hay Hall, hidden amongst warehouses and back-street lockups. This is why I love Birmingham: jarring contrasts around every corner.
November 30th - An odd kind of day, characterised mainly by horrendous travel problems. There was an odd atmosphere with nothing quite going to plan, but nothing really wrong, either. Hopping out for a breather at lunch, I tried exploring around Hay Hall, to see if I could find anything else of antiquity. I ended up going round in circles, but did notice this plaque. The huge factory is now a collection of subdivided units, with a curious and unusual tunnel down the middle. I had no idea Rover ever had a works out here. It sits immediately to the southeast of Hay Hall, and somewhat dwarfs it. This is an odd place.
November 6th - I came upon this remarkable building yesterday, completely by accident. Taking a wrong turn in the industrial backstreets of Tyseley, Birmingham, I found Hay Hall, one of the few remnants of Medieval architecture in the city. It’s got excellent chimney pots, too. Wikipedia has this to say:
A moated house or manor was first founded at the site in about 1260 by the De La Haye family. Hay Hall passed on to the Este family in 1423, when the heiress Marian De La Haye, married Thomas Este. They are commemorated in St. Edburgha’s Church atYardleyby a wall sculpture depicting them. The Este family owned and occupied Hay Hall until the late seventeenth century after which the property changed hands frequently. In 1917, when thePatented Butted Tube Company purchased Hay Hall and a surrounding 13 acres of land. The estate was developed into new tube works and factories but fortunately Hay Hall was saved from demolition.
The last person to actually reside at Hay Hall was apparently a Mrs Shelley who was employed as a housekeeper by the then rebranded Tube Investments Company, and was known to be living in the Hall up until 1939. In 1948 the building was fully restored and is currently in use as private offices for the Reynolds Tube Company Limited
I’m not sure if Reynolds still own it - the sign outside says ‘Air Link’, but it’s very hard to convey just how industrial the area around it is. Utterly incongruous, and rather lovely.