At Her Majesty’s Pleasure

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Gatehouse, HMP Birmingham © Historic England, James O. Davies

Andy Foster, who’s researching the forthcoming Pevsner volume covering Birmingham and the Black Country,  got in touch about this building last week and I thought a blog post would be in order.

So this is HKPA’s gatehouse for HMP Birmingham. The prison opened in 1849 to the designs of the Birmingham architect Daniel R. Hill. HKPA were commissioned to design a high-security complex to manage entry, admissions and discharge from the prison. Paddy Lawlor’s design, completed in 1987, echoes the strong turrets of the Victorian gatehouse it replaced:

HKPA gatehouse
Gatehouse, HMP Birmingham. © Historic England, James O. Davies

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This is  HKPA at their most Post-Modern, but has all the super-charged gutsiness and anthropomorphism of their early work. Late 1990s photographs by James O. Davies for English Heritage’s monograph on prisons.

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From the north east. © Historic England, James O. Davies
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From the north west. © Historic England, James O. Davies

 

 

 

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