The Old Crown
Birmingham’s oldest secular building established in 1368, The Old Crown has been sympathetically transformed in a major renovation project which retains and enhances the rich historic character of the Grade II* listed inn.
Having stood the test of time during the English civil war, the pub stands proud in the heart of Digbeth, Birmingham’s thriving creative quarter. It acts as a central hub for the Digbeth community and is a landmark of the city.
The iconic pub, which is a staple of Digbeth’s nightlife, recently celebrated its 651st birthday, briefly closing its doors for just three weeks to undergo the upgrade.
Despite the modernised makeover, The Old Crown owners have made sure the pub’s traditional features, such as the original wooden beams, distinctive well and cobbled floors remain intact. Exposed brickwork, cosy leather seats and regal paintings make up the pub’s new design, bringing traditional and modern together to make a brand new drinking and dining experience. The pub is now more open plan, with even more seating.
The venue’s new interior was created by Novo Design, with the fit out and other internal works being carried out by Project Renovations, who were commended for their work.
Abbie Smith, Creative Director at Novo Design said: “The project brief was ‘traditional with a twist’ – especially concentrating on showcasing previously concealed historic elements of the interior. The scheme was also geared to opening up the internal space, improving connections between different areas to create better customer flow, and generally adding a complete new look and feel.”
Many of the building’s historic elements had been concealed by additions in the 1970s and ‘80s. The works therefore included stripping back with hand tools to reveal these – some of which are now key design features, including a big central fireplace, an original entrance door and a former store room, which can now be seen behind a glass partition.
Works geared to opening up the interior included the removal of two large internal structural walls, which enabled a better connection between the bar area and other spaces. Abbie Smith commented: “These works were quite significant – especially when dealing with such an old building. It was necessary to go into a great deal of detail with the structural engineers on topics such as how to tie in new steelwork with the original timber of the building, for example. This element of the project required us to work closely with a Conservation Officer from Birmingham Council, who liaised with English Heritage.”
The design palette includes William Morris wallpapers and soft, warm fabrics in keeping with the ‘heritage’ feel. Also, due to the building’s location in a creative area with lots of graffiti and street art, an element of this was included within the design, including artwork, brightly coloured paint, fringes and tasselling on furniture.
New light fittings and furniture were also included to enhance the overall effect of showcasing the building’s heritage and to provide cohesion of design. This included the re-upholstering of banquette seating and the addition of new traditionally styled furniture – some in contemporary fabrics to bring the design up to date. The colour scheme includes heritage hues and inky blues.
Abbey Smith commented: “The redesigned venue has a much softer feel and creates a more inviting atmosphere and environment.
“It was lovely to work on such a historic building with such heritage. The project ran smoothly and everything went very well, with Project Renovations doing a very good job. We were very pleased with their standard of finish and workmanship.
“The client is really happy with the end result and reports the venue has been well received by their customers.”
Matt Deakin, manager of The Old Crown, said: “We are all really excited for everyone to see all the hard work gone into refurbishing The Old Crown. We’ve made sure to keep that 14th century charm everyone knows The Old Crown for, but we’ve given The Old Girl a face lift to make sure people can enjoy her for many more years to come.”
Project Renovations is a West Midlands-based contractor, specialising in commercial refurbishments. We have been in operation for 20 years and have particular experience restoring and improving Grade Listed buildings.
We take pride in our attention to detail, high-end finishing and being a dependable contractor capable of continually exceeding customer expectations. We were recently involved the renovation of The Old Crown as the project’s principal contractor. The sympathetic restoration is an excellent example of our skillset and demonstrates our hard work and dedication to every job. We were proud to be the principal contractor and become part of the history of the evolution of this building.
We have completed similar work at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham. The refurbishment of this 19th century structure included work to the bar, function room and external façade.
To find out more, please visit www.projectrenovations.co.uk.