The Calthorpe Estates encompass a large, 1,600-acre area of Birmingham, centred on Edgbaston. Dating from the mid 18th century, the Estate has been carefully constructed and managed to ensure a high quality of architecture and to preserve the desirable nature of the area.

Baron Calthorpe wished to maintain the low density that was prevalent in the area, and he did so by leasing the land with covenants which precluded dense development of the land. Many leases also stipulated the minimum amount which must be spent on the build of the properties to ensure building quality was maintained. 

By 1834 careful plans for the development of Edgbaston were being executed, with ‘ribbon development’ along the Bristol and Hagley Roads, which has retained most of the characteristics and ideals from when it was developed as a suburb.   

This resulted in substantial houses in fair-sized gardens either side of the Hagley Road and the Harborne Road, reaching as far as the eastern end of Portland Road by 1863. The additional incentive of the Hagley Road railway station (opened 1874 closing 1934) meant nearly the whole of Edgbaston to the north and north-west was built on in the same manner. 

With the building of the university (1909) and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (1938) Edgbaston presents a leafy, low density suburb close to the centre of Birmingham. After the war, there was an insistence to increase the residential density of the areas close to the city centre.  As the majority of the properties land was overseen or owned by the Calthorpe Estate, they were reluctant to alter the character of the area, therefore a few sites of high rise residential projects were created to have as minimal impact on the original ideal of the area, along with further housing developments infilling bomb sites, this has created this increase in density required.

A selection of our work on the Calthorpe Estates

Simpsons

44 George Road

Hagley Hall

As experts in restoration and heritage projects, Lapworth Architects have frequently worked with Calthorpe Estates on projects such as Hagley Hall, on the refurbishment of Simpsons restaurant, and on several conversion projects in the area. Together, Lapworth and Calthorpe are ensuring the economic vitality of Edgbaston and the surrounding areas by preserving and futureproofing its unique character.