The building

One of only two Grade II* buildings within the JQTH area, the building has some striking architectural features including the red brick and stone dressing. Built in 1863 for W.E. Wiley, a manufacturer of gold pens, it also was unique in that it also housed a Turkish Bath. Since 1984, the building has been owned by Midlands Industrial Association Ltd, a Community Benefit organisation that provide managed workspaces. As such it is home to many different businesses. The building also houses the Pen Museum which focusses on the legacy of Birmingham’s 19th Century pen trade.

Restoration project

The building needed external repairs with evidence of failing brickwork and stonework. These works were required not just to improve the aesthetics of the building but also to ensure the building remained structurally sound and wind and watertight. The windows were also inefficient and in need of an overhaul. The building originally had two pyramidal corner turrets which had been removed in the 20th Century. Part of the project included the reinstatement of these turrets based on the original design.

The JQTH grant scheme part funded these works and the repairs were undertaken throughout 2020, achieving completion in February 2021.

The Argent Centre

Film by Blue Monday

Project photos

Pre – restoration photos