By Tony Chesters, research volunteer

In it’s early years, No. 36 Warstone Lane had an eclectic mix of occupiers; a stationer, a day school, a hosier and a carver were all here before the Rowbothams arrived in 1879.

Charles Edwin Rowbotham was born in Birmingham in 1849; he was the son of Abel who was an electro-plater. In 1871, aged 22, he was living with his parents and described as a jeweller. He married Eliza Powers in April 1871. From 1879 for about 10 years, the Rowbothams lived and worked at No.36. The family were long time residents at the premises, with trade directories and rate books placing them there from 1879 to 1906.

In the 1881 census Mr Rowbotham was living at No. 36 with his wife, Eliza and children Amy (9), Charles (7), Frederick (5), and a new born son (Alfred) along with a general servant and a nurse. By 1891 the family home has moved to “Chaucer Villa”, Milton Crescent, Church Road, Yardley but their gold ring manufacturing business continued in Warstone Lane with Charles listed as an Employer and Gold Ring Manufacturer and employing his sons Charles and Frederick. They had one servant living with them.

From 1908 until the 1960’s, the property was divided into a shop and a number of first and second floor workshops occupied by a variety of jewellery-related trades and others, including a “Jews harp maker” in 1902.

From 1990 it has been occupied by a specialist diamond business.

Building Timeline


Building occupied by William Ellis, who was a stationer


Building occupied by Matilda Williams, who used the site as a day school


Building occupied by A McLaughlin, who was a stationer


Building occupied by Sameul Abbiss, who was a hosier


Building occupied by Alfred Grew, who was a carver


Building was occupied by Charles Edwin Rowbotham, who used the site as an office and a shop, and by Frederick George Rowbotham, who owned a gem ring making business


Building occupied by Alfred Higgison, a gold ring maker


Building occupied by Edward Sanders, who ran an electro-plating business


Building occupied by Walter Garratt & Reginald C Lee, who used the ground and first floors to house a workshop and electric motor


First floor used by Frank Furner as a workshop


First floor used by William Butler Matthews as a workshop


Second floor used by Percy Elkington & William Pearce as a workshop


Second floor used by Edward Thomas Trueman as a gem setting workshop


Building occupied by William Woolley, who was a Jews harp maker


Building occupied by Walter Albert Woolley, who was a ring maker


Building occupied by Samuel Everitt, who was an enameller


Building occupied by Arthur Barton, who was a jeweller


Building occupied by:

Walter James Gassatt
Reginald Cleveland Lee
Sidney Everett
John Flynn
George Johnson
R Lee & W Garrett
James Bradshaw


Building occupied by Turner Bros (Abestos) Ltd, who used it as a shop


First and second floor occupied by Robert H Parry, who used them as workshops


Ground and first floor occupied by Kenneth Whits


Second floor occupied by Robert Parry

1990 - Present

Building occupied by The Diamond Centre Ltd

Birmingham Evening Mail advert, December 1990