Stormking Helps Restore A Birmingham City Landmark – The Grand Hotel
Over the years Stormking has worked on several largescale and high profile ‘one-off’ projects for customers who needed a modern cost-effective solution for their development. They also needed the assistance of a reliable partner, who could bring a wealth of experience and knowhow to the task at hand. Stormking was approached to assist with the manufacture of a number of ornate dormer window units for the planned renovation of one of Birmingham’s cherished hotels, The Grand Hotel, located on Colmore Row, in the heart of Birmingham City Centre.
The Grand Hotel was originally built in 1875 by the Horton family, who still own it nearly 150 years later. In its glory years the Grade II listed hotel was visited by a string of famous figures. King George VI, Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Charlie Chaplin, James Cagney and Joe Louis were among the famous figures to stay at the hotel over the years. The Grand was one of the Victorian landmarks which led to Birmingham being described as, ‘the most artistic town in England’ in the late 19th century. The hotel closed in August 2002 and two years later was put on the ‘Building At Risk’ register by English Heritage. Restoration work began in 2010 to remove asbestos and old furnishings and fittings and to refurbish the external stone façades.
Over the years the Grand Hotel had fallen into disrepair, and as such needed a grand plan to refurbish the hotel, to restore the Victorian architecture and rejuvenate the former city center landmark. To this end a 10-year, £45 million refurbishment project embarked to create a new hotel worthy of its original name. The Grand Hotel project, would see the hotel totally restored from the ground up, restoring the Victorian architecture that once adorned the interior décor, as well upgrading the dilapidated exterior façade and unsafe roof.
As part of the overall roof refurbishment, which housed some 30 ornate dormer units of different sizes and window apertures, which were in desperate need of replacement. Stormking was approached to see if their expertise with GRP could assist with producing the replacement dormer units. Replacing the units using traditional materials and methods was not possible, due to the high costs. Additionally, the increased weight of a like-for-like traditionally made dormer unit was not compatible with modern building practices, which were being employed within the upgrade work.
During December 2014 photographs were taken of the ornate dormer units, which not only showed the state of the dormer window units that were beyond repair, given their age and the weathering they had sustained over 100 years of service, but also the task of replacing such decorative and specialist items.
The Stormking Team rose to the challenge, by being able to draw upon their three decades of GRP skills and experience to good effect. During January 2015 Stormking deployed its modern design technologies and techniques allowing the original Victorian Dormer Unit Designs to be brought into the digital 21st Century, without losing any of the original buildings character. The in-house design team generated modern AutoCAD isometric drawings for the skilled pattern shop technicians to recreate the new dormers, which would not look out of place on an 18th Century roof line.
By the end of March 2015, the first set of newly manufactured Victorian Designed Dormer Units were in the final stages of preparation, ready to be installed in early April 2015.
Now fully restored, the Grand Hotel, Birmingham, roofline looks as impressive as ever, thanks to Stormking’s expertise. The Grand Hotel also boasts over 180 guest rooms, restaurants, bars, meeting rooms, roof terraces and penthouse suites and is truly back to its grand status, both inside and out!