voted for the eight shortlisted buildings in the live Restoration
2004 final at Hampton Court Palace on Sunday 8 August. The Old Grammar
School and Saracen's Head beat off stiff competition from Newbridge
Memorial Hall in Wales, Knockando Wool Mill, in Scotland and others
to become the 2004 winner.
future for the two buildings now looks rosy - the Heritage Lottery
Fund has pledged £2.5 million towards restoring the winning
buildings, provided that they fulfil the conditions set by the Trustees
of The Restoration Fund.
750,000 votes were cast in the final public phone poll to decide
the winner, with the Birmingham buildings securing a narrow victory.
See our gallery of the two historic buildings
Last year's Restoration series received around 2.3 million votes
and raised £3.5m towards the restoration of The Victoria Baths
old sign of the Saracen's Head
year the Midlands heat saw the two Birmingham buildings beat Newstead
Ravenshead and Bawdsey Radar Station, to clinch a place in the series
Old Grammar School and The Saracen's Head stand on Kings Norton
village green along with a 12th Century church.
Old Grammar School
from the 15th Century, The Old Grammar School is one of the oldest
in the midlands. The timber-framed structure that has sadly fallen
into decay and is on English Heritage's "at risk" register.
school's most famous headmaster was Thomas Hall, a puritanical Protestant
who took up the post in 1629. Upon his death, his legacy to the
country was one of the largest libraries in the land (now housed
in Birmingham Central Library).
continuing as a school for two hundred more years, the building
fell into neglect at the beginning of the 19th century. Repairs
were made in 1910 when a new external staircase was put in and again
in 1951 after vandalism and further decay had taken their toll.
from 1492, The Saracen's Head was originally a Wool Merchants. Extensions
were added to the building in later years and it housed a row of
building has its place in Royal history, as it is believed that
Queen Henrietta Maria once stayed there. On the night of July 10
in 1643, she travelled from Yorkshire to Oxford in the midst of
the English Civil War, spending the night in Kings Norton. One of
the rooms in the building is now called 'The Queen's Room' to mark
became an inn sometime during the early 19th Century, remaining
so until it was given to the local church by the brewery in 1930.