Located in central Birmingham, the Jewellery Quarter has long been an established area for the jewellery trade. Not only that, but it has also been the origin of many developments in industrial technology - notably by Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer, James Watt, and his improvements in steam engine technology.
As The Galliard Apsley Partnership’s exciting new scheme, St Paul’s Quarter, got underway at the site of James Watt’s former home, excavators were thrilled to discover the foundations and basement of the pioneers former semi-detached Georgian home where he lived between 1777-1790. Although it was known that the site had this historic background, archaeologists were excited to uncover the remains of his home which was known as Harper’s Hill.
Archaeologists have been able to successfully determine the layout of the property as well as recovering artifacts which will go to a local museum. As a nod to this pivotal figure of the Industrial Revolution, the new road which links Newhall Street to Regent Place will be named ‘Harper’s Hill’.
Throughout his career, James Watt was responsible for the mass production of steam engines with fellow industrialist Matthew Boulton, known together as Boulton & Watt. The pair played a fundamental role in the Industrial Revolution where their work eventually went on to transform lives across the world. He continued to go on and invent the first copy machine, coined the term ‘horsepower’ and created the rotary engine. The unit ‘Watt’ was eventually named after him in 1882, 63 years after his death.
Following its demolition, the site of Watt’s former home became populated with workshops and small factories, notably that of manufacturers A E Harris.
Now in 2021, The Galliard Apsley Partnership continue to regenerate the city of Birmingham with 305 apartments set to be built upon the site. St Paul’s Quarter will also incorporate an impressive 100,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, allowing new and existing businesses to operate within the Jewellery Quarter. This exciting mixed-use scheme will improve connectivity within the area, strengthen the industrial heart of the city and deliver a fantastic selection of residential units made up of one, two and three bedroom apartments, duplexes and urban townhouses.