Newsletter – April 2008

April 10th, 2008 by JCope

Joan Ryder opened the Society’s meeting on 1st April by detailing the forthcoming Social, the Hughenden Manor trip and the Ramble in Hagley Park.  She then introduced Greta Lacey, who was to talk on Restoration Old and New – Kings Norton Grammar School and Saracen’s Head.

Many had seen the BBC Restoration series in 2004 when the two buildings in Kings Norton had won the final vote but none of us was prepared for the riveting story that lay behind this. Greta started with a short history of the Saracen’s Head.  Built as a wool merchant’s house in 1492, many alterations had been made to the building during its long history and it had existed as a pub only for 120 years from 1790.

The Old Grammar School dated from 1434-1460 but it had a 14th Century window.  However, much of the detailed history of the building has been lost. It was certainly used as a school during its life but was it built as such?  Could it have started out as a chantry chapel?  We were left with many tantalising questions – but few answers!

Greta concluded by recalling the fascinating train of events that followed the phone call from the BBC in April 2004 and that culminated in the buildings receiving over £3m in grant funding for their restoration.

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