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Austin Village

The Austin 7
1928/1929 Austin Seven Fabric Saloon

One of the jewels in the crown of Birmingham?s industrial heritage is the 120 acre Austin Village, originally built by Herbert Austin to house the additional workers needed for aircraft and munitions production at his factory during World War One. The site had been bought in 1916 from Thomas Middlemore, owner of Hawkesley Farm for ?7,750. Herbert Austin had left Wolseley in 1905 and set up at Longbridge in the former works of printed tin box manufacturers, White and Pike, where he produced the first Austin car in 1906. Thereafter the factory grew to become the home of British car production.

Today the cluster of Canadian Cedar prefabricated bungalows imported from America in 1917, are located around Hawkesley Drive and Central Avenue, Turves Green. Between the bungalows are brick built semi-detached houses built as fire breaks to stop any fire from spreading. With the bungalows originally housing seven workers and the houses twelve, the whole estate accommodated about two thousand workers. There are 199 in all and still inhabited and survived well, perhaps because the original deeds it stated that the outsides shall be painted every four years, with a good quality oil and lead paint. They are now protected by preservation order granted in 1997 thanks to a grant from the Countryside Agency?s Local Heritage Initiative, local residents are researching and recording the history of the village and drawing attention to its importance in local social and industrial history. 

Plaques were erected in Central Avenue by Birmingham Civic Society 2002

Central Avenue austinvp1.jpg (146215 bytes)
Click plaque to read
Central Avenue
Central Avenue austinvp2.jpg (171269 bytes)
Click plaque to read
A GR Pillar Box
austinv2.jpg (115270 bytes) A bungalow
Photos by VirtualBrum 11-October 2002

 

Austin Village by Douglas Adams, George Gilbert (Illustrator)

Thanks to Barry Walker for help editing this page
Barry was an apprentice at Longbridge from 1959 to 1965, leaving at the end of 1967.

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