The Jewellery Quarter has plenty of interesting old buildings, factories and workshops packed into its narrow streets. On a recent wander around the JQ I stumbled upon this building- The Pickering & Mayell Ltd, Reliance Works.
It was the hand painted signage which first caught my eye as I walked up Caroline Street in the Jewellery Quarter. I love the old vintage lettering set in a white panel contrasting against the ageing red brick façade and the signage on the original sash windows . There are quite a few ‘ghost signs’ preserved on many of the old factories and workshops in the area- a memory to long forgotten businesses and trades. So I decided to do a bit for research and find out who exactly Pickering and Mayell were…
The Pickering & Mayell works is a red brick building situated on the corner of Caroline Street and Kenyon Street occupying plot no’s 41& 42. It is a grade II listed building and was the premises for a packaging firm who made and supplied cases for jewellery. On the sign on Kenyon Street it also states that they manufactured window display fittings, trays and pads.
The firm occupied the building from 1913 until 2012 when the company merged with the Talbot group and moved to new premises. I think the building has since remained unoccupied and is currently on the market for let.
According to English Heritage the building was built around 1826 and was originally two dwellings with workshops to the rear. It was common during this time for many people to live and work in the same building and many of the remaining Georgian town houses in the JQ (particularly around St Paul’s Sq) would have once had workshops either on the ground floor or to the rear.
The frontage facing Caroline Street has many typical Georgian characteristics including sash windows broken up with glazing bars as well as a symmetry and simplicity of fenestration. The tall proportion windows get shorter under the eaves line and the roof has a relatively shallow pitch probably clad in slate.
The building definitely has a derelict charm with broken windows, peeling paintwork and ageing brick. I just hope that whatever the future holds for this building that it retains its industrial character and that lovely painted vintage sign!
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