Architects and contractors

Charles Edward Bateman

CE Bateman (1863 – 1947) was a Birmingham architect who built, amongst other local buildings, St Chad’s Church in Hollyfield Road.

At Holy Trinity he was responsible for the major works begun in 1914 with the painting of the chancel ceiling and culminating in 1929 in the remainder of the painted ceilings, the formation of the Vesey Chapel with the screen at the front, and the re-decoration of the church at that period.

More information is here

He is also given a chapter in the following book from The Victorian Society:

Ballard, Phillada (ed) Birmingham’s Victorian and Edwardian architects, Oblong Creative Ltd 2009 (pp 423-450.  Chapter by David Davidson)

William Henry Bidlake

Bidlake (1861-1938) was a leading figure of the Arts and Crafts movement in Birmingham and Director of the School of Architecture at Birmingham School of Art from 1919 until 1924.

His father, George, had designed Sutton Coldfield Town Hall in 1959.

He designed a number of churches across the city, notably Emmanuel, Wylde Green.  He also designed a number of arts and crafts houses in the city, five of which were on the Four Oaks estate – including Woodgate, which he designed for himself in 1896, and 17 Barker Road

Further information on Woodgate including a picture can be found in an article by Roger Lea:

He is also given a chapter in the following book from The Victorian Society:

Ballard, Phillada (ed) Birmingham’s Victorian and Edwardian architects, Oblong Creative Ltd 2009 (pp 367-400.  Chapter by Trevor Mitchell)

Another of Bidlake’s designs, Yates House, Ladywood Road, was severely damaged by fire in December 2015.

At Holy Trinity he designed the choir vestry of 1901 on the north-west corner of the church.  The interior was part of the re-design of the church in 2016, but the exterior remains visible.

Holy Trinity in 2011, before re-ordering
External view Vesey entrance and Bidlake Choir Vestry

Brownhill Hayward Brown

Based in Lichfield, Brownhill Hayward Brown is part of the BHB Architects group,  an award winning RIBA chartered architectural practice.  They have particular expertise in Heritage, Conservation and Ecclesiastical work.

The practice was established in 1946 and staff include specialist in house accredited conservation architects.

The practice has been the nominated architect at Holy Trinity for a number of years and was responsible for the plans for the major re-ordering of 2016-18.

Donald Grove

“Donald was born in 1922 and grew up in Wylde Green, attending Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School.

He trained at Birmingham School of Architecture, became an articled pupil to the Birmingham architect Owen Parsons in 1938 (who amongst other work designed a number of Arts and Crafts houses in Four Oaks and Wylde Green) and an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1944.

He worked with the War Damage Commission before graduating in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at New College, Oxford in 1952, making several lifelong friends along the way.

In 1953 he founded with a partner the architectural practice Harborne and Grove, working in Witton, then Coleshill Street, Sutton Coldfield until his retirement in 2002.  He designed buildings throughout the country and restored historic and listed buildings as well as being architect to the Sutton Coldfield Municipal Charities for many years.

In January 1980 Donald became architect to Holy Trinity and to St Peter’s Maney.  The Trinity Centre, which he designed, became one of his favourite projects despite the lengthy time and many obstacles in its creation, and the building to which he became most attached.

Donald Grove

Donald’s happy relationship with Canon Ted Longman and all those at Holy Trinity involved in the project contributed greatly to this affection, together with the enjoyable problem-solving aspect and the opportunity to give Sutton a useful building for the future.  Its design was inspired by the Arts and Crafts houses with which he was familiar from his training and which helped it fit in so well with its setting. He enjoyed overlooking the churchyard and observing progress on the Trinity Centre from his offices in Coleshill Street, and felt very much a part of the ongoing work.

He married Margaret at Holy Trinity in 1956 and they drove to Venice in a Morris Minor for their honeymoon, Donald having motored around France and Spain in his twenties.  They lived in Four Oaks thereafter with their daughter, Angela, in a house of his own design, filled with Margaret’s embroideries and furnishings.  After Margaret’s death in 1995, Angela returned to live there with him, sharing many interests from architecture and conservation to walks and crosswords.  In his spare time Donald loved to visit his house at Great Witley to enjoy the countryside and his Ferguson tractor.

Making a contribution to community life in Sutton was important to him, and amongst other roles he was founder Secretary of Sutton Coldfield Civic Society, Member of Sutton Coldfield Borough Council 1960-66, founder member of Aston Rotary Club and, following his retirement, a trustee of Sutton Coldfield Municipal Charities.  After retirement he enjoyed learning to use a computer at classes in Boldmere and took up watercolour painting and cookery.  Donald had an early heart operation 40 years ago, a subsequent pacemaker, and survived a heart attack 5 years ago.  Although these events slowed him down, he continued to pursue his various activities with great energy and delight until shortly before his death in March 2010.”

Angela Grove (daughter)

First published in Trinity, the magazine of Holy Trinity, in 2010.

William M Grundy

Grundy was the first to photograph Holy Trinity in the middle of the nineteenth century.  We are still hoping to reproduce examples of his work on these pages.  All that we have so far is a drawing of the chancel and nave by Norman G Evans based on one of Grundy’s photographs of 1852.

Roger Lea writes in a History Spot in the Sutton Coldfield Observer of 2008:

“The Grundys lived at the house which has since been converted into the Royal Hotel. Morris Grundy had retired as a partner in the Birmingham firm of Horton and Grundy, curriers and patent leather manufacturers, and his son William Morris Grundy had succeeded him in the flourishing business.

About the time of the family’s move to Sutton, W. M. Grundy developed an interest in photography, then in its infancy. He had a darkroom at home and a special van fitted up as a dark room and drawn by an old brown horse where the complex processes of developing and printing were carried out.

He exhibited at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1858. His work won great praise from the critics, and a carefully posed photograph of a model dressed as a Dutch fisherman was said to reach “the greatest height to which we may legitimately expect photographic composition to go”.

Credit: NG Evans from photo by WM Grundy 1852

Grundy published a series of stereoscopic photographs (two photos side by side which, seen through a viewer, give a 3D effect) in the 1850s, and a volume of poems, Sunshine in the Country, is illustrated with photos by Grundy. There are some of Grundy’s photographs in the Norman Evans Collection at Sutton Library, as well as copies of Sunshine in the Country published in 1861, two years after his death in 1859.”  You can get further information from the Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group.

William Hiorn

William, together with his brother David, took over the architecture firm Smith’s of Warwick which had undertaken the re-design of Warwick after the fire of 1694.

Roger Lea writes in a History Spot in Sutton Coldfield Observer of 2017:

“The Warden and Society of Sutton decided to undertake extensive repairs and alterations to Sutton’s Parish Church of Holy Trinity in 1758. They called on the best local architect to draw up a plan – William Hiorn. On November 2nd 1758 the Warden and Society resolved that trees to the value of £657 be felled in the Sutton Park. The money raised would pay for the new seating and other improvements to the inside of the church according to a plan by ‘Mr. William Hyrons’.

In May the following year part of the church collapsed, and a special meeting of the Warden and Society was called on the 14th ‘to consider how the breach of the Parish Church must be made up again – it being supposed to be done by the carelessness of the men employed by Mr. Hiorns in making preparation for the new pewing’. The Chancel was to be adapted as a temporary church. At the June meeting it was conceded that they had been too hasty in blaming the workers, and that the collapse was due to poor foundations. More trees were felled, and Mr. Hiorns’ accounts were finally settled in September 1761.”

You can find out more information from the Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group.