Daimler House

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Birmingham, Daimler House, Paradise Street

Showrooms in the city centre were unusual. The only survivor is Daimler House in Paradise Street, on a prestigious site almost opposite the Town Hall, of 1911 by A. Gilbey Latham. Daimler produced expensive, luxury cars, hence the location. Its facade is an essay in Edwardian BaroqueGlossary Term, with giant attached IonicGlossary Term columns and a big broken pedimentGlossary Term over the entrance: a rare style in Birmingham, and one never used by the Arts and CraftsGlossary Term trained architects at the head of the profession in the city. Latham was a very different kind of man, who called himself an architect and surveyor. The interior included a ground floor showroom and basementGlossary Term repair shop with a car lift between them, all destroyed by substantial alterations of 1991.


Arts and Crafts

Associated with the Arts and Crafts movement, an important offshoot of the later English Gothic Revival. Not so much a style as an approach to design, it sought truth to materials, high standards of craftsmanship, and an integration of decorative and fine arts, architecture included. Its representative figure is the writer and designer William Morris (1834-96).


The term, originally derogatory, for a style at its peak in 17th- and early 18th-century Europe, which developed the classical architecture of the Renaissance towards greater extravagance and drama. Its innovations included greater freedom from the conventions of the orders, much interplay of concave and convex forms, and a preference for the single visual sweep. The revival of the style in early 20th-century Britain, often termed Edwardian Baroque or Neo-Baroque, drew more on English prototypes than on the more expansive variants of the Continent.


Lowest, subordinate storey; hence the lowest part of a classical elevation, below the piano nobile or principal storey.

Broken pediment

A pediment with its apex omitted.


One of the orders of classical architecture, distinguished in particular by downward- and inward-curling spirals (called volutes) on the capital of the column.