Showrooms after 1918

The period after the First World War was difficult for the motor industry and surviving post-warGlossary Term showrooms are rarer than Edwardian ones. But this survey can end with two sales buildings of the twenties, both on the south-west of the city centre, but further out than John Bright Street, beyond the later Inner Ring Road.

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Birmingham, Bristol Street, Alfred Allen's shop

Alfred Allen's furniture shop in Bristol Street looks with its huge concave gableGlossary Term almost like radical Arts and CraftsGlossary Term work of around 1900, but was built in 1926 to a design by T.D. Griffiths of Coventry for Cecil Kay, a dealer in Rover and Fiat. Griffiths' first design had lots of fake half-timberingGlossary Term.

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Birmingham, Hurst Street, Showroom

The row of shops on the corner of Hurst Street and Kent Street was built in 1929-30 as showrooms for Wells and Mayner, who were general dealers in second hand cars. The architect was Alfred J. Dunn, quite a radical Free StyleGlossary Term architect in Birmingham and Gloucester during the Edwardian period. This is rather a comedown: small scale and domestic, with bayGlossary Term windows on the upper floor.


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).


Division of an elevation or interior space as defined by regular vertical features such as arches, columns, windows etc.

Free Style

Used for buildings of c. 1900 which eschew the use of any particular historical style, drawing instead on a mixture of (usually) late Gothic, Renaissance and Art Nouveau motifs.


Peaked external wall at the end of a double-pitch roof. Types include: Dutch gable, with curved sides crowned by a pediment (also called a Flemish gable); kneelered gable, with sides rising from projecting stones (kneelers); pedimental gable, with classical mouldings along the top; shaped gable, with curved sides; tumbled gable, with courses or brick or stonework laid at right-angles to the slope. Also (Scots) a whole end wall, of whatever shape.


Archaic term for timber framing. Sometimes used for non-structural decorative timberwork.


Upright support in a structure.