Custard Factory

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The Custard Factory is an arts and media production centre in Birmingham, England. Located on the redeveloped site of the Bird's Custard factory in the industrial district of Digbeth, it is home to a community of businesses, primarily with an artistic and media slant, but also including entertainment venues and regional offices of national charitable organisations.

Custard Factory of Birmingham
Custard Factory of Birmingham

They include the Medicine Bar, Punch Records, Fused Magazine and the Tindal Street Press, and the Birmingham branches of the National Trust, the Press Association, Royal Town Planning Institute, Terrence Higgins Trust, and Prince's Trust. The project was set up by Bennie Gray.

Custard Factory of Birmingham
Custard Factory of Birmingham

The Custard Factory complex is set in five acres of factory buildings, originally constructed by Sir Alfred Frederick Bird (1849-1922), the son of Alfred Bird (1811-1878), the inventor of egg-free instant custard. The architectural firm commissioned to design the building was Hamblins. The architect may have been Augustus William Brenchley Macer-Wright who married Ellen Kate Hamblin, known as Jenny, who was the daughter of the man behind the Architect Firm's name.

Custard Factory of Birmingham
Custard Factory of Birmingham

After the Bird company's departure to Banbury in 1964, the buildings were redeveloped from 1992, in two initial phases. The architect for the redevelopment project was Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects. The redevelopment of the Custard Factory began in January 1992 when the project was given £800,000 as a City Grant Award.

Custard Factory of Birmingham
Custard Factory of Birmingham

In March 2007, the regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands, announced new funding for the Custard Factory of £9.6m, to open 100 new office and workspace units. The result was Zellig (former Devonshire House), a restored grade II listed building, featuring a new sculpture, the Deluge, by sculptress Toin Adams and opened in May 2010.

Custard Factory of Birmingham
Custard Factory of Birmingham

The presence of the Custard Factory has enticed two media training agencies to locate nearby. The old Trades Union Studies Centre, very near, is now a media and arts annexe of South Birmingham College with a new building alongside it. In 2005, the VIVID media centre moved from the Jewellery Quarter to a site very near the Custard Factory.

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