Acocks Green residents were pleased when the two fine Victorian properties, 42 and 44 Flint Green Road, a strong feature of the local area, were recently saved from demolition. This was after a vigorous campaign: see for example here or here (You will find a list of entries on this campaign if you put 44 Flint Green Road into the Search Box top right.) The campaign was also supported by the national organisation SAVE , by The Birmingham Mail and by local councillor, Roger Harmer. The houses have survived. The original doors have been less fortunate.
Focus Group members were saddned to notice, that the doors to both 42 and 44 Flint Green Road have been replaced. The result is a disappointing cheapening and vulgarising of the appearance of the houses. The original green door, seen on the right would have been a solid, heavy, Victorian front door, made with high quality Victorian ‘pitch’ pine: dense, slow grown, pine which was used for front doors, ships and other places where a durable wood was required. It has six panels with proper architrive mouldings around each panel and original brass door furniture. A door like this would have been made by a craftsman, to fit this house. It must have had many layers of paint, but it would always have been smoothly painted with no trace of the original wood underneath.
The new door may look superficially ‘smart’ because it is new. It is also, by comparison with the old door, poorly made – it has no proper architrive. It is designed so that the grain of the wood shows through, in a, tacky, fake ‘olde worlde’ pseudo medieval style which would have apalled any Victorian. The door furniture is clunky, cheap and simply wrong. The whole item is clearly mass produced and bears no relation to the house.
There is a simple example of ugliness in the new 42 Flint Green Road door here. However, there is one sight difference. We have learned that the original doors to both buildings went into skips outside the buildings.
On enquiring we were told us that we could check the skips if we liked, and keep any doors that we found. The door to 42 Flint Green Road was here – half buried in setting cement, but saveable. Sadly the skip for 44 had recently gone. Workmen, to whom we are very grateful, assisted us in removing the door to 42. (Thanks also to the prompt response of Graham of Brum Pushbikes: good work Graham!) If one of the many people who, we are advised, has expressed an interest in purchasing one of these two properites would like to have an original door back – for either house, then such a door will be available for a while. It is in good condition. It will need repainting. The incongruous new, plastic, frame, that has been put in will need replacing. It depends how much you love Victorian houses, but it is all possible.
If you are interested please use the ‘Contact Us’ button near the top of the list of links on the right here. The door will be kept for a few months, but early contact would be appreciated. The door was given to us free, and we will not be charging to pass it on: free to anyone who purchases either 42, or 44, Flint Green Road, Acocks Green.
The pillars and porch canopy over 44 Flint Green Road are, at time of writing this post, still there. Now, let us hope very much …
This is yet one more reason why Acocks Green still, urgently, needs a Conservation Area, in order to prevent such destruction. These are difficult times, but our campaign for a Conservation Area goes on, and we hope to have more discussions, and for residents to be able to undertake some work on this project themselves, soon.