“I cannot look at modern buildings without thinking of historical ones”
The Tea Lounge at St Martins in the Bull Ring, is tucked away in the heart of one of Birmingham’s iconic churches (if you’re trying to find us and get lost, the ‘About’ page has some handy directions) which has a long history with lots of stories to tell.
The historic De Bermingham family lived close by to where the church now stands, and it is possible a rudimentary form of the church (very different to the church that’s here now!) was around from 1166 when the Market Charter, allowing development of the surrounding land, was granted. The church is first mentioned in writing in 1263, and it changed radically over the following centuries. Check out: http://ahistoryofbirminghamchurches.jimdo.com/birmingham-st-martin-in-the-bull-ring/ to see how these changes unfolded.
Fast forward several years, and the Second World War caused huge bomb damage to the church on 10 April 1941, and it took 16 years to restore it to its former glory. It was during this period that the new parish hall (now home to the Tea Lounge) was added to the building.
Once inside the church, it is worth having a look around at some of the old tombs and the beautiful stained glass windows. You may notice that even though there are tombs inside the church, there is no longer a graveyard outside, it was closed in 1848, at which point Park Street Burial Ground was opened. The newest addition to the features inside the church is the stained glass window designed by Craigie Aitchison, which you can read more about here: http://rainbowglassstudios.co.uk/work/craigie-aitchison-window-at-st-martins-in-the-bull-ring/ the window is different in style to those that were already in place, being quite modern in its design.
If you would like to explore the church for yourself, some upcoming dates for your diary are the 8th-10th September, when we are taking part in National Heritage Week. Alongside your trip to the Tea Lounge, you will be able to visit the Bell Tower, which is approximately 400 years old! Full details of this can be found at: https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/st.-martin-in-the-bull-ring-church
It would be great to see you there!
The heritage section on our official website has more info on some of the notable features around the building http://www.bullring.org/heritage/