The new premises currently being constructed for the Birmingham Assay Office this weekend saw the addition of several ‘feature bricks’, bearing key hallmarking symbols used during the office’s 240 years in operation.
The marks include the traditional hallmarking symbols; a lion for sterling silver, crown for gold, orb for platinum and Pallas Athene for palladium. The famous Birmingham town mark – an anchor – also features prominently.
The Icknield Street building, near Spring Hill has now disrupted the skyline and the blue brick exterior is almost complete.
Local Birmingham firms such as Toye, Kenning & Spencer and Thomas Fattorini are joined by national specialist jewellery retailer F. Hinds and the British Jewellers’ Association as ‘brick sponsors’ amongst others. Some £12,000 raised by the marked bricks will be split between the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Jewellery and Giftware Benevolent Society Fund.
Fund raiser David Doyle and chairman of the Building Steering Group Martyn Pugh (who is also an eminent silversmith) both sponsored bricks and had the privilege of laying then in place.
Stella Layton, chief executive and assay master of of the BAO was on site to ensure these first two symbolic bricks were laid in their allocated spaces, to begin to add some “quirky, distinctive features” to the new building.
Layton said: “We are very proud of our history and our long established place in the Birmingham business community. This new building represents a huge step forward and marks the confidence we have in our future. We are very pleased that some of our long standing customers will be so clearly represented on the exterior of our new building with the added bonus of raising money for two excellent charities.”
The new building is due to open during July 2015 following a phased move from the current premises in Newhall Street.
The full list of companies sponsoring bricks is:
Thomas Fattorini, R Platnauer, Toye Kenning & Spencer, Cooksongold, Deakin & Francis, BJA (British Jewellers’ Association), F Hinds, Charles Green, Hockley Mint, Weston Beamor, Jewellery Brokers and Martyn Pugh.