We love an old pub at Secret Birmingham, but the sorry state of the Golden Lion Inn only makes us feel sad. Originally built around 1600, the historic pub stood on Deritend High Street until 1911, when it was moved to Cannon Hill Park, where it was to be used as a cricket pavilion.
But the Golden Lion Inn has stood empty for more than 20 years now, left to rot and only kept up by scaffolding – it’s become a real eyesore in a stunning part of Birmingham. But there could be life in the old pub yet, as Historic England has awarded a grant of £32,000 to look into the condition of the abandoned building.
Birmingham Conservation Trust will lead the review of the Grade II-listed building, which could result in the former pub being brought back to life. The grant money will be used to establish the extent of the decay and the cost of repairs; further work will include a measured survey, conservation plan, management and maintenance plan, timber decay survey, dendrochronology, and asbestos, ecological and tree surveys.
“It’s wonderful to be part of this collaborative project to bring the Golden Lion Inn back from the brink. We’re really proud that we can start the process of restoration and renewal with this crucial project development grant,” said regional director of Historic England, Louise Brennan. “These works vital first step in securing the future of this storied landmark for the people of Birmingham and bringing it back into use.”
Many fear the Golden Lion Inn is in danger of becoming beyond repair if left any longer, if it can be saved at all, but it’s not the first time the building faced uncertainty. In 1912, Suffragettes set the building alight to bring attention to their campaign; they sprinkled oil on the timber frames after the park was closed, igniting it with a lamp.
What will happen to the Golden Lion Inn once work has been completed? Well, that’s still a long way off and no commitments have been made towards its future use. However, the BCT is currently looking into ways it might benefit the community.