Hands on Building

In 1912 Horace Ireton Hands (born 1876) was the architect for eight houses in Drummond Road. Hands served his articles as an architect with the firm of Essex, Nichol and Goodman in Birmingham. He attended the Birmingham School of Art where he was taught by W.H. Bidlake. At the time he became the chief architect for the ideal Village his offices were at 47 Temple Row. He stayed there till 1912 and moved to Coleridge Chambers at 177 Corporation Street. Hands had won a competition in 1910 to design Ideal Village houses and following his success he was contracted to design those in Drummond Road. The application was made on 9th September 1912. Hands’ position as main architect of the village was perhaps enhanced because he married Clara, the daughter of Francis Daniels. When he died on 22nd March 1929 (service at Carr’s Lane Church) he was survived by Clara and her father. Clara married again, in 1932, to Wilfred Griggs.

The year 1912 saw the most building activity since the initial building programme. The layout of the village was now clearer and it roughly followed a plan submitted by Parker and Unwin in 1908. Their plan was for less housing with more space around them and houses more staggered and curved away from each other than in the resulting end layout. Gardens were to be bigger too and there was a path planned to run around the outside of the park. Their concept was for a rural village. This got lost in the scheme of things, probably down to economic factors.

The most significant building in 1912 was, as mentioned earlier, the Mission Church, which was created out of the parish of St Margaret’s, Ward End. The cost of the land was £800 and the project was led by the Reverend J.A. Morgan with the foundation stone being laid on 23rd March 1912. Building did not take long and it was completed on 20th July – just under four months later. The building was of a solid brick construction and able to seat 336 people. Running along one side were five classrooms which could be opened up as part of the main worship area by rolling back partitions. A parish room was added and completed in 1913 and the final bill came in at £3,090 1s 9d. All of this was raised through the tireless efforts of Morgan and the church members via sales, private donations and so on. Part of Morgan’s brief, apart from overseeing the building of the church, was to establish a strong local congregation, which he did with great success. The plan, even at that stage, was to build a stone church in the foreseeable future along with a “proper” vicarage. The Mission Church would then, it was thought, be converted into a parish hall.

(continues in Completion of the Village)

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