The Old Crown, Birmingham

The Old Crown, Birmingham
The Old Crown
General information
Architectural style Black and white timber frame
Town or city Birmingham
Country England
Coordinates 52°28′29″N 1°53′01″W / 52.4747°N 1.8836°W / 52.4747; -1.8836Coordinates: 52°28′29″N 1°53′01″W / 52.4747°N 1.8836°W / 52.4747; -1.8836
Completed 1450-1500

The Old Crown a pub in Deritend, is the oldest extant secular building in Birmingham, England.[citation needed] It is Grade II* listed, and claims to date back to circa 1368, retaining its "black and white" timber frame, although almost all of the present building dates from the early 16th century.



It is believed it was constructed between 1450 and 1500 with some evidence dating to 1492 (the same year the Saracen's Head in nearby Kings Norton was completed). Leland noted the building, upon entering Birmingham, in 1538 as a "mansion house of tymber". It is thought to have been originally built as the Guildhall and School of St. John, Deritend. Heath Mill Lane, which runs alongside the building, is first mentioned in a deed dated 1589 under the name "Heathe Myll Lane". Heated skirmishes were fought around the building when Prince Rupert's forces raided Birmingham during the English Civil War. The building was converted into two houses in 1684 and then converted into three houses in 1693. It remained three houses until the 19th century.

In 1851, Joshua Toulmin Smith saved the Old Crown from demolition when the Corporation proposed demolishing the building in order to "improve the street". Again in 1856 and 1862 the Corporation proposed to demolish the building and Smith saved the building each time.


The building is 71 feet 4 inches wide and 20 feet 2 inches deep on the ground floor. On the first floor, which overhangs the front, it is 21 feet 9 inches deep. When built, the original building had a central hall with a length of 40 feet and a width of 20 feet. Below this was a number of arched cellars. On the upper floor were just four rooms. The building had a courtyard to its rear which contained a well. It was 26 feet deep and surrounded by large stones. The well was excavated and deepened to produce a total depth of 38 feet. The new section of the well was lined with square bricks. At the top, it was two feet, seven inches at its narrowest diameter and two feet, nine inches at its widest diameter. It widened to around four feet at the bottom. The well was cleaned in 1863 and Smith added an iron gate to the top of it to preserve it whilst keeping it accessible.



  • Toulmin Smith, Joshua (1863). Memorials of Old Birmingham - Traditions of The Old Crown House in Der-Yat-End in the Lordship of Birmingham. Henry Wright, Temple Buildings, New Street. 
  • Thompson, Michael J (1994). The Old Crown House at Deritend, Birmingham: glimpses of its history, owners and landlords from 1368. publisher. ISBN 0-9523854-0-6. 
  • Details from listed building database (217289) . Images of England. English Heritage.

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