West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee established in 1986 as a revolving fund buildings preservation trust. The Trust is empowered to operate within and around the West Midlands County conurbation covering the local authority areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton and surrounding areas. The Trust currently has up to 20 directors / trustees and operates as a voluntary organisation employing consultants and contractors on a project by project basis.
West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust (WMHBT) is the lead partner of a consortium of three West Midlands based building preservation trusts which also include the Worcestershire Building Preservation Trust and the City of Wolverhampton Regenerating Buildings Preservation Trust. This group has a shared board of trustees and officers. WMHBT is currently undertaking a strategic review and is seeking to build a resilient model for future operations working closely with it's partners.
Membership of the Trust is open to anyone with an interest in safeguarding historic buildings in the West Midlands. The Trust organises a range of activities to encourage people to get involved with their built heritage, including: a regular newsletter; specialist talks, events and visits to historic buildings; arranging public access (as appropriate) to buildings before, during and after repair; commissioning and publishing research into historic buildings; encouraging the involvement of schools and colleges in conservation projects; and disseminating information via the trust’s website.
The core activity of the Trust is the rescue of historic buildings, either statutorily listed or those located within conservation areas, which are at risk from long term neglect and decay. Bringing projects to fruition can be both challenging and time consuming. To date the Trust has completed three buildings rescue projects since its creation; 19-20 High Street, Kinver; The Harris and Pearson Building, Brierley Hill and the Lye and Wollescote Cemetery Chapels, Stourbridge. Several other potential projects have been investigated over the years but for various reasons have not been pursued. Two new projects are currently being investigated.
Partner trust Worestershire Building Preservation Trst has recently completed the Weavers Cottages Project in Kidderminster the sale of which is imminent. One new project is currently at options appraisal stage. The City of Wolverhampton Regenerating Buidings Preservation Trust has completed one project at 12 George Street and is currently seeking another in the city. The Trust is also sponsoring research into Weller Associates, a Wolverhampton based Arts & Crafts Movement architectural practice, and to promote the work of the practice to a wider audience.