What can be learnt from the buildings that we work in?

Only with change can we grow, evolve and improve.

At Colonel Duck, we regularly work with people to help identify where change needs to be made, and then help them achieve it. As you can probably guess, the longer I’ve worked here, the more aware I’ve become of the positive impact of change.

One topic in particular that has always crossed my mind is the business park Colonel Duck is currently situated in; Weekin Works. What is its history? How has it changed? What impact has it had on the area?

So I did some research.

Weekin Works is based in Harborne, right next door to the Harborne Walkway and old railway bridge. Most people don’t realise that amongst all the residential housing, is a business park.

Having been built in the Victorian era Weekin Works has quite a history.

The original building was built in 1851, and started life as a Brickworks. The location was ideal, with the close proximity to the Harborne railway line and station proving beneficial for business.

In 1897, other developments were taking place in Harborne, including Joseph Johnson opening his Chad Valley Works factory. This would be the start of Weekin Works first change.

Over many years Joseph Johnsons’ business began to thrive, and soon became the “Chad Valley Co. Ltd”, known famously for its toy production. As the business progressed, to meet demand, they expanded their factory and bought out other toy manufacturers.

It was in the 1950’s, when the company took over Robert Bros Ltd, that they decided to expand their manufacturing space in Harborne further. This expansion left Weekin Works with a new owner, a new purpose, and made it part of Harborne history.

Unfortunately, during the late 1960’s the company began to decline, and by the 1970’s all production in Harborne had ceased.

With this began Weekin Works second change. The building was repurposed and used as a transport depot for multiple companies. Any space that was unused was leased to small businesses. This marked the start of Weekin Works being used to bring more business to Harborne, and provide more small businesses with the opportunity to develop and trade.

By the 1990’s the ownership of the site had once again changed, and Weekin Works went through its third and current evolution. The site was transformed into a business park better fit for purpose. Although the original victorian building remained, internally it was refurbished and split into several offices and studios.

Over the past 20 years, these have become home to many businesses. It’s provided a space for small companies to grow and expand. This has included ourselves. We started off in Studio 14, and as we’ve grown, we’ve moved across to the double in size, Studio 2.

So although it’s one building, with the same bricks and mortar from over 150 years ago, it has evolved and changed. With each change, new benefits are brought to the area of Harborne; more business, more jobs, and new people.

Every day as I get in my car to leave work, I see Weekin Works in my wing mirror. It acts as a constant reminder that we all have to go through change in order to get to something new and greater.

— Hope Drew

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Studio 2, Weekin Works
112-116 Park Hill Road
B17 9HD
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