The Friends of Historic Kings Norton
Our mediaeval green and its buildings have been at the heart of our community for over 500 years. The Tudor Merchant's House was built in 1492 by a local wool merchant. By the 1770s, part of the buildings had become an inn, the Saracen's Head.
In 1930, the buildings were gifted by Mitchell & Butler's brewery to the Kings Norton Parish Church for use as parish offices and community rooms. They have been the social focus of our community ever since.
The buildings were made more accessible as a result of winning the BBC's Restoration television series in 2004.
We welcome all people, whatever their physical abilities or skills, whatever their age, and to whatever social, economic or religious group they belong.
How We Started
By 2004 both the Saracen's Head and the Old Grammar School were in desperate need of restoration. The Grammar School, donated to the parish in 1916 by Sir Theodore Pritchett, was on the English Heritage at-risk list. The Friends formed to raise funds for the restoration of the historic buildings that are now known collectively as Saint Nicolas' Place.
What We Do
We raise money. All buildings have maintenance costs. When you are over 500 years old you need all the help you can get. We are very grateful to the BBC TV Restoration series, to the Heritage Lottery Fund and to English Heritage for all their financial and expert technical help. Now, we are on our own and have to be self-supporting. Fund-raising for the future is therefore essential.
Why Become a Friend?
There are many ways that we can derive mutual benefit form our relationship with our Friends. Apart from contributing financially through your subscription, you can support us by attending our events and acting as an ambassador for us amongst your friends and family. Some Friends also go on to offer their time by volunteering to help us in our shop, at our book sales and so on.
In return, we offer the opportunity to meet like-minded people and to receive regular newsletters containing updates and interesting information about Saint Nicolas' Place and listings of Birmingham-wide heritage events. We also offer access to exclusive free or subsidised Friends-only events.
Membership is only £7.50 per annum or £5 for those not in full-time employment. You can join simply by sending an email to the address shown below or by calling in at Reception at Saint Nicolas' Place and asking to become a Friend.
Do I have to become involved in a hands-on way to become a friend?
No. Your financial contribution and general support is all that is necessary; but it will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of this amazing place if you do.
I don't have a lot of spare time and can't make a regular commitment. Is there anything I can be involved in?
We welcome any efforts. We have events going on throughout the year, so there will be something you can be involved in.
I don't live in Kings Norton. Can I still join?
Yes please! We have friends all over the country, indeed, all over the world. Your financial help is essential.
I have reduced mobility. Can I get into and around these lovely old buildings?
Saint Nicolas' Place now has large, modern, easily-accessible toilets and a lift that gives access to all floors. So no problem!