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How 'Birmingham's coolest neighbourhood' has transformed over the decades

From industrial wasteland to Birmingham's trendiest neighbourhood for young professionals

Albion/Carver Street in the Jewellery Quarter about 15 years apart
Albion/Carver Street in the Jewellery Quarter about 15 years apart

As a neighbourhood that's proudly steeped in history and can boast a thriving nightlife scene, it's easy to see why so many are drawn to the Jewellery Quarter. Even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently enjoyed a game of darts in the area, once named by the Telegraph as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Britain.

The historic JQ, known as the beating heart of the nation’s jewellery manufacturing, has seen huge changes in recent years to become one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Birmingham. Not so long ago, parts of the area resembled a bleak, industrial wasteland rather than a trendy suburb for young professionals.

Following years of regeneration, several old factories have now made way for newer apartment blocks - some residents may now find themselves living in a building where an old kettle factory used to stand as a result. Many bars and restaurants have opened up in the area in recent years too, from cafe-bar Somewhere in Brum and craft beer spot The Barrel Store to Italian restaurant Trentina and independent cocktail bar No. 21.

Huge new developments will continue to transform the Jewellery Quarter in the near future. One such project, currently underway, will replace a car park once used by Steven Spielberg for filming with a series of blocks which will house more than 700 apartments.

Despite such dramatic changes, the JQ still manages to seamlessly merge the old with the new and retains a village feel with its historic architecture. St Paul's Church, with sits in the middle of a leafy Georgian square surrounded by bars and coffee shops, is perhaps one of the best examples of this.

With pictures from our archives and Google Maps, here's a look at how Birmingham's coolest neighbourhood has changed over the years and decades.

Got a story in Birmingham or elsewhere in the West Midlands? Get in touch by emailing alexander.brock@reachplc.com.