Fox and Grapes, Birmingham

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Fox and Grapes
The Fox & Grapes (1), Freeman Street, Digbeth, Birmingham (geograph 2293621).jpg
The pub in February 2011, boarded up but with roof intact
General information
TypePublic house
Address16 Freeman Street, Digbeth
Town or cityBirmingham
Coordinates52°28′47″N 1°53′26″W / 52.479672°N 1.890675°W / 52.479672; -1.890675Coordinates: 52°28′47″N 1°53′26″W / 52.479672°N 1.890675°W / 52.479672; -1.890675
Opened1823 or earlier
Demolished15-16 September 2018 (2018-09-16)
Technical details
DesignationsGrade II listed

The Fox and Grapes was an historic, heritage-designated public house in the Digbeth area of Birmingham, England. After some time derelict, and a major fire, it was demolished in 2018.


The derelict pub in July 2016 - note missing roof

Parts of the building dated from the late 17th or early 18th century.[1] A public house had stood on the site, at 16 Freeman Street, on the corner of in Park Street, since at least 1829, and possibly as early as 1815.[2] The name "Fox and Grapes", which refers to one of Aesop's Fables, The Fox and the Grapes, was in use by 1849.[2] The facade was remodelled in the mid 19th century.[3]

The pub was owned by Smiths Brewery, until taken over by Butlers (later Mitchell & Butlers), in 1957.[4]

One wing of the stuccoed brick building, which had a tiled roof, included a former coach house.[1] The already-derelict building was badly damaged by fire on the afternoon of 3 January 2015 - an incident which was attended by eight fire appliances from the West Midlands Fire Service.[4]

The building was given grade II listed status in July 1982,[1] legally protecting it from unauthorised alteration or demolition.[2] Despite this designation, the building was demolished overnight on 15/16 September 2018 - a Saturday and Sunday.[4][5] The demolition was strongly criticised by the city's leading historian, Professor Carl Chinn, who described the act as being "as mystifying as it is upsetting and disgusting".[4]

Birmingham City Council said that the demolition was "part of the HS2 Curzon Street Station development", referring to construction of the northern terminus of phase one of the High Speed 2 railway, nearby, and citing "structural issues" identified by "HS2's surveyors".[4]

The building was very near to the site of Island House, which was demolished controversially in 2012.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Fox and Grapes Public House, Birmingham - 1075598". Historic England. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Chinn, Carl (26 January 2015). "Why the Fox and Grapes pub in Digbeth must be saved". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Friday Photo: Fox and Grapes Pub". Birmingham Conservation Trust. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Young, Graham (14 September 2018). "Outrage at demolition of landmark city centre pub". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b Young, Graham (17 September 2018). "Landmark city pub demolished to make way for HS2". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 27 February 2019.

Further reading[edit]