The Industrial Revolution led to unprecedented innovation and production in Birmingham. Between 1760 and 1850, Birmingham registered nearly three times more patents than any other UK town or city. It was a focal point for change and Digbeth, a hotspot for manufacturing since the Middle Ages, was its engine.

7th Century

Early settlements form in Birmingham around this time, starting with the area we now know as Digbeth. The attraction here was the proximity to the River Rea, which to settlers meant access to drinking water and irrigation for crops. The soil was also noted for its fertility. Digbeth was then, as it is today, a great place to be.


Birmingham becomes an important trading hub after the town receives a market charter.


The Old Crown, one of Birmingham’s oldest buildings and today one of Digbeth’s favourite music venues, is said to date back to this year.


Digbeth continues to grow into an important industrial era, which comes into play during the English Civil War. Local manufacturers produced thousands of swords for the Parliamentarian armies.


Birmingham is named the “the first manufacturing town in the world”.


Alfred Bird, a chemist and druggist, invents instant, eggless custard powder to accommodate his wife’s allergy to eggs. When he accidentally serves it to guests, he realised the commercial potential of his concoction. They loved it. Alfred and Sons was born.


Following the Birmingham’s many Industrial Revolution advancements, much of Digbeth is built up of large industrial complexes.


The Custard Factory is Alfred Bird’s new complex to produce his eggless custard. The factory remains in operation for the following decades, supplying the British Armed Forces in World War I, before eventually moving its operations elsewhere in the 1960s.


The Bond Company is formed across two main sites: The Bond and The Arch. The previous industrial buildings were used for a Gas Works, the HQ for a canal logistics company and a warehouse for HP Sauce.


Funding is secured to restore The Custard Factory and in 1993 the first phase is launched. The offices are full before the brochures are printed.


A landmark returns. Birmingham’s iconic JFK memorial mosaic was built at St Chad’s Circus in summer 1968. In 2007 it was removed to accommodate the street’s redevelopment. In 2013 it returned to Birmingham, this time on Floodgate Street in Digbeth.


Oval acquires part of Digbeth for some much-needed investment to revitalise the neighbourhood.

The future of Digbeth

Key Digbeth milestones

2018: A vision for Digbeth

Oval, Gooch, Stoford Land, Homes England work together to develop vision for Digbeth.

2019: Create Central

Create Central established to super charge the screen cector in the heart of the UK.

2020: The masterplan is formed

Oval secure hybrid consent for Digbeth masterplan. Ongoing asset management improving the tenant make up and working with exisitng tenants to provide improved accomodation.

2021: GBSLEP provide funding for The Bond

GBSLEP provide funding support for a new creative content hub at The Bond.

2022: Regeneration continues

Continue to target regeneration catalyst tenant — BBC?