Grange was built in 1890 when it was regarded the finest
house in Greenhill. The house was built by F & C Osler
in the traditional style of the day; carved black oak with
decorative plaster panels. It was built using only the most
superior materials; the joinery is exceptional, finely made
from oak and walnut and there is much lovely glasswork.
house was commissioned by Henry Follett Osler, son of a
wealthy and remarkable Birmingham manufacturer with plenty
of money to indulge his plan to be a country squire. Henry
purchased the Newhouse Estate from Benjamin Brown in 1889,
consulted the eminent Birmingham architect, Jethro Cousins,
who then designed his country home.
father was Abraham Follett Osler, although never actually
living at Burcot was a regular visitor and a very influential
man. Abraham built up the family glass firm, which in 1851
took prime position in the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace.
Their exhibit, the Glass Fountain, was said to be the most
striking and admired by visitors. Here lies the connection
with the wonderful glass to be seen at Burcot, all designed
and produced by the Osler Company.
the Birmingham and Midland Institute, Abraham was linked
with notable people such as Edward Elgar, Charles Dickens
and influential Birmingham families such as Tangye, Kenrick,
Martineau, Nettlefold, Chance and Cadbury.
had a great enthusiasm for clocks, erecting an astronomical
clock in Cannon Street, Birmingham that became the means
by which the city set its own clocks. He eventually changed
the timepiece to Greenwich Mean Time, within 24 hours every
local clock had followed. In 1885 Abraham financed and built
The Big Brum clock and bells adjoining the City Art Gallery;
today still the standard timekeeper for the city.
Osler was almost as involved in Birmingham life as his father.
He had a great concern for its citizens and raised a great
amount of money for the Hospital Saturday Fund and other
10th August 1913, aged 77 years, Henry Follett Osler died
after fourteen years at Burcot Grange. His daughter, Jessie,
inherited the house and its grounds, but her death in 1927
brought about the break up of the Estate, which was put
up for auction.
Estate was offered for sale by Messrs Edwards, Son and Bigwood.
The residences and land totalling 40 acres were withdrawn
Grange was purchased by Mr and Mrs F W Rushbrooke. Frederick
William Rushbrooke, like the Oslers, became an important
Birmingham businessman. He was the son of a miller, and
confectioner in Willenhall, Staffordshire, and enjoyed spending
his recreational time cycling, on a pennyfarthing.
1902, he opened a branch in Halford Street, Leicester, later
moving the stock to Birmingham to a retail shop called Halford
Cycle Shop. Within a short time, nine more shops had opened.
In 1906 Frederick formed a new public company: The Halford
Cycle Company - Halfords as it is known today, was born.
Mrs Rushbrooke had three children; Crystal, Janet and Donald,
who joined the Halfords business in 1923 and later, became
chairman. Miss Crystal was well known for her good works
within Burcot village.
Mr and Mrs Rushbrooke made the magnanimous gesture of giving
Burcot Grange to the Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital.
There had been heavy demands on the hospital in Birmingham
and Burcot formed a welcome annex, giving prolonged treatment
of children suffering from inflammatory conditions of the
eye associated with harsh city life.
house needed little alteration and only £2,800 was
spent, mainly on equipment. The spacious rooms were turned
into wards; the conservatory became a playroom and the butlers
Pantry was turned into the surgery.
Grange operated as an Eye Hospital until it closed in 1963
and was taken over by Dudley Road Hospital in Birmingham.
It was used for elderly patients from Summerfield Hospital
waiting for places in welfare homes.
"Bunnie Cot", pictured to the left, was endowed
at a cost of £600 by a former patient of the eye hospital.
It was donated anonymously and named after the former patient's
wife, Bunnie. The picture shown here is of Dr Dorothy Campbell,
the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Mr EJ Rainsford (chairman,
Committee of Management)
1990 the Hospital closed down and the house and grounds
were put up for sale. Its present owners, Mr and Mrs Mark
Bales bought it and have converted it into a beautiful Residential
Home for the elderly.
all the qualities and elegance of its Victorian heritage