History: Discover the story behind Hairpin House

  |     |   Birmingham

Image from 1954 of Kirby Beard and CoPhoto by Phyllis Nicklin (1954) Kirby Beard, Bradford Street | Copyright of MLA West Midlands and the University of Birmingham
Birmingham is a city with a rich history and culture, and one of its most vibrant and exciting neighbourhoods is Digbeth. Located just a stone's throw away from the city center, Digbeth is a bustling area with a fascinating history that dates back to the 18th century. 

One of the most significant streets in Digbeth is Bradford Street, which has been an integral part of the neighbourhood's fabric for over two hundred years. It was once a thriving industrial hub, with factories and workshops lining the street, and many of the original buildings still stand today.

Hairpin House itself is built on the former Kirby Beard & Co, a former factory that produced metalworking machinery and tools. Founded in 1890 by William Kirby Beard, the company quickly became a leading manufacturer in the field, and its products were exported all over the world. The factory is famed for the Kirby hairgrip or, as it became affectionately known – the ‘Kirbigrip’ and the inspiration for the name 'Hairpin House'.

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