Originally, this building was the Oozlles Street School. It was built in 1877 by the firm Chamberlain and Martin in the Neo Gothic style. In an industrial area, the school functioned until the 1960s. Following a many changes of use and periods of being unoccupied resulting in damage, the building gained Grade II listed status in 1981. The landscape around the old school continued to change, with the development and opening of Brindleyplace in 1994.
In 1998 The Ikon Gallery, a local contemporary art gallery, moved from its previous location in John Bright Street to the Oozlles Street building. Using a National Lottery grant, the building was restored, adding features such as the glass staircase and lift, and reconfiguring the layout to an open plan gallery style. The gallery now has around 120,000 visitors a year.
Image property of Brianac37
The 1870 Education Act resulted in the building of lots of new schools across the country, including Oozlles Street School. The Neo Gothic style was popular at the time, aiming to re-imagine Medieval Gothic architecture. This architectural movement was influenced by the growing cultural interest in Alglo-Catholic religious beliefs.
Architectural motifs such as intricate decoration, lancet windows and towers reminiscent of churches were common. The original tower of the Ikon Gallery was demolished in 1976 after vandalism and disrepair left it unsafe. It was later rebuilt in 1997 using a modern steel frame to ensure longevity.
Location: Oozells Street, Brindley Place
Style: Neo Gothic
Status: Grade II
Use: Art gallery