Rea Crossing, Digbeth, Birmingham [2007]

Investigation, drawings and rationale for a crossing on High Street, Digbeth. With Birmingham City Council LPG.


Working with Birmingham City Council's Landscape Practice group and informed by archaeological planning, the proposal integrated readily available street furniture with a light based work, cast objects and planting, to reveal the hidden river and the lost bridge that has considerable historical significance to the city. The bridge sandstone type (seen on East prospect map 1732) was used similarly at St Martin's church, Bull Ring.

“On entering from London, either through Coventry or through Oxford, the road, by a stone bridge over the river Rea at Deritend”

“Among the almost innumerable branches of trade are, light and heavy steel goods (here called toys), brass and iron founding, saddlery, military accoutrements, fire-arms, swords, and cutlery of various kinds; jewellery; gold, silver, plated, and japanned goods; buttons; medals; gilt, silver, ivory, bone, and other toys; glass; wood-turnery; metal rolling; tools and implements of all kinds; mills; machinery of all sorts; and steam-engines on every known principle.”

'Birkenshaw - Birmingham', A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848)

Bishop Gibson, in the reign of Anne, mentions "its artificers in iron and steel”. “Mills were built on both banks of the Rea, and the water wheels turned the early machines used by the busy workmen of Digbeth and Deritend.”