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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Steam engine birthplace at risk
Soho Foundry, Smethwick
James Watt perfected the steam engine at Soho Foundry
The foundry where James Watt's steam engine was made has been named among England's most at-risk buildings.

Soho Foundry, in Smethwick, is one of 35 at risk buildings in the West Midlands, English Heritage said.

It said the grade II-listed building needed at least 5m of public funding for it to be safeguarded.

In Birmingham, the Town Hall and three four-storey buildings in Newhall Street with a decorative terracotta facade have been taken off the list.

Work on the town hall has been completed with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is due to officially open in October.

Industrial revolution

The Soho Foundry was a factory created in 1795 by Matthew Boulton for the manufacture of steam engines.

James Watt perfected the technology there which proved key in the development of the industrial revolution.

The Scot became an important member of Birmingham's Lunar Society and died at his home in Handsworth in 1819.

Elsewhere in the West Midlands, a 15th Century range of barns west of New Shipton Farmhouse, in Walmley Road, Sutton Coldfield, has also been taken off the list after being converted into residential and office use.

In total, 35 grade I and II listed buildings in the West Midlands are on the at risk list.


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