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Birmingham City Council

Heritage: Digbeth Tuck Trail

The trail begins on Great Barr Street which overlooks one of the secrets of Digbeth's success - the canal system. Until the 1950s wharves such as The Bond (pictured on left) were the mainstay of Digbeth's community. Firms would be established near the canalside so that their goods could be quickly sent via the canal network.

There are many interesting buildings along this route including the former Typhoo Tea Factory on Bordesley Street and the former Bird's custard factory on the High Street.

The Summers of Birmingham, creators of Typhoo Tea, began selling the blend when one of the family claimed that it eased her indigestion. Their premises on Bordesley Street were in use from 1892 to 1978.

Alfred Bird senior, a Digbeth Chemist, devised a way of making custard without using eggs as his wife was allergic to them and, some years later in 1902, his son Sir Alfred Bird established the factory at Devonshire Works to produce the now famous Bird's custard. Devonshire House, the factory's office building, is pictured here. The buildings are now part of the Custard Factory, an Arts Centre on Gibb Street.

One of Birmingham's more colourful characters was a Digbeth resident. John Freeth, self-styled Brummie poet, was apprenticed at a brass foundry on Park Street and made his home there until inheriting his father's inn, "The Leicester Arms", situated near the Bull Ring. Born in 1731, Freeth was renowned for entertaining his clientele with his own witty verses on political and local issues. His most famous sang the praises of Birmingham beer.