Large follies to small garden shell grottos - Birmingham's hidden gems!

Cities can often throw up some magical historical gems and Birmingham is a great example. Here we look at follies and shell grottos that have survived the city's amazing growth.

What is a Folly?  What is a shell grotto?

A folly in architecural terms is described as a building without significant purpose often built for nothing more than decoration.

However researchers and academics may well differ in their views on this subject.

There origins date back to 18th century landscape gardening.


Birmingham's most famous folly

Birmingham's most famous folly can be found on the border of Ladywood and Edgbaston. It is called Perrott's Folly. 

Together with The Edgbaston Waterworks, Perrott's Folly was an inspiration to J.R.R. Tolkien in his writing the Lord of the Rings trilogy of novels.

Perrott's Folly was also known as The Monument or The Observatory and was built in what was then Rotton Park by John Perrott in 1758. The land at the time was open countryside.

It is said that he built it either to view his wife's grave or survey his land from afar or to entertain guests as he actually lived in Belbroughton.

Perrott's Folly is a Grade II* listed building built of red brick. It is octagonal in shape, sitting on a square base with a round stair turret.


Other follies and shell grottos

A wonderful example of a shell grotto was shared by a family living in Edgbaston on land between Bristol Road and Wellington Road. 

This has generated interest across the National Trust and further details regarding its age, history and purpose is awaited. 

Here are a few images whilst we await this feedback. 

Project dates

06 Jul 2021 - On-going


Classic Architecture

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Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520