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BSA motorbike/rifle factory & warehouse

Small Heath, Birmingham

I noticed this building from the main A45 heading into Birmingham, and decided to check it out.
I was however very surprised to find the boarded up, but still very much live BSA air rifle factory.
On asking the receptionist about taking a few photos, she said they can't let me inside, but were happy for me to photograph the outside.

As they only had the single floor part, I checked out next door, the car mechanics shops that were using the ground floor of the warehouse that caught my attention.
After being passed around several people, the boss, the bosses boss, and verbally signing away my life, they let me upstairs.


In 1861, during the Crimean war, 14 Birmingham gunsmiths got together to form the Birmingham Small Arms Company, with a factory being built in 1863.
In 1880, the demand for arms dropped and they started making bicycles, then motorcycles and cars in 1903 and 1907.
With the advent of World War 1, they started mass producing armements again including rifles, machine guns, shells, and fuses, as well as army vehicles, and the engine for the first tanks (as Daimler), which required a huge increase in factory size in 1915.

By 1937 and World War 2, BSA had 67 factories and were still producing arms, motorbikes and vehicles. In 1951, they purchased many other companies including Triumph, but in 1972, they started struggling, and were split up, leading to the closure of this Birmingham motorcycle factory, leaving the Rifle factory running next door, and most of the rest of the site to be redeveloped.

(History taken from and

There is a nice view from the top, but being a mile from the city centre, it was still a bit distant:

Full panorama.

Most of the building was decrepit but structurally sound, and listed so the mechanics have to put up with it.

The top floor consisted of rubbish that no one could be bothered to remove:

Photos of the interior while in use from the 1910's

(Copyright © 1997 - 2008 Historic Arms Resource Centre - MRL. All Rights Reserved.)

Recognise it?

The lift shaft is still intact but not used at all:

The remains of an office