A short walk from the city centre and the suburb of Digbeth is Birmingham’s premier location for street art. Much of it run down, it nonetheless boasts some bright spots. The area around the Custard Factory in particular a major highlight.
The majority of Digbeth’s art does centre around the factory. There’s pockets elsewhere of course. A lot of graffiti can be found around the canals and in many of the derelict areas. There’s also quite a few graffiti halls of fame to seen dotted around the perimeters of car parks and old factory walls.
Much of the core of the street art there is to see in Digbeth stems from the 2014 City of Colours festival. A big deal at the time it brought artists from all over to paint in and around the Custard Factory, an area centered around Gibb Street. Now that legacy clearly lives on with an additional festival taking place in 2016. A number of pieces still date from then but other pieces have since been added too. The area around the Custard Factory in particular is now really known for its street art.
Street Art in Digbeth
The Custard Factory – Gibb Street
Located on Gibb Street the factory used to make Birds Custard. Set up by Alfie Bird it moved away in 1964 but the buildings remained and now it houses the city’s cultural quarter. In the street art world it launched onto the scene in 2014 for the inaugural City of Colours event, since repeated in 2016. There are some really great pieces here and visiting is a must. A veritable cathedral of street art.
Running along the outside boundary of the Custard Factory. Floodgate Street runs alongside the culvert carrying the River Rea. Lot’s of graffiti can be seen along the road in indeed looking into the culvert itself. The factory grounds can also still be entered from Floodgate Street.
Heath Mill Lane
The other side of the Custard Factory from Floodgate Street is Heath Mill Lane. Street art here can mainly be seen in the car park which sits between ‘Bromley Street’ and ‘Lower Trinity Street’. Those streets themselves also have a number of decent pieces to look at. At the end of the lane is the Old Crown pub where a lot of street art can also be seen in the beer garden.
A number of creative businesses have started to move into former warehouses of Fazeley Street. You can see why as it has potential, with many of them overlooking the Digbeth Branch Canal. Minerva Works in particular is a good place to see the canal and indeed heading through the grounds, you may well see some street art by the waterside.
Running through the heart of the industrial area of Digbeth. Bordesley Street is lined with old warehouses with broken windows. Dotted amongst are a couple of makeshift car park, the walls of which are filled with graffiti.
Other spots to see Street Art in Birmingham
Worth mentioning solely because of the superb David Bowie mural from Annatomix. Dudley Street is just outside New Street station so an easy spot to get to.
A busy dual carriageway leading into the city. Nonetheless you may well come across a number of hoardings covered with graffiti. There is also a car park which backs onto the Custard Factory. You’ll see a variety of pieces in there.
Again a place where you are more likely to see hoardings covered with graffiti. There is a bit of street art, namely from N4T4 which is certainly worth the detour.
The street art of Digbeth in Birmingham was visited on 9 July 2019. All photos were taken at then. Many thanks to Annatomix for the tips on where to go and what to see. For more posts on street art in cities around the UK check out these from Sheffield, Bristol, London, Aberdeen, Manchester, Leicester and Blackburn.