About the project
Eastbourne House has a long history as an integral part of Acocks Green. It was built in the mid 19th century in a row of similar suburban homes, created during Birmingham’s industrial boom as the “Workshop of the World”. It is the last survivor of its kind on Yardley Road, and is locally listed. It stands to be destroyed unless the charity that forms Kimichi School can buy it for future generations to enjoy. The field behind the school that was used for many a sports day has already been turned into fourteen town houses within the last year.
In the 1940s it was converted into an affordable independent school; bought by the current owner's father at auction to serve the local community. The current owner was at school here as a young boy, and grew up to follow in his father's footsteps, taking on the headship. Ex-pupils from Eastbourne House as far back as the 50s have contacted us to express support, and one gentleman even paid a visit all the way from Thailand to see how his old school is now faring.
They all have one thing in common; a hope that this beautiful lady will not fall into the hands of developers, and that it will remain a school, very much as they remember it.
Kimichi School took over the premises in December 2013 when it was about to be bought for redevelopment. Our vision is to bring Eastbourne House back to life as a school again, restoring the building as we go, as well as continuing the tradition of low-cost and therefore more affordable independent education and providing a focus for education, music, the arts and the community of Acocks Green and beyond. As a brand new school we are renting at the minute, but unless we are able to buy it for the school, the community and music education by the end of this year the owner will sell it on to the same developers who have built town houses on the field behind.
So far we have: run community music workshops aimed at both children and adults, have started a community choir, become part of the Film Orchestra family, produced concerts featuring the world renowned Peter Donohoe and a host of local musicians including supportive members of the CBSO, offered instrumental tuition and started a competitive music festival aimed at all music lovers, whatever their age, ability or background.
We are the first specialist music school in Birmingham, dedicated to nurturing talent within the city as well as emphasising the enjoyment that music can bring without having to make a career out of it. Birmingham, home of the world renowned CBSO and the "best music college outside of London" lacks a feeder school, and with thousands of children who play musical instruments, it is needed. "This wonderful and enterprising project represents one of the most courageous I've come across in the UK. Ever." Peter Donohoe, CBE.
A veritable squadron of volunteers has helped to get us this far, but now we really need your help.
We receive no government or local funding, so have had to rely on the goodwill of people (musicians and community friends) who also believe in saving this community landmark. We welcome visitors; don't just read about it, visit us; pop in for a coffee and a chat, and get to see first hand what valuable work we're undertaking.
The amount of money required is substantial but this will guarantee the survival of Eastbourne House. As a registered charity. we are committed to restoring this once vibrant centre of the community. Similar historical houses within the area have been unfortunate enough to meet a different fate; we want to save this last Victorian gem from the hands of developers. It has stood for 165 years; wouldn't it be lovely to have it standing for at least the next 165 years...
Please donate now, and then tell your friends what a wonderful thing you've done!
MP John Hemming tickling the ivories...
Local councillor Roger Harmer meets trustee Sally Alexander