The Custard Factory is the UK’s leading destination for creative and digital businesses, independent shops and alternative culture outside London.
Set in 15 acres of beautifully restored Victorian Factories, just five minutes walk from the Bullring, it is the heart of Birmingham’s buzzing creative and digital district.
From the dessert revolution to the digital revolution, the Custard Factory has been at the centre of Birmingham’s history as an innovative, globally competitive city where great ideas take shape and where things are made that change the world.
Reception opening times: Monday – Friday 8.30am to 6.30 and Saturday 9am till 6pm
Shop opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 6pm.
Custard Factory Timeline
- Our History
- Alfred Bird, a qualified chemist and druggist ingeniously invents instant egg-free Custard powder to cater to his wife Elizabeth’s allergy to eggs and yeast.
- When he accidentally feeds this to guests (who love it!), he realises the commercial potential of his delicious and convenient concoction and establishes Alfred Bird and Sons.
- Soon he is employing thousands of people to make it. It even helps to defend the British Empire by supplying the British Armed Forces in World War 1.
- Following the rationing and production limits imposed by world war two, the company is taken over. In 1964 production relocates to Banbury and the factories fall derelict.
- Bennie Gray acquires the site by accident having visited Birmingham to view a property in the Jewellery Quarter, now The Big Peg. The vendor tells Bennie he will only sell it ‘if you take a pile of factories down in Digbeth off my hands’.
- The historical character-rich features and ramshackle charm appeal to the spirit of the city’s artists and creatives and they gravitate to hold events, workshops and business meetings here
- Grant funding is secured to restore the site and Lucan Gray works on the first phase of redevelopment with local architect Glenn Howells (now internationally renowned). The first phase launches in 1993 and the offices are full before the brochures are printed.
- In 2008 Lucan Gray develops Fazeley Studios, sister project to the Custard Factory, geared towards digital and new media businesses and in 2010 Zellig launches in the Custard Factory, attracting independent businesses and household names such as asos.
- By 2013, the Grays have developed the estate to three quarters of a million square foot and the Custard Factory quarter is home to more than 400 creative and digital businesses and independent retail and leisure venues.
- The Custard Factory’s big 21st birthday build up will see a series of exciting events, bringing together thousands of people from the city’s creative community to celebrate the site.