Winterbourne House (c. 1903) is owned by Birmingham University and the gardens house a botanical collection. It came into the university’s hands because its last owner, John Nicholson, was concerned about its possible fate and so he bequeathed it so.
The house is nothing to write home about (the interiors were put to institutional university use between 1944-2010 but have since been restored), the Japanese area of the garden rather delightful, but more interesting is that its builder, John Nettlefield, sought to emulate Mr Cadbury’s ideas (Mr Cadbury of chocolate fame had built an entire village for his workers). Nettlefield thus became instrumental in the organisation of the urban sprawl in the West Midlands during the early 20th century, acting as chair of the first housing committee in Birmingham.
When visited: May 2014