The Great Estate

Home to some of Birmingham’s most iconic institutions, we look at how historic Calthorpe Estate has transformed into a world hub for cutting edge medical research and top-class leisure and pleasure destination

A major area of Birmingham has been revolutionised over recent years bringing wealth, jobs and international recognition to the area. Calthorpe Estate – which is one of the UK’s largest urban estates – has just celebrated its 300th birthday and its recent history and future has never been brighter.

The 1,600-acre estate is home to some of Birmingham’s most iconic institutions, such as Edgbaston Stadium, the Botanical Gardens and MAC arts (all of which featured in our series of articles naming Birmingham’s Greatest). The estate is also home to some leading schools including Edgbaston High, St George’s and Hallfield.

The ongoing development of Edgbaston Village hosts some fine leisure and retail outlets but perhaps where Calthorpe Estates is excelling most, certainly on an international stage, is the Edgbaston Medical Quarter (EMQ). The Quarter boasts 64 per cent of the city’s health care economy. It is at the hub of the medical and life sciences revolution taking place in the West Midlands.


EMQ is home to more than 550 medical companies, 180 medical organisations, 80 hospitals and specialist care centres, 44 GP clinics and routine care facilities and 23 training facilities. It the location for 25 life sciences specialisms with active research programmes and is Europe’s largest clinical trials centre and the go-to destination for more cost effective and rapid clinical trials.

Many are at the cutting edge of world-class medical technology and involve leading practitioners and students from internationally renowned medical facilities, including the University of Birmingham, Birmingham’s Women’s Hospital, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Biomedical Research Centre for Inflammatory Diseases and the Institute of Translational Medicine – all part of Birmingham Health Partners which is one of the lead centres in the 100,000 Genome project into rare diseases.

EMQ is most famously home of the world-class Queen Elizabeth Hospital, as well as Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry, the BioHub Birmingham, and the Accelerated Trials Programme, as well as the Rare Diseases and Personalised Medicine Centre – which is helping to improve diagnosis, clinical management and treatment of rare diseases.


West Midlands Academic Health Science Network is a catalyst and helps drive forward cooperation, collaboration and productivity between academia, industry and healthcare providers to accelerate innovation and improvement in the region’s health and wealth. It has been responsible for the delivery of new innovation products and services such as Medstars and Script.

EMQ’s blend of existing medical buildings and health care development opportunities has seen it attract world recognition and international investment from the medical industry.

It offers some of the best and cutting edge places to be treated in the UK providing faster access to treatments and helping to save lives.

Specialist care centres include:

• Oncology: The Institute of Translational Medicine and Birmingham Centre for Clinical Trials takes the very latest research findings and progresses enhanced treatments for patients across a range of major health issues including cancer and liver disease.

• Trauma: The Centre for Defence Healthcare Engagement is the leading centre for dealing with military and civilian trauma cases.

• Mental Health: The Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Mental Health promotes excellence, innovation and creativity in the delivery of interdisciplinary mental health teaching, learning and research.

• Diabetes: The Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism takes a bench-to-bedside approach working closely with the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

• Addiction and eating disorders: The Addition Detox and Rehab Centre delivers the latest treatments for all forms of addiction.


Set in tree-lined avenues with green open spaces within the Calthorpe Estates, the healthcare and medical facilities sit alongside a thriving leisure, lifestyle and commercial community. Edgbaston Village boasts many character buildings and premier places to eat – including Michelin-starred Simpsons and the Edgbaston Hotel – and shop, such as OKA and Neptune.

A further phase of expansion for Calthorpe sees the replacement of the old 70s and 80s office blocks creating a new prosperity and skyline. As part of its £300million New Garden Square project Edgbaston House will be demolished to be replaced by new apartments, commercial units and leisure facilities built around a stylish garden square.

Calthorpe Estates chief executive Mark Lee said: “Edgbaston has got so much to offer and has undergone the biggest rebirth in its history. If you go back 25 years it was very tired but there has been a change of outlook for the whole area. The area has a new lease of life. On the back of Calthorpe Estates raising its profile on a national and international level, we have attracted Circle Health to Pebble Mill, who plan to build a 19,000 sum facility, along with Bupa who are due to open early 2018 a 62-bed care home.”

“More recently we have seen the opening of a world-class IVF centre by CARE Facility on Highfield Road, who are the UK’s leading independent provider of fertility treatment. Re:cognition Health recently established a new pioneering brain and mind clinic at 100 Hagley Road, where they specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and care relating to cognitive impairment symptoms or mental health concerns. The EMQ initiative at Arab Health has to-date led to direct pipeline inward investment in Edgbaston of over £73.5million and created 300 jobs.”

Alongside this, EMQ has seen strong demand for consulting rooms and healthcare facilities, as businesses grow. All of which means the future is very exciting indeed for this very important corner of the city.


The Calthorpe estate was bought in 1717 by London merchant Sir Richard Gough. His son Henry succeeded to the estate in 1727 and married Barbara Calthorpe. He maintained the rural character of the area by banning the building of warehouses and workshops. Edgbaston was developed as a residential area from 1810. The trades of Birmingham brought prosperity to the city and Edgbaston became a fashionable suburb for wealthy industrialists.