IAS will have a home at Westmere (G15 on campus map), which over the coming months will be refurbished to provide a unique facility to encourage our interdisciplinary activity. In addition to being a venue for all IAS supported activity the house will also have several apartments which will be home to IAS Visiting Fellows and Research Fellows.
The house – originally called ‘Westpool’ – was built in 1860 for Joseph Scrivener Keep who founded the Birmingham Joint Stock Bank and sat on the boards of a range of great industrial concerns including the Midland Wagon company, Rothervale Collieries and Elliott’s Metals.
Following Keep’s death in 1907 Westmere was bought by William Tangye, the Chairman of the Tangye family Engineering firm based in Smethwick whose equipment has been responsible for projects from the hydraulic launches of Brunel’s S.S. Great Eastern to the construction of Spaghetti Junction.
When Birmingham University was established he joined its Council, and on his death in 1937 he bequeathed the University a sum worth about £20,000 today. Rosa, his wife, stayed at Westmere – still with staff including a live-in chauffeur and gardener – until she died in 1947, when parts of the grounds were given to Winterbourne and the building came into University hands. At first it was the home of the University Staff Social Club until the opening of Staff House in 1962 after which Westmere became the base of the Centre for West African Studies and Shakespeare Institute, and most recently the Centre for English Language Studies.