It’s a stone’s throw from the famous Aston Villa football ground in Birmingham. It’s set in a lovely public park and now serves as a museum.
Welcome to Aston Hall – the palatial home of inventor James Watt’s son – also called James.
Watt Jnr is often credited for building the cult of inventor Watt, protecting and enhancing the memory of the great Scot.
James Jnr moved into Aston Hall in 1817 and lived there until his death in 1848.
We recently chatted to Richard Sowden, who told us more about the Hall. It’s a great place to visit for anyone wanting to know more about the family of James Watt.
Richard said: “We’re here at Aston Hall. It’s a splendid Jacobean Manor House, built between 1618 and 1635 – just to the north of Birmingham city centre. It’s a wonderful example of 400 year-old architecture … being in the Jacobean style, it was very popular in the Victorian period as well.
“One of the last people to live here was a man called James Watt – not the great steam engineer, but it was his son – and he lived here for 30 years, making changes, and improving the Hall, making it a splendid and modern place to live in 1820s and 1830s.
“We became a museum shortly after he passed on. So from 1858 we’ve been open to the public, and we’re still open to the public: a great place to come and see the past, but also see a museum, a historic property that’s in keeping with the local community and the city much more widely.”