- One of the last great homes to be built in the flamboyant Jacobean style, the mansion which was built between 1618 and 1635 for Sir Thomas Holte. In 1643 the house was badly damaged in an attack by Parliamentary troops. Scars left by cannon-shot can still be seen on its magnificent Great Stairs. The house remained in the Holte family until 1817. It was then leased to James Watt Junior, the son of the great industrial pioneer, who lived there until his death. It was purchased by Birmingham Corporation in 1864. The new 'Astonish' gallery, created as part of Aston Hall's redevelopment, tells the story of Aston, from the time Aston Hall was built, to the present day. Astonish is a hands-on gallery, with plenty for everyone to do, from listening to oral histories and using computer interactives, to building your own town and dressing up as someone from Aston's past. There are also plenty of objects from Aston's past to see, from medals to motorbikes. This museum has Designated Collections of national importance.