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Construction & regeneration
05 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Chamberlain Square from Birmingham Central Library in 2010 to Paradise Birmingham in 2020

A look at the changes in Chamberlain Square over a 10 year period. Starting with what it looked liked in 2010 when Birmingham Central Library was still standing. Through the demolition works in 2016 and construction of 1 & 2 Chamberlain Square from 2017 to 2020. Since lockdown I've not been able to get into town. So my last photo was earlier in March 2020.

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Chamberlain Square from Birmingham Central Library in 2010 to Paradise Birmingham in 2020





A look at the changes in Chamberlain Square over a 10 year period. Starting with what it looked liked in 2010 when Birmingham Central Library was still standing. Through the demolition works in 2016 and construction of 1 & 2 Chamberlain Square from 2017 to 2020. Since lockdown I've not been able to get into town. So my last photo was earlier in March 2020.


2010

Birmingham Central Library in Chamberlain Square during February 2010. From the John Madin Design Group. Built 1969-74. Known as the Ziggurat. The Chamberlain Memorial has seen all the changes since it was erected in October 1880 in honour of the Mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain. He was also an Member of Parliament. Paradise Forum (behind) would remain open until 2015.

2015

Paradise Birmingham had put up hoardings around the former Central Library by February 2015. The Library closed in 2013 before the Library of Birmingham opened in Centenary Square during September 2013. Paradise Forum closed was closed forever by January or February 2015. The shops and restaurants etc inside were closed by the end of 2014. Goodby to McDonald's and Wetherspoon's. This was one of the last times you could see the street art called Todo Es Posible by the artist Lucy McLaughlan, before the library was knocked down.

2016

Demolition of Birmingham Central Library started in December 2015.

January 2016. The lefthand side of the old library with layers of concrete stripped away.

February 2016. Reaching the middle to the righthand side of the old library. More layers of concrete had gone.

Several weeks later and they continued to gut the library.

March 2016. More chunks of the inner courtyard area being crunched away.

May 2016. More and more layers had gone as they would split the library in half. Was better to see from Centenary Square / Centenary Way at the time.

If you went a few steps to the right, there was a good view through the split library in half of the new Library of Birmingham.

And if you went up the steps of BM & AG in Chamberlain Square, the view was even better.

June 2016. One month on, and the concrete curtain kept opening wider, and the view of the Library of Birmingham would get better and better.

August 2016. There was a window in the hoardings at Chamberlain Square, and you could look through it at the time. Only a slither of the old library left on the left, just behind the Chamberlain Memorial. Maybe also a bit to the far right.

October 2016. Still the bits to the far left and right to knock down by this point. So the demolition of the library wasn't quite finished.

2017

January 2017. New Years Day 2017 and there was nothing left of the Library. Cranes down before construction began of One Chamberlain Square.

You could see the new Library of Birmingham from Chamberlain Square, as well as Baskerville House and The Copthorne Hotel.

March 2017. Early signs of construction of One Chamberlain Square to the right by Carillion.

May 2017. One Chamberlain Square starts to rise.

July 2017. Access to Chamberlain Square was blocked off, but you could go around the back of the Council House to get into the Museum & Art Gallery via Eden Place and what was Edmund Street. Chamberlain Square entrance was still open at the time.

September 2017. One Chamberlain Square continues to rise up, but Chamberlain Square was still closed from Victoria Square.

November 2017. Chamberlain Square was reopened with the closure of Fletchers Walk, and the opening of Centenary Way to Centenary Square (for the first time in 2 years).

December 2017. More cladding had gone up about halfway on One Chamberlain Square.

2018

July 2018. Carillion went bust in January 2018. So construction didn't resume until BAM took over. BAM were also responsible for building Two Chamberlain Square, which was underway by the summer of 2018.

2019

March 2019. Two Chamberlain Square had reached the top, and the glass cladding was going up. Made some nice reflections of BM & AG and Big Brum from here.

October 2019. From Victoria Square with the Town Hall, then Two and One Chamberlain Square. Council House to the right. Chamberlain Memorial will all new surroundings.

A few days later and a walk past Chamberlain Square, with both Two and One Chamberlain Square looking complete.

2020

February 2020. A nightshot taken after my visit to The BCAG. One Chamberlain Square was now open.

March 2020. My last photo before the lockdown. Taken at the beginning of the month. Public realm works were underway.

Since the lockdown started, I have not been able to travel into the City Centre. As you can not go on the bus or train. I don't drive a car, or ride a bike, and it would be too far to walk.

So look out for updates from Daniel or Stephen.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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70 passion points
Classic Architecture
27 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Blue Coat School from Colmore Row to Edgbaston

Did you know that The Blue Coat School in Birmingham was founded in 1722, and was located at a site on Colmore Row on what is now St Philip's Place from 1724 until 1930 (opposite what was St Philip's Church). They moved to a site in Edgbaston near Harborne on Metchley Lane and Somerset Road. The new buildings were built in the 1930s on the site of what was Harborne Hill House.

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The Blue Coat School from Colmore Row to Edgbaston





Did you know that The Blue Coat School in Birmingham was founded in 1722, and was located at a site on Colmore Row on what is now St Philip's Place from 1724 until 1930 (opposite what was St Philip's Church). They moved to a site in Edgbaston near Harborne on Metchley Lane and Somerset Road. The new buildings were built in the 1930s on the site of what was Harborne Hill House.


The Blue Coat School

The Birmingham Blue Coat School was founded in 1722, and was originally located at a site on Colmore Row opposite St Philip's Church from 1724 until they moved to a site in Edgbaston (near Harborne) in 1930. The school was founded by Reverend William Higgs, who was a Rector of St Philip's Church (now Birmingham Cathedral). The buildings on the site today are on St Philip's Place and are offices.

In 1930 the school moved to a site on Metchley Lane and Somerset Road in Edgbaston. The new buildings were designed by Henry Walter Simister. Although some elements of the original buildings were moved to the Edgbaston site.

The schools original purpose was to educate children aged 9 to 14 from poor backgrounds. In the early years, 32 boys and 20 girls for educated, clothed and fed there.

The school was rebuilt several times during the 18th century. Mainly between 1792 and 1794. As a four storey neo-Classical building.

In 1930 the new school was planned to be built in Edgbaston, built on what was the site of Harborne Hill House. Statues of a boy and girl in uniform dating to the 1770s were moved to the new school, but placed inside. Copies were made in 1930 and placed in the main entrance porch.

Historical information above taken from The Blue Coat School - History.

 

The Blue Coat School, Colmore Row, Birmingham, watercolour painting by James Billingsley. Topographical view of Birmingham, from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection.

Engraving of the Blue Coat School, Birmingham. One of a collection of engravings of local views contained in volume: Wilkinson Collection, Vol.ii.

Etching - Entrance to the Blue Coat School, Birmingham by F. Gould. Topographical view of Birmingham, from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection.

Public Domain Dedication images free to download from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource.

 

In February 2010, I got photos of the current building from Cathedral Square (or St Philip's Churchyard as I used to call it myself). This was the then home of the the Government Office for the West Midlands at 5 St Philip's Place. This was built in 1935-37 and was the former Prudential Assurance building. Built for the Prudential Assurance Architects' Department. The original architect was P B Chatwin. Built in the Beaux Arts classicism style in Portland stone. Additions by Temple Cox Nicholls from 2002. Information taken from Pevsner Architectural Guides: Birmingham by Andy Foster.

There is an old blue plaque at 5 St Philip's Place about the Blue Coat School. It stood on this site of this building from 1724 to 1930. Since removed to Edgbaston.

Next door was Hays Recruitment at 4 St Philips Place. This was probably Provost's House. Built with a Cotswold stone front. It replaced a Rectory of 1885 by Osborn & Reading. The rest of the building was by Caroe & Partners in 1950. Rebuilt behind by Temple Cox Nicholls from 1981-82. There is a NatWest bank to the right at Temple Row.

Got this photo in December 2010 so I knew what was in 5 St Philip's Place, which at the time was the Government Office for the West Midlands. But the Coalition Government came in May 2010, so this wouldn't last much longer.

By April 2011 the Government Office for the West Midlands had moved out of 5 St Philip's Place.

The plaque had been removed by this point. Today this building is occupied by Communities and Local Government.

 

Time to head over to the Edgbaston / Harborne border.

In May 2018 there was a bus diversion, as Harborne Park Road in Edgbaston was closed, and I took this view of the Blue Coat School from the no 23 bus. One advantage of this site was a playing field for sport, which the old site probably didn't have (unless pupils played sport in what is now Cathedral Square?).

The walk up Metchley Lane and Somerset Road past the Blue Coat School. Starting with the School Chapel. It was dated 1932.

Above the door as seen from Metchley Lane ws this stone in Latin.

AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM MCMXXXII ~ THE GLORY OF THE MAJOREM 1932

Above the chapel is this bell tower with cross at the top.

This was probably the Gatehouse, on Somerset Road.

Onto the main school building built in 1930. Near Somerset Road.

Above the middle part of the Blue Coat School was this clock tower and weather vane. Stone dates the school: AD MCMXXX ~ AD 1930.

The weather vane on the clock tower has a cockerel sculpture on top.

Flag of the Blue Coat School flapping in the wind.

Pedestrian Entrance to The Blue Coat School at this gate from Somerset Road. The sign also has the schools badge. It reads: The Blue Coat School Birmingham 1722 * Grow in Grace.

Modern 21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
17 May 2020 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Refurbishment of Chamberlain Square - May 2020

The refurbisment of Chamberlain Square has continued during lockdown and is really getting close to being finished. We hope it won't be long before Brummies and visitors can enjoy this particulary beautiful spot and it is back to the bustle, and chilling out, from 5 years ago! Lots of photos in this update of 7th and 10th May.

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The Refurbishment of Chamberlain Square - May 2020





The refurbisment of Chamberlain Square has continued during lockdown and is really getting close to being finished. We hope it won't be long before Brummies and visitors can enjoy this particulary beautiful spot and it is back to the bustle, and chilling out, from 5 years ago! Lots of photos in this update of 7th and 10th May.


7th May 2020

 

10th May 2020

 

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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90 passion points
Modern Architecture
15 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House from 2010 to 2019

The view of the construction of the Library of Birmingham next to Baskerville House from 2010 to 2013. Then some other views in the years until 2019. Watch the cores of the Library rise, then the golden cladding then all the circles. Was even a view from where the Edward VII statue was installed.

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The Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House from 2010 to 2019





The view of the construction of the Library of Birmingham next to Baskerville House from 2010 to 2013. Then some other views in the years until 2019. Watch the cores of the Library rise, then the golden cladding then all the circles. Was even a view from where the Edward VII statue was installed.


Previous Library of Birmingham posts here:

Views of the Library of Birmingham next to Baskerville House. Construction from 2010 to 2013. Opened from September 2013. Views until the end of 2019.

2010

November 2010: views from the bridge on Centenary Way. The restored King Edward VII statue had just been installed in Centenary Square.

December 2010: slighty hazzy conditions at the end of the year.

2011

March 2011: A few more floors had gone up on the Library, up to about Level 3 or 4.

October 2011: The main body of the Library had reached the future home of the Shakespeare Memorial Room, while cladding had gone up to Level 3 or 4.

A perspective of the Library construction with Baskerville House from behind the statue of King Edward VII. Which had been in this spot for almost a year at this point.

December 2011: The rest of the golden cladding and windows goes up to Level 8. And the structure forms around the cylinder at the top where the Shakespeare Memorial Room and Skyline Viewpoint would be on Level 9. Cladding from Level 2 down to the ground floor was complete.

2012

November 2012: Only got a view from near the Alpha Tower towards the Library of Birmingham, Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory. From where I was would one day be part of the Arena Central development site.

2013

January 2013: A few days into the New Year and was these hoardings in front of Baskerville House. Cladding on the Library was complete.

The snow fall from the middle of January 2013. Can hardly see the Hyatt, while snow surrounds the Hall of Memory.

The snow was falling as I went past Baskerville House.

April 2013: From the bridge on Centenary Way. Compare to my earlier views from 2010 and 2011. From here the Library looked complete but wouldn't open for another 5 months. Flower beds were on the bridge over Paradise Circus Queensway.

August 2013: Near the end of the month, the hoards had gone, and the gardens opened up.

This landscaping would only last until about 2017 before Centenary Square was redeveloped again.

Broad Street panoramic including the Library of Birmingham, Baskerville House and Hall of Memory. Hanging flower pots in the middle. This is all now gone for Library Tram Stop.

September 2013: A few days after the Library had opened to the public for the first time, there was long queues as far as Baskerville House. I waited a couple of weeks more before going in for the first time.

I went into the Library of Birmingham for the first couple of times near the end of September 2013. Was still a lot of people around, but the queues were as long as when it first opened.

2014

November 2014: The Library of Birmingham had been open for 14 months and there was some scaffolding up on Baskerville House for some restoration work on the stonework. Poppies up for the annual remembrance commemorations.

2015

May 2015: A long queue on a Saturday morning at 11am to get into of the Library of Birmingham. Just two more years for this paving and the grass before Centenary Square was redeveloped again. Baskerville House shining brightly in the sunshine.

2017

December 2017: Nightshots for when the Library of Birmingham was lit up in all the colours of the rainbow when Birmingham was officially announced as the Host City of the Commonwealth Games 2022. Baskerville House lit up in bright white light. As was the Hall of Memory. Redevelopment of Centenary Square had started by this point.

2018

December 2018: Views of the Library of Birmingham from Bridge Street near the site of 5 Centenary Square at Arena Central (to date it hasn't been built). Formerly called 1 Arena Central. From here you could also see the BT Tower.

2019

December 2019: My last photos of the Library of Birmingham with Baskerville House were taken from Paradise Street, just beyond Town Hall Tram Stop. At the time Ice Skate Birmingham was in Centenary Square. Arena Central with the Alpha Tower and HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square to the left.

West Midlands Metro trams can now go past the Library of Birmingham. The extension to Centenary Square opened in December 2019.

For more tram photos in December 2019 at Town Hall Tram Stop see this post: West Midlands Metro tram in and out of Town Hall Tram Stop on the last weekend of the Birmingham FCM (December 2019).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Classic Architecture
14 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Before the Library of Birmingham there was Baskerville Basin

Before construction of the Library of Birmingham was begun by Carillion in 2010, archaeologists were on site in the summer of 2009 digging up the former car park, revealing the former Baskerville Basin. Part of the canal network used to stretch into what is now Centenary Square, but was filled in during the 1930s to make way for a proposed Civic Centre. I saw the remains in August 2009.

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Before the Library of Birmingham there was Baskerville Basin





Before construction of the Library of Birmingham was begun by Carillion in 2010, archaeologists were on site in the summer of 2009 digging up the former car park, revealing the former Baskerville Basin. Part of the canal network used to stretch into what is now Centenary Square, but was filled in during the 1930s to make way for a proposed Civic Centre. I saw the remains in August 2009.


For more on John Baskerville check out my post here: John Baskerville: creator of his own typeface.

 

Before Carillion could start building the Library of Birmingham in January 2010, archaeologists had to go on the site in the summer of 2009. For many years the land between Baskerville House and The REP had been used as a car park for the Council. Once the upper layers were dug up, they could start digging up the remains and see what was left below. Intact brick walls of Baskerville Basin were found on the site and many remains and finds. Towards the site of what is now Centenary Square used to be Gibson's Arm which was a private canal built during the 1810s. Baskerville Basin was filled in during 1938 before the proposed Civic Centre was to be built. While Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory were built, the rest of the proposals weren't indirectly due to the outbreak of World War Two.

 

A map printed in 1880, this section showing Baskerville Wharf between Cambridge Street and Broad Street. Old Wharf is below (that was later filled in as well).

I would assume that the original scanner took it from the Library of Birmingham's maps area.

Map below in the Birmingham History Galleries, BM & AG, of the location of Old Wharf. In the 18th Century where John Baskerville's house on what was Easy Row. Baskerville Wharf was located a little further to the north west of here.

Also see my post on the model of the proposed square we never got: The Centenary Square we never got in the 1940s. Had the plans gone ahead there could have been formal gardens on this site.

This model (seen below) is at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre.

 

The following 8 photos were taken down the service road between Baskerville House and the site of the Library of Birmingham during August 2009. View towards the Hyatt Hotel and The REP.

View towards The REP.

Brick walls were sticking out of the ground. I wonder if they had to dig them up, so there would be room for the basement levels of the Library?

That side of The REP would get demolished during the construction of the Library.

At this point the only hoardings were in Centenary Square.

This would be the only time that I saw the remains of the brick walls in the ground.

This canal basin / arm used to link up to the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. But now City Centre Gardens and the Civic Centre Towers are built over that end beyond Cambridge Street.

One more view including the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall.

I've got hundreds to thousands of photos of the Library of Birmingham, so any future post will have to be a small highlight of them. Such as during the construction or when it was first opened in 2013.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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