The changing centre of Birmingham

At the end of February we travelled by train to Birmingham for a family gathering. Just four of us, we are not a big family.

Dear wife attended a meeting of a society at which she’s a member, and afterwards we all met up for afternoon tea. A couple of us walked from where we met at New Street station along New Street up to the City Council House to view the changes to Centenary Square.

What changes they are. The old central library building [see photo], an eyesore from the moment it was built, is no more. The new library is a big improvement – now called the Library of Birmingham, although I’m not a fan of the exterior cladding.

Chamberlain Square, Paradise Circus, and Centenary Square have all dramatically changed. My how Birmingham does love reinventing itself. The Registry Office, where we were married, is also now demolished. Such are the changes that I hardly remember what was there before. Although the Hall of Memory, of which more later, retains it’s place, and is, thankfully, not crowded in by the new buildings. From the new Library’s viewing platforms you can see how things are changing.

I took some photos, pretty poor ones I’m afraid, that show some of the changes. As there were hoardings everywhere, taking photos was awkward. Better to view the photos in the BBC article Will Birmingham’s boom benefit all?

 

Birmingham’s magnificent renovated neoclassical Town Hall

I wrote earlier this week about visiting the new Library of Birmingham building. On our way to it from Birmingham’s New Street station we passed through Victoria Square to stop by magnificent neoclassical Town Hall, to see how it’s been renovated.

Subject to a £35 million restoration, it now befits the city centre. For many years it was blackened by soot, and not well maintained. I remember, in the 1960’s, being with my brother listening, among a packed audience, to a speech on the economy by Enoch Powell. It’s a venue that seems to add status and grandeur to what occurs inside. It’s surely the classical architecture, with its Corinthian columns, that gives it the aura of a Forum, and also its history.

We peeked inside, prior to a children’s event, but were still able to see the benefits of the restoration.