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Squares and public spaces
15 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The only complete Georgian Square left in Birmingham is at St Paul's Square

A look at the buildings around St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter. Many of them dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. It is the last Georgian Square left in the City of Birmingham. The square was built from 1777-79, and many of the buildings around the square went up after 1780 and are Grade II listed. It was part of the Newhall estate of the Colmore family.

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The only complete Georgian Square left in Birmingham is at St Paul's Square





A look at the buildings around St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter. Many of them dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. It is the last Georgian Square left in the City of Birmingham. The square was built from 1777-79, and many of the buildings around the square went up after 1780 and are Grade II listed. It was part of the Newhall estate of the Colmore family.


St Paul's Square

St Paul's Square is more than just St Paul's Church. The square surrounding it has these old Georgian houses, some also dating to the Victorian period that are now offices, restaurants and cafes. The roads leading to St Paul's Square include Charlotte Street, Mary Ann Street, Brook Street and Cox Street (between Newhall Street and Livery Street). Ludgate Hill goes to the south east from Great Charles Street Queensway, while Caroline Street goes to the north west further into the Jewellery Quarter (turning into Hall Street to Great Hampton Street). Many of these road names were named after members of the Colmore family.

 

2009

My first full look around St Paul's Square was during November 2009. So was a lot of To Let signs at the time. Starting at Ludgate Hill going around the square in an anti-clockwise direction (although not necessarily the order that I saw them in).

1 St Paul's Square

At the corner of St Paul's Square and Ludgate Hill is this town house at no 1 St Paul's Square. This building dates to 1780 and is a Grade II listed building. Also at 28D and 28E Ludgate Hill.  It's a three storey red brick town house on the corner with Ludgate Hill. The Jam House is to the left at nos 3-5. You can see the Manangel on the wall of no 1 above the doorway with Doric Columns.

The Manangel by David Begbie is at 1 St Paul's Square, next door to the right to the Jam House. Sometime in 2016 it went missing, but was back by 2017 (see a later photo further down this post).

The Jam House - 3-5 St Paul's Square

There is three town houses here dating to 1780 all are Grade II listed buildings. The Jam House seen at 3 St Paul's Square.  Formerly three storeys built of red brick. The upper floors were removed after fire damage. 4 St Paul's Square and 5 St Paul's Square are to the left but are not pictured here. The Jam House has big-name jazz, blues and rock acts in an intimate 3 storey Georgian building with a top floor restaurant.

Grosvenor House - 11 St Paul's Square

Seen from Mary Ann Street, this building is now home to Anderson's Bar and Grill. A Grade II listed building. Built in 1780 as a five bay red brick three storey town house. Classical dressings dated to 1880-90. Some of the windows had been bricked up.

The view of 11 St Paul's Square taken from St Paul's Square. It is also called Grosvenor House.

12, 13 and 14 St Paul's Square

Three town houses also dating to 1780 and Grade II listed buildings. Built of red brick up to three storeys. These houses are the least altered in the square. Leading up to Saint Paul's House to the far left.

St Paul's House - 15-20 St Paul's Square

This view of St Paul's House to the corner with Cox Street. It is not listed. Located at 15-20 St Paul's Square. It is now a hotel. I did not get a view of The Rope Walk (to the right) until early 2013. The pub was in the red brick building at the time.

30 St Paul's Square

This is an office block built in 1993 which also contains a building from the late Victorian period and Inter war period. Including three buildings. Pevsner mentions a swagger factory by Marcus O. Type dating to 1936 built in the Arts and Crafts style (left). A later 19th century building with three storeys and terracotta insertions and a six storey block by Associated Architects built in 1993 (right).

This would be the former swagger factory of 1936 at 30 St Paul's Square that is mentioned in my Pevsner book on Birmingham. It has giant arches big end pediments and a rusticated ground floor but rather Arts and Crafts brick details.

Saint Paul's Club - 34 St Paul's Square

At the corner of Caroline Street and St Paul's Square is Saint Paul's Club. A Grade II listed building built circa 1780. A block or two of at least two town houses. The building is completely stuccoed. Has a short section of 18th century railings outside the door with Doric Columns. This was altered in the 1930s.

35 - 38 St Paul's Square

These buildings are at the other corner with Caroline Street. Dating to 1780 like many of the other buildings in the square, they are a Grade II listed building. A row of town houses. No 35 at the corner of Caroline Street is built of red brick with three storeys, with stuccoed doorways. Evidence of some windows bricked up on Caroline Street. Nos 36-37 appears to have been a one 5-bay house, the other 3-bays. No 38 has large mid-19th century panelled pilaster doorway.

This is the view from St Paul's Square of no 35. The section of the town house to the left is painted red. Also has a doorway with Doric Columns.

This view from St Paul's Square of nos 36-38. Both doorways have a pair of Doric Columns. This building is completed stuccoed from the outside.

To the corner of St Paul's Square with Brook Street. The trees had mostly shed their leaves. Nos 35-38 were to the right. While Matthew Linwood House at no 42a was to the left. The big building straight ahead is St Paul's Place at 40 St Paul's Square. In 2009 and 2010 it was a development of Chord. Flats and apartments were to let at the time. It was the Insider Magazine Residential Developer of the Year 2010. It has 1 & 2 bed studio apartments. The building to the south west had scaffolding on it at the time. This is at 42 to 54 St Paul's Square.

Matthew Linwood House - 42a St Paul's Square and 15 Brook Street

This was taken around 2 weeks after my other November 2009 photos on Brook Street. I was getting photos of Pasta Di Piazza Restaurant at 11 Brook Street to the right and the RBSA Gallery at 4 Brook Street (both off St Paul's Square but not on it) at the time. I don't think I ever got a view of 15 Brook Street from the St Paul's Square side. A Grade II Listed Building. Dates to 1880, so built 100 years after the original Georgian town houses around the square.  A tall building of four storeys, built of bright red brick with engineering bricks and stucco detailing. Has a modern "Georgian" doorway inserted facing the square.

55 St Paul's Square, including 61 Charlotte Street

This building is at the corner of Charlotte Street. Dating to 1780 it is a Grade II listed building. It was originally built as two town houses, but was altered to be one premises. Built of red brick up to three storeys. Has a hipped roof from the early 20th century. St Paul's Dental is next door at the Cogent Works which is also a Grade II listed building. But dates to 1902. It was converted to commercial use in 1989.

This view from Charlotte Street. Is a big sign for Pearson Row Solicitors. There is a plaque here about the John Betts Building. The Betts family moved to Birmingham from Sheffield in 1760. John Betts bought this building in 1970 from another old company, Sheffield Smelting and the name "John Betts & Sons Ltd" was put up on the wall facing Charlotte Street. The Betts name is still associated with metal sales in the Jewellery Quarter, though not from this address.

The Old Chapel - 57 St Paul's Square

This building dates from approximately 1851 and was historically used as a charging station. The building has never been listed. The BT Tower is seen behind on Lionel Street.

Fleurets - 63 St Pauls Square

At the corner of Ludgate Hill and St Paul's Square is this building. Offices that was formerly a bank dating to the late 19th century. A Grade II listed building. Made of smooth red brick with painted dressings and a slated roof. Three storeys high with a turreted style corner. The door dates to the late 20th century and is a six panel door.

2013

This was on New Years Day in January 2013 when I got a few more photos of the Georgian buildings in St Paul's Square. Although most of the time in the years since, I don't get much of the buildings, due to my earlier photos from 2009.

The Rope Walk - 15-20 St Paul's Square

This was a restaurant called The Rope Walk, it was there until at least 2015. Before it became a hotel called Saint Paul's House from 2016 onwards. The building is not listed.

Close up, it looks like the late 18th century style with Doric Columns, but am not sure if it also dates to 1780 or later.

13 St Paul's Square

This visit to St Paul's Square was to mainly see the blue plaque for Samuel Malkin. Who was a bucklemaker to George III. He lived here from 1786-1798. This house is also called Premier House. Details above but it dates to 1780.

14 St Paul's Square

I also at the time got a view of this house. Between nos 13 and 14 is The Mews through a gate to no 13A. This house dates to 1780, details further up for 12, 13 and 14 St Paul's Square.

2017-19

1-5 St Paul's Square

I originally took this photo using Twitter on my then phone camera, as the Manangel went missing sometime during 2016. But by January 2017 it was back. So my only full view of The Jam House and the Music Works was in this low resolution view, probably sitting on a bench outside of St Paul's Church. Details about no 1 and nos 3 to 5 further up this post. You can see Ludgate Hill to the right.

35-38 St Paul's Square

This view from an autumnal St Paul's Square during October 2017, towards nos 35-38. Trees were shedding their leaves. Matthew Linwood House is beyond the modern building to the left at 15 Brook Street.

This view of 35-38 St Paul's Square during the snow of December 2017. At the time the building was for sale which included the few remaining units.

This autumnal view towards Matthew Linwood House and up to 35-38 St Paul's Square during November 2018. As usual St Paul's Square looked very picturesque with the leaves on the ground and the tree shedding their leaves.

Saint Paul's House - 15-20 St Paul's Square

This used to be a pub / restaurant called The Rope Walk (until it closed in 2015). In 2016 under new ownership and it was now a hotel called Saint Paul's House. In November 2019 the Christmas decorations were up around the Doric Columns.

The Old Chapel

The view from Charlotte Street near St Paul's Square. Taken near 55 St Paul's Square / 61 Charlotte Street as I saw this group of cyclists riding their bikes around St Paul's Square. They went past The Old Chapel before turning to the left. Was here in December 2019 to see the new Peaky Blinders statue. Might put that in another post. 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
History & heritage
09 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Moseley Road Baths: an Edwardian gem in Balsall Heath

The Brumtography Facebook group had a guided tour and photo meet at the Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath on Sunday 8th March 2020. Thanks to Karl Newton for organising. We each gave a £2 donation at the end. It's been more than a quarter of a century since I last swam there with school, and many things have changed. Parts have been restored, but still a lot to do.

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Moseley Road Baths: an Edwardian gem in Balsall Heath





The Brumtography Facebook group had a guided tour and photo meet at the Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath on Sunday 8th March 2020. Thanks to Karl Newton for organising. We each gave a £2 donation at the end. It's been more than a quarter of a century since I last swam there with school, and many things have changed. Parts have been restored, but still a lot to do.


A guided tour around Moseley Road Baths with the Brumtography Facebook group members. Thanks once again to Karl Newton for organising it. I was last inside here before, probably in the early to mid 1990s with my Primary School for swimming classes, which was more than a quarter of a century ago. So it's been a long time since I've been here, other than passing it on the Moseley Road on the no 50 bus in Balsall Heath.

Some history from Wikipedia (link above).

Balsall Heath Library opened in 1895, and the baths followed in 1907. Built of red brick and terracotta in the Edwardian style. Jethro A. Cossins and F. B. Peacock was the architect of the library, while William Hale and Son were architects of the baths. The baths and library has several Birmingham Forward coat of arms, as it was built as an incentive for Balsall Heath to become a part of Birmingham (which happened in 1891).

Before people had their own bathroom at home, they would come here for a bath. There was a Ladies bath room, also a Mens First Class and Second Class bath room. There is also two pools. The building is Grade II* listed Balsall Heath Library and Balsall Heath Public Baths.

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths group was formed in 2006. Over the years there has been scaffolding in the baths. At the moment only one of the swimming baths has water in it (the smaller bath). The larger one has scaffolding around it, and a new temporary exhibition in the pool (no water).

 

Some exteriors I took as I arrived in Balsall Heath. Crossed to the other side of the Moseley Road as I got there early. The Public Library is on the right with the clock tower.

From the left side with the chimney at the back. The doors for the old Men's Bath Second Class and Women's Baths have long since been closed (for a very long time). The main entrance is via the door labelled Men's Baths First Class.

The main entrance foyer and what is now the reception desk. This used to be the entrance hall to the Men's Baths First Class. In the swimming baths with water, you have to put these blue bags over your outdoor shoes.

The Deep End. The baths currently in use are to the left. While the larger pool with the exhibition was ahead and to the right. Another door beyond led to the boiler room and the pump room.

Got this view of the foyer after leaving pool 1, and before we were taken upstairs to the laundry room. The door on the right leads to the women's baths, the door to the left to the main entrance and exit. The men's baths is to the far left of here.

Men's Baths

To the right of the main entrance hall was the former men's baths. There was separate rooms in here with bath tubs. The room is now used for storage.

At the far end was a window with the Birmingham Forward coat of arms. Some panels of glass were missing (years of wear and tare).

One of the baths with a rope (probably used to pull yourself out). As you can see, boxes, papers etc are now in there. Before people had their own plumbed bathrooms, they had to come to places like this.

Women's Baths

The women's baths was to the left of the main entrance. Saw this old door with a wall blocking it behind. It reads: "Notice: No money or tickets will be exchanged after leaving this window soap tablets 1d - each".

One of the bath rooms and bath tubs. No doors on some of them that I could see. A bench to sit on and a hook to hang your clothes up.

The corridor between the women's bath rooms, leading back out to the foyer. These are no longer used either.

Boiler Rooms

We were given access by our guide to the boiler rooms to the back of Moseley Road Baths. Was very warm in there. Pipes all over with red wheels to turn (not us of course).

Was another room with a big tank inside, we were taken outside to the back for some views of the chimney. Was a stream deep under the building which could be accessed from here.

In the main room was these large tanks full of steam, more pipes and tubes all over the place.

Pool 1

This swimming pool is still in use. This was the Second Class baths. Modern looking changing rooms on both sides. Now used for kids swimming lessons, and women's swimming group sessions.

You could smell the smell of clorine in here, and my camera got quite steamed up. They let us walk all the way around the pool, as long as we had the blue bags on our shoes. Was bright sunshine coming through as well.

Steps to climb down into the pool. A warning sign behind for No Diving. I did not see any diving boards in Moseley Road Baths. Probably isn't safe, or they never had one.

Laundry Room

We were next taken up some stairs to the old Laundry Room. The drying racks was on the left. The next set of steps leads up to the header tank in the roof. This room had some good views of the City Skyline through the windows on the right.

A close up look at the drying racks.

Up those wooden steps, then up a wooden ladder for a view in the roof. Below is the header tank. Just a look up here, wasn't going to climb on the plank.

Pool 2

This pool is not currently in use, and has scaffolding all around it with no water in the swimming pool. I suspect that this was the pool I used with my primary school back in the early 1990s. Boys shared cubicles on the left, while girls in the cubicles on the right. Going past them now, they look cramped, doors missing and not lights. A new temporary exhibition has opened up in this space called Specular Reflecular. A hand painted animation for Moseley Road Baths by Juneau Projects and members of the local community.

They let us through to the balcony on the top. But it was only safe to walk around the edges near the tiled walls. This pool would have been the First Class swimming baths.

This was as far as I and others could go on this side, as I looked down at the pool with the temporary exhibition below. They installed wooden steps, and behind the screen was emergency scaffolding steps from the pool.

Be sure to follow Moseley Road Baths on Twitter: Moseley Road Baths, on Facebook: Moseley Road Baths and on Instagram: Moseley Road Baths. Their website is at Moseley Road Baths.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
28 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Centenary Square lit up after dark with the Water Jet fountains

Heading back into town from The BCAG, got these views of Centenary Square around 7pm on Wednesday 26th February 2020. Been wanting to see the Water Jet fountains lit up after it got dark. Was very quiet in Centenary Square. Crossing over Library Tram Stop, as roadworks on Broad Street mean you can't walk down past Symphony Hall. Westside seemed quiet for this time of the evening.

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Centenary Square lit up after dark with the Water Jet fountains





Heading back into town from The BCAG, got these views of Centenary Square around 7pm on Wednesday 26th February 2020. Been wanting to see the Water Jet fountains lit up after it got dark. Was very quiet in Centenary Square. Crossing over Library Tram Stop, as roadworks on Broad Street mean you can't walk down past Symphony Hall. Westside seemed quiet for this time of the evening.


Heading out of Brindleyplace, and back onto Broad Street. I headed to Centenary Square sometime after 7pm, after leaving a Birmingham We Are arts event at The Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery. Hoardings on Broad Street, means you have to cross over to the side near Regency Wharf and the Hyatt Regency Birmingham Hotel.

Crossing over Library Tram Stop.

The water jets in the Reflective Pool were lit up red at this point while the Library of Birmingham was blue.

The blue lights were making nice reflections here.

The water jets going up giving off an unique blue tint.

Between the Library of Birmingham and HSBC UK. Looks quite complete from here.

View to HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square with the Municipal Bank and 3 Arena Central.

Tram 23 was heading into Library Tram Stop. Passing the Municipal Bank, future home of a University of Birmingham venue.

Tram 23 comes to a stop at Library Tram Stop. Making a nice reflection from this side.

View towards the Symphony Hall foyer and the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.

Further down as you have the tram on the left and the Library to the right.

Might as well get Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory again while I passed through.

Tram 23 passed the Alpha Tower and HSBC UK as I headed towards Centenary Way, Chamberlain Square and Victoria Square.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
14 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Model of St Martin's Square at St Martin in the Bullring

I did not know that this model of St Martin's Square was inside of St Martin in the Bullring. After meeting King Charles I Return for the first time for coffee (Aka Daniel Williams) we headed into St Martin's Church for a quick look around. First thing I spotted was this model. I'd say it was made around 2000 for the Bullring that opened in 2003. Also shows Selfridges.

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Model of St Martin's Square at St Martin in the Bullring





I did not know that this model of St Martin's Square was inside of St Martin in the Bullring. After meeting King Charles I Return for the first time for coffee (Aka Daniel Williams) we headed into St Martin's Church for a quick look around. First thing I spotted was this model. I'd say it was made around 2000 for the Bullring that opened in 2003. Also shows Selfridges.


In this post, first we will look at the model that I found inside of St Martin in the Bullring. Then comparison photos I took around St Martin's Square between Spring 2009 and early 2011 (before it all changed for the Spiceal Street development).

 

This model is between the exit from St Martin in the Bullring Cafe on the corridor to an entrance inside of the Church of St Martin. Didn't know it was there. Not even from a previous photo I took of the corridor to the cafe. I met King Charles I Return (aka Daniel Williams) on Friday 7th February 2020 for coffee. After that we popped into the church for a quick look around.

This view from Digbeth towards St Martin's Church with Selfridges on the right with the East Mall. The West Mall is to the left. The square as it was from 2003 until the 2011 Spiceal Street development added several new restaurants.

It was in a glass dome, so bit hard to get views without reflections. Birds-eye view down on St Martin's Square. Used to be a stepped sitting area on the left. That is where Chaophraya Thai Restaurant is now. Hand Made Burger Co was later built to the left of Selfridges down the right hand side of the path down to the road.

The view between St Martin's Church and Selfridges towards the main entrance to the Bullring. You can see the statue of Nelson in the middle.

This is the view from the markets side of the Bullring. Which is close to where buses drop off passengers (buses do not pick up passengers from this stop).

Another view of the path into St Martin's Square. Those steps on the right is where Handmade Burger Co is now. Sadly the Birmingham based chain has closed down (including their Bullring and Brindleyplace restaurants).

 

Now to compare the model to the real St Martin's Square from 2009 to early 2011 (before the Spiceal Street development got underway).

From the spring of 2009 when I started taking photos of Birmingham, that included the Bullring area. Got this view of St Martin's Church from near the steps during May 2009. The Three Cubes fountains were still there on the left. Little did I know that this area would all change about 2 years later.

These views from Digbeth, look quite similar to the model. Taken in October 2009, on the first day that I ever took photos around Digbeth (and not the last). This view past the Bull Ring Tavern towards the crossing between St Martin's Church and Selfridges.

Digbeth ends here, then the Bullring starts on the other side of the lights. There is a really short section of road called St Martin's Lane between Moat Lane and Park Street. Usually the buses wait at the lights here.

This view from near the Bull Ring Open Markets on Moat Lane. There was bunting on the lampposts. A sign on the right pointed directions to Digbeth Temporary Coach Station, as National Express was having their old coach station rebuilt into Birmingham Coach Station (which opened at the end of 2009 by the then England Football Manager, Fabio Capello).

Some of my earliest photos of St Martin's Square from April 2009. This from the balcony not far from the statue of Horatio Nelson. This view towards Borders, the Three Cubes fountain sculpture and Gloria Jeans Coffee. Neither of those were on the model (the sculpture and coffee shop).

This view also from April 2009, looking up to the balcony with the statue of Nelson. The stepped seating area was on the left, next to that was the Three Cubes fountain sculpture. St Martin in the Bullring to the right (still there now of course).

On month on, now May 2009. The curved semi circle section of the West Mall above Borders, the Three Cubes fountain sculpture and Gloria Jeans Coffee.

At the time in May 2009, the stepped seating area was closed off. Perhaps for a deep clean. But they would be dug up 2 years later in 2011 for the Spiceal Street development. This view towards Selfridges.

Side view of Gloria Jean's Coffee. This cafe building would be open until the end of 2010 (and into January 2011). The metal panels were later recycled into the tree sculpture that is in St Martin's Square today.

Aware that the building occupied at the time by Gloria Jean's Coffee would be dismantled for the Spiceal Street development, I took these early evening shots around 5pm at the end of December 2010.

There was already some barriers around here, but people could still go up and down the steps. Oh and Forever 21 had opened up above Jamie's Italian by then (where Borders used to be until that closed down).

A few days later and a couple of days into the new year of 2011. So now January 2011 for some last daylight shots of this building before they took it down.

There was a planning application here from Birmingham City Council detailing the plans for what was going to happen at Spiceal Street.

I did not go in. I didn't really start to go to coffee shops until 2012, starting off with Costa Coffee. Before trying Caffe Nero and Starbucks in 2014. I also discovered Coffee#1 in 2015 in South Wales before they opened some stores in the West Midlands.

In August 2009 a view from the upper balcony near Selfridges towards Digbeth. At this point in time, I had yet to have a photo walk around Digbeth. I didn't start to do that until October 2009. The steps below on the left, were demolished in 2009, and this is where Handmade Burger Co was built. The model of St Martin's Square shows tables and chairs outside of Selfridges on the lower balcony. There used to be a Starbucks in Selfridges at this corner (that has now gone).

A nice sunny view heading into St Martin's Square during August 2009. I had changed camera's by this point.

This view of Selfridges from Digbeth during December 2009. They were selling (at the time) Real Christmas Trees at Selfridges. The steps were still there at the time (seen on the left).

St Martin's Square in late December 2010. Slightly blurry at about 5pm near the Christmas tree. This was a few months before the Spiceal Street development which took all of 2011 to complete adding several new restaurants, and new steps up to St Martin's Walk with a replacement water feature.

The Three Cubes fountain sculpture seen during April 2009. Behind them was the former stepped seating area. Borders Books used to have many of the units there, including a Starbucks Coffee. That later became Jamies Italian and Forever 21 (which at one point had a Costa Coffee). Sadly both have recently closed down. But there is a Starbucks in the West Mall just as you enter the doors.

As you can see by December 2010, Jamie's Italian had moved in. They would last until 2018 (going into administration and closing down). The cubes were removed in early 2011 when construction of the Spiceal Street development started.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
27 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Victoria Square almost empty over the past decade

Apart from when major events such as the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is there, Victoria Square is empty. On certain Bank Holiday's, the square can look empty and deserted. There has been changes in recent years with the building of the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square (which is now open and more or less complete). So there is new paving and steps. It looks good.

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Victoria Square almost empty over the past decade





Apart from when major events such as the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is there, Victoria Square is empty. On certain Bank Holiday's, the square can look empty and deserted. There has been changes in recent years with the building of the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square (which is now open and more or less complete). So there is new paving and steps. It looks good.


Victoria Square

The square was formerly known as the Council House Square and was renamed on the 10th January 1901 to honour Queen Victoria who died just 12 days later. The marble statue of Queen Victoria was unveiled at the time and was designed by Thomas Brock, it was later cast in bronze by William Bloye in 1951. Other statues used to be in the square, such as the statue of King Edward VII which later moved to Highgate Park in 1951, but it was restored in 2010 and moved outside of Baskerville House in Centenary Square. The statue of Robert Peel moved to Calthorpe Park, but is now outside of Tally Ho! in Edgbaston on the Pershore Road (now the training HQ of the West Midlands Police). The Joseph Priestley statue was moved to Chamberlain Square, but it moved to storage in 2016. The George Dawson statue was moved to Edmund Street, but is now at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre.

The most recent redevelopment of Victoria Square took place between 1992 and 1994. The River also known by Brummie's at the Floozie in the Jacuzzi, by Dhruva Mistry was unveiled in 1993. Antony Gormley's Iron: Man was also unveiled in 1993, but has been in storage since 2017 (due to the construction of the Westside Metro extension).

The Westside Metro extension was built in Victoria Square between 2017 and 2019 from Pinfold Street to Paradise Street, which included a tram stop on Paradise Street next to the Town Hall. This opened to Centenary Square during December 2019.

 

The following photos taken over the last decade or so. The square almost empty.

Victoria Square during the early May Bank Holiday weekend 2011 (May Day). Union Jack bunting left over from the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate (now the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge). Birmingham Central Library was still there at the time (it would close in 2013 and get demolished in 2016). Seen between the Town Hall and Council House. This was from the New Street end of Victoria Square.

View towards the Town Hall. Was plenty of bollards here at the time. The pair of red phone boxes near Victoria Square House and Pinfold Street had yet to be removed, as was all those trees.

This was during the snow of the middle of January 2013. Christmas tree still on the right. This was from the New Street end of the square.

A wet afternoon in Victoria Square on New Year's Day 2017 (1st January 2017). Raining in the morning, and the square still looked wet and empty when I passed through it. The square is always like this, days after the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market packs up and returns to Germany.

More snow in Victoria Square, but during March 2018. Some Council workers were laying salt grit in the square. It was around this period that the World Indoor Athletics Championships were being held over at Arena Birmingham. So was direction signs to the Arena. This view towards the Town Hall with the Council House to the right. By this point, construction of the Westside Metro extension was well under way, and the Iron:Man was now in storage.

One year on in March 2019, and I passed through Victoria Square during a hail storm. Saw white hail stones coming down. This view towards Victoria Square House. Was already new paving around the statue of Queen Victoria, which was done with the Metro extension.

Heading down the steps towards New Street, as the hail was getting heavier. The Metro extension behind fences, but you could still get to the pavement on Pinfold Street.

A complete contrast a month later! A stunning blue sky in Victoria Square during April 2019. It was very hot for that time of the year. This photo was taken 10 years to the day when I first started taking photos of Birmingham, including in Victoria Square. Council House on the left, the statue of Queen Victoria, with new paving, to the right.

Boxing Day during late December 2019. And this was several days after the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market had closed (again) and been dismantled. I approached the square this time from Hill Street. Here you can see the newly complete paving and steps that was built as part of the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square. View towards Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Council House. You can also see the core of 103 Colmore Row.

New Year's Day 2020 and heading up to Victoria Square on the very first day of January 2020 from New Street. Quite a contrast from my earlier photos, as the tram tracks curves around to the left from Pinfold Street towards Town Hall Tram Stop on Paradise Street. Most of the bollards to the right have survived. Was temporary tarmac to the left, where during the BFCM, there was security barriers. Another new view is to Paradise Birmingham with Two and One Chamberlain Square. Also compared to the earlier view, the Floozie is now in a flowerbed instead of a cascading fountain (although that could get repaired again in the future).

I originally created this post during early January 2020. So adding one more photo taken at the Council House on the 14th January 2020. Works on the Metro extension have resumed (finishing touches around Victoria Square). Would assume the Iron:Man will be installed in the area to the right near the Town Hall.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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