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Modern Architecture
23 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Tour of the inside of the Library of Birmingham during September 2013

Welcome to a tour of the Library of Birmingham from my visits back in September 2013. My first visits were on the 21st and 28th September 2013. It was very busy. Loads of people visiting the library for the first time. Heading up the escalators between the levels. At the time the glass lift still worked, so you could go in that if it wasn't too busy. 9 levels plus the basement levels.

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Tour of the inside of the Library of Birmingham during September 2013





Welcome to a tour of the Library of Birmingham from my visits back in September 2013. My first visits were on the 21st and 28th September 2013. It was very busy. Loads of people visiting the library for the first time. Heading up the escalators between the levels. At the time the glass lift still worked, so you could go in that if it wasn't too busy. 9 levels plus the basement levels.


For this post we are only looking at the inside of the Library of Birmingham. So not the Shakespeare Memorial Room, Discovery Terrace or the Secret Garden (I'll leave those for future posts).

 

Originally the Library had revolving doors from Centenary Square (and also to the Discovery Terrace on Level 3). There is also a disabled door you can use by the press of a button. The revolving doors were replaced years later by automatic doors, as the revolving doors kept getting stuck. Also the glass lift from Level 4 to Level 7 stopped working after a year. Meaning you have to use the other lifts, or the stairs (if you can). There are escalators from Level G (the ground floor) to Level 3. Then a travelator up to Level 4. Access to Level 7 and 9 is by the lifts or stairs. Level 5 and Level 8 is for staff only. There is also the Library Cafe on the ground floor, and you can take you coffee up to the Mezzanine floor (also called Level MZ).

 

21st September 2013

Starting on the ground floor Level G, a look towards the entrance to the REP. On the left is the Library Shop. Where you can buy Birmingham souvenirs. I got in after 4pm that day.

The escalators from Level G to Level 1 was busy that day. On the left was a temporary exhibition, called The Pavilion

When it opened, Level 1 was originally called Business Learning & Health (this was before Brasshouse Languages took it over in 2016).

There used to be desks where you could work on your laptop or tablet on. WiFi early on was weak, but years later the free WiFi got better (well at least after I kept upgrading my smartphone every couple of years).

The escalators from Level 1 up to Level 2.

Next up was Level 2, which was originally called the Knowledge Floor. Around the core of this floor and the floor above is the Book Rotunda. There is a lot of old historic books around there.

Another area for studying and using your laptop or tablet with a view out to Centenary Square.

Now it was time to leave Level 2 for Level 3. Just had to go up the escalator to the next floor.

Now a look around Level 3, which was called the Discovery Floor at the time. This area was called the Mediatheque. Where you can watch films from a library collection (I think).

The Travelator that goes from Level 3 up to Level 4. That time it was set to go up on the right. Usually you go up on the left.

On the ride up, you can see the glass lift. And there was a queue for it waiting to go up to Level 7.

Level 4 was called Archives & Heritage. You can go through glass doors when you get to the top, or at the time use the glass lift (it wouldn't remain in service for long before it broke down - in fact it's not worked for years!).

I would have gone higher that day, but it was almost 5pm and that was the time that the Library of Birmingham closed for the evening. So heading back down the escalators through the Book Rotunda. At this point heading down from Level 3 to Level 2. Next up would be the escalator down to Level 1.

Heading down the escalator from Level 1 back to Level G, where you can see The Pavilion temporary exhibition on the right.

A look at the Children's Library which is on Level LG (Lower Ground Floor).

Back on Level G, and heading from the Library of Birmingham into the foyer of the REP.

28th September 2013

One week later, I returned to the Library of Birmingham to go all the way up to the top to Level 9 for the Shakespeare Memorial Room and Skyline Viewpoint. Got in much earlier this time, just before 1pm that day. This wall welcomes you to the Library of Birmingham. Was also a screen showing information about the exhibition on at the time called Dozens & Trails. This was on Level G.

This time I was able to get the glass lift up from Level 4 to Level 7.

Now on Level 7 after going up the glass lift. Here you can see the comfy red chairs in a staff only area of the Library. On Level 7 is the Secret Garden.

Views from Level 7 near the Glass Lift down to the floors below. You can see the travelator and the escalators down to about Level 2.

If you don't like heights don't look down! On this day the travelator was operating in the correct directions. Left side to take you down from Level 7 to 4. The right side to take you up from Level 4 to 7.

The escalators on Level 2 takes you to and from Level 1 (on the left) and to and from Level 3 (on the right).

There was also some comfy red chairs on Level 7. I used to sit on some of them on Level 3 to get onto the WiFi on my then smartphone.

On Level 7 you can see a staff office through the window from the corridor from the regular lifts and stairs. So you might see this if going to or from the Secret Garden (unless they have the blinds down).

That day I used the stairs to go down. Went a bit too far down to Level LG, and saw these desks with PC's on them. So had to go back up the stairs to Level G to exit.

That's it folks for this tour of the Library of Birmingham. It's changed a lot since it first opened 7 years ago.

For the next Library of Birmingham post, I could show you around the Shakespeare Memorial Room. It's on Level 9 near the Skyline Viewpoint.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Jun 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - June 2020 Update

Work has recommenced on the buildings silver cladding panels after a two month delay. Here is a superb gallery of photos from Daniel, covering March 22nd to 10th June.

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The Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - June 2020 Update





Work has recommenced on the buildings silver cladding panels after a two month delay. Here is a superb gallery of photos from Daniel, covering March 22nd to 10th June.


22nd March 2020:

25th March 2020:

19th April 2020:

23rd April 2020:

25th May 2020:

27th May 2020:

28th May 2020:

29th May 2020:

5th June 2020:

6th June 2020:

More photos in the full construction gallery for this build here...

Photos by Daniel Sturley

We're also on Instagram. Be sure to follow us at: @Itsyourbirmingham

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80 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Jun 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - Our early June 2020 Update

The steel structure has now reached the top end of the core and is almost at the stage of topping out. Elsewhere, the two outer 'slabs' are now at full height.

Take our article for over 40 fantastic photos of this amazing new build.

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The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - Our early June 2020 Update





The steel structure has now reached the top end of the core and is almost at the stage of topping out. Elsewhere, the two outer 'slabs' are now at full height.

Take our article for over 40 fantastic photos of this amazing new build.


"Over the next two weekends (weather permitting) we bid a fond farewell to Tower Crane A. Another big milestone in the project as we enter the final 12 months of construction" - SPV

Staircase frame is reminiscent of New York's Vessel.

Here's how work has progressed throughout end May through early June.

 

8th june

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
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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