Aston Webb Building and Chancellor's Court at the University of Birmingham - A Birmingham Gem!

The Unversity's Great Hall is located in the domed Aston Webb Building. This is the main building, built in Accrington red-brick, that forms the University's Chancellor's Court.


The Aston Webb Building is located at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston.

Aston Webb Building

Aston Webb Building on Google Maps

 

The architects were Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell. 

This a Grade II* building of considerable historic importance to Birmingham.  It was built between 1900 and 1909.

Red Brick University (June 2018) courtesy of Christine Wright

 

History of the Aston Webb Building

The land was given to the University of Birmingham by Calthorpe Estates, and construction began in 1900, and continued on until 1909. The architects was Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell. They were the original buildings, laid out in a D-plan group. The Great Hall is opposite the tower, to the centre of what is today called the Chancellor's Court in a semi circle. Built of Accrington red brick and stone and buff terracotta dressings.  The design was more Byzantine than Renaissance. There is rich grotesque carvings and lavish stained glass by T R Spence. There is large frescoed friezes by Anning Bell below the parapets on the first floor level. The Aston Webb Building was officially opened by King Edward VII in 1909. The buildings have been Grade II* listed since 1970.

Chancellors Court University of Birmingham

Chancellor's Court at the University of Birmingham (August 2015) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

The Great Hall

At the centre of the semi circular Chancellor's Court is the large dome at the centre of the Great Hall. The entrance pavilion is square, with three storeys, surmounted by an octagonal drum which is supported by a ribbed dome and tiny lantern. There is square turrets at the corner with hemispherical ribbed domes. Above the doorways are friezes by Henry Pegram depicting: Beethoven, Virgil, Michelangelo, Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Watt, Faraday and Darwin.

The Great Hall

The Great Hall at the University of Birmingham (July 2017) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

The Law Building

This building seen from the Chancellor's Court is to the right of Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clocktower (Old Joe). Houses the Law Department. You can walk under the archway from University Square. It houses the Harding Law Library. It was part of Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell's original plan although it wasn't completed. It is a long straight wing down University Road. Made of red brick with Darley Dale stone dressings. The west end originally housed the chemistry department, the East the Physics.

Law Building

Law Building at the Chancellor's Court (November 2018) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

Frankland Building

This building houses the Psychology Department.

Frankland Building

Frankland Building at the University of Birmingham (August 2015) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

Poynting Building

The building on the right is home to the Physics Department. Also called Poynting Physics. Named after John Henry Poynting, who while working at the physics department at Mason Science College as the first Professor of Physics, in 1890 he determined the mass of the Earth in Birmingham. It is marked at the Poynting Building by a blue plaque.

Poynting Building

Poynting Building at the University of Birmingham (January 2020) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

Lapworth Museum of Geology

The Lapworth Museum of Geology is housed in one of the wings of the Aston Webb Building. Named after Charles Lapworth, who was the first Professor of Geology at Mason Science College (from 1881). He later moved to the University of Birmingham (before retiring in 1913). The museum has been in this space since the 1920s.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Lapworth Museum of Geology (July 2017) courtesy of Elliott Brown

Connect here for more on the Lapworth Museum of Geology.

 

Girl in a Hat

There is a bronze statue in the Chancellor's Court that is a part of the Universtity's sculpture trail. The Girl in a Hat was a bronze statue sculpted by Bernard Sindall in 1972. It was
It was presented by Sir Robert & Lady Aitken on 22nd October 1974.

Girl in a Hat

Girl in a Hat in the Chancellor's Court, University of Birmingham (August 2015) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

There was a trail of painted owls around Birmingham in the summer of 2015. It lasted for 10 weeks before they were sold at an auction for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity. At the time there was several owls around the University of Birmingham Campus in Edgbaston.

Hootankhamoon was by the artist Dale E Evans. The sponsor was University of Birmingham. It was located in University Square not far from the Law Building.

Big Hoot University of Birmingham

Hootankhamoon (by artist Dale E Evans) at the University of Birmingham (August 2015). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

There was a trail of painted bears around Birmingham and the West Midlands in the summer of 2017. It lasted for 10 weeks before they were sold at an auction for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity. At the time there was several bears around the University of Birmingham Campus in Edgbaston.

Rosie was by the artist Julie Allum. The sponsor was The Bramall, University of Birmingham. It was outside of the Aston Webb Building, close to the Great Hall and the Bramall Music Building.

Big Sleuth University of Birmingham

Rosie (by artist Julie Allum) at the University of Birmingham (July 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown

Project dates

17 Feb 2021 - On-going

Passions

History & heritage, Education, Classic Architecture

Contact

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