St Martin's Square in the Bullring - A Birmingham Gem!

The church, known as St Martin in the Bullring, is a Grade II* listed building in what is now called St Martin’s Square. The square was opened 2003. Spiceal Street developed in 2011.


St Martin's Square is at the Bullring & Grand Central Birmingham near St Martin's Church.

St Martin's Square

St Martin's Square courtesy of Mac McCreery

 

St Martin's Square was opened in 2003, while the Spiceal Street development took place around 2011, which included restaurants at the Bullring.

St Martin's Square

St Martin's Square (Christmas 2019) courtesy of Daniel Sturley

 

It is the gateway to Digbeth, and near the Selfridges building.

St Martin's Church

St Martin's Church from Digbeth (October 2009) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

History of St Martin's Church in the Bullring

The church dates back to at least the 13th century. The Guild of the Holy Cross was recorded as being responsible for the clock as early as 1547. The clock was next mentioned in 1613. In 1643 during the English Civil War, (according to legend), it is said that Prince Rupert fired three shots at the weathervane at St Martin's Church. The earliest clock makers arrived from London in 1667. By 1690, the church was dressed in brick by the church wardens. The spire was rebuilt in 1781 by John Cheshire and the church was demolished and rebuilt by the architect J. A. Chatwin in 1872, preserving the earlier tower and spire. It is a Grade II* listed building. It was the tallest building in Birmingham from 1855 to 1908 (when the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower was completed at the University of Birmingham).

St Martin's Church

St Martin's Church from Moor Street Car Park (March 2018) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

Spiceal Street development

This development at the Bullring brought back the old name of Spiceal Street (lost after the 1960s Bull Ring was built). Constructed during 2011, it was open by Christmas 2011. Restaurants included: Chaophraya, Browns and Handmade Burger Co. There is also Nandos and Pizza Hut at the square level. Handmade Burger Co has since closed and will be replaced with Vietnamese Street Kitchen. There also used to be Jamie's Italian, but that too has closed down. They used to use the tables at the back of the building.

Spiceal Street St Martin's Square

Spiceal Street at St Martin's Square (December 2019) courtesy of Daniel Sturley

 

Tree Sculpture

The Tree Sculpture was made by Wolfgang Buttress using the reclaimed copper roof of the Spiral Cafe, which was removed ahead of the building of the restaurants at Spiceal Street. It is 44ft high and unveiled in late 2011.

St Martin's Square

Tree Sculpture at Spiceal Street, St Martin's Square (December 2019) courtesy of Daniel Sturley

 

Lost Structures of St Martin's Square

The following structures were removed in 2011 for the Spiceal Street development near St Martin's Square at the Bullring.

The Spiral Cafe was near the top of the steps at the Bullring from St Martin's Square. In it's later years it was occupied by Gloria Jean's Coffee.

Gloria Jean's Coffee

Gloria Jean's Coffee at the Bullring (May 2009) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

There was also a Three Cubes water fountain sculpture that was removed in 2011.

Three Cubes St Martin's Square

Three Cubes water fountain sculpture at St Martin's Square (April 2009) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

Model of St Martin's Square

If you are visiting inside of St Martin's Church, you will find a model of what St Martin's Square was proposed to look like. The model was probably made in the year 2000. It shows the steps in the square that were there from 2003 to 2011. That area was replaced by the restaurants of Spiceal Street.

Model of St Martin's Square

Model of St Martin's Square inside of St Martin's Church (February 2020) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

Events at St Martin's Square over the years

There has been a lot of events that have taken place at St Martin's Square over the years, from the visit of the Coca Cola Christmas Truck, to various promotions. As well as the Floral Trail, The Big Hoot in 2015 and The Big Sleuth in 2017. There was also little owls and bears inside of St Martin's Church in each trail period.

 

Coca Cola Christmas Truck

The Coca Cola Christmas Truck visited St Martin's Square at least twice, in December 2014 and December 2016 (it later returned to Eastside City Park in 2017 and 2018). Holidays are coming!

Coca Cola Truck St Martin's Square

Coca Cola Christmas Truck in St Martin's Square (December 2014) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

Coca Cola Truck

Coca Cola Christmas Truck at St Martin's Square (December 2016) courtesy of Elliott Brown

Go to this post for more on the Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham.

 

Promotional Buses and Vehicles

Former London Routemaster buses have visited St Martin's Square over the years from promoting a new movie to holidays and bingo. There has also been set ups for promoting a new drink, or even a Cadbury's Creme Egg lorry!

Minions on Tour was in St Martin's Square during May 2015 to promote the then release of the movie in cinemas on the 26th June 2015 (it's now available to stream on Netflix and rent on Amazon Prime Video).

Minions St Martin's Square

Minions bus in St Martin's Square (May 2015) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

Vita Coco was in St Martin's Square during July 2016 to promote their tropical drink on 'Coconut Grove'.

Vita Coco St Martin's Square

Vita Coco at St Martin's Square (July 2016) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

It was the Cadbury Creme Egg Hunt during February 2017 in St Martin's Square. It's hunting season!

Cadbury Creme Egg St Martin's Square

Cadbury Creme Egg Hunt in St Martin's Square (February 2017) courtesy of Elliott Brown

For more events with vehicles go to this post Customised buses and lorries seen in St Martin's Square over the years.

 

Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

A variety of floral trail features have been in St Martin's Square over the years in front of the church.

Trafalgar Oct 21 1805 was in St Martin's Square during the summer of 2009. Commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar where Horatio Nelson died. Trafalgar Day is celebrated each year on the 21st October at the Bullring around the statue of Nelson.

Trafalgar St Martin's Square

Trafalgar Oct 21 1805 in St Martin's Square (August 2009) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

The Best of Birmingham was part of Birmingham's 2012 Gold winning piece from the Chelsea Flower Show. It featured the Bullring Bull, Selfridges and the Birmingham Canals.

Best of Birmingham St Martin's Square

The Best of Birmingham in St Martin's Square (August 2012) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Trails of painted owls around Birmingham in the summer of 2015. It lasted for 10 weeks before being auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity. There was one owl in front of St Martin's Church, while another was at the bottom of St Martin's Walk, and a third with a view of Selfridges behind it.

Beorma by the artist Jodie Silverman from a design by Betty Underwood – a pupil from Camp Hill School for Girls. The sponsor was The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham.

The Big Hoot St Martin's Square

Beorma (by artist Jodie Silverman from a design by Betty Underwood) in St Martin's Square (July 2015). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

A trail of painted bears around Birmingham and the West Midlands in the summer of 2017. It lasted for 10 weeks before being auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity. There was one bear outside of St Martin's Church, while another could be found inside of Selfridges.

Bearmingham by the artist James Mustafa. The sponsor was The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham.

The Big Sleuth St Martin's Square

Bearmingham (by artist James Mustafa) in St Martin's Square (July 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Christmas in St Martin's Square

Over the years there has been different Christmas Tree's outside of St Martin's Church. Sometimes the Fudge Bus has been down there, other years a carousel.

A traditional Christmas Tree could be found in St Martin's Square over the festive season of 2013. The lights behind were all lit up as well. Forever 21 occupied many of those retail spaces at the time.

Christmas St Martin's Square

Christmas tree and lights at night in St Martin's Square (December 2013) courtesy of Elliott Brown

 

In recent years the Bullring has reused an artificial Christmas Tree that they have placed outside of St Martin's Church in St Martin's Square. During the festive season of 2020 it was quiet, especially during the second lockdown. Most of the lights behind off as non essential retailers were closed, and some units were vacant.

Christmas St Martin's Square

Christmas Tree and lights in St Martin's Square after dark (November 2020) courtesy of Elliott Brown

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07 Oct 2019 - On-going

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