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Birmingham Council House - A Birmingham Gem!

The Birmingham Council House is home to the City's Council

The land on which the Council House and adjacent Museum and Art Gallery are located was purchased in 1853. It is located in Victoria Square in the city centre and is a Grade II listed building. The Council House has its own postcode, B1 1BB

 

What we found out

What difference has it made

 Virtual tour.

Passions

History & heritage, Civic pride, Art, culture & creativity
Photography, Travel & tourism, Squares and public spaces, Classic Architecture

Project dates

08 Jun 2019 - On-going

Contact (for more details)

Admin FreeTimePays

0121 410 5520
Admin@ FreeTimePays.com

Modern Architecture
09 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown
Introducing

Birmingham Council House - the seat of local Government in Birmingham

After the recent Birmingham We Are event at the Council House, thought I'd do a post about the building itself! The original building was built from 1874 until 1879 from a design by Yeoville Thomason in the classical style. A Grade II* listed building where the Councillors meet.

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Birmingham Council House - the seat of local Government in Birmingham





After the recent Birmingham We Are event at the Council House, thought I'd do a post about the building itself! The original building was built from 1874 until 1879 from a design by Yeoville Thomason in the classical style. A Grade II* listed building where the Councillors meet.


Birmingham Council House

Located in what is now Victoria Square (formerly the Council House Square until 1901). Seen below in 2009 when the previous 103 Colmore Row was still standing. It was built between 1874 and 1879. The first extension was later built from 1881 until 1885 (including the Museum & Art Gallery). Yeoville Thomason was the architect for that extension as well as the original building.

The second extension was built between 1911 and 1919 by the architects Ashley & Newman (including the Museum & Art Gallery extension and the Gas Hall). Here we are mostly concentrating on the original building.

The seat of local government where the councillors of Birmingham City Council debate things, consider what buildings to be built or what needs to be demolished, and various other matters, including the waste service and local parks. View below from 2010.

Seen in 2017 was French Nationals (that live in the West Midlands) queuing to vote in the French Presidential election (later won by Emmanuel Macron). The Council House can also be used as a polling station for British General or Local Elections.

Every year from October to December, there are poppies placed below the balcony of the Council House, as well as the Happy Christmas Birmingham sign. The Remembrance service in 2017 was held in front of the Council House (in 2018 it's moved to Birmingham Cathedral). The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is usually in Victoria Square from November to December each year.

The clock tower at the Council House is nicknamed Big Brum, and can be seen mainly from Chamberlain Square. It is close to the main entrance of the Museum & Art Gallery. It was built in 1885 as part of the first extension to the Council House. The clock was donated by A. Follett Osler. The name is similar to Big Ben (at the Palace of Westminster in London) which it alluded to.

When the 1974 - 2013 Birmingham Central Library stood, it wasn't possible to see Big Brum from Centenary Square and the Library of Birmingham. After the old library was demolished in 2016 the Museum and Council House was visible from this side for the first time in a long time. One and Two Chamberlain Square are currently being built at Paradise Birmingham, and Centenary Way was extended towards Chamberlain Square. It is now possible to see Big Brum from Centenary Square!

The side of the Council House on Eden Place between 125 Colmore Row. There is four unused red phone boxes down here. At one point the box closest to Colmore Row was used by Jake's Coffee Box, but I think that closed down a while ago now. All the phone boxes are available to let. All four are of K6 type and are Grade II listed. Designed in 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert
Scott.

This side of the Council House seen on what was once a part of Edmund Street that stretched as far as the old Victorian Central Library building. The Water Hall gallery is on this side. It is opposite the Gas Hall and Council House Extension (where the rest of the Museum & Art Gallery can be accessed). Entrance on this side of the Council House is for pass holders only. Signs direct you around to the Victoria Square entrance.

While at the Birmingham We Are event, gave me an opportunity to have a quick look around at the interior. Sure that there is more to see, but this was what I got.

The ceiling and chandeliers in the Banqueting Suite. This was the main room that we were in for those 3 hours. The sculptures on the ceiling looked especially fascinating to me! So many columns in here. The balcony is outside of this room, where visitors could stand up there including winning sports teams.

Sitting in the Drawing Room during the talks / videos, I noticed this mural behind the chandelier. In the middle looks like a person sitting on a chair / throne in a doric column temple.

The Glass Corridor.

Another corridor on the 1st floor. Was a series of portraits down here.

The dome and chandelier above the Grand Staircase. They don't build them like this any more!

The Grand Staircase from the top. Halfway up was a statue of Prince Albert (left) and Queen Victoria (right).

The Grand Staircase heading back down to the Victoria Square entrance / exit. There was several busts down here and plaques.

 

Photos by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
Civic pride
02 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

City of Birmingham 130 years a City

On the 14th January 2019 the City of Birmingham celebrated being a city for 130 years. A visual display outside the Council House after dark from 4pm to 6pm that day. Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar was a film projected onto the side of the Council House by the graffiti artist Mohammed Ali (also known as Aerosol Ali). In this post is photo gallery from that evening as I passed through!

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City of Birmingham 130 years a City





On the 14th January 2019 the City of Birmingham celebrated being a city for 130 years. A visual display outside the Council House after dark from 4pm to 6pm that day. Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar was a film projected onto the side of the Council House by the graffiti artist Mohammed Ali (also known as Aerosol Ali). In this post is photo gallery from that evening as I passed through!


The full title of this projected film was Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar .

Birmingham received City Status on the 14th January 1889. On the 14th January 2019 there was an event held in Victoria Square between 4pm and 6pm. It was still getting dark by 4.30pm to 5pm. I went to check it out briefly on the day after 5pm. The film was by Mohammed Ali also known as Aerosol Ali.

This digital billboard seen on the Council House balcony on the 13th January 2019 (a day before the anniversary).

I actually took these photos from the top of Victoria Square starting at Colmore Row, going down the steps. But it actually looks better seeing the photos in reverse!

Some bonus photos commemorating the last major anniversary of Birmingham's City Status which was back in 1989 (30 years ago).

City of Birmingham Centenary Festival 1889 1989

Saw this plaque in the Council House while I was at Birmingham We Are's event back in early November 2018. On Maundy Thursday 23rd March 1989 this plaque was unveiled to commemorate the visit of Her Majesty the Queen during the City of Birmingham's Centenary Year.

I've had this medallion souvenir for around 30 years (so have had it since sometime in 1989). It was an Official Souvenir Medallion for the City of Birmingham Centenary. On this side showing a version of Birmingham's famous Forward coat of arms.

On the reverse it says City of Birmingham Centenary Festival 1889 1989. Has anyone thought of making a souvenir for 2019? City of Birmingham 130th Birthday 1889 2019!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown in Victoria Square in mid January 2019.

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
31 Dec 2016 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham flag flies proud over historic Council House

The flag of Birmingham flies proud over some of Birmingham's great history and heritage.

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43 passion points