Events held in Centenary Square over the years. Seen from the Library of Birmingham, up until before the square was redeveloped, and again after it reopened (not including Ice Skate Birmingham of course). While the water jets are now back on and kids enjoying it again, I will show what has been on this space in the past. These events usually take place a weekends.

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Events over the years in Centenary Square on what is now the Reflective Pool





Events held in Centenary Square over the years. Seen from the Library of Birmingham, up until before the square was redeveloped, and again after it reopened (not including Ice Skate Birmingham of course). While the water jets are now back on and kids enjoying it again, I will show what has been on this space in the past. These events usually take place a weekends.


There was still a stepped platform in Centenary Square back in June 2009. About 6 years after an arsonist had destroyed the Forward sculpture. Made in Birmingham was an exhibition of old photos from the 19th century. It was based on The Birmingham Exhibition in Local Manufactures and Natural History from 1886. This view towards Chamberlain House (demolished in 2018).

The O2 Guru Range was in Centenary Square outside of The REP back in June 2010. Construction of the new Library of Birmingham hadn't really started yet, but was cranes on site. Which had just gone up.

There was Table Tennis tables (Ping Pong) in Centenary Square during July 2011. There was 55 tables around Birmingham from the 8th July to the 8th August 2011 and they were free to play! They were from Ping Brum.

Back in September 2013, 4 Squares Weekender was being held, including in Centenary Square. It was to celebrate the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. Looked like a storm was coming. Banner with the Alpha Tower to the right. There was also an outdoor photo exhibition called the Reference Works. This was probably before the Library has opened, and before my first visit. Plus back then there was long queues to get in, so I waited until the end of the month before my first visit (I now pop in at least once a month).

My first visit to the Library of Birmingham near the end of September 2013 and the Reference Works was still to the right of the new lawn (that's gone now). The view from the Discovery Terrace. I waited 18 days before visiting the library for the first time. It was The Library of Birmingham Photography Project. Showing old photos of the previous Central Libraries of Birmingham, from 1865 to 1986.

Free Hugs passing through Centenary Square in November 2013. It was also Free High Fives. This was when the late Stephen Sutton and friends passed through Birmingham. Sadly he died in May 2014. Near The ICC and The REP.

The Queen's Baton Relay was in Centenary Square during June 2014. It was during the build up to the Commonwealth Games that were being held in Glasgow in August 2014. The view towards the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall. Years before Birmingham 2022 became a reality (they were probably thinking of bidding for 2026 back then).

In September 2014 the Zombie Walk was being held in Centenary Square. Looks at those trees in full bloom. They would be cut down before the regeneration of Centenary Square started. The view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. Entertainment was by Free Radio.

Back when the Library of Birmingham was open on a Sunday, I popped up when Remembrance Sunday was taking place during November 2014. This was where people would pick up the Poppy Wreaths to lay them at the temporary Cenotaph, or in the Hall of Memory. This hasn't taken place here since about 2016. They moved it to Victoria Square in 2017, and around Colmore Row / Birmingham Cathedral in 2018 and 2019. Although the Armistice Day commemorations returned to the Hall of Memory in 2019 (after the square was completed).

The St George's Day celebrations that took place in Centenary Square during April 2015. There was a fair on at the time. Was several motorbikes to the right. You could also play a 'hook a duck' game and buy some candy floss. In previous years this event had been in Victoria Square.

The WMFS Band was performing in Centenary Square outside of the Library of Birmingham back in May 2015. The Band of the West Midlands Fire Service.

During Armed Forces Day in June 2015, members of the Armed Forces were marching around Centenary Square. This view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. In recent years, military parades such as this have taken place around Birmingham Cathedral and Colmore Row. They went around the Hall of Memory and past Baskerville House. You can really see the carpet design of the old Centenary Square that has now been lost.

The Caribbean Food Festival was held in Centenary Square during August 2015. The view from the Discovery Terrace on Level 3 of the Library of Birmingham. Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were still in place, and the former House of Sport had yet to be demolished for Arena Central.

Giant Rugby Football on the lawn in Centenary Square during September 2015. This was for the Rugby World Cup 2015. The Big Hoot was also on during that summer as well.

Two years after the 4 Squares Weekender, was the Birmingham Weekender. Seen in Centenary Square during September 2015. This was Lady Godiva.

The Great Birmingham Run used to go down Broad Street long before the Metro extension works. In October 2015, they were preparing the area near the end of the run. The view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. A Saturday view, as on Sunday the Library was closed, and no one would be able to get a view up here (as the Library opening hours had changed by then). The former Register Office / House of Sport was in the process of being demolished for the 1 Arena Central site (now 5 Centenary Square and not built on to date).

Badminton courts were set up in Centenary Square during March 2016. As the All England Championships were on at the time at the Barclaycard Arena. Behind early works for cutting down trees and for the future Metro extension to Centenary Square (that is now the site of Library Tram Stop). House of Sport had been demolished, but at the time they were calling the site 1 Arena Central (it is now called 5 Centenary Square but hasn't been built on yet).

The International Dance Festival Birmingham was being held in Centenary Square during May 2016. They set up a stage area where dancers would perform their tricks. There was also an old Ford Escort where dancers would jump on fellow dancers shoulders.

The BE Festival was held in Centenary back in June 2016. In this view from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham, you could see this painted mural by An Wei. There was also a market around here, plus drummers called Bloco Louco. They were already doing a test pit around the trees. A mature tree would end up getting cut down a year later in 2017 (all the other trees went as well). But some new trees have been planted since the square was done up (2017 - 2019).

CBBC Live was being held in Centenary Square back in July 2016. This was taken from the no 24 bus I  got toward Harborne. Was part of CBBC's Awesome Authors event. Since I only got it from the bus, that meant I didn't head up the Library to see it from above.

About a week later, but still during July 2016, I saw this from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham. Rogue Play was part of the Tilt Festival - Snakes and Ladders. The next Tilt Festival will be in July 2020. Summer 2016 was one of the last times that you could see the old 1991 design of Centenary Square by Tess Jaray. The bricks would be lifted during 2017 and 2018 for the redevelopment of the square that opened in the summer of 2019.

One of the last things to take place in Centenary Square was Britain's Got Talent during October 2016. Rather that the auditions were probably inside of The ICC at the time. They had set up a screen like this on the back of a lorry one year before this back in October 2015. While the Birmingham auditions do return, they have yet to return to Centenary Square.

This post isn't really about Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square, but during December 2016, saw these Morris Dancers on the paved section between the grass (which had only opened to the public in September 2013). Seen from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham while it was raining. They were from Earlsdon Morris Coventry. The grass and paving here was lifted in 2017 and 2018. The new paving here opened to the public in July 2019. After this when 2017 started, they fenced off the square, and no other events would take place here until the summer of 2019.

For my Ice Skate Birmingham post when in Centenary Square, follow this link: Birmingham Big Wheel and (later) Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square (2009 - 2016, 2019 - present).

This was the first event to be held in Centenary Square since it reopened in July 2019. Birmingham 2022, 3 years to go. Celebrating that it would (at the time) be 3 years to go until the Commonwealth Games would be held in Birmingham in 2022. As you can see they put the logo on the new Reflective Pool. But the fountains were turned off. They were still working around the clock to finish the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square, which was finally completed and opened by December 2019.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020