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Report - Centenary Square, Birmingham - 2009

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by Adders, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. Adders

    Adders living in a cold world
    Regular User

    Feb 19, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Now, Centenary Square was the best way I could pin a location on this report, as it actually covers Baskerville House, REP Theatre, and the future site of the Library of Birmingham. With the impending change of Centenary Square over the next 4 years with the construction of the new library I thought I'd post the photos as the "before" with the "after" to follow in, well, 4 years I guess. I know any old person can rock up and check out the building site as it stands, so I've included some internals from BH, along with rooftop shots from both BH and the REP to add some perspective, plus history as I come across it.

    Baskerville House.

    The front from Centenary Square, next to the War Memorial.


    Company reception on one of the floors.


    Looking down from the canteen to the lower floors.


    Top floor empty office space.


    Central canteen, looking up at the upper floors.


    Centenary Square.


    BT Tower.


    Future site of the Library of Birmingham.


    The car park in the last photo was originally Winfield Brass Works, a canal wharf and wired drawing or brass rolling factory. There is a currently a team of archaeologists from Birmingham Uni doing a dig to see what historical relics they can uncover. (Online story: http://www.birminghampost.net/news/...unearths-factories-and-canals-65233-24493969/)

    This is what the University Archaelogical team have uncovered so far.


    An old survey map of what Centenary Square looked like before it was, Centenary Square. It shows two canal legs, named Baskerville Wharfs as it was originally the site of Easy Hill house, designed by John Baskerville in 1745.The building to the east of the site was the former location of the house (where Baskerville House now stands) whilst the archaelogical site was the location of the gardens.

    The house was demolished at the end of the 18th century. A radical change took place in the landscape of the area and it was transformed from a rural idyll to a burrowing hive of industrial activity. New canal arms were built into the site, stretching from the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal to the north under what is now Paradise Circus and Baskerville Wharf was created.


    A modern representation of where the canal wharfs sit in relevance to the current look.


    The wharf was complete by 1825 and the site was occupied by the Union Rolling Mill. The original buildings lay to the north of the site adjacent to Cambridge
    Street. The site passed into the hands of Robert Winfield by the 1830s. Winfield’s was principally a brass manufacturer but became engaged in metal rolling, gas fitting, brass foundry, carpentry, and wire manufacture.

    In the mid-19th century Winfield’s Cambridge Street Works was one of the largest, if not the largest brass works in Birmingham, owing in part to Winfield’s development of a
    new branch of manufacture, the brass bedstead. By 1849 Winfield’s was large enough to hold two stalls at the Birmingham exhibition, and two years later displayed their wares at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. After a slump in trade at the end of the 19th century, Winfield’s Cambridge Street Works went into receivership, and in 1897 the various buildings were auctioned off.


    Cambridge Street, over to the dig.


    Various images of the findings dug up on the site.





    REP Theatre.


    Birmingham's Repertory Theatre (1971) is going to be an intricate part of the new library. The glass fronted hospitality section of the building (right hand side) is to be leveled and rebuilt as part of the Library, with a new 300 seat auditorium being included.

    The archaelogical site from the REP Theatre rooftop.



    Over Centenary Square. The ampitheatre is going to be built somewhere in/under this.


    The Cube and Hyatt hotel across Broad Street.


    ICC & Sympthony Hall.


    Centenary Square out the front of the REP.


    Future excavations in Centenary Square are planned as building work progresses, which I much look forward to, as it seems so rare and far between that councils take an active interest in researching and seeking out history before they completely destroy it. And at least the development for once isn't to be "luxury" apartments.

    I hope this has been at least a good read for some people, and that the photos help to some extent.

    There's further reading on the archaelogical site here: http://www.barch.bham.ac.uk/projects/libraryofbirmingham.html Which is also where I sourced a lot of the historical content.
    #1 Adders, Sep 25, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2013

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