Chamberlain Square - A Birmingham Gem!

Chamberlain Square is where a modern and thriving Birmingham connects with the City's amazing history and heritage. The square was completely redeveloped between 2016 and 2021.


Where is Chamberlain Square?

Chamberlain Square is located between two other magnificent public squares in Birmingham, Centenary Square and Victoria Square.  There are many walkways running between the squares.

View HERE on our Birmingham map.

Chamberlain Square. Photography by Mat Burling.

 

Introducing Chamberlain Square

Chamberlain Square is at the heart of the Paradise scheme, with One Chamberlain Square and Two Chamberlain Square being the flagship modern builds of the development, whilst The Chamberlain Memorial, first unveiled in 1880, continues to take centre stage.

The Square is surrounded by a stunning mix of modern and historic builds, with the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery a 'must visit' and The Town Hall a magnet for audiences of all music genres, from classic to rock.

 

Chamberlain Square. Photography by Daniel Sturley

 

Birmingham Town Hall

The Birmingham Town Hall is the oldest building in Chamberlain Square, having opened in 1834. It was designed by Joseph Hansom and Edward Welch. The hall was renovated between 2002 until 2007.  This 19th-century build is a revival of Roman architecture and is Grade I listed.

Birmingham Town Hall

Birmingham Town Hall at Chamberlain Square. Photography by Elliott Brown

For our feature about the Birmingham Town Hall, go HERE.

 

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

The main entrance to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery can be found in Chamberlain Square. Built in 1885 and designed by Yeoville Thomason, this building was orginally part of the Council House. The clock tower is known locally as "Big Brum".

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (July 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

For our feature about the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, go HERE.

 

Dishoom restaurant

Dishoom Birmingham can be found at One Chamberlain Square in Chamberlain Square. Here you can find a lovingly curated menu of Bombay comfort food and enjoy first-class drinks all day, every day.

Photography by Peter Manchester

For more on Dishoom Birmingham, reservations and delivery service, go HERE.

 

One Chamberlain Square 

One Chamberlain Square is a curvaceous 8-story building and a great example of how modern architecture can sit naturally alongside historic builds and complement a city's heritage. This is the first of the modern buildings to open as part of Argent's huge and transformative Paradise development. The building was designed by Eric Parry Architects and is home to international professional services firm pwc. 

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

For our feature on One Chamberlain Square, go HERE.

 

Two Chamberlain Square

Two Chamberlain Square has closely followed One Chamberlain Square in the developments to open as part of the Paradise complex. Two Chamberlain Square is a mixed use office retail development. 

Photography by Daniel Sturley

 

Chamberlain Memorial

The Chamberlain Memorial was unveiled in 1880 in honour of Joseph Chamberlain (while he was still alive) It was sculpted by John Henry Chamberlain (no relation). Joseph Chamberlain had served as Mayor of the Town of Birmingham. Birmingham didn't gain City Status until 1889. Chamberlain was also a Town Councillor, and later served as a Birmingham Member of Parliament. The memorial is in the neo-gothic style.

Chamberlain Memorial (following a post development jet wash) courtesy Daniel Sturley

 

Thomas Attwood Sculpture

Thomas Attwood was the first Birmingham Member of Parliament (from 1832 to 1840). He founded the Birmingham Political Union in 1830 and in 1832 held a rally calling for Political Reform. The "sitting" statue was scupted by Sioban Coppinger and Fiona Peever.

The sitting scupture of Thomas Attwood in Chamberlain Square. Photography by Bethly Hallows. 

 

The story of Chamberlain Square, part of the Paradise development.

Let's take a look at the changes that have taken place at Chamberlain Square over a 10 year period, starting with what it looked liked in 2010 when Birmingham Central Library was located in the Square, through the demolition work that started in 2016, the construction of One & Two Chamberlain Square from 2017 to 2020 and the final piece of the jigsaw, the return of the Chamberlain Memorial to the Square.

The re-development all started back in 2016 with the demolition of Birmingham Central Library.

 

December 2017 and throughout 2018

Demolition of Birmingham Central Library, Fletchers Walk and Birmingham Conservatoire

Work started on demolishing the Birmingham Central Library in December 2015 and continued throughout 2016.

This was followed in 2017 and 2018 with the demolition of Fletchers Walk and the Birmingham Conservatoire. 

Demolition of the Central Library in 2016. Photography by Daniel Sturley

 

Demolition commences at Chamberlain Square. Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

August 2016

Construction of One Chamberlain Square commences.

October 2016

Foundation piling and a big hole to start the core.

November 2016

Steel for the foundation piles arrives.

December 2016

Lots of lower steel structure started.

January 2017

The building's foot print starts to show its shape.

March 2017

Street level floor construction starts.

May 2017

The construction of Two Chamberlain Square commences.

July 2017

The Paradise Birmingham Big Sleuth Bear makes an appearance.

 

August 2017

The curcy shap of the build starts to become apparent.

October 2017

The huge floor plates of Two Chamberlain Square on the lower levels become very apparent from the Library

.

October 2017

The first sign of windows at One Chamberlain Square.

 

December 2017

Windows wrap the lower floors at One Chamberlain Square as the main structure nears completion.

January 2018

Centenary Square can still be seen from from in front of the Museum and Art Gallery, but not for long!

February 2018

From the Library Two Chamberlain Square still looks like a huge slab as more demolition is done around the Paradise site.

April 2018

Windows on the lower structure are now almost complete.

 

May 2018

Installation of the vertical terracotta stripes commences.

June 2018

The first columns of Two Chamberlain Square rise above the hordings along Centenary Way.

June 2018

Many more stripes are now added all round the building.

July 2018

The structure of Two Chamberlain Square becomes apparent as it rises.

September 2018

The first opportunity to see some architectural detail of the finished cladding.

 

August 2018

The scene in Chamberlain Square develops as Two Chamberlain Square rises behing the Chamberlain Monument.

September 2018

Wher one used to walk through the old Central Library and the Forum, there is now a developing canyon between One and Two Chamberlain Square (with a 2014 photo from the same rough spot below).

October 2018

Demolition to make way for One Centenary Way, Two Chamberlain Square behind.

December 2018

Finishing touches are made to the external building.

February 2019

Two Chamberlain Square receives its first column cladding.

March 2019

The externally finished building as seen from Centenary Square.

March 2019

Two Chamberlain Square gets some of its first glazing teasing us with reflective splendor to come.

April 2019

Two Chamberlain Square is topped out with much of the Colomn cladding completed.

June 2019

The fully glazed front of Two Chamberlain Square.

August 2019

One and Two Chamberlain Square as seen from the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

 

Internal fit out of One Chamberlain Square commences. For more, see article at http://BirminghamWeAre.net/post/1891

October 2019

External completion of Two Chamberlain Square.

December 2019

Opening of One Chamberlain Square by pwc - For more, see article at http://BirminghamWeAre.net/post/2029

 

March 2021

Two Chamberlain Square in the fully reopened square.

 

The amazing history of Chamberlain Square

The first Central Library was opened around 1866, but was partially destroyed by a fire in 1879, later rebuilt to designs of architects Martin & Chamberlain, it reopened in 1882. Meanwhile Sir Josiah Mason laid the foundation stone of his Mason Science College in 1875, which opened in 1880 (this was the precursor to the University of Birmingham, founded in 1900). Next door was the Norwich Union Chambers. At one point home of the Liberal Club. Also for a time occupied by King Edward VI High School for Girls (before their premises on New Street was completed, now the site of the Odeon Cinema). The Chamberlain Memorial was unveiled in 1880. At the time the area was called Chamberlain Place. Surrounded by statues of Joseph Priestley, John Skirrow Wright and George Dawson (and at least one other sitting statue).

Chamberlain SquareUniversity of Birmingham (Mason Science College from 1880 to 1900) and Norwich Union Chambers in Chamberlain Square, circa 1910. Photographer unknown, Public Domain. See colour postcard version here

 

Chamberlain SquareArt Gallery from Mason College, Chamberlain Square in the 1890s. Public Domain from the collection of Historic England

 

Mason Science College

The Mason Science College was the precursor to the University of Birmingham. Founded by Sir Josiah Mason in 1875, the college opened in Chamberlain Square in 1880. It was incorporated into the University of Birmingham in 1900. The building survived as the Faculty of Arts and Law, until it was demolished in 1964 to make way for Birmingham Central Library (which opened in 1974). Charles Lapworth became the first Professor of Geology here in 1881, and John Henry Poynting calculated the mass of the Earth here in 1891. They were later memorialised with buildings / facilities at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston.

Mason College

Plaque in the window of the Central Library of Mason College. Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Birmingham Central Library

The first library built on the site opened in 1866 when George Dawson gave an address. A fire broke out in January 1879 partially destroying the library. It was rebuilt in Lombardic Renaissance style by William Martin and John Henry Chamberlain (of Chamberlain & Martin) and was reopened by John Bright MP in June 1882. The Council had plans for a larger library in 1938, but nothing happened due to the war. It was demolished in 1974, and the Birmingham Conservatoire and Gardens were built on it's site along with Adrian Boult Hall. The building designed by John Madin was built on the site of Mason Science College and the Liberal Club from 1969 to 1974. It was opened by Harold Wilson MP in January 1974. It was closed in June 2013, and later demolished from late 2015 into 2016 to make way for Paradise Birmingham. Paradise Forum, the roofed shopping area, opened here in the 1990s and was closed at the end of 2015.

Birmingham Central Library

Birmingham Central Library in Chamberlain Square during 2010. Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Birmingham Conservatoire

The Birmingham Conservatoire and Adrian Boult Hall was located at Chamberlain Square until 2017 (when it moved to a new building on Jennens Road in Eastside). It was founded in 1886 as the Birmingham School of Music. The name Birmingham Conservatoire was adopted in 1989, and is now part of Birmingham City University. The buildings at Chamberlain Square was built in the late 1960s on the site of the old Reference Library and included the Fletchers Walk Shopping Mall on the ground floor and a garden, that used to have tulips flowering in the spring. Beyond Fletchers Walk was Easy Row Subway, but this has been sealed of since it was closed for demolition.

Adrian Boult Hall

Birmingham Conservatoire - Adrian Boult Hall from Chamberlain Square (February 2010). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Paradise Forum

The covered mall of shops, restaurants and pubs was called Paradise Forum, It stretched from Chamberlain Square to Centenary Way under Birmingham Central Library. It closed down at the end of 2015, ahead of the start of Paradise Birmingham. Used to be a McDonald's, Greggs and a Wetherspoon's here.

Paradise Forum

Paradise Forum from Chamberlain Square. Photography by Elliott Brown

 

The Lost Gardens of Paradise

There used to be gardens running alongside Paradise Circus Queensway, between Fletchers Walk and Chamberlain Square. There was a spiral staircase that took you up to the square. In the spring, the flower beds looked lovely with tulips. Sadly these gardens weren't used much by the public in it's later years, and was closed down by 2015.

Lost Gardens ParadiseLost Gardens of Paradise Circus (April 2011). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Project dates

27 Aug 2019 - On-going

Passions

History & heritage, Civic pride, Art; Culture & creativity
Modern Architecture, Squares and public spaces, Classic Architecture

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Contact

Your Place Your Space

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ yourplaceyourspace.com