Farewell to Birmingham Central Library.

I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time now and today I finally got round to it. The bulldozers have moved in to start demolishing Birmingham’s Central Library.  It’s heartbreaking.  I love this building and have many memories of both studying in the Library and drinking in the bars beneath it.

It’s been a controversial building throughout its forty-one year lifespan. Designed by architect John Madin it opened its doors to the public in 1974 and has divided opinion ever since. Even today whilst taking these pictures people were keen to discuss their feelings on its merits, or lack of. The City remains divided.

English Heritage have applied to get the building listed twice, once in 2002 and again in 2007. Both applications were met head on by Birmingham City Council and fell flat.

In 2009 the building was granted immunity from further applications to have it listed until 2016. This sounds a bit dodgy to me. I imagine somebody, somewhere had their palm well and truly greased to get that signed off. Sadly then, it looks like it won’t see 2016 and any chance of a reprieve went with that certificate of immunity too.

I love Brutalist architecture and Birmingham’s Central Library is a true ikon of the Brutalist Movement. I only wish that the predictably myopic Birmingham City Council could see that too. We really shouldn’t have allowed this to happen.

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2 thoughts on “Farewell to Birmingham Central Library.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. This is a great loss for the City and will be a great loss for the future. It is especially sad when one looks at the plans for the replacement building. Another bland glass fronted ‘mixed use’ complex, that will no doubt be full of the likes of Starbucks et al.


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