Central Library, Birmingham

Central Library, Birmingham (must see)

The Brutalist Central Library of Birmingham is no more. The building was brought down and replaced by the new Library of Birmingham. The inverted Ziggurat of the Central Library ended its 41-year career as it began. Some cheered, some were horrified by its looks. The Central was never truly accepted by the city.

The Central was designed by architect John Madin in the Brutalist style. It was part of an ambitious project of the City Council to build a civic center on the new Inner Ring Road. The Library replaced by the Central of John Madin was designed by John Henry Chamberlain. Chamberlain's building opened in 1883. It was demolished in 1974.

All hail the Library of Birmingham. Architectural design is by Francine Houben. Structural Engineering is by Buro Happold. The new Library has been described as the largest regional library in Europe. The library nestles between and connects to the Birmingham Rep and Baskerville House at Centenary Square.

The Shakespeare Memorial Room, designed by John Chamberlain in 1882 has been reincarnated with each demolition. It has been carefully dismantled and reassembled three times. It is constructed in a Lombardic Renaissance style with a clerestoried reading area. The collection houses 43,000 books, including the First Folio of 1623.

The library was opened in September, 2013 by Malala Youafzai, who was savagely attacked by the Taliban for attending school. She said, "Let us not forget that even one book, one pen, one teacher can change the world."

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Birmingham. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Central Library on Map

Sight Name: Central Library
Sight Location: Birmingham, England (See walking tours in Birmingham)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Birmingham, England

Create Your Own Walk in Birmingham

Create Your Own Walk in Birmingham

Creating your own self-guided walk in Birmingham is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Birmingham Introduction Walking Tour

Birmingham Introduction Walking Tour

The word Birmingham derives from the Old English term "Beormingas." A Beorminga was a person who was one of "Beorma's people." Who was Beorma? Who knows? Something was always stirring around Birmingham.

In 1166, Peter de Bermingham received a charter from the King, Henry II, to build a market at his castle (Peter's castle, not Henry's). As Lord of the Manor...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Birmingham Historical Buildings Tour

Birmingham Historical Buildings Tour

Although existent as a settlement since the early 7th century AD, Birmingham, UK is a relatively young city that has grown rapidly, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, from the 18th century onward. Thus, the local architecture is overwhelmingly a product of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, with little survived from the earlier days.

Traces of the ancient settlement, dating back to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles