Chamberlain Square, Birmingham

Chamberlain Square, Birmingham

The Chamberlain Memorial, a Victorian neo-gothic spire 66 feet high, was unveiled in Birmingham, England on October, 1880. Joseph Chamberlain was there, watching the proceedings. The Square and the Memorial were named in honor of his services as statesman and Mayor. The memorial was designed by John Henry Chamberlain (no relation).

The crocketted spire and the carvings of capitals were done by Samuel Barfield of Leicester. There was a portrait of Joseph Chamberlain by Thomas Woolner on one side. The finished product was criticized by some as an "architectural scarecrow" and as a "hash of ornamental details." As late as 1966 it was called an "ungainly combination of shapes."

The Square was drastically remade in the 1970s. Most of the neo-gothic Victorian buildings were demolished and replaced by brutalist architecture. The Square was closed from 2015 until March, 2021 for more remodeling and re-landscaping. During this time surrounding buildings were demolished, including the brutalist Central Library.

After five years the Square has reopened. It is completely reformed with more open space, new paving, stairs and lighting. Statues have been moved. The statue of James Watt moved from Paradise Street to the Town Hall. Thomas Atwood is off his plinth and now reclines on steps of the Square among his scattered papers. Joseph Priestly is steadfast.

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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Chamberlain Square on Map

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

Walking Tours in Birmingham, England

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