Birmingham Central Library was the main public library in Birmingham, England from 1974 until 2013. For a time the largest non-national library in Europe, it closed on 29 June 2013 and was replaced with the Library of Birmingham. The building was demolished in 2016, after 41 years, as part of the redevelopment of Paradise Circus by Argent Group. Designed by architect John Madin in the brutalist style, the library was part of an ambitious development project by Birmingham City Council to create a civic centre on its new Inner Ring Road system; however, for economic reasons significant parts of the masterplan were not completed and quality was reduced on materials as an economic measure. Two previous libraries occupied the adjacent site before Madin’s library opened in 1974. The previous library, designed by John Henry Chamberlain, opened in 1883, and featured a tall clerestoried reading room. It was demolished in 1974 after the new library had opened.To visit Library of Birmingham on your holiday in Birmingham, and find out what else Birmingham has to offer, use our Birmingham sightseeing planner.
Despite the original vision not being fully implemented the library gained architectural praise as an icon of British Brutalism with its stark use of concrete, bold geometry, inverted ziggurat sculptural form and monumental scale. Its style was seen at the time as a symbol of social progressivism. Based on this, English Heritage applied but failed twice for the building to gain listed status. However, due to strong opposition from Birmingham City Council the building gained immunity from listing until 2016.
Library of Birmingham Reviews
The library is a unique building, looks like nothing else. A kind of big cake .. but you have to see yourself. more »
The highlights were on the 9th floor for the viewing platform and Shakespeare room. Then on your way down stop off at the 7th and 3rd floors for gardens. Utterly delightful spots to spend a bit of tow... more »
Love this library. The perfect place to go and work. So many places to sit and study. Can print and scan your documents. So many books I haven’t ventured to browse yet. Cute cafe on the ground floor. Friendly helpful staff. Never too busy. Air con when it’s hot too.
It is unusual to have places you can be proud of to take friends and family to in Brum. Fantastic building inside & out! Well worth looking at when you visit Birmingham. Right in the middle of the city so perfect if you only have a few minutes spare to walk past or have a couple of hours to explore inside.
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