- Victoria Square, Birmingham
The square is often considered to be the centre of Birmingham, and is the point from where local road sign distances are measured. The square is a short walk from St. Philip's Cathedral on
Colmore Rowand is on the main pedestrian route between the Bull Ring and Brindleyplaceareas. Three major roads, Colmore Row, New Street and Paradise Streetmeet there.
The square was renamed on
January 10 1901, to honour Queen Victoria, and a statue of her was erected and unveiled. She died just 12 days later.
It was previously known as Council House Square. A tramway ran through the square and statues of
Robert Peel(now at Tally Ho) and Joseph Priestley(later moved to Chamberlain Square) were located within it.
Part of the square was once occupied by Christ Church (built 1805-13), but the church was demolished in 1899. The
font, bell and foundation stonewere moved to the new St Agatha's, Sparkbrook, which was built with the proceeds when the site was sold to developers. The site was the used for an office and retail block, the Christ Church Buildings, themselves demolished 1970 and replaced with a grassed slope.
During the late 20th century the square became a busy traffic
roundabout. The square was redeveloped again, and pedestrianised, in August 1992, including the installation of a fountain sculpture by Dhruva Mistry, representing youth and eternity, called 'The River' but known affectionately as 'The Floozie in the Jacuzzi'. Around the upper pool of the fountain is a quotation from the poem " Burnt Norton" by T. S. Eliot. Two sphinx-like creatures stand as guardians of the fountain at the lower end of the square.
Several public artworks are permanently displayed in Victoria Square, including "" by
Antony Gormley. The controversial sculpture was given as a gift to the city by the Trustee Savings Bank in March 1993. It was cast in Willenhall, a district of the Black Countrywhich lies to the northwest of the city, and represents the skills of local craftsmen during the Industrial Revolution. A statue of King Edward VII was moved to Highgate Park - Birmingham, when the square was remodelled in 1951. "Public Sculpture of Birmingham: Including Sutton Coldfield", George Thomas Noszlopy, 1998, Liverpool University Press (ISBN 0853236925). ] Chamberlain Squareis adjacent, containing the entrances to Birmingham Museum & Art Galleryand Birmingham Central Library. Also adjacent is Birmingham Town Hallwhich unites Chamberlain Square and Victoria Square as does the Council House Building.
Christmas, a Frankfurtmarket is held on New Street and in Victoria Square. Its wooden huts selling items such as jewellery, artwork, ornaments, clothing and German food.
Victoria Square is the current location of the Birmingham Big Screen, following its removal from Chamberlain Square. It was erected in September 2007, but as of April 2008 the screen had still not been used. [http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-news/2008/04/19/birmingham-big-screen-tv-delay-goes-on-65233-20789385/ Birmingham Post: "Birmingham big screen TV delay goes on"]
* [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/victoriasquare Birmingham City Council page on Victoria Square]
* [http://www.francisfrith.com/search/england/west+midlands/birmingham/photos/birmingham_B100049.htm Picture of New Street joining Victoria Square] The image includes the Christchurch buildings (now demolished) on the left and Victoria House (formerly the Post Office) on the right.
* [http://www.emporis.com/en/il/im/?id=537051 Emporis entry of the Town Hall in Victoria Square]
* [http://www.emporis.com/en/il/im/?id=527549 Emporis entry of the Council House with the River Fountain and Fountain of the Youth in Victoria Square]
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