Victoria Square, formerly known as Council House Square, is considered Birmingham's central focal point and also this where the city's Town Hall and Council House are situated. The square was renamed in honour of Queen Victoria in 1901, with its statue, just days before her death. The square is where the city's main roads me and is links the pedestrian route between the Bull Ring and Brindleyplace near the Birmingham Canal.
The square used to be a traffic junction and during the 1990s it was decided to redevelop the area around the square with a water feature. The work was done between 1992-94 with Dhruva Mistry's winning water feature, The River/The Floozie in the Jacuzzi, and other features were added including Antony Gormley's Iron Man and a large TV screen. Every year the square hosts the Frankfurt Christmas Market which also spills into Chamberlain Square and New Street.
Victoria Square is one of the more attractive squares in Birmingham. This is underlined by the fact that Brummies flock to this square in warm weather to enjoy the fountain and attractive surroundings.
The highlights of the square are:
- 'The Floozie in the Jacuzzi' fountain: This fountain's real name is 'The River' but everyone knows it as 'The Floozie in the Jacuzzi'. It was designed by Indian sculptor Dhruva Mistry who won a competition to design a water feature for Victoria Square. The fountain was completed in 1994 and opened by the late Diana, Princess of Wales. It is a very popular place to meet and relax. See main pic of tip.
- The Council House building: Built in Classical style in 1879, the council house building is undoubtedly one of the most striking buildings in the city centre. It houses the offices of Birmingham City Council and is a Grade 2 listed building, See pic 2 of tip.
- The Town Hall: See pic 3 of tip
- The Giant TV screen: This TV screen was originally put up to screen the 2010 World Cup but the plan never went ahead. It was used to show the London Olympics though and is in place to show other events of national and international importance. See pic 4 of tip.
- The Queen Victoria statue: The statue of British monarch Queen Victoria is a bronze recast of the original by Thomas Brock sculpted in the year of the Queen's death (1901).
- The Christmas Market: Victoria Square is the focus for the Frankfurt Christmas Market that descends on the city in the lead-up to Christmas every year. The event has grown in success over recent years and is now one of the largest markets outside Germany and Austria.
This pedestrian public square is the centre of Birmingham. It's boarded by the Town Hall & Council House. In front of the Council House is an impressive fountain that's known locally as the 'Floozie in the Jacuzzi'.
Also on the square is the Iron Man by Antony Gormley & a statue of Queen Victoria.
The square with its fountain, monuments & spectacular surrounding is a great place to sit & relax.
One of Birminghams landmark sights! - Victoria Square is considered to be the Centre of Birmingham, and is used as the point to measure road distances.
Previously known as Council House Square, following the building of The Council House in the 1870's, it was renamed Victoria Square in honour of Queen Victoria on 10th January 1901 (she died 12 days later!) and a statue of her was erected.
The Statue of Queen Victoria, was originally made of marble, by Thomas Brock , but it was recast in bronze in 1951 by William Bloye to commemorate The Festival of Britain.
The statue was removed for cleaning during the restoration of the square during the period of August 1992 and June 1993. A £3.2 million project
A grass slope (the site of the Christ Church, (which was demolished in 1899) and the Christ Church Buildings (demolished in 1970), was flattened, and replaced by graduated light stone steps.
The surrounding buildings were cleaned and restored, and fountains and sculptures installed, as it returned to a pedestrianized area
Apparently, one of the workmen was accompanied by his Black Labrador, Ebony, who had her own high-visibility vest and could often be seen carrying his tools, or relieving passers-by of chocolate!
There is a small plaque reading "On Site - Ebony 1992-93" and containing her paw-print. This is near Queen Victorias statue.
The newly renovated Victoria Square was officially opened on 6th May 1993 by Diana, Princess of Wales
This is now the site for the Frankfurt Christmas Markets, with many food stalls. There are also plans to re-instate the huge TV screen here, but there is some opposition from various factions.
The main open civic space of the city, Victoria Square forms the top end of New Street (main central shopping street) and Colmore Row (main business centre). Pride of place belongs to the Council House, a huge late 19th century edifice, which is a Grade II listed building. It is the main civic building of the city, housing council offices as well as the Lord Mayor's suite.
Across from the Council House is the former main Post Office, hence the square is the central point from where distances are measured to and from Birmingham. And there is also the Town Hall, 1832, a concert hall (a Grade I listed building, making it of more significance than the much larger Council House) which is modelled on the Temple of Castor & Pollux in Rome. A recent renovation restored it to its former glory - including the extraordinary 6000 pipe-organ and once again the concert hall is home to rock, classical, pop concerts as well as public lectures - Charles Dickens, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra have all trod the Town Hall boards.
Victoria Square has some of Birminghams most interesting pieces of artwork, in the shape of statues and fountains. Some have been quite controversial additions.
Besides the statue of Queen Victoria, which I've mentioned in an earlier tip, probably the best known is that of 'The Floosie in the Jacuzzi'
to be continued.....
This is a Grade 1 listed building, modelled on the Roman Temple of Castor and Pollux. The architects were Joseph Hansom and Edward Welch.
The building was constructed in 1832, but 50 years later, significant changes were made, by enlarging the entrance .
In 1927, an additional internal gallery was added.
The halls exterior is made of brick, which is faced with Anglesey marble. It is set on a rusticated podium.
Although its exterior is in the Roman Temple style, its interior is styled on Georgian Assembly Rooms. Sir Charles Allom designed the richly ornate ceiling in 1926.
Recently, the Town Hall underwent an extensive restoration programme, and re opened in 2007. This is one of Birminghams many concert venues.
Like the Council House, The Town Hall also backs onto Chamberlain Square.
to be continued....
This striking building was designed by Yeoville Thomasen, and was constructed between 1874 - 79. It is a Grade 2 listed building. The foundation stone was laid by Joseph Chamberlain, who was the Mayor at that time. The building was completed in 1879 and cost £163,000. A debate was held to decide upon the name of the building . The Council House being preferred to Municipal Hall or Guildhall.
Entering Victoria Square from New Street, this was the first building that caught my eye, standing majestically in its elevated position, and providing a classic Italianate backdrop.
I was particularly attracted to the mosaic picture of 7 figures,(pic 3 + 4) as its style reminded me of the mosaics of St Marks Basillica in Venice . So I was surprised to find out later, that this is the work of Salviati Burke and Co. His family were glass makers and mosaicists from the Island of Murano near Venice!
Above the mosaic work is a statue of Britannia, rewarding the manufacturers of Birmingham, (pic 3) this is by Lockwood, Bowton and Sons.
The clock and its tower are known as 'Big Brum' The bells ring with Westminster Chimes, which are similar to those of Big Ben at The Houses of Parliament in London.
The clock tower (1885) is part of the first extension to the original Council House of 1879.
The clock was donated by A. Follett Osler, who was a local pioneer in the measurement of meteorological and chronological data.[
On 9 August 1902, The Council House, along with the Town Hall, was illuminated in celebration of the coronation of King Edward VII.
Adjacent to the Council House, facing into Chamberlain Square is the Museum and Art Gallery (which I'll cover in later tips)
Today, Birmingham City Council House provides office accommodation for council officers, including the Chief Executive, and elected council members, plus the council chamber, Lord Mayor's Suite and committee rooms.
It has a large and ornate banqueting suite, complete with minstrels' gallery.
The first-floor's exterior balcony is used by visiting dignitaries, victorious sports teams, and local celebrities to wave to and make speeches to the crowds below.
Any Cliff Richard fans who've seen the film 'Take Me High' will have seen the foyer of the Council House- it was used as the setting for a hotel lobby.
to be continued....
Victoria Square is one of the largest squares in town.
In the early 1990s, a massive fountain designed by artist Dhruva Mistry was installed in the middle of the square. At the heart of the fountain sits a sculpture of a lady, which the locals refer to as the 'floozie in the jacuzzi'.
home to both the Town Hall and the Council House.
The square was named after Queen Victoria after her death in 1901 when a statue of her was erected and unveiled on January 10. It was previously known as Council House Square
It is often considered to be the centre of Birmingham, and is the point from where local road sign distances are measured.
The square was redeveloped 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'.
Hyatt Regency Birmingham Birmingham
5 Reviews and 697 Opinions A modern, high rise hotel in the city of Birmingham. We are one of the few hotels in Birmingham that...
1 Review and 611 Opinions During my visits to Birmingham for Phantom in April and May 2013 I stayed in this wonderful Premier...
City Inn Birmingham Birmingham
3 Reviews and 950 Opinions This is a very good hotel situated in Brindleyplace - within minutes of the NIA and ICC. The hotel...