Monday, 26 May 2008


Tranquillity is not, I guess, the first word that comes to mind when thinking of the vibrant centre of Birmingham.

And yet, for me, it's the noun that best expresses my impression of the newly restored Birmingham Town Hall.

Architects Joseph Hansom (of cab fame) and Edward Welch based their design on the Temple of Castor and Pollux in Rome. The architect Charles Edge had a hand in the later stages of the project. The Hall was completed in the late 1830s.

Mendelsohnn's Elijah was premiered there, as was Elgar's Dream of Gerontius. Dickens packed it out for his public readings. Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Led Zepellin have all played BTH.

Once again I'm stunned by the generous spirit of our Victorian forebears: determined to create public buildings of great beauty at the heart of our industrial cities.

Hurrah for BTH.

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