Chamberlain Memorial, Birmingham

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Chamberlain Memorial, Birmingham

The Chamberlain Memorial was erected in Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, England on October 20, 1880, to commemorate the public service of Joseph Chamberlain, who was present at the inauguration ceremony. Joseph Chamberlain was a Birmingham businessmen, councillor, mayor and Member of Parliament. He died in 1914.


For the creation of the monument, £3,000 of public funds were raised. The monument was designed by John Henry Chamberlain (no relation), a personal friend and municipal architect. The design is 65 feet (20 m) tall and of neo-gothic style, reminiscent of the Albert Memorial. It bears a 50 centimetres (20 in) portrait medallion of Chamberlain by Thomas Woolner on the south side. The carvings of the capitals and the crocketted spire were done by S. Barfield of Leicester, John Henry Chamberlain's favourite sculptor. Salviati Burke and Co. of Venice were commissioned to do the mosaics after their success with the Birmingham Council House. It is Grade II listed.


The plaque on the monument reads:

The Chamberlain Memorial and the Chamberlain Clock in the centre of the Jewellery Quarter were both erected during Chamberlain's lifetime.

In the late 1960s, the pools around the fountain were removed, but in 1978, to celebrate their Diamond Jubilee, The Birmingham Civic Society designed and paid for the pools to be re-instated. The Portland stone spire underwent a major clean in 1994.


Many sculptors and architects took to the memorial with dissatisfaction. John Roddis, a local sculptor, described it as "an architectural scarecrow" and "a hash of ornamental details". Nikolaus Pevsner also commented on the memorial in 1966 as an "ungainly combination of shapes."

Building Activity

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