Hall of Memory

The Hall of Memory in Centenary Square, Birmingham, England, designed by S.N. Cooke and W.N. Twist was erected 1922-5, by John Barnsley and Son, to commemorate the 12,320 Birmingham citizens who died in World War I.

Built directly over a filled-in canal basin of Gibson's Arm it was the first structure in an area (now occupied by Centenary Square and the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall) purchased by the council for the creation of a grand civic scheme to include new council offices, mayor's residence, public library and concert hall. The scheme was abandoned after the arrival of World War II with only half of the planned Baskerville House having been built.

Made from Portland stone, from the Isle of Portland in Dorset, the foundation stone was laid by HRH The Prince of Wales 12 June 1923 and it was opened by Prince Arthur of Connaught on 4 July 1925 to a crowd of 30,000. Construction had cost £60,000 and was funded through public donations. The four statues around the exterior are by local artist Albert Toft. They represent the Army, Navy, Air Force and Women's Services.

The interior features three carved bas-relief plaques (155 cm x 223 cm) by William Bloye representing three tableaux: Call (departure to war), Front Line (fighting), Return (arrival home of the wounded). These bear inscriptions:

The hall is a Grade II listed building.

During the Birmingham Blitz, on the night of 11th December 1940, all but the fine tower and classical west portico of St Thomas' Church, Bath Row, was destroyed by German bombs. The church was never rebuilt. The First World War Memorial colonnade, which had been built as part of the Hall of Memory in 1925, was relocated there when Centenary Square was laid out 1989. The gardens were re-designed as the St. Thomas' Peace Garden in 1995 in commermoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II, a monument to peace and a memorial to all those killed in armed conflict.

Building Activity

  • Kiril Georgiev
    Kiril Georgiev activity.buildings_person.create
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com