Birmingham Victoria Squar

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Victoria Square is a pedestrianised public square in Birmingham, England. It is home to both the Town Hall and the Council House, and directly adjacent to Chamberlain Square.

Victoria Square of Birmingham
Victoria Square of Birmingham

The square is often considered to be the centre of Birmingham, and is the point from where local road sign distances are measured. It is a short walk from St. Philip's Cathedral on Colmore Row and is on the main pedestrian route between the Bull Ring and Brindleyplace areas. Three major roads, Colmore Row, New Street and Paradise Street meet there.

Victoria Square of Birmingham
Victoria Square of Birmingham

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 stone were moved to the new St Agatha's, Sparkbrook, which was built with the proceeds when the site was sold to developers. The 600 bodies, which included John Baskerville, housed in the catacombs beneath the church were moved to Warstone Lane Cemetery. The site was the used for an office and retail block, the Christ Church Buildings, themselves demolished 1970 and replaced with a grassed slope.

Victoria Square of Birmingham
Victoria Square of Birmingham

During the late 20th century the square was a busy traffic junction. Plans were made to pedestrianise the area and to create a public focal point. An international design competition was held for a central water feature in the square, which was won by Dhruva Mistry. Construction commenced in 1992 and was completed in 1994, when it was officially opened by Diana, Princess of Wales. During the redevelopment of the square, Iron: Man, a sculpture by Antony Gormley was installed and unveiled in 1993. It is rumoured[citation needed] that the statue was hidden from the Princess's view when she opened the square.

Victoria Square of Birmingham
Victoria Square of Birmingham

Mistry's fountain The River is the largest sculptural piece in the square. Queen Victoria, original by Thomas Brock (1901 marble), recast in bronze by William Bloye (1951). Additionally, there are other pieces not commissioned for the 1992 redevelopment of the square. One of these is Antony Gormley's Iron: Man which was donated to the city in March 1993 by the Trustee Savings Bank, the headquarters of which was located alongside the square. It is 6 m (20 ft) in height, and has been subject to mixed reaction.

Victoria Square of Birmingham
Victoria Square of Birmingham

There are also statues that existed prior to the redevelopment of the square. Of two statues that were originally located in the square, only one remains. That is the statue of Queen Victoria, which was originally created in 1901 by Thomas Brock, but recast in bronze by William Bloye in 1951, though the sceptre capital has been missing for some years and is due to be replaced in 2010, that to the research and assistance of The Victorian Society.

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