Parks & Open Spaces

Centenary Square

England / Europe

Centenary Square was so named in 1989 to mark the centenary of Birmingham becoming a city.  It is bordered by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library, and Baskerville House to the north, the International Conference Centre, Symphony Hall and Hyatt Hotel to the west, the Paradise development (under construction) to the east, and Broad Street to the south.

It was formerly an industrial area of workshops and canal wharves, heavily covered with houses.  In the 1920s it was purchased by the Council, who planned to create a grand civic centre with museums, council offices, an opera house and a cathedral, based on a plan devised by William Haywood (1876-1957), an architect and urban planner who developed his ideas in The Development of Birmingham (1918).  The plan had to be abandoned at the outbreak of the Second World War, by which time only the Hall of Memory and part of Baskerville House had been built.  The scheme was revived less ambitiously after the war, again influenced by William Haywood, but never fully achieved.

In 1991 the square was redesigned to include the International Conference Centre, and the Library of Birmingham was opened in the square in 2013.  Further designs were implemented between 2017 and 2019.  The square is used for major cultural events, such as arts festivals, the annual Remembrance Day parade, New Year’s Eve festivities, and there is an ice rink and ferris wheel during the Christmas season.

A 1913 statue of Edward VII (1841-1901) in carrara marble, by the sculptor, Albert Toft  (1862-1949), originally unveiled by his sister, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (1848-1939) was moved here from Victoria Square in 2010.

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Medal Sponsor

A medal was purchased for this point by: The Weston Foundation