Birmingham Council House Extension

H. V. Ashley and Winton, Birmingham, 1912


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Facade viewed from Chamberlain Square 

Thomas Lewis     Download Original

  • Facade viewed from Chamberlain Square    
  • Entrance to gas department on Edmund Street    
  • Entrance on Congreve Street front    
  • Entrance to education department from Margaret Street    
  • Internal view of gas department    
  • View across bridge to Art Gallery hall    
  • Natural History Museum    
  • Staircase from Art Gallery hall to Natural History Museum    
  • View looking towards entrance    
  • View looking towards private corridor    
  • Corridor and staircase of education department    
  • Corridor at the head of the staircase on the first floor    
  • Margaret Street staircase    
  • Chimneypiece in the committee room of the educational department     
  • Detail of dome over musuem    
  • First floor plan showing Art Galleries    
  • Upper ground floor plan    

Extension to council house, accommodating more offices, art galleries and exhibition spaces, as well as a bridge connecting to council properties on the opposite block

Ashley and Winton Architects were briefed to build an extension to the to the north of the council buildings, and to connect to it an intricately designed corridor-come-archway. The building sits on an island site, owned by the council, which measures 7995metre-squared.

The extension contains much of the museum and art gallery space and, on its ground floor, the Gas Hall, which is now also an exhibition space. It runs along Great Charles Street, backing onto the other council buildings of Edmund Street, Margaret Street, and Congreve Street.

Each department within the extensions is planned to have its own entrance to the street, and public acess through these departments is limited. However the natural history museum extends the length of the building, connecting the southern end with the marble staricase to the new gallery hall.

The archway or bridge connects the modern art gallery on Edmund Street to the Round Room opposite. It is intended to resemble the The Bridge of Sighs in Venice. Its interior is designed as a gallery space. The floors are finished in marble and mosaic, in a similar style to the new art gallery. The latter also features green marble columns.

The interiors are largely simple, given that a majority of the rooms are offices. However the art galleries received more elaborate treatment; their ceilings being coved and fitted out with cornices, friezes, architraves, and horizontal sunblinds. The floors are oak and the gangways brown linoleum.


  • Begun: 1911
  • Completed: 1912
  • Sector: Civic
  • Address: Council House, Great Charles Street, Birmingham, B1 1BB, United Kingdom

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