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The Rotunda, Birmingham architecture and history

 

The Rotunda at 150 New Street was built in the 1960's and opened in 1965 by James Roberts, designed to finish the curve of his Smallbrook Ringway It stands 265ft (81m) tall with 23 floors overlooking the Bull Ring shopping Centre. It is one of Birmingham's most prominent and original landmarks and has even survived a bombing in 1974. In 1993 it survived the threat of demolition as part of a proposed facelift of the Bull Ring markets. Today the Rotunda consists of offices, with Rotunda OneFive situated on the 15th floor. The Rotunda was Grade II listed by English Heritage in August 2000 and has official landmark status.

 

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Symbol of a City
Birmingham Post 11/01/2002

It may not be the prettiest building in the world, but we love it.

The Rotunda was a child of the 60s and looks it. The design could probably only have come from that decade, when some truly monstrous architectural follies were created, and it has been vilified as well as celebrated in the years since.

The critics were wrong, however. Now a listed building, and officially named one of Britain?s most significant landmarks, the Rotunda has come to symbolise the spirit of Birmingham.

There can be few buildings in the country, which are more loved, and the design has gone from fashionable to unfashionable to simply being appreciated for what it is.

Given its importance to the people of Birmingham, the decision to give them a say in what should happen to it is spot on.

While any of the options suggested would no doubt prove a success, it might be considered a shame not to make the building available to the general public. Office blocks or housing would benefit the economy and character of the city centre. And there are good reasons for encouraging more people to live in the centre.

However a restaurant or leisure complex would give more people direct access to what is an important part of the city?s history and future.

A good seat at a window towards the top would provide an exciting view of the city to accompany dinner. As for making it a landmark, it will always be that whatever other function it serves. Whatever the final decision, the Rotunda will remain a symbol of Birmingham for many years to come.

 


 

The Past

 

1974

 

The Rotunda was target of IRA attacks

The explosion in Birmingham was an attack on a city which was the target of one of the worst atrocities ever carried out by the IRA in England.

The explosions at two city centre pubs in 1974 left 21 people dead and scores more injured.

 

The Mulberry Bush pub at the foot of the city's Rotunda tower and the nearby Tavern in the Town, were both destroyed within minutes of each other on 21 November, 1974. death and injury took their toll of the young casualties - aged between 18 and 25 years.

A few minutes before the explosions a warning had been telephoned to the local newspaper, the Birmingham Post and Mail, but it was far too late.

The IRA warning simply stated: "There is a bomb planted in the Rotunda and there is a bomb in New Street."

The Rotunda is a 20-storey office and retail complex and New Street is one of the city's principal thoroughfares, not far from the scene of the latest attack.

The first Birmingham bomb, at the Mulberry Bush pub in the basement of the Rotunda, exploded six minutes after the telephone warning.

There was not enough time for police to clear the area.

 

A memorial is the grounds of St Philips Cathedral, Colmore Row.

To the memory of the victims of two bombs that exploded in the centre of Birmingham on the night of 21st of November 1974
The people of Birmingham remember them and all those who suffered.

pubmemorial.jpg (186556 bytes)

 


 

2000
Views from the 15th Floor 
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BT Tower

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Bull Ring

rotunda01c.jpg (46386 bytes)

High Street

rotunda06c.jpg (40197 bytes)

 

 

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New Street

rotunda03c.jpg (37497 bytes)
New Street Station

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Moor Street

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Dale End

 

 

 

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St Martins

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Smallbrook Queensway

Photos ? Mac Joseph 2000 Downloading and use of these images are by permission only.

 


 

Today

 

 On the 15th floor of the Rotunda is the Birmingham Alliance marketing suite, education room and presentation rooms. The education room is available free to all schools - and thousands of children have enjoyed the fantastic views over the city. The presentation rooms can be hired for meetings with the best views in the city!

Rotunda OneFive

> click here to visit their site

 

 

The Future

Artists impression. The Rotunda
www.hammerson.co.uk

The Rotunda, 

Refurbishment begins September 2003 after the opening of the of the new Bullring.

 

> The New Bullring

 

 



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