I was able to go to The Victorian Society‘s Saving a Century exhibition at the Central Library just before it moved on to the next city. It was completely engrossing with some fantastic photography and stories both dispiriting and uplifting.
It made me realise that I know little of the buildings that Birmingham itself has lost, because much of them were lost before my time. I remembered Roy Thornton’s Lost Buildings of Birmingham being published a year or so ago, treated myself to a copy and found a great book full of atmospheric photographs and illustrations under various different catagories – public buildings, religious buildings, etc. I was suddenly nostalgic for buildings I had never known!
While brief, the text accompanying the images is informative, and interestingly, for the most part doesn’t include the reason for a building’s demolition – maybe this information wasn’t always available to the author, but rather than have us puzzle and rage over the politics and unfairness of city planning, Thornton allows us to appreciate the former glories of Birmingham for what they were. And quite right too.