Whether you love or hate Birmingham’s most talked about 20th Century building –the Central Library, is home to the Shakespeare Memorial Room. The room, created in 1882 to house the Shakespeare Library, was designed by John Henry Chamberlain who was responsible for re-building the old Central Library after the original building was gutted by fire. When the Old Central Library was demolished in 1974 the only part of the building to be saved was the interior of the Shakespeare Memorial Room. The room was dismantled and stored, and was eventually re-erected as part of the Paradise Circus complex, it is a fantastic example of Victorian craftsmanship. The bookcases are of carved oak with glass panels, together with a series of cupboards running around the base. The original vaulted roof has been reconstructed in plaster (some of the beams are original) with stained glass lights copied from the originals.
Who would have thought that within this concrete building holds Victorian elegance ? The fate of the Shakespeare Memorial Room now, it is planned to be once again dismantled, meticulously labelled and stored ahead of the move to the new Library of Birmingham.