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Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
04 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The return of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch to Centenary Square after almost 5 years!

It's been a long time in waiting, but William Bloye's 1939 statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch is back. Now located in Centenary Square next to Symphony Hall. They were formerly on what was part of Broad Street from 1956 until 2017. By then the land behind them was Arena Central, and they had to move for Library Tram Stop. Back in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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The return of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch to Centenary Square after almost 5 years!





It's been a long time in waiting, but William Bloye's 1939 statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch is back. Now located in Centenary Square next to Symphony Hall. They were formerly on what was part of Broad Street from 1956 until 2017. By then the land behind them was Arena Central, and they had to move for Library Tram Stop. Back in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.


The history of the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue by William Bloye

The gilded bronze statue of Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdoch was by the sculptors William Bloye and Raymond Forbes-Kings and it stood on a plinth of Portland stone, (formerly) outside the old Register Office on Broad Street in Birmingham (later the House of Sport after the Register Office moved to Holliday Street).

It is known locally as The Golden Boys after its colour, or The Carpet Salesmen after the partially-rolled-up plan of a steam engine which they are examining.  

All three men were members of the Lunar Society.  

Sponsored by an £8,000 bequest from Richard Wheatley in 1939, and £7,500 from the City Council, it was unveiled in 1956, from preliminary designs drawn up in 1938.  

The statue was restored and re-gilded, and replaced in its old position in September 2006. 

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Views of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch in 2009

While I initally first took the statue on my first digital camera around April 2009, by the time I got my first bridge camera in June 2009, I headed to Broad Street, and took the follow photos below outside of the House of Sport. This was only about 3 years after the bronze statue had been re-gilded in 2006, now making it shiny and golden!

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Boulton, Watt & Murdoch from 2011 to 2017

More occasional photos in the years following my initial shots of the statues, such as when the Library of Birmingham opened, or when Arena Central started.

January 2011 - a (then) new information sign about the statue, and details about Matthew Boulton, James Watt & William Murdoch.

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July 2013 - red flowers were planted in front of the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue on what was then still a part of Broad Street.

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September 2013 - the Library of Birmingham is now open, and at the time, a view down to the Bouton, Watt & Murdoch statue, still surrounded by red flowers.

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April 2015 - early work begins to fence of the House of Sport (the old Birmingham Register Office) on Broad Street. As Arena Central got underway, but Boulton, Watt & Murdoch remained in place. Traffic was being diverted onto Bridge Street.

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May 2015 - Hoardings had gone up in front of the House of Sport ahead of it's demolition later in 2015. But you could still see the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue.

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October 2015 - demolition on the former Register Office / House of Sport was well underway, just a section near Bridge Street to come down. You could still get close up to the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue at the time.

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November 2015 - a view from the Library of Birmingham. DSM Demolition had a lot of rubble to clear of the House of Sport, while scaffolding had gone up the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statues to protect them.

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April 2016 - by this point the demolition behind Boulton, Watt & Murdoch had been complete, and it was now the site of One Arena Central. Library of Birmingham view.

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There was plant machinery in front of the statue.

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And there was a temporary path between Arena Central and where Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were.

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February 2017 - a night shot of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch from Centenary Square. You could now see views to the hotels behind including Crowne Plaza and the newly built Holiday Inn Express (TETRIS building) at Arena Central.

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April 2017 - a rear view of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch, taken from Bridge Street, looking over Arena Central towards the Library of Birmingham.

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August 2017 - the last views of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch for 5 years before they went into storage. One Arena Central hoardings still behind them, and Midland Metro Alliance hoardings in front of them.

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A daylight view towards Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express. This was my last actual photo of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch for almost 5 years (before they went into storage). This view on the 10th August 2017, the statue was removed on the 23rd August 2017 (ahead of the building of the Westside Metro extension). Library Tram Stop would open on their old spot by December 2019.

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Return of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch - late April 2022

While the Portland stone plinth was back in place by St George's Day, the actual gold covered bronze statue was lowered into place on the 29th April 2022. Just in time for the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend. Although there is still fences around it, and more paving work to do. As well as the installation of a future plaque, about Boulton, Watt & Murdoch's slavery links (post Black Lives Matter).

With Library Tram Stop (opened end of 2019).

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Seen outside of Symphony Hall, their new home.

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With the Library of Birmingham.

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Lookig towards Paradise Birmingham.

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Looking towards HSBC UK - One Centenary Square and The Exchange | University of Birmingham at Arena Central.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (10).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Looking towards Three Arena Central (One Arena Central aka Five Centenary Square still hasn't been built yet).

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (11).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Looking towards the Hyatt Regency Birmingham and near the new foyer of Symphony Hall.

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dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (13).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The view of Centenary Square on the 30th April 2022. Boulton & Watt & Murdoch now join The ICC, Symphony Hall, The REP, Library of Birmingham, Baskerville House and Hall of Memory. As well as Library Tram Stop.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (14).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (15).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

From the other side of Centenary Square in this wide panoramic (centred on the Library of Birmingham). Bit hard to see Boulton, Watt & Murdoch but they are on the far left near Symphony Hall, while Edward VII is near Baskerville House. From HSBC UK to the old Copthorne Hotel (which will be demolished in the next few years).

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Welcome back lads, you have been missed!

For other monuments of Matthew Boulton, James Watt & William Murdoch, see the post on St Mary's Church, Handsworth.

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Stephen Giles Construction & regeneration
27 Apr 2022 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Demolition and Site Prep for Octagon at Paradise Birmingham

Demolition is well underway at 77 Paradise Circus. The building's roof and supports have now been fully dismantled, and a long reacher is now on site to quickly demolish the body. 

Take a look at our article for a full reverse photo journey of the building from February 2021, to the present day.

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Demolition and Site Prep for Octagon at Paradise Birmingham





Demolition is well underway at 77 Paradise Circus. The building's roof and supports have now been fully dismantled, and a long reacher is now on site to quickly demolish the body. 

Take a look at our article for a full reverse photo journey of the building from February 2021, to the present day.


25th September 2021

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21st February 2022

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23rd February 2022

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Photography by Daniel Sturley.

26th February 2022

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Photography by Stephen Giles.

8th March 2022

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Photography by Daniel Sturley.

26th March 2022

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Photography by Daniel Sturley.

28th March 2022

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Image from Paradise Birmingham webcam.

5th April 2022

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8th April 2022

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12th April 2022

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20th April 2022

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Photography by Daniel Sturley.

26 April 2022

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Image from Paradise Birmingham webcam.

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Octagon; ©Glenn Howells Architects.

There are now nearly 100 photos of the demolition and site preparation for this building, which can be seen in reverse date order in our full gallery here: One The Octagon Full Construction Gallery

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Stephen Giles Construction & regeneration
27 Apr 2022 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

The Construction of The Square on Broad Street - April 2022 - Update Two

Cortland Broad Street's concrete core is huge! It currently sits on floor 34, just short of its maximum height.

The lower levels of the 35-storey residential tower are also progressing, now up to level 5/6, with its six-storey lower extension now climbing above the hoardings on Ryland Street.

Lots of construction images here in this April Part 2 update.

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The Construction of The Square on Broad Street - April 2022 - Update Two





Cortland Broad Street's concrete core is huge! It currently sits on floor 34, just short of its maximum height.

The lower levels of the 35-storey residential tower are also progressing, now up to level 5/6, with its six-storey lower extension now climbing above the hoardings on Ryland Street.

Lots of construction images here in this April Part 2 update.


3rd April 2022

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7th April 2022

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8th April 2022

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11th April 2022

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13th April 2022

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17th April 2022

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26th April 2022

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Photography by Daniel Sturley.

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Image kindly taken by Kingsheathen.

There are now nearly 200 photos of the construction of this building, and these can now be seen in reverse date order in the full gallery here: The Square, Broad Street - Full Construction Photo Gallery

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110 passion points
Daniel Sturley Classic Architecture
27 Apr 2022 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Samuel Heath Building

The Samuel Heath Building now a protected listed building - Wonderful photography of this great building of historic importance from Stephen Hartland of the Victorian Society (West Midlands). 

Enjoy! 

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The Samuel Heath Building





The Samuel Heath Building now a protected listed building - Wonderful photography of this great building of historic importance from Stephen Hartland of the Victorian Society (West Midlands). 

Enjoy! 


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Photography by Stephen Hartland

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100 passion points
Elliott Brown Classic Architecture
17 Mar 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Theatre Royal on New Street (1774 to 1956)

If you ever visit Superdrug, Bella Italia or Boots on New Street, were you aware that they are on the site of the Theatre Royal? It existed from 1774 until it was demolished in 1956 (with a couple of redevelopments in it's almost 200 years of existence). It was replaced from 1958 to 1964 by the Woolworth / Charters Building (refurbished in 1990) and Platform 21 (from 2020-21).

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The Theatre Royal on New Street (1774 to 1956)





If you ever visit Superdrug, Bella Italia or Boots on New Street, were you aware that they are on the site of the Theatre Royal? It existed from 1774 until it was demolished in 1956 (with a couple of redevelopments in it's almost 200 years of existence). It was replaced from 1958 to 1964 by the Woolworth / Charters Building (refurbished in 1990) and Platform 21 (from 2020-21).


Theatre Royal - New Street, Birmingham (1774 - 1956)

What is now Platform 21 (formerly the called the Charters Building, and previously the Woolworth Building) was built on the site of the Theatre Royal, which existed on New Street from 1774 until 1956. It was rebuilt a couple of times following fires. A pair of plaques of William Shakespeare and David Garrick were saved (during the 1956 demolition of the theatre) and are now at the Library of Birmingham. The only indication on New Street now of the theatre existing is a blue plaque from the Birmingham Civic Society (between Superdrug and Bella Italia).

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Theatre Royal 1774 1956.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Details below taken from the Arthur Lloyd webpage on The Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham.

There has been four theatres in total on the site of 102 New Street between 1774 and 1956 (a period of 182 years).

 

New Theatre, New Street (1774 - 1792)

The first theatre opened in June 1774, was called the New Theatre. Built for Richard Yates, the architect was called Saul. A new façade added in 1780 and portico designed by Samuel Wyatt, which survived until 1902, despite the rest of the building being destroyed by fire twice.

 

Theatre Royal, New Street (1794 - 1820)

There was a fire at the theatre in 1792. After the fire, the theatre was completely rebuilt by 1794 by George Saunders and Charles Norton, except for the Wyatt façade which survived the fire of 1792. This would be the second theatre on the site. The theatre changed it's name to the Theatre Royal in 1807 when a Royal Patent was granted to the theatre.

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1965V22141 Theatre Royal New Street Birmingham.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />Lithograph - Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham, 1805. Lithographer: T Woodfall. Birmingham Museums Trust

 

Theatre Royal, New Street (1820 - 1902)

Sadly the Theatre Royal, New Street was destroyed by another fire, this time during January 1820. The theatre was rebuilt again by 1820, making it the third theatre on the site, this time designed by the architect Samuel Beazley, who replaced everything behind Samuel Wyatt façade.

The only changes after this was in 1875 with alterations to the stage and auditorium, and then in 1885 there was more alterations to the building. Then a refurbishment in 1898 by the architect Frank J. Bill.

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1965V22132 Theatre Royal Birmingham.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />Engraving - Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham.1820 rebuild.  Artist: Thomas Radclyffe. Birmingham Museums Trust

 

Theatre Royal Plaques

In 1902 the third Theatre Royal was completely demolished, to make way for a new theatre on the same site. A small part of the 1820 theatre survives in the form of a a pair of plaques of William Shakespeare and David Garrick. They were at Birmingham Central Library (until 2013) but are now located at the Library of Birmingham.

The Theatre Royal Plaques were on display at the Library of Birmingham, in the Gallery back in 2016, during an exhibition called Our Shakespeare, which commemorated the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Garrick was on the left, while Shakespeare was on the right.

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Theatre Royal, New Street (1904 - 1956)

The fourth theatre opened in December 1904, it was the last Theatre Royal to be on the site. This one was designed by Ernest Runtz with a new frontage designed in the Adam Style. It was built for Theatre Royal Birmingham Ltd. The building was five stories in height. The New Street façade was built in Monk's Parkstone in the semi-Classic style of George III. Above the upper story was a series of bronze figures representing Comedy, Industries, Charity, Justice, Science and Tragedy. The Theatre Royal closed it's doors for the last time in December 1956. Demolition began shortly after it closed for good.

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/City Theatre Royal New St.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Theatre Royal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/City Interior Theatre Royal New St.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />The Theatre Royal, New Street, early 20th century (date unknown). Photographer unknown. Public domain.

 

The Shakespeare Tavern (1774 - 1904)

Underneath the theatre was a bar called the Shakespeare Tavern, also known as the Brags' Vaults. This was in existence since the very first theatre on the site (1774) and remained until the rebuild of 1904 (at one point known as the Pit Bar of the Theatre Royal). It later moved to Lower Temple Street, where a Neo-Georgian pub called The Shakespeare was built. This was built from 1910 to 1911 by the architect Arthur Edwards. Before it was built, the theatre ran to Lower Temple Street. At one point The Shakespeare was run by Mitchells & Butlers, later by Nicholson's.

dndimg alt="The Shakespeare" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Shakespeare Lower Temple Street old facade (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Woolworth Building / Charter Building (1962 / 1964 - 1990 / 2020)

An office building called the Woolworth Building was later built on the site. It was  designed by Cotton, Ballard & Blow, and built in two parts. The east side from 1958 to 1962 for Woolworths. The west side from 1962 to 1964 for Jack Cotton & Partners. It was made of Portland stone, mosaic cladding and green slate. The building was up to ten stories high. In 1990 there was a refurbishment by Temple Cox Nicholls. This included a glass lift. It is now known as the Charters Building. Retailers on the ground floor include Superdrug, Bella Italia and Boots. The Birmingham Civic Society blue plaque is located between Superdrug and Bella Italia.

dndimg alt="Charters Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Charters TR (Mar 2014).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Charters Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Charters TR (Jan 2018).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Bella Italia" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bella Italia Theatre Royal (Aug 2015).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Platform 21 (2021 to present)

The offices at 102 New Street were renovated again, this time during 2020 to 2021 at 23 Stephenson Street. The development was called Platform 21. Grade A office space up to 112,000 Square Ft.  HM Government Civil Servants moved into the building near the end of 2021. It was renamed from Charters to Platform 21 in 2016. Workers will probably not be aware that they are at the former site of the Theatre Royal or a Woolworths store (which moved off site at one point into the Pallasades until it closed for good in 2008). Architects was Associated Architects. The client was Evenacre and LaSalle Investment Management.

dndimg alt="Platform 21" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Platform 21 (Sep 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Platform 21" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Platform 21 (Dec 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Platform 21" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Platform 21 (Dec 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Historic images of Theatre Royal from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource.

Early 20th Century photos via Phil of the Birmingham History Forum (2011).

21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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