Council House

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Council House ( 640x480 )
Council House in Birmingham stands in Victoria Square. It is one of the city’s monumental buildings, Grade II listed building. It houses the Birmingham City Council. The side of the building from Chamberlain Square is the entrance and façade of the Museum and Gallery, partly housed in the same building.

The construction of the building started in 1874. Its architect became Yeoville Thomason. The foundation stone was laid by the Mayor Joseph Chamberlain. The building was finished in 1879 and it was extended almost immediately (in 1881 – 1885) by the same architect. This was a combined Art Gallery (and included a museum) and the home of the corporation's Gas Department. The Council House was extended again in 1911-1919 (by architects Ashley & Newman). A new block to the north was built and it was connected to the main building by an archway that slightly resembles the The Bridge of Sighs in Venice. This contains much of the Museum and Art Gallery and on its ground floor there is the Gas Hall, now an exhibition space.

The main entrance of the City Council building faces the Victoria Square. There is a mosaic by Salviati Burke and Co. of Venice above it. Even above that, the pediment shows Britannia receiving the manufacturers of Birmingham. The first-floor's exterior balcony is used by visiting dignitaries and victorious sports teams, to address crowds gathered below.

There are many memorial housed inside the Birmingham Council house. However, most of them are not available for public viewing. To some of them belong for example The memorial to the citizens of Birmingham from the Belgian Exiles during World War I, Memorial to the staff of the City Treasurers who served in World War I and to the City Treasurers who served in World War II or a Blue Plaque commemorating the five consecutive generations of the Martineau Family who served as (Lord) Mayors.
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