Birmingham Town Hall

Birmingham, United Kingdom | C.1834

Photo Credit: Vicki Westwood

On the outside, the Birmingham Town Hall is a towering structure of columns and stone. But on its inside, the revered concert hall has reverberated with the warm, vibrant melodies of some of the world’s most legendary musicians. A popular event venue, the Town Hall has hosted musical events and assemblies since it was built in 1834.

Born to host the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, the Town Hall was designed in the Roman revival style and was the first of many monumental town halls that would define English cities during the Victorian Era. Resembling the Temple of Castor in Pollux in Rome, the facade is marble, but the Hall is constructed in brick and some limestone, where animal and plant fossils have been found.

Architects Joseph Hansom and Edward Welch were commissioned to design the Town Hall, but their process was riddled with conflict. Hansom went bankrupt during construction, and only through the aid of donations was the Town Hall able to open for the delayed Music Festival despite being unfinished.

Despite rocky beginnings, the Town Hall became a cultural hub. Charles Dickens gave public readings, Mendelssohn premiered compositions, and modern artists like David Bowie and Led Zeppelin performed there. Yet, its pipe organ is the most iconic musical instrument to take the stage. At 70 feet high, the organ is as tall as two double-decker buses and is famed for being the first English organ to have its pipes incorporated into the decorative case front.

Following two major renovations, the Town Hall now hosts a diverse array of concerts, dinners, fashion shows, graduations, and conferences. Visitors interested in hearing music erupt from the organ’s 6,000 pipes can attend weekly recitals.

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