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William Withering

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
G'day, Dennis! Thanks for that lovely picture and interesting text.

[I couldn't help noticing the Betjeman quote in your "signature": he's one of my favourite poets, and a great writer on (and defender of) "un-modern" architecture. ;)]
Thank you O mighty dog-faced pouched one, you are most welcome, and well spotted from so far away. I am indeed a fellow defender of Victorian architectural splendour, like dear old JB. And as proof, albeit at the risk of going slightly off message now, witness below the appalling desecration of one of Birmingham's finest buildings, viz., 24 Union Street Library, and it's rather paradoxical link to this Thread's subject, our William. The photo and text is from Roy Thornton's delicious book LOST BUILDINGS OF BIRMINGHAM:

The Old Library, 24 Union Street
The Birmingham Library was founded in 1779 and its first meeting place was in Snow Hill, where it was open for one hour each morning. A move was made to larger premises in Upper Priory on 5 May 1790 and, by then, the opening hours were much longer. Land was obtained on a 120 year lease, commencing 24 June 1793, from Dr Withering, at a ground rent of £11 15s per annum. Building work started quickly, but the library, designed by William Hollins and built in stone, was not completed until 1797. The building was symmetrical about the portico and was extended later to the left. A new building was erected in Margaret Street in 1899 where the library remains as part of the Birmingham & Midland Institute. No 24 Union Street remained in use until it was demolished in the 1960s. Boooooo….

(Replacement Photo)
 

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Shortie

master brummie
Oh to be able to pass through Union Street today with it looking like that. Amazing stuff. This mgnificent picture was taken in a time when Birmingham was more houses than shops. If the City Council had had its wits about it, it could have surely accommodated a shop within these facades - after all, they have done it in Bath, Cheltenham and Lichfield, so why not Birmingham? I think a lot of the problem lies with the date - 1960's when a huge amount of destruction was allowed. In all post-war years, after every war, the same thing has happened but on different scales. I think it is to do with washing away anything to do with those days - getting rid and bringing on the new. New life begins here, so to speak. Sad but true.

Shortie (who does not like much that is new at all, except clothes and shoes!)
 
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