Victorian Birmingham gets flattened: time-lapse video

Before the wrecking ball arrivedIn the 1960s and 70s, amateur snapper Derek Fairbrother made over 20 photographic time-lapse sequences showing the demolition of old buildings and their replacement by new buildings and road systems in Birmingham’s city centre.

Gasp as delightful Victorian Gothic buildings in Chamberlain Square with real architectural worth get crushed into dust and sigh as vast slabs of civic concrete go up in their place.

We’ve been documenting the demise of equally beautiful buildings in the Brixton history part of the site, and it’s sad to see what’s replaced some of the fine workmanship of the past.

Birmingham timelapse from 7inch cinema on Vimeo.

360 degree interactive panorama of Chamberlain Square
Birmingham – photo feature

5 Comments on “Victorian Birmingham gets flattened: time-lapse video”

  1. Just come across this while looking at some of your photos Ed, very interesting to me as I remember the old Victorian central library in Birmingham – very sad it was replaced but I think there was not enough space for the City archives etc.
    Ironically, the 60’s concrete building will now be demolished as the Library is being moved up to a new building in Broad St.

  2. It’s sacrilege to see these magnificent Victorian, Gothic buildings been demolished in place of the modern alternative – the central library; now itself to face the same fate!
    The craftsmanship is unparalleled with anything we see today, although city planners should be commended for some of the recent additions – not everything modern is ugly.
    However, I’m not sure of the new Library? A little Victoriana wouldn’t of gone amiss, but there’s probably nobody left skilled enough to carry out such work.

  3. I did not know the 19th C Library having been in it once when I was a child, which I think was the 2nd on the same site. But the current library in the Brutalist style as seen in the sequence is a useful space and makes good use of the site, especially the inverted ziggurat shape. It is a waste of resources spending the money only 40 years ago for a building to be municipally neglected for it to be condemned. Argent who for some reason own the site and not the Corporation have inferior plans for the site.

  4. I live in the southern part of Birmingham, and I love historical buildings – I despise of modernity. Unfortunately the area I live in, Kings Heath, was flattened in the 60’s – 80’s period; where there used to be excitement, there’s now boredom. I remember the beautiful old primary school and the dance ballroom, the Institute, torn down, replaced with a concrete Poundland. Yes, a Poundland. I was looking at buildings in my area of the past, and I came across this video – thank you very much for sharing! It’s interesting, yet sad, to see elaborate craftsmanship from the past wasted, with money squandered on destroying Britain’s works of art and building concrete monstrosities – otherwise known as architectural crimes.

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