Baskerville House - A Birmingham Gem!

Built in 1938 in the Art Deco style, Baskerville House, previously called the Civic Centre, is a former civic building in Centenary Square. The building is steeped in history.


Where is Baskerville House?

Baskerville House is in Centenary Square at Cambridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND.

 

In brief

Formerly called the Civic Centre, Baskerville House was completed in 1938, before the Second World War. It was the only part of a Civic scheme (including the Hall of Memory), but the rest of it was cancelled after the war ended. It was renovated in 2007.

Baskerville House Baskerville House from Centenary Square. Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Baskerville House - history

It was originally completed in 1938. Before WW2 started, there was plans for the area that is now Centenary Square, for a Civic Centre. But Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory were the only buildings to be completed as part of that scheme. It is built on the site of John Baskerville's home of Easy Hill. Which itself was replaced by a canal basin, known as Baskerville Basin. Was also another basin there called Gibson's Basin. They would have both existed there from the 1820s until about 1919 (or later as the Birmingham City Council had purchased the land for their Civic Centre scheme). T. Cecil Howitt of Nottingham was asked to design Baskerville House in 1936. The war halted construction of Baskerville House, and after WW2 ended, Roman Imperial imagery on public buildings went out of fashion. Used to be offices for the City Council, until they moved out in 1998. The building is now Grade II listed, and was renovated from 2003 until 2007. More recently, the stonework was restored in 2014 to 2015, and there was a major jet wash clean of the stonework during 2018. Paving outside was originally completed in 1991 for the original Centenary Square, and redone in 2019 for the new Centenary Square. There is a sculpture outside called Industry and Genius (1990) by local artist David Patten (of Baskerville typeface). The statue of King Edward VII was restored and relocated to Centenary Square outside of the building in late 2010.

Baskerville House Baskerville House from Centenary Square. Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Baskerville HouseBlack and white photograph of Baskerville House, taken from Centenary Square. Photography by Barry Whitehead

 

The site was originally occupied by the home of John Baskerville. The City Council bought the land in 1919 for a new Civic Centre.

Baskerville HouseBaskerville House from Centenary Square. Photography by Daniel Sturley

 

Baskerville HouseBaskerville House from the Library of Birmingham, Secret Garden. Photography by Elliott Brown

 

The proposed Civic Centre scheme

The City Council organised an open competition for the new layout of the Civic Centre in 1926.  Nothing came of this and the artchitects of the Hall of Memory, S.N. Cooke to create a design and T. Cecil Howitt of Nottingham was invited to design the first building.  This became Baskerville House.

Baskerville House as the only part of the plan for the Civic Centre to be built.

There is a model in the collection of the Birmingham Museums Trust (currently at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre) dated 1941 and designed by William Haywood. It has been on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in the past.

Baskerville HouseCivic Centre model at BM & AG. Photography by Elliott Brown

 

 

Contact details

Baskerville House

 

William Ventham

william.ventham@cbre.com

0121 616 5509

 

Jamie Phillips

jamie.phillips@knightfrank.com

0121 233 6403

Project dates

13 Feb 2021 - On-going

Passions

History & heritage, Civic pride, Classic Architecture

Contact

Your Place Your Space

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ yourplaceyourspace.com