This aerial view of the City Centre was taken in 1963 and shows some
significant differences from what we know today.
In 1963 the
majority of the New Street Station was open to the sky, the Rotunda, one
of Birmingham's most recognised icons was nearing completion and the
Pallasades was an architects dream. All was about to change....
last year of World War II saw New Street Station being damaged by bombs
and it was decided to take down the roof structure. Modernisation of the
station began in 1964 driven by London Midland Region's plans for
electrification. The new station, designed by the British Railways
Architects Department, had 12 platforms covered by a 7 acre concrete
slab and connected to the surface by escalators and staircases. The
Birmingham Shopping Centre, as it was formerly known, was constructed in
1968 and incorporated a pedestrian link to the Bull Ring Centre. An
attempt, by the City Architect, to bring life back to the city centre
after dark, saw Stephenson Tower constructed on the edge of the New
Street Station site.
The Rotunda, now undergoing a complete refit
to become luxury apartments, was originally opened in 1965 as an office
block, consisting of 20 floors. It was 265 feet high and used 1.400
panes of glass to provide the face of a building so well known in the
city and beyond. For many years the night sky of Birmingham was lit up
by illuminated signs on the Rotunda advertising popular drinks. As a
luxury residential complex, it is unlikely to used for that purpose in