Sunday, 30 March 2014



There was a very good train tickets promotion during March: London-Birmingham (and vice versa) for 50p return, with no restrictions on setting out good and early to make a day of it. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could always travel for pennies?
It's not my favourite city - but it costs three times that to hop on a London bus for just one stop.
So last week I set out, seizing my chance to visit Birmingham's mega new £193million library.
I'm not sure what I think ...
Is that a library? To me it looks more like a flagship branch of Debenhams or John Lewis.
(Somebody else said it looks a like a big pair of lacy pants.)
But I love it that the city is prepared to make this big investment in libraries and books (and I do hope it hasn't been made at the expense of closing down branches in the suburbs).
As for inside ... it's stunning. (One quibble though. Wouldn't you think that a woman architect with a £193m budget would remember to put a coat hook behind the door in the ladies' loo? That's the kind of thing we blame men for!)
I spent an hour strolling around, from the old Shakespeare Memorial Room that has been relocated into the rotunda at the top ... and all the way down to below Centenary Square.
There are two terrace herb gardens - imagine a library with a herb garden, it sounds quite monastic - which must be a lovely place to sit with a book on a sunny day with views right across Birmingham (okay, not a city with a skyline, but never mind). From on high, the tiled piazza below looked like an Oriental rug. And I was very much taken by this very bling-y statue by a civic sculptor ...
                         

Then, having visited the brand new ...
It was off down the road to the last back to back houses in the city. Where the stairs would kill you if you didn't die first of TB.

8 comments:

Mystica said...

Don't much care for the architecture but if the inside is good then never mind. Like the shiny sculpture though!

mary said...

Don't think gravitas is fashionable any more, Mystica!

Sue said...

My home town. My dad has been banging on about how fabulous the library is since it opened. He loves to show friends around it. I hadn't realised Boulton, Watt and Murdoch had been blinged up to that extent.

mary said...

If I worked nearby, I think I'd be in there every day, Sue. It's really lovely inside.

Alex said...

I was brought up in the back to backs. It's hard to remember what the rest of the city was like in those days, now.

mary said...

It really has changed a lot, hasn't it, Alex. I was amused to see that the back to backs are now highly desirable NT holiday lets.

GSGreatEscaper said...

It's a very modern wedding cake!

mary said...

Lemon sponge, do you think? or maybe a cappuccino cream?