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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Shakespeare Memorial Room

Shakespeare Memorial Room
Shakespeare Memorial Room new location

Important notice The Shakespeare Memorial Room is now closed in preparation for its move to the top of the Library of Birmingham building on Centenary Square.

The room, created in 1882 to house the Shakespeare Library, was designed by John Henry Chamberlain who was responsible for re-building the old Central Library after the original building was gutted by fire. He also designed Highbury. He was an admirer of John Ruskin and Gothic architecture, and a founder member of the Shakespeare Club.

When the Central Library was demolished in 1974 the room was dismantled and stored, and was eventually re-erected as part of the School of Music complex. It was used mainly for private meetings, but was opened to the public on City Centre Discovery Day.

The Birmingham Shakespeare Library outgrew this room in 1906, and the huge collection is now housed on Floor 3 of the Central Library.

The Old Reference Library Reading Room

The L shaped reading room of the old reference library was on the first floor of the building. The Shakespeare Memorial room opened off the new wing. It was designed by J. H. Chamberlain after the fire which destroyed the original library in 1879.

The room was intended to suggest the Elizabethan style with carvings, marquetry and metalwork representing birds, flowers and foliage. The woodwork is by Mr.Barfield, a noted woodcarver, and the brass and metal work is probably by Hardmans. The ceiling decoration is stencilled.

Introduction to William Shakespeare
Birmingham Shakespeare Library
Arts, Languages and Literature
Birmingham Central Library Room Hire
Map of Library Theatre and Shakespeare Memorial Room
Highbury