Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

History of Spring Hill Library

Spring Hill Library is a fine example of late nineteenth century architecture and is a Grade II listed building. Its foundation stone was laid in 1891. Designed by the Birmingham architects, Martin and Chamberlain, it opened on January 7th 1893. Constructed in the red brick and terracotta style familiar in many of Birmingham municipal buildings of the day, its distinctive 65 feet tower with four clock faces has given the library an enduring presence amidst a rapidly changing landscape.

Spring Hill Library has made the news on several occasions. In its first year of opening it issued more books per day than any of the city branch libraries, and in 1895 a man was sentenced to six weeks in prison with hard labour for throwing books around the library and resisting arrest.

On March 16th 1949 a number 8 bus crossing Spring Hill from Monument Road into Icknield Street, collided with a fire engine travelling down Summerhill. The impact of the crash caused the bus to topple over onto the pavement outside Spring Hill Library. One person was killed and over 30 were taken to hospital. An inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death and found insufficient care caused the crash and both drivers were criticised. The scratch marks made by the bus can still be seen today on the library wall.

In the early 1970s the library was saved from demolition. Plans for the Middle Ring Road were re-routed at the last minute following a public outcry and Ladywood Middleway was diverted to leave the building intact.

In the last few years the adjoining local shopping precinct fell into decline and has recently been demolished. A new plan for the area will integrate the library with new retail units, improve surrounding landscaping, and provide a double door and glazed lift to improve access.

Spring Hill Library
Spring Hill Library's Architecture
Spring Hill Library, Coat of Arms