The Shakespeare Memorial Room

The Shakespeare Memorial Room, on the 9th Floor of the Library of Birmingham, was designed by John H. Chamberlain, a local architect and, along with George Dawson, a founder member of the Our Shakespeare Club.

The room was first opened to the public in 1882. Its striking style features Chamberlain’s trademark use of flowers, foliage, and birds in carved wood, plaster, and metalwork. This style of decoration was meant to reflect the natural vitality of Shakespeare’s work.

With its ever-increasing collection of material, the Shakespeare Memorial Library (as the collection was first known) outgrew this room in the early 20th Century.

A new, bigger Central Library opened in 1974 but the building was unable to accommodate the Memorial Room which was dismantled and kept in storage. It was later rebuilt as part of the Conservatoire complex, adjacent to the Central Library, and opened in 1986.

The current location is in the Library of Birmingham, which opened in 2013. The Memorial Room is at the very top of the building encased by the golden rotunda.

It is important to note that the Shakespeare Memorial Library collection is no longer kept in this room as it cannot provide the appropriate climate protection that such items need.

From 2020 to 2023 the Everything to Everybody project hosted six ‘Heritage Ambassadors’, students from the University of Birmingham who researched the Shakespeare Collection. They each wrote a series of informative articles. Read some of the articles below:

Hold an exhibition

The Shakespeare Memorial Room is a great space to hold exhibitions:

Find out more and complete our exhibitions enquiry form

See below a photo of the ornately carved entrance to the Shakespeare Memorial Room.

Ornately carved, dark,  wooden entrance door to the Shakespeare Memorial Room.

Page last updated: 25 October 2023

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