Birmingham Town Hall: An Architectural History

In October 1834, the Preston Chronicle described the recently completed Town Hall as ‘The Pride of Birmingham and an Ornament to England’.

This impressive neoclassical temple was Britain’s first genuinely civic building. Designed to house the country’s first great public concert hall, Birmingham Town Hall was a ground-breaker. It survives as an historic building of national standing.

The book on the Town Hall unveils discoveries aplenty about the building’s origins, its design, uses, evolution and recent transformation.

To purchase the book on-line
Please go to the Lund Humphries website to purchase the book on-line.

Birmingham Town Hall occupies a central place in the history of Britain’s second city. Built in 1834 to champion and reflect Birmingham’s civic achievements, the Town Hall’s design was based on the form and style of a partially surviving Roman temple and involved architectural luminaries such as Sir John Soane. This is the first book to provide an accessible account of the building’s construction and history.

In addition to the book’s commentary on the Town Hall’s origins and design, consideration is also given to the several schemes of alteration undertaken over the course of the building’s history, including that completed in 2007. The narrative is built upon evidence gathered by the author over the course of a decade from archival sources and through extensive site-based fabric recording and analysis. The texts are handsomely illustrated with photographs and reproductions of archival drawings, engravings etc. This hardback book measures 26 x 23 cms., is 250 pages long and features 290 images, 173 of which are printed in colour.


“This splendidly illustrated and brilliantly researched book puts Birmingham on the national stage as never before. Mr Peers’s book not only chronicles the birth and life of this remarkable building in absorbing detail but presents an extraordinary wealth of visual material on its design and inspiration, its varied use, remodelling and restoration.”
Marcus Binney, architectural historian

“Marrying the findings of extensive fabric recording and analysis with exhaustive archival research, Peers unveils a catalogue of discoveries about Birmingham Town Hall, casting new light on our understanding of the design, construction and physical evolution of this, England’s earliest truly civic building.”
Dr Frank Salmon, University of Cambridge

“Civic pride has never been so consummately expressed in architecture as it was in 19th century Britain, partly in conscious emulation of other high points like those attained in Ancient Greece and Rome and the Italian City States of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance…. Peers establishes Hansom and Welch’s pure temple …. as not just the earliest but among the greatest of all the home-grown civic buildings. It is a masterly début – a great book on a great building”
Tristram Hunt MP