Exploring the rich and fascinating past of the historic counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. We uncover the history of the people, ideas and events that shaped the West Midlands and the world beyond.
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Exploring Birmingham’s Centenary Square with Carl Chinn

Walking with Carl Chinn
Birmingham’s Centenary Square
Home to The Beauty of Letters

Historian and broadcaster Carl Chinn visits Centennial Square at the centre of the city. Now a cultural hub bordered by the iconic Library of Birmingham, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Symphony Hall, this is the largest urban public square built in Europe since 1945.

But, as Carl explains, its history was very different. In previous centuries this was the location of many of the industries which made Birmingham famous. Criss-crossed by canals branching out from Gas Street basin, there were large glassworks and metal manufacturers who, by the middle of the 19th century, were using 60 steam engines.

John Baskerville – The Beauty of Letters

Here was the home of John Baskerville whose love of letters reshaped the world of printing and brought typography into the modern era. While Baskerville made Birmingham famous for the excellence of its printing he courted controversy in his personal life.

Carl tells his story and reveals how Baskerville’s fame was recognised in the emerging United States of America.

Finally, Carl visits another iconic building on Centenary Square – The Hall of Memory – which sadly many walk by but few visit.

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Exploring Birmingham’s Centenary Square with Carl Chinn