Photo Not By D J Norton

City Centre

All old pictures on this page from The Geoff Thompson Archive

Note some pictures have an equivalent modern view - move cursor over to see

141 Bristol Street - 2/7/54

141 Bristol Street
These buildings were on the western side of Bristol Street between modern day Rickman Drive and the historic Great Colmore Street.  The pub to the left of the tree was the Nottingham Arms and lay on the corner of Bristol Passage.

The subject of the picture is the shop of Harold Spooner Ltd. who are advertising 'Electronic Valve Testing 3d'!

Essex Street - 18/2/53

Essex Street
This picture is looking up Essex Street towards the junction with Bristol Street.  What caught my attention was the original St. Catherine's church to the left.  Like the shops and businesses in the picture above, the church was demolished so Bristol Street could be widened.

John Bright Street - 19/7/63

John Bright Street
This is an absolute stunner and shows the city in the midst of great change.  Slap bang in the centre is The Victoria pub that is in John Bright Street, the stated subject of the picture.  Note the Rotunda being erected over to the right.  You can just about see Holloway Circus Queensway over to the far right, close to what was to become the offices of the Amalgamated Engineering Union.

Suffolk Street - 2/3/62

Suffolk Street
One of the first modern buildings to be erected in this part of the city, I believe it went up as early as the late 1950's.  At the time the 'butterfly canopies' were highlighted as an interesting design feature.  They were removed in July 2009 as this picture shows.

Albert Chambers, Paradise Street - 1/12/55

Albert Chambers, Paradise Street
Albert Chambers, and the buildings to the right of it, were what was demolished on the southern side of Paradise Street to make way for the building seen in the picture above.

Bull Street - 30/8/50

Bull Street
A scene not that different from today as the former Lewis's store still stands in Bull Street.  Most of what is seen above was an extension to the original store and was added in 1932

Old Square Garage - 28/7/54

Old Square Garage
Despite the name, this garage was not actually in Old Square!  However, it was very close and was actually located on the eastern side of Upper Priory.

57 Stafford Street/Ryder Street - 5/8/54

Stafford Street/Ryder Street
The junction of Stafford Street and Ryder Street.  Stafford Street was lost when James Watt Queensway was created.

Note the Salvation Army Hostel advertising, "Good Beds, Good Food".

New Street/Stephenson Place

New Street/Stephenson Place
Another scene that is similar to what you will find today.  The only thing missing in modern times is the Queens Hotel seen on the far left which provides a date of prior to early 1966.  One of the newspaper hoardings says, "Eden Welcomes Premier", so if we assume Anthony Eden was Prime Minister at the time, that would suggest a date between 1955 and 1957.  If anyone can narrow the date down, please get in touch.

Note how the left hand side of the Midland Bank is clearly an addition to the original building.  Part of this extension will need to be demolished so the trams using the proposed Midland Metro extension to New Street Station will be able to make the turn from Stephenson Place to Stephenson Street.

Lower Temple Street/Stephenson Street - 6/1/60

Lower Temple Street/Stephenson Street
Another scene that is familiar and little changed today.  This shows the eastern side of the junction of Lower Temple Street and Stephenson Street.

Lower Temple Street/Stephenson Street - 9/5/52

Lower Temple Street/Stephenson Street
Complimenting the picture above, here we see the western side of the same junction.  It seems strange to see a car showroom right in the city centre!  To the far left of the picture, the rear of the Theatre Royal can be seen.  The demolition of the theatre in 1957 was captured by Leonard Stace.

Navigation Street - 2/2/55

Navigation Street
I thought twice about including this picture as it shows a lot of nothing!  But my modern view provides an interesting contrast.  Of course, this picture was taken before British Rail sold the 'air rights' above the rebuilt New Street Station to allow the construction of the Birmingham Shopping Centre, now known as the Pallasades.

Note the Midland Red buses and the rear of the Queens Hotel to the left.

43 Station Street - 25/2/57

43 Station Street
This building is located between the Old Rep and the Electric Cinema on Station Street.  C. F. Marlow were wine and spirit merchants.  The building now houses the New Happy Gathering Chinese restaurant.

At the time the picture was taken, The Electric seems to have been known as The Tatler.

Bus Station from Station Street - 2/7/67

Bus Station from Station Street
As we move towards the end of the 1960's, modern Brum is taking over.  New Street Station is being redeveloped, the Rotunda is complete and the Midland Red bus station forms part of the Bull Ring.  The Market Hotel to the right is now The Comfort Inn.

Manzoni Gardens/New Street Station - ?/7/65

Manzoni Gardens/New Street Station
What a cracking view from July 1965!  Doesn't Manzoni Gardens look attractive?  Not how I remember it in the early 1980's...  In the background New Street Station has started its transformation.  See my father's photographs for a more detailed account of that.


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