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Aerial View of New Street Station 1963

This aerial view of the City Centre was taken in 1963 and shows some significant differences from what we know today.

In 1963 the majority of the New Street Station was open to the sky, the Rotunda, one of Birmingham's most recognised icons was nearing completion and the Pallasades was an architects dream. All was about to change....

The last year of World War II saw New Street Station being damaged by bombs and it was decided to take down the roof structure. Modernisation of the station began in 1964 driven by London Midland Region's plans for electrification. The new station, designed by the British Railways Architects Department, had 12 platforms covered by a 7 acre concrete slab and connected to the surface by escalators and staircases. The Birmingham Shopping Centre, as it was formerly known, was constructed in 1968 and incorporated a pedestrian link to the Bull Ring Centre. An attempt, by the City Architect, to bring life back to the city centre after dark, saw Stephenson Tower constructed on the edge of the New Street Station site.

The Rotunda, now undergoing a complete refit to become luxury apartments, was originally opened in 1965 as an office block, consisting of 20 floors. It was 265 feet high and used 1.400 panes of glass to provide the face of a building so well known in the city and beyond. For many years the night sky of Birmingham was lit up by illuminated signs on the Rotunda advertising popular drinks. As a luxury residential complex, it is unlikely to used for that purpose in future.


Libraries Photo Archive 1960s
Digital Birmingham Photo Archive
Photographic and other Special Collections in Central Library
Birmingham Archives and Heritage Service