Baskerville House, Birmingham UK
Baskerville House, Birmingham, England. Behind Baskerville House is the new Library of Birmingham.
Baskerville House, previously called the Civic Centre, is a former civic building in Centenary Square, Birmingham, England.
The site was originally occupied by the home of John Baskerville. He was buried nearby in the area which was known as Easy Hill. When the construction of a canal through the area was proposed, Baskerville's body was exhumed and found to be in good condition. It was placed on display to the public before being buried at Christ Church. The site adjacent to the canal, on the site of Baskerville House, was purchased by the Birmingham Aluminium Company who constructed Baskerville Basin. Gibson's Basin was also constructed nearby to serve a rolling mill. The city council bought the land in 1919 for a new Civic Centre. Baskerville Basin was filled in but Gibson's Basin remained. However, in 1936, Winfields Ltd decided to relocate to Icknield Port after taking over Vivians Rolling Mills. They abandoned the remainder of Gibson's Basin to Birmingham City Council who filled it in for their Civic Centre plans.
In 1926, the city council organised an open competition for the new layout of the Civic Centre, however, many of the designs were deemed 'Too Ambitious'. As a result, the city engineer was asked to work with the architects of the Hall of Memory, S.N. Cooke, to create a better design. T. Cecil Howitt of Nottingham was asked to design the first building, which was to become Baskerville House. This was approved in 1936 and construction began in 1938. It became the only component to be built from the plan for the Civic Centre which would have covered all of Centenary Square and the Convention Centre, and included the Masonic Hall (1926-7 Rupert Savage) (demolished 2008) and Birmingham Municipal Bank (recently TSB) building (1931-3 also T. Cecil Howitt) on Broad Street. World War II halted construction of Baskerville House (hence the rear brick wall, intended to be temporary), and after the war the use of Roman Imperial imagery on public buildings went out of fashion. A 1941 model of the proposed Civic Centre, designed by William Haywood, Secretary of The Birmingham Civic Society, is displayed in the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
The building is decorated with the Coat of arms of Birmingham.