Thursday, October 16, 2008

Birmingham ugly?...

...take a look in the mirror

[UPDATE- 15:06 GMT - Now the Independent too has picked up on the story. Its online headline reads: "Birmingham named UK's ugliest city". But as yet there's no info as to what was asked in the survey, how it was carried out and who was polled]

Misconceptions and stereotypes are annoying enough. Imagine when they're perpetrated by a public corporation. Yesterday a new low was reached when the ailing BBC, having run out of more important stories, decided to report that "Birmingham has three of the country's ugliest buildings, which include the Bullring and the Central Library, according to a recent survey". Quite obviously, some people have never set foot in London, Newcastle or Liverpool (as well as other cities), each of them home to some seriously ghastly buildings.

To the point, as far as the Bullring is concerned, the 2003 shopping complex is possibly one of the most stylish, futuristic and functional building in Europe. It was set out to solve the planning problems created by its 60's predecessor and, at least so far, it's been a total success. The Central library is a slightly more delicate matter. Currently, there are politics involved including extremely lucrative proposals to have it knocked down and replaced by yet another piece of prefab shopping anonimity. This blog is dead against the library being pulled down. We think it's a unique masterpiece of Brutalist architecture and that its full potential has never been fully realised.
So, leave Birmingham alone, we say, and stop perpetrating lazy stereotypes.


Lizz said...

Pfft people are always so negative about Birmingham, it makes me angry. Where was the survey taken?! I wonder if they only asked people in London. The library and the Bullring rule!

claude said...

Exactly! Where was the survey taken? No reference whatsoever from the BBC. Who was asked what?

Also, the whole tone of the "report" was so irritating. Infantilising, proto-cheeky-chirpy, very BBC of today, if I may say so.

Anonymous said...

But why don't you just accept that Brum's an ugly town. I mean, if the whole country thinks that... can they all be wrong? What you moaning about?


claude said...

Everything has a dark side. As far as blogs are concerned, they'll always attract dregs with too much time on their hands.

Lizz said...


claude said...

I obviously, EXCLUSIVELY, referred to the 'anonymous' person and his (her?) arsy tone.

Anonymous said...

Birmingham is officially the ugliest city in the whole country, also it has the worst accent voted by the country it has the highest knife crime in the whole outsid eof London same with gun crime the most multi cultural and ethnic cities in the whole country and just last month the Ladywood area of Birmingham was named the most poor and deprived place for child poverty in the whole country. And thats just for 2008. Well done Brum!!!

Rich said...

The original survey is so pathetically non representative as to render the BBC piece pointless

The fact that only a third of the 1111 respondents replied that the Bullring is Britain's ugliest building renders it ridiculous.

A nonsensical piece of journalism serving no useful purpose, about right for the BBC.

claude said...

have a stroll around Newcastle, Liverpool, Essex or the West Country. They're so sexy aren't they? The mere thought gives me a right boner.

Rob said...

I suppose you could turn the current Central Library into a modern Art gallery as this would be a good way to use what is a pretty awful building, otherwise it should go.

Don't compare Birmingham Central Library with the Royal Festival Hall - one's an iconic, classic and tasteful fifties building, while the other is a pile of montrous concrete plonked in the city centre.....BCL is more like London's National Theatre, another ghastly building which would not be missed if it was bulldozed tommorrow.

One more thing, why does Birmingham have such a rich history.....of knocking down great the old Snowhill station. What a travesty that building was pulled down it was Birmingham's answer to St. Pancras. Now you have the worst station in the world: New Street - a real classy station, not.

Claude - actually Liverpool has some fantastic buildings, as does Newcastle. Essex is not THAT bad, and you've obviously never been to the West country. How can you not be impressed by Bath - pure class (could teach Brum a thing or two), or Gloucester, Exeter, and parts of the centre of Bristol. Birmingham had loads of nice buildings once but they got the council after the war. They got rid of more buildings than the Luftwaffe -and all 'in the name of progress'. Believe that and you'll believe anything, they just didn't like anything that wasn't modern.

Even now the council are still making bad decisions for example they'd rather give New Street a face lift than start again from scratch with a new station on an ajacent site. Just google 'Birmingham Grand Central Central' and see the amazing plans that Arup designed but which will never see the light of day because the council were too penny pinching. You're losing out to Manchester in nearly everything - don't you care?