The area was purchased in the early 20th century by the council for the creation of a grand civic scheme to include new council offices, mayor's residence, public library and concert hall. The scheme was abandoned after the arrival of World War II with only half of the planned Baskerville House having been built.
The square was the centrepiece of the millennium celebrations for the city with singer, Cliff Richard lighting a beacon known as The Flame of Hope, which stood between Baskerville House and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Problems with funding resulted in the "perpetual" flame regularly being turned off, and it was eventually removed.
All sculptures in the square were paid for by the "Per Cent For Arts" scheme which only pays toward building costs if public sculpture forms at least 1% of the entire building project.
- Boulton, Watt and Murdoch (statue, re-gilded September 2006)
- Forward!, a sculpture by Raymond Mason which was unveiled in 1991. It cost £275,000. It was destroyed by arson on 17 April 2003. It was locally known as the "Lurpak sculpture".
- Birmingham Rep theatre
- Industry and Genius (sculpture), in front of Baskerville House
- International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall
- Hall of Memory
- Hyatt Regency Hotel
- In 2005 a Ferris wheel known locally as the Birmingham Wheel was constructed in the square to provide views for the public. The wheel finally closed on 5 September 2006 and was sold to a company in Australia.
- Spirit & Enterprise (fountain, designed by Tom Lomax) This fountain is currently removed.
- 1914 statue of King Edward VII by Albert Toft, moved to the square in November 2010.
Bus services stop frequently at the square, and there are plans to extend Line One of the Midland Metro to terminate at Centenary Square by 2017. The new tram stop would open public transportation to Broad Street and the surrounding office redevelopments.
- Malcolm Miles; Tim Hall (2003). Urban Futures: Critical Commentaries on Shaping the City. Routledge. p. 83. ISBN 0-415-26693-9.
- "Work Begins on Library of Birmingham". Birmingham City Council. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- Hazel Duffy (1995). Competitive Cities: Succeeding in the Global Economy. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-419-19840-7.
- Liam Kennedy (2004). Remaking Birmingham: The Visual Culture Of Urban Regeneration. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28838-X.
- Sculptor surveys statue damage - BBC News, 23 April 2003 (Retrieved 12 July 2007)
- BBC: You'll either love it or hate it - July 23, 1999