Chamberlain Memorial

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The Chamberlain Memorial.

The Chamberlain Memorial was erected in Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, England, on 20 October 1880, to commemorate the public service of Joseph Chamberlain, who was present at the inauguration ceremony. Joseph Chamberlain was a Birmingham businessman, councillor, mayor and Member of Parliament. He died in 1914.

Construction[edit]

For the creation of the monument, £3,000 of public funds were raised. The monument was designed by John Henry Chamberlain (no relation), a personal friend and municipal architect. The design is 65 feet (20 m) tall and of neo-gothic style, reminiscent of the Albert Memorial. It bears a 50 centimetres (20 in) portrait medallion of Chamberlain by Thomas Woolner on the south side. The carvings of the capitals and the crocketted spire were done by S. Barfield of Leicester, John Henry Chamberlain's favourite sculptor. Salviati Burke and Co. of Venice were commissioned to do the mosaics after their success with the Birmingham Council House.[1] It is Grade II listed.

Completion[edit]

Details of the Chamberlain Memorial after being cleaned.

The plaque on the monument reads:

This memorial is erected in gratitude for public service given to this town by Joseph Chamberlain who was elected Town Councillor in November 1869, Mayor in November 1873, and resigned that office in June 1876 on being returned as one of the representatives of the Borough of Birmingham in Parliament. And during whose Mayoralty many great public works were notably advanced. And mainly by whose ability & devotion the Gas & Water Undertakings were acquired for the town to the great and lasting benefit of the inhabitants.

The Chamberlain Memorial and the Chamberlain Clock in the centre of the Jewellery Quarter were both erected during Chamberlain's lifetime.

In the late 1960s, the pools around the fountain were removed, but in 1978, to celebrate their Diamond Jubilee, The Birmingham Civic Society designed and paid for the pools to be re-instated. The Portland stone spire underwent a major clean in 1994.

Reaction[edit]

Many sculptors and architects took to the memorial with dissatisfaction. John Roddis, a local sculptor, described it as "an architectural scarecrow" and "a hash of ornamental details".[2] Nikolaus Pevsner also commented on the memorial in 1966 as an "ungainly combination of shapes."[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Public Sculpture of Birmingham: Including Sutton Coldfield, George Thomas Noszlopy, 1998, Liverpool University Press (ISBN 0853236925)
  2. ^ The Dart, John Roddis, April 23, 1881

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°28′47.83″N 1°54′15.10″W / 52.4799528°N 1.9041944°W / 52.4799528; -1.9041944