Chamberlain Monument and Museum and Art Gallery

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The Chamberlain Memorial stands in Chamberlain Square in Birmingham. It was erected here on 20 October 1880 with the presence of Joseph Chamberlain, the person whom is the memorial dedicated to. He was a Birmingham’s businessman, councillor, mayor and Member of Parliament. The Memorial is Grade II listed.

The monument was raised from the public funds money. It was designed by the person of the same name (although with no relation to Joseph Chamberlain), John Henry Chamberlain. The memorial was built of sandstone in neo-gothic style, reminiscent of the Albert Memorial. It is 20 metres (65 feet) tall and on the south side it bears 50 centimetres (20 inches) gilded portrait medallion of Chamberlain that was designed by Thomas Woolner. The carvings of the capitals and the crocketted spire were done by S. Barfield and the mosaics by Salviati Burke and Co.

There are pools around the monument (therefore sometimes also referred as fountain). They were remover in 1960s but installed again in 1978 by the Birmingham Civic Society to celebrate their Diamond Anniversary. The stone was cleaned in 1994.

Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham stands in the city centre, in the Chamberlain Square. It partly shares the building with the Council House, the extended part that was built shortly after the original building (designed by the same architect, Yeoville Thomason). The Council House Extension block (built in 1911 – 1919) also belongs to the Museum and Art Gallery. The two parts are connected via an elaborate archway, originally a corridor. The whole building is listed Grade II. The main entrance is from the Chamberlain Square, below the “Big Brum” clock tower. The Extension Block has entrances via the Gas Hall (Edmund Street) and Great Charles Street.

The Museum and Art Gallery was opened in 1885. It contains over forty galleries and two major exhibition spaces; Gas Hall, originally part of the Gas Department being the one and Waterhall, once part of the Water Department the other. The building was bomb damaged in 1940 and during the1950s some of the building was adapted for other purposes. The gallery space was reinstated between 1980 and 1986. The Gas Hall was opened in 1993 and the Waterhall in 2001.

The collections of the Museum and Art Gallery cover fine art and applied arts, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery, archeology and ethnography, natural history and social history. The Museum has, as well, the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite works in the world, together with the Old Masters and Impressionists. There is also changing programme of temporary exhibitions in the main gallery and in the Gas Hall. The modern and contemporary collections have had a new home created in the Waterhall Gallery of Modern Art. Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is free, though some exhibitions in the Gas Hall may have an entrance charge.
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