|Victoria Square sign
This is the civic heart of the city with the Town Hall
and Council House dominating the square.
On geological maps, you can see large parts of the city
centre have been constructed on rock brought in by man. This could be
to make the ground level or to make a better surface to build on.
is the ground filled in? Listen to Ed Hough »
Much of the information geologists have about the rock
underneath the surface comes from boreholes. Engineers dig deep narrow
holes into the ground and extract the 'core' (the stuff which comes out
of the hole). The boreholes can be many tens of metres deep or even several
kilometres! Geologists then analyse the core and use the data from lots
of boreholes to compose maps.
In Birmingham, boreholes were very important for map-making
because rock cannot be seen at the surface. The handy thing about boreholes
is that you only have to dig them once - the rock layers underground don't
change (not in Britain, anyway - they might if we were in an earthquake
The British Geological Survey has a 'library' of borehole
records - not just the files about what was found but the actual cores
themselves! There are row after row of boxes full of tubular sections
do geologists use boreholes? Listen to Ed Hough
Find out more about the British Geological Survey at
Victoria Square is full of fascinating public art. A
statue of Queen Victoria looks out over the square (and doesn't look amused
by the newer statues).
Near Queen Victoria is a small plaque which shows a pawprint
next to the words "On site - Ebony 1992-3". Ebony was a dog
belonging to one of the workers who renovated the square - she had her
own day-glo safety vest and helped her owner carry his tools!
'The River' water feature was built in 1993, complete
with the 'floozie in the jacuzzi' statue weighing in at a hefty 1.75 tonnes
(aka: Spirit of the River by Dhruva Mistry). The fountain is one of Europe's
biggest with 3000 gallons cascading down the steps in one minute.
|The Iron Man
The Iron Man sculpture was a gift to Birmingham from
the Trustee Savings Bank 1993. It was designed by Anthony Gormley - who
also designed the Angel of the North - notice any similarity? The Birmingham
sculpture came first though! It was made in Willenhall, showing off the
skills of traditional industry in Birmingham and the Black Country.
Towards Charmberlain Square, near the Town Hall, there is a scale set
into the paving in front of the Town Hall showing all sorts of old ways
of measuring distance.
Walk through Chamberlain Square into Paradise Forum
(to the left of the library).
map of this stage
(Optional detour: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
Both of these are free entry. Definitely worth a look if you have time!)