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New Street Exhibition open in February and March

17 January 2011

King Edward's School is holding an exhibition in February and March, featuring a unique 3D film, about the former school building which, until 75 years ago, stood in New Street.  The building, designed by Sir Charles Barry, was considered one of the great buildings of Birmingham.

King Edward's School, Birmingham is the oldest and greatest of the city's schools, founded in 1552 by King Edward VI.  From 1552 until 1936 the school was sited in the very centre of the city in New Street, where King Edward's House and the Odeon now stand. From 1836 until 1936 it occupied one of the great buildings of the city, a neo-gothic splendour designed by Sir Charles Barry who went on to design the Houses of Parliament.  Augustus Pugin was also involved in the decorative designs for the interior of the school building.

In 1936 the school left New Street for the wide-open spaces of Edgbaston, next to the University of Birmingham, where the school is presently sited.  2011 is the 75th anniversary of that departure and the demolition of Sir Charles Barry's masterpiece.  To commemorate this event, the school is putting on an exhibition during February.  The exhibition will take place in the school's Chapel, which is the only substantial survival from the old building: the Chapel was originally the main corridor in the New Street school.

The main highlight of the exhibition will be a film featuring recently discovered 3D images of the building which have never been seen before and interviews with the old boys who were taught there.  The exhibition will also include a series of panels charting the history of the building, the original architect's model and plans, a filmed interview with the leading expert on the work of Sir Charles Barry and some works of Augustus Pugin, including the Headmaster's ceremonial chair.

‘The school and the New Street building are an important part of the history of Birmingham,' said John Claughton, the Chief Master and a former pupil of King Edward's.  ‘This is an exciting opportunity to bring the history of the school to a wider audience, not only pupils, parents, and alumni, but anyone interested in the architecture and the history of the city.  After all, this was the school where Francis Galton, Edward Burne-Jones, JRR Tolkien, Enoch Powell, Field Marshall Slim and two Nobel prize-winners were educated.'

The exhibition will be open to the public on 6th, 8th, 10th, 20th, 22nd and 24th February and 6th and 20th March. Any Old Edwardians interested can book online and find further details, including a preview of the film, here.

For more information please contact Sue Dickens, OEA Administrator, on 0121 415 6050 or