© Mr Geoff Dowling ARPS
VICTORIA LAW COURTS, CORPORATION STREET B2 (west side)
BIRMINGHAM, BIRMINGHAM, WEST MIDLANDS
Mr Geoff Dowling ARPS
22 August 1999
21 January 1970
Date of last amendment:
21 January 1970
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5104 (west side)
City Centre B2
Victoria Law Courts
SP 0787 SW 30/3 21.1.70
1887-91 and won in competition by Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell. Red brick and terracotta; green stone tiled roof. Mostly 2 storeys; the main facade with a symmetrical centrepiece plus, on the left, a long wing essentially L-shaped and with 2 gables, one faced with a bow window, the other with a tall narrow bay with concave-sided gable and, on the right, a gabled bay. Everywhere elaborate
detailing executed by Aumonier from the architects' designs. The centrepiece with central porch with richly decorated gabled and flanking turrets and, either side, 4 single-storeyed bays with cross-windows and big octagonal towers with pointed caps. Above and behind this stands the Great Hall with steeply-sloping balustraded and crested roof and centrally-placed gabled clock stage. Good Arts and Crafts detail with figure sculpture by Harry Bates and Walter Crane. Inside, the Great Ball is a completely symmetrical room 5 bays by 3. The round-headed windows are of 3-lights with I transom on the long sides and of 5 lights with 2 transoms on the short sides. All have panel-type tracery and the roof is of hammerbeam construction. Despite this, the rich and strong detail, now in sand-coloured terracotta, is of a Spanish Plateresque kind. Between the windows are empty niches with their bases supported by very pretty putti. Left and right are passages with stilted arches carrying first floor balconied passages, straight ahead a sumptuously ornate arch with concave-sided gable like the arch into the hall. A shallow tunnel-vaulted and richly-pannelled passage leads to the courtrooms beyond. Stained glass designed by Walter Lonsdale; 5 enormous crown-like chandeliers of excellent design. The courts themselves all with good joinery and fittings, modest in the smaller courts like Nos 1 and 3, grander in the larger ones like Nos 5 and 6 which have elaborately canopied judges' chairs and originally, as still in No 5 court, a Tudor-type ceiling with pendant bosses.