Birmingham: The new Bullring development
Birmingham has a long
history as a centre of
trade and market
innovation. Its earliest
transformation, in the
1200s, from an
village into one of the
primary industrial cities
in the world, earned it a
reputation as “The city of
a thousand trades”.
Birmingham’s importance has been forged by its own people. It is
not a site of strategic defensive importance, and has no castle,
port, or river. The city emerged as a result of its ability to craft,
manufacture and trade goods.
The site of Bullring, beneath St Martin’s Church, has always been
the city’s historic market centre, and began life in 1166 when
Birmingham was awarded a charter giving it the right to have its
By the 1950s the
old Bullring site
seemed to have
Woolworths of its
In the 1960s the market site became one of the country’s most
celebrated examples of urban planning with the dramatic
development of the old Bullring, at the time one of the world’s
largest enclosed shopping centres outside America, and at the
forefront of shopping centre design.
The three symbols of the era were the
circular Rotunda building, right, the
swathe of ring roads encircling the
old market centre site, and at its heart
the Bullring shopping centre with
some 32,500m2 of supermarkets,
shops and markets which opened in
May 1964, below.
By the 1980s, and despite its trading history, Birmingham had little to offer in
terms of the burgeoning growth of new generation retailers and department
stores. The old Bullring shopping centre was tired and jaded, and the city
had only one department store, a retail offer which was not on a par with
Birmingham’s growing status as a major centre of business and culture.
In 1999 The Birmingham
Alliance began a £500m
project to redevelop the
40-acre Bullring site. The
110,000m2 scheme was
aimed at transforming
Birmingham into a leading
retail centre, bringing
modern retail space into
the city with department
stores for Debenhams
Bullring (renamed as one word from Bull Ring), replaces the maligned old
centre which was demolished between June 2000 and March 2001.
On September 4, 2003, Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore,
officially opened Bullring with the unveiling of a bronze bull in Rotunda Square.
Launch day: 276,600 people
walked through Bullring's doors. At
Midday, a Mardi Gras-style parade
set off from Victoria Square and
made its way through the city
centre, down New Street, to St
Sir Albert Bore said the complex
is a landmark in Birmingham's
history: “It marks the start of a
new era for the city, reborn as a
major retail capital and tourism
destination, and also with
renewed confidence in our
future as an international city.”
There are over
140 shops, cafes
and restaurants on
three levels, 3,000
spaces, new open
areas. 8,000 jobs
have been created.
The iconic new
includes one of the
which is covered in
Selfridges is linked to the Moor
Street car park by an elevated
walkway from the eighth floor, above.
From the walkway there is a good view
of St Martin’s Church to the West and
the new Eastside development.
Debenhams is the other major
department store, right.
As part of the Bullring development existing
landmarks such as the Rotunda, right, the old
Moor Street Station, below right, and St Martin’s
Church, below left, have been cleaned and
restored, and long lost historic Birmingham street
names, going back as far as the 18th century,
have been reintroduced.
Drawing on Birmingham’s historic street
patterns, Bullring is composed of a series of
traditional streets, squares and open spaces,
which once again link New Street and High
Street to St Martin’s Church, the open
markets, Digbeth and beyond.
The Birmingham Alliance has invested £2
million in a major programme of artwork for
Bullring’s public spaces.
22 trees planted within the complex.
Bullring provides a gateway to the east
side of the city where plans are in place
to regenerate the area and create a
public park and learning quarter.
The Birmingham Alliance,
formed in February 1999, is a
Hammerson plc, Land Securities
Group PLC, and Henderson
Global Investors Ltd.
The first phase of Bullring, a
5,500m2 state-of-the-art indoor
market housing 90 traders,
opened in September 2000.
The next phase, the £100
million, 17,000m2 Martineau
Place scheme, opened in
Bullring is the second flagship phase. The third and final phase, Martineau
Galleries, involving the development of a 14-acre site to accommodate the
next phase of the regeneration of Birmingham city centre, will comprise a mixed
use project comprising retail, leisure, office, residential and cultural uses.
This will commence only once the impact of Martineau Place and Bullring has