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The Children's Hospital

Home > Birmingham > Free | Architecture
by Tammy Facey (subscribe)
Read. Write. Run.
Published September 2nd 2013
Unexpected beauty and grace from a site of care
Over 150 years old, the Children's Hospital in the heart of Birmingham is a building shrouded in history. Built and opened in 1862 the hospital retains the 19th Century bricks and mortar that make it one of the most notable landmarks in the city centre.

BCH, Birmingham Children's Hospital
Birmingham Children's Hospital


I have a personal affinity with the hospital, which I have visited about fifty times in all of my twenty three years, due to a heart operation at two weeks old. I was never afraid or frightened because it was always for a check up, but I distinctly remember the grandeur and opulence of the large building. In my youth entering the hospital felt important, but also like I was going into an estate. It felt special, but that could have been because I was always given a treat for being so 'brave' as my parents would say.

In my adult years I now see why the hospital is somewhat of a tourist attraction. The building is similar to a church, due to the almost spire-like tops, but also looks like a royal estate of some kind, and yet like a psychiatric ward, which also has (I'm afraid to admit), a certain appeal.

Granted, it's a hospital, but it has an elegance, an air of historical importance. It's hard to imagine that there were only sixteen beds available for children during its first year of opening, considering the size of the building, with its secret passage ways, hidden corridors and surprise exits.

Birmingham children's hospital
The hospital


The place where they make you better has been serving the British public for over two centuries, and it continues to provide great care for children. In relation to the strength of the members of staff who put their hearts into making the hospital a safe haven, the exterior is only more appealing as it stands guard, protecting the patients inside, and attracting the architectural magpie.
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Why? For exceptional healthcare for children
When: 24 hours
Phone: 0121 333 9999
Where: Steelhouse Lane, City Centre, Birmingham
Cost: Free
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