The Methodist Central Hall in Birmingham was constructed in 1904. Designed by architects Ewan and James Harper, the 3 storey Grade II listed brick and terracotta building is located at 196 Corporation Street, opposite the Victoria Law Courts. Its impressive tower is a prominent feature of the Birmingham skyline. A couple of weeks ago the building was opened up by Birmingham’s Hidden Spaces project and I took a look inside.
The Hall is faced entirely in terracotta manufactured by Gibbs and Canning of Tamworth who were also involved in the construction of the Natural History Museum in London. The somewhat baroque front entrance porch contains two relief sculptures of ‘Events in the life of John Wesley’. In contrast to the Victoria Law Courts opposite, the Methodist Hall follows the curve of the street. The building comprises a Hall with seating for 2,000 and 30 other rooms including 3 school halls. The main hall comprises seven bays with an impressive South Eastern apse.
By 1991 the Methodists were gone and the Hall was opened up as a nightclub which lasted until 2002. Following the closure the building was for several years largely neglected and fell into disrepair. In 2007 the Q Club moved in hosting a number of successful large raves and Club Nights – plus boxing. The Q Club has been affected by complaints of undisciplined security staff, most recently leading to a suspension of the Club’s licence in May this year following an alleged serious assault on a customer.
During a subsequent amble along Corporation Street I discovered 4 or 5 of the Hall’s ground floor retail spaces to be vacant.