17 Things You Probably Don’t Appreciate as Much as You Should at Uni of Birmingham
There’s no denying that the University of Birmingham’s campus is beautiful, but have you explored it properly yet?
1. The statues above Aston Webb’s main entrance.
If you take a breather from thinking about your exam for just a minute and look above the entrance of this beautiful redbrick building, you will see nine stone statues of some of humanity’s greatest thinkers, including Plato, Shakespeare and Isaac Newton. Who knows, you might be up there with them one day!
2. And the sculpture of a young girl just outside.
You’ve probably walked past this sculpture by Bernard Sindall hundreds of times without even looking at it. Next time, spare her a glance; she’s only wearing a hat, after all.
3. The Lapworth Museum of Geology.
Bham’s very own tiny Victorian-style museum contains everything that the ground can offer: precious stones, fossils and the bones of a ferocious dinosaur. 👌
4. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
Located on the northern side of campus, this listed art-deco art gallery is truly amazing, but easily taken for granted. It’s always worth a visit though, with amazing exhibitions held throughout the year.
5. And the library inside it.
There’s a chance you didn’t even know the Barber had a library. But it does, and it’s the perfect place to just sit quietly get on with it.
6. The steps up to Chancellor’s Court.
If you fancy an alternative route onto campus from Selly, choose the small passageway between the Bramall Music building and Aston Webb where you actually will be able to take a full length photo of Old Joe without breaking your neck.
7. And Winterbourne.
It’s only 5 minutes away but it’s like escaping to another world. Even if Botanical Gardens aren’t really your thing, it’s the perfect place to take your parents when they visit. Plus, your student card gets you in for free.
8. The lake on The Vale.
Winterbourne isn’t Bham’s only connection to nature, but you could be forgiven for forgetting about The Vale’s lake after first year. Few universities can say they have such a beautiful spot. In summer, it’s the ideal location for a BBQ and in winter it makes the perfect setting for the Vale Fireworks.
9. The Barbara Hepworth sculpture opposite the New Library.
It was created by one of the most famous post-war sculptors (who, incidentally, received an honorary degree from the University of Birmingham) but it’s probably another of those things you just notice in passing while you’re walking across campus. Look closer next time; it’s pretty impressive.
10. And the Michael Sandle one in the Business School gardens.
You probably didn’t know it existed. You probably didn’t even know the Business School had its own gardens. But you do now, so go and wander around and see the ‘Woman for Heidelberg’ sculpture.
11. Tennyson at the Mech Eng Building.
You’ll probably have walked past this every day if you live in Selly Oak, but it’s easy to miss what is arguably the most famous line from Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’ carved into the stone. Worth stopping to reflect.
12. The Reading Girl.
You don’t recognise her because she’s hidden in a corner at the basement of Muirhead Tower. ‘The Reading Girl’ is a 1861 marble statue by famed Italian sculptor Pietro Magni. She’s not easy to find, but if you’ve got some time to go look for her, definitely do.
13. The Ashley Building’s swirling staircase.
It’s possibly one of the ugliest buildings ever from outside, but it’s beautiful on the inside, and that’s all that matters, right?
14. And the Great Hall.
Slightly more obvious, but still worth mentioning. You’ve undoubtedly been in here for exams and you’ll definitely be here for graduation, but make sure you take a good look at it; it’s pretty spectacular.
15. The stretch of canal between The Vale and Selly Oak.
What better way to clear your head than to take a stroll up the canal? Easily taken for granted, missed once you’ve left.
16. The Guild Mermaid.
She’s the ultimate BNOC and you know you love her. You’ve probably snapped a selfie with her at Fab (and if you haven’t, are you really a UoB student?) but next time you see her, take a moment to actually look properly; she deserves it.
17. And, of course, Old Joe himself.
No list of Bham campus gems would be complete without the highest freestanding clock-tower in the world (no big deal). You see and hear him every single day, but do you appreciate him as much as you should? Not only is he the most iconic part of campus, it is said that he was the inspiration for J.R.R Tolkien’s tower of Orthanc, the black tower of Isengard from The Lord of The Rings. So, basically your Uni is an ally of Mordor. Think about that.