The Building of St Paul’s Church, Birmingham in the 1770s

The Location of the Building

HK did not take long to determine the plot of land for the Chapel. Appointed secretary on November 12th 1776, on November 18th he “Attended the Trustees and Mr. Holloway and marked and staked out the land for St Paul’s Chapel Yard as per Plan—282 yards from Gt Charles Street to the center The Chapel Yard 145 yards by 100 yards 0 ft 3¾inches”! Next day he “Draw’d” it out again and the yard was now 120yards by 121yards and 272 yards from Gt Charles Street. On December 3rd he showed Mr Eykyn where the chapel yard lay. Two days later he “Took the points of the Chapel Yard by the Compass & found that if the streets were to be laid out east and West the top Street would reach to Mr Hammond’s Building in Snowhill”. So the new Chapel was not to be on an East-West axis, but parallel to Great Charles Street. Ettlinger and Holloway are “rather critical of the way the church is simply planted in the middle of the square without any grasp of its scenic possibilities” and further that “the whole is obviously the work of surveyors-not of an architect”. Indeed, the whole was the work of a surveyor , and as for the position in the square, HK reported that “the Majority of the Trust were for having the Centre of the Chapel in the Centre of the Chapel Yard”.

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