The Birmingham and Midland Institute was founded in 1854 with a mission “for the Diffusion and Advancement of Science, Literature and Art amongst all Classes of Persons resident in Birmingham and the Midland Counties” and operated from a purpose built building in Paradise Street – a short distance from its present-day location – which was swept away with the redevelopment of the City Centre in 1965.
The Instituter’s present-day home on the corner of Margaret Street and Cornwall Street, as seen above, was built in 1889 and designed by Jethro Cossins, F. B. Peacock & Ernest Bewley (the former two also designing the nearby Birmingham and Midland Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital).
The work of the Institute is varied but basically falls into the educational category of providing lectures, seminar rooms for hire and maintaining a 100,000+ book and 300,000+ record library for the use of its members. It also publishes a BMI Journal containing educational and scientific articles periodically. For those of you wishing to find out more about the working of Institute itself, please visit the Birmingham and Midland Institute website.
The building is now Grade II listed which, as can be seen elsewhere in the City, isn’t a cast-iron guarantee that it won’t be majorly reconstructed – or have it’s guts ripped out to leave just a facade into which something far more bland will be built – but with the BMI still in residence and their appreciation for the history of the City along with their stated aims it is fairly certain that as long as they are there, the building will remain in the great condition it is in today.