Category Archives: Birmingham Central Library

Postcards from Birmingham

The Bull Ring: unutterably hideous. The only suitable penalty for the architects, town-planners and city councillors of the Birmingham of the 1960s is death

The Rotunda: a horrible 1960s monument to British architects’ incessant search for originality in the absence of taste or imagination. It has been preserved by the kind of criminals who allowed it to be built in the first place, in the hope that by doing so their own lack of taste and imagination will be justified or overlooked

Central Library: a preternaturally ugly and uncleanable inverted step pyramid of concrete, which replaced the magnificent and thoughtlessly demolished Victorian library

The Digbeth Dalek: there isn’t anything else like it in the world, nor should there be: uniqueness in art or architecture is no guarantee of merit or virtue, and in the hands of British architects is a guarantee of their opposite. This wall is already dirty and looks shabby; the glass roof of much of the shopping centre is also already dirty. The wall and the glass roof will be cleaned infrequently, if at all, because cleaning means costs rather than profit, and the British population has made perfectly clear by its behaviour that it doesn’t mind squalor in the least

Europe’s Muslims and social exclusion

Dalrymple identifies as a large threat to Europe’s future the presence of a sizeable and growing immigrant population, a big part of which, he says with delicate understatement, 

is not necessarily interested in integration.

As the population ages, the need for immigrant labour increases, and among sources of such labour are the Maghreb, the Middle East, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Dalrymple writes:

When I recently drove to Antwerp from the south of France, I thought I had arrived in Casablanca. There are parts of Brussels where the police are enjoined not to be seen eating or drinking during Ramadan. Similar accommodations are occurring all over Europe: in the Central Library in Birmingham, for example, I found a women-only table occupied exclusively by young Muslims dressed in the hijab. (They were the lucky ones, members of liberal households that allowed them out on their own.)

Across the non-border in France, there has been

a salutary monoculturalism,

but the country’s cock-eyed economic and social policies have

helped, if not to create, at least to maintain Muslim ghettoes. On one hand, the children of immigrants were told they were French; on the other, they were de facto excluded from the rest of society. Ferocious resentment was the result, and we ain’t seen nothing yet.

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Birmingham’s giant pissoir

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The much-loved Free Public Library (left): rebuilt superbly in 1882 after a fire, demolished in 1974

Dalrymple confesses that he finds it difficult to write temperately on the subject of the mass desecration of Britain’s architectural heritage, which often, he says, leaves him

trembling with rage. My wife tells me to calm down; as she rightly notes, I can do nothing about this disaster now.

No town or city in Britain, he writes,

has inherited so little in the way of beauty that officials did not think it worth destroying.

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Birmingham Central Library: opened 1974, demolished 2015, replaced with something just as bad if not worse

It was the hope, for instance, of Sir Herbert Manzoni, an energetic city engineer and surveyor of Birmingham with modish proclivities,

to pull down every non-modernist building in Birmingham’s city centre.

Fortunately Sir Herbert dropped dead before achieving his ambition,

but he got quite far, and his spirit sputtered on after him.

The magnificent Victorian library

was pulled down and replaced with an inverted concrete ziggurat of such ugliness and, before long, dilapidation, that it defied description, at least by me.

Paris 1865

Ordinary, human-sized pissoir. Paris, 1865

Rapists’ haven

The environs of the library served as

a giant pissoir and, at night, as a haven for drunks and rapists.

In this way

the Albert Speers of Britain converted the Victorian dream of municipal munificence into the nightmare of administered anomie.

Manzoni and Speer

Manzoni and Speer

Guide to Asiatic Birmingham

Birmingham Central Mosque, Highgate

Birmingham Central Mosque, Highgate

Former longtime resident Theodore Dalrymple answers your questions

How many Muslim Brummies are there?

In the last census, in 2011, 21.8 percent of the inhabitants of Britain’s second-largest city said that they were Muslim.

Will the figure rise?

The percentage is likely to rise because of higher birth rates among Muslims, immigration, and the departure of white Christians.

What have been the movements in and out of Brummagem?

Residents of Birmingham who identified themselves as ‘white British’ declined by 11 percent between 2001 and 2011, while the ‘white Irish’ declined by 33 percent. The proportion of Christians would have decreased further had it not been for the arrival of Eastern Europeans. The Muslim Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations increased over those ten years by 40 and 50 percent respectively.

Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif, Small Heath

Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif, Small Heath

Are there no-go areas?

Since ethnic and religious groups are not scattered evenly throughout Birmingham, the population in some areas is overwhelmingly Muslim. White women report being verbally abused there, as sluts ex officio, though it would not be true to say that any of the areas are truly no-go.

Where might I dine?

Spot the difference: Jamiah Masjid Mohiuddin Siddiquia, Aston. To the left is Christ Church Baptist Chapel (1865), which long ago fell into disuse. It appears to be the church hall (1888) that has been converted into the mosque, with the cross now hacked off

Spot the difference: Jamiah Masjid Mohiuddin Siddiquia, Aston. To the far left is Christ Church Baptist Chapel (1865), no longer used for worship, having been made into flats. It appears to be the red church hall (1888) that has been converted into the masjid, with the cross hacked off

One of these Muslim areas is notable for its profusion of small, cheap, and good restaurants, patronised by the rest of the population.

Do these districts resemble the banlieues?

No part of Birmingham is as cut off from the rest of the city as are some of the banlieues of Paris. Physical (if not social) mixing of populations is evident.

What is the relative educational, social and economic level of Birmingham’s Muslims, and to what extent are they prone to criminality or semi-criminality?

Before and after: at Jamiah Masjid Mohiuddin Siddiquia in Aston, someone has climbed up to the roof and hacked off the cross

Before and after: at Jamiah Masjid Mohiuddin Siddiquia in Aston, a zealous Mohammedan (whether a supple-limbed imam or a layman is unknown) has climbed up onto the roof and righteously hacked off the cross, doubtless to the cheers and cries of Allahu Akbar! of the throng below

In Britain, Muslim populations like those in Birmingham have relatively poor educational attainment and high rates of youth unemployment, crime, and imprisonment.

Hindus and Sikhs are much more successful than Muslims and than whites (who no longer have any religion) in life, are they not?

Hindus and Sikhs, present also in large numbers, have lower rates of youth unemployment than whites and much lower levels of crime than whites. The Sikhs have the second-highest average household wealth when such wealth is broken down by religious affiliation.

Place households in order of their respective wealth by religious persuasion.

Sikh households are richer than Christian ones; Muslim households are much poorer.

What do you say to the suggestion that the city government has exhibited a high degree of moral cowardice in the way it approaches the matter of the growing appeal of jihadism?

Birmingham Central Library: women-only tables

The great cringe: Birmingham Central Library provides apartheid-inspired, Muslim-women-only tables so that study of the Koran and the Hadith need not be confined to men; their wives and concubines may also gain access to the texts

Supposedly to placate Muslim sentiment, local authorities have sometimes agreed to or imposed measures worthy of an apartheid regime. For example, the Birmingham Central Library provided women-only tables, in practice for the use of Muslim women.

Who came up with the idea of Muslim-women-only tables at Birmingham Central Library?

I don’t know whether this gesture came in response to a request or was an anticipatory cringe; the argument in its favour would almost certainly have been that without such separate facilities Muslim women would not have been allowed by their males to use the library at all.

Would a demand for Christian-women-only or Hindu-women-only or Buddhist-women-only or Sikh-women-only library tables have been acceded to by the Birmingham city government?

It is unlikely that such an argument would have succeeded for any other religious or social group, and indeed it would have provoked feminist ire, in this case notably absent.

Neither seen nor heard in Birmingham

The sisters: neither seen nor heard in Birmingham

Why was it absent? Why no feminist fury in this case? Why no library-users’ sit-in? Why no demonstrations against this grotesque denial of the gender equality that it has taken so many years and effort to achieve? Why no lingerie torched in protest at Birmingham Central Library’s fostering of a collective image of submissive females who must be set apart to protect their ‘purity’? Why no occupation of the library by protesters? Why no petitions? Why no revival of the anti-apartheid movement? Why no Gender Equality Speakout and Festival in Centenary Square? Why no resolutions to reclaim the library and liberate it in the cause of equality? Why the silence?

Fear.

Wife-beating etiquette

Calling all Brummie believers: wife-beating rules

Peace be upon the Financial Times and the Library of Birmingham

Two organisations that are objectively pro-Islamist

Dalrymple points out that the Financial Times and the Library of Birmingham both work hard to accommodate the Islamists, the Financial Times by branding those (now no longer with us) who lampoon them ‘stupid’, the Library of Birmingham by providing women-only tables.

Dalrymple was the first to spot the FT's cringe

Dalrymple spotted the FT’s cringe within hours; Private Eye later caught up with the story — this is from No. 1384, 23 Jan – 5 Feb 2015

Misandry of which ISIS would approve: Birmingham Central Library

A page from ISIS’s book: Birmingham Central Library

Al-ḥamdu lillāh!

Al-ḥamdu lillāh!