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Welcome to
Established 1854

Covid-19 Update

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 14th June regarding the gradual easing and road map out of lockdown restrictions, all current restrictions, in line with Step 2 of the guidance, will remain in place. This means the Library will remain open 10am – 2pm Mon-Fri and by appointment on Saturdays.  All members will be required to make an appointment beforehand and will be expected to wear a mask at all times whilst in the building (unless medically exempt).

We will remain to offer limited rooms for hire, with very limited capacities to keep in line with current social distancing guidelines.

Then depending on Government advice and rulings regarding Step 4 we hope we can return to pre covid-19 business levels from mid July.

These dates are subject to change and will be guided by the Government and their updates.  Please continue to use our social media channels for further information regarding the BMI.

The Institute has been at the heart of Birmingham’s cultural life for almost 170 years.

Founded by Act of Parliament in 1854 for the ‘Diffusion and Advancement of Science, Literature and Art amongst all Classes of Persons resident in Birmingham and Midland Counties’, the BMI is a membership organisation which has a thriving programme of cultural and educational activities, including a wide spectrum of arts and science lectures, exhibitions and concerts. Both members and the general public are encouraged to participate. The building is also a venue for many externally-organised events and can be booked for conferences and meetings.

The Institute library can trace its lineage back to 1779.  The library was incorporated into the Institute in 1956. The Library collection is gradually growing by the regular purchase of new books, principally on the field of humanities and modern fiction.

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Lyttelton Theatre Room


The Institute is a Grade II*- listed building, with a number of rooms and theatres available for hire. By hiring a room in our building, you are also contributing to the BMI’s charitable aims; revenue raised from room hire contributes to our cultural programme.

BMI Events


Come and join us for workshops, day schools, recitals and more! Available for both members and none members.

BMI Library


The BMI is also home to the original Birmingham Library that was founded in 1779 by John Lee, a button manufacturer who lived at 115 Snow Hill. This private lending library was reorganised in 1781 by Joseph Priestley, the pioneering chemist who discovered oxygen.

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Onsite Catering & Coffee Lounge

The BMI Coffee Lounge is open to both BMI Members and users of the Institute.

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