Battered in an air raid in 1940, a clock tower and domed cupola are all that remains of St Thomas’ Church, left to loom over these simple gardens as a monument to Birmingham’s losses. During 1998’s G8 summit in the city, each world leader planted a tree here to represent their country. A ‘peace pole’ rises from the centre bearing the inscription “May peace prevail on earth” in four languages. Forsaking the benches and sitting cross-legged beside the pole under the shadow of the church can be a powerful experience.
This snippet was published as part of The Guardian’s Urban Oases supplement, July 2005