The area was purchased in the early 20th century by the council for the creation of a grand civic scheme to include new council offices, mayor's residence, public library and concert hall. The scheme was abandoned after the arrival of World War II with only half of the planned Baskerville House having been built.
The square is a work of art in itself, with paving, railings and lamps designed by artist Tess Jaray. Work on the square cost £3.4 million.
The square was the centrepiece of the millennium celebrations for the city with singer, Cliff Richard lighting a beacon known as The Flame of Hope, which stands between Baskerville House and The Rep Theatre. Problems with funding have resulted in the flame regularly being turned off.
A replacement of Birmingham Central Library is to be built between Baskerville House and The Rep. A design competition will be held and the winner will be commissioned to design the library.