The site is located on the edge of the sandstone city ridge which results in the steep gradient towards Digbeth.
market legally began in 1154 when Peter de Bermingham, a local landowner, obtained a Charter of Marketing Rights from King Henry II. Initially, a textile trade began developing in the area and it was first mentioned in 1232 in a document, in which one merchant is described as a business partner to William de Bermingham and being in the ownership of four weavers, a smith, a tailor and a purveyor. series of events in Birmingham's political history saw the area become a popular meeting place for demonstrations and speeches from leaders of working class movements during the 1830s and 1840s.
In 1839, the Bull Ring became the location of the Bull Ring Riots which resulted in widespread vandalism and destruction of property. 18th century, street commissioners were authorised to buy and demolish houses in the town centre including houses surrounding the Bull Ring and centre all market activity in the area. This was a result of new markets being established across the city in scattered locations creating severe congestion. 1955, shops began to close down as the redevelopment of the area was proposed. Plans drawn up showed the creation of new roads and the demolition of old ones and all the buildings on the proposed site. Eleven companies submitted plans for the new Bull Ring however, Birmingham City Council elected to go for Laing's proposal which used substantial material from designs by James A. Roberts.
Plans for redevelopments began in the 1980s, a mere 20 years or so after the centre's completion, with many being just visions. In 1987, the first serious plans were released under a document called "The People's Plan" which had been designed by Chapman Taylor Architects for London and Edinburgh Trust (LET), who had bought the land following the end of Laing's lease. It proposed the full demolition of the Bull Ring Shopping Centre and the construction of a new mall described as "a huge aircraft-carrier settled on the streetscape of the city.
The successful proposal received planning permission and demolition of the 1960s Bull Ring Shopping Centre commenced in 2000 with the traders moving to the Rag Market in Edgbaston Street. It was replaced by a new design, mixing both traditional market activity with modern retail units. The main contractor was Sir Robert McAlpine. The first building to be completed was the Nationwide Building Society which, while not directly connected to the shopping centre, was part of the development. The shopping centre consists of two main buildings (East and West Mall) which are connected by an underground passage lined with shops and is also accessible from St Martin's Square via glass doors. The doors to both wings from New Street can be removed when crowds get large and queues develop at the doors. This feature also allows cars for display to be driven into the building. They are sheltered by a glass roof known as the SkyPlane which covers 7,000 square metres (75,000 sq ft) and appears to have no visible means of support. The two malls are different internally in design.