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Millennium Point 18th Birthday Countdown – Stories from 2004/2005

Posted on Monday May 11, 2020

With the countdown to our 18th Birthday officially on, we take a look back on some of our key events and highlights over the years so far.

This week we are looking back at a festive celebration in 2004 and the opening of a unique attraction in 2005.

Hosting the Birmingham Christmas Lights Switch-On in 2004 proved that we had fully arrived in the eyes of Brummies across the city. Festive Switch-Ons are some of the biggest events in the calendar of any town or city and have a unique way of bringing the community together.

As a venue, our commitment to STEM has been at the backbone of all of our activity. Our offer to the city of Birmingham was boosted in 2005 with the introduction of the Planetarium at our tenants ThinkTank.

2004: Christmas Lights Switch-On

The 2004 Christmas Lights Switch-On took place on Sunday, November 21st 2004. Families from across the city came to Millennium Point for the festivities, which included a funfair and BRMB ‘Party at the Point’ concert (and that was just the warm-up!)

The then Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Mike Nangle, was given the responsibility of getting Christmas underway with the switch on of the evening as crowds gathered.

After the big-switch-on, synchronised images of the lights around the city were beamed onto giant screens at Millennium Point, while revellers stuck around to celebrate.

2005: Planetarium opens at ThinkTank


Birmingham’s first Planetarium – and the UK’s first digital planetarium –  opened to the public on Saturday December 17th 2005 as the new centrepiece of a £2 million upgrade for the award-winning Thinktank science museum at Millennium Point.

With seating for up to 70 visitors per show, the new Planetarium boasted a projection dome measuring 10 metres in diameter and gave Brummies a chance to find out all about the Universe from their doorstep.

At the time of opening the Chief Executive of Millennium Point and Thinktank Dr Nick Winterbotham said local people had been waiting for this kind of initiative since the world’s first Planetarium opened in 1923.

The attraction has continued to be at the cutting edge of technology throughout the years, and the new 4K planetarium system has brighter and sharper images than ever before, as well as crystal clear surround-sound. It remains the only one of its kind in the West Midlands.

Special events held at the planetarium over the years have included evening astronomy talks, solar observing and even theatrical productions.


Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with @MillenniumPoint.

Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award-winning events venue in the Eastside of Birmingham City centre. Profits from our commercial activity are invested by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust into projects, events and initiatives which support the growth of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education in the West Midlands.