Elliott Brown

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15 hours ago - Elliott Brown

Moseley Village around St Mary's Row and Alcester Road

A look around Moseley Village. Heading down St Mary's Row on the no 1 bus route. And up / down Alcester Road on the no 50 bus route (the no 35 turns down Salisbury Road). From St Mary's Church to The Fighting Cocks (a pub on the Alcester Road). Here you would find pubs and cafes. There is also a village green and the occasional Farmers Market on the last Saturday of each month.

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For me I can get the no 1, 35 or 50 bus routes to or through Moseley Village. The 1 goes up and down St Mary's Row then down Salisbury Road. The 35 goes from Alcester Road down Salisbury Road. The 50 heads up and down the Alcester Road between Kings Heath and Balsall Heath. One day in the future it will be possible once again to get a train to or from Moseley (the land is next to St Mary's Church between St Mary's Row and Woodbridge Road on the site of the original station). The original station closed in the early years of WW2.

 

In something that doesn't normally happen on the 50, my bus was about to turn down Salisbury Road, while the other 50 (in the photo below) was turning from Salisbury Road onto Alcester Road towards Kings Heath. This was during April 2018 (as Moseley Road in Balsall Heath was closed at the time for a street market).

The row of shops on St Mary's Row is where on the last Saturday of each month is a Farmers Market (they also have stalls on Alcester Road up from Boots). There is a small green with benches a that triangle near the no 1 bus stop.

Alcester Road Moseley bus diversion

Seen just as my bus turned onto Salisbury Road was The Fighting Cocks pub on the corner of Alcester Road (part of it runs onto St Mary's Row). It is on the corner of King Edward Road. Shops running north from William Hill up to the Co-operative Food.

Alcester Road Moseley bus diversion

We start on St Mary's Row. It runs from Wake Green Road down the hill towards Salisbury Road (which itself goes down the hill towards Edgbaston Road in Edgbaston).

The most prominent landmark in Moseley Village is of St Mary's Church, the parish church of Moseley, located on St Mary's Row. Seen here in 2009 from the site of Moseley Station (hopefully the station will be built on the land behind the church in the 2020's). The church is a Grade II listed building and dates to the 15th century. Originally built as a chapel in the parish of Kings Norton. The body of the church was rebuilt in 1780 and altered by Thomas Rickman from 1823 to 1824. J A Chatwin added a north aisle in 1886 and his son P B Chatwin rebuilt the nave and south in 1910. War memorial cross on the left not far from the lychgate.

St Mary's Church - St Mary's Row, Moseley

The shops running down St Mary's Row in Moseley Village during August 2013, while Moseley in Bloom had potted many flowers around the village centre. Priya is an Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine restaurant on this side of the road. Next up is a barber shop called Fino and a newsagent called Village News. Pottery & Pieces was open at the time, but as of late 2018 it is being refitted as something else. A bit further down is a Wetherspoon Freehouse called The Elizabeth of York.

Shops on St Mary's Row, Moseley

Beyond St Mary's Church on this side of St Mary's Row used to be a Barclays Bank and a pub called the Bulls Head. This view was in 2011 when both were still open at the time. The bank eventually closed down at Costa Coffee opened there in 2017. While the Bulls Head is now a Cuban bar called The Cuban Embassy (opened in 2015).

Barclays and Bulls Head - St Mary's Row, Moseley

On the last Saturday of every month there is Farmers Market on St Mary's Row (the strip of road that leaves the main line and heads to Alcester Road). Normally when the road is open to traffic, vehicles can only leave Alcester Road for it and head onto St Mary's Row and not the other way round. If i'm on the no 1 bus on Saturday morning's I occasionally see the market. Seen here next to Sapori di Sole, Italian Food Specialists.

Moseley Farmers Market

Another view from the no 1 bus on St Mary's Row of the Farmers Market. They also have a bunch of stalls on the pavement on Alcester Road heading north from Boots.

Moseley Farmers Market

In July 2017, I saw this green bus on the village green from the no 1 bus on St Mary's Row. Off the Scale. It looks like they were selling clothes on the bus and also outside of it. Was a Leyland Leopard vintage bus. Being that it was summer, there was a nice display of flowers from Moseley in Bloom around the village centre.

Green bus on the village green - St Mary's Row, Moseley

A general look at the village green from the no 1 bus on St Mary's Row in Moseley Village. Various shops on that side of St Mary's Row leading to the Alcester Road. Atlantis Fish Bar is now Flakes Fish & Chips. That changed over in 2014. In the middle is shop called Lewis's. Further to the left near The Fighting Cocks is Zen.

Village Green - St Mary's Row, Moseley

We will next move onto Alcester Road. From St Mary's Row heading north towards Woodbridge Road. Or south towards Kings Heath. Mainly the shops, pubs and café's closest to the centre of the village. This is the A435, the main route up from the Maypole and Kings Heath towards Balsall Heath and Highgate.

We start with The Village at 179 Alcester Road in Moseley Village. A pub and restaurant in a house built in 1896. A red brick building, it's to the right of a Telephone Exchange. Parlour & Dining.

The Village - Alcester Road, Moseley

Next up is Moseley's Post Office building. Part of the building is also used by The Moseley Exchange (a community centre). The building probably dates to the early decades of the 20th century.

Post Office - Alcester Road, Moseley

Seen just before the traffic lights on the no 50 bus is Damascena Coffee House. They recently had a new door installed on the former coach house entrance. There is many café's around Moseley Village up the Alcester Road, mostly independent. Although there is now a Costa Coffee in the former Barclays Bank on St Mary's Row (that I've been to a few times). There is also now a Damascena in Harborne on the High Street and in the City Centre on Temple Row West. This one is at 133 Alcester Road.

Damascena - Alcester Road, Moseley

The most prominent pub landmark in Moseley Village has got to be The Fighting Cocks, on the corner of Alcester Road and King Edward Road, with part of the building going down St Mary's Row. It is a Grade II listed building. Built in 1903 by the architects T W F Newton and Cheatle. Made of ashlar and red brick. It has Arts and Crafts details and looks a bit like a Jacobean building. On the corner is a big compass showing the wind direction and a barometer showing whether it's going to be dry or wet! Is also a clock tower at the top.

The Fighting Cocks - Alcester Road, Moseley

From the no 50 bus on the Alcester Road, looking down St Mary's Row. Was a banner up for the Mostly Jazz Funk Soul Festival during April 2015. This was promoting the event in Moseley Park which took place during July 2015. This part of St Mary's Row is usually where the Farmers Market goes. Festivals and other events in the park usually have entrance on Salisbury Road and Alcester Road (the park is usually private for local residents and only open to the public on open days). The artists entrance I think is on Salisbury Road.

Mostly Jazz Funk Soul Festival

An Irish themed bar on the Alcester Road called O'Neills. Part of a chain that you would find other O'Neills around the West Midlands. This view was in February 2011. They were there until 2014 or 2015 when they were replaced by the One Trick Pony Club. Halfords autocentre used to be to the right until about 2014. At one point it was thought that Boston Tea Party would move into the former garage, but Prezzo did instead in 2016. They lasted there until 2017, and was replaced by Sorrento Lounge in 2018. To the left was Thistle Estates and Consol until 2015. Pizza Express moved in there in 2016.

O'Neills - Alcester Road, Moseley

Further up the Alcester Road is the Prince of Wales pub. It dates to the Victorian era. They are located at 118 Alcester Road. The Moseley Emporium is to the left. Was a derelict building site to the right for many years until Moseley Central was built there from 2017 to 2018.

Prince of Wales - Alcester Road, Moseley

The Moseley Emporium is an antiques shop to the left of the Prince of Wales pub on the Alcester Road in Moseley. They have three floors of antiques and quality reproduction furniture. It looks like they share the building with the Prince of Wales! They are at 116 Alcester Road. There website describes their building as a beautiful Victorian villa.

Moseley Emporium - Alcester Road, Moseley

Photos by Elliott Brown.

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Civic pride
17 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

Sir Josiah Mason: Founder of Mason Science College

Before the University of Birmingham was founded in 1900, there was a college in Chamberlain Square that was founded by Sir Josiah Mason in 1875. It was called Mason Science College. There is a bronze bust in Erdington that was a cast of a now destroyed statue that used to be outside of the college. The college was demolished in 1964 making way for Birmingham Central Library.

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Josiah Mason

Sir Josiah Mason was born in 1795 and died in 1881. He founded the Mason Science College in 1875 which later became part of the University of Birmingham (when it was founded in 1900). He was born in Kidderminster and moved to Birmingham in 1816. In 1824 he set up his own business as a manufacturer of split-rings by machinery, which later made steel pens. His business became a limited liability company in 1874. He set up an orphanage in Erdington around 1860. Mason College opened in 1880.

There used to be a marble statue outside of Mason College on Edmund Street (now part of Chamberlain Square) of Sir Josiah Mason. Made in 1885 Francis John Williamson. The statue was later destroyed, but not before William Bloye made a bronze cast of it in 1951. The bust is usually dressed for special occasions and seasonal holidays.

Below the bust seen in 2014 when the bronze was looking quite green. At the time there was a football scarf on the bust, probably of Manchester City (who won the Premier League in the 2013/14 season). This was seen in May 2014.

Sir Josiah Mason bust in Erdington

Full on front view of the Sir Josiah Mason bronze bust, during May 2014. It is located on a roundabout at the junction of Chester Road and Orphanage Road in Erdington. This view from the crossing in the middle of the Chester Road. The letters on the scarf seem to suggest that it was a Manchester City FC scarf!

Sir Josiah Mason bust in Erdington

This view of the bust towards some houses that have now been demolished and replaced by a care home. The view from the corner of Chester Road and Orphanage Road if you are heading to the Erdington High Street.

Sir Josiah Mason bust in Erdington

It is now December 2018 and I was expecting maybe a Christmas hat on the bust. Seen after the end of the walk up Orphanage Road and at the Chester Road junction. Nothing Christmas related here, just some England flag bunting. Asprey Court Care Home now stands on the site of those houses. Was built between 2016 and 2017.

Sir Josiah Mason bust in Erdington

The colour of the bust has changed in the 4 and a half years since I last saw it. This view from the Chester Road crossing between both sides of the Orphanage Road. Looks like the plinth has been cleaned of some recent graffiti.

Sir Josiah Mason bust in Erdington

Heading around to Chester Road, this side view you can see that they have cleaned the graffiti off the plinth, although it has left a bit of discolouration on it. Have to wonder why the original statue was destroyed, and why make a bust only to put it on a roundabout in Erdington? The only link would have been the orphanage that Josiah Mason had founded.

Sir Josiah Mason bust in Erdington

On what is now Orphanage Road in Erdington used to be Mason's Orphanage. Construction started near Bell Lane (now Orphanage Road) in 1860 and lasted until 1868. It was designed by J.R. Botham. Mason had a previous orphanage on Station Road, Erdington in 1858. Following a decline in the number of residents, the orphanage was demolished in 1964 to make way for a housing estate.

Walking up Orphanage Road I spotted Mason Cottages. They were first built in 1938. I assume they were near to the orphanage. The site is run by the Sir Josiah Mason Trust and it is private grounds, so no access to members of the public who aren't residents here. There are gates that lead to Mason Cottages. You probably need a pass to enter.

Mason Cottages

The sign I spotted on Orphanage Road on the walk up to Chester Road in Erdington. Private Grounds. No unauthorised access.

Mason Cottages

This red post box with the GR moniker is a short distance away from Mason Cottages on Orphanage Road in Erdington. It dates to the period of George V (1910 - 36).

Mason Cottages

We will next move to Chamberlain Square, where Mason College used to be until it was demolished in 1964. Birmingham Central Library was built between 1969 and 1974. It closed in 2013 and was demolished itself in 2016. I think the new building One Chamberlain Square stands on the site of what was Mason College.

Seen in late December 2010 near the start of Congreve Passage was a part of Birmingham Central Library called Art in a Window Gallery. There wasn't much to see in there apart from some plaques about Sir Josiah Mason and Mason College.

Birmingham Central Library - Mason College plaques

The plaques were from the Birmingham Civic Society, and even back in 2010 it seemed like they were in a temporary position, as at the time the new Library of Birmingham was under construction in Centenary Square (it would open in 2013). So these plaques were not in a permenant position. Hopefully Birmingham Civic Society will put these plaques on the side of One Chamberlain Square, so passers by on Centenary Way can see them (if any of them stop to look at them that is!).

Birmingham Central Library - Mason College plaques

Details of the bottom plaque with a picture showing what Mason College used to look like. In the 1960s this type of Victorian architecture had fell out of favour, especially in the years after the Second World War had ended. Although now we quite like this kind of architecture. I wonder if this building and the old Victorian Central Library could have been listed? But they never were as the sight was levelled for the 1970s Central Library. The plaque tells you that even after the founding of the University of Birmingham, the former Mason College building continued to be used until the 1960s as the Faculty of Arts and Law. Would assume that moved to the Edgbaston campus before the demolition.

Birmingham Central Library - Mason College plaques

Until the 1960s, Edmund Street stretched next to Chamberlain Square. After Mason College was knocked down, Birmingham Central Library was built from 1969 to 1974, while the previous Central Library remained alongside it. Once complete and opened, the 2nd Victorian library was itself demolished (and Adrian Boult Hall and the Birmingham Conseravatoire built on it's site, but that's another story). Seen below in 2010, this was the entrance to the library. Paradise Forum was to the left which led to Centenary Square. It was demolished in 2016. You can see Art in a Window Gallery to the far right on the corner with Congreve Passage.

Birmingham Central Library

One Chamberlain Square now stands on the site of what was Mason College from 1875 until it was demolished in 1964. Construction of this building started in 2017 and should be completed in 2019 by BAM. Earlier in 2018 Carillion went bust stalling construction for a few months until BAM took over. Centenary Way now runs alongside the new building all the way from Chamberlain Square to Centenary Square (a pedestrian walkway).

One Chamberlain Square

Photos by Elliott Brown

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15 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

More Harborne Village architecture (Part 2)

Part 2 of my look around the architecture in Harborne. As with part 1 around the High Street and surrounding roads. Mostly built up here from the Victorian period onwards as Harborne became an affluent suburb next to Edgbaston. This time starting with a look at Harborne Library and some alternate views of buildings I posted in part 1 (or later on in the post).

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Follow this link for Harborne Village architecture part 1. Well it seemed like my first post on Harborne was popular so lets continue shall we!

We first start with a pub that has had a few name changes over the years. Looking on Google Maps Street View, this pub was called Varsity from at least 2009 (or before) until 2011. From 2011 to 2015 it was called The Proverbial (seen below in 2014). From 2015 to present it has been a Slug & Lettuce. 186 - 196 High Street, Harborne. At the time of the photo Lloyds Pharmacy was opposite, but that is now Jhoots Pharmacy.

 

The Proverbial - High Street, Harborne

Rumours is a hair salon at the corner of North Road and the High Street in Harborne at 51 High Street. It has a distinctive corner turret.

Rumours - High Street, Harborne

Some views of Harborne Library. The following history was taken from this link Harborne Library history. The building was built as a Masonic Hall in 1879 by the architect A. E. Phipson (who lived in Harborne and designed several buildings around Harborne during the same period). It had originally housed the Harborne Lodge, Tudor 1792 of the Province of Staffordshire. The council as the Corporation of Birmingham bought the building in 1892 and some changes had to be made before it was opened as a Public Library. It also includes part of the next building to the right.

Harborne Library

The close up view of the library. You can see that is still says "Masonic Hall" above the middle first floor windows. The public couldn't browse the shelves for books until 1925. Before that time they had to request books from the counter. There was major alterations to the library during the 1960s. It was during that time when the library expanded into the next building. The last major refurbishment took place from 2005 until 2006.

Harborne Library

This is the better view of The Junction pub (built 1903) at the junction of Vivian Road (near Waitrose) and the Harborne High Street (on the right). There is a pedestrian crossing in the middle with a zebra crossing. 212 High Street. There website describes it as Victorian but with a 1903 date it is from the Edwardian period. It has distinctive red brick terracotta and stone detailing.

The Junction - Vivian Road and High Street, Harborne

This pub is called the Harborne Stores and is a Traditional Free House. 109 High Street. It's now part of the Stonegate Pub Company. Near the corner of Station Road on the High Street in Harborne.

Harborne Stores - High Street, Harborne

Near the end of the High Street is no's 20 to 26 High Street in Harborne. No's 20, 22 and 24 used to be for many years Fishers Surveyors and Property Managers (established in 1913), but it looks like they have moved out. Cafe Boutique & Cake Shop is at no 26. Looks very much like a Victorian set of terraced houses.

20 - 26 High Street, Harborne

Harborne Market used to be in this building betwen the High Street and Vivian Road. It was open until around 2011, and was closed / derelict from 2012 until 2015 when Paradice Gelateria opened. Webster & Co Solicitors used to be on the floors above, but seems like it hasn't been there for years, I'm not sure if they were open in the later years of the market being open on the ground floor.

Paradice Gelateria - High Street, Harborne

This view of Paradice Gelateria from Vivian Road in Harborne, was the rear side of the now former Harborne Market. The Harborne Market Cafe used to occupy the units on the left. From Google Maps Street View, the exterior of the cafe wasn't much to look at. Temporary wooden doors that looked like hoardings. But they had signs outside until 2011 saying that they were open. By 2012 it looks like they had closed down.

Paradice Gelateria  - Vivian Road, Harborne

If you get off the 11C on Harborne Park Road you might see the modern spire of this church on Vivian Road. It's St Mary's Church, Harborne and was built between 1875 and 1877 (the Victorian church building not including the later 20th century buildings).  It was founded by the Passionists in 1875 and is currently served by the Augustinians.

St Mary's RC Church - Vivian Road, Harborne

Another look at The New Inn. In part 1 I posted a view of it from Greenfield Road, so I popped back to Harborne and took this new photo of the view of it on Vivian Road. A pub has been on this site since at least 1845 (or earlier). The pub has been refurbished in recent years and has had new pub signs installed.

The New Inn - Vivian Road, Harborne

The next pub is The White Horse on York Street in Harborne. Seen below in 2015. Ansells ran the pub back in the 1960s. By 2015 it was a Festival Ale House.

The White Horse - York Street, Harborne

The second photo of The White Horse shows it during November 2018. By then it was under new ownership. Ostler's took over in 2017.

The White Horse - York Street, Harborne

There is many ghost signs around Birmingham, and Harborne is no exception. This one can be found on War Lane for A.W. Reynolds & Son who did Building Repairs. They were based 262 High Street (assume on the Harborne High Street). It was on the side of a house. It's possible that they were based there at War Lane and at High Street as well.

Reynolds ghost sign - War Lane, Harborne

Seen on Park Hill Road in Harborne is Elizabeth Bretherton. In a building on the corner called Acorn House. I'm not sure if it is an office or an art gallery, but is part of a set of terraced houses. One of which in the middle says Kingscote Place 1883. Close to Nursery Road.

Elizabeth Bretherton - Park Hill Road, Harborne

Over on the corner of North Road and Park Hill Road used to be Sue Howells Art. This view was in 2016, but after being there for at least a decade or more (Google Maps Street View only goes to 2008), it was replaced in 2017 by Barberology. I saw this shop in March 2016 and by September 2016 it looks like Barberology were being fitted out in this shop.
Next door to Sue Howells on Park Hill Road was ToTo Hair until 2012. Comida took over in 2015 until 2017. Caffiened took over in 2018.

Sue Howells Art - North Road, Harborne

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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13 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

Tour of the Harborne Village architecture

A look around the architecture in Harborne Village mostly from the Victorian, Edwardian and inter war eras. There are many red brick examples, schools and former and current schools. Some that used to be banks. Mostly the Harborne High Street and some of the surrounding roads.

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Harborne is the next suburb along close to Edgbaston and Selly Oak. You can get the no 11A, 11C or 23 or 24 NXWM buses here. The High Street in Harborne Village is a bit like Birmingham's version of London's Shoreditch. This is the modern Harborne Village which is around the High Street area now, while the original village was around St Peter's Church Harborne.

First up a look at this former Victorian bank building on the corner of the High Street in Harborne with Albany Road. For many years it has been a Zizzi Italian restaurant. May have once been a Lloyds Bank here. Not listed. A red brick building that slightly looks like it's in the Georgian style.

Zizzi on the Harborne High Street

Former primary school on the High Street, now The School Yard. With Boston Tea Party on the left and Prezzo to the right. It is on the corner with York Street.  A Grade II listed building as The Clock Tower Community Education Centre, it dates to around 1885 by the architects Martin and Chamberlain. Red brick and terracotta with minimum stone dressings; tile roof with decorative ridge tiles. It was the Harborne High Street Junior School from the 1880s until 1960. See this Birmingham Post article from 2014. Before it was converted in 2014 it was an adult education centre known as The Clock Tower.

Former Girls School - High Street, Harborne

The Junction is a red brick and terracotta pub with stone details dating to 1903. On the corner of the High Street and Vivian Road. This view was from the High Street. The best view is probably from the juncton of Vivian Road and the High Street at the pelican crossing, than the view I got below in 2014. There is a set of Victorian urinals (no longer in use) to the right of here (not far from the no 23 and 24 bus stops).

The Junction - High Street, Harborne

The Vine is one of the pubs on the Harborne High Street. It's to the right of the Royalty. They are at 310 High Street and is part of the Sizzling Pubs chain.

The Vine - High Street, Harborne

The Royalty was a cinema built in 1930 by the architect Horace G. Bradley. It is a Grade II listed building, listed as the The Royalty (Gala Bingo).  A red brick structure. It became a bingo hall from 1930 and was still being used for bingo by the time it was listed in 2011. But by 2014 it had closed down and is now quite derelict. A recent fire didn't help, nor the threat of demolition (only 7 years after it was listed). Gala Bingo must have closed down before 2012, as the rear of the site was being used for a Hand Car Wash. The fire was in September 2018 and demolition started October 2018.

Royalty  - High Street, Harborne

The Green Man is a pub near the end of the Harborne High Street, close to the Edgbaston border. The building was probably built in the 1930s. There is a pub sign with a man and his dog on the left hand side of the building.

Green Man - High Street, Harborne

Leaving the High Street behind and a look at buildings on other nearby roads.

Bell Tower seen on War Lane in Harborne. A red brick building, possibly from the Victorian era. I've not been able to find out any information on the building but think it is now used as residential flats.

Bell Tower - War Lane, Harborne

These shops seen on the corner of Greenfield Road and Vivian Road in Harborne. R. O. Price, F.G.I and Provisions and Prelude Hair. A stone on the corner on the first floor names it Harborne Quadrant with the date of 1861. For me, this is on the walk from the High Street towards Harborne Park Road to catch the 11A (or after getting off the 11C and walking towards the High Street).

Greenfield Road and Vivian Road, Harborne

The New Inn is on the corner of Vivian Road and Greenfield Road in Harborne. This is the side on Greenfield Road. The pub may have been on this site as early as 1845. A traditional pub, they have had a recent refurbishment.

The New Inn Harborne

Seen on Serpentine Road in Harborne (not far from the High Street) is The Harborne Village Social Club and Institute. Mostly just known as The Harborne Village Social Club.

The Harborne Village Social Club and Institute - Serpentine Road, Harborne

On Station Road is Harborne Primary School. Originally opened in 1902 as an Infant School during the Edwardian era. The Junior School followed in 1912. The two schools merged in September 2000 forming the Harborne Primary School it is today. A red brick building, it is on the corner of Emerson Road and Station Road.

Harborne Primary School

Still on Station Road, we get to a building / house called The Library at no 71. I'm not sure if it ever was a library, but the current Harborne Library is on the High Street.

The Library - Station Road, Harborne

Next up the former Harborne Fire Station. At the junction of Gordon Road and Rose Road in Harborne. A Grade II listed building built in 1907. Now used as flats / apartments. Red brick with stone ashlar dressing; gabled and hipped plain tile roofs. There is a sculpture of a fireman on the right hand side of the building, where the former doors for the fire engines used to be.

Harborne Fire Station

On Gordon Road in Harborne is a new cafe called Caffiened, it opened in November 2017. They seem to have added a modern wooden look at the bottom complimenting the original red brick look on the upper floors.

Caffiened - Gordon Road, Harborne

I'd add Harborne Library, but the only view I've got of it is from the side / close up. So if I return to Harborne, I'll take a new view of it. So expect to see that in a Part 2.

Photos by Elliott Brown.

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11 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

Calthorpe Estates Edgbaston white Regency / Victorian villas / town houses Part 2

A second selection of the white Georgian / Regency / Victorian villas / town house in Calthorpe Estates Edgbaston. Mostly the posh looking area between the Hagley Road and Calthorpe Road. There is so many fine examples now. Mostly they are now offices. There are also examples on St James Road and George Road, which are towards the Islington Row Middleway and Wheeleys Road.

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For my first post follow this link Calthorpe Estates Edgbaston Part 1.

Hagley Road

The Calthorpe Estates offices is located at 76 Hagley Road. On the corner with Highfield Road. The building dates to the early 19th century and is a Grade II listed building. White stucco with a slate roof. The Calthorpe Estates manages over 1600 acres of land across Edgbaston in Birmingham. Seen around November 2015 when they had Christmas reindeer on the Highfield Road side. You would normally find them around Edgbaston during the Christmas season each year.

Calthorpe Estates - 76 Hagley Road, Edgbaston

One of the earliest buildings of the Calthorpe Estates. Regency House was built from 1819 until 1820 and was designed by Thomas and Joseph Bateman for John Harris. Only the regency façade is Grade II listed, as the building behind was demolished and rebuilt in 1971 by John Madin Design Group (JMDG) for Rentcroft Investments (and that is of no special historic interest). A terrace of six former houses, now offices. No 97 to 107 Hagley Road. It is built of brick covered in whitewashed stuco with a slate roof.

Regency House - Hagley Road

Praza an Indian Restaurant with Cocktail Bar & Dining at 94 and 96 Hagley Road. Grade II listed building. The building dates to the early 19th century and was built as a pair of semi detached houses. Stucco with a slate roof.

Praza - 94 and 96 Hagley Road, Edgbaston

Cadbury Brothers

For my post on the Cadbury Brothers follow this link Cadbury Brothers: George and Richard Cadbury.

17 Wheeleys Road was the former home of Richard Cadbury who lived here from 1861 until 1871. Blue plaque from English Heritage. The houses at 17 and 18 Wheeleys Road were built in 1829 and have first floor Ionic pilasters.

17 Wheeleys Road former home of Richard Cadbury

At 32 George Road near the corner of St James Road was the former home of George Cadbury. Who lived here from 1872 until 1881 according to the blue plaque from English Heritage. The house is a Grade II listed building and was built in 1820 as a detached 2 storey stucco villa. The house has fluted Tuscan columns to the doorcases.

32 George Road Edgbaston former home of George Cadbury

St James Road and George Road

The Roundhouse at 16 and 17 St James Road. A Grade II listed building. It's a good example of a stucco cottage combining picturesque Italian rustic manner with gothic-Tudor details. Was originally built as a freestanding folly in 1810 in the grounds of 29 George Road. Wings added to garden front and wings to roadside added in 1830. Further additions of a service wing around 1860-70.

The Roundhouse - 16 and 17 St James Road

Over on George Road is St James Place. It's a Grade II listed building, now offices. Originally built as the Original House and Service Coach House Wings at the Skin Hospital. Was built between 1830 and 1840 as a substantial Grecian villa of 2 storeys with 5 bays and is stucco faced.

St James Place - George Road

Back to St James Road with what is now Busy Bees Nursery. The building isn't listed but looks of the 19th century period of the other Calthorpe Estates buildings in the area. Is close to Calthorpe Road and the HSBC building is behind it.

Busy Bee Day Nursery - St James Road

Hallfield School

This is Hallfield School and it has a couple of white stucco buildings that you might see on the no 1 bus route. The school was founded in 1879, and they will be 140 years old in 2019! The white stucco school buildings are located near Church Road.

First up, this building used as a Day Nursery. Grade II listed building dating to about 1850. Listed as the Main Block to Hallfield School. It has a rusticated porch with round-arched entrance framed by coupled pilasters.

Hallfield School - Church Road, Edgbaston

This is the main building of Hallfield School, if you are on a train on the Cross City line, or heading up or down the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, you might be able to see the back of the school buildings from the playing field. While these buildings are not listed, it dates to about 1860 and was originally a large villa called Beech Lawn.

Hallfield School - Church Road, Edgbaston

The view of Beech Lawn, now the main building of Hallfield School from the towpath of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. Next to the canal is what is now known as the Cross City line. The Edgbaston Tunnel is a short distance away and it goes under Church Road. Normally from the train, you can normally just see the playing fields, as these Victorian brick railways walls get in the way of the view! You can't tell from here that the building is now part of a school!

Hallfield School from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Calthorpe Road

This is 20 Calthorpe Road, close to St James Road. Currently it is To Let but formerly it was occupied by DG Mutual. A Grade II listed building. It is an early Calthorpe Estates villa dating to about 1820 to 1830. Grecian stucco symmetrical 3 bay elevation on 2 storeys. There is a former coach house on the left.

20 Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston

Next up is Al Rayan Bank at 24 to 25 Calthorpe Road. A Grade II listed building. Built as a pair of semi-detached Calthorpe Estate stucco villas in the year 1840. There is a Roman Doric doorway at no 25.

Al Rayan Bank - 24 - 25 Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston

The next building down is a Grade II listed building at 26 Calthorpe Road. Rubric Lois King Solicitors. A stucco villa built in 1840. A detached version of the villas at Nos 24 and 25. Doric column porch.

Rubric Lois King Solicitors - 26 Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston

The RoSPA are at 27 and 28 Calthorpe Road, also a Grade II listed building.  These buildings date to about 1830 and is a pair of 3-storey semi-detached stucco Calthorpe Estate villas. No 27 was altered in 1850, but also has a former coach house absorbed into a modern wing. No 28 was unaltered with an original entrance porch of unfluted Tuscan columns.

RoSPA - 27 and 28 Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston

Photos by Elliott Brown

 

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History & heritage
08 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

Victorian and Edwardian shopping Arcades still in Birmingham City Centre

While Great Western Arcade is the most well known Victorian shopping Arcade in Birmingham City Centre, others do survive, although not as well known. The Burlington Arcade and Piccadilly Arcade both go from Stephenson Street to New Street. The City Arcade goes from Union Street towards Union Passage. Great Western Arcade goes from Temple Row to Colmore Row.

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Piccadilly Arcade

Built as a cinema in 1910, it was called the Picture House and showed silent films. The architects was Nichol & Nichol of Birmingham. The cinema closed in 1926 and was converted into an arcade of shops. It's original name was the West End Arcade due to it's links to the West End Cinema.

The bronze fascia and shop fronts dates to 1926 and was by J R Shaw. A previous refurbishment in 1989 was done by Douglas Hickman of the John Madin Design Group with trompe l'ceil ceiling paintings by Paul Maxfield.

The entrance to the Piccadilly Arcade on Stephenson Street seen in February 2010. Even from this view you can tell that it looked like a cinema. That year, it had been 100 years since the building had first been built!

Piccadilly Arcade on Stephenson Street

The most recent refurbishment of the Piccadilly Arcade was completed during November 2018. They had repainted the lower half of the building in a black paint. Perhaps to make it look a bit more traditional. The overhead wires are from the West Midlands Metro line, which at present doesn't go beyond Grand Central Tram Stop, as they are building the next extension to Centenary Square. And they closed off this end of Stephenson Street to add the new tracks to the existing tracks.

Piccadilly Arcade on Stephenson Street

The interior of the Piccadilly Arcade during October 2010. It slants up from the Stephenson Street entrance towards New Street. When you walk up the arcade, you can't help but look up at the amazing artwork on the ceiling. As of 2018 it is 29 years old (1989). The BT phone box with the old style BT logo dates it to the late 1980s.

Piccadilly Arcade

This view from December 2018 with Christmas decorations after the most recent refurbishment. Previously the shop fronts had been painted white, now they are painted black. Although the ceiling around the paintings is still painted white.

Piccadilly Arcade

This interior view of the Piccadilly Arcade was taken in October 2010. Heading down from New Street towards Stephenson Street. You can head this way down to Birmingham New Street Station. At the time it was around then when the redevelopment of the station had begun, and would take 5 long years to complete!

Piccadilly Arcade

Summer 2017 in the Piccadilly Arcade, and they had one of the Big Sleugh bears inside, this one was called Wild City by the artist Kathleen Smith. I think it was half way near the top close to New Street.

Piccadilly Arcade Big Sleuth Wild City

View of the Piccadilly Arcade from New Street. This view was taken in August 2010. From here you can see Wren style turrets on the top of the building. Details you wouldn't notice if you walk past.

Piccadilly Arcade from New Street

If you get a window seat at Pret a Manger on New Street, like I did in January 2018, you get this view of the Piccadilly Arcade. From there I noticed details when zooming in from my camera. There is a shield on top. Just above the Piccadilly sign is what looks like a pair of babies sitting on a duck! Most people would just walk past and not even look up at the details of any of the buildings on New Street.

Piccadilly Arcade from New Street

 

Burlington Arcade

Originally built as the Midland Hotel between 1867 and 1875 for Isaac Horton and designed by Thomson Plevins. Later became the Burlington Hotel from the then owners Macdonalds Hotels & Resorts. The hotel entrance turned into Burlington Passage (or the Burlington Arcade) around 1994.

Starting from Stephenson Street. This view was from January 2011 before the road was dug up to lay the Midland Metro extension tracks. May have also been when traffic stopped going on Stephenson Street. Although I seem to recall that buses last used the road in 2012 (when routes were changed when the bus interchanges were built).

Burlington Arcade entrance on Stephenson Street

I have cropped this photo of a Midland Metro Urbos 3 tram at Grand Central Tram Stop to show the Burlington Hotel. This was in May 2016 when tram drivers were training and doing tests on the 1st extension before the line opened to the public. The new Birmingham New Street Station fully opened in 2015, although the Stephenson Street section was completed in time for Half Time Switch Over during 2013 (when half of the new station opened and the other half closed to create the new concourse). Entrance to the Burlington Arcade is on the left, slightly after the tram stop.

Burlington Hotel and Grand Central Tram Stop

I don't often take photos when I pass through the Burlington Arcade, but this caught my eye on the left (as I walked from the Stephenson Street entrance towards New Street). Steps down to an underground bar called the Bacchus Bar. The wall paintings and columns reminds me of either Ancient Greek art or Ancient Roman art. Maybe even like something you would find at the ruins of Pompeii!

Burlington Arcade Bacchus Bar

The only photos of the interior of this arcade I have were with Christmas lights during late December 2009, looking up towards the ceiling. You can see all the red brick work from Victorian times. Plus a modern glass ceiling from the mid 1990s. This was coming from the New Street entrance heading down towards Stephenson Street.

Burlington Arcade Christmas lights

Christmas lights on this side looking down towards the Stephenson Street entrance (also December 2009).

Burlington Arcade Christmas lights

As far as I recall, I haven't taken a full on shot of the Burlington Hotel from New Street, mostly indirect shots like this one. Christmas lights seen at night on New Street during November 2010. The entrance to the Burlington Arcade from New Street is to the right between the shops. On the New Street side it is two blocks either side of the entrance to the Burlington Arcade. Italianate in white brick, now painted.

Burlington Hotel on New Street with Christmas lights

A new view of the Burlington Arcade entrance on New Street, as seen from Cannon Street during December 2018, while the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was on.

Burlington Arcade on New Street

The modern entrance canopy between the two blocks. Also the entrance to the Burlington Hotel.

Burlington Arcade on New Street

Great Western Arcade

The Great Western Arcade was originally built around 1876 to 1877 by the Great Western Company above the Snow Hill railway tunnel between Moor Street and Snow Hill stations. The architect was W H Ward, who was influenced by Joseph Paxton's Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851. The arcade is a Grade II listed building.

The arcade suffered heavy bomb damage during World War 2 and the Colmore Row entrance had to be rebuilt. The arcade was restored in 1984.

The Temple Row entrance retains it's historic Victorian facade, and looks amazing after it was restored. If you headed up the North Western Arcade from Corporation Street, you might enter the Great Western Arcade if you are walking towards Birmingham Snow Hill Station.

Great Western Arcade Temple Row entrance

Stop for a minute on Temple Row and look up above the entrance. There is a sculpture called Allegories of Science and Art, also by the architect W H Ward, who made it in 1875. The male figure on the left represents science, holds attributes including dividers and compasses. The female figure on the right represents the arts, holds an painter's palette and has an easel by her side. It used to be visible from the first floor of Coffee Republic opposite, although they closed down early in 2017. The arcade is in the Italian-French Renaissance architecture style.

Great Western Arcade Temple Row entrance - Allegories of Science and Art

One of my first views of the interior of the Great Western Arcade seen during September 2009, this view from Temple Row towards Colmore Row, looking up at the ceiling. Probably a replacement, as the original was bombed out during WW2. Many shops lines both sides of the arcade.

Great Western Arcade interior

It was June 2012, and Union Jack bunting lined the Great Western Arcade. This direction from the Colmore Row entrance towards Temple Row. Again looking up at the ceiling. This was during the Queens's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Great Western Arcade interior

Christmas decorations in the Great Western Arcade. These went up during November 2018. Again Colmore Row towards Temple Row.

Great Western Arcade interior

During February 2013, the Big Egg Hunt was on in Birmingham City Centre. Was many easter eggs up and down the Great Western Arcade. Close to the Temple Row exit was this easter egg with a bunny rabbit on it!

Great Western Arcade Big Egg Hunt

The Big Hoot 2015 was a trail of owls around Birmingham during the summer of 2015. Long after the trail ended, they made one more owl for Christmas 2015. Seen during December 2015 was Christmas Owl designed by Jane Anderson. These owls were nice to see around Birmingham.

Great Western Arcade The Big Hoot

The Colmore Row entrance of the Great Western Arcade. It matches the design of the office block on the left called Colmore Gate which was built between 1990 and 1992 by the Seymour Harris Partnership. Built in the style of Cass-Gilbert-period New York. Offices above the arcade, shops below. You would see this entrance if you are leaving Birmingham Snow Hill Station the Colmore Row entrance. The last major refurbishment to the arcade was in 2009.

Great Western Arcade Colmore Row entrance

City Arcade

This arcade was built from 1898 until 1901, by T.W.F Newton and Cheattle, the decorative terracotta and green faience by Doulton and Co and other detailing by W J Neatby. The arcade is a Grade II* listed building.

We start off looking at the entrance from Union Passage, you might come up here from New Street (past the Britannia Hotel). Or from up Warwick Passage that leads from Corporation Street. Most of these photos were taken during November 2009.

City Arcade - Union Passage

Another view of the Union Passage entrance looking at the upper floors. Most of the time this arcade isn't too busy, and it is usually just a shortcut from Union Street to Union Passage. Since the former Big Top centre closed for refurbishment (near where WH Smith used to be) this area has gotten even quieter. The listing for this building describes the Union Passage side as "ulilitarian".

City Arcade - Union Passage

Don't often take new photos of City Arcade these days when I pass through or around here. This was November 2015 shortly after a cafe called Tilt opened. You can see Corporation Street over to the left down Warwick Passage.

City Arcade - Union Passage - Tilt

A look up at the ceiling in City Arcade. You would only be in here for a short period as this arcade isn't that long. It is a coffered ceiling. You would notice the green and red details in the ceiling as well as the intermittent cupolas. There is red window frames at both ends.

City Arcade interior

There is nothing much else to say about the interior ceiling of City Arcade, although there used to be a net below the ceiling. But it looks like that was removed sometime between 2016 and 2017. The light fittings inside are certainly unique, a bit like chandeliers!

City Arcade interior

The Union Street side of City Arcade. There is three storeys on this side of the building. At the top is polygonal turrets with little cupolas. Santander is in the City Arcade units on the left on the corner with Union Passage. Back in 2009 it was still Abbey. Christmas lights seen on Union Street during November 2009.

WH Smith was in the building next door, although they moved out of those units earlier in 2018, to some of the former BHS units on Union Street a bit further down. City Centre House is an office block to the left. This road is between High Street (to the left) and Corporation Street (over to the right). Martineau Place is opposite of City Arcade on Union Street.

City Arcade - Union Street

Looking up to the turrets and domes on the Union Street façade of City Arcade. Most people just pass by without noticing the details. Such as the portrait faces, can you see them?

City Arcade on Union Street

You can tell the difference between a building from the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, to the building next to it built a century later. Doesn't have as much details, although they did try there best! Superdrug occupies the ground floor of the building at the corner of Union Street and Corporation Street. It is called Victoria House. It does have some domes at the top of it's own corner turrets.

City Arcade on Union Street

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Civic pride
06 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

Sir Barry Jackson founder of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre

The Old REP on Station Street and the New REP in Centenary Square. The Birmingham Repertory Theatre was founded in 1913 by Sir Barry Jackson. The REP was known to do modern versions of classic plays such as Shakespeare. He later went to the RSC in the 1940s in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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Sir Barry Jackson

He was born in 1879 in Kings Norton, living until 1961. He founded the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1913. Before founding the REP, he formed a company with his friends called The Pilgrim Players in 1907. This was the foundation of the future Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company. In the early years of the 20th century, they performed plays to family and friends. By 1912, Barry Jackson began to develop plans to build a permanent theatre building on Station Street. Barry was knighted in 1925.

Below is a bronze bust of Sir Barry Jackson seen at the REP in Centenary Square during September 2013 (after the new Library of Birmingham had opened). At the time, the REP was celebrating their 100th anniversary.

Sir Barry Jackson

Also seen in the modern REP building in 2013 was this portrait of Sir Barry Jackson made up of many other smaller photos. A bit like a mosaic.

Sir Barry Jackson

Seen in the Shakesepare Memorial Room at the Library of Birmingham was this Gavel. It was presented to Sir Barry Jackson in 1936. As a pioneer of modern Shakespeare at The REP during the 1920s. By the 1940s he later became Director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The Library of Birmingham opened in 2013 next door the the new REP which originally opened in 1971 (10 years after Sir Barry Jackson passed away).

Gavel for Sir Barry Jackson

Before we get onto the old and new REP's in Birmingham, first a look at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The building opened in 1932, on the site adjacent to the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (opened in 1879), which had been destroyed by a fire in 1926. It took the name of Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1961, following the founding of the Royal Shakespeare Company the year before (1960).

Sir Barry Jackson was Director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre from 1945 until 1948 (when he retired).

This view below was from 2009 during the redevelopment of the theatre.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

This view from 2013 after the redevelopment had finished. The theatre reopened in 2010, and was officially opened by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 2011. Seen here with the River Avon.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

This River Avon view of the RST was from 2014.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Back to Birmingham and first we go to Station Street with what is now known as The Old REP.

It was the first ever purpose built repertory theatre in the UK, it opened in February 1913. The main entrance is on Station Street, opposite Birmingham New Street Station. There is a blue plaque here for Sir Barry Jackson. The architect was S. N. Cooke.

In this view with the hotel Comfort Inn and The Electric Cinema. There is various Chinese restaurants down there on Station Street as well. The view is from was what used to be Queen's Drive at New Street Station. Station Bar also known as Platform 13 is to the left (I think the bar is getting a refit when I last walked past it).

The Old REP

The front view of The Old Rep Theatre on Station Street. When The REP moved to a new building in 1971 near Broad Street (now in Centenary Square), Birmingham City Council took over the building. During renovations of their Centenary Square building, The New REP temporarily moved back into the Old REP from 2011 until 2013. From 2014, Birmingham Ormiston Academy, (also known as BOA), too over the use of the old theatre building.

The Old REP

The view round the back of The Old REP on Hinckley Street. This is the Stage Door entrance. There is a taxi rank on this side.

The Old REP

A close up look at the rear entrances of the Old REP on Hinckley Street.

The Old REP

Now a look at The New REP first built in 1971. The Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company moved to the site near Broad Street in a building by Graham Winteringham and Keith Williams Architects. This was around 10 years after Sir Barry Jackson had died. The area would not become Centenary Square for another 20 years (1991). This view from 2010, before the Library of Birmingham has been built and before the theatre renovations had started. Sir Barry Jackson had supported the building of a modern theatre but he died before it became a reality.

The New REP

This view from 2009. There used to be steps outside, but that was removed during the 2011 to 2013 renovation works of the theatre. There is another Birmingham Civic Society blue plaque on this building to Sir Barry Jackson. For some years it was missing but it was returned here in 2013 when the theatre renovations were complete. The other blue plaque is for J. Sampson Gamgee, surgeon and founder of the Birmingham Hospital Saturday Fund, who lived in a house on this site. J. R. R. Tolkien later used his name for the character of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy!

The New REP

Nightshot view from 2017. By then the theatre had been open again from 2013 after the new Library of Birmingham had opened. Marmalade Bistro had opened by then. This was slightly before the square had been hoarded off for the redevelopment of Centenary Square (there is still hoardings in front of the theatre).

The New REP

Close up view in late 2017. Due to the renovations works of the square, this is currently the pedestrian walking route past the theatre, so the bar can't have it's tables and chairs outside at the moment.

The New REP

Rear views of The REP on Cambridge Street near the roundabout close to City Centre Gardens. This view from 2010 from before the theatre was closed for a few years during the renovations while the Library of Birmingham was also being built next door.

The New REP

The rear of the theatre seen in 2013. The Library of Birmingham is now complete and would open in September 2013. A complete different look to it's brutal predessor of 1971 to about 2011. There is regularly flower displays on that island on Cambridge Street.

The New REP

 

Photos by Elliott Brown

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Civic pride
05 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

John Baskerville: creator of his own typeface

Baskerville House is in Centenary Square on the site of the former home of John Baskerville. He lived and worked here between 1748 and 1775. There used to be an artwork made in 1990 called Industry and Genius (that has now gone into storage due to the Centenary Square redevelopment). It spelt out Virgil (but the characters in reverse).

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John Baskerville

Born in 1706 or 1707, he lived until 1775. Baskerville was best known for being a printer and type designer. He was born in the village of Wolverley, near Kidderminster in Worcestershire. He lived in a house on Easy Row, which is now where Baskerville House is in Centenary Square. His home was also known as Easy Hill.

Below is an exhibit seen at the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The top item shows a plaque that reads:

"Grave stones.
Cut in any of the hands.

John Baskerville"

At the bottom is what looks like a snuff box with a portrait of John Baskerville.

John Baskerville exhibit at the Birmingham History Galleries

A map of the location of John Baskerville's home at Easy Row. He was buried he vertically, but his body later had to be moved to Christ Church in 1821, as a canal basin was built on the land. Christ Church was demolished in 1897 and his remains was moved again to a crypt at the Catacombs Warstone Lane Cemetery.

Baskerville's Easy Row home

I would assume that somewhere around here at Warstone Lane Cemetery, at the catacombs lies the remains of John Baskerville. He only wanted to be buried on his own land, but the constant redevelopment of Birmingham in the 19th century resulted in him being moved twice! John Baskerville was not a fan of consecrated grounds!

Catacombs at Warstone Lane Cemetery

The model of the Proposed Civic Centre was seen at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in 2015. It is normally to be found at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre, so if you go to BM & AG today, you wont see it there now.

Below are the details about the model.

William Haywood, Baker Studios, Erdington (made by)
Model of Proposed Civic Centre (Scale 1" to 12ft),
1941

This model was designed by William Haywood, a special lecturer in town planning at Birmingham University. He supervised its construction by Baker Studios in Erdington over a 12 month period completed in 1941.
The model represents a variety of public buildings including a Planetarium, Natural History Museum, and City Hall, as well as extensive gardens and car parks.

The Hall of Memory and Baskerville House can be seen at the front and middle of the model.

Proposed Civic Centre model at BMAG

In August 2009 opposite Baskerville House, archaeologists were digging up the car park where from 2013 onwards would stand the Library of Birmingham. It was the remains of the Baskerville Basin. Gibson's Arm was a private canal that was built during the 1810s. John Baskerville's house was burnt down during the Priestley Riots of 1791. Baskerville Basin was filled in during 1938 to make way for the Civic Centre. Thomas Gibson was the one who acquired the land and property in 1812.

Baskerville Basin

Baskerville House seen during April 2009.

It was originally completed in 1938. Before WW2 started, there was plans for the area that is now Centenary Square, for a Civic Centre. But Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory were the only buildings to be completed as part of that scheme. It is built on the site of John Baskerville's home of Easy Hill. Which itself was replaced by a canal basin, known as Baskerville Basin. Was also another basin there called Gibson's Basin. They would have both existed there from the 1820s until about 1919 (or later as the Birmingham City Council had purchased the land for their Civic Centre scheme). T. Cecil Howitt of Nottingham was asked to design Baskerville House in 1936.

Virgil typeface of Baskerville. Industry and Genius 1990 was a public artwork in Centenary Square. Now in storage.

The war halted construction of Baskerville House, and after WW2 ended, Roman Imperial imagery on public buildings went out of fashion. The building is now Grade II listed, and was renovated from 2003 until 2007. Used to be offices for the City Council, until they moved out in 1998.

Baskerville House

In 2010, the statue of King Edward VII was restored after spending many years in Highgate Park. You can see it to the right of Baskerville House (it is currently behind the hoardings of the Centenary Square renovation works). This view from November 2010 shortly after the statue was installed at this spot. In fact it is the only statue to remain in the square while Centenary Square is getting done up (which wont be finished until sometime in 2019). The original Centenary Square was completed in 1991.

Baskerville House

In 2013 the Library of Birmingham opened on the site of what was a car park between The REP and Baskerville House. Seen below in December 2017 after it was announced that Birmingham had won the bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The refurbishment of Centenary Square started in 2017 and should have been completed by the end of 2018, but a series of delays means it will probably not be completed until sometime in 2019. You wouldn't know from the way it is now that canal basins used to be here. Although archeologists examined the land under the Library of Birmingham in the summer of 2009 before the library was built.

Baskerville House and the Library of Birmingham at night

There used to be a typeface sculpture outside of Baskerville House called Industry and Genius. It was made in 1990 by local artist David Patten. It is a Portland stone sculpture of the Baskerville typeface.

Virgil Baskerville typeface

I took invidual photos of each letters and flipped them. Together it reads "Virgil". The standing stones represents the letter punches which Baskerville cut to make his type, and the world virgil was Baskerville's first book, published in 1757, as a re-print of the Roman author's poems. The sculpture went into storage a few years ago when the redevelopment of Centenary Square was about to start.

Virgil Baskerville typeface

Photos by Elliott Brown

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Transport
02 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

The Shakespeare Express and The Polar Express

Most summers along the Shakespeare line, Vintage Trains used to run steam trains between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-upon-Avon. They now also have a licence to run trains on the mainline from the Tyseley Locomotive Works to Birmingham Moor Street during the Christmas season. It is quite the sight to see a steam train going over the Bordesley Viaduct! Look out for it in Digbeth.

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In September 2015, the Shakespeare Express was at Birmingham Snow Hill Station at platform 1. When I got to platform 3, saw the steam locomotive 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe decouple and head towards the Jewellery Quarter tunnels, before it returned and recoupled at the other end. Didn't have the best views from platform 3 to be honest!

Shakespeare Express at Birmingham Snow Hill

The steam locomotive is seen puffing away towards the tunnels that leads to Jewellery Quarter Station.

Shakespeare Express at Birmingham Snow Hill

Shakespeare Express at Birmingham Snow Hill

The carriages at platform 1. They filled the length of the platform.

Shakespeare Express at Birmingham Snow Hill

I didn't have the best view from platform 3. One of the carriages as passengers walk past!

Shakespeare Express at Birmingham Snow Hill

Earlier that day I saw The Shakespeare Express passing through Hall Green Station. The front of the engine was attached to the carriages. So the back end was heading towards Stratford-upon-Avon. They would probably have to decouple it again at Stratford-upon-Avon, so the engine would be facing the front towards Birmingham Snow Hill!

Shakespeare Express passing Hall Green Station

The name plate of the special service is seen at the front.

Shakespeare Express passing Hall Green Station

Most of the stations on the Shakespeare line opened in 1908 and are of the Edwardian period.

Shakespeare Express passing Hall Green Station

 

The Polar Express run by Vintage Trains started in the last week of November 2018 and will run throughout the Christmas season until late December 2018. Should be every Thursday to Sunday.

Steam puffing away into platform 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station.

Polar Express

There was photographers on both platforms. And probably on all the days that it is due in at Moor Street Station. As well as from the Moor Street Car Park view. The Poppy Appeal train from Chiltern Railways was at platform 3.

Polar Express

Rood Ashton Hall or as it is known during this Christmas season as the Polar Star slowly comes into the platform.

Polar Express

There is a view from the ramps down from the Bullring to Moor Street Queensway.

Polar Express

Into the concourse then down the steps to Moor Street. Before that a few views as the Polar Star comes to a stop.

Polar Express

Seen with Chiltern Railways 68012 at platform 3. Platform 5 is the only platform yet to be restored at the station.

Polar Express

I have also seen the Polar Express from a train I was on the next day passing through Bordesley Station. Was a bit awkward getting photos from the train as it passed. Later saw some views of the Polar Express returning to Tyseley over the Bordesley Viaduct through Digbeth. Quite a sight to see!

At the back was as diesel locomotive D1755 47 773.

Bordesley Station D1755

I also noticed from my train that they have done up the Tyseley Locomotive Works around the Tyseley Warwick Road platform area for Christmas.

The Polar Express seen from the Bordesley Viaduct in Digbeth. The train was stationary on the viaduct, probably waiting for it's slot to go into Birmingham Moor Street Station. These views of 4965 Rood Ashton Hall / Polar Star from Oxford Street in Digbeth.

Polar Express on the Bordesley Viaduct

Was a bit difficult to see it from this side, heading from Bordesley Street. So walked under the viaduct for a look on the other side of Oxford Street.

Polar Express on the Bordesley Viaduct

On this side of Oxford Street, Rood Ashton Hall seen with a pub that the Peaky Blinder Pub was due to take over (used to be an Irish pub called O'Rourkes).

Polar Express on the Bordesley Viaduct

Had to walk further down Oxford Street and close to the Digbeth High Street.

Polar Express on the Bordesley Viaduct

These views of the back of the train. D1755 / 47 773 seen from Milk Street in Digbeth.

Polar Express on the Bordesley Viaduct

When you are up there, you don't realise how far down from the viaduct it is! The area is close to the Custard Factory, and various pieces of graffiti / street art.

Polar Express on the Bordesley Viaduct

Photos by Elliott Brown

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Inspiration

Transport
30 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Special liveries on Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains seen in Birmingham

This is not a heritage trains post, more showing photos of the special liveries Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains did to some of their trains around the Christmas period and at other times of the year. Chiltern Railways seen at Birmingham Moor Street Station. Virgin Trains seen at Birmingham New Street Station and at Coventry Station.

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Chiltern Railways

Runs trains on the Chiltern Mainline between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone. There main fast trains are the Class 68's with the Mark 3 carriages and driving van trailer (numbered as 823xx). Here we will look at a pair of 823xx trains at Birmingham Moor Street Station.

The Chiltern Santa Train seen at Birmingham Moor Street during December 2017. The driving van trailer was numbered 82302. Titan 68009 was at the front (but it's livery was not changed at the time).

Seen from platform 3. It had arrived at platform 4.

Chiltern Santa Train

Behind is Moor Street Car Park, Selfridges and the Rotunda.

Chiltern Santa Train

Heard that there was some nice views from Moor Street Car Park. So headed up to see. This was several floors up but not high enough.

Chiltern Santa Train

This view of the Santa Train from the top floor of the car park as a London Midland Class 172 arrived at platform 2 (West Midlands Railway would take over from London Midland a few days later).

Chiltern Santa Train

In November 2018 driving van trailer 82303 was in the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal temporary livery. Seen at Birmingham Moor Street.

I noticed a Chiltern train arriving at Moor Street from a bus I was on in Digbeth, so after I got off the bus outside of Selfridges, went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park for these views. Lamppost in the way. It was at platform 3.

Chiltern Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Headed right for a clearer view of the Poppy train. Derelict buildings in the background was used as a filming location for Ready Player One! (filmed in 2016 released in 2018).

Chiltern Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Close up look at the Poppy train. As I headed over the parametric bridge into Selfridges, the train started to leave for London.

Chiltern Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Virgin Trains

Runs trains on the West Coast Mainline between Birmingham New Street and London Euston (and also up to Scotland). They use Class 390 Pendolino's between Birmingham and London (and to other major cities along the West Coast Mainline such as Manchester and Liverpool).

Seen in late December 2014 at Birmingham New Street Station was the Traindeer. Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 112 (also known as Virgin Star). Was made to resemble a Christmas Reindeer! This livery was temporary. The train is currently unnamed.

Virgin Trains Traindeer

Seen at Coventry Station during October 2017 was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 040 in the Virgin Radio livery. This was temporary between April 2016 and November 2017.

Virgin Trains Virgin Radio

We're Back Virgin Radio.

Virgin Trains Virgin Radio

Seen at Birmingham New Street Station from the Moor Street link bridge during December 2016 was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390104. Alstom Pendolino. Formerly named "Virgin Scot". The co-branding between Alstom and Virgin was since September 2010.

Virgin Trains Alstom Pendolino

Another Moor Street link bridge view. This time it was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390103 (Virgin Hero). It was carrying the Royal British Legion livery commemorating the centenary of World War 1. Seen during March 2018.

Virgin Trains Royal British Legion

One more view from the Moor Street link bridge. Virgin Trains Pendolino 390151 (Virgin Ambassador), seen with the Business is Great livery during September 2017. Also known as the Virgin Trains Poppylino!

Virgin Trains Business is Great

The reflection of Business is Great in the shiny panels at New Street Station.

Virgin Trains Business is Great

 

Photos by Elliott Brown

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Gallery

Environment & green action
29 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Raining at Kings Heath Park in late November 2018

It's late November 2018 and we have a few days of wind and rain, probably due to Storm Diana. On a day when the rain wasn't too bad, I popped along for a walk around the wet Kings Heath Park. This time headed down to the bottom, then out via the Avenue Road exit. Started off from Vicarage Road.

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On a day with dull weather a quick walk around a wet Kings Heath Park. These walks normally take me around 10 minutes (am a fast walker). Weather was bad so after I finished the walk, walked back up the Vicarage Road towards the High Street and Alcester Road South. On a dry day, I might walk down Avenue Road and into Highbury Park, or towards Selly Park.

For me Kings Heath is easy to get to. On the 11C, or the 11A back home (the park is on the Outer Circle). The no 35 bus route also passes the park, as does the 27 and 76.

The path on the left from Vicarage Road heading towards the School of Horticulture Training. King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools are on the other side of the fence to the left. Trees have mostly shed their leaves here.

Kings Heath Park rain

Approaching Kings Heath House. Now the School of Horticulture Training. With the bad weather, wasn't anybody sitting or standing outside of the building. It's Grade II listed and dates to the early 19th century. A previous building was burnt down in 1791 during riots in Birmingham. In the late 18th century the house and grounds belonged to John Harwood. The Birmingham Horticultural Training School opened here in 1952.

Kings Heath Park rain

Main entrance to the house. Now a ramp for those with wheelchairs or pushchairs. The tea room is over to the right. Palm trees outside remind you of the summer gone and the summer to come.

Kings Heath Park rain

Kings Heath Park Nursery. These look like palm trees to me outside (they are probably not - am not sure on tree species).

Kings Heath Park rain

Christmas decorations inside. Plants for sale. An open greenhouse.

Kings Heath Park rain

Heading down to the bottom end of the park close to the Camp Hill line, past this field. Lots of trees around, mostly leave-less now.

Kings Heath Park rain

Saw this robin on the path. Zoomed in on it. If you get to close they tend to fly away!

Robin in Kings Heath Park

Some steps down to the field at the bottom of the park. Trees still in leaf must be evergreen!

Raining in Kings Heath Park

The leaves on this tree have gone blood red and has left a pile of leaves below it!

Rain in Kings Heath Park

Field at the bottom of the park.

Rain at Kings Heath Park

Up the path from the bottom of the park as the rain came down. The branches of the trees forming a canopy, but that wouldn't stop you getting wet in the rain! Leaves on the lawn remind you that it is still autumn as winter approaches.

Rain at Kings Heath Park

More trees with leaves still to be shed. Quite yellowy brown now. Heading up to the Avenue Road exit.

Rain at Kings Heath Park

Saw this empty basketball court. Normally if someone was playing in here, or in one of the tennis courts, I wouldn't take a photo. Puddles all over the court. Would probably get splashed if you jumped up to throw a basketball into the hoop!

Rain at Kings Heath Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Architecture
28 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Castles within the West Midlands region

Lets take a look at some of the castles that remain in the West Midlands region. Dudley Castle (West Midlands county), Tamworth Castle (Staffordshire), Kenilworth Castle and Warwick Castle (Warwickshire). Dudley also includes a zoo. Warwick is now like a Merlin Entertainments place. Kenilworth is English Heritage ruins and gardens. Tamworth is small but intact.

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Dudley Castle

Located in Dudley, West Midlands, these days it is a part of Dudley Zoo. It is on Castle Hill. A Grade I listed building.

A castle was built here soon after the Norman Conquest and was a wooden motte and bailey castle. The castle was rebuilt as a stone fortification in the 12th century, but was demolished in the orders of King Henry II. The castle was rebuilt during the 13th century. The tower we see today above the zoo was built in the 14th century. It was slighted by Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War. There is a pair of Russian cannons that were brought back from the Crimean War. They were brought to Dudley in 1857. You can see one below from the view above the track at the zoo.

Dudley Castle

One of the stone walls and corner turrets at Dudley Castle, seen within the grounds of Dudley Zoo. This dates from the 14th century.

Dudley Castle

Dudley Castle can be seen from many places in Dudley Town Centre. This is the view from close to Dudley Sixth Form College. You can see how badly slighted the tower was on the right from here.

Dudley Castle

This view was from Priory Park in Dudley. England flag flying proudly.

Dudley Castle

This view of Dudley Castle was from Trindle Road in Dudley. The turret from the wall is seen below. From this view taken in October 2016, you can see both of the Russian cannons. Dudley currently has no railway station, but there might be a future Midland Metro line through the town. At present you can get buses there from Birmingham (bus stops are close to outside of the zoo).

Dudley Castle

Tamworth Castle

Located in Tamworth, Staffordshire. While the castle is now in Staffordshire, before boundary changes in 1889 it used to be in Warwickshire.

You might enter the castle grounds via the Holloway Lodge. A Grade II listed building, it resembles a castle gatehouse. The lodge was built in 1810. Tamworth Castle itself can be seen from above and is a Grade I listed building. A Norman castle built in 1080. The site served as the residence of the Mercian kings during the Anglo Saxon period, but fell into disuse during the Viking invasions.

Tamworth Castle - Holloway Lodge

Within the Castle Grounds there is a statue of Ethelfleda (also known as Æthelflæd). She was the The Lady of the Mercians in 913. The statue dates to 1000 years later in 1913 and is Grade II listed. She was the daughter of Alfred the Great. She led the defence of Mercia against the Danes, fortified Tamworth and other towns.

Tamworth Castle - Statue of Ethelfleda

Tamworth Castle seen on top of the hill. Was a motte and bailey castle. Rebuilt in the 12th century, with repairs and reconstruction during the 13th century. The castle is now a museum. In March 2012 I couldn't see if it was open or not.

Tamworth Castle

Heading up the path, getting closer to Tamworth Castle for a walk around the perimeter. Was nice views of the River Anker from up here. The castle was continuously in use from the 11th and 12th centuries until the 17th century. From the 16th century it was adapted as a residence, but fell into disrepair by the 18th century. The castle was sold to the Tamworth Corporation in the late 19th century (now Tamworth Borough Council).

Tamworth Castle

A look round the back of the castle close up. The council has regularly maintained the castle and turned it into a tourist attraction. The grounds have been landscaped. You can get a train to Tamworth Station from Birmingham New Street, if you wish to visit this castle.

Tamworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Located in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. It is now managed by English Heritage. It's a Grade I listed building, and was built from the Norman period to the Tudor period. The castle was the subject of a six month long Siege of Kenilworth in 1266. The castle was founded in the 1120s around a Norman great tower.

From this view you can see the Leicester's Building and The Great Tower, as you enter the castle grounds. On the August 2017 bank holiday weekend was an event called the Clash of Knights (actors were in medieval costumes).

Kenilworth Castle

A view of the ruined  Leicester's Building. Below was tents and canopies for that medieval bank holiday weekend event that took place at the time. Recreating what it could have been like in the 12th, 13th or 14th centuries. This tower block was built between 1571 and 1572 by Queen Elizabeth I's favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. It was built to provide private lodgings for the queen and her close servants. She visited in 1572 and again in 1575.

Kenilworth Castle

This is The Great Tower. Kenilworth Castle was founded in the 1120s by Geoffrey de Clinton, Lord Chamberlain and treasurer to Henry I. The tower is one of the castles earliest surviving features. The Norman keep, or 'great tower' was always the most commanding building at the castle. Most of the base structure was built from 1124 until 1130. King John added an open fighting gallery around 1210 to 1215. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester altered it in the late 16th century. He enlarged the window openings and may have used the upper floors to display paintings. During the Civil War in the 1640s, it was slighted.

Kenilworth Castle

There are steps up to the Strong Tower. This view was from outside of the Great Tower. You can climb up to the top. There are views of the Outer Court from the window openings of the ruined tower. Underneath there was also cellars that you can have a look at. This tower, along with the Great Hall to the left was built between 1373 and 1380 by John of Gaunt, the third son of Edward III. These parts of the castle were slighted during the Civil War in the 1640s and 1650s.

Kenilworth Castle

The view of the castle from the Elizabethan Garden. From here you can see the Great Tower on the left. The garden is a recreation of the The Queen's Privy Garden. There are car parks at the castle, but you can also park at car parks in Kenilworth Town Centre, and get a free bus to the castle from Johnsons (this was on the Bank Holiday visit, not sure if they do that when it's not a bank holiday). Since Spring 2018 when Kenilworth Station opened, that has given visitors from Birmingham an alternate route to get to the castle. Trains from Birmingham New Street to Coventry, then on the branch line to Leamington Spa (get off at Kenilworth). Or from Birmingham Snow Hill (or Solihull) towards Leamington Spa. Change trains towards Coventry. The castle is a 20 minute walk away from the station in Kenilworth.

Kenilworth Castle

Warwick Castle

Located in Warwick, Warwickshire. It is operated by Merlin Entertainments. It's a medieval castle that started after the Norman Conquest and was developed from 1068 onwards. It is next to the River Avon.

Seen from Castle Hill next to this roundabout is the Warwick Castle Lodge. It is a Grade II listed building and was built from 1796 until 1797 by Samuel Muddiman and John Williams. It has Neo-Gothic details. You can enter the castle grounds from this lodge. Tickets for the castle can be quite pricey, but it maybe possible to get an online discount.

Warwick Castle Lodge

The castle was bought by the Tussauds Group in 1978, hence why there are loads of waxwork figures around the castle. The castle started off as a motte and bailey castle. It was later rebuilt in stone during the 12th century. The facade opposite the town was refortified during the Hundred Years War in the 14th century. In 1604 it was granted to Sir Fulke Greville by James I. The Greville family, who became Earls of Warwick in 1759 held it until Tussauds bought it in 1978.

This is a view of Guy's Tower. Probably named after Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick, during the 14th century.

Warwick Castle

This is a view of the Caesar's Tower. The view was from Banbury Road in Warwick. It also dates to the 14th century. The towers dominate the skyline of Warwick from the nearby houses in the area. The town centre isn't that far from the castle. It's well worth a look for it's mix of architecture.

Warwick Castle

Usually on my visits to Warwick, I'm just there to have a look around the town, so the earlier photos didn't get to see the castle from the river. In May 2016 I found a view of the castle from the Castle Bridge on Banbury Road. From here you can see people on paddle boats that look like swans or dragons. Boat hire is from St Nicholas Park. There is a weir at the far end of the river, so people in the boats have to turn back.

Warwick Castle

The castle really does look magnificent from here! Queen Elizabeth I visited the castle in 1566 and again in 1572. John Dudley was granted the castle in 1547 and was given the title Earl of Warwick. The title went extinct in 1590 on the death of Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick (an elder brother of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester who owned Kenilworth Castle). There is almshouses in Warwick called Lord Leycester Hospital. Robert Dudley founded it in 1571. You can get trains on the Chiltern Mainline from Birmingham Snow Hill or Solihull to Warwick. The castle is a short walk away from there.

Warwick Castle

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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55 passion points

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Architecture
26 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

National Trust properties in Warwickshire

Let's head out of Birmingham and into Shakespeare's County, Warwickshire with a look at four National Trust properties that you can visit. Coughton Court, Packwood House, Baddesley Clinton and Charlecote Park. The best time to go is usually in the spring or summer, although early autumn the weather would be fine to go. But you can visit them in any season!

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Coughton Court

It's a Grade I listed building, located between Studley and Alcester in Warwickshire. It is an English Tudor country house. The Coughton estate has been owned by the Throckmorton family since 1409. The gatehouse at Coughton was built as early as 1536. The courtyard was closed on all four sides until 1651, when Parliamentary soldiers burnt the fourth (east) wing during the English Civil War.

The West Front with two wings either side of it. The North Wing is on the left, while The South Wing is to the right. The Gatehouse is made of Limestone ashlar. The wings are timber framed with lath, plaster infill and brick.

Coughton Court - West Front

This view of the courtyard seen with the Formal Garden from the other side of the River Arrow. The entrance is via the bottom of the Gatehouse. You can only go into the South Wing of the house. The North Wing is the private residence of the current members of the family. The East Wing must have survived until a fire in 1688. It was demolished in the 1780s.

Coughton Court - court yard view

You can head up a spiral staircase while on your visit to the house and get wonderful views of the estate from the roof. It is on the top of the Gatehouse. This view towards the Formal Garden, with the North Wing on the left and the South Wing on the right. The missing East Wing (burnt in the 17th century, demolished in the 18th) would have completed the courtyard.

Coughton Court - roof top view

The Dining Room. It was the Great Chamber in Elizabethan times. The principal first-floor reception room where the Throckmortons would have entertained important guests. It appears to have become a Dining Room in the early 19th century.

Coughton Court - Dining Room

The Parlour. A bit like a lounge or living room. The room was off The Saloon Passage. It couldn't be The Yellow Drawing Room  as that room is in The Gatehouse to the left of the staircase.

Coughton Court - Parlour

Packwood House

It's a Grade I listed building, located near Lapworth in Warwickshire. The National Trust has owned it since 1941. It's a timber-framed Tudor manor house. The house was built for  John Fetherston between 1556 and 1560. The  last member of the Fetherston family died in 1876. In 1904 a Birmingham industrialist Alfred Ash purchased the house. It was inherited by Graham Baron Ash in 1925. The great barn of the farm was converted into a Tudor-style hall and was connected to the main house by the addition of a Long Gallery in 1931.

The West Front of Packwood House. There is sundial on this side. There is a drive around the lawn. There used to be an uninterrupted view of the house from this side. The 'Birmingham entrance' is how the owner Graham Baron Ash used to refer to this part of his estate. So when he requested a ride in his white Rolls Royce for business his chauffeur would know which entrance to park in readiness. But there has been a hedge in the way since the National Trust took over. They are hoping to reinstate the old carriageway to it's former glory.

Packwood House - West Front

The South Front seen from the Raised Terrace and Carolean Garden. The house is also known as Mr Ash's House. Baron Ash donated the house to the National Trust in 1941, but continued to live here until 1947, when he moved to Wingfield Castle.

Packwood House - South Front

The main entrance to the house and gardens is via the gate to the left. Seen from Packwood Lane to the right is the Outbuildings. Built in the mid 17th century, they were originally barns. Baron Ash converted them to rooms as part of the house, as if they were always like that (they weren't). Inside during your visit you will go into the Long Gallery and the Great Hall. Both are lined with old tapestries and period furniture. The Great Hall is a Tudor style hall with a sprung floor for dancing.

Packwood House - Outbuildings

The Entrance Hall is the first room you would enter. If you have a large bag, then you can give it to a volunteer who would put it in trunk, and they would give you a token (which you would give back when coming back to collect your bag before going back outside). There is a portrait of King Henry VIII to the right. Above is a balcony / passageway that leads to the Fetherston Room (which has photos from the early 20th century showing Baron Ash's change to the house).

Packwood House - Entrance Hall

The Drawing Room. There is two rooms dedicated to Queen Mary (the wife of George V) as she visited the house in 1927. A chair she sat in the Great Hall is in this room, and a cup she drank tea from is now in a glass case. There is a piano to the right of the room.

Packwood House - Drawing Room

Baddesley Clinton

A Grade I listed building, it is a moated manor house, located 8 miles north-west of Warwick in Warwickshire. The house originated in the 13th century. The manor was purchased in 1438 by John Brome, who passed it to his son, Nicholas Brome. The house ended up in the Ferrers family possession from the 16th century until they sold it to the National Trust in 1980.

The view of the moated manor house from the Forecourt. There is a bridge over the moat that leads to the inner courtyard.

Baddesley Clinton - from the Forecourt

The moat goes all the way around the house. This view is from the Walled Garden. There is coat of arms on all the windows around the house. There used to be a bridge on this side, if you notice the stonework to the bottom of the middle chimney breast. There is a room with a view on the first floor that was built in 1460, which is to the left of where the bridge used to be. It was probably removed when the current bridge was built along with the gatehouse in 1536.

Baddesley Clinton - from the Walled Garden

After crossing the bridge over the moat, you enter the Inner Courtyard. It has a formal garden in the middle. One side of the garden you can see the moat and the path on the other side. Entrance to the house is this way.

Baddesley Clinton - Inner Courtyard

The Great Hall. At this end is a fireplace in the middle of the room, and a pair of doors leading to the drawing room and a small dining room. Tapestry was on the wall to the left.

Baddesley Clinton - Great Hall

The Priest's Bedroom on the first floor. A bit of a small Catholic chapel. During Elizabethan times it was illegal to be Catholic, and houses like this had a priest hole (to hide the priest). You can find the priest hole from the kitchen (steps goes below a trapdoor). It would have been used in the 1590s.

Baddesley Clinton - Priest's Bedroom

Charlecote Park

A Grade I listed building surrounded by it's own deer park, on the banks of the River Avon near Wellesbourne, about 4 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon and 5.5 miles south of Warwick. It is a grand 16th century country house. The National Trust has administered it since 1946. The Lucy family owned the land from 1247. Charlecote Park was built in 1558 by Sir Thomas Lucy.

As you approach the house from the entrance gate, you see the Gatehouse. Don't be surprised if you see deer crossing from one section of the lawn to the other (over the path), after all this is a deer park! The Gatehouse is a Grade I listed building and was built in 1560. Brick laid to English bond with limestone ashlar dressings. There is exhibition rooms on both sides of the gatehouse, although you can't go to the upper floors. One room had a bit of Lucy family history. The other room at the time of my visit was set up like a Red Cross World War One hospital room (with a bed). People with walking difficulties, can get a golf buggy to take them around the estate.

Charlecote Park - Gatehouse

After passing the Gatehouse, you get your first view of the house. Once known as Charlecote Hall, today it is simply known as just Charlecote Park. A magnificent view, especially on a day with a blue sky (like this one in early September 2018). The house begun construction in 1558. It was expanded in the 19th century. The extensions were built for George and Mary Elizabeth Lucy. The house entrance is straight ahead.

Charlecote Park - The House

This view of the house from the Parterre. A formal garden with colourful flowers. It is next to the River Avon on this side, with fine views of the Deer Park. The area to the right of the house is private.

Charlecote Park - from the Parterre

The Dining Room at Charlecote Park. A long table laid out as it could have been like in the 19th century for the Lucy family. The house is now much more Victorian than Elizabethan, as George Hammond Lucy (who inherited in 1823), recreated the house in his own style (he was High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1831).

Charlecote Park - Dining Room

The Library. Table and chairs laid out for reading next to the fireplace. There is portraits around the room with Tudor and Stuart King's and Queen's as well as members of the Lucy family. Elizabeth I and Charles I are above the fireplace. Queen Elizabeth I actually once stayed at Charlecote in the room that is now the Drawing Room.

Charlecote Park - The Library

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Civic pride
25 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

James Brindley: Canal Engineer of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Old Mainline

You maybe wondering who Brindleyplace is named after? That would be the canal engineer James Brindley who was approached in 1767 to propose a route for a canal from Birmingham to the Black Country. He died in 1772 a bit before the BCN Old Mainline was completed. He also started the Coventry Canal.

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James Brindley

He was born in 1716 in Tunstead, Derbyshire, and lived most of his life in Leek, Staffordshire, becoming one of the major engineers of the 18th century. He died in 1772. The canals he is known as being engineer for in the Midlands include the: Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, the Coventry Canal, and the Birmingham Canal. These were mostly engineered in the 1760s and 1770s. Other engineers such as Thomas Telford later reworked his canals decades after his death (such as building a straightened canal from Birmingham to Wolverhampton). This left many of Brindley's canal sections as loops of the Mainline.

James Brindley

There used to be a pub at Gas Street Basin near Bridge Street called The James Brindley. I don't ever recall seeing it open, as from the late 2000s and into the 2010s it was derelict and closed. At least until it was refurbished as The Canal House. It was near what is now Regency Wharf, and area called Old Wharf of the Birmingham Canal. Which existed from 1772 until 1931. It lay beyond Bridge Street (so probably on the Arena Central site now, and what used to be the ATV / Central TV studios site). The Paradise Street offices of the BCN was near there to (until demolition in 1913). There is a black plaque with that information on it nearby here.

The James Brindley

The Canal House was opened in 2017. The redevelopment of the former James Brindley pub / bar. Looks much better compared to what was there before! You can see the bridge to the left that has been blocked off since Old Wharf was filled in back in 1931. With all the Arena Central buildings going up, it's unlikely that Old Wharf would get restored and be part of that development.

The Canal House near Old Wharf

A look at Brindleyplace. It was named after Brindley Place the name of the street around which the development was built (which in turn was named after James Brindley himself). Was built from 1993 onwards. The last building was completed in 2009. This view of The Water's Edge, which was the first part to be completed in 1994. The Brindleyplace Bridge links the development to The ICC (International Convention Centre). Steps lead up from the canal towpath, but there is a lift nearby for disabled people. From here, people can get narrowboat rides with Sherborne Wharf. There is also a Floating Coffee boat on the other side.

Brindleyplace - The Water's Edge

When the BCN New Mainline opened in 1827, it caused sections of the old line to become loops. The closest part in the City Centre or Ladywood, is the Oozells Loop (I've been calling it the Oozells Street Loop for years). There is now modern apartment buildings around most of the loop, and some parts are private. Seen here from the Browning Street Footbridge towards the Ladywood Junction Footbridge. Watermarque is on one side and King Edward's Wharf on the other. There is usually many narrowboats moored down there.

Oozells Loop

You can see the Icknield Port Loop from Edgbaston Reservoir. This view below was taken in 2011 from the dam. It was originally called the Rotton Park Loop. The land around it has been derelict for years, and had been no pedestrian or vehicle access. But this site will get redeveloped soon with new apartment buildings, bringing it back to life similar to at the Oozells Loop and Brindleyplace areas. The skyline has changed quite a bit since then!

Icknield Port Loop

A look at some parts of the Birmingham Canal towards Wolverhampton, this is just a look at Brindley's old line, not Telford's new line, so the canal is quite curvy or bendy!

Seen in Smethwick, Sandwell the BCN Old Mainline seen heading towards Wolverhampton from Spon Lane South. Above the canal is the M5 motorway. Telford's New Mainline is a little bit further to the left of this area (and that is a straight cutting compared to this curved one). Volunteers from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society are seen to be picking up litter out of the canal, during March 2017.

BCN Old Mainline in Smethwick

At Oldbury in Sandwell, the BCN Old Mainline now seen under the M5 Motorway. This was close to the Manchester Street Bridge, and looking in the direction of Oldbury Junction (with the Titford Canal).

BCN Old Mainline - Oldbury

Seen on a nice sunny day in Tipton in late November 2017, on the BCN Old Mainline at Tipton Junction. To the left is the Dudley Tunnel via the Dudley No. 1 Canal, it also leads to the Stourbridge Canal. Wolverhampton is to the right on the old Birmingham Canal. The old and new Birmingham canals merge at Factory Junction in Tipton.

BCN Old Mainline - Tipton

The Birmingham Canal (Wolverhampton Level), seen between Cable Street and Bilston Road in Wolverhampton. A pair of cyclists are seen passing the old warehouses ahead. The twisting and turning of the canal up here shows that Thomas Telford did not alter James Brindley's original line north of Deepfields (that is where the Wednesbury Oak Loop leaves the Mainline). The Midland Metro line is close to here on the Bilston Road.

Birmingham Canal Wolverhampton Level

Close to Wolverhampton Station and near the end of the BCN Mainline is this section of the canal. To the left is Broad Street Basin. The original Broad Street Bridge is now at the Black Country Living Museum, so the bridge we see there today is a replica. This is close to Wednesfield Road in Wolverhampton.

BCN Mainline in Wolverhampton close to Broad Street Basin

Next we take a look at the Coventry Canal Basin where you would find a statue of James Brindley.

James Brindley was engineer on the Coventry Canal from 1768 until 1769. The canal had reached Atherstone in 1769 by the time the canal company had run out of money and he had been replaced. Still he completed the canal basin in 1769.

The bronze statue of James Brindley (leaning over his desk) is by the sculptor James Butler and was made in 1998. This view near a finger post point to Birmingham, Fradley and Braunston.

James Brindley statue at the Coventry Canal Basin

A close up look at the James Brindley statue in Coventry. The canal basin is close to Leicester Row in Coventry.

James Brindley statue at the Coventry Canal Basin

This view of the Coventry Canal Basin is at the start or end of the canal. Warehouses to the right next to Leicester Row. The statue of Brindley is to the left. Valley Cruises Coventry Canal have hire boats from here.

Coventry Canal Basin

These warehouses (in this view to the left) of the Coventry Canal Basin mostly post date James Brindley's time on the Coventry Canal, and date from 1787, the 19th century and 1914. They are Grade II listed buildings. The Coventry Canal Basin Trust are based around here.

Coventry Canal Basin

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Gallery

Photography
22 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Italian Lakes

A selection of photos from the Italian Lakes (also going over into Switzerland). Lake Garda was an amazing lake to visit with many towns around it. Lake Como was also nice with many towns and places to visit. Lake Maggiore had a palace on an island that you can visit. Lake Lugano goes between Italy and Switzerland. Many of these lakes have ferries and boats that you can go on.

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Lake Garda

The following photos were taken during July 2010 in Northern Italy.

Boats seen from the town of Garda, this was where we were based during that week on Lake Garda. World flags.

Boats on Lake Garda seen from Garda

Bardolino was not too far from Garda. More boats and more world flags. The visit to this town was on a free day.

Boats at Bardolino on Lake Garda

Boats seen in the town of Castelletto. That day we went all the way around Lake Garda on the coach and we had certain stops at certain points, to have a look around.

Boats at Castelletto on Lake Garda

You could get ferries across Lake Garda, and one day we went past Salo on a ferry. A few days later we headed to this town. Boats seen on the coastline. The day of this visit was during the coach tour of Lake Garda. We were following the holiday rep towards the main square in Salo.

Boats on Salo from Lake Garda

The view from the Apponale Tower at Riva del Garda. This town is at the top tip of Lake Garda. The visit during the day of getting the coach all the way around the lake. The cost to go up the tower was €1. In Italian it is called La Torre Apponale. The tower dates to at least 1273 or earlier. It is 34 metres high.

Riva del Garda from the Apponale Tower

Castello Scaligero is a 13th century castle in the town of Sirmione. It is at the bottom tip of Lake Garda. It was built by the Scaliger family. Construction started in 1277 by Martino della Scala. The town was an important military centre until the 16th century. Sirmione was a part of the Republic of Venice from 1405 until 1797 when the Austrians took over. Sirmione became a part of a unified Italy in 1888. The visit to Sirmione was by a car ferry, a journey which started at Garda, then went over to Salo, then down to Sirmione.

Castello Scaligero - Sirmione

This is one of the views from Castello Scaligero di Malcesine in the town of Malcesine. You get amazing views of Lake Garda from up here. It was built by the Lombards during the middle of the first millennium, and destroyed by the Franks in 590. It was rebuilt by 806. It became property of the Scala family from 1277 until 1387. Over the centuries it has been occupied by various different powers such as the Republic of Venice, later the French and Austrian Empires. The Austrians had it until 1866 when it was handed to the Italians after reunification of Italy. The visit to Malcesine was also on a free day.

Castello Scaligero di Malcesine view of a beach

The car ferry called Brescia seen arriving at Garda. This was the boat that we travelled over one of the days on Lake Garda. This view below was during our final morning on the lake before we returned to Verona Airport. The usual thing with these holidays is that you have to wait around at the hotel for hours before your coach comes to pick up up to take you back to the airport.

Brescia car ferry arriving at Garda

This view from the car ferry we were on was of the hydrofoil boat named Goethe. The day we headed to Gardone Riviera to visit a garden. The boat was probably named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German writer and statesmen. Goethe was caught doing drawings in Malcesine and was arrested as a spy during his visit in 1786.

Goethe hydrofoil boat on Lake Garda

Lake Como

The following photos were taken during June 2016 in Northern Italy.

We arrived at Bellagio on a small boat (seen below) from Villa del Balbianello (after a tour of the villa). Was a wet day, but had stopped raining by the time we got to the wonderful town of Bellagio on Lake Como.

Adda ferry and a boat at Bellagio on Lake Como

Bellagio's splendid architecture seen with Lake Como. Plenty of restaurants and shops here. We got the car ferry Adda later back to our hotel at Cadenabbia from near here.

Bellagio from Lake Como

View of Cadenabbia from the car ferry Adda we travelled on from Bellagio back to our hotel. You can see the dock where the boat will eventually stop. Plenty of hotels and bars along that coastline in Cadenabbia. Many mountains around too!

Cadenabbia from Lake Como

On our free day, we travelled down to the City of Como on a hydrofoil boat from Tremezzo (after a morning at Villa Carlotta). It was very fast. The boat was named Citta di Como.

Hydrofoil boat at Como

Arriving at the City of Como on the hydrofoil boat. Not far from Piazza Cavour. Wonderful historic architecture here. Lots of fountains. Plenty of restaurants and shops. They also have a railway station here. We later left not by boat, but by bus (much slower journey) to return to the hotel at Cadenabbia.

Como from Lake Como

Tremezzo was a short distance away on foot from the hotel in Cadenabbia. Plenty of bars down here. Plus lake side swimming pools! You can also visit Villa Carlotta down here, or get the ferry.

Tremezzo buildings near Lake Como

Kept seeing this road train around the towns of Lake Como. The Trombetta Express seen not far from outside of Villa Carlotta near Tremezzo. At this point it was outside of the Oratorio Sommariva (The Sommariva Oratory). While we didn't ride this road train, did days later on a visit to Lugano in Switzerland go on the road train there, while near Lake Lugano.

Road train at Tremezzo

A visit to Villa Carlotta. It is between Cadenabbia and Tremezzo on Lake Como. It was built for the Milanese marquis Giorgio Clerici in 1690. It was completed in 1745 and remained in the hands of Marquis Clerici until 1795.

Villa Carlotta

Stunning views of Lake Como and the mountains around it from the balcony at Villa Carlotta. Was also some nice gardens to explore during the visit here as well.

Villa Carlotta

A visit to Villa del Balbianello for a guided tour of the villa. I did not take any photos inside (not sure if that was allowed). The villa was built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery for the Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini. There was wonderful gardens here. On our visit there was a torrential rain storm, so wasn't much chance to fully explore the garden before leaving on the boat to Bellagio.

Villa del Balbianello

A few days later on a day with beter sunny weather, got this view of the villa from the hydrofoil boat we got down to the City of Como. Plenty of mountains and trees on both sides of Lake Como.

Villa del Balbianello

Lake Maggiore

The following photos were taken during June 2016 in Northern Italy.

A couple of boats on Lake Maggiore seen from the town of Stresa. Earlier that day we had got a boat from Stresa to Isola Bella to visit Borromeo Palace. We didn't go onto Isola Madre like some people did, and instead returned for a look around Stresa in the afternoon.

Stresa on Lake Maggiore

A road train seen in Stresa.This one was called The TourisTic Tour. From DottoTrains. It was on the Corso Umberto I at the time near the Hotel Milan Au Lac.

Road train in Stresa

A view of Lake Maggiore from the coach heading towards Stresa. Mountains around this lake too!

Lake Maggiore from the coach

Isola dei Pescatori seen from the boat on Lake Maggiore. We were heading towards Isola Bella. It's name means Fishermen’s Island. We did not visit that island. There is restaurants on the island providing fish caught by the local fishermen.

Isola dei Pescatori - Lake Maggiore

Approaching Isola Bella for a visit to the Borromeo Palace. From this view the Teatro Massimo (Theatre Maximum) is seen to the left. The palace and the gardens was well worth a visit, at such a unique location!

Isola Bella - Lake Maggiore

Exterior of the Borromeo Palace on Isola Bella after our visit. The entrance was round to the right. It dates to the 17th century and was built by members of the House of Borromeo.

Borromeo Palace - Isola Bella - Lake Maggiore

A view of the Teatro Massimo (Theatre Maximum) from the gardens of the palace.

Teatro Massimo - Isola Bella - Lake Maggiore

Lake Lugano

The following photos were taken during June 2016 in Switzerland.

The coach journey from Italy into Switzerland along the coast of Lake Lugano. This lake is in both countries. Lots of tall mountains along the way. Was tunnels at the border control.

Lake Lugano from the coach

The approach to the city of Lugano on the coach, with Lake Lugano to the left. Architecture was very Italianette here.

Lake Lugano arriving at Lugano

One of the first things we did in Lugano was ride on the Lugano City Tour (road train). They accept Euros or Swiss Francs. A nice tour around this Swiss city. The tour starts near to the Piazza Manzoni. This view from the road train I was on, the Red Arrow. View of the starting point, also where it later ended.

Lugano City Tour

Boats on Lake Lugano seen from the Lugano. Didn't go on a boat trip while we were here though. Went to an art gallery while we were there.

Lake Lugano from Lugano - boats

Would assume that you could hire these boats? The walk along the lake front towards a park. They have a lot of nice pieces of public artwork here too. Many of these lakes have small beaches. There was a beach here to the right of this view below.

Lake Lugano from Lugano - boats

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Architecture
21 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Palaces in France, Italy and Spain

Photos of palaces that I've seen on various holidays over the years in France, Italy and Spain. In cities such as Lyon and Paris in France, Florence and Naples in Italy, and Seville and Granada in Spain. Some of them are now museums or town halls.

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Florence, Italy

This building is the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, located in the Piazza della Signoria. The square is usually crowded with tourists. There is a replica statue of Michelangelo's David outside of the palace. The palace is the town hall of Florence. It's original name was the Palazzo della Signoria after the Signoria of Florence, the ruling body of the Republic of Florence. It has had several other names in the past. The Grand Duke of Tuscany resided there, until they moved over to the other side of the River Arno to the Palazzo Pitti (over there is where you would find Boboli Gardens). The Uffizi Gallery is nearby over to the right (had a visit to that gallery). The Loggia dei Lanzi which is full of classical statues is over to the right. Seen here in June 2018.

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

Naples, Italy

This is the Palazzo Reale in the City of Naples in Southern Italy. Was formerly the Royal Palace, and was one of four residences for the Bourbon Kings of Naples during their rule of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies (1730-1860). Mostly built in the 17th century. It is in a square called the Piazza Trieste e Trento. These days the palace houses the Teatro San Carlo and the smaller Teatrino di Corte, the Biblioteca nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board. Seen here in July 2012.

Palazzo Reale in Naples

Verona, Italy

This palace in Verona, Italy is in the Piazza Bra, not far from the Verona Arena (Roman amphitheatre). It is the Palazzo Barbieri. It is a Neoclassical style palace. The palace was originally named the Palazzo della Gran Guardia Nuova and housed staff associated with the occupying Austrian Army forces. The building is now a town hall. It was built between 1836 and 1848. The visit to Verona was in July 2010.

Palazzo Barbieri in Verona

Seville, Spain

A look at the Real Alcázar in Seville. Seen shortly after walking into the courtyard, this area is the Patio de la Monteria leading to the Palacio Mudéjar. The Alacazar was a Moorish palace, and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Almohades was the first to build a palace here on the site of the current Alcazar. You can see Islamic art all over this palace, due to the fact that at one point in history, much of Spain was ruled by the Moors, until the reconquest of Spain. Although the palace we see today, was mostly a Christian palace in the Islamic architecture style, as the previous Abbadid Muslim residential fortress was destroyed after the Christian reconquest of Seville. My visit to the Alcazar was during June 2014.

Real Alcazar in Seville

Granada, Spain

Seen during a guided tour of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Was an Arabic palace and fortress built during the Islamic period of Spain. After the Christian reconquest the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella. It was built during the decline of the Nasrid dynasty. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was during the tour of the Nasrid Palaces. At this stage I was at the Comares Palace - Chamber of the Ambassadors. Basically this was near the Throne Room. The palace here was the official residence of the king. As with the Alcazar in Seville, you can clearly see Islamic or Moorish art styles all over the palace, especially when exploring inside! Well worth a visit. I went on the guided tour during June 2014.

The Alhambra in Granada

Cordoba, Spain

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Andalusia, Spain. This is the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Spanish for "Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs". The fortress was one of the residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. In early medieval times this was the site of a Visigoth fortress. When the Visigoths fell to the Umayyad conquest, the Umayyad rebuilt the structure. They later fell to the Abbasid Caliphate. The surviving member of the Umayyad Dynasty fled to Cordoba and used the Alcazar as their palace. Christian forces reconquered Cordoba in 1236. Construction of the present building began in 1328. Only part of the Moorish ruins remained, but it mostly looks like an Islamic structure as Alfonso XI of Castileused the Mudéjar style. After a period for somewhere to garrison Napoleon's troops in the 1810s, The Alcázar became a prison in 1821. The Spanish government made it a tourist attraction and national monument from 1950. The visit to Cordoba was in June 2014 (half way between Seville and Granada).

Alcazar in Cordoba

Aix-en-Provence, France

This building is the Palais de l'Archeveche in the city of Aix-en-Provence in Southern France (formerly the Archbishops Palace). It now houses the Musee des Tapisseries (Tapestry Museum). It dates to 1650-1730. The architect was Laurent Vallon. The Tapestry Museum is on the first floor of the palace in what was the state apartments. The tapstries were hidden during the French Revolution, and were discovered 50 years later hidden in the roof. The visit to this museum in Aix-en-Provence was during May 2011.

Musee des Tapisseries - Palais de l'Archeveche - Aix-en-Provence

Lyon, France

This building was formerly a Benedictine convent of the 17th and 18th centuries, but is now the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. It's name in French is Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. It is located in the Place des Terreaux in Lyon. The building was restored between 1988 and 1998 but remained open to visitors during that time. It has a range of exhibits from ancient Egyptian art to the modern art period. There is a garden within a courtyard as you walk in or out of the museum with statues. They also have a collection of artworks from the Impressionists such as Monet and Picasso. There is fine views of the square outside where you can see a fountain (it was being restored in 2017). The visit to this museum in Lyon was during June 2017.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

Paris, France

Seen from the opposite side of the River Seine on a coach tour of Paris was the Louvre. Originally it was the Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace). A fortress built in the medieval period,it became a Royal Palace in the 14th century under Charles V of France. It was used from time to time as the main residence of the Kings of France. During the French Revolution is became the Musée du Louvre. The Old Louvre is on the site of 12th century fortress built by King Philip Augustus, while the New Louvre is the name given to the wings and extensions built during the time of Napoleon I and Napoleon III. Although this was originally the grand design of King Henry IV of France  in the late 16th century. When Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles as his main Palace in 1682, the Louvre was mostly left to display the royal collection. The Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture were in the building for 100 years from 1692 until the French Revolution. Passed through Paris on the way back from the Loire Valley in July 2009, before getting the Eurostar back to the UK.

Musée du Louvre Paris

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. From different summer holidays (these weren't all in the same year).

Verona was in summer 2010. Naples was summer 2012. Florence was summer 2018. Seville, Granada and Cordoba was summer 2014. Aix-en-Provence was spring 2011. Lyon was summer 2017. Paris was summer 2009.

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Architecture
19 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Red brick Victorian buildings at the Colmore Estate

There might be new buildings going up in the Colmore Business District, but there are examples of red brick / terracotta / stone buildings still there from the Victorian period. Some are just facades with a modern building behind. Architects such as J. H. Chamberlain, William Martin & Frederick Martin left there mark in the area. Most examples from the late 19th century.

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Old Royal - Church Street / Cornwall Street

This public house is Grade II listed and dates to the late 19th century (around 1898). It's at 53 - 55 Church Street. Was a rebuilding of a previous pub on the same site called the Red Lion for Alfred Homer, by the architect A H Hamblin. Purple brick and terracotta in a vaguely Loire style. During the football World Cup or the Euros, they put bunting flags up of the countries that were playing at the tournament such as below in July 2018.

Old Royal - Church Street / Cornwall Street

Purnell's 55 Cornwall Street

This building is a bit hidden at the moment. Heading up New Market Street from Great Charles Street Queensway you find this building on the corner of Cornwall Street. A Victorian red brick and terracotta building. It is not listed. Purnell's one of Birmingham's Michelin starred restaurants is located here. There is hoardings on the building to the left, blocking off half Cornwall Street and half of New Market Street for something called The Lightwell. Back to 55 Cornwall Street, it has four storeys plus an attic level in the roof.

Purnell's - 55 Cornwall Street

Empire House - Edmund Street

This building is Grade II listed and dates to the late 19th century. You would find it opposite a bus stop and to the right of the Birmingham School of Art. Edmund Street used to continue beyond Margaret Street, but that's part of Chamberlain Square now (between the Council House and Council House extension). The building is of red brick and terracotta, with Corinthian style columns. The building is in a derelict state at the moment, and has a Danger sign on the door. Hopefully it could get restored and given a new use, such as a restaurant or bar?

Empire House - Edmund Street

Birmingham School of Art - Margaret Street

This building is a red Victorian Gothic structure by the architects Chamberlain and Martin. Started in 1884 and completed after the death of J. H. Chamberlain in 1885 by his partner William Martin and his son Frederick Martin. Their architect firm completed an extension down Cornwall Street in 1892 - 1893. Associated Architects refurbished it between 1992 and 1996. A Grade I listed building, at the time of it's listing in 1970, it was listed as Art And Design Annexe, Birmingham Polytechnic. It is now listed as School of Art, Birmingham City University. The College of Art used to be part of the former Birmingham Polytechnic, which became a University in 1992 as the University of Central England. It was rebranded as Birmingham City University in 2005. It is now part of BCU's Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. And to this day it remains part of the University's Department of Fine Art, but is commonly referred to it's original title.

Birmingham School of Art - Margaret Street

Birmingham and Midland Institute - Margaret Street

A Grade II* listed building dating to 1889 (or 1899) by the architects Jethro Cossins, F. B. Peacock, and Ernest Bewly. Originally the Birmingham Library, which from 1797 until 1899 had premises on Union Street before they moved to the site at the corner of Margaret Street and Cornwall Street. This library was established in 1779. It was a private library. The Birmingham and Midland Institute moved into this building in 1965 after their previous 19th century building was demolished, and they remain here to this day. The BMI was the pioneer of adult scientific and technical institution (General Industrial, Commercial and Music) and it today offers Arts and Sciences lectures.

Birmingham and Midland Institute - Margaret Street

All Bar One - Newhall Street

The Cornwall Buildings at 43 - 51 Newhall Street. It is on the corner with Cornwall Street and is Grade II listed. Built in the late 19th century is is built of brick and terracotta an has a slate roof. It was originally built for the Birmingham Hospital Saturday Fund (a low-cost medical insurance society). All Bar One is a chain bar, serving beers, wines and cocktails. The BT Tower is seen to the left in the Jewellery Quarter.

All Bar One - Newhall Street

Edmunds - Newhall Street

This is The Scottish Mutual Assurance Society Building, built in 1895. On the corner of Edmund Street and Newhall Street. Located at 29 Newhall Street and 106 to 110 Edmund Street. Used to be a pub here called The Hogshead. It's a Grade II listed building.  It was by the architect Frank Barlow Osborn for W M Smythe, and was originally Solicitors' offices with sets of doctors' consulting rooms on either side. Red brick with ashlar sandstone dressings; blue tile roof. The building is asymmetrical and was built in the simplified Flemish Revival style. Edmunds Bar & Brewhouse has recently closed down.

Edmunds - Newhall Street

Hotel Du Vin - Church Street

On the corner of Church Street and Edmund Street was the Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital. This building was built in 1883, although the Eye Hospital was founded back in 1823. Founded by Joseph Hodgson, Eye Surgeon at The Eye Institution, Cannon Street (opening in 1824). It later moved to Steelhouse Lane (1853) then later to Temple Row (1862). They moved to Church Street in 1884. They were relocated again in 1996 when the Eye Hospital moved to City Hospital on the Dudley Road. The building was designed in the Franco-Italian style. A new wing was added to the hospital in 1895. The architects was  Payne and Talbot and the building was built in 1882 to 1883 in the modified Queen Anne style, of dark red brick with light-coloured stone dressings. Hotel Du Vin is a luxury hotel at 25 Church Street, stretching from Edmund Street to Barwick Street. Wards, operating theatres and laboratories have been converted into bedrooms, dining rooms and meeting rooms!

Hotel Du Vin - Church Street

The Birmingham and Midland Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital - Edmund Street

At 105 and 107 Edmund Street is this Grade II listed building, at the corner with Barwick Street. Originally built as The Birmingham and Midland Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in 1890 to 1891 by the architect Jethro A Cossins and Peacock. In red brick and terracotta with a tile roof. On Barwick Street is at no 70 to 78. Now the offices of H B J Gateley Wareing Llp at 111 Edmund Street. Some sections on Barwick Street have modern inserts in-between the original Victorian architecture, a bit of an old and new mishmash! The foundation stone of the Ear & Throat Hospital was laid by the Marquess of Hertford in 1890.

Birmingham Ear and Throat Hospital - Edmund Street

Maddox House and Enterprise House - Edmund Street

This building was formerly the White Swan pub of around 1890 by the architect J.S. Davis, it was facaded in the 1990s. Located at 117 to 119 Edmund Street to the corner with Barwick Street. Hortons Estates owns the building, and Maddox House to the left was named after Conroy Ronald Maddox (1912 - 2005), a surrealist artist and Birmingham innovator. You would find a black plaque on the front of this building. My photo below was taken in 2013. Enterprise House has since been refurbished since around 2014 and that's at 115 Edmund Street. Now offices.

Maddox House and Enterprise House - Edmund Street

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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History & heritage
17 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries in the Jewellery Quarter

Did you know that there is two cemeteries within the boundaries of the Middle Ring Road? At the north east corner of the Jewellery Quarter (Hockley) is Key Hill Cemetery (Non-Conformist) and Warstone Lane Cemetery (Church of England). If you walk along Icknield Street (part of the Middle Ring Road) you can walk in and out of both.

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Key Hill Cemetery

The cemetery opened in 1836 and is the oldest of the two cemeteries. It's a nondenominational cemetery (nonconformist). The main entrance is on Icknield Street, while a side entrance is on Key Hill. The cemetery was laid out by the Birmingham General Cemetery Company by the architect Charles Edge. It is no longer used for burials. There is also Commonwealth war graves in the cemetery. A lot of famous names of Birmingham's past are buried here such as Joseph Chamberlain and George Dawson to name two.

Key Hill Cemetery seen in January 2018. Icknield Street entrance.

Key Hill Cemetery (Jan 2018)

Key Hill entrance.

Key Hill Cemetery (Jan 2018)

Key Hill Cemetery seen in November 2018. Starting again at the Icknield Street entrance towards the first WW1 war memorial.

Key Hill Cemetery (Nov 2018)

Path past the gravestone and momuments.

Key Hill Cemetery (Nov 2018)

Getting a little tricky to see the paths with all the leaves on the ground. This way towards the Key Hill exit / entrance.

Key Hill Cemetery (Nov 2018)

Leaves everywhere, gravestones and monuments all over. Is some catacombs nearby too.

Key Hill Cemetery (Nov 2018)

War memorials at Key Hill Cemetery.

This memorial is in memory of those who fell in the Great Wart 1914 - 1918 and who are buried in this cemetery. Poppy wreath from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, the Council and the people of Birmingham.

Key Hill Cemetery war memorial

The original war memorial in the cemetery to those who fell in the Great War 1914 - 1918. It is inscribed with the fallen names.

Key Hill Cemetery war memorial

More recently a war memorial bench to those who fell in WW1 has been placed in the cemetery.

Key Hill Cemetery war memorial

Warstone Lane Cemetery

This cemetery dates to about 1847. There is an Entrance Lodge on Warstone Lane. It's a Church of England cemetery. In here can be found a set of catacombs. This cemetery also has Commonwealth war graves. Famous names of Birmingham's past here include John Baskerville and Harry Gem to name two. Other names for this cemetery include Brookfields Cemetery, Mint Cemetery or Church of England Cemetery. As well as Warstone Lane, other entrance's include Pitsford Street, Vyse Street and Icknield Street.

Views from November 2009.

Cemetery Lodge. Grade II listed building. Built in 1848 by J R Hamilton of Gloucester (Hamilton & Medland). It's at 161 Warstone Lane.

Warstone Lane Cemetery (November 2009)

The War Stone. It landed here in the last Ice Age by a glacier. It was called the Hoar Stone. It is a felsite boulder.

Warstone Lane Cemetery (November 2009)

Gravestones in Warstone Lane Cemetery seen close to the lodge and war memorial area.

Warstone Lane Cemetery (November 2009)

December 2012 view of Warstone Lane Cemetery from Pitsford Street.

Warstone Lane Cemetery (December 2012)

A November 2018 walk into Warstone Lane Cemetery towards the catacombs. Various gravestones on the way along the footpaths.

Warstone Lane Cemetery (November 2018)

A look at the catacombs at Warstone Lane Cemetery. It is double layered, and has a path that goes around it to the top. This is probably the most well known part of this cemetery.

Warstone Lane Cemetery (November 2018)

War memorial in Warstone Lane Cemetery close to the Cemetery Lodge.

November 2009 view of the war memorial cross with a few poppy wreaths below.

Warstone Lane Cemetery war memorial

The names on the memorial, as seen in November 2009. Bit similar to the design at Key Hill Cemetery. They make it look nice sometimes with the flowers planted in front of the memorial.

Warstone Lane Cemetery war memorial

The same war memorial seen in November 2018. This time just one poppy wreath. Was just after the Armistice 100 weekend commemorations. Cemetery lodge seen to the left. You can also see The War Stone from this vantage point.

Warstone Lane Cemetery war memorial

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Architecture
13 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Calthorpe Estates: Edgbaston - a selection of Georgian / Regency / Victorian villas / town houses

Edgbaston the picture perfect suburb of Birmingham has long been managed by the Calthorpe Estates. You would see around white houses dating back to the Georgian and Regency periods, as well as from the Victorian era. Mostly the area between the Hagley Road, Harborne Road, Calthorpe Road and Church Road (and the connecting roads in the area).

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St George's School Edgbaston

Located at 31 Calthorpe Road. A Grade II listed building dates to 1835. Was formerly the Edgbaston College for Girls. Mainly includes a large formerly detached Grecio-Egyptian villa. Extended in 1883-86 on the foundation of the college. The school additions were by the architect J. A. Chatwin.

St George's School Edgbaston

27 and 28 Calthorpe Road

In 2015 this was occupied by the RoSPA. Grade II listed building, a pair of three storey semi-detached stucco Calthorpe Estate villas built in 1830. No 27 was altered in 1850.

27 and 29 Calthorpe Road Edgbaston

37 and 38 Calthorpe Road

A pair of semi-detached stucco 2 storey villas built in 1835, they are Grade II listed. Canted pilaster bay windows was added in 1860. Otto Robert Frisch and Rudolf Peierls lived at no 38 while they were working at the University of Birmingham on nuclear research which led to the first atomic bomb (this was from February to March 1940).

37 and 38 Calthorpe Road Edgbaston

41, 42 and 43 Calthorpe Road

This is a pair of semi-detached stucco faced Calthorpe Estate villas built in 1830, they are Grade II listed buildings. In 2015 WPR was at no 43. Canted bay windows were added in 1860.

41, 42 and 43 Calthorpe Road Edgbaston

3 and 4 Highfield Road

A pair of semi detached houses built in 1830. Stucco in the late Regency style. Some parts were later added in 1860. J. R. R. Tolkien lived at no 4 from 1910 until 1911. It is now the Highfield Day Nursery and Preschool

More more on J R R Tolkien see this post J.R.R. Tolkien's Birmingham (inspiration for The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

3 - 4 Highfield Road

The Edgbaston - 18 Highfield Road

This is a Grade II listed building at 18 and 19 Highfield Road in Edgbaston. Built in 1840 it is a pair of symmetrical classical stucco villas. The right hand ground floor window of no 18 was replaced sometime between 1880 and 1890. There is coach house at no 18. The coach house at no 19 had been rebuilt. The Edgbaston is a Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge.

The Edgbaston Highfield Road Edgbaston

 

Simpsons Restaurant - 20 Highfield Road

This property dates to 1840 and is Grade II listed. A large detached stucco villa. It's front entrance is on Westbourne Crescent. The rear on Highfield Road dates to 1855. Simpsons Restaurant was founded in 1993 by two chefs and it is one of Birmingham's restaurans with a Michelin Star.

Simpsons Restaurant - Highfield Road, Edgbaston

The Highfield - 22 Highfield Road

The Highfield is a gastro pub that opened in recent years. Owned by the Peach family. The building is not listed, but it still retains an old sundial to the left! They modified the building removing two side doors that used to be there before.

The Highfield on Highfield Road, Edgbaston

26 Highfield Road

This property doesn't appear to be listed, but it has a blue plaque on it from the Birmingham Civic Society. Edward Richard Taylor (1838 - 1912) was an art teacher and William Howson Taylor (1876 - 1935) was a potter. They both lived here. The plaque was also presented by the Calthorpe Estates Residents Society.

26 Highfield Road

Boston Tea Party - 30 Harborne Road

Boston Tea Party had originally hoped to open a cafe in Moseley, but the site they wanted later went to Prezzo (which was later replaced by Sorrento Lounge). Edgbaston is probably a better location for them here anyway. This building is not listed.

Boston Tea Party - Harborne Road Edgbaston

The Physician - 36 Harborne Road

The original building is over 180 years old dating to the 1830s. The BMI (Birmingham Medical Institute) was in this building from 1954 until their lease ran out in 2013. Later turned into a pub The Physician opened in 2016. The building is believed to have housed the 'Sampson Gangee Library for the History of Medicine' possibly commissioned in 1863 by Calthorpe Estates. It's on the corner with Highfield Road.

The Physician - Harborne Road Edgbaston

38 Harborne Road

Every Christmas the Calthorpe Estates places these Christmas reindeers at various places around Edgbaston. This property dates to about 1835 and is close to the corner with Highfield Road. There is a coach house to the left. It's a Grade II listed building.

38 Harborne Road Edgbaston

105 Harborne Road

There is a blue plaque on this house for Francis Brett Young from the Birmingham Civic Society and the Francis Brett Young Society. A novelist, poet and physician, who lived here from 1905-6. The house itself is Grade II listed and dates to 1830. A pair of identical stucco houses. Both of the houses here have coach houses (now just garages).

105 Harborne Road Edgbaston

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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People & community
11 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Remembrance Sunday in Birmingham in past November's

Remembrance Sunday in Birmingham in past years. A parade down Broad Street in November 2012. The Remembrance service in Centenary Square in 2014, and in Victoria Square in 2017.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Broad Street - Remembrance parade - 11th November 2012

Remembrance parade 2012

Remembrance parade 2012

Remembrance parade 2012

Remembrance parade 2012

Remembrance parade 2012

Remembrance parade 2012

Remembrance Sunday service in Centenary Square on 9th November 2014

Remembrance Sunday Centenary Square 2014

Remembrance Sunday Centenary Square 2014

Remembrance Sunday Centenary Square 2014

Remembrance Sunday Centenary Square 2014

Remembrance Sunday Centenary Square 2014

Remembrance Sunday Centenary Square 2014

Remembrance Sunday service in Victoria Square on 12th November 2017

Remembrance Sunday in Victoria Square 2017

Remembrance Sunday in Victoria Square 2017

Remembrance Sunday in Victoria Square 2017

Remembrance Sunday in Victoria Square 2017

Remembrance Sunday in Victoria Square 2017

Remembrance Sunday in Victoria Square 2017

Photos taken by Elliott Brown in November 2012, 2014 and 2017.

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Architecture
09 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Birmingham Council House - the seat of local Government in Birmingham

After the recent Birmingham We Are event at the Council House, thought I'd do a post about the building itself! The original building was built from 1874 until 1879 from a design by Yeoville Thomason in the classical style. A Grade II* listed building where the Councillors meet.

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Birmingham Council House

Located in what is now Victoria Square (formerly the Council House Square until 1901). Seen below in 2009 when the previous 103 Colmore Row was still standing. It was built between 1874 and 1879. The first extension was later built from 1881 until 1885 (including the Museum & Art Gallery). Yeoville Thomason was the architect for that extension as well as the original building.

The second extension was built between 1911 and 1919 by the architects Ashley & Newman (including the Museum & Art Gallery extension and the Gas Hall). Here we are mostly concentrating on the original building.

Birmingham Council House

The seat of local government where the councillors of Birmingham City Council debate things, consider what buildings to be built or what needs to be demolished, and various other matters, including the waste service and local parks. View below from 2010.

Birmingham Council House

Seen in 2017 was French Nationals (that live in the West Midlands) queuing to vote in the French Presidential election (later won by Emmanuel Macron). The Council House can also be used as a polling station for British General or Local Elections.

Birmingham Council House

Every year from October to December, there are poppies placed below the balcony of the Council House, as well as the Happy Christmas Birmingham sign. The Remembrance service in 2017 was held in front of the Council House (in 2018 it's moved to Birmingham Cathedral). The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is usually in Victoria Square from November to December each year.

Birmingham Council House

The clock tower at the Council House is nicknamed Big Brum, and can be seen mainly from Chamberlain Square. It is close to the main entrance of the Museum & Art Gallery. It was built in 1885 as part of the first extension to the Council House. The clock was donated by A. Follett Osler. The name is similar to Big Ben (at the Palace of Westminster in London) which it alluded to.

Big Brum

When the 1974 - 2013 Birmingham Central Library stood, it wasn't possible to see Big Brum from Centenary Square and the Library of Birmingham. After the old library was demolished in 2016 the Museum and Council House was visible from this side for the first time in a long time. One and Two Chamberlain Square are currently being built at Paradise Birmingham, and Centenary Way was extended towards Chamberlain Square. It is now possible to see Big Brum from Centenary Square!

Big Brum between One and Two Chamberlain Square

The side of the Council House on Eden Place between 125 Colmore Row. There is four unused red phone boxes down here. At one point the box closest to Colmore Row was used by Jake's Coffee Box, but I think that closed down a while ago now. All the phone boxes are available to let. All four are of K6 type and are Grade II listed. Designed in 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert
Scott.

Red phone boxes on Eden Place

This side of the Council House seen on what was once a part of Edmund Street that stretched as far as the old Victorian Central Library building. The Water Hall gallery is on this side. It is opposite the Gas Hall and Council House Extension (where the rest of the Museum & Art Gallery can be accessed). Entrance on this side of the Council House is for pass holders only. Signs direct you around to the Victoria Square entrance.

Council House on what was Edmund Street

While at the Birmingham We Are event, gave me an opportunity to have a quick look around at the interior. Sure that there is more to see, but this was what I got.

The ceiling and chandeliers in the Banqueting Suite. This was the main room that we were in for those 3 hours. The sculptures on the ceiling looked especially fascinating to me! So many columns in here. The balcony is outside of this room, where visitors could stand up there including winning sports teams.

Banqueting Suite

Sitting in the Drawing Room during the talks / videos, I noticed this mural behind the chandelier. In the middle looks like a person sitting on a chair / throne in a doric column temple.

Drawing Room

The Glass Corridor.

Glass Corridor

Another corridor on the 1st floor. Was a series of portraits down here.

Corridor

The dome and chandelier above the Grand Staircase. They don't build them like this any more!

Dome and chandelier

The Grand Staircase from the top. Halfway up was a statue of Prince Albert (left) and Queen Victoria (right).

Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase heading back down to the Victoria Square entrance / exit. There was several busts down here and plaques.

Grand Staircase

 

Photos by Elliott Brown

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Civic pride
08 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

George Dawson a non-conformist preacher who called for Civic Reform

There used to be a statue for many years on Edmund Street close to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, but it went into storage. What happened to it? Well it was of George Dawson and it's now at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre. A non-conformist preacher who called for civic reform. Born in 1821 and died in 1876. There is also several busts of this Victorian gentleman!

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George Dawson

Born in London in 1821, he moved to Birmingham in 1844 to become minister of the Mount Zion Baptist Chapel. He left the Baptist Church in 1845 and he become minister of the theologically liberal Church of the Saviour. While there he developed the concept of the Civic Gospel.

Statue of George Dawson at BMCC

He gave sermons to the likes of Joseph Chamberlain and other local politicians of the day. He lectured for the city to be transformed and Joseph Chamberlain answered him as a visionary social reforming Mayor in the 1870s.

Statue of George Dawson at BMCC

The statue of George Dawson has moved about a quite a bit since it was made by Thomas Woolner in 1880. It's moved from Victoria Square to Chamberlain Square to eventually a spot on Edmund Street. I think under the link bridge of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. It was eventually moved to storage and is now at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre. In the area full of classic cars, fire engines etc!

You can see a photo of the statues last location here George Dawson, Chamberlain Square on the Wikimedia Commons (from Geograph). As you can see it used to have railings around it.

Statue of George Dawson at BMCC

The statue depicts Dawson in a full-length frock coat with his hands clapsed together. In the Francis Frith photo archive, they have a photo dated 1896 with the statue close to the Chamberlain Memorial. At the time it was under a canopy that resembled the Chamberlain Memorial. It featured the heads of Bunyan, Carlyle, Cromwell and Shakespeare, symoblising Religion, Letters, Governments and Poetry. The Thomas Woolner statue of 1880 was disliked so it kept getting moved around. Another statue was commissioned in 1881 from F J Williamson.

Statue of George Dawson at BMCC

This photo shows the unusual view of the George Dawson statue amongst all the machines that are surrounding it at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre. Hopefully one day it will come out of storage and be put in a prominent location for all to see!

Statue of George Dawson at BMCC

Also in the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre was this bronze bust of George Dawson. The note next to it just says that he was A campaigner for civic reform. It was located in the warehouse. You can see the bust and the statue on the free open days that they have at the centre. Any other times you have to book.

Bust of George Dawson at BMCC

Next we head up to the Library of Birmingham and go up to Level 9. Just outside of the Shakespeare Memorial Room was this large marble bust on George Dawson. The area is the Skyline Viewpoint. Not far from this bust is a foundation stone from the old Victorian Birmingham Library. He gave an address at the first Birmingham Central Library in 1866. That library was partly damaged by a fire in 1879 was was rebuilt and enlarged by 1882. That time the second library was opened by John Bright MP. The library would survive until 1974 when it was demolished after the last Central Library opened (that to would close in 2013 and be demolished in 2016).

Bust of George Dawson at the Library of Birmingham

In 2016 there was an exhibition on at the Library of Birmingham in the Gallery on Level 3 called Our Shakespeare. They had a terracotta model of George Dawson in one of the glass cases. It was probably a study for the statue by the sculptor Thomas Wollner, which was completed in 1880. George Dawson died suddenly aged 55 at Kings Norton on the 30th November 1876.

Bust of George Dawson at the Library of Birmingham

The same terracotta model / bust of George Dawson was later seen in the Shakespeare Memorial Room at the Library of Birmingham on Level 9 of the library. Apparently Dawson was the first President of the Birmingham Shakespeare Club, he was also a noted Birmingham philanthropist and politician. The sign next to it says the statue it was a study of was later on Great Charles Street.

Bust of George Dawson at the Library of Birmingham

Photos by Elliott Brown

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Civic pride
30 Oct 2018 - Elliott Brown

Joseph Chamberlain: Birmingham's visionary Mayor in the late 19th Century

A look at Joseph Chamberlain who as well as later being an MP for Birmingham, before that served several years as the Mayor of the town (it didn't become a City until 1888). A member of the Liberal Party, he was elected Mayor of Birmingham in 1873, holding that title until 1876 when he was elected to Parliament. Various clocks and monuments are around the city in his name.

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Joseph Chamberlain

The Chamberlain Memorial is in Chamberlain Square in the centre of Birmingham (now the Paradise Birmingham construction site). It was erected in 1880 to commemorate the public service of Joseph Chamberlain. It was erected during Chamberlain's lifetime. By the time the memorial was installed, Chamberlain has been an MP for Birmingham since 1876.  Chamberlain was elected to the Town Council in November 1869. He was elected Mayor in November 1873 and resigned the office in June 1876 on being returned as a representative of the borough to Parliament. During his Mayoralty many great works were advanced. And his devotion to the Water & Gas undertakings. (there is halls at the Council House called Water Hall and Gas Hall that are now part of the Museum & Art Gallery).

Seen here with Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the vantage point with the statue of James Watt.

Chamberlain Memorial in Chamberlain Square

Seen with the now demolished Birmingham Central Library.

Chamberlain Memorial in Chamberlain Square

Medallion bus of Joseph Chamberlain on the memorial.

Chamberlain Memorial in Chamberlain Square

Birmingham's failed bid for UK City of Culture in 2010 for 2013.

Chamberlain Memorial in Chamberlain Square

A more recent photo of the Chamberlain Memorial with One and Two Chamberlain Square under construction during July 2018. Part of Paradise Birmingham. Apart from the Museum & Art Gallery and the Town Hall, it is the only thing to survive from the late 19th century period (the other buildings demolished and the statues gone into storage).

Chamberlain Memorial with One and Two Chamberlain Square

 

Seen at the University of Birmingham is the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower, also known as Old Joe. It is the tallest free standing clock tower in the world. The tower was built to commemorate Joseph Chamberlain who was the first Chancellor of the University. Construction started in 1900 and finished in 1908. It held the record for the tallest building in Birmingham from 1908 until 1965 (when the BT Tower opened).

Please also have a look at my post comparing this tower to the campanile tower that inspired it in Italy here Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower inspired by the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy.

Seen with the Great Hall from Aston Webb Boulevard (Selly Oak New Road). Designed by Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell (built 1900 - 1909).

Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham

Close up of the tower in 2009.

Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham

The view from Mindelsohn Way, Selly Oak in 2017.

Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham

For a period earlier during 2018 the clock was stuck at 12 o'clock, but after it was repaired the clock was once again seen to be ticking again!

Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham

Welcome to University Station in Edgbaston, on the University of Birmingham's main Edgbaston campus. When you get off the train, take a look at this image of Joseph Chamberlain before heading up the steps. And read the message to the left. You may also notice the Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower on the steps as you go up.

Joseph Chamberlain at University Station

 

In the Jewellery Quarter there is a clock at the junction with Vyse Street, Warstone Lane and Frederick Street called the Chamberlain Clock. It commemorated the visit of Joseph Chamberlain to South Africa between 1902 and 1903 when he was the Secretary for State for the Colonies. It was erected by his constituents the electors of West Birmingham. Mr Chamberlain landed at Durban on the 26th December 1902 and sailed from Cape Town on the 25th February 1903. The clock was unveiled in 1904 during Chamberlain's lifetime.

There is also a clock like this one in Five Ways, but that one does not commemorate Joseph Chamberlain. And also another similar clock at Aston Cross.

Chamberlain Clock Jewellery Quarter

Seen with the Rose Villa Tavern in the Jewellery Quarter.

Chamberlain Jewellery Quarter clock

These views were from 2009, and was traffic constantly going past the clock, so got cars in some of these old photos.

Chamberlain Clock Jewellery Quarter

The clock is one of the main landmarks in the Jewellery Quarter. It's a short walk from Jewellery Quarter Station. It's also close to Warstone Lane Cemetery (also known as Brookfields Cemetery).

Chamberlain Clock Jewellery Quarter

Highbury Hall was the Birmingham residence of Joseph Chamberlain from 1880 until his death in 1914. Was commissioned in 1878 and built in 1879. Is now a Grade II* listed building and in the care of the Chamberlain Highbury Trust (formerly Birmingham City Council). It took it's name from the Highbury area of London that Chamberlain lived in as a child. There is extensive grounds that now includes Highbury Park. John Henry Chamberlain was the architect (he wasn't a relation of the Chamberlain family).

The main entrance with the car park. A blue plaque is on the left.

Highbury Hall

The garden to the hall. There is paths that leads out to Highbury Park and surviving parts of Highbury Hall's original gardens via an orchard.

Highbury Hall

The first floor landing at Highbury Hall.

Highbury Hall interior landing

Portrait of Joseph Chamberlain MP painted by Nestor Cambier at Highbury Hall.

Portrait of Joseph Chamberlain

Artefacts seen at the Birmingham History Galleries about Chamberlain's Birmingham.

Including a postcard of Corporation Street dated 1902. Home Rule and the Irish Question by Joseph Chamberlain, MP 1887.

A mug with the head of Joseph Chamberlain.

Joseph Chamberlain artifacts at the Birmingham History Galleries

Close up look at the mug that looks like Joseph Chamberlain.

Joseph Chamberlain artifacts at the Birmingham History Galleries

Souvenir from the 30th anniversary of Joseph Chamberlain being elected to Parliament for Birmingham in 1876, from 1906.

Joseph Chamberlain 30 years 1876 - 1906

Photos by Elliott Brown

 

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Transport
25 Oct 2018 - Elliott Brown

Cadbury No 14 - the diesel locomotive at Cadbury World

Before you start your visit to Cadbury World, you can't help but notice the diesel locomotive near the car park. It's Cadbury No 14. And has been located where it is now since 2007. Built in 1957 it was at the Cadbury factory at Moreton. Moved to the Llangollen Railway Society in 1978. Was donated to Cadbury by Burton Foods who now operate from Moreton.

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It's a 20 ton diesel locomotive, but can be easily mistaken for a steam locomotive based on it's design!

Cadbury No 14

The front of the locomotive says Hudswell. It was made by Hudswell Clarke and has the number D1012. It was built in 1956.

Cadbury No 14

Moreton is in Merseyside. It had been at the Cadbury Schweppes, Moreton site, before it moved to Premier Brands UK Ltd in Moreton. After that it was moved to the car park of Cadbury World in 2007.

Cadbury No 14

There was another Cadbury No 14 that used to run on the Cadbury factory's private railway, but I don't think this one was ever used at Bournville, only at Moreton.

 

Cadbury No 14

After it left the Cadbury site at Moreton, Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM (D1012/1956) for a period was used at the heritage railway at Llangollen from 1978 until 2007.

 

Cadbury No 14

While the Cadbury private railway no longer exists, it is nice to see a locomotive from Cadbury's past, even if it wasn't originally based at factory at Bournville.

Cadbury No 14

Photos taken by Elliott Brown in November 2015 on a visit to Cadbury World.

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Transport
24 Oct 2018 - Elliott Brown

City of Birmingham 46235 at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum

A steam locomotive named the City of Birmingham has been preserved and is now in Thinktank (where it can't move). Previously it was housed in the old Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry on Newhall Street until it closed in 1997. The public could see it again at Thinktank from 2001 onwards. In British Rail green. A bit hard to photograph all in one go due to where they put it.

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City of Birmingham 46235

Built for the London Midland and Scottish Railway it was a Coronation Class steam locomotive originally with the number of 6235 and was built in 1939 at Crewe. It passed to British Railways in 1948 and was renamed to 46235. It's original colour was crimson lake, but during the Second World War it was given a black livery. The naming ceremony took place for the City of Birmingham at Birmingham New Street Station in March 1945, despite it having the name for years.

City of Birmingham 46235 Thinktank

After British Railways took it over in 1948, it was given a new short lived blue livery in 1950. It was repainted in Brunswick Green in April 1953. It was withdrawn from service in 1964 and kept the green livery through it's preservation.

City of Birmingham 46235 Thinktank

The Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry opened in 1951 at the former Elkington Works on Newhall Street. After a period at Nuneaton during preservation, the City of Birmingham locomotive was moved to the museum in 1966 which they built around it. It remained there until 1997 when the museum closed. This museum was free to enter.

City of Birmingham 46235 Thinktank

Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum opened to the public in 2001 at Millennium Point, where they again built the new building / museum around where they placed the locomotive. In a fixed position so it can't move, but they built a pathway to the side so visitors can get up and close to it. The museum has an entrance fee (but you can get a discount if you get a bus or train voucher online).

City of Birmingham 46235 Thinktank

There is information panels on this side, close to where you can see the City of Birmingham name plate, plus the cities coat of arms.

City of Birmingham 46235 Thinktank

Light from the Millennium Point windows at the time made it a bit hard to get photos in decent light, but that may have changed since my visit. Although even with the bright light and the new Science Garden outside in Eastside City Park, may still make it a bit hard to see, unless it's a cloudy day.

City of Birmingham 46235 Thinktank

If you want to get a photo of the side of the locomotive all in one, then it's simply not possible. I had to take a series of photos and later stitch them together to make a panoramic, then alter the photo. My visit with these photos was in 2013.

City of Birmingham 46235 Thinktank

This is as close as you can get from the front. The locomotive has not steamed since it was preserved back in the 1960s, and anyone wishes to see it on the mainline or on heritage railways in the future, then they would have to remove the wall and windows in front of the locomotive. Having the Thinktank Science Garden in front from 2012 onwards also makes it difficult to remove. I remember seeing it in the old Science Museum on Newhall Street in the 1990s. Back then it may have been able to go back and forward on the rails, but it can't do that now at Thinktank, it's in a fixed position.

City of Birmingham 46235 Thinktank

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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