Environment & green action
13 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Moseley Bog from my December 2012 and September 2016 visits

Moseley Bog is not that far away from me, just catch the 11C up the Swanshurst Lane and get off the bus on the Yardley Wood Road near Swanshurst Park. The main entrance to Moseley Bog is on Yardley Wood Road. This photo gallery ahead of a proposed Birmingham We Are group visit to the bog! Part of the Shire Country Park. Another entrance / exit is on Pensby Close.

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A gallery of 20 photos. The first 13 from my visit in December 2012. The last 7 from my visit in September 2016. It is easy to get lost in here! Best to start from the main entrance on the Yardley Wood Road in Moseley.

The bus routes here are the 11A / 11C (bus stops on Yardley Wood Road near Swanshurst Park). Or the 2 or the 3 from the city centre or Yardley Wood. You could also get the 5 to Wake Green Road, close to where JRR Tolkien used to live as a child, when Sarehole was a hamlet.

You could also get the train to Hall Green Station and then walk down Cole Bank Road past Sarehole Mill (or catch the 11C down the hill if you want to). Trains from Birmingham Snow Hill / Moor Street or Shirley down to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Birmingham City Council sign for Moseley Bog and Joy's Wood Local Nature Reserve seen on Yardley Wood Road.

Moseley Bog sign

The sculpted entrance gate to Moseley Bog from the Yardley Wood Road entrance. Small car park here.

Moseley Bog Yardley Wood Road entrance

Welcome to Moseley Bog - this sign was near the Yardley Wood Road entrance, with a map of the area.

Welcome to Moseley Bog

Decking all around now, so your shoes are less likely to get muddy, but it could still be wet if it's rained!

Moseley Bog (December 2012). Decking.

More decking to walk around.

Moseley Bog (December 2012). Decking.

Around to the right past the trees.

Moseley Bog decking

Which way, left or right, it's up to you!

Moseley Bog decking

Narrow planks if you go this way.

Moseley Bog decking

A sign to stop and read close to this corner decking stop point.

Moseley Bog decking

There is steps here to go down to the dirt track.

Moseley Bog decking

Heading down the steps.

Moseley Bog steps down

Take these steps to the exit onto Pensby Close. A cul-de-sac. Head out via that road then onto Thirlmere Drive, then you get to Wake Green Road near Sarehole Mill.

Moseley Bog steps

Not all the routes are decked out. Are some dirt paths to follow as well.

Moseley Bog dirt path

The next 7 photos from a return visit in September 2016.

Somehow didn't get photos of the bog itself until 2016! Different conditions in different seasons.

Moseley Bog the bog!

Can see other members of Birmingham We Are enjoy taking photos of this from different angles!

Moseley Bog the bog!

Someone had made a camp site in Moseley Bog. Perhaps Cubs or Scout groups or school parties use the bog?

Moseley Bog camp site

Several fallen trees. Was looking a bit muddy underneath.

Moseley Bog fallen tree

Another fallen tree, this one above a pool of water.

Moseley Bog - fallen tree and pool of water

A muddy stream with logs in it.

Moseley Bog muddy stream

Those steps again that I used in 2012. In 2016 I entered via Pensby Close, and had hoped to find my way to the Yardley Wood Road entrance / exit. But it is easy to get lost, and ended up going back to the Pensby Close entrance / exit again instead! Would GPS / a compass help me / us find a route out?

Moseley Bog those steps again

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
People & community
20 Mar 2019 - Barry Whitehead
Gallery

St Patrick's parade & celebrations in Birmingham

Enjoy a wonderful gallery of photography from one of Birmingham's People with Passion Barry Whitehead taken at last weekends St. Patrick's weekend festival in Birmingham. 

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Gallery of photography from the St Patrick's parade in Birmingham - Barry Whitehead. 

Photography by Barry Whitehead

 

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40 passion points
Civic pride
20 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The first object in the collection at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: a marble bust of David Cox

Did you know that the first object donated to the collection of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery was a marble bust of the landscape artist David Cox (1783-1859). It was made in the early 1860s by Peter Hollins. Cox used to lived in Harborne from 1841 to his death in 1859. He is buried at Saint Peter's Church in Harborne where a window is dedicated to him in his honour.

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David Cox

The bust of David Cox and a small exhibition about him used to be at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, on the landing area of the museum, not far from the doors to the stairs that leads to the Great Charles Street Queensway entrance (and to the Staffordshire Hoard and other galleries). These photos below taken during March 2012.

David Cox was born in 1783 and died in 1859 in Birmingham. He was an English landscape artist. He painted in watercolour. Cox was born on the 29th April 1783 on Heath Mill Lane in Deritend. He was based in London from 1804 to 1814, then Hereford from 1814 to 1827, and London again from 1827 to 1841. He moved back to Birmingham in 1841. He moved to a house on Greenfield Road in Harborne where he lived until his death on the 7th June 1859, aged 76.

The bust was commissioned after his death in 1860 by the Birmingham Society of Artists as a memorial to David Cox. It was made by Peter Hollins from 1860 to 1862. It was later the first object to be donated to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

David Cox bust at BM & AG

The signature of David Cox that used to be on the wall above the bust in the museum.

David Cox signature at BM & AG

There used to be two history boards on the wall near the bust, with the history of his life on the first board below.

David Cox history board 1 at BM & AG

The second board was above David Cox and Birmingham. After 37 years living away from Birmingham, he spent his last 18 years living in Birmingham in his Harborne home.

David Cox history board 2 at BM & AG

The last time I saw the marble bust of David Cox in the museum was during January 2016 on the museum link bridge (it is not there now). The sign below notes that it was Birmingham's first object. If it's no longer at BM & AG now, it might be at the Gallery of the RBSA in the Jewellery Quarter.

David Cox bust at BM & AG moved location

I was looking for the blue plaque of David Cox in Harborne during April 2012. It is on a house now known as David Cox Court at 116 and 118 Greenfield Road in Harborne. A Grade II listed building known as Greenfield House when Cox lived there. The house was built in the late 18th century and was remodelled in the early 19th century. David Cox lived here from 1841 until his death in 1859. His son David Cox Jr. did a painting of the house, which you can see here on Wikimedia Commons David Cox Jr - Greenfield House, Harborne.

David Cox Court - Greenfield Road, Harborne

Metchley Abbey seen on Metchley Lane in Harborne. Also on the same day as looking for the David Cox plaque. This time for the blue plaque of Sir Granville Bantock (1868 - 1946) a composer who lived here from 1926 to 1933. A Grade II* listed building at 93 Metchley Lane (now private property). A E Greeman historian of the Norman
Conquest visited here, and David Cox apparently frequently visited this property! It was built in the early 19th century in the Picturesque Gothic style.

Metchley Abbey - Metchley Lane, Harborne

Saint Peter's Church in Harborne. The East Window here is in memory of David Cox, and he is buried here in the churchyard. The church and churchyard are around Old Church Road. A Grade II listed building dating to the 15th century. It is the Parish Church of Harborne. In 1867 Yeoville Thomason was responsible for the designs of the Nave, aisles, transepts and apsidal chapel. The West Tower dates to the 15th century, and some lower details from the 14th century.

Saint Peter's Church Harborne

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Mar 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

West Midlands unveils £10bn investment programme at MIPIM

The Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street launched £10bn worth of projects to international investors on the opening day of MIPIM (2019) – the annual conference for property professionals held in Cannes, France.

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Leading the delegation of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Andy Street unveiled an Investment Prospectus consisting of 24 development opportunities from across the region that are seeking investment, many of which lie in Birmingham.

The Prospectus, containing current investment opportunities and ones coming soon - will provide investors with the opportunity to make their mark on a booming city regularly named as the UK’s most investable for foreign investment and business start-ups, as voted by 500 of Europe’s top property experts.

With a record number of developments underway and a healthy pipeline of projects on the horizon, Birmingham represents an attractive opportunity for investors all itching for the chance to deliver on some of the UKs biggest projects.

Some of these projects include:-

  • £2bn+ UK Central Hub and HS2 Interchange
  • £700m Paradise Birmingham
  • £1bn+ Birmingham Curzon HS2

Curzon Street Station HS2 

©Grimshaw Architects

This Grimshaw Architects & WSP UK designed station will form Phase 1 of HS2, and will link central London with the Second City. It will also enter the history books as being the first intercity train station built since the 1800's.

With preparatory works underway and a planning application for the station due soon, a £724m investment programme has been agreed with the Government that will not only create a spectacular new gateway station for Birmingham and its rail passengers, but be fully integrated into an extended Midland Metro Alliance tram network, as well as offering countless connections to the rest of the city and beyond.

HS2 will ignite and accelerate the expansion of the city’s office core and unlock land around the Curzon Street regeneration area, with a number of growth opportunities for commercial and residential uses in the pipeline, with Birmingham City Council as promoter working with Homes England as well as landowners to identify land ripe for development.

Paradise Birmingham

hello

This £700 million Joint Venture is being led by Argent and Hermes and will deliver a high quality mixed-use development right in the cultural heartbeat of Birmingham.

We will see ten new buildings totalling 1.8 million sq ft, including offices, bars and restaurant space, all around a new public realm complimenting its historic city centre setting.

Phase One of ‘Paradise’ (two new buildings) will complete later this year. These include One and Two Chamberlain Square.

One Chamberlain Square - an Eric Parry Architects designed building comprises 172,000 sq ft of offices and ground floor commercial space. PwC will move 1400 employees into the building later this year and it will become their signature Midlands HQ. There is also the potential growth for an extra thousand more employees if needs be. BAM Construction have been tasked with finishing the job that Carillion couldn’t.

©Paradise Birmingham

Two Chamberlain Square – Designed by Birmingham’s own Glenn Howells Architects. Standing at eight storeys, it is being speculatevly built and features 183,000 sq ft of offices with ground floor commercial space fronting onto a new public realm. A significant pre-let is not too far away from being announced here. It is also being built by BAM Construction.

 

©Paradise Birmingham

Phase 2 of Paradise includes the 13-storey One Centenary Way, another Glenn Howells Architects design and faces onto Centenary Square.

 

©Glenn Howells Architects

This has been approved, funding has been secured and construction will get underway imminently. The building will be speculatevely built, such is the confidence in Birmingham these days and will feature 280,000 sq ft of office space, with shops and restaurants at ground and upper ground level. It will also feature the city’s first major Cycle Hub, with bike hire.

©Glenn Howells Architects

Also due in Phase 2 is a new 4 star hotel with approximately 250 bedrooms; and Three Chamberlain Square, offering more Grade A Offices, retail space and a new square. These can be seen below, but they are indicative images. Formal planning applications on these buildings have yet to be released.

©Paradise Birmingham

Phase 3 has outline planning permission to deliver a further five buildings and a new large public square and will follow in the same vein as Phases 1 & 2.

UKCENTRAL 'The Hub' & HS2 Interchange

UKCentral, or 'The Hub' is a 20 year growth plan on an area of land in Solihull, just off Junction 6 of the M42 motorway. It is home to Birmingham Airport; the National Exhibition Centre (NEC); Birmingham International Station; Birmingham Business Park; Jaguar Land Rover; and the Arden Cross development site which will be the location of the HS2 Interchange Station from 2026.

©Urban Growth Company©Urban Growth Company

The Urban Growth Company (a vehicle formed by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and supported by WMCA and GBSLEP) is partnering with West Midlands Combined Authority to maximise the opportunities with the arrival of HS2 in 2026 and are working with HS2 Ltd to link planned and existing local and regional transport to HS2, which will deliver £1.6 bn worth of infrastructure investment, with the potential to deliver up to 77,000 new jobs, 775,000 sq ft of commercial space & an urban quarter of up to 5000 new homes, with HS2 Interchange Station (below) at its heart.

©HS2 Ltd

HS2 Interchange will be the first stop outside London in 2026 and will bring together a fully-integrated and seamless transport exchange at a newly transformed Birmingham International Station (see below) – bringing together the NEC, future NEC City, airport, road, trams, plus the rail network that will see it become an international gateway by 2025.

Investors are being given the opportunity to support these plans by becoming long-term equity investors, large scale development funders and partners. All this will significantly contribute to growth and deliver thousands of new homes and jobs, as well as new commercial and leisure facilities and unrivalled connectivity that Birmingham and the surrounding areas has to offer.

©Urban Growth Company

Street said: “We are building the future and there’s never been a better time to invest in the West Midlands. We have a diverse, resilient economy, one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in Europe, great quality of life, unrivalled connectivity, brilliant centres of learning, and world-class businesses, large and small.

“This provides us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to drive inclusive growth across the region that benefits all our communities.

“This £10bn investment prospectus demonstrates the strength of our offer and the boldness of our vision. We are the most promising place to invest in the UK – and, like all good businesses, we have a plan and are delivering it."

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60 passion points
Architecture
15 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Round towers in Birmingham, UK and Pisa, Italy

I finally got to go to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa during a holiday to Florence and Tuscany in June 2018. While I didn't go up the tower (not worth paying for the short amount of time to go up). Was well worth seeing it and other landmarks in the area. A comparison with the Rotunda in Birmingham, UK. The Leaning Tower was stablised by 2008, while our Rotunda was renovated.

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Birmingham has direct flights to Pisa, from Birmingham Airport to Pisa Airport. When I went it was with Jet2.com (organised via Riviera Travel) during June 2018. We had around 3 days in Florence, before setting off for Tuscany. On one of the touring days, after a wet morning in the city of Lucca, our coach took us to the city of Pisa in the afternoon. I remember being in Pisa, and seeing Ryanair or Jet2 planes flying over head!

 

First up a look at the Rotunda in Birmingham, seen over many years in the city centre, from different views.

The Rotunda, Birmingham

The Rotunda was built from 1961 to 1965, it was by the architect James A. Roberts, and was built with the original 1960s Bull Ring Shopping Centre. It was a 12 storey office block. It was revised to 25 storeys and had an abandoned rotating restaurant on the top floor (that was never built). In the 1980s and 1990s it was used to advertise Coca Cola (and resembled a giant can of Coke!).  It was given Grade II listed building status in 2000. The building was rebuilt between 2005 and 2008 by the architects Glenn Howells Architects and was renovated by Urban Splash. There is now apartments and a hotel in the building.

This view below was taken in August 2009 at the Bullring. Looking up from St Martin's Square on a very sunny day in Birmingham. This was around the time that I was getting photos of the Horatio Nelson statue with a blue sky.

Rotunda

This view of the Rotunda was taken during December 2009 from St Martin's Queensway. A no 63 bus waits not far from Birmingham New Street Station (the refurbishment of the station had yet to start, but was done from 2010 to 2015). One of the "bridges" links the Rotunda side to the 2003 Bullring. From here you can head up the ramp to Rotunda Square, or head under the dark part of St Martin's Queensway to Moor Street Queensway and Birmingham Moor Street Station. Some maps also show this as Swan Passage (probably one of the poorly designed part of the modern Bullring).

Rotunda

This view of the Rotunda was taken during August 2014 from Digbeth. Not far from Selfridges at the Bullring was a paint brush for the City of Colours Festival. They held a demonstation at the Bullring, and later had a day in Digbeth around the Custard Factory area painting street art on walls. Birmingham Coach Station and the BT Tower was also visible from here. Behind Digbeth Police Station is the Beorma Quarter. This was when the Adagio Aparthotel was under construction. St Martin's Church seen to the left.

Rotunda

A view from the Library of Birmingham of the Rotunda and Ladywood House (either seen from the Discovery Terrace or the Secret Garden) during October 2015. Visible from up here also was the Premier Inn hotel near Birmingham New Street Station and the Charters Building.

Rotunda

The Rotunda seen from Bordesley Street in Digbeth, during a sunny day in January 2018. Seen with the Bordesley Viaduct (with scaffolding) and Selfridges. Moor Street Car Park is usually a good place for roof top views of the city. You can also see the Rotunda if you are standing at platforms 3 or 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station.

Rotunda

A Secret Garden view from the Library of Birmingham during January 2019. Seen to the left of the Rotunda was St Andrew's Stadium, the home of Birmingham City Football Club. It's also possible up there to see The Hawthorns (home of West Bromwich Albion) or Villa Park (home of Aston Villa) on a clear day.

Rotunda

Sit at the front of the no 50 bus on the top deck for this view of the Rotunda. Seen during February 2019 on Bradford Street in Digbeth. Heading up, you can see at the Bullring: St Martin's Church, Smithfield House and Selfridges. As well as the BT Tower. In Digbeth on the right is the Adagio Aparthotel (at the Beorma Quarter development) and Digbeth Police Station. I don't fancy going up that eyesore concrete car park on Moat Lane for views, so this bus view will do for now!

Rotunda

Another bus view, this one from the no 63 bus at the top of the Bristol Road near the Belgrave Interchange. Looking up the Bristol Road to Southside. The Rotunda seen with the McLaren Building and the tower of Exchange Square phase 1. At Belgrave Interchange you can see the on going roadworks of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution for the cycleway being built down the Bristol Road in Edgbaston. It goes as far as the University of Birmingham along sections of the Dual Carriageway. It's all change on Bristol Street too. Bristol Street Motors stands alone, while the Monaco House site awaits development for New Monaco House. A church used to be down here too, but that was demolished for new housing being built on the St Luke's land (towards Sherlock Street).

Rotunda

Now lets travel over 1000 miles to Italy. Fastest to fly from Birmingham Airport to Pisa Airport (the flight was around 3 hours with Jet2). As I said above we went to Florence first (where our first hotel was). The day after we went to Pisa. This was during late June 2018.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

In Italian the tower is called the Torre pendente di Pisa. It is the campanile or the freestanding bell tower of Pisa Cathedral. Work on the tower started in 1173 and was completed 200 years later in 1372. The tower began to lean during the 12th century. The tower is 55.86 metres high made of marble and stone. The tower was stabilised in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The tower has 294 or 296 steps. The tower lean has changed since the stabilisation work was completed by 2008.

It was well worth seeing, I was hoping to see it for years, before going on the Florence and Tuscany holiday. Could have paid in advance to go up, but for 30 minutes, the price wasn't worth it. So in the end, while there just explored the grounds of the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles).

This first view with the Cathedral. One of my first views after entering the tourist heavy area!

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Slightly more close up and zoomed into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Tourists try to do a selfie pose of "pushing" the tower over! I tried it myself, not that the photos of me got the desired affect! Being the summer, there was loads of tourists about.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

It realy is leaning! This view with the lawn and the tourists at the bottom. Can you see the people on the upper level balconies? There was other monuments about such as statues and sculptures.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

This view of the Leaning Tower of Pisa seen with the Fontana dei putti. The monumental fountain that welcomes the entrance of the square from Via Santa Maria is by Giuseppe Vaccà (base and fountain) and by Giovanni Antonio Cybei (the marble group of putti holding the coats of arms of Pisa and the Opera).

Leaning Tower of Pisa

I tried to head all the way around for different views. From this side to the right of the cathedral, it looks straight! Was also a Italian Army vehicle on site to keep tourists safe. I also saw them in Florence at different sites.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Even more closer looking up! I think this is near the entrance to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Would guess that paying ticket holders would queue up around here?

Leaning Tower of Pisa

This view from the steps of Pisa Cathedral. We sat down here for a period. I also noticed planes flying overhead such as Ryanair and Jet2. It's really leaning from this view!

Leaning Tower of Pisa

It looks like here that the man on the left is leaning on the tower to push it over! While the man on the right is trying to push in left (for his own photo). Of course many tourists were trying the famous move for there holiday snaps! The tower also had a Republic of Pisa flag. That existed from the 10th to the 15th centuries. It was taken over by the Republic of Florence in 1402.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. My Twitter ellrbrown and Flickr ell brown.

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60 passion points
History & heritage
13 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Birmingham more miles of canals than Venice

I went to Venice in July 2010 and had a ride on a gondola. We were also taken around the lagoon. A comparison of Birmingham's canals with those in Venice, Italy. Gondolas vs narrowboats. We have more miles of canals in Brum compared to Venice. 35 miles of canals with the City of Birmingham, with most of that navigable. Around 26 miles in Venice. Venice first then a look at Birmingham!

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This post will mostly be a comparison of the Dragon Boat race near Brindleyplace and the narrowboats within the city centre on the Birmingham Canal Navigations near Brindleyplace. With the world famous gondolas seen on the canals in Venice.

We start off with Venice. After the long boat ride to get to the city we got straight onto a gondola for a ride around the famous canals of Venice! The journey starts from the Bacino di San Marco.

Venice canals - gondolas

I was on one gondola back in July 2010 and saw this gondola in front! This canal was the Rio di Palazzo. The gondolier's were having a chat with each other!

Gondola ride on the canals of Venice

Both gondolas were heading for this footbridge. Many interesting looking buildings on the way!

Gondola ride on the canals of Venice

A view of the Hard Rock Cafe in Venice. I can't even recall there being a Hard Rock Cafe in Birmingham! More recently saw a Hard Rock Cafe in Lyon, France and in Florence, Italy. Seen at the Orseolo basin (Bacino Orseolo). The canal might be the Rio del Cappello.

Hard Rock Cafe near a canal in Venice

More tourists enjoying a ride on a gondola, like I did earlier that day (a roasting hot 12th July 2010 over 35°C!). This canal was the Rio del Scoa Camini. The Bacino Orseolo (Orseolo Basin) is around the corner.

Gondola rides on the canals of Venice

The view from the same footbridge as above, so still the Rio del Scoa Camini. A footpath running alongside the shops. More tourists riding on gondolas. One gondolier on a brake (on the right).

Gondola rides on the canals of Venice

Another Venetian canal. Several boats moored on the left. Seen from a footbridge on the Riva degli Schiavoni. This canal is the Rio di San Lorenzo. The bell tower on the right is of the Church of San Giorgio dei Greci (Chiesa di San Giorgio dei Greci in Italian).

Boats and a tower from a canal in Venice

If you want a taxi around Venice, then this is the way to travel, by a speedboat! Seen from another footbridge on the Riva degli Schiavoni. This canal was the Rio della Pieta. At this point we were heading to catch a boat for a Lagoon cruise! This might be almost 9 years ago but this day in Venice is still quite memorable!

Speedboat taxi on a canal in Venice

OK enough with Venice, and back to Birmingham!

Flowers on the Brindleyplace Bridge over the Birmingham Canal Navigations in this view towards the Broad Street Tunnel. The ICC on the left, Brindleyplace to the right. Flowers out for the 4 Squares Weekender which was held in the city centre over the weekend of the 6th to 8th September 2013 (around when the new Library of Birmingham had opened). The red Waterbus seen behind. And the Sherborne Wharf tourist boat in front!

4 Squares Weekender 2013 - Brindleyplace bridge

Not something you see on the Birmingham Canal Navigations every day. Canoeing on the canal. Saw this in May 2015 close to the Barclaycard Arena (now Arena Birmingham). This view the corner close to the Sealife Centre.

Canoeing on the BCN

This view close to the Sheepcote Street Bridge. I also once saw canoes on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from the Pershore Road Bridge in Stirchley!

Canoeing on the BCN

What you are more likely to see around here is a service boat! Seen passing the Waterbus and the Sherborne Wharf tourist narrowboat. It was heading past the Brindleyplace Bridge towards the Broad Street Tunnel during early April 2018. Behind was Arena Birmingham, The Malt House and the Brewmasters House!

See my post on them here The Brasshouse, The Brewmasters House and The Malt House - historic canal buildings around the BCN and Brindleyplace.

Service boat on the BCN from the Broad Street Tunnel

About a week later (still April 2018), saw this man on a surfboard and a lady on one (might be a canoe)? Well they weren't surfing on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, as they headed under the Brewmasters Bridge. Probably rowing on their boards! This was round about when the BSAVA Congress was on at The ICC (probably not related).

Surfing or canoeing on the BCN

OK here's the promised Dragon Boat Race photos. First one from June 2017 outside of the Sealife Centre Birmingham, close to the Brewmasters House and the Brewmasters Bridge. These boats are probably the closest thing we would have in Birmingham to the gondolas in Venice!

Dragon Boat Race 2017

The Dragon Baot Race  seen during June 2018. Packed full of spectators around the Birmingham Canal Navigations. This was also close to the Sealife Centre Birmingham.

Dragon Boat Race 2018

Now a building at Brindleyplace that wouldn't be out of place in Venice. Three Brindleyplace is seen to the left of the Sealife Centre. Teams at the race getting ready to race up and down from the Sealife Centre to the Broad Street Tunnel and back. I was only passing through, so didn't see much of the race in 2017 and 2018.

Dragon Boat Race 2018

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. The day trip to Venice was during July 2010.

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Mar 2019 - Stephen Giles
Did you know?

Tallest buildings across Birmingham - now and in the future!

I am Stephen Giles, a member of the ItsYourBuild community and follower of all things construction. Here I look at how Birmingham is 'reaching for the skies'.

I am delighted to include some stunning photography from Daniel, another member of the passionate and growing ItsYourBuild community in Birmingham.

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BIRMINGHAM IS BOOMING!

Take a leisurely stroll around this flourishing city of ours and you'll never be too far away from a development under construction, anchored by a colourful 'dancing crane hypnotically towering above'.

The city continues to reach new heights, with developer and investor confidence in Birmingham at an all time high. This is all culminating in record levels of construction, investment and redevelopment across the UK's ‘Second City’.

We are clearly in an unprecedented time of growth which the city has not seen in many a generation.

Another exciting chapter awaits in the evolution of this remarkable city.

BUT FOR NOW LET'S TALK TALL BUILDINGS!

Birmingham is currently building two of the largest office buildings outside of London, one at Three Snowhill and the other at 103 Colmore Row.

With HS2 inching ever closer, the city is already capitalising on its position. It has seen, and will continue to see, a number of businesses choose Birmingham over its' rivals. With this comes an influx of new professionals moving to the city, with developers already reaping the rewards and wanting to build even more offices. 

Away from the limelight of the City Centre, it's also interesting to note patches of derelict land scattered around the city which are now quickly being filled up by low-rise residential buildings, which densifies the city even further and which leads us one step closer to building taller.

Land prices are rising significantly in certain areas of the city and the only way developers can get more 'bang for their buck' is to do one thing, build tall! The clamour for developers to begin building upwards has already begun.

CLUSTER OF TALL BUILDS IS EMERGING

Broad Street, one of the largest parts of land in the city, is home to the city’s tallest ever habitable building – Bank Tower Two, a Wates development.  Bank Tower Two comprises 217 one and two bed apartments with a private gym, 24-hour concierge, a residents bar and much more. It’s been designed by local architectural firm Glancy Nicholls Architects.

Bank Tower Two reaches 33 storeys (102 metres) and sets a benchmark for city living, not just for Broad Street, but for Birmingham as a whole.

Incidentally, Broad Street is earmarked for even taller builds, with one imminent and another the focus of pre-application discussions. Various sites nearby are being earmarked for redevelopment in the not too distant future.

MODA TOWER OTHERWISE KNOWN AS 2ONE2 BROAD STREET

Opposite Bank Tower Two will be MODA Tower, otherwise known as '2one2 Broad Street' and is the imminent development referred to above. Currently undergoing groundworks, this development will reach a whopping 42 storeys (132 metres).

Followers, like myself, of all things 'Tall Buildings' in Birmingham have been remarking - "You wait ages for one bus – and then two come along at the same time!"

SO, WILL WE BE BUILDING EVEN TALLER THAN 42 STOREYS?

In a nutshell, yes! Clearly if it is economically viable for a developer to build a mammoth building on a patch of land they’ve purchased, they will do so.

OK, BUT WHERE WILL THESE BUILDS GO UP?

Whispers are that we’ll see these huge builds opposite the future Curzon Street HS2 building. There appears a desire from many in positions of influence, for tall, well designed buildings. We’re already seeing prime land being bought by developers with the intention of building 'big'.

Nikal have Phase 2 of Exchange Square up their sleeve. There is also Berkeley Group's much anticipated 37 storey building proposed for Eastside Locks, with an application due shortly.

Then there's Court Collaboration, a local group, hoping to shatter all records themselves by reaching for the skies. Backed by huge investment from overseas, there are rumours of a 46 storey building from Court Collaboration on James Watt Queensway, with a planning application due shortly.

In the meantime, the development pipeline for Birmingham looks as healthy as ever.

Let's enjoy the ride!

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60 passion points
Open spaces
12 Mar 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Green Heart Festival Opening Weekend

The University of Birmingham is celebrating the redesigned ‘Green Heart’ area of the campus with a free weekend festival on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June 2019.

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The redesigned area of University of Birmingham’s campus, known as the ‘Green Heart’, is the result of two years work redeveloping the area to open up the campus in the way that the Founders imagined it would be.  The new parkland in the centre of the University’s historic campus measures over over 12 acres, providing a multi-use space for performances, events and markets, as well as bringing wild flowers and native plants to campus.

The Green Heart will also open up new pedestrian and cycle routes, allowing students, staff and visitors to move across campus with ease.  This will improve air quality, provide shade and create a place of peace, whilst developing zoned lighting to balance campus safety with minimising light pollution.

The Green Heart Festival Opening Weekend will bring a range of outdoor music performances, with music from University of Birmingham musicians and range of street food and drink on offer.  There will also be the opportunity to explore hands-on exhibits which highlight the recent research from the University.

To read more about University of Birmingham’s Green Heart, visit their website at https://uobgreenheart.com/

And for more information on Green Heart Festival Opening Weekend, visit the University of Birmingham’s website.

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Mar 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Construction at Arena Central - March 2019

Construction at Arena Central is mainly Three Arena Central (HMRC Midlands) with One Centenary Square (HSBC UK) finished and Dandara externally complete. Some interesting perspectives in this photo gallery.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Photography
10 Mar 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Daniel Sturley Photography - Recent Birmingham Photos

Here is a gallery of recent photos from around the city, a selection of many more in my Full Gallery. Above is looking up at the Library of Birmingham on a sunny winter's day.

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Birmingham, One of the Two Lion Sculptures Outside HSBC UK - March 2019

 

Birmingham, Grand Central and the Rotunda - March 2019

 

Birmingham, the City in the Trees, Orion House - March 2019

 

Birmingham, the Holiday Inn Express on Holliday Street - March 2019

 

Birmingham, a Very Bright Street Lamp on Bridge Street - March 2019

 

Birmingham, gnarly 'Safety Devices' - March 2019

 

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - March 2019

 

Birmingham, the View over Arena Central - March 2019

 

Birmingham, the Chamberlain Monument and the Museum and Art Gallery Reflected in Two Chamberlain Square - March 2019

 

Birmingham, The Library of Birmingham - February 2019

 

Birmingham, a View North from the Library - February 2019

 

Birmingham, Five Ways Tower - February 2019

 

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - February 2019

 

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - February 2019

 

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - February 2019

 

Birmingham, the Skyline from Digbeth - February 2019

 

Birmingham, the Moon Rises Behind a Crane - February 2019

 

Birmingham, the View North from the Library - February 2019

 

Birmingham, 'Ball Lighting' at the ICC - February 2019

 

Birmingham, One Centenary Square (HSBC) Reflecting the Library - February 2019

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
09 Mar 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - March 2019

Leftbank Tower Two is dominating the westside and can be seen from lots of areas and angles, here from the Mailbox. The external lifts have been extended to the top for the rest of the cladding to be installed.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

 

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
History & heritage
08 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Châteaux in France

I've been to several Châteaux in France on a couple of Riviera Travel holidays. In July 2009 to the Loire Valley, where most of them are located. Also in June 2017 in Burgundy (but not as many there - only visited the one). I could also see some from the coaches I was on, and on the Loire Valley holiday was a couple of photo stops for some of the Châteaux!

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Loire Valley

First up with the Chatateax visited in the Loire Valley during July 2009, with Riviera Travel. On this holiday they took us to two Châteaux for a visit. As well as a couple of photo stops. Others I saw from the coach.

Château de Villandry

This château is a grand country house located in Villandry, in the département of Indre-et-Loire, France. We came for a morning visit, arriving after 9am, and leaving by 11:30am. This château was built around the original 14th century keep where King Philip II of France once met Richard I of England to discuss peace. Jean Le Breton, France's Controller-General for War under King Francis I acquired it in the early 16th century and a new château was constructed. It remained in the Le Breton family for two centuries. In the early 19th century Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Jérôme Bonaparte.  It was designated a Monument historique in 1934. Like the other châteaux of the Loire Valley, it is a World Heritage Site. There was some nice French gardens here!

Château de Villandry

Château de Chenonceau

An afternoon visit to this château, arriving just before 1:30pm and leaving by 3:30pm. At the time, part of the building has scaffolding on it. Nice gardens to visit and plenty of history here. It spans the River Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France. This château was built between 1514 to 1522. Diane de Poitiers, who was the mistress of Henry II of France lived from 1547 to about 1555. It also became the residence of Catherine de' Medici in the 1560s. Mary Queen of Scots may have had a brief spell living here during 1559-60 as the wife of Francis II of France. You can visit the inside of the building as well as explore the gardens! One of the most famous châteaux of the Loire valley.

Château de Chenonceau

Château d'Anet

We had a coach stop here so that our group could take some photos of this château. Bit hard to see behind the walls, but the some of the buildings close to the wall were visible. I'd say that we were here for around 5 to 10 minutes? It is a château near Dreux, in the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France, built by Philibert de l'Orme from 1547 to 1552 for Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II of France. There is statues here of Diane de Poitiers as Diana, goddess of the hunt, by Jean Goujon.

Château d'Anet

Château d'Ussé

Another photo stop. This time from the other side of the river near the bridge. Another 10 minute coach stop. It resembles or was the inspiration for the castle from Sleeping Beauty (the Disney version). It is a castle in the Indre-et-Loire département, in France. Close to the Chinon forest. Was mostly built in the 15th century. You can see how well it resembles the famous Disney castles!

Château d'Ussé

Château du Clos Lucé

The visit to the final home of Leonardo da Vinci (from 1515 to his death in 1519). A visit inside of the house as well as the grounds where there was many full size models of Leonardo's inventions! It is a a large château in the city of Amboise, France. It is 500 metres from the royal Château d'Amboise. Charles VIII of France aquired it in 1490. Francis I later used it in the early 1500s. The museum also includes a copy of the Mona Lisa, painted in 1654 by Ambroise Dubois. I saw that painting, but didn't take a photo of it!

Château du Clos Lucé

Château d'Amboise

The walk down from Clos-Luce into Amboise and you can see this château on the right on the hill above. We only visited the City and not this château itself.  It is a château in Amboise, located in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France. King Charles VIII died at the château in 1498 after hitting his head on a door lintel. Many French King's liked this place including Francis I (the sponsor of Leonardo da Vinci). Mary Stuart lived here as a child when promised to Francis II.

Château d'Amboise

Château de Chinon

I saw this chateau near the end of a walk around the town of Chinon. We did not go up there, but was nice to see! It is a castle located on the bank of the Vienne river in Chinon, France. Henry II of England, a member of the House of Anjou took it in 1156 and he later died here in 1189. It was his favourite residence. It was founded by Theobald I, Count of Blois. In the 11th century. There was a major restoration project here between 2003 and 2010.

Château de Chinon

Île-de-France

Next up we head to Fontainebleau near Paris. On the Loire Valley holiday of July 2009, this was the day before we went back to Paris and caught the Eurostar back to the UK. A big Palace where many of the French King's and Emperors lived!

Château de Fontainebleau

Also known as the Palace of Fontainebleau or Château de Fontainebleau it is 34 miles south east of the centre of Paris. Located in the commune of Fontainebleau, is one of the largest French royal châteaux. It started as a medieval castle and subsequent palace served as a residence for the French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. Francis I and Napoleon I had the most influence over the palace. It was here in 1814 where Napoleon abdicated as French Emperor, and inside I saw the table and chair that he signed the instrument of abdication. Of course he later returned for the 100 days in 1815! The castle dates back as early as 1137. And there has been many additions over the centuries. The château was used as a prison for Pope Pius VII from 1812 to 1814. It is now a national museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Château de Fontainebleau

Burgundy

The Holiday to the historic Burgundy region of France with Riviera Travel was during June 2017, including 3 days in Lyon. After we left Lyon, we headed to the next hotel in Beaune. But before we got there, we went to the Château in Cormatin.Many of the other châteaux I saw in the region was from the coach on different days.

Château de Cormatin

Our visit to this château lasted around 2 hours. We had an exclusive guided tour organised by our tour operator.  Cormatin is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France. This was my first château visit in around 8 years! It is built on an island of the Grosne river. It resembles a moated manor house (similar to Baddesley Clinton in England). This building dates to the early 17th century. Although Henry du Blé has built a fortress here in 1280, on the road to Cluny Abbey (we also visited that on this trip). This used to be a complete quadrangle with a inner courtyard but two of the wings was demolished. The West Wing was lowered after a fire in 1812 and the South Wing collapsed in 1815 during its conversion into a textile factory. Jacques du Blé built this château from approx 1620 to 1626.

Château de Cormatin

I spotted many chateaux from the coach during this particular holiday. Some are now part of vineyards.

Château de Sercy

I saw this chateau from the coach after we left Cormatin and headed to our next hotel in Beaune. This could have been a coach stop, but am sure that we didn't get off the coach here. It dates between the 12th to 15th centuries. Sercy is in the Saône-et-Loire region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. It was along the Route du Château, seen from near the River Grosne. It has been declared a historical monument in France since 1974. The castle is private property but is open to the public.

Château de Sercy

Château de Châteauneuf

I saw this château from the coach window on the journey back to our hotel in Beaune from the Autoroute du Soleil - A6 (having earlier visited Fontenay Abbey,  Semur-en-Auxois and Flavigny-sur-Ozerain). This château is also known as the Château de Châteauneuf-en-Auxois, and dates to the 15th century. About 43km from Dijon. It dominates the valley of Canal de Bourgogne. The earliest construction dates back to about 1132 by Jean de Chaudenay for his son Jehan, who took possession of it in 1175 and became Jean I de Châteauneuf. Philippe le Bon, duke of Burgundy in 1457 offered it to his advisor Philippe Pot, also of the Order of the Golden Fleece. It is now a protected historical monument in France.

Château de Châteauneuf

Château de Brochon

I saw this one from the Route des Grands Crus as the coach took us back from a day out in the city of Dijon back to our hotel in Beaune. This whole region is scattered with vineyards, and vines as fas as the eye could see! Very scenic to travel through! This chateau dates to the 19th century and is a Neo-Renaissance castle in Brochon, Côte-d'Or, in Burgundy-Franche-Comté. In the 14th century, Philip the Bold , first Duke of Valois of Burgundy donated the land to the Order of the Carthusians. It's had many other owners over the centuries and is now a vineyard producing wine, from 1962 by Lycée Stéphen-Liégeard.

Château de Brochon

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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0 passion points
Construction & regeneration
08 Mar 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham Construction, Cranes Across the City - March 2019 Update

Many new photos have been added to our Birmingham Cranes photography feature, here's a selection.

Photo by Daniel Sturley

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Photo by Elliott Brown

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
People & community
06 Mar 2019 - The Friends of Kings Heath Park
Activity for you

Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Egg Painting in kings Heath Park

Join the Friends of Kings Heath Park and the Ranger Service for an Easter egg hunt and Easter Egg Painting in @kingsheathpark.


20 Apr 2019 to 20 Apr 2019
11.00am - 1.00pm or 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Kings Heath Park - Birmingham

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Join in the fun at Kings Heath Park for an Easter egg hunt, and for rock and egg painting on Saturday 20th April. Two sessions. Booking via Eventbrite only. Limited spaces - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/friends-of-kings-heath-park-15265543996

 

 

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40 passion points
Green travel
06 Mar 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Think blue, let cyclists through

Birmingham Connected, part of Birmingham City Council, are asking people to “Think blue, let cyclists through” ahead of new cycle routes opening on the A34 and A38 this year.

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Birmingham Connected, which covers all transport planning activity for the council, are making drivers aware of some new road layouts, ahead of the new cycle routes opening soon on A34 and A38.  The blue surfaced routes show the new cycleways, which are separated from other traffic where possible.  At areas where the blue routes cross central reservations or side roads drivers need to give way to cyclists.

From Monday 25 March planned access changes to Priory Road from Bristol Road will be implemented, where there will be no right turn into Priory Road, whilst travelling out of the city centre.  Travelling into the city there will be no access (left turn and right turn) into Priory Road from Bristol Road. The left turn towards the cricket ground will remain open. Signage will be installed and information will also be provided about alternative routes.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
05 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Stirchley Village up and down the Pershore Road and Hazelwell Street

There is plenty of history in the Stirchley area of Birmingham. A big chunk of it is called Stirchley Village. Here we will be looking at buildings up and down the Pershore Road and Hazelwell Street. There was a big Co-operative Society presence in the village, and the Cadbury's were nearby in Bournville. Buildings include the Stirchley Baths, the British Oak pub and many more!

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While there might be a lot of derelict shops on the Pershore Road in Stirchley, there are many historic buildings up and down the road in good condition. Some like the old swimming baths and the Friends Meeting House have been restored. Stirchley goes from Selly Park towards Cotteridge along the Pershore Road, and the road is used during the Great Birmingham Run every October and the Great Birmingham 10K in April or May. The village also has boundaries with Bournville and Kings Heath.

 

First up a look at the Sea Cadets building. It is not far from Cottteridge but it is in Stirchley. The Sea Cadet Corps Birmingham Sherbourne is located a 1667 Pershore Road. They were established in 1942. They help people learn the skills  to become a Sea Cadet and one day join the Royal Navy!

Sea Cadets - Pershore Road, Stirchley

Stirchley Community Primary School shares their building with the Selly Oak Constituency Office on the Pershore Road. There may have been a school here since the late 19th century. The building was built in 1879 by William Hale, on what was Stirchley Street. It had room for 215 pupils. Extensions built in 1883 and 1893, both by Hale, and in 1896 by Edward Holmes. (these details taken from a book called Victorian Buildings of Birmingham by Roy Thornton, published in 2006 - very useful for details of Victorian buildings).

Stirchley Primary School - Pershore Road, Stirchley

The British Oak is a public house on the Pershore Road in Stirchley. It is now near all that Seven Capital land awaiting development. The pub is a Grade II listed building. It was built from 1923 to 1924 by James and Lister Lea for the Mitchells and Butlers brewery. Red brick in Flemish bond, with diaperwork, brick mullion-transom windows and tile arches. It is a large public house in 17th century Domestic Revival Style. The pub also includes a garden loggia of the same date.

The British Oak - Pershore Road, Stirchley

The Dog Pool Hotel, also known as The New Dog Pool Hotel & Restaurant. On the Pershore Road in Stirchley, close to Selly Park. The pub has been closed down for years. Built in the 1920s, it was formerly the Hibernan. It replaced another Dog Pool Inn that used to be opposite. A wedged building at the corner of St Stephen's Road and the Pershore Road. The nearby road opposite is called Dogpool Lane. That leads to Dads Lane and onto Kings Heath. Some people (as a joke) vandalise the road sign to read "Dogpoo Lane"!

Dog Pool Hotel - Pershore Road, Stirchley

Stirchley Public Baths was restored in 2015 and reopened in January 2016 as a Community Centre. It's on the corner of Bournville Lane and Hazelwell Street in Stirchley. It is a Grade II listed building. The swimming baths was built in 1910 by John P. Osborne. Red brick in Flemish bond and diaper pattern blue brick, and with stone dressings. Slate roofs. Built in the Edwardian Baroque style. For many years the building was closed before it was restored. Seen here a few days after it reopened to the public in January 2016.

Stirchley Public Baths - Hazelwell Street, Stirchley

Stirchley Library is on the Bournville Lane in Stirchley. A short walk away from Bournville Station. It was built in 1905 for the Kings Norton & Northfield Urban District Council (years before the area became part of the City of Birmingham). A Grade II listed building. The Public Library was built in 1905 by John P. Osborne. Red brick in Flemish bond, with stone dressings and a slate roof. Built in the Freestyle. It is next door to the former swimming baths (now community centre).

Stirchley Library - Bournville Lane, Stirchley

The Birmingham Civic Society had unveiled a blue plaque for Mary Cottrell (1868 - 1969) at the Stirchley Community Centre (the former public baths) during February 2019 - Mary Cottrell Blue Plaque unveiled. When I got off the no 47 bus early in the rain near the British Oak, I thought the plaque would be at the baths, but walking along in the torrential rain, saw it at this building, which was the former Central Bakery dated 1891. The building is now home to Em's Pet Food Store at 1395 Pershore Road and Isherwood & Co. at 1393 Pershore Road. DJF Bathrooms and Kitchens is to the right near the archway. It was formerly the site of a Ten Acres and Stirchley Co-operative Society Bakery. Mary Cottrell was the first woman Birmingham City Councillor for the Labour & Co-operative Party in 1917. She was also a board member of the Ten Acres and Stirchley Co-operative Society from 1909, and the Co-operative Wholesales Society in 1922.

The Central Bakery - Pershore Road, Stirchley

Fun runners on the Birmingham International Marathon which was held on Sunday 15th October 2017. It was the 1st new marathon in Birmingham (26.2 miles) since the 1980s. Held on the same day as the Great Birmingham Run (which started a little bit later). There was no marathon in 2018  (due to roadworks along the route) but the normal Great Birmingham Run and Great Birmingham 10K were still held in the city.

Views below of the fun runners running past the Pershore Road in Stirchley towards Bournville. Between the community centre and the former bakery.

Birmingham International Marathon - Pershore Road, Stirchley

As usual the roads were closed to allow the run to take place.

Birmingham International Marathon - Pershore Road, Stirchley

I got the train to Bournville that day to check out the Birmingham International Marathon in the Bournville and Stirchley areas. Bus routes would have been diverted while it was on.

Birmingham International Marathon - Pershore Road, Stirchley

 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Mar 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - March 2019

There has been a lot of windows installed on the front of the building facing Chamberlain Square and another row of columns at the back start to show the way they will look. We cant wait for the full effect!

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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90 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Mar 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - March 2019

With the building essentially finished externally it is tiny details left after the crane and the external lifts are removed. Lots of views in this photo update.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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90 passion points
History & heritage
02 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The escape of Charles II after he lost the Battle of Worcester in September 1651

During the Commonwealth period, The Civil War came to an end in 1651 with the Battle of Worcester. Charles II lost that battle and went around the country (in secret) to escape to France. In the Midlands he left Worcester on the 3rd September 1651, and by the 8th September 1651 he got to Moseley Old Hall near Wolverhampton. He continued his journey south before he escaped the country!

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There is a building on New Street in Worcester City Centre now named King Charles House. For many years it has been the King Charles II Restaurant. Photos below taken in September 2009, about 358 years after Charles II escaped Worcester after loosing the last battle of the Civil War in the city. King Charles House is Grade II* listed building. Including no 4 and 5 Cornmarket. And now 30 New Street. Built in 1577 for for Richard Durant and
William Blagden. Restored in 1956.

King Charles House Worcester

Restaurant sign of the King Charles II Restaurant.

King Charles House Worcester

This plaque details Charles II's escape from Worcester on the 3rd September 1651.

King Charles House Worcester

Close up view of the restaurant. The timber framed building was rebuilt in 1670.  This was also the site of a dungeon where Judge William Berkeley kept his victims who were awaiting trial (he was born in this building in 1684).

King Charles House Worcester

This building round the corner is also part of the same listing as King Charles House at 30 New Street and 4 Cornmarket. In 2009 it was a dry-cleaners. Now it is a Hearing Centre. Charles II escaped from here on his long route to get out of the country. Cromwell's soldiers would have been looking for him at the time. He disguised himself as a servant. This building was originally linked to 29 New Street. An engraving of 1799 by James Ross showed that it used to be a 3-storey building. A fire in 1800 partly destroyed the timber framed building and caused a rebuilding of 30 New Street with 5 Cornmarket.

King Charles House Worcester

After escaping Worcester, Charles II on the run from Parliamentary soldiers, rode to White Ladies in Staffordshire, where he was disguised as a woodsman by two of the loyal Penderel brothers. The River Severn crossing was guarded, so he headed to Boscobel where he took refuge in the house and later in the 'Boscobel Oak'. He made it to Moseley Old Hall near Wolverhampton on Monday 8th September 1651.

Now a National Trust property, the house is a Grade II* listed building. The house was built in the late 16th century, originally timber framed. Brown brick with blue dressings was later added by 1870. It is near the Fordhouses area of Wolverhampton and Featherstone in South Staffordshire. The busy M54 motorway goes past the farm and estate. The front garden is now walled off, but originally the front of the house would have been open to the main road outside. Charles II arrived at what is now the King's Door round the back of the house, and was taken upstairs.

A February 2019 visit to Moseley Old Hall, during the warm sunny spell we have been having!

Moseley Old Hall

The King's Room on the first floor of Moseley Old Hall. It is the darkest room in the house. It was Father Huddlestone's room, close to a hiding place with a priests hole. The bed is the one that Charles II slept on (not in). The bedspread dates to the middle of the 17th century and the curtains from the 18th century! He remained clothed that night that he slept here. After some rest Charles was taken to see Mr Thomas Whitgreave the owner of the house. Seen on the guided tour of the house.

Moseley Old Hall

The Priest's Hole is between the King's Room and the Dressing Room. Charles II himself went into it, but he was over 6 foot tall and there was not much room in there! A trap door would close to keep the priest (or the exiled King) hidden. Not much room to get food down there either!

Moseley Old Hall

Mr Whitgreave's Room. The lady on the left was out guide. And let's say that the man was Mr Thomas Whitgreave!  Charles II was brought into this room to meet Mr Whitgreave and was introduced to his mother Dame Alice. Charles watched from the window of the small study as the defeated Royalist army made their way back up to Scotland. Best not for Charles to look out the window, or someone outside might recognise him!

Moseley Old Hall

A portrait of King Charles II in the Entrance Hall. There was many portraits of him around the house. Probably placed there by the National Trust. Charles spent several hours in the priest hole when Parliamentary soldiers marched up to the front door accusing Thomas of fighting at Worcester for the Royalists. He told them he was too ill to travel, they accepted his story and left, never entering the house or finding Charles!

Moseley Old Hall

After he was moved again, he went to Bentley Hall near Walsall, the home of the Lane family. A portrait of Jane Lane hangs at Moseley Old Hall. He was then taken to Bristol disguised as a servant. But couldn't get a boat to France from there. He then headed south towards Bridport in Dorset.

Charles II arrived in Bridport, Dorset on the 23rd September 1651. He stayed at what was the Old George Inn on East Street in Bridport. Seen in May 2012. Now a Cancer Research UK charity shop. A Grade II* listed building. The former public house dates to the 16th and 17th centuries. Was altered in the early 19th century with Stucco. By 1788 it had become Dr Robert's Apothecary Shop. It was probably still a pharmacy by the 1950s to the 1970s. Not sure how long Cancer Research UK has been here, but must be more than a decade?

The Old George Inn, Bridport

Dr Giles Roberts opened a pharmacy at 9 East Street in Bridport in 1804. The building was previously The George Inn. Closer detail of the sign near the top of the building about Charles II's stay here on the 23rd September 1651.

The Old George Inn, Bridport

After the pharmacy closed, the contents was moved to the Bridport Museum. There is a display in one of the rooms of Dr Robert's Apothecary Shop with a dummy of Dr Roberts on the left. And a cabinet that says "Dispensing Department". This visit May 2012. All contents of the Bridport Museum remain their copyright. So no commercial use of the below photo allowed.

The Old George Inn, Bridport

After leaving Bridport, Charles II continued his journey to escape to exile in France. He finally got a boat from Shoreham. He would have to wait until 1660 to be restored to the throne! After the death of Cromwell and the fall of the Commonwealth!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Photography
02 Mar 2019 - Jay Mason-Burns
Gallery

Brumgraff:

A look at the ever-changing Street Art on the walls and streets of Birmingham.

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Brumgraff: A Look at the ever-changing Street Art on the walls and streets of Birmingham.

Artist: Annatomix

What follows is a gallery of photographs that I have taken of street art or grafitti art, from around the Birmingham area over the last couple of years.  It's by no means an exhaustive gallery, more simply I guess you could call it an overview of what I have seen and how I have sought to capture this art on camera. Where possible I have given credit to the original artist, but obviously this hasn't always been possible.  

Artist: N4T4

Grafitti is a bit of a dirty word.  People have commonly associated it with loutish behaviour, urban neglect, derelict buildings and the pointless vandalism of public areas. 

Grafitti is, perhaps, the oldest Artform we humans have.  Grafitti has been found dating back to neolithic cave paintings, even the ancient Egyptians and Greeks liked to scrawl their names upon their most majestic of buildings. 

It could be argued that grafitti stems from one of our most basic of urges, to make a mark, to write our names and say 'I was here', to record our progress or to make mockery of authority and express our outrage, boredom or disconnection from society. 

Ultimately Grafitti is an illegal act, the defacing of a wall, building or public space.  Despite our growing tolerance and even veneration for grafitti, it remains a criminal act, and it has to be said there is sadly a lot of grafitti that has little or no merit beyond selfish vandalism. 

There is also no denying that some artists cross the line to get to places they shouldn't necessarily be to display their masterpieces.  But without that endeavour, that willful urge to push the limits, we wouldn't have such beauty. I think you just have to accept the rough with the smooth. Wine tastes good and fills you with good cheer, but the hangover's always a bitch.

 Artist: Lucy McClauchlan 

So, do I love grafitti? Oh gosh yes! Absolutely!!

During the 20th Century, in places like New York, grafitti was an expression of youthful rebellion and social opinion that started out as scrawls on boxcars and subway trains and abandoned buildings in a new form of visual language that appropriated styles and genres to suit whatever a person wanted to say. There were, and are, no limits.  

It took root and spread, becoming a recognised sub-cultural art form that has captured the imagination of artists, photographers and writers alike. In places like Northern Ireland and the Palestinian West Bank, large murals were painted on houses and dividing walls in deeply provocative acts of political resistance and human defiance.  Many of these murals remain today as symbols of political hope and identity. 

I think identity is one of the defining elements of grafitti, it is about people and the places they live in or inhabit, especially in those deprived and abandoned places where the authorities and politicians hold no sway over creative and personal expression. 

What began as (and remains) an illegal activity has evolved into a dynamic and ever changing art form that has made it's way from the streets into galleries and social spaces.  Grafitti is now often referred to as Street or Urban Art. 

At it's heart grafitti is an ephemeral art form, blink and you'll miss it.  It's art that captures the heart and soul of a place and its people.  It's often provocative, in your face, ironic, laugh out loud funny, sometimes immense in size or quietly beautiful.  Local and national heroes are often memorialised whilst other less worthy public figures are mercilessly ridiculed.  It is joyous, touching and sometimes cruel, but that's life. 

Artist: Pahnl

Where I live in Birmingham the street art changes week in week out.  Most mornings on my way to work I detour through the Bournbrook Grounds, a pocket park situated behind the Aldi supermarket in Selly Oak.  It backs on to a large electrical substation, the walls of which act as an enormous canvas for local artists. 

Here the grafitti is tolerated, and consequently it's become a test bed for many local artists to try out new works.  The art changes all the time, it's wonderful. 

Artist: Hoakser

The next few pictures were taken in the park, over the last few months. Sometimes I will see three different pieces painted on the same wall in just a week.  The art is never boring, even if it's not always to my taste.  It's colourful, dynamic, eye catching and always interesting.  It's like a free open air gallery, the smell of fresh paint fills the air, a radio will be blasting out tunes whilst local students play basketball in the park courts.  It's colourful, lively, human. 

When we think of street art in Birmingham most people think of Digbeth and the walls and railway arches surrounding the creative hub at the Custard Factory. 

Since the old Bird's Custard factory was redeveloped as a media and creative centre of excellence in the early 1990s, the whole of Digbeth has undergone an artistic and suburban renaissance, so much so that the street art now defines the identity of the place, intrinsic to what makes Digbeth tick. 

Artist: N4T4

The railway arches, factory walls, entire streets and the canals that snake through the area have become a grafitti paradise where street art, in all it's forms, is not just tolerated but positively encouraged. 

Artist: Goldenboy

Street Art highlights areas like Digbeth, Shoreditch in London and Bedminster in Bristol, giving them a contemporary artistic vibe that attracts tourism and is in tune with the creative types now living and working in the area. 

Artist: Annatomix

Following on from the example of Bristol's Urban Paint festival, Digbeth has cottoned on to the trend for Street art tourism, firstly by staging the City of Colours fest in 2014 and most recently with the highly successful HighVisFest, which is returning later this year. 

Artist: PhilthBlake

Artist: Justin Sola

Artist: Andrew 'Title' Mills

Street Art embraces and subverts all forms of cultural and social discourse, everything is fair game to be depicted, reimagined and used to frame a point of view or simply be a beautiful creation.

Street art can be spray painted, poster paste-ups, tiny stickers on lamposts, even lighting and video installations.  In Birmingham we are blessed with a wealth of street artists who live or visit the city regularly, such as Lucy McClauchlan, Annatomix, PhilthBlake, Dan Newso, Justin Sola, Andrew 'Title' Mills and the inimitable Fokawolf. 

Artist: Lucy McClauchlan

As a photographer and a student of Art I find grafitti, in all it's forms, compulsive viewing and exciting.  Grafitti can literally be anywhere, so it's constantly surprising where it can be seen, on lamposts, trees, bus stops and the dark dirty corners amongst the ruin and detritis of humanity. 

For myself I like to ground my photos of street art in the wider environment, usually by depicting people around it or interacting with it, so in that way it responds to the life around it. 

Street Artist: Justin Sola

I really enjoy walking around Birmingham, capturing the ordinary and everyday scenes that make our city so special.  I think street art really adds spice and colour to our urban landscapes, often rendering contrast against the grey ugliness of destitution, dereliction and neglect.  I think street art is the most singular artistic movement of the modern era, it's the art of the common people, it can be done by anybody and not just by the monied educated few.  I object very strongly to the appropriation of street art by the corporate and business quarters looking to buy their way into hearts and minds, but sadly money always talks. 

Bordesley Junction.

I hope you've enjoyed my little odyssey through the street art of Birmingham. For me it's a joy to witness these works and incorporate them into my work. 

The best way to experience it is in the flesh, so get out there and see it for yourselves. You'll be blown away by the skill and imagination of these people. 

Thanks for reading and if you'd like to see more of my photography you can find me on Instagram and Twitter as @jayjayjjetplane  

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70 passion points
Poetry
02 Mar 2019 - FreeTimePays
Inspiration

Two Parks - a poem by Phil Banting

Here's a lovely poem from Phil Banting about two of Birmingham's great parks - Kings Heath Park and Highbury Park.  Selected as a winner in the Kings Heath, Birmingham 2019 poetry competition. 

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40 passion points
Transport
28 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Cyrille Regis tribute on West Midlands Metro tram 31

I've been waiting a while to see West Midlands Metro tram 31 again, since I heard that they have named the tram after West Bromwich Albion legend Cyrille Regis! He was born in 1958 and died in 2018 and had a CBE. The tram was unveiled at the tram depot in Wednesbury. I finally saw the tram waiting at Corporation Street Tram Stop! In the glorious sunny late February 2019 weather!

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Tram 31

Cyrille Regis was born on the 9th February 1958 and died on the 14th January 2018, aged 59.  Most famous for playing for West Bromwich Albion from 1977 to 1984, he also played for Coventry City from 1984 to 1991, Aston Villa from 1991 to 1993 and Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1994 to 1995, of the clubs in the West Midlands.

The tram was named after Cyrille Regis in the middle of January 2019 at the Wednesbury tram depot. You can see a video of that event at this link Cyrille Regis: Metro tram in memory of footballer.

I first saw the tram this time from Cannon Street and Fore Street, and found it stationary at Corporation Street Tram Stop.

West Midlands Metro tram 31 Cyrille Regis at Corporation Street Tram Stop

The same image seen further down the tram. Showing off nice in the unseasonable sunshine and warmth of late February 2019!

West Midlands Metro tram 31 Cyrille Regis at Corporation Street Tram Stop

Full view of tram 31 with the Cyrille Regis livery memorial on the side. I think it's on the other side as well.

West Midlands Metro tram 31 Cyrille Regis at Corporation Street Tram Stop

Down to Stephenson Street, and another tram was waiting at Grand Central Tram Stop, hence the reason why tram 31 was waiting at Corporation Street. This view looking up Stephenson Place to Corporation Street with the spire behind from the Methodist Central Hall.

West Midlands Metro tram 31 Cyrille Regis at Corporation Street Tram Stop

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Green travel
27 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

National Walking Summit to take place in Birmingham in March

Living Streets, the UK charity which supports Britons to enjoy the act of walking, are hosting their annual conference in Birmingham on 29 March 2019.

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The charity, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, originally started campaigning to introduce the UK’s first zebra crossing and the introduction of speed limits, aims to get the country walking.

Their annual National Walking Summit, a highlight in the street planning calendar, will bring together leaders, decision-makers and campaigners, to inspire and shape debate on how to create towns and cities that are fitter for walking.

Held at Birmingham’s Council House, the summit will include input from Cllr Ian Ward, Leader, Birmingham City Council; Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands; Christophe Najdovski, Deputy Mayor of Paris for Transport, Travel and Public Space; and a series of lightning talks from grassroots campaigners.

To book a free place at the National Walking Summit, visit the Living Street website at https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/get-involved/walking-summit 

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50 passion points
Transport
26 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Blue ended West Midlands Metro trams with advertisements

In February 2019 West Midlands Metro have recoloured at least three of their Urbos 3 trams with blue ends. Tram's 18 and 21 have a red Just Eat sponsorship. While tram 36 has a yellow My Metro app advert all over. I saw the trams between St Chad's / Snow Hill and Grand Central / New Street (not all on the same day). Am still waiting to see tram 31 again with the Cyrille Regis signs

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Tram 18

Seen at Grand Central Tram Stop. With the on going extension to Centenary Square, West Midlands Metro can only have one tram at a time at the stop near Birmingham New Street Station on Stephenson Street.

Tram 18 at Grand Central Tram Stop

Very bright sunlight during this unseasonable sunshine and blue sky during late February 2019. Spring has arrived early this year!

Tram 18 at Grand Central Tram Stop

The Just Eat sponsorship includes deals with Subway, Burger King and KFC.

Tram 18 at Grand Central Tram Stop

"Your favourite eats delivered to Birmingham streets".

Tram 18 at Grand Central Tram Stop

The middle section covered with the Just East sponsorship. The tram waiting to return to Wolverhampton.

Tram 18 at Grand Central Tram Stop

The other end with the same Just Eat take away deals with Subway, Burger King and KFC.

Tram 18 at Grand Central Tram Stop

Tram 21

My long wait was over to see some of the other trams in blue (tram 31 I first saw in the summer of 2018 but that was all blue). Here tram 21 is seen at St Chad's Tram Stop. Blue ended with Just Eat sponsorships.

Tram 21 at St Chad's Tram Stop

The tram with battery packs (all the trams changed colours now have battery packs) seen passing the Snow Hill Living Wall. It was going past Three, Two and One Snowhill.

Tram 21 passing the Snow Hill Living Wall

My first proper look at the tram with the blue ends and Just Eat sponsorship. Behind is the steps up to the Snow Hill Square between One and Nine Colmore Row. It was winding it's way around Colmore Circus towards Colmore Gate and Bull Street.

Tram 21 passing 1 and 9 Colmore Row

A close up look at the Just Eat sponsorship. This one has different deals to tram 18. On tram 21 they have Chop & Wok, Caspian Pizza and Big John's.

Tram 21 close up near One Snowhill

Tram 36

I was holding off doing this post until I saw tram 36, as I was aware it had a different sponsorship on it. Luckily it was waiting at Corporation Street Tram Stop when I was hoping to see it in town. It was waiting here, as there was another tram at Grand Central Tram Stop, and couldn't move until that tram had started it's journey back to Wolverhampton. Still got the strong sunny conditions of late February 2019, very unseasonable and warm for this time of year! Easy Gym and New Look are the shops behind the tram.

Tram 36 at Corporation Street Tram Stop

On this tram is a yellow branded livery for the My Metro app. Where you can plan your journey and buy day tickets (not tried it myself, and it's been over a year since I last had a ride on the Metro)! You used to have to buy your ticket from the inspector on board. Ticket machines at tram stops disappeared many years ago (never on the first extension).

Tram 36 at Corporation Street Tram Stop

Slightly better to see from this side, due to the sunlight. The platforms at Corporation Street are slightly staggered. I did walk down to Grand Central Tram Stop, but didn't wait to see this tram heading down there. I next walked up towards Snow Hill.

Tram 36 at Corporation Street Tram Stop

Before I saw tram 36 again, I had walked on the pavement near The Wesleyan at Colmore Circus and saw tram 28 with battery packs. Back on Colmore Row, I then spotted tram 36 making it's way back towards St Chad's Tram Stop. It is more striking looking like this than when it was pink!

Tram 36 passing The Wesleyan from Colmore Row

One Snowhill, Lloyd House (West Midlands Police HQ) The Wesleyan were the backing for tram 36 as it made it's way towards the grass track and the Living Wall at Snow Hill Station. Traffic had to wait for the tram to pass at the lights.

Tram 36 passing The Wesleyan from Colmore Row

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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30 passion points
Air quality
26 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Birmingham City Council Launches Website for Drivers in Birmingham

The website provides information for businesses, particularly self-employed drivers and fleet managers using vehicles in the city, who may be affected by the Clean Air Zone.

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Business Breathes provides useful information on low emission vehicles that will comply with the Clean Air Zone requirements, as well as information about where they can be refuelled (or recharged) in and around Birmingham.  

The site also includes information about why the Clean Air Zone is being implemented within Birmingham and which areas it covers.  Users can also find advice and guidance on grants and incentives available for businesses to support them to do their bit to improve Birmingham’s air quality. Taxis, both Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, can avoid paying the Clean Air Zone charge by switching to a vehicle which meets certain criteria, which are explained on the website.  Each car or van that does not meet the criteria or have approved retrofit technology fitted will incur a daily charge for entering the Clean Air Zone (amount to be confirmed around April 2019). 

Birmingham has a growing network of refuelling options for drivers of low emission vehicles, and the website directs drivers of electric vehicles to charging points, as well as Fleet Refuelling Hubs, dedicated to providing businesses with refuelling.  Drivers of vehicles which require hydrogen, gas or LPG are also pointed to places where they can refuel too.

Business Breathes is part of Birmingham City Council’s overall ‘Brum Breathes’ campaign, which includes the Clean Air Zone, to reduce air pollution in Birmingham, including harmful pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and particle matter in the air.

If you are a self-employed driver, fleet driver or professional driver in Birmingham, please visit https://businessbreathes.co.uk/.

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