Elliott Brown

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Environment & green action
16 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sheldon Country Park: from the Coventry Road to Old Rectory Farm and the Airport viewing area

Only in Sheldon Country Park can you see a farm and then plane spot! There is several paths from the Coventry Road. One leads to Old Rectory Farm. The quicker route leads to the Airport viewing area near Marston Green Station. There are benches where you can sit and see planes taking off or landing. Get your train from or to Marston Green Station (or the bus).

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Follow this link to my full Sheldon Country Park album on Flickr.

February 2015

This was my first walk in the Sheldon Country Park. Getting on at the Coventry Road in Sheldon, running alongside the Westley Brook. Not far from Barrows Lane and Horse Shoes Lane. This sign welcomes you to the park. An ALDI supermarket is almost directly opposite this entrance.

Sheldon Country Park

Trees in the park not far from the Coventry Road in Sheldon.

Sheldon Country Park

The path from the Coventry Road. Following the route of the Westley Brook it ends at Church Road in Sheldon.

Sheldon Country Park

A look at the Westley Brook from a footbridge.

Sheldon Country Park

The footbridge that crosses the Westley Brook.

Sheldon Country Park

At the time the paths were quite muddy. Walked from the Church Road entrance and went past Old Rectory Farm. Here was a couple of horses.

Old Rectory Farm

One of the horses eating grass.

Old Rectory Farm

Several sheep here as well.

Old Rectory Farm

A pair of sheep.

Old Rectory Farm

Beyond Old Rectory Farm was a football pitch. Boys were playing a game that day as I walked past on the muddy paths.

Old Rectory Farm

Airport viewing area first few visits

In March 2016 at Easter, I returned to the Sheldon Country Park, taken several buses towards Marston Green Station as I heard via social media that the Emirates Airbus A380 would be landing at Birmingham Airport with passengers for the first time. Obviously other people had heard this aswell (thanks Birmingham Updates!).

Airport viewing area

Just about caught the Emirates Airbus A380 landing as I got close to the Airport viewing area. What a sight! It was then given Birmingham Airport's traditional hose down! See the post here Emirates Airbus A380 : the super double decker plane from Dubai in Birmingham and the Midlands.

Airport viewing area

Loads of people here during March 2016 to see the Emirates Airbus A380 (and other planes) but mainly the Emirates.

Airport viewing area

Panoramic, was a nice day weather wise.

Airport viewing area

In November 2016 for a bit of plane spotting. While there saw this London Midland Class 350 Desiro train heading over the viaduct near Marston Green Station.

Sheldon Country Park train

Was also a Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino going past. Best views usually from the platforms at Marston Green Station (but Virgin don't stop there, so go past at 100mph).

Sheldon Country Park train

Another plane spotting session during March 2017. That day mainly waiting to see the Emirates Boeing 777 take off. Meanwhile saw this Virgin Trains Super Voyager Class 221 (I think).

Sheldon Country Park trains

Also heading over the brick viaduct was an Arriva Trains Wales Class 158 train. They usually go as far as Birmingham International, and then head back to North Wales (Holyhead). Since that franchise ended it is now run by Transport for Wales (I have yet to get photos of their trains since the new franchise started, but have seen some in this area but missed getting a photo of one).

Sheldon Country Park trains

Chinese State Circus

The Chinese State Circus was on in the Sheldon Country Park on a strip of land near the path that was close to the Westley Brook, during May 2017. See my circuses post here for more photos Circuses in Birmingham.

Chinese State Circus

It was on from the 9th to 14th May 2017. There was signs lining the Coventry Road at the time letting people know about it, and elsewhere in Birmingham.

Chinese State Circus

October 2019

Just when I thought I'd walked all the paths in the Sheldon Country Park, while I was checking out the Sheldon Retail Park, I knew that there was another entrance to the park nearby, so headed there after leaving Morrisons. Is also a new M & S Food in the Sheldon area. This path follows the Hatchford Brook. Getting on close to The Arden Oak (Harvester), which is near Arden Oak Road.

Hatchford Brook

The path and the Hatchford Brook. Nearby to the right of the park is the Hatchford Brook Golf Club. But a bit hard to see the golf course over the fence and shrubbery.

Hatchford Brook

A footbridge seen crossing the Hatchford Brook.

Hatchford Brook

One side of the Hatchford Brook from the footbridge.

Hatchford Brook

Also a small waterfall, or weir. Before you know it, you are walking past Birmingham Airport.

Hatchford Brook

Newly laid paths in the Sheldon Country Park that runs up towards the Birmingham Airport perimeter.

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

The path now goes past the fence of the airport, and the Hatchford Brook enters the airport grounds.

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

Members of the public are not allowed to climb over the fence onto the airside area of the airport, or even use a drone here. It is forbidden!

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

An emergency exit gate from the airport onto the path in the park. It must be kept clear at all times.

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

I ended up at Marston Green Station again. Missed the first train to Birmingham New Street, and that was before buying a ticket (this was on a Sunday afternoon). After I bought my ticket had a half hour wait for the next London Northwestern Railway train that was heading towards Rugeley Trent Valley (now that the Chase line has been electrified). Got this view of the park when I finally left the station. Shows the airport viewing area. Benches and the path are to the left.

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham New Street Station and the Pallasades to Grand Central

A look at the transformation of Birmingham New Street Station from 2010 to 2015 / 16. The Pallasades was eventually replaced by Grand Central which opened in September 2015. The concrete station and shopping centre built in the mid to late 1960s replaced by the current station and shopping mall.

Related

I started taking photos of Birmingham New Street Station in 2010. And started regularly travelling from it to take photos around the network from about 2012. If you want to check out all my photos to date (other than on here) then follow my link on Flickr (over 1800 photos to date) Birmingham New Street Station.

The following information taken from Wikipedia (link at the top).

The station was originally built by the London and North Western Railway between 1846 and 1854, replacing the earlier terminus at Curzon Street which opened in 1838. LNWR shared the station with the Midland Railway until 1885, when Midland built their own extension alongside the original station. The two companies separated by a road called Queens Drive.

On Stephenson Street was built the Queens Hotel, this survived until the 1960s redevelopment.

Various lines go into New Street Station including the Stour Valley line, the Birmingham West Suburban Railway (that later formed part of the Cross City from 1978), and other lines.

In 1923 the LNWR and Midland Railway with others was grouped into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. In 1948 the railways were nationalised under British Railways. During World War II the roof suffered extensive bomb damage as a result of the air raids during the Birmingham Blitz.

After the war repairs were made but the original station was in use until the 1960s.

The station was completely rebuilt in the 1960s as part of the West Coast Main Line modernisation programme. Demolition of the old station and Queen's Hotel began in 1964 and was not complete until 1966. The rebuilt New Street Station was opened in 1967. While The Pallasades was built from 1968 and 1970 and was opened at that time.

The railway was privatised in 1997 and the train operators were franchised. Eventually the station was to be owned by Network Rail.

 

One of my earliest photos of New Street Station taken in during February 2010, not far from St Martin's Queensway.

Birmingham New Street Station 2010

The back of the station as seen from Navigation Street in February 2010. The rear footbridge was built in 1993 after the Kings Cross fire of 1987, as New Street is classed as an underground station, and the footbridge is also like an emergency exit. Train operators seen here included London Midland, Virgin Trains and Cross Country Trains. The Pallasades was still above and demolition work yet to begin.

Birmingham New Street Station 2010

It's now January 2011 and the redevelopment of New Street Station was well under way. It would take 5 years. Here was the void over platforms 12a, 11a, 10a, 9a and 8a. Come here now, and you would find a public square opposite the Bullring from St Martin's Queensway, but not 8 years ago! Just a big hole above the tracks.

Birmingham New Street Station 2011

Seen here in September 2012 when the Moor Street Link Bridge was under construction, below the Odeon cinema. Now a useful link from New Street to Moor Street Station. The Rotunda to the right. I now take many of the my photos from up there (mostly of Virgin Trains).

Birmingham New Street Station 2012

By April 2013, it was almost time for the old concourse at New Street Station to close for the last time. Saw it here on the 13th April 2013. Half of the new concourse was to open by 28th April 2013. It was called "Half Time Switchover".

Birmingham New Street Station 2013

By August 2013 I had my first look at the new concourse. No ticket barriers yet but this is on the B side bridge over platforms 1 to 12.

Birmingham New Street Station 2013

Up the ramp to what was The Pallasades in March 2014. During the transformation into Grand Central. Heading past HSBC.

Pallasades 2014

The former Woolworths store was just about visible before they gutted it to transform it into new retail units for Grand Central. I think that they had already started to change the floor tiles by this point. I never really fancied taking photos of The Pallasades when it was still there, wasn't much to look at by the end. Dark and depressing. There used to be central escalators that took you down to the old New Street Station concourse, but that closed in 2013.

Pallasades 2014

Skipping ahead to September 2015, and the new New Street Station was almost ready to fully reopen. Seen here below John Lewis is the Southside media eye. At the corner of Hill Street and Station Street. They were testing out the new media eyes. Also preparing for the opening of Grand Central Birmingham. The Southside Steps are below (at one point nicknamed the Spanish Steps like the ones in Rome). This end is close to the Alexandra Theatre.

Southside media eye

Opening day late September 2015 from the newly opened public square. The media eye facing the Bullring showing a Grand Central Birmingham advert. Around this area they would later install a war memorial, which the Queen would visit when she reopened the station with the Duke of Edinburgh. The new taxi rank on what was Queens Drive is to the left (although it took some time before I saw taxis down there).

Bullring media eye

This was in October 2015. The Midland Metro extension to New Street Station wasn't quite finished (it was a bit behind). The Stephenson Street media eye at the corner of Stephenson Street and Navigation Street welcoming you to Grand Central. Above is Ladywood House (still to be redeveloped to this day). Grand Central Tram Stop would later open down here in 2016.

Stephenson Street media eye

First look around Grand Central in October 2015 (after it opened to the public in late September 2015). Looking this way to John Lewis. Below the new airy concourse of Birmingham New Street Station. With a Pret a Manger to the left. Joe & The Juice is just in front of John Lewis (and is part of that group).

Grand Central 2015

Some of the restaurants in Grand Central including Tapas Revolution.

Grand Central 2015

Tortilla - was a long queue in the early days and weeks. Since then many retail or restaurant units in Grand Central have closed down, some have been replaced. Some units have remained vacant. Might be the rent is too high?

Grand Central 2015

This is the view from a car park on Swallow Street (near Hill Street) of Birmingham New Street Station on the opening day in late September 2015. With Grand Central and John Lewis.

Birmingham New Street Station 2015

This is the view from October 2015 of the new Birmingham New Street Station looking more or less complete from the Bullring link bridge (just beyond what was later name Link Street). This is the route between Grand Central and the Bullring. On the media eye at the time was "Full London Ahead" from Virgin Trains (who are due to lose the West Coast franchise in December 2019). The demolition of the old 103 Colmore Row was well underway at the time.

Birmingham New Street Statio from the Bullring (October 2015)

Not everything was complete in 2015. In 2016 they were building a new exit to Hill Street, from the footbridge that stretches to the old Navigation Street exit. Both are now exit only. It's called the Southern Ticket Hall. Although all you can do in there is put your ticket in the ticket barrier to exit the station. This view from Lower Severn Street during October 2016.

Hill Street bridge exit 2016

It was open by December 2016. This exit is close to platforms 1 and 2. This photo below taken in July 2017. When I took this I wasn't exiting the station but using the footbridge to go between different platforms when I was on the look out for Big Sleuth bears. Travelling from Birmingham International to University.

Hill Street exit 2017

Heading over the Hill Street Footbridge during October 2017. Not all trains are on time, in fact from time to time there are delays. I was travelling to Longbridge and waiting at platform 12B, but the train I ended up getting was from platform 9B so used this footbridge to change platforms. I also call this the Navigation Street Footbridge. Not many people seem to use it when I'm there (not experienced it during the rush hour / commuting period, only off peak or weekends).

Hill Street bridge 2017

I don't often get new photos of Grand Central looking down to the New Street Station concourse. This view was taken in May 2017. The paid ticketed area is to the right, while the free area is to the left of the eateries. The escalators had Bulling & Grand Central on them (as the centres now have the same owner and were merged into one).

Grand Central (May 2017)

Some new places in Grand Central, some are still here some already gone! Mowgli seen in August 2018. Cocoa seen in August 2018 (they have moved to The Mailbox). Tuckers Newsagents & Games seen in January 2019 when Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was on Netflix (it was temporary and only there for a short period of time). Kitty Cafe seen in May 2019 (it is still there).

Grand Central 2018 2019

This mural was seen in Grand Central not far from the ramp during February 2019. It shows the likes of Selfridges, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham's canal network. I don't think the mural is there now.

Grand Central mural 2019

The first Midland Metro extension to New Street Station was opened completely to Grand Central Tram Stop in 2016. By 2019, the trams are now run under the name of West Midlands Metro. And the trams are going blue. Seen here on Stephenson Place is a pair of battery-less trams. Tram 32 heading to Wolverhampton, and tram 27 heading to the (current) Grand Central terminus. The ramp was refubished during the Grand Central redevelopment of 2015, and looks much better now. The pair of trams seen in October 2019.

Trams 32 and 27

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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90 passion points
Transport
14 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses at the Great Birmingham Run 2019

Walking up the Edgbaston Road to check out a bit of the Great Birmingham Run. Had to give up the idea of going into Cannon Hill Park, and the Cricket Ground was quiet. Anyway saw this pair of buses at the Pershore Road junction as runners went past up the Pershore Road.

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I was expecting runners to be coming out of Cannon Hill Park and around Edgbaston Cricket Ground, but Great Run had to cancel that. So Edgbaston Road was a bit quiet while it was completely closed from the Willows Road / Russell Road end.

Saw this pair of open top buses at the Edgbaston Road / Pershore Road junction.

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses

Bath Bus Company with the Alzheimer's Society.

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses

Southdown with the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses

People were cheering on the runners from the top deck of each bus. I headed right next up Pershore Road and went as far as Calthorpe Park before I left the runners behind.

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Environment & green action
14 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Pype Hayes Park: the park near Erdington and not far from Sutton Coldfield

I've visited Pype Hayes Park twice in the winter of 2018/19. First time around late December 2018 for a walk up the Plants Brook towards Wylde Green. Second time a month later in January 2019 after a walk from New Hall Valley Country Park towards Tyburn. In both cases saw the derelict Pype Hayes Hall which is in urgent need of restoration by the council.

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Pype Hayes Park is located near Erdington and Pype Hayes in North Birmingham, also close to Tyburn. It's main entrance is on the Chester Road. The corner of Chester Road and Eachelhurst Road marks the furthest end of the park. In the park is the Grade II listed building Pype Hayes Hall (now derelict and boarded up). There is also a pond.

December 2018

For a Christmas Day 2018 walk we went to Pype Hayes Park. Heading past some trees.

Pype Hayes Park

More trees seen as we headed down the path towards the Plants Brook.

Pype Hayes Park

I think this was the path that took us down to the Plants Brook and out of the park towards Wylde Green (and Walmley Golf Club). When we got to the Sutton Park Line railway bridge we turned back. Beyond was New Hall Valley Country Park (I would be back that way a month later).

Pype Hayes Park

After coming back along the Plants Brook, went up to look at the remains of Pype Hayes Hall. It dates from the late 18th / early 19th century. The listing says that it was a stucco refacing of house of an earlier 17th century timber framed house.

Pype Hayes Park

It was part of the Manor of Pype. It ended up in the Bagot family from about 1630. The Bagot's sold some of the land in the 1880s for the creation of the Minworth Sewage Works. The rest sold to Birmingham City Council in 1920. And the hall was used for various public social uses.

Pype Hayes Park

A look at a path and trees beyond the derelict hall. From this side it was fenced off, so wasn't much to see.

Pype Hayes Park

A playground not too far from the hall.

Pype Hayes Park

In the car leaving on Chester Road. A line of evergreen trees.

Pype Hayes Park

Leaving the main entrance from the car park.

Pype Hayes Park

One of the signs for Pype Hayes Park.

Pype Hayes Park

January 2019

I knew that I missed seeing the pond the first time around as got off the Plants Brook footpath early. This time walked all the way to the end and made it to the pond this time. I had got a bus to Sutton Coldfield, then walked down through the New Hall Valley Country Park (going past the New Hall Water Mill) and back down the Plants Brook to the familiar path I was on the month before.

Pype Hayes Park

A close up look at the pond, the usual swans and gulls to be found swimming in it.

Pype Hayes Park

A pair of swans and various gulls.

Pype Hayes Park

Found a garden to the back of Pype Hayes Hall. But being January was nothing much planted there, and I didn't return in the spring or summer to see what it should look like in warmer months.

Pype Hayes Park

Coming back here meant I got to se the other side of Pype Hayes Hall. This side from the garden.

Pype Hayes Park

The hall was looking quite white on this side, but hedges in the way.

Pype Hayes Park

Pype Hayes Hall was run as a residential children's home from about 1949 to the 1970s. Fences around the hedges.

Pype Hayes Park

In 1974 the body of a woman child-care worker was found in the grounds of Pype Hayes. A man called Thornton who also worked at the hall was a suspect, but it was later found that there was no evidence of him linked to the murder. Fences around the hedges continued, no access to the public from the park.

Pype Hayes Park

Another woman murdered 157 years earlier shared similarities with this 1974 death, and one of the accused men was also called Thornton. Some more derelict buildings, probably a barn or stables.

Pype Hayes Park

There might be "Plans to restore them for use as a 60-bed hotel, spa and swimming pool", but I'm not sure if that would happen or what the council is planning to do here. That was back in 2015.They can't leave it in this state!

Pype Hayes Park

After this headed to a bus stop and got a 67 back to the city centre, passing a boarded up pub called The Bagot Arms on the way. There was a sign on the pub saying that it would be a "Bar & Grill" coming soon. Has it opened now?

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Art, culture & creativity
13 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
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Characters from Movies and TV spotted around Birmingham and the West Midlands

I recently saw Paddington Bear at the Tyseley Locomotive Works open day of September 2019, and that reminded me of other similar characters that have been in Birmingham and the West Midlands over the years. Such as Alien, Predator and Iron Man on New Street, Transformers at The Mailbox. Shaun the Sheep at the Bullring. Even the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters at The NEC!

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Tyseley Locomotive Works

Paddington Bear was the special guest at the Tyseley Locomotive Works open day / weekend (last weekend of September 2019). Seen here waving to kids, not far from the miniature railway display. Another photographer taking his photo or videoing him on a tripod.

Paddington

New Street

Seen at the bottom end of New Street near Rotunda Square and the Bullring was this street entertainer as the Predator. Seen in early January 2014. Predator has been in four movies released between 1987 and 2018 (1987, 1990, 2010 and 2018). Also in two Alien vs Predator movies (2004 and 2007). Also various video games and comic books based on the Predator franchise.

Predator

Alien seen outside of Odeon in January 2014, same day as Predator. Four movies in the Alien Quadrilogy released between 1979 and 1997 (1979, 1986, 1992 and 1997). Also appear in the two Alien vs Predator movies (2004 and 2007). There was also the also the Alien prequel movies (2012 and 2017), but a version of the Xenomorph was mostly in the second prequel movie than in Prometheus.

Alien

Iron Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seen during March 2014 not far from the High Street and Rotunda Square. Iron Man / Tony Stark has appeared in a lot of the MCU movies released from 2008 onwards, including the Iron Man Trilogy (2008 - 2013), the four Avengers movies (2012 - 2019). Also appearances in the third Captain America movie (2016) and the first MCU Spider-Man movie (2017).

Iron Man

Bumblebee from the Transformers was outside of the former Lloyds TSB bank on New Street during October 2015 (it is now a TSB bank). He has appeared in all five live action Transformers movies released between 2007 and 2017, as well as his own spin off / prequel released in 2018.

Bumblebee

This Minion was seen at the bottom end of New Street near Rotunda Square and High Street when Vodafone was at that corner (now Metro Bank). This was during March 2016. The Minions are from the Despicable Me movie series. I have never seen this movies or the spin off. The three main Minions are called Stuart, Kevin, and Bob.

Minion

Late December 2018 and after dark at the bottom end of New Street near Rotunda Square in the Bullring. Pikachu and another Minion were seen here. Pikachu is from the Pokemon cartoon, movie and video game series. Was a recent live action Pikachu movie released in 2019 (never saw it apart from the trailers).

Pikachu and a Minion

High Street

Super Mario from the famous Nintendo videos was seen on High Street in Birmingham City Centre during September 2014. Games have been released since 1985. Originally on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), then in the 1990s on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Also on the Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, and other Nintendo consoles. As well as on the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS etc. Also has been several cartoons, and a 1993 live action movie.

Mario

Bullring

Shaun the Sheep seen at the Bullring near the Nelson statue during May 2015. First appearing in the Wallace & Gromit short film from Aardman Animations, A Close Shave (1995). The character was later the star of his own CBBC TV series ( 5 series between 2007 to 2016). In 2015 the first Shaun the Sheep movie was released. A second film due to be released in October 2019.

Shaun the Sheep

Optimus Prime from Transformers, seen in truck mode at Rotunda Square in the Bullring during August 2015, I think promoting the Transformers Prime cartoon series. Although this was the way the character looked like in the live action Transformers movies (2007 - 2017). Was a version in the Bumblebee movie (2018), but resembled the Generation 1 version of the 1980s.

Optimus Prime

Raptors from Jurassic World. Seen during October 2015. There has been raptors in the Jurassic Park trilogy (1993 - 2001) as well as in the two Jurassic World movies released so far (2015 and 2018). Expect to see them (or one of them) in the next Jurassic World movie (eta 2021?). They were visiting four UK shopping centres probably promoting Jurassic World's home media release.

Raptors

The Stig from Top Gear in Rotunda Square during October 2015. A BBC Top Gear Experience ride.

The Stig

Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was at the Bullring during March 2016 ahead of the relase of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the second of the reboot movies. For me the cartoon I remember is the one that started in 1987 (on the BBC they called it Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles). Then there was the TMNT Trilogy released from 1990 to 1993 (Jim Henson Creature Workshop did the first two films). Later a CGI animated movie in 2007. The reboot movie series started in 2014, but the 2016 sequel was the last one of these (I believe the film makers are rebooting the series again). Has been other cartoons, as well as comic books.

TMNT

The Mailbox

Another Optimus Prime from Transformers was seen at the top of the steps of The Mailbox during August 2013, but in transformed mode. This was before the redevelopment of The Mailbox. More likely to be a security guard here now than a Transformer!

Optimus Prime

Great Charles Street Queensway

One of my earliest Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail photos was taken during September 2009 of Wallace & Gromit on Great Charles Street Queensway (above the entrance to the Queensway tunnel). There has been four short films released between 1989 and 2008 (usually shown on the BBC). A feature film was released in 2005. There has been other TV series featuring the characters as well as adverts, comics and video games.

Wallace & Gromit

Mell Square, Solihull

Seen collecting for charity outside of a Game shop in Mell Square, Solihull during April 2017 was Captain America. In the MCU movies, Cap / Steve Rogers has been in the Captain America Trilogy (2011 - 2016). The four Avengers movies (2012 - 2019). As well as cameos in some of the other movies.

Captain America

MCM Birmingham Comic Con at The NEC

The highlight of the follow photos were taken at the MCM Birmingham Comic Con I went to in November 2016 at the Birmingham NEC. It was the only one I went to (not counting the Destination Star Trek conventions I went to). A lot of fans in cosplay.

Bishop from Aliens (1986). Was also other fan recreations of creatures from Aliens here and a powerloader. Bishop was also in Alien 3 (1992) but in a much worse state. Was also a Bishop II in Alien 3 as well as Charles Bishop Wayland in AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004). And a Karl Bishop Wayland in the 2010 video game Aliens vs Predator.

Bishop

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters (1984). There was also a version in the 2016 female Ghostbusters reboot movie. And he was also in the 2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Also appeared in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon of the 1980s.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

The Stig from Top Gear, this time a man in the racing driver outfit.

The Stig

2016 was the year of the movie Captain America: Civil War, so here a pair of cosplayers outside of The NEC were recreating the fight between Captain America and Iron Man!

Captain America Civil War

About a month after I saw Christopher Lloyd at The NEC (during Destination Star Trek Europe), this man was dressed as Doc Brown selling autographs near the Delorean and other memorabilia from Back to the Future. The Doc was in the Back to the Future Trilogy (1985 - 1990). As well as Back to the Future: The Ride, Back to the Future: The Animated Series and Back to the Future: The Game.

Doc Brown

Deadpool on a break. "Wisecracks return in 10 minutes". The first movie Deadpool (that wasn't right) was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). We later got him in two proper Deadpool movies (released in 2016 and 2018). Whether he'll show up in an MCU movie in the future is unknown, or if they will still be R rated (15 here).

Deadpool

A variant of a Spider-Man costume near the steps outside of the hall. Spider-Man has appeared in many movies, including the Spider-Man Trilogy (2002 - 2007), the pair of Amazing Spider-Man movies (2012 - 2014). He later joined the MCU in 2016, and has made about 5 appearances in that (including two solo movies in 2017 and 2019 and in two Avengers movies in 2018 and 2019). Also in various cartoons and video games. Including the 2018 PS4 Spider-Man game. In 2018 was also Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which was an animated CGI movie).

Spider-Man

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Sport & leisure
13 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
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Great Birmingham Run 2019: runners on the Pershore Road in Edgbaston

For the October 2019 Great Birmingham Run, I decided to check out the section in Edgbaston. Headed up Edgbaston Road where I saw the runners. I followed them as far as Calthorpe Park. Runners dropping bottles, but then being picked up by cleaners. The run was cut short and didn't go into Cannon Hill Park or around Edgbaston Cricket Ground. So was 12.1 miles instead of 13.1.

Related

The Great Birmingham Run didn't go into Cannon Hill Park or around Edgbaston Cricket Ground due to safety concerns. So the run was reduced to 12.1 miles according to some reports. Never the less they still were able to run up the Pershore Road!

BBC News Birmingham: Runners 'deflated' as Birmingham half marathon cut short.

Birmingham Mail / Birmingham Live: Great Birmingham Run no longer a half-marathon as heavy rain forces route change.

 

Starting at the Edgbaston Road junction with the Pershore Road in Edgbaston. Near the Cricket Ground.

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

After this I headed into Calthorpe Park.

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Ducks getting a drink in a puddle as the runners go past on the Pershore Road.

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Environment & green action
07 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Aston Hall and Park in autumn and winter

A look around Aston Park, the home of Aston Hall. The estate of Sir Thomas Holte in the 17th century. Later home to James Watt Jr. The park in the winter of January 2010 and December 2016. The autumn of September 2017. The park is also quite close to Villa Park, home of Aston Villa FC.

Related

Aston Park is located on the Trinity Road in Aston, and is mainly known for Aston Hall at the centre of the park. Not far away is Villa Park, home of Aston Villa Football Club. The park is reachable on foot from both Witton Station and Aston Station. As well as various local bus routes.

I first travelled to Aston by bus in January 2010, getting off at the Six Ways Island near the Birchfield Road. At the time there was a lot of snow in the area. My full Flickr album: Aston Hall and Park.

January 2010

Approaching Aston Park from the Trinity Road, already I could see that the grounds were all covered in snow. The North Lodge and Stables were visible in the background.

Aston Park snow

Now heading up the main road into the park, with so much snow, I couldn't see where the road or the grass was! The stable block is the entrance to Aston Hall, but as it was winter (January 2010) it was closed.

Aston Park snow

First look at Aston Hall in this winter scene from January 2010. It is a Grade I listed building designed by John Thorpe and built between 1618 and 1635, for Sir Thomas Holte. A Jacobean mansion, the house was bought in 1864 by the Birmingham Corporation, becoming the first historic country house to pass into municipal ownership. It is still owned by Birmingham City Council, but is now run as museum by the Birmingham Museums Trust.

Aston Park snow

The North Lodge and stables. Also a Grade I listed building as the Stable Range to North of Northern Lodge, Aston Hall. Dates to the middle of the 18th century. The entrance to the courtyard is through the gatewat in the middle of the former stabels range.

Aston Park snow

Turning around (I think this was still near the stables range) looking at the snow covered Aston Park. I was heading back down to Trinity Road, where I would then have a look around Villa Park. This was the only time I saw Aston Park with snow, and since then, I've not seen the park with snow.

Aston Park snow

December 2016

A walk that started at Dartmouth Middleway ended at Aston Park. I went up Chester Street towards Park Circus (was some sculptures to see along the way). Headed into the park via Frederick Road near this playground. By the looks of the map, I missed seeing King Edward VI Aston School.

Aston Park

A look at Lady Holte's Garden at Aston Hall through the gate. I would have to wait until September 2017, during Birmingham Heritage Week, before having a good explore of this garden.

Aston Park

Another view of Lady Holte's Garden during winter 2016/17. Completely empty as the hall is always closed during winter. It's normally open from Easter to the end of October.

Aston Park

A path in the park near Witton Lane. It might have been winter, but looked very autumnal at the time with the leaves on the ground.

Aston Park

One of the paths that runs alongside Trinity Road. No snow, so the main road up to the hall was clear to see. An Aston Hall sign with opening times. My next visit to the park would be around 9 months later when I heard about the Civil War Siege event during Birmingham Heritage Week. After I left the park, I walked to Aston Station to get a train back into Birmingham City Centre (wasn't going to walk back).

Aston Park

September 2017

Follow this link on the Civil War Siege, which was the main reason at the time for going back to Aston Park.

A look around Lady Holte's Garden. This water feature at the time was dry, maybe there is water in here in the summer? A fountain in the shape of a cross.

Aston Hall and Park

The far left side of Lady Holte's Garden. Plenty of trees and flowers to see in the middle of September 2017. The side of Aston Hall. During the Civil War Siege, I had time to explore the inside of the hall, before it go too busy.

Aston Hall and Park

I noticed that a cricket match was underway in Aston Park, at the same time as the Civil War Siege event (not related in any way). So around Aston Hall were Civil War re-enactors. And down on the cricket pitch, cricketers!

Aston Park cricket

The back of Aston Hall, many flower beds with yellow and orange coloured flowers. The Pan sculpture in the middle. It has been missing it's head for many years now. There was also stone vases by famous Birmingham sculptor William Bloye.

Aston Hall and Park

A path round the back of Aston Park. After the Civil War Siege, had a look around the gardens, before heading down this path towards Trinity Road, and heading back to Aston Station.

Aston Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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60 passion points
Transport
07 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Usual Suspects at the Tyseley Locomotive Works open day (September 2019)

I went to my 3rd open day at the Tyseley Locomotive Works on Saturday 28th September 2019. Mostly the same steam and diesel locomotives plus some special guests. The turntable was closed, so they opened up a different path from the car park to the engine repair shed at the back. Bought my ticket online and had a QR code in the E-ticket. Plus got a handstamp (not that I came back).

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Seen at Tyseley Warwick Road. This steam locomotive was stationary with the buffet cars behind. GWR 4073 Class 5080 Defiant. Built in May 1939 at the Swindon Works. GWR Castle Class. Standard Gauge Steam Trust (now the Tyseley Locomotive Works) bought it in 1974. Restored in 1988.

Defiant

LMS Jubilee Class 5593 Kolhapur outside of the engine repair shed. Built in 1934 at the Glasgow Works. Bought in 1968 by the Standard Gauge Steam Trust. Restored in the 1980s.

5593 Kolhapur

GWR 4073 Class 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe in the engine shed next to 7760. Built in 1936 at the GWR Swindon Works. Sold to the then Birmingham Railway Museum in 1973. Restored between 1998 and 2008.

5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe

7760 in the engine repair shed next to 5043. GWR 0-6-0 PT 57xx Class. Built in 1931. Awaiting an overhaul.

7760

GWR 4900 Class 4965 Rood Ashton Hall outside of the engine shed to the back. Regularly used as the Shakespeare Express. Previously named 4983 Albert Hall. Rebuilt in 1962 using parts from both original engines Albert Hall and Rood Ashton Hall. Had an overhaul in 2008 to 2009.

4965 Rood Ashton Hall

GWR 4073 Class 7029 Clun Castle was in front of 4965 Rood Ashton Hall. Built in 1950 at the ex Great Western Railway Swindon Works for the Western Region of British Railways after Nationalisation. Withdrawn in 1965. Bought in 1966 by Patrick Whitehouse, the ownership then passed to 7029 Clun Castle Ltd. Now based at the Tyseley Locomotive Works. First restoration in the mid 1980s. Mostly recently fully restored by 2017 before returning to service.

7029 Clun Castle

9600. GWR 0-6-0 PT 57xx Class. Built in 1945. Seen outside just behind guest locomotive 34053 Sir Keith Park. The turntable was fenced off behind.

9600

Special guest locomotive. SR Battle of Britain class 21C153 Sir Keith Park. 34053 Sir Keith Park steaming away. Built at the Brighton Works in 1947. Withdrawn from service in 1965. In 1979 purchased by Charles Timms but didn't leave Barry Island until 1984. Later sold to Dr John F Kennedy in 1992 and moved to Crewe. Currently owned by Southern Locomotives Limited. Last restored in 2012. Original intended home was Swanage Railway but is now usually at the Severn Valley Railway. I last saw her on the back of a lorry in December 2018 heading to the Tyseley Locomtive Works on the Warwick Road in Tyseley. See that post here Not something you see every day: a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry!

34053 Sir Keith Park

Another special guest. A diesel locomotive 20189. Class 20 built sometime between 1957 and 1968, it's an diesel-electric locomotive. Also called L189. Currently owned by Class 20189 Ltd. Behind was London Transport 20142 Sir John Betjeman (I didn't get full views of that one). Also owned by Class 20189 Ltd. It used to be used on the London Underground on the Metropolitan line.

20189

When I was briefly there on the Saturday the 28th September 2019, they had a pair of diesel locomotives taking passengers in the carriages up and down the line from the platforms at Tyseley Warwick Road.

At the back was D1755 / 47773. Class 47 built in 1964. Used to be used with the Royal Train. Named The Queen Mother. Now owned by Vintage Trains. It was previously used with The Polar Express around December 2018.

D1755 / 47773

At the front was 13029. Original number was 08021. Class 08. Built in 1953. Has a British Railways badge on the side.

13029

D1755 and 13029 seen heading up and down the line with the passengers in the carriages. Behind 13029 was a Pullman carriage. As usual, I found lots of photographers waiting for their shots as far as you could walk on site. This is usually as far as I can go before heading back into the engine shed and up and down the stairs to the exit.

D1755 and 13029

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Transport
03 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Southdown bus from the Tyseley Locomotive Works to Tyseley Station

For the open day weekend at the Tyseley Locomotive Works on the last weekend of September 2019, Vintage Trains had hired this green Southdown bus. While passengers arriving at Tyseley Station could walk the distance, for some they could ride for free on this bus to the entrance, before seeing the old trains. I later saw it on Kings Road in Tyseley, instead of using the lay-by.

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Tyseley Locomotive Works

Before I got to the Tyseley Locomotive Works, I saw the green Southdown bus arriving at the entrance on the Warwick Road in Tyseley. At the back was route no 75. Licence plate no: EAP 984V. The bus is a Bristol VR. I think they hired it from Southampton?

Southdown bus

Saw it turn right and stop just before the entrance. When passengers get off, they can get their e-ticket scanned, or buy a ticket for the open day in the entrance tent.

Southdown bus

During my 3rd open day visit at the Tyseley Locomotive Works, view of the Southdown bus from the car park.

Southdown bus

Passengers get off the Southdown bus, ready to head into the tent to get their QR code on their e-tickets scanned (unless they printed it). Or buy a ticket on the "door". Volunteers ready to great them.

Southdown bus

Having dropped the passengers off, the Southdown bus starts to reverse out onto the Warwick Road.

Southdown bus

The ticket inspector from Southdown, helps gets the traffic to stop, to let the bus reverse out. Doors were still open. I think he must have gotten on board before they closed the doors.

Southdown bus

After this I saw the bus head up the Warwick Road towards Acocks Green. I think it must have turned onto Stockfield Road, then onto Rushey Lane, before going down Wharfdale Road. When I got to Tyseley Station, I saw that man putting up signs telling potential passengers where the bus was. It was on Kings Road.

Tyseley Station

The bus seen waiting at Kings Road in Tyseley, to take the next load of visitors to the Tyseley Locomotive Works open day. At the front it has route no 31 and British Rail Hire. Also found it it is 684 Beatrice.

Southdown bus

On closer look, is a pair of adverts for the Great Central Railway. Travel on heritage steam and diesel trains in Leicestershire. I've yet to go on this one.

Southdown bus

The side view of the Southdown bus on Kings Road in Tyseley. Would have thought a better photo would have been if it parked next to the Edwardian Tyseley Station (which dates to 1906), rather than the walls here with graffiti.

Southdown bus

Leaving Kings Road, before I walked around Blythswood Road towards Rushey Lane. Not something I would normally see around here, after getting photos at Tyseley Station from the Wharfdale Road Bridge.

Southdown bus

One last look at the bus from Blythswood Road. The start of yet another walk towards Acocks Green Village down the Warwick Road from Tyseley. At the end of Blythswood Road is the Tyseley Corner Cafe and The Sunrise Cafe on Rushley Lane. Although I prefer to go to the Costa in Acocks Green Village.

Southdown bus

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
03 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Barry Flanagan bronze sculptures at the IKON Gallery

There is a free exhibition at the IKON Gallery in Oozells Square (housed in the former Oozells Street Boarding School) by the late sculptor Barry Flanagan. Mostly of bronze hares. They are in the galleries on Level 1 and 2. One is also outside in Oozells Square.

https://www.ikon-gallery.org/event/barry-flanagan/

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This free exhibition is on at the IKON Gallery from the 18th September to 24th November 2019. A collection of the sculpted works of the late Barry Flanagan (1941-2009). The gallery is open Tuesday's to Sundays from 11am to 5pm.

Link to his estates official website: Estate of Barry Flanagan.

Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan. A hare with a violin in Oozells Square, Brindleyplace. View towards Piccolino.

Barry Flanagan

View towards Cielo Italian.

Barry Flanagan

Bronze Hare sculptures by Barry Flanagan on Level 1 of the IKON Gallery.

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

More on Level 2. More bronze hares sculptures by Barry Flanagan.

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

I'm sure these pieces have titles, although I'm not sure what they are called. Didn't see any signs with them.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
Transport
01 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Metro trams at Soho Benson Road and Winson Green Outer Circle

I headed to Handsworth for a walk towards Handsworth Park. Got off my first West Midlands Metro tram at Soho Benson Road. I later headed to Winson Green Outer Circle after leaving the park. Long walk. Trams all blue now, not seen any in pink! Tram 30 from Grand Central to Soho Benson Road. Tram 35 from Winson Green Outer Circle to Corporation Street. Also saw tram 32 again.

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Soho Benson Road Tram Stop

The next tram stop on from Jewellery Quarter, I caught West Midlands Metro tram 30 from Grand Central to Soho Benson Road. Blue with batteries on top. I think this is the tram stop to use for Soho House, as saw signs as I left.

Soho Benson Road

The tram heads onto Winson Green Outer Circle on it's way towards Wolverhampton.

Soho Benson Road

Railway bridges above from the Soho Loop from Birmingham New Street towards Hamstead (avoiding Perry Barr). I went on a train once up there.

Soho Benson Road

Winson Green Outer Circle Tram Stop

After the walk to Handsworth Park I headed to Winson Green Outer Circle to go back to the City Centre. First up to arrive was West Midlands Metro tram 32. Seen here heading from Soho Benson Road.

Winson Green Outer Circle

The battery-less tram with lime green adverts for OLA. See my tram 32 post here West Midlands Metro tram 32 gone blue with OLA adverts too!

Winson Green Outer Circle

Island platforms here due to not being much room. Also the main railway line from Birmingham Snow Hill to Worcester runs next to it on the other side of the fence.

Winson Green Outer Circle

Tram 32 taking the steep climb up the tram bridge towards Handsworth Booth Street (the next tram stop).

Winson Green Outer Circle

Next up was tram 35. Heading down the steep tram bridge.

Winson Green Outer Circle

Getting closer on the tram bridge, all in blue.

Winson Green Outer Circle

Arriving at Winson Green Outer Circle before I got on this tram to head back into the City Centre.

Winson Green Outer Circle

Later back at Corporation Street Tram Stop after I got off. The tram has lost the Angus Adams name (assume that West Midlands Metro may reapply it soon?).

Corporation Street

Was a Police incident at the bottom of the ramp to Grand Central, so didn't take any more tram photos, but saw a few more at Grand Central from Caffe Nero.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
History & heritage
01 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Heritage buildings around Handsworth

Getting off the tram at Soho Benson Road, was so many Victorian buildings to see on the way towards Handsworth Park. Including pubs, schools, churches etc. I later walked to Winson Green Outer Circle. This area Boulton and Watt called home. 

Related

Find more of my Handsworth photos over on my Flickr. The first tram stop after the Jewellery Quarter is Soho Benson Road, other stops in the area are Winson Green Outer Circle and Handsworth Booth Street. On the day of my visit used Winson Green to return to the City Centre (not yet used Booth Street).

 

Getting off the West Midlands Metro tram at Soho Benson Road, first thing I saw was a primary school now called Benson Community School. A Grade II listed building, originally the Benson Junior School. Designed by HR Yeoville Thomason and Cooper Whitwell, it was opened by the Birmingham School Board in 1888. Built of red brick, laid in English bond, with yellow, terracotta dressings and a plain tile roof.

Benson Community School

It was originally known as the Soho Road School. It owes a debt to the designs of Martin and Chamberlain, but it was not designed by them. It was built to accommodate 962 pupils. Thomason (on his own) was also the architect of Singers Hill Synagogue (1854) and the Council House in Victoria Square (1874-9).

Benson Community School

The Black Eagle pub on Factory Road, Soho (near Handsworth). A red brick building, don't think it is listed.

Black Eagle

The pub sign says the Black Eagle was rebuilt in circa 1895. So maybe there was pub on this site before that year?

Black Eagle

 

Heading up St Michael's Hill, saw this clock tower. Turns out it is part of Handsworth Library. Also home to South & City College Birmingham. It's on Soho Road in Handsworth. A Grade II listed building as Public Library, Handsworth Council House and Job Preparation Unit. Built in 1878-9 by Alexander and Henman as the Urban District Council Offices (this was before Handsworth became part of Birmingham in 1911). Built of red brick and terracotta with stone dressings, it has a slate roof. An impressive looking clock tower, the clocks are timbered.

Handsworth Library

One of the first things to see when getting off the tram at Soho Benson Road (from Benson Road itself), is the spire of St Michael's Parish Church Handsworth. The church is a Grade II Listed Building as the Church of St Michael. Built in 1855 by W Bourne. It is a large sandstone church with ashlar dressings. Built on a hilltop site. The church is also visible from the Library of Birmingham on a clear view day of Handsworth.

St Michael's Church Handsworth

Heading up St Michael's Hill towards Soho Road. St Michael's Road is just before Soho Road. Also Soho Avenue near the church leads to Soho House (former home of Matthew Boulton and now a museum). I did see signs for that (my only actual visit was in the summer of 2010). Walking past this church, the gates were locked, so I think no access apart from when services on. Do they do heritage open days here?

St Michael's Church Handsworth

Crossing over between Soho Road and Soho Hill in Handsworth, I next saw the Villa Road Methodist Church. Not sure how old the building is, but it is now used by people of Caribbean and African heritage. Nearby on Rose Hill Road is King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls.

Villa Road Methodist Church

The main reason for going to Handsworth, was to see the church where James Watt and Matthew Boulton are buried. St Mary's Church Handsworth is on Hamstead Road next to Handsworth Park. The 200th anniversary of the death of James Watt, and I wasn't expecting to find renovation works going on, so couldn't go in. It's Grade II* listed building as the Church of St Mary. Origins from the 12th or 13th centuries. Rebuilt in the 19th century.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

This view of the churchyard and St Mary's Church Handsworth from Handsworth Park. Boulton & Watt are buried inside. The churchyard has been closed off for years and is in need of urgent restoration (before anyone can walk around it). The church is built of red sandstone in the Decorated style. There are memorials to James Watt by Thomas Rickman in 1826, also a marble statue by Chantrey in 1825 (was unable to see these myself). J A Chatwin made changes from 1876-80. There is also monuments by William and Peter Hollins

St Mary's Church Handsworth

I had a look around Handsworth Park. This was from the Hamstead Road entrance. The lodge house or gate house dated 1897. I don't think it is listed.

Handsworth Park lodge house

This view of the lodge / gate house from the other side of the boating lake. It has a distinctive clock tower with turreted roof. See more photos of Handsworth Park in my post on that park. I later exited this half of the park from the same entrance then walked up Holly Road into the other half (I was unaware of the bridges over the Soho railway line).

Handsworth Park lodge house

After I left Handsworth Park, I headed along Grove Lane, on my way to Winson Green Outer Circle. First saw this church (photo came out blurry and I've tried to fix it best I could). Now the Church of God 7th Day Birmingham. It was formerly St Peter's Church. A Grade II listed building as the Church of St Peter. Built in 1905, the architect was J A Chatwin (one of his last churches). Red brick with stone dressings and a tiled roof. It is also near Arthur Road.

Former St Peter's Church

Also on Grove Lane is King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys, also known originally as Handsworth Grammar School. It only joined the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in September 2017, being independent before that. It was founded in 1862. It's a Grade II Listed Building as Handsworth Grammar School. Built in 1862 by Mr Bidlake of Wolverhampton.

King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys

In the middle of this building is this distinctive clock tower. The school admits pupils (boys) aged 11 to 18. While there is the nearby King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls (on Rose Hill Road), girls have been admited to the Sixth Form since September 1997).

King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Transport
01 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Another NXWM bus in classic cream WM Travel livery

I saw the National Express West Midlands bus 4780 on the 94 bus route at the end of Moor Street Queensway near Jennens Road / James Watt Queensway earlier in September 2019. It was in the classic WM Travel livery of cream and navy blue. I've also seen it on the 65 on The Priory Queensway.

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I missed the last Bus Bash that was held at the home of Moseley Rugby Club at Billesley Common, and saw this bus the following day on Monday 9th September 2019. Another one of National Express West Midlands buses transformed into one of the classic liveries of their predessors.

WM Travel

4780 on that day was on the 94 to Chelmsley Wood. With a Swansea University advert. In the classic cream and navy blue livery of WM Travel (or West Midlands Travel). Seen here in Masshouse on Moor Street Queensway

WM Travel

I've since seen it on the 65 on The Priory Queensway, but didn't take a new photo of it.

 

The next vintage bus post will be the green Southdown bus used for the Tyseley Locomotive Works open day weekend.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Environment & green action
30 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Handsworth Park the park near where Boulton and Watt are buried

Went to Handsworth to check out St Mary's Church and Handsworth Park. The church was closed for renovation works so couldn't go inside. The park has a boating lake and an arts trail. Found two of The Big Sleuth 2017 bears in one half of the park. I got the tram but no 16 bus route is nearby if I go again! 

Related

See also my Handsworth heritage buildings post. Find all my my Handsworth Park photos over on my Flickr.

The main entrance gates to Handsworth Park from Hamstead Road. I continued on to get close to St Mary's Church, until I noticed that their was renovation works. I then crossed over the road for some more views of the church, before heading into the park. The gate on the right was open on my visit.

Handsworth Park gates

Before I got to St Mary's Church on Hamstead Road in Handsworth, I had a look at the lodge house in Handsworth Park. Dated 1897. Not listed.

Handsworth Park lodge house

I had a walk around the boating lake, walking anti-clockwise. The lodge / gate house of 1897 with it's distinctive clock tower and turreted roof.

Handsworth Park lodge house

The Victorian Drinking Fountain Canopy, now part of the Handsworth Park Arts Trail. Probably dating to the late 19th century. Originally called The Austin Lines Fountain. The drinking fountain itself has long since been removed. This view from the Hamstead Road, through the metal fence above the brick wall (on the walk to St Mary's Church, noticed a part of the wall that is broken and in urgent need of repair).

Handsworth Park Victorian Drinking Fountain

The boating lake from the Hamstead Road end of Handsworth Park. Plenty of Canada geese and gulls in this lake. Saw some boats at the other end of the lake.

Handsworth Park boating lake

Several boats near the island in the middle of the lake. They were up-side-down!

Handsworth Park boating lake

A relatively new sculpture unveiled in 2017, called SS Journey, made by the sculptor Luke Perry. Seen from the path I took on the walk around the lake.

Handsworth Park SS Journey

It is dedicated to the brave individuals who have left their homes around the world and made the journey to Handsworth and other parts of the UK, seeking a new life for themselves and their families. The sculpture is cast in bronze. I think the ship part looks like it was made of steel. It faces one corner of the boating lake.

Handsworth Park SS Journey

Saw this squirrel on top of a bench. As per usual, when you get close to a squirrel they run away! It's already looking autumnal in his park with leaves on the lawn.

Handsworth Park bench squirrel

What looks like an old drinking fountain. It's called Umbrello and it is Grade II listed. It was presented to the park in 1888 by Austin B Lines. Octagonal in plan. Had two shields with inscriptions on them. One of them had a pelican on it.

Handsworth Park Umbrello

I eventually headed back to the Hamstead Road entrance / exit. And then headed down Holly Road. I was aware of the Soho railway line running through the park, but missed using any of the footbridges here. I re-entered the other half of the park when I saw one of The Big Sleuth bears from summer 2017.

In the summer of 2017, I didn't get around to travelling to Handsworth, so missed seeing The Big Sleuth bears. Although around late July 2017 came back on the bus through Handsworth after doing Bearwood, Dudley and West Bromwich. These bears are now part of the Handsworth Park Arts Trail, and were installed in October 2017.

This is Sun Guardian created by Goosensi working with Friends of Handsworth Park and the Handsworth Community.

 

Handsworth Park The Big Sleuth Sun Guardian

Seen outside of the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre (Handsworth Leisure Centre) was Well Active Bear. Created by Mark Copplestone and Jennie Saunders working with Birmingham Wellbeing Service.

Handsworth Park - The Big Sleuth - Wellbeing Bear

Seen on this cylinder outside of the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre was this piece of graffiti street art, part of the Arts Trail in the park. Handsworth Revolution - Steel Pulse.

Handsworth Park - Handsworth Revolution

The Handsworth Playcentre is to the left of the Steel Pulse piece. Mostly painted in sky blue paint, with a variety of other colours. Part of the Handsworth Leisure / Wellbeing Centre.

Handsworth Park - Handsworth Wellbeing Centre - Handsworth Playcentre

After this, I left the park via Grove Lane and then headed towards Winson Green Outer Circle Tram Stop. Which was about a 20 minute walk away. Maybe one day a new railway station could be built in the middle of the park. Apparently Handsworth Wood Station was here from 1896 to 1941. Passengers found the no 16 bus to be more convenient. Maybe a new staton could be built there on the line from Birmingham New Street towards Walsall on the Chase Line. Similiar to the proposals to rebuild the stations on the Camp Hill Line (Hazelwell, Kings Heath and Moseley).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
Transport
26 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

All OLA again! This time West Midlands Metro tram 24 has gone blue!

This is the third tram I've seen in blue with lime green OLA adverts. West Midlands Metro tram 24 seen stationary at Grand Central Tram Stop near Birmingham New Street Station on Stephenson Street. Reckon another 3 months before I can see trams at Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop (if the next extension opens on time). But battery-less trams will not be able to go up!

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A bit of déjà vu when walking through Birmingham New Street Station towards the Stephenson Street exit. Saw the lime green adverts on a blue tram. Coming out I noticed that it was tram 24 at Grand Central Tram Stop.

Tram 24

The same exact OLA adverts, as on tram's 27 and 32.

Tram 24

And it has no batteries like those trams.

Tram 24

Still the situation on Corporation Street, where the waiting tram can't go down to Grand Central until the tram there starts heading up towards Wolverhampton. I did see two passing blue trams on Corporation Street, but wasn't close enough to get a shot of the pair.

 

Also new in blue: tram 26, 30 and 35. In fact not seen any pink trams recently! 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Architecture
25 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Oratory: a guided tour on the last day of Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2019)

I've been meaning to visit the inside of the Birmingham Oratory on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston for quite some time now. And I noticed that the last 3 days had free open days there. I only had time to visit on the Sunday 22nd September 2019. Got there after 2pm for the 2:15pm guided tour. It lasted about an hour. Most of it was built in the first half of the 20th century.

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In the middle of October 2019, Blessed John Henry Newman is to be created a Saint by Pope Francis I at the Vatican in Rome. His predecessor Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham in September 2010, beautifying Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park, and later visiting the Birmingham Oratory, unveiling a new blue plaque in Newman's honour.

During Birmingham Heritage Week, there was Heritage Open Days, free to visit at the Oratory during the last three days, in the afternoon. You could go on free guided tours of the Oratory Church.

Small bit of history first. The Oratory of St Philip Neri was established in 1849 by Cardinal Newman. At first based at the Church of St Anne on Alcester Street, they later found a more suitable site on the Hagley Road, the community relocated there in 1852. The current church began between 1907 and 1910 in the Baroque style to replace the original structure as a memorial to Newman. It was designed by Edward Doran Webb.

It is a Grade II* listed building, being listed as The Church of the Immaculate Conception (The Oratory), the Oratory Priests' House and the Former Oratory School Buildings.

Additions by G B Cox in 1927, including earlier work by John Hungerford Pollen of 1858, Henry Clutton of 1872-3. Also including the presbytery building by Terence Flanagan in 1851, plus the former Oratory School buildings designed by Henry Clutton in 1861-2 and 1872-3.

My full album on my Flickr including my earlier exterior photos is here Birmingham Oratory.

 

First up photos I took of the Oratory before and after the guided tour.

Exterior from the Private Oratory Car Park

The red brick building leads to the Cloisters and the main entrance. Used to be a school in this building known as the Oratory School. It was built betwen the 1860s and 1870s, designed by Henry Clutton.

Birmingham Oratory

This building is the main church part of the Oratory. Now also known as the Cardinal Newman Memorial Church. This was mostly built from 1903 to 1909, designed by E Doran Webb.

Birmingham Oratory

This small corner turreted building is the Shrine of St Philip Neri. During the guided tour, it was quite cramped being inside of it. It was built in 1927 and designed by G B Cox at the north west corner of the church.

Birmingham Oratory

Looking at the brickwork outside, it doesn't quite match with the earlier church. Behind the Shrine you can see red brick filling in the two walls of the church.

Birmingham Oratory

A close up look at the Shrine of St Philip Neri from the outside. It has a copper dome on top.

Birmingham Oratory

Cloisters

I saw the cloisters before going on the guided tour. Slightly reminds me of cloisters I've seen in France or Spain (although those are centuries older).

After heading in the main entrance from Hagley Road, a first proper look at the Cloisters. There is a shop to the left (also tea room I think). The main church is to the right. The cloisters was formerly the Oratory School. Newman founed it in 1852. It later moved to Reading in 1922. St Philip's Grammar School was later here from 1887 until it closed in 1995.

Oratory cloisters

Facing the main church. Now known as the Cardinal Newman Memorial Church. Built from 1907 to 1910.

Oratory cloisters

On this side of the cloisters was loads of memorial stones, including one for Cardinal Newman. It was around here, that those who went on the first guided tour of the afternoon waited.

Oratory cloisters

This way towards the car park. We didn't have access to these buildings (I mean going up to the first floor), as it wasn't part of the tour.

Oratory cloisters

I think that's a fountain in the middle, but it wasn't flowing water. This side towards the shop / tea room (I didn't go in). Heading back to the left to wait for the start of the guided tour.

Oratory cloisters

Cardinal Newman Memorial Church

The guided tour started in here. I went on the 2:15pm tour, an it lasted around an hour, as the guide explained from her notepad facts about the church and it's history. She would take us all the way around, including into the Shrine of St Philip Neri.

The marble columns came from Italy, and they were shipped by a steamer ship 2 at a time. Then they headed up the canal network once in the UK, being unloaded at Monument Road. The same steamer headed back to Italy to collect more columns, again 2 at a time.

Birmingham Oratory

The Organ Gallery is above the main entrance door to the church. Towards the south end.

Birmingham Oratory

The main dome near the front of the church. Is close to the High Altar. It's close to the second organ in the church and the Our Lady’s altar. You expect something like this in Italy, not here in Birmingham!

Birmingham Oratory

At the front is the High Altar. At the top is painting with a rainbow above it. It was designed in 1899 by Dunstan Powell and was for the old church. There is a raised step just before this area.

Birmingham Oratory

The Our Lady’s altar seen to the left. It is second hand. It came from the Church of S Andrea della Valle in Rome in 1911. The pair of columns were originally meant for Westminster Cathedral in London, but they broke, so instead they came to the Birmingham Oratory instead!

Birmingham Oratory

Shrines to St Philip Neri and Cardinal Newman

Side rooms in the Oratory. One dedicated to the founder of the Oratory movement, St Philip Neri. The other to Cardinal Newman, who was made Blessed in 2010, and soon to be a Saint.

Was a tight squeeze getting members of the tour group into the Shrine of St Philip Neri. A look up to the dome. The portrait of Philip Neri is a replica. The shrine was designed by G B Cox and built in 1927, added to the north west corner (see exteriors further up this post).

Birmingham Oratory

The body is a wax facsimile, but resembles St Philip Neri. There might be some relics inside. Took this as the group started to come out of the Shrine, as wasn't possible while it was crowded in there. He was born in Florence in 1515 and died in Rome in 1579. Philip Neri was beatified by Paul V in 1615 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

Birmingham Oratory

I think (although not sure) that this (below) might be the St Anne's Altar. Just quick look, I didn't go inside of this one. I thought the guide would take us in here. The nearby Shrine to Blessed Newman was closed for refurbishment ahead of his Sainthood being declared in October 2019. A temporary shine (it says on the door of Newman's Shrine) could be found at St Anne's Altar.

Birmingham Oratory

This used to be the St Philip’s Chapel, but is now the Shrine of Blessed John Henry Newman. It was closed for refurbishment, so took these photos through the windows in the doors.

Birmingham Oratory

Newman is due to be created a Saint after being Blessed since September 2010. It was probably part of the original church. It was last restored 9 years ago after Newman was beautified by Pope Benedict XVI. The canonisation is due to take place on the 13th October 2019 by Pope Francis I at the Vatican in Rome. The Prince of Wales will be travelling there, representing the Queen (as she no longer travels abroad).

Birmingham Oratory

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
Photography
23 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Floozie in the Jacuzzi in Victoria Square over the years

The Floozie in the Jacuzzi is a bronze statue / fountain in Victoria Square, in front of the Council House. River and Youth by Dhruva Mistry was made in 1993 for the refurbished Victoria Square as opened by the late Princess Diana. The fountain used to flow, but for many years there has been a leak. Now plants.

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Floozie in the Jacuzzi - it's official name is The River. The bronze statue at the top of Victoria Square. Youth is the pair of statues at the bottom of the square. Here we are looking at the statue at the top. The River is a 1.75-tonne bronze statue of a woman. Unveiled in 1993, the water fountain was working until the first leak was discovered in 2008. This was repaired in 2010 and it was turned on again, but another leak was found in 2013, and turned off again. In 2015 soil and bedding plants were filled in. But it is now possible that the Council has found funds to repair the leak and get the water flowing again, probably in 2020 (10 years after the last repair).

 

One of my first photos of the Floozie was taken during April 2009 (when I started taking photos around Birmingham). The pool was dry due to the leak the year before (2008 see above). A big screen was also in Victoria Square at the time (I think it survived until 2012, but was removed for good in 2013).

Floozie 2009

May 2009 and still dry, only wet patches from the rain. Looking towards the Town Hall and Alpha Tower, with the statue of Queen Victoria to the right. At the time was a temporary display behind about "How much labelling do we need?". Looked like giant chicken packets.

Floozie 2009

By November 2009, the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was being set up in the square. The Council was getting ready for Christmas, at the same time was around the Remembrance commemorations that are annual every November. The Floozie was still dry.

Floozie 2009

The leak was repaired in 2010, and the fountain switched back on! So the water jets sprouting out of the bronze Floozie statue. Behind is the Town Hall, Alpha Tower and Council House. Birmingham Central Library in Chamberlain Square was still open (until the new library opened in 2013). Hopefully the Floozie will look like this again in 2020? Except 1 and 2 Chamberlain Square will be behind to the right.

Floozie 2010

Lit up at night during late December 2010 (a day before New Years Eve). The colourful lights had been added along with the 2010 leak repairs. A Christmas tree at the bottom of the square close to the top of New Street. Also the big screen was showing the London 2012 logo.

Floozie 2010

Was trying to do one shot from different months, but this view below from the same evening as the previous photo. The view towards the Town Hall and Alpha Tower. The colourful lights kept changing. I think the fountain had been turned off again.

Floozie 2010

A few years later and it is now January 2013. And during a heavy snowfall. The fountain was on at this time, but the Floozie was freezing and covered in snow and ice! The next leak was discovered in 2013 and the Council once again switched the fountain off here. This would be the last time that I saw the Floozie with the fountain working (until they fix it in 2020?).

Floozie 2013

The Floozie wearing a pink bra. For Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer. Seen during November 2014. The Birmingham Central Library behind was now closed, and would be demolished from December 2015.

Floozie 2014

Since the Council couldn't get funds to fix the fountain, they put soil and plants in. Seen here with the Floozie in July 2015. It's been like this now for over 4 years.

Floozie 2015

Victoria Square was dressed up for the closing ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. The Floozie had an outfit on during April 2018. And they would broadcast live from Birmingham to the Gold Coast. This was before that went out on TV, a few days before when I saw her like this.

Floozie Commonwealth Games 2018

About a week later (still April 2018) was the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 home coming. Team England celebrated winning their medals in Victoria Sqauare. The Floozie had the same colourful wig on. While the event also looked forward to Birmingham 2022. She also had a gold medal around her neck and brush on her. The view between the Town Hall and Council House was now the Library of Birmingham and One Chamberlain Square (since then Two Chamberlain Square has blocked the view of the new Library).

Floozie Commonwealth Games 2018

Another pink bra seen during October 2018 on the Floozie. Had to take it much further back due to the plants being in the way. As before was the Ladies Breast Cancer awareness campaign.

Floozie bra 2018

The Floozie reading a book in March 2019. Once upon a time in Birmingham Women who dared to Dream. Was installed near the Floozie in the Flower Bed for International Women's Day. (The book has long since gone from Victoria Square).

Floozie book 2019

The Floozie seen with the Knife Angel (by Alfie Bradley) when it was in Victoria Square, Birmingham during May 2019. Backed by the Town Hall. Previously in Coventry, I believe as of September 2019 it is now in Middlesborough. See my post Knife Angel in Coventry and Birmingham for more photo on the Knife Angel.

Floozie Knife Angel 2019

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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30 passion points
Transport
23 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

West Midlands Metro tram 32 gone blue with OLA adverts too!

As with tram 27, tram 32 also has no batteries, has gone blue and also has the lime green OLA adverts. I've seen it on Corporation Street. Photos taken while it was stationary at Corporation Street Tram Stop (another tram probably at Grand Central). The Gym appears to be replacing Easy Gym.

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Just a small quick post this time. West Midlands Metro tram 32 has gone fully blue, and like tram 27 has OLA lime green adverts. Easy Gym to the left on Corporation Street is being replaced by The Gym. While New Look is still there, and Mothercare gone. Stationary at Corporation Street Tram Stop, probably as another tram was down at Grand Central (and it had to wait).

Tram 32

No batteries on this tram either. So it won't be able to go up Pinfold Street from December 2019, unless West Midlands Metro engineers installs some before the opening of the next extension. Where Mothercare was is still vacant.

Tram 32

Thanks for a great year Birmingham We Are. Special thanks to Jonathan, Deb and Daniel.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Sport & leisure
21 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Rugby World Cup 2015 in Birmingham (September 2015)

I can't believe that it has already been 4 years since the Rugby World Cup was held in England in 2015. As the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup has already got underway. Looking back to September 2015, when a giant rugby ball was in Centenary Square (in front of the Library of Birmingham), and a Fan Zone set up on Eastside Green (now HS2 development land at Curzon Street Station).

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Giant Rugby Ball in Centenary Square

The Rugby World Cup 2015 got under way on the 18th September 2015, held in England (it finished on the 31st October 2015). Villa Park was used as a venue in Birmingham. On the day that the new Birmingham New Street Station opened, I headed over the Centenary Square to check out the giant rugby ball.

Rugby World Cup 2015 Centenary Square

From the period of 2013 to 2017 there was grass in front of the Library of Birmingham, and to the right they place the giant rugby ball.

Rugby World Cup 2015 Centenary Square

You could use the hashtag #RWC2015 on Twitter. In late September 2015 was the last time that you could see The Big Hoot 2015 in Centenary Square, before the owls were sold off for auction.

Rugby World Cup 2015 Centenary Square

Towards Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory. The now closed Birmingham Central Library had yet to be demolished (that would start in December 2015).

Rugby World Cup 2015 Centenary Square

Fan Zone Birmingham at Eastside Green

The fan zone was being set up around the middle of September 2015. Here you could see it from Eastside City Park.

Fan Zone Birmingham RWC2015

Barriers in the way, but you could see some Rugby World Cup 2015 goal posts that fans could play with.

Fan Zone Birmingham RWC2015

There was also fun fair rides being set up.

Fan Zone Birmingham RWC2015

Best view from the train. This on the day I caught a train from Stechford to the newly reopened Birmingham New Street Station, 4 years ago in September 2015. Passing the old Curzon Street Station in Eastside.

Fan Zone Birmingham RWC2015

The Masshouse apartment blocks dominates the scene as the England 2015 Rugby goal posts was now full inflated for fans to interact with.

Fan Zone Birmingham RWC2015

The fun fair rides seen to the left.

Fan Zone Birmingham RWC2015

Birmingham Snow Hill Station - Livery Street Entrance

I saw signs and banners for the Rugby World Cup 2015 at Birmingham Snow Hill Station during October 2015 (probably near the end of the last World Cup). Didn't really follow the matches, but sounds like England got knocked out in the group stages, and they were the hosts!  These banners seen near the ticket machine, close to the doors of the Livery Street Entrance.

RWC15 Snow Hill

RWC15 bunting on both sides of the tunnel to the escalators and stairsto platforms 1, 2 and 3.

RWC15 Snow Hill

Combo of various signs with #RWC2015 and England 2015 at the Livery Street Entrance of Birmingham Snow Hill Station. Always seems like it's just me whenever I used this entrance (guess everyone else is using Colmore Row).

RWC15 Snow Hill

The England 2015 bunting seen in the Livery Street Entrance at platform 1 and 2 at Birmingham Snow Hill Station. Assume that I probably got the train to Snow Hill Station and getting off on platform 1 (at the time - it was 4 years ago). At this stage it's the semi finals with only the southern hemisphere sides remaining (Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina).

RWC15 Snow Hill

The champions was New Zealand. Australia was the runners up.

Matches at Villa Park included on the following dates:

26th September 2015 - South Africa 46-6 Samoa in Pool B.
27th September 2015 - Australia 65-8 Uruguay in Pool A.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
19 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Heritage Week (14th to 15th September 2019): Bournville - Selly Manor and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Edgbaston - Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Three venues visited over the weekend of the 14th and 15th September 2019. Selly Manor (including Minworth Greaves) and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bournville. Then the next day to Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston (was really busy there).

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Selly Manor

The first of the two buildings at Selly Manor. George Cadbury, the founder of Bournville bought the building in 1907 and arranged for it to be moved from Selly Oak to where it stands today. Now at the corner of Sycamore Road and Maple Road. The heritage open day was on Saturday 14th September 2019 during Birmingham Heritage Week.

A look at the exterior.

Selly Manor

Selly Manor was moved to this site in 1916. It is now operated as Selly Manor Museum by Bournville Village Trust. It is a Grade II listed building. The exit steps from the top floor is seen to the left. The main entrance was around to the left.

Selly Manor

Interiors: a dining room table I think on the ground floor. The house contains the Laurence Cadbury furniture collection with objects dating from 1500 to 1900.

Selly Manor

Costumes on a table including hats. Kids could try them on and look in the mirror. On the first floor. There is about six rooms inside to see.

Selly Manor

The ceiling and one of the windows I think on the attic floor. So small in here I exited too quickly, as the steps near here led back outside! William Alexander Harvey the architect managed the restoration from 1909 to 1916.

Selly Manor

Minworth Greaves

The second of two buildings at Selly Manor. Near Maple Road in Bournville. I've seen it before back in 2009, but this was my first time inside. Thought to date to the 13th century, it was moved here in 1932 by Laurence Cadbury.

Minworth Greaves

Walking round the back of Minworth Greaves. This site is quite small, compared to other places I've been to (Manor House wise).

Minworth Greaves

A Grade II listed building. William Alexander Harvey supervised the re-build from 1929 to 1932. The interior looking up at the roof to the trio of coat of arms. The Birmingham Watercolour Society Exhibition was on from the 3rd to 14th September 2019.

Minworth Greaves

One of the three coat of arms at the back of Minworth Greaves. This one on the left.

Minworth Greaves

View of the timber framed ceiling from the back looking to the middle. A curtain divides the two sections. The exhibition was below.

Minworth Greaves

Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Prince Lazar

The Heritage Open Day was held in Bournville on Saturday 14th September 2019. Located on Griffins Brook Lane near Cob Lane. I had to use Google Maps directions to find it via the Merritts Brook Greenway. It's not far from the Bristol Road South.

Serbian Orthodox Church

Built in 1968, it is also known as the Lazarica Church. It was built for political refugees from Yugoslavia after World War II.

Serbian Orthodox Church

Serbs have been associate with Bournville since Dame Elizabeth Cadbury sponsored thirteen Serbian refugee children of World War I.

Serbian Orthodox Church

A look at the colourful interior. Very impressive as you head into the main entrance. Looks likes something straight out of Serbia (I've never been).

Serbian Orthodox Church

Just before the exit, the group of visitors also admiring this building.

Serbian Orthodox Church

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

It was free to enter the Botanical Gardens on Sunday 15th September 2019, the Heritage Open Day during Birmingham Heritage Week. And loads of people showed up, families with kids. Was a really busy day in Edgbaston! Located on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, the gardens was designed in 1829 by J. C. Loudon and opened to the public in 1832. Near the entance is various tropical houses. Also on the site is bird houses and a bandstand.

The Subtropical House

It simulates climatic conditions found between the warm temperate and tropical regions of the world.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Mediterranean House

The plants in this house grow in parts of the world that typically have hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters so the main growing season is late winter and spring.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Bird Houses

Various birds in the four giant cages here. On the open day I saw the peacocks on the roof! When I got close to the cages, was able to get some decent photos through the cages of the birds.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Bandstand

A band was there for the day performing songs during the afternoon. It is Grade II listed and was built in 1873.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Near the entrance and exit was these pink and blue Heritage Open Days balloons on the spiral staircase. Was loads more people coming in as we exited. And also lots of cars coming around Westbourne Road (clogging up the traffic). We walked a distance away from the Botanical Gardens to get here. You could also get the no 23 or 24 buses (but they were also stuck in traffic). Also the no 1 bus was nearby.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
16 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Up the Belfry in St Paul's in the Jewellery Quarter: Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2016)

It's now Birmingham Heritage Week again and time for another throw back post. Back in September 2016 I went to St Paul's Church in St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter and went up the Belfry (bell tower). Sometime after 2pm on the 10th September 2016. The spiral staircase is nerve wrangling going up and down. The bell tower was free to go up. More heritage posts soon.

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For my St Paul's Church album on Flickr follow this link St Paul's Church for the Jewellery Quarter.

The Heritage Open Day was held during Birmingham Heritage Week on the 10th September 2016, shortly after 2pm. I arrived too early, so first went to the Pen Room for the free open day there, before coming back.

St Paul's Church was built in 1777, the tower was added around 1822 to 1823. New bells were installed in 2005 during the 250th anniversary of the St Martin's Guild.

Balloons were outside St Paul's Church in St Paul's Square.

St Paul's JQ

Welcome to Saint Paul's. I was at the time hoping to get a photo of the main church hall area, but didn't, and was then later people in the way by the time I left.

St Paul's JQ

Time to head up the spiral staircase. Last time I did this was at the former St Mary's Church in Lichfield, during a spire climb (with a guide). Every time I went up one of these church spiral staircases it felt so weird (this was 3 years ago).

St Paul's JQ

The room with ropes which they use to ring the bells. They gave a talk and showed visitors how they pull the ropes.

St Paul's JQ

One of three clock faces in the room. Only little windows, so not sure it's possible to get close to them to look out of them, or to take photos out of the windows.

St Paul's JQ

The members of St Paul's Church ring the bells pulling the ropes up and down. I have videos on my Flickr if you want to see them (link to album at the top).

St Paul's JQ

A bell model.

St Paul's JQ

Bell ropes in the training room, I think this was on the floor below.

St Paul's JQ

Another of the bell rope for training.

St Paul's JQ

Back down the spiral staircase.

St Paul's JQ

Keep going down.

St Paul's JQ

And down until you get to the bottom.

St Paul's JQ

It's been years since I've been up or down spiral staircases in churches. But have been up and down the equivelant in castles (not in Birmingham). Last year went to a couple of castles in North Wales, and that didn't feel as nervous as going up a spiral staircase in a church!

 

Sunday 15th September 2019 update: For this weekend: on Saturday 14th September 2019, I went to Selly Manor In Bournville, then walked towards the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Prince Lazar (directions via Google Maps). On Sunday afternoon, went back to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston. It was quite packed. May do a post on these visits soon?

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Transport
16 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Friday the 13th: OLA the West Midlands Metro tram without batteries (tram 27)

It was Friday the 13th when I saw West Midlands Metro tram 27 in blue with lime green OLA adverts. This time fully blue. Seen at Bull Street Tram Stop waiting to go to Birmingham. Have been looking out for other trams. The week before saw tram 20 at Corporation Street Tram Stop (in blue with batteries). But mostly the trams I've seen in blue before.

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Friday 13th September 2019

OLA West Midlands Metro tram 27 seen at Bull Street Tram Stop near Forbidden Planet and Colmore Gate.

Tram 27

Thought the first shot on my phone camera didn't take, so though this was the first photo (these are now cropped and edited).

Tram 27

The OLA advert in the middle of tram 27 as it catches the light at Bull Street. Why get a private hire taxi when you can get the tram, bus or train instead?

Tram 27

This tram currently has no batteries, so it won't be able to go beyond Grand Central unless they fit batteries to it.

Tram 27

Friday 6th September 2019

West Midlands Metro tram 20 seen at Corporation Street Tram Stop. Waited a week before putting these into a post as wanted more photos of other trams. This one has batteries. I missed the other blue tram as it headed up to Bull Street (I don't know what number it was).

Tram 20

Tram 20 heading down Stephenson Place towards Grand Central Tram Stop, past the Apple building (in the former Midland Bank building).

Tram 20

Saturday 7th September 2019

Platform 3 at Birmingham Snow Hill Station. Not very clear views of the trams stopping at St Chad's Tram Stop. First saw West Midlands Metro tram 28.

Tram 28

Then tram 17.

Tram 17

Was a long wait for the train last Saturday at Birmingham Snow Hill due to "an obstruction on the line" or signalling.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Transport
11 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway from Cheltenham Race Course to Broadway

My ride on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway was on Sunday 8th September 2019. The 14:05 from Cheltenham Race Course to Broadway. Along 14 miles of a line that used to link Stratford to Cheltenham. We had our own reserved carriage. A pleasant ride through the fields of the Cotswolds. 

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Cheltenham Race Course Station

Being filled with coal at the far end of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway was 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co at Cheltenham Racecourse Station. This steam locomotive would head up to the crossing point, then head down on the other line, before being attached to the carriages at the far end of the station. Built in 1941 and then given the Southern Railway number 21C6. Renumbered to 35006 in 1948 by British Railways after Nationalisation. Withdrawn in 1964, it was purchased for preservation in 1983. Restoration completed between 2015 and 2016.

35006 Cheltenham Race Course

35006 was seen near the Evesham Road bridge near Cheltenham Race Course. We headed down the ramp and got onto our reserved carriage for the journey towards Broadway.

35006 Cheltenham Race Course

Gotherington Station

Our train had to stop outside of Gotherington Station as the line from Cheltenham Race Course was a single track, and this was the only double track with a passing loop. Wasn't a steam locomotive coming, past but an old diesel train. BR Class 117 heading towards Cheltenham Race Course. Nos. W51360, W59510, W51363. 2C36 at the front.

GWSR Gotherington

2L05 at the back but with the Broadway name plate at the front.

GWSR Gotherington

Winchcombe Station

After we had passed Winchcombe Station I saw several trains on the sidings such as these ones. Baguley-Drewry looks like a pick up truck with a trailer.

GWSR Winchcombe

17244 Wansea Docks. One of the old wagons on the sidings.

GWSR Winchcombe

Toddington Station

Heading into Toddington Station on the GWSR towards Broadway. On Sunday 8th September 2019 there was a Classic Vehicle Day in a nearby field to the station. But another steam train went past the one I was on. The steam locomotive at the front was 2807. Built in 1905, withdrawn in 1963, saved in 1981, and moved to Toddington Station, restored to steam in 2010.

2807 at Toddington on the GWSR

It was a bit too close as my train came to a stop. Saw the 2807 number plate and a bit of the inside of the cab where they shovel the coal into the engine.

2807 at Toddington on the GWSR

Broadway Station

When we got to Broadway Station I only had time to get photos of the station buildings before heading to our coach. The station was rebuilt and reopened in 2018, 58 years after it was closed to passengers. I was hoping to head to the other end of the platform before 35006 moved down to the other end but had to stay with my group. Took these from the coach as 35006 decoupled at the far end, then headed down over the bridge. It then switched tracks again before reversing back.

35006 at Broadway on the GWSR

The driver slowly moved 35006 back until they reattached it to the carriages. We were off to Broadway for a few hours. Having earlier that day had a look around Regency Cheltenham.

35006 at Broadway on the GWSR

I will get all of my photos of that day up onto my Flickr in this album Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway. Adding to my existing ones from July 2019.

When I saw the 6023 King Edward II steam locomotive from the car in the summer, I didn't know back then that I would be going on the GWSR. But was good that I did, as I got a proper look around Cheltenham and Broadway! This visiting locomotive is no longer on the heritage railway.

King Edward II

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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30 passion points
Photography
05 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Marvellous Machines by Rowland Emett: Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (May 2014)

This exhibition was held by the Rowland Emett Society from the 10th May to 21st September 2014 in the Gas Hall at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Entry was for a £5 ticket either on the reception desk outside the Gas Hall or online (at the time 5 years ago).

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Rowland Emett's connection to Birmingham was, while he was born in London, he went to schools in Birmingham, including at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts. A blue plaque in the Jewellery Quarter unveiled in 2014, marks the site where he worked in the 1920s.

The exhibition titled "Marvellous Machines - The Wonderful World of Rowland Emett" was held at the Gas Hall at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from the 10th May to the 21st September 2014. I visited on the 11th May 2014 (the second day that it was open to the public). The ticket was only £5 to enter from the Gas Hall reception desk (or online).

For my full gallery of photos on Flickr please visit this link Marvellous Machines by Rowland Emett. I also have video clips in that gallery as well.

Rowland Emett

A quiet afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley

'A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley' is the last and biggest of Emett's works completed in 1984. It brings together many of the themes that appeared in his works over his career. Emett died only six years later.

Rowland Emett

Wm Hake Lobsters Bathing & Swimming.

Rowland Emett

Two colliding trains.

Rowland Emett

One of the two colliding trains. This one was on the left.

Rowland Emett

The other colliding train on the right.

Rowland Emett

Cows and man on a harp!

Rowland Emett

Man on a bike.

Rowland Emett

Emett's World

Featherstone Kite made in 1962.

Rowland Emett

Maud Lunacycle made in 1970.

Rowland Emett

Fairway Birdie made in 1983

Rowland Emett

Machines from the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The Husha-Bye Hot-Air Rocking Chair.

The 'Hush-A-Bye Hot Air Rocking Chair' featured in the scene where Caractacus Potts, played by Dick Van Dyke, discovered the ability of the Humbug Major to produce musical 'Toot Sweets'.

Rowland Emett

The Humbug Major Sweet Machine

The Humbug Major was the sweet making machine that accidentally produced musical 'Toot Sweets'.

Rowland Emett

Little Dragon Carpet Sweeper

The Little Dragon Carpet Sweeper was used to demonstrate the impracticality of Potts' machines. Rather than clean the carpet it tended to suck it up whole.

Rowland Emett

Clockwork Lullabye Machine.

The Clockwork Lullabye Machine featured in the bedtime scene in the film when the twins Jeremy and Jemina are drifting off to sleep to its music.

Rowland Emett

Bonus photo taken at Millennium Point in June 2014. This Rowland Emett machine was seen in the foyer. Not far from Thinktank. It was there while the exhibition was on at the Gas Hall 5 years ago.

Rowland Emett at Millennium Point

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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40 passion points
Transport
03 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Severn Valley Railway over the years: from Kidderminster Town to Bridgnorth

Ahead of my trip on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway a look back at the Severn Valley Railway between Kidderminster Town (Worcestershire) and Bridgnorth (Shropshire). I've only been on it during a day out back in August 2006. My last time to Kidderminster by train was September 2016 (but not on the SWR). More recently saw the line from Arley Arboretum.

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The Severn Valley Railway runs between Kidderminster in Worcestershire to Bridgnorth in Shropshire. It is a 16 mile heritage line. Part of the Beeching cut's of the late 1960s, the line closed in 1963. The Severn Valley Railway Preservation Society was formed in 1965, and they bought the line reopening it in stages between 1970 and 1984.

Kidderminster Town Station

I got a train from my local station in Birmingham to Kidderminster Station, mainly to have a look around the town centre in early September 2016, so wasn't there for the Severn Valley Railway. But got some photos of Kidderminster Town Station of the SVR while I was there. This billboard also advertising the Kidderminster Railway Museum.

Kidderminster Town

Seen from Kidderminster Station while still under London Midland. A look at the carriages at Kidderminster Town Station. Was also old freight waggons in the background as well.

Kidderminster Town

Can just about see a steam locomotive buffing away on ther right. Bit hard to see from the modern station on the Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster line.

Kidderminster Town

The Kidderminster Railway Museum. I didn't go in there on my last visit to Kidderminster. This was after my walk around the town, and was now back at Kidderminster Station to get my train home. I do hope to go on the Severn Valley Railway again in the future, just not got around to it (not checked out how much a ticket costs).

Kidderminster Town

Bewdley Station

My first and so far only journey on the Severn Valley Railway was on a day out back in August 2006 (13 years ago!). Didn't have my own camera back then, used my brothers compact camera (wasn't into photography back then). This diesel locomotive with 2D12 on it to "Banbury" (well not here).

No. 51941/50933/52064/56208/59250. Ex-British Railways. Class: 108 DMU. Owner: DMU Group (West Midlands)
Notes: based at Bewdley - undergoing repairs before further use. Details from Meet our locos.

SVR Bewdley

Also saw this steam locotive with carriages behind it.

SVR Bewdley

Not sure of the number as didn't get it in my old photos back in 2006 but think it was ex British Railways.

SVR Bewdley

Carriage on the left numbered 52255. Not clear from here what number the steam locomotive was though.

SVR Bewdley

Some more of the carriages. Must be ex LNER. Middle carriage numbered 24105.

SVR Bewdley

Arley Station

On a visit to Arley Arboretum at the beginning of September 2019, could hear the whistles of nearby steam trains. Must be the Severn Valley Railway! The Severn View Point was on the walk past the trees towards the Grove Coppice at the arboretum in Arley. This diesel locomotive heading towards Arley Station is D9551, known as 'Angus'. Ex-British Railways. Built in 1965. Owned by the Severn Valley Railway Class 14 Company Ltd. Normally based at Bridgnorth. Details from Meet the locos.

SVR Arley

Waited a few minutes for the next train, before I saw 7714 heading towards Bridgnorth having just left Arley. Ex-Great Western Railway, built in 1930, owned by the SVR Pannier Tank Fund. Details from Meet the Locos.

SVR Arley

Later on after a walk around the arboretum, headed to the Severn View after passing The Well, just before going up the Laburnum Arch. First train I saw heading into Arley Station was 2857. Ex-Great Western Railway, built in 1918, Class 2800, owned by the 2857 Society. Details from Meet the Locos.

SVR Arley

After that train had left Arley, then saw this train head out of Arley towards Bridgnorth. 4144, Ex-British Railways. Direction facing Kidderminster. It is on hire from Didcot Railway Centre until November 2019. Details from Meet the Locos.

SVR Arley

Bridgnorth Station

Heading back to Bridgnorth Station during August 2006. We had gone to look at the ruins of Bridgnorth Castle in the Bridgnorth Town Park. Don't really remember much about this visit, other than we must have walked over this footbrige and around the road. Then gone into the park and then walked back to the station.

SVR Bridgnorth

My only decent photos of the trains at Bridgnorth was from this viewpoint. Don't think I took any photos of the trains from the platforms at this station. Well not until we got to Bewdley.

SVR Bridgnorth

In this view was too many trees in the way of the trains to see them. Didn't really take much photos of trains back then. Didn't really start taking trains photos again until 2009, after I lost my brother in late 2008 (on my own camera).

SVR Bridgnorth

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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