Elliott Brown

Passion Points: 138K

Modern Architecture
11 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Mercian - Great Modern Architecture

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The completed Mercian is the dominant tower on Broad Street in the West Side at 132m. Here is a gallery of recent photos of the building. Take the full feature link to see the construction photography gallery, previous posts and map of the site.

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15th November 2021

25th November 2021

26th November 2021

26th December 2021

29th November 2021

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

4th December 2021

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

5th December 2021

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

6th December 2021

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

24th December 2021

31st December 2021

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

5th January 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

9th January 2022

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

15th January 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

19th January 2022

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

20th January 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

29th January 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

6th February 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

19th February 2022

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

22nd February 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

23rd February 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

27th February 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

6th March 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

19th March 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

2nd April 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

3rd April 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

17th April 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

30th April 2022

The Mercian

The MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

14th May 2022 

The Mercian

The MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

21st May 2022

Mercian

MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

25th May 2022

The MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

There are now over 1500 photos of the construction of this building and can be seen in reverse date order in the full gallery here: The Mercian Full Construction Gallery.

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0 passion points
Green open spaces
23 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A visit to St George's Park on Great Hampton Row

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Getting the train one way to Jewellery Quarter, I walked to St George's Park in Newtown (other side of Great Hampton Street). Found my way there via Lucas Circus and New John Street West, through an housing estate. The park was developed from the 1960s after St George's Church (1821 - 1961) was demolished. But architect Thomas Rickman's tomb and a war memorial survive here.

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St George's Park is located on Great Hampton Row and Uxbridge Street in Newtown, Birmingham (it was part of Hockley). It is a short distance away from Great Hampton Street and the Jewellery Quarter.

For me it was easier to get a train one way to Jewellery Quarter Station and walk, rather than get two buses via the City Centre. Although the no 52 bus route from National Express West Midlands is nearby.

The park was formerly St George's Church. It was built in 1821 from designs by architect Thomas Rickman. After his death 20 years later in 1841, he was buried in a tomb here.

The church was proposed to become Birmingham's Cathedral for the Church of England, after the creation of the Diocese of Birmingham in 1905, but St Philip's Church was chosen instead (that was more centrally located in the City Centre).

The church continued to survive, but fell into disrepair, and was demolished during 1960-61 due to structural problems.

Later in the 1960s, four tower blocks were built around the park including Ryland House, Holland House, Cadbury House and Bowater House.

 

Main entrance to St George's Park from Great Hampton Row

The morning visit on Saturday 14th May 2022.

One of the parks entrance's from Great Hampton Row has a modern gate and path into the park.

St George's Park

This is similar to the other parks in the Newtown area (on the other side of New John Street West). You are now in St George's Park.

St George's Park

Mid May, and the trees are lush and green, creating shadows in the sunshine.

St George's Park

Paths including one towards Uxbridge Street.

St George's Park

There is a play area / playground in the centre of the park. Trees with shadows on the lawn.

St George's Park

Another look at the play area as I headed to the former church yard of St George's Church.

St George's Park

One last look at the play area, before heading into the former churchyard.

St George's Park

Gate to the south east corner of the park.

St George's Park

 

Tomb of Thomas Rickman

I spotted this curious object in the park. It is the Tomb of Thomas Rickman, although it looked like the only remaining bit of St George's Church.

St George's Park

A close up look at the Tomb of Thomas Rickman (1776 - 1841). It is Grade II listed. Phyllis Nicklin photographed it herself in 1967 (several years after the church was demolished). See Thomas of Thomas Rickman by Phyllis Nicklin.

St George's Park

The Tomb is now surrounded by trees. This was once also called St George's Gardens.

St George's Park

 

St George's Church War Memorial

This is the St George's Church War Memorial. In the shape of a Celtic Cross. It commemorates those who were lost during the First World War (1914-18). There is now a couple of park benches near it.

St George's Park

 

St George's Gardens

Heading to the south west corner exit of St George's Park,a look at the former site of St George's Church, or perhaps it's churchyard.

St George's Park

Gravestones remains around the perimeter wall, and the area is full of trees, perhaps they were planted in the 1960s?

St George's Park

Outside of St George's Park, now back on Great Hampton Row. To the right is St George's C of E Academy (a primary school). St George's Community Hub is also located here. The old brick walls with railings of the former St George's Church survive here at St George's Park.

St George's Park

 

Views from St George's Park

I found a view from St George's Park towards the spire of St Paul's Church in the Jewellery Quater, Library of Birmingham and The Mercian in Westside.

St George's Park

On the left is the spire of St Paul's Church in the Jewellery Quarter. Behind the church is Arena Central in Westside, where you can see HSBC UK at One Centenary Square and HMRC at Three Arena Central.

St George's Park

In the middle you can see the Library of Birmingham with Hyatt Regency Birmingham behind.

St George's Park

Finally on the right you can see The Mercian with The Bank in the distance in Westside from St George's Park.

St George's Park

Photography by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
History & heritage
11 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is (partially) open again - the visit of 7th May 2022

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It has been closed for a long time. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery partially reopened (five galleries) on the 28th April 2022. It closed during the pandemic, briefly reopened October 2020, then again (lockdowns etc). Then re-wiring works. The Round Room has We Are Birmingham, Industrial Gallery has Black history and nightclub history. Also one room on local cinema history.

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Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery reopened on the 28th April 2022. I didn't visit over the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend, but instead popped in a weekend later on Saturday 7th May 2022 (coming back from Cineworld and the Library of Birmingham).

The approach from Centenary Way into Chamberlain Square, at Paradise Birmingham (103 Colmore Row behind). Entrance of course to BM & AG from Chamberlain Square.

BM & AG

We Are Open. Heading to the double doors of BM & AG, the Chamberlain Square entrance.

BM & AG

The ground floor entrance room is empty, but has 'Welcome to Museum & Art Gallery Birmingham' signs on panels around it. Seen here from the stairs heading down to the Chamberlain Square exit.

BM & AG

BM & AG

The stairs leads up to Level 2. There is a new Directory of what is open now, and what will be in Gas Hall (when it reopens on the 14th May 2022).

Round Room - Don't Settle: We Are Birmingham

1. Shop

2. Industrial Gallery - Birmingham Music Archive: In The Que

Fierce: SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea

Kalaboration Arts: Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence

3. Gallery
Flatpack Projects: Wonderland

4. Edwardian Tearooms

8. Bridge Gallery - Collection Stories

10. Gallery
Unprecedented Times

BM & AG

 

Round Room - Don't Settle: We Are Birmingham

Sir Jacob Epstein's Lucifer statue is the only original piece to return to the Round Room. The walls have been painted a cream colour, and their is an exhibition on called We Are Birmingham.

BMAG

We Are Birmingham: Our Journeys - The Past is Now.

BMAG

An image of Selfridges on the right.

BMAG

We Are Birmingham: Our City. As well as Cold War Steve's Birmingham collage, their is black & white photos on the wall of Indian families.

BMAG

We Are Birmingham: Our Joy. Indian related objects and a bicycle.

BMAG

Heading back into the Round Room from the Bridge Gallery.

BMAG

 

1. Shop

From the Round Room to the Industrial Gallery. Plenty of gifts to buy here.

BMAG

The walkway above the Industrial Gallery was open, and found this view through a grill to the shop below (and Round Room beyond that).

BMAG

 

2. Industrial Gallery: Birmingham Music Archive and Blacklash

There is several exhibitions located in the Industrial Gallery. Coming in from the Round Room, on the left is: 'Birmingham Music Archive: In The Que'. On the right is: 'Fierce: SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea' and 'Kalaboration Arts: Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence'.

Industrial Gallery

You can head up the stairs to the upper level, but there is no objects upstairs, but there is tables to sit down on, study etc. The African exhibits including Blacklash are on the left, while In The Que (nightclubs) is on the right. This view towards the Shop and Round Room.

Industrial Gallery

Some of the tables with benches that you can sit on. There used to be Ruskin pottery up here (or it used to be on the side near the stairs). I'm sure it will all be back one day in the future.

Industrial Gallery

This view towards Wonderland in Gallery 3. With In The Que (left) and Blacklash (right) below.

Industrial Gallery

 

Birmingham Music Archive: In The Que

The exhibit on the left hand side of the Industrial Gallery is currated by Birmingham Music Archive, and is called 'In the Que'. Que Club posters from the 1990s.

Industrial Gallery

Heading in, there is a display of magazine articles. Que Here - Lifestyle.

Industrial Gallery

QUE in big colourful letters, plus some black and white photos from the nighclub.

Industrial Gallery


 

Kalaboration Arts: Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence

In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement during 2020. A history of Black protests and marches. Some posters as you head into the Industrial Gallery.

Industrial Gallery

No Justice No Peace! The visit of Malcolm X to Smethwick in the 1960s. Black People Alliance. Also the Asian Youth Movement in the 1980s.

Industrial Gallery

African drums and spears. Some objects used at demonstrations. 'No Justice - Just Us!'

Industrial Gallery

There was more posters under the stairs.

Industrial Gallery

 


Fierce: SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea

The second Afro themed exhibition. This bit about the Empire Korero on May 25th 1918. Various costumes and something about Good Captain Cook Day.

Industrial Gallery

The entrance to the SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea seen from above.

Industrial Gallery

The stairs between the SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea and Blacklash exhibitions.

Industrial Gallery

A quick look at the SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea exhibition on passing it by.

Industrial Gallery

 

Gallery 3: Flatpack Projects: Wonderland

Located in the gallery between the Industrial Gallery and the Edwardian Tearoom is a Birmingham Cinema's themed exhibit called Wonderland, run by Flatpack Projects.

BM & AG

Wonderland is Birmingham's Cinema Stories. Sign seen from the Industrial Gallery.

BM & AG

Cinemas closed for months during 2020, briefly reopened in the summer, then closed again, bookended by two lockdowns, and then the tiered restrictions. They only reopened without closing again during Spring 2021 last year.

BM & AG

Cinema related objects in glass cases to the left, and near the Edwardian Tearoom entrance.

BM & AG

Pictures on the wall of Birmingham cinema's including some that have closed a long time ago.

BM & AG

This section below focuses on The Electric Cinema on Station Street.

BM & AG

The Xmas Crackers sign. I remember seeing it on a visit to The Electric, early in 2020 (few months before the first lockdown).

BM & AG

Three red cinema seats. Was only an hour or so after I'd left Cineworld on Broad Street before I go to this exhibition.

BM & AG

 

4. Edwardian Tearooms

After well over two years, you can now pop into the Edwardian Tearooms again. Buy your food and drink, cash or card is accepted. Plenty of tables like before. Access through Gallery 3 (currently Wonderland) via the large doors on the left (or right).

Edwardian Tearooms

The galleries above are closed, with no objects on display.

Edwardian Tearooms

 

8. Bridge Gallery - Collection Stories

You can either head into the Industrial Gallery first, or into the Bridge Gallery. Where they have objects from the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre under the title 'Collection Stories'. Just past through under the 'ART GALLERY EXTENSION AND FEENEY GALLERIS A.D. 1912' sign, and the blue plaque (for Bertha Ryland, unveiled back in 2018 by the Birmingham Civic Society).

BMAG

Art on the walls of the Bridge Gallery, some objects in glass cases.

BMAG

No entry to the Birmingham History Galleries upstairs, as it's closed, and the objects are still in storage, as the re-wiring works hasn't finished yet.

BMAG

In front of the stairs, and near the small cafe, is Souvenir 9 (Queen Victoria). Was made in 2019 by Hew Locke, and acquired for the City by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

BMAG

 

Gallery 10: Unprecedented Times

Since the Museum & Art Gallery had been closed from 2020, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, various local artists had painted or created the art on display here. Art in response to being on lockdown. During the two lost years of the museum being closed.

BMAG

This small gallery is just beyond the Bridge Gallery to the right, and nothing else beyond here is open at the moment.

BMAG

The red shutter at the end was closed, as BM & AG still has a lot of work to do to re-wire the whole building.

BMAG

The steps to the Gas Hall & Exit was closed also. But I suspect it will reopen on the 14th May 2022, when an exhibit at the Gas Hall called 'Found Cities, Lost Objects, Women in the City' opens.

BMAG

Photography by Elliott Brown

 

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
04 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The return of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch to Centenary Square after almost 5 years!

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It's been a long time in waiting, but William Bloye's 1939 statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch is back. Now located in Centenary Square next to Symphony Hall. They were formerly on what was part of Broad Street from 1956 until 2017. By then the land behind them was Arena Central, and they had to move for Library Tram Stop. Back in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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The history of the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue by William Bloye

The gilded bronze statue of Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdoch was by the sculptors William Bloye and Raymond Forbes-Kings and it stood on a plinth of Portland stone, (formerly) outside the old Register Office on Broad Street in Birmingham (later the House of Sport after the Register Office moved to Holliday Street).

It is known locally as The Golden Boys after its colour, or The Carpet Salesmen after the partially-rolled-up plan of a steam engine which they are examining.  

All three men were members of the Lunar Society.  

Sponsored by an £8,000 bequest from Richard Wheatley in 1939, and £7,500 from the City Council, it was unveiled in 1956, from preliminary designs drawn up in 1938.  

The statue was restored and re-gilded, and replaced in its old position in September 2006. 

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

 

Views of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch in 2009

While I initally first took the statue on my first digital camera around April 2009, by the time I got my first bridge camera in June 2009, I headed to Broad Street, and took the follow photos below outside of the House of Sport. This was only about 3 years after the bronze statue had been re-gilded in 2006, now making it shiny and golden!

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

 

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch from 2011 to 2017

More occasional photos in the years following my initial shots of the statues, such as when the Library of Birmingham opened, or when Arena Central started.

January 2011 - a (then) new information sign about the statue, and details about Matthew Boulton, James Watt & William Murdoch.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

July 2013 - red flowers were planted in front of the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue on what was then still a part of Broad Street.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

September 2013 - the Library of Birmingham is now open, and at the time, a view down to the Bouton, Watt & Murdoch statue, still surrounded by red flowers.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

April 2015 - early work begins to fence of the House of Sport (the old Birmingham Register Office) on Broad Street. As Arena Central got underway, but Boulton, Watt & Murdoch remained in place. Traffic was being diverted onto Bridge Street.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

May 2015 - Hoardings had gone up in front of the House of Sport ahead of it's demolition later in 2015. But you could still see the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

October 2015 - demolition on the former Register Office / House of Sport was well underway, just a section near Bridge Street to come down. You could still get close up to the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue at the time.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

November 2015 - a view from the Library of Birmingham. DSM Demolition had a lot of rubble to clear of the House of Sport, while scaffolding had gone up the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statues to protect them.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

April 2016 - by this point the demolition behind Boulton, Watt & Murdoch had been complete, and it was now the site of One Arena Central. Library of Birmingham view.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

There was plant machinery in front of the statue.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

And there was a temporary path between Arena Central and where Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

February 2017 - a night shot of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch from Centenary Square. You could now see views to the hotels behind including Crowne Plaza and the newly built Holiday Inn Express (TETRIS building) at Arena Central.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

April 2017 - a rear view of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch, taken from Bridge Street, looking over Arena Central towards the Library of Birmingham.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

August 2017 - the last views of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch for 5 years before they went into storage. One Arena Central hoardings still behind them, and Midland Metro Alliance hoardings in front of them.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

A daylight view towards Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express. This was my last actual photo of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch for almost 5 years (before they went into storage). This view on the 10th August 2017, the statue was removed on the 23rd August 2017 (ahead of the building of the Westside Metro extension). Library Tram Stop would open on their old spot by December 2019.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

 

Return of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch - late April 2022

While the Portland stone plinth was back in place by St George's Day, the actual gold covered bronze statue was lowered into place on the 29th April 2022. Just in time for the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend. Although there is still fences around it, and more paving work to do. As well as the installation of a future plaque, about Boulton, Watt & Murdoch's slavery links (post Black Lives Matter).

With Library Tram Stop (opened end of 2019).

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Seen outside of Symphony Hall, their new home.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

With the Library of Birmingham.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Lookig towards Paradise Birmingham.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Looking towards HSBC UK - One Centenary Square and The Exchange | University of Birmingham at Arena Central.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Looking towards Three Arena Central (One Arena Central aka Five Centenary Square still hasn't been built yet).

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Looking towards the Hyatt Regency Birmingham and near the new foyer of Symphony Hall.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

The view of Centenary Square on the 30th April 2022. Boulton & Watt & Murdoch now join The ICC, Symphony Hall, The REP, Library of Birmingham, Baskerville House and Hall of Memory. As well as Library Tram Stop.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

From the other side of Centenary Square in this wide panoramic (centred on the Library of Birmingham). Bit hard to see Boulton, Watt & Murdoch but they are on the far left near Symphony Hall, while Edward VII is near Baskerville House. From HSBC UK to the old Copthorne Hotel (which will be demolished in the next few years).

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

Welcome back lads, you have been missed!

For other monuments of Matthew Boulton, James Watt & William Murdoch, see the post on St Mary's Church, Handsworth.

Photography by Elliott Brown

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100 passion points
Squares and public spaces
28 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Giant England flag on the Town Hall for St George's Day 2022

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On St George's Day 23rd April 2022, for one day only, a giant England flag was on the side of Birmingham Town Hall in Victoria Square. In the morning Team England were there ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Closer to the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend now, but enjoy these photos from St George's Day.

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St George's Day 23rd April 2022 in Victoria Square

 

Walking up Pinfold Street into Victoria Square on the 23rd April 2022, you could see the giant England flag on the Town Hall. This view with the Iron: Man (returned to the square in February 2022) and the Queen Victoria statue. Sadly no trams as they are out of service (and they only test the new trams to Broad Street on Monday's and Wednesday's).

Town Hall

 

Heading over to the Council House with this view of the England flag in Victoria Square.

Town Hall

 

Inspired by a Jack Babbington photo I'd seen earlier that day on Twitter, a shot of the reinstated Floozie in the Jacuzzi (back earlier in April 2022) with the giant England flag on the Town Hall.

Town Hall

 

Around the back of the Council House via Eden Place and Edmund Street to Chamberlain Square. This view to the left of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (due to reopen on the 28th April 2022).

Town Hall

Have a nice May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

Photography by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
28 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Annatomix fox at Wylde Green Station

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I was first aware that Annatomix had painted her trademark orange fox at Wylde Green Station, during June 2021. Took me a while, but returned to Sutton Coldfield at midday on Sunday 24th April 2022. Walked down from the Town Centre to the Highbridge Road Bridge. Down the steps, and the art was in an alcove behind the steps and wall.

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Getting to Sutton Coldfield

I was going to get the 13:06 from platform 8A at Birmingham New Street Station, but it was running 10 minutes late on the 24th April 2022. The first Class 323 from Redditch ended up terminating there, but an announcement told passengers to go to platform 7A, so over the bridge to the other side, and another Class 323 arrived for 13:16 from Soho Depot.

Arriving at Sutton Coldfield Station, I first popped to Costa Coffee at the Gracechurch Centre, before walking down the Birmingham Road towards Wylde Green Station. I left Birmingham Road at Jockey Road. The wrong bridge over the Cross City Line, but found a shortcut via Wilkinson Close to Highbridge Road.

 

Annatomix fox at Wylde Green Station

Down the steps towards platform 1 (trains towards Four Oaks and Lichfield Trent Valley). I could see the Annatomix fox over the steps as I headed down.

Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station

 

In the alcove at the back, below the Highbridge Road Bridge in Wylde Green is the Annatomix fox.

Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station

 

The fox and the steps. To get back to Birmingham New Street though, went back up these steps, and over the other steps to platform 2.

Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station

 

Now on the path to platform 2, a view of the Annatomix fox and the steps to / from platform 1.

Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station

 

There is high fences either side of the railway, but the fox street art is just about visible from the path.

Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station

 

I somehow timed my arrival at Wylde Green Station as my train back to Birmingham New Street was arriving at platform 2. The Class 323 got a bit of shadow here, and you can see the fox by Annatomix on the far left.

Annatomix fox Wylde Green

 

Retook West Midlands Railway 323213, the lighting was better on the second attempt. Bit hard to see the Annatomix fox now.

Annatomix fox Wylde Green

 

There is a new thing from the Soho Depot called "Soho Bingo", the train I got is now named Sutton Coldfield. I think the game works if you get the name of the train at the station of the same name. But I did earlier arrive at Sutton Coldfield Station.

Annatomix fox Wylde Green

Photography by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
People & community
27 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Kings Heath - Take a tour with us!

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Birmingham has much more to offer than its magnificent city centre. There are some fascinating places to experience out in the neighbourhoods. Here's a look at Kings Heath. From Sarehole Mill (Moseley / Hall Green) via Moseley Golf Club and Billesley. On the Kings Heath High Street from the Hare & Hounds to the library. Via Highbury Hall & Park etc.

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How to get to Kings Heath?

We are actually starting this tour well outside of Kings Heath on the Moseley  / Hall Green border. Catch the 11A, 11C or no 5 bus to Cole Bank Road and start your walk from Sarehole Mill. You can also cycle here if you want to. Get the train to Hall Green Station, then walk down Cole Bank Road to Sarehole Mill.

If you feel that you can't do all the walk in one go, just get the bus to the next section. The 11C gets you to Kings Heath.

 

Sarehole Mill

Sarehole Mill is located on Cole Bank Road in what was the hamlet of Sarehole. It now falls between Moseley and Hall Green. The current mill was built in 1771. But had been a mill on this site since 1542. It is known for it's association with J. R. R. Tolkien, who as a child lived in a house round the corner on Wake Green Road. The mill was in use until 1919. It was taken over and restored by Birmingham City Council in 1969, and has been run by the Birmingham Museums Trust since 2012. There has been further restorations since then including the Bake House in 2019-20, where they now bake pizza, which you can eat in the courtyard. There is also a tea room on site, as well as the mill pond to the back.

 

Leaving the mill behind, next walk up Swanshurst Lane to Swanshurst Park.

 

Swanshurst Park

Swanhurst Park is between Moseley and Billesley on Swanhurst Lane, Yardley Wood Road and Brook Lane, and is centred around the Moseley New Pool. At certain times of the year Zippos Circus can be found in the park, usually around April. The park has also in the past been known to have a fun fair on the same site. To the far end of the park is Billesley Community Fire Station at the corner of Yardley Wood Road and Brook Lane.

Swanshurst Park

 

Leave the park at Yardley Wood Road, then walk up Coldbath Road towards Billesley. Then turn onto Brook Lane, you will see a Kings Heath sign near The Billesley public house. Continue until you go onto Springfield Road and to Moseley Golf Club.

 

Moseley Golf Club

Where Moseley Golf Club is now, was in the 19th century, Billesley Hall Farm. Which was built on the site of a medieval house called Burley Hall. Founded in September 1892, Moseley Golf Club is the oldest golf club in Birmingham. The old farm buildings now form part of the club's buildings and is used to house the steward and caterer. The club bought the freehold of the course in 1919.

Moseley Golf Club

 

From Springfield Road, next head to Institute Road. Stop for coffee at Costa Coffee. Or other venues on the Kings Heath High Street. Turn right towards the Hare & Hounds pub.

 

Hare & Hounds

The Hare & Hounds is a Grade II listed building, dating to 1907 on the corner of York Road and the Kings Heath High Street. Built of red brick with red terracotta dressings, tiled roof, polished granite plinth. UB40 first gigged here on the 9th February 1979. 

Hare & Hounds

 

From York Road head onto Waterloo Road, South Road, Grange Road and to Avenue Road to get to Kings Heath Park.

 

Kings Heath Park

Kings Heath Park is on Vicrage Road and Avenue Road in Kings Heath. The park was originally called Victoria Park, centred on a house dating to 1832. John Cartland bought it in 1880 (he was an ancestor of the famous romance novelist Dame Barbara Cartland).  The house and park became part of Birmingham in 1911, and has been developed since then.

Kings Heath Park

 

Leave the park at the main entrance at Vicarage Road, then turn right towards King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools.

 

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Founded at Camp Hill in 1883, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys moved to the Vicarage Road site in Kings Heath during 1956, followed by King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls in 1958. The ground the school covers stretches to Cartland Road. The land was owned by the Cartland family from 1880 until the 1900s.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

After checking out King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools, next head down Cartland Road, turn onto Pineapple Road. Cross over the junction with Dad's Lane, and head onto Shutlock Lane and into Highbury Park.

 

Highbury Park

Highbury Park was the estate of Joseph Chamberlain who lived at Highbury Hall from 1880 until his death in 1914. The park opened to the public in 1930. There is entrances from Moor Green Lane, Shutlock Lane (Dad's Lane) and the Kings Heath High Street.

Highbury Park

 

Make your way to the back of the park and find the paths that leads to the former gardens of Highbury Hall, once home to Joseph Chamberlain.

 

Highbury Hall

Highbury Hall was built for Joseph Chamberlain between 1878-79, and he lived here from 1880 until his death in 1914. The hall is now managed by the Chamberlain Highbury Trust, who are having the hall and grounds restored. Entrance from Yew Tree Road, but you can get to the house from the back via Chamberlain Gardens in Highbury Park.

 

Back via Highbury Park, take the paths to the gatehouse at Moor Green Lane and Yew Tree Road. Then walk past the front of Highbury Hall on Yew Tree Road and then go onto Queensbridge Road. Some properties down here were Cadbury related. Back to the Kings Heath High Street, pass the main entrance to Highbury Park, and shortly pass the site of Kings Heath Station, and you will pass Kings Heath Library.

 

Kings Heath Library

Kings Heath Library was built in 1905 for the then King's Norton & Northfield Urban District Council. Funds were provided by Andrew Carnegie. The library became part of Birmingham from 1911. The building was extended later in the 20th century.

Kings Heath Library

 

Walk down the High Street, and on the other side you will see The Kingsway, a former cinema, now just a facade, but with the rear now used as an outdoor market, and occasional outdoor cinema space.

 

The Kingsway

The Kingsway opened in 1925, and was a cinema until 1980. It was converted into an Essoldo bingo club, a use it still retained in later years as a Gala Bingo Club, which was closed in 2007. The empty building was badly damaged by a fire which occurred early in the morning on 17th September 2011. Work began on demolishing the building in mid-March 2018. The façade has been saved. It is now Outdoor at the Kingsway (with an occasional open air market and outside cinema).

The Kingsway

 

End your tour continuing to walk down the Kings Heath High Street near the shops. For buses there is the 35 or 50, as well as the 27, 11A, 11C or the 76. A good place to end your tour is at Kings Heath Village Square near All Saints Church.

 

All Saints Church

The parish church of Kings Heath was built as an Anglican church, starting in 1859-60. A spire was added in 1866. The north aisle added in 1883 and the west end was enlarged in 1899. It is a Grade II listed building. Kings Heath Village Square opened outside of the church in 2011, in what was the churchyard of All Saints.

All Saints Church

Head onto the path near All Saints Church, passing the war memorial, you are now in Kings Heath Village Square, where you will end your trail.

 

Kings Heath Village Square

Kings Heath Village Square was developed out of the churchyard of All Saints Church in Kings Heath and was opened in October 2011. Close to the junction of Vicarage Road and High Street in Kings Heath. There is a Farmers Market about once a month in the square on the first Saturday of the month.

Kings Heath Village Square

 

Photos by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
12 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Return of the Floozie in the Jacuzzi after six months in storage

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In the autumn of 2021, work began to restore the River and Youth fountains in Victoria Square. By October 2021 the Floozie in the Jacuzzi was removed to storage (The River) as well as the other statue (The Youth). As of early April 2022, the Floozie is back, but as of yet, the fountains haven't been turned on, as workmen are working round the clock to get it finished.

Related

If you want to see our existing Floozie in the Jacuzzi posts, click the links below:

Floozie post, November 2020

Floozie post, September 2019

 

River and Youth, 1993 by Dhruva Mistry was installed during the 1992-94 works to regenerate Victoria Square (it was opened by the late Diana, Princess of Wales). The Floozie in the Jacuzzi is the bronze female statue at the top known as 'The River', while the pair of children at the bottom was 'The Youth'.

 

September 2021

Fences start to go around the River and Youth stepped area, with the Floozie still at the top.

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

 

October 2021

The last time that you could see the Floozie in the Jacuzzi was back in October 2021. Days after this, she would be removed to storage. This was also before the return of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market in November. The Floozie getting one last bath from the rain.

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

 

December 2021

Last few days of 2021, and there is now scaffolding and a white plastic wrap around the site of River and Youth. The bronze statues are now in storage for a couple of months now. Colourful hoardings up with the Be Bold Be Birmingham slogan, and facts about the Floozie in the Jacuzzi, ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

 

January 2022

Still the white plastic wraps and scaffolding around the River and Youth site in Victoria Square, as well as the Be Bold Be Birmingham hoardings, as work continues to repair the fountain, that has been leaking on and off since 2008.

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

 

April 2022

On April Fools Day, the basin of The River, has days to wait before the goddess returns to sit in her beloved bath. The stone balls and the basin of the upper pool are visible again, but there is still fences around the site.

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

 

She is back! On the 7th April 2022, the Floozie is back in her Jacuzzi! But the site is still a Public Realm works site, and workmen are still putting the finishing touches to the repairs. But we don't yet know when they will turn the fountain back on. Lets hope it never leaks again! While 'The River' is back, 'The Youth' part of the sculpture has not yet been reinstalled in the lower basin.

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

Floozie in the Jacuzzi

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
People & community
11 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Northfield - Take a tour with us!

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Birmingham has much more to offer than its magnificent city centre. There are some fascinating places to experience out in the neighbourhoods. Here's a look at Northfield. Well worth a visit. For history, there's St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone. Victoria Common is a great open space and not far away is Manor Farm Park.

Take our article.

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How to get to Northfield?

Take the no 61 or 63 bus from Birmingham and travel along Bristol Road South to Northfield High Street; catch a train on the Cross City Line to Northfield station; or take a cycle ride which will take in some great sights along the canal.

If travelling by train, we recommend you buy a ticket in advance using the West Midlands Railway app and you will get a QR code to scan at the ticket gates at Birmingham New Street. Paper tickets are still available to buy at the automatic ticket machines or at staffed ticket desks.

The train takes a scenic route via Five Ways, Birmingham University, Selly Oak and Bournville, before arriving at Northfield. Some sections of this run alongside the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

 

Northfield Station

Welcome to Northfield Station. You get off the train at Platform 4. Head towards the exit via the subway. You can either take the exit towards Station Road, or via the subway head to the station building and exit at Copse Close via Quarry Lane.

Take the Station Road exit if you want to head to the old Northfield Village, where you will find St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn.

From Station Road, walk up to Church Hill Road. Walk under the railway bridge, until you get to St Laurence's Church.

 

St Laurence's Church

St Laurence's Church has origins going back to the 12th century, with elements dating from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The church is part of a conservation area.

The last major change to the church took place in the year 1900, when G F Bodley built the north aisle in the 14th century style.

The major 13th century feature is the chancel. The south chancel and lower stage of the west tower also dates to the 13th Century.

A 4 bay octagonal pier arcade at the south chancel dates to the 14th Century.

The upper tower was built during the 15th Century.

The roof is most likely a 15th century replacement of an earlier 13th century nave roof.

The church has Royal Arms from the Hanoverian period. The church was built of sandstone.

St Laurence's Church, Northfield

After the church, it is a short distance to the Great Stone Inn and the Village Pound, at the corner of Church Hill and Church Road.

 

The Great Stone and the Village Pound

The Great Stone Inn is an historic public house at the corner of Church Hill and Church Road.

The Inn probably dates back to the 18th century. 

It is a timber-framed building with painted brick and a tile roof.

The Inn is close to St Laurence Church in the historic old Northfield village. It is now a traditional pub with a beer garden run by Great Pubs.

The Great Stone

A few meters away on Church Road is The Village Pound, and the current location of the historic Great Stone which the Inn was named after.

Dating back to the 17th century, The Village Pound was a high walled structure used to keep livestock in, such as stray cattle, pigs and sheep.

The Village Pound is now the home of the Great Stone, moved by Birmingham City Council to this site in 1954. It is a glacial bolder formed in a volcanic eruption 450 - 460 million years ago. 

For generations The Great Stone was at the corner of Church Road and Church Hill in Northfield, where it protected the Inn wall. A glacial erratic bolder that was former in an explosive volcanic eruption during the Ordovician period, 450-460 million years ago. During the ice age, possibly up to 400,000 years ago, it was carried by an ice sheet from the Snowdon area of North Wales and deposited with many others around Northfield when the area was a frozen wasteland.

Birmingham City Council moved the boulder to this site in 1954 for road safety reasons.

Village Pound

Next, we recommend taking a short walk up Church Road towards Great Stone Road.

Cross over the road at the traffic lights, then walk towards Northfield Library.

Walk up Meeting House Lane to get into Victoria Common Recreation Ground.

 

Victoria Common

This is a great recreation ground hidden behind Northfield Shopping Centre.

You will find playgrounds and tennis courts here plus paths for walking. There's plenty of green open spaces to enjoy.

Victoria Common

After your walk round Victoria Common head to the path that leads to the Bristol Road South, and walk down Northfield High Street for a bit of retail therapy. 

You can alternatively walk down Sir Herbert Austin Way and pop into the Starbucks Coffee Drive Thru. Alternatively, there are many cafes and places to eat in Northfield.

If you fancy a meal in a traditional pub, in addition to the Great Stone Inn, there's The Black Horse located on Bristol Road South (near Frankley Beeches Road).

 

The Black Horse

The Black Horse opened on the 1st December1929  and was designed for the Davenport Brewery,by Francis Goldsbrough (from the local architectural practice of Bateman and Bateman).

The Black Horse is one of the largest and finest examples of a Brewer’s Tudor-style public house in the country.

It was registered a Grade II listed building in 1981. JD Wetherspoon refurbished the pub in May 2010. 

The Black Horse

If you are not too full, next have a walk to Ley Hill Park. Leave the Black Horse, and head past Sainsbury's via Sir Herbert Austin Way. Or if you had a toastie or panini with your coffee at Starbucks, you just have to walk up Vineyard Road, past Bellfield Junior School. The park is at the top of the hill.

 

Ley Hill Park

You can enter this park from the entrance at Merritt's Brook Lane. Take any path you want for your walk, or walk onto the grass if it's not too wet. Head up to the top of the hill for views down to the Northfield High Street.

There is a play area, plus benches to sit on.

You can exit the park at Merritt's Hill and walk down the road towards Brookside.

Now head into Merritt's Brook Greenway, and walk along the path, following the Merritt's Brook towards Bell Hill. Cross over the road at the traffic lights near Whitehill Lane and enter Manor Farm Park.

 

Manor Farm Park

This park was once the home of George and Elizabeth Cadbury, who lived at the Northfield Manor House (until their respective deaths).

The park opened to the public in 1951.

Follow the paths around the park with a 2 kilometre walking route. See our suggested trail HERE.

You will walk past a lake. The Manor House is nearby. The park also has a play area and old farm buildings. 

If you exit near the lake at New House Farm Drive, perhaps have a detour up to the Northfield Manor House? Just walk until you get to Manor House Drive.

 

Northfield Manor House

The original house was built in the early 1800s.

George Cadbury purchased the property in 1890, and he moved in with his wife Elizabeth in 1894.

They named it Manor Farm.

The lived here until his death in 1922 and her's in 1951.

The University of Birmingham took it over, and converted it into a hall of residence from 1958, but it ceased this function by 2007.

Years of dereliction lead to arsonists (teenagers) burning it down in 2014.

Partial demolition in 2015, followed by a full restoration between 2019 and 2021.

The Manor House, Northfield

Head down Manor House Drive, back onto New House Farm Drive and onto Bristol Road South.

Leave the park at Bristol Road South. A short walk away is another property once owned by George Cadbury. This is the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

 

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

A house called The Woodlands was built on this site around 1840.

It was later to become one of George Cadbury's homes, who in 1907 gave it to the then named "Cripples Children's Union".

After various mergers, what has now become known as the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, was firmly based on this site.

At one point they had an Outpatients Department on Broad Street at Islington House (this lasted until the end of the 20th century). One of the surgeons based here was Mr Naughton Dunn (from 1913 to 1939), who was a national pioneer and Birmingham's first orthopaedic specialist.

The hospital has been part of the NHS since it's founding in 1948.

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

We hope you enjoyed this tour of Northfield. 

If you have return tickets on the train, walk back to Northfield Station. Alternatively, head to a bus stop on Bristol Road South. If getting a bus, we recommend that you have a Swift card, and buy your ticket at National Express West Midlands in advance. Otherwise, you will need to pay a cash fare, or use contactless. Alternatively, you can have the NXWM app and buy your ticket on there. Bus routes include the 20, 61 and 63 from National Express West Midlands or the 144 from First Midland Red.

Photography by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
Environment & green action
04 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Blossom Watch from the National Trust on Edgbaston Street and at Cathedral Square

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The National Trust has installed benches with blossom trees on Edgbaston Street (near the Bullring Rag and Indoor Market's) and in Cathedral Square. Installed in late March 2022, they are expected to be there for at least 6 weeks. But at the beginning of April 2022, the blossom seems to have finished flowering already. Was a mural but couldn't find it in Cathedral Square.

Related

Edgbaston Street - Bullring Rag and Indoor Market's

A series of pink benches with flower plants and new blossom trees on  Edgbaston Street. Where some of the outdoor market traders sometimes set up outside of the Rag Market. 

Blossom Watch

The blossom trees have been here for a few weeks, and there wasn't much blossom left on them.

Blossom Watch

This view below from the bridge on Smallbrook Queensway, looking down Edgbaston Street towards the Rag Market.

Blossom Watch

 

Cathedral Square

In Cathedral Square, there is two paths of benches with the pink benches and flower planters with blossom trees.

Blossom Watch

The first path starts from one of the Temple Row entrances (opposite Temple Street) and leads towards Birmingham Cathedral.

Blossom Watch

The second path of pink benches and blossom trees goes from Birmingham Cathedral towards Colmore Row and Snow Hill Station Square. Daffodil cross and Grand Hotel Birmingham on the left. Even here, the blossom seems to have finished.

Blossom Watch

 

Catch me while you can #BlossomWatch

Have a look out for buses in Birmingham with the National Trust advert 'Catch me while you can #BlossomWatch'.

The no 24 National Express West Midlands bus, 4903 Lina, seen at Holloway Head, about to head around Holloway Circus and onto Smallbrook Queensway.

Blossom Watch

If you want to see more blossom, I recommend you head to the suburbs, and check out the roads around the Outer Ring Road, A4040. A mixture of mature and young trees.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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60 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
28 Mar 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The River Tame: Brookvale Road Flood Wall in Witton

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The River Tame in Witton used to flood when the river level was high due to heavy rain, so the Environment Agency decided to build flood walls on Brookvale Road. This took place around 2015-16. There are various words on the wall. A flood gate was installed at the Atlas Bridge. These works continue to Perry Barr.

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BROOKVALE ROAD FLOOD WALL, RIVER TAME, WITTON

Heading out from Witton Station on Witton Road at midday on Tuesday 22nd March 2022. It was a sunny early spring day.

I was aware of these walls from over a year ago, while doing the River Tame feature.

Never got around to checking them out until now.

The flood wall starts on Brookvale Road, and you can't see the River Tame from the opposite pavement.

There is various words written on the wall, as you will see below.

It reads something like "BARRING RIVER ENLIVENING TAME MEANDERING RIVER REFORMING TAME FORGING RIVER POOLING TAME SEEKING RIVER MELDING TAME TRAVERSING  RIVER MEANDERING TAME".

Brookvale Road flood wall Witton

RIVER ENLIVENING

Brookvale Road flood wall Witton

REFORMING

Brookvale Road flood wall Witton

SEEKING RIVER

Brookvale Road flood wall Witton

TRAVERSING RIVER

Brookvale Road flood wall Witton

The flood wall splits at the red Atlas Bridge, which also has a flood gate.

Brookvale Road flood wall Witton

TAME POOLING

Brookvale Road flood wall Witton

TRAVERSING TAME

Brookvale Road flood wall Witton

 

Views of the River Tame alongside the Brookvale Road Flood Wall, The railings above them are quite high.

Brookvale Road River Tame Witton

This direction towards the Holford Industrial Estate.

Brookvale Road River Tame Witton

This direction towards the Atlas Industrial Estate.

Brookvale Road River Tame Witton

The Yew Tree pub is on the left on Brookvale Road in Witton.

Brookvale Road River Tame Witton

Brookvale Road River Tame Witton

View towards Villa Park, home of Aston Villa FC.

Brookvale Road River Tame Witton

Brookvale Road River Tame Witton

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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80 passion points
Classic Architecture
17 Mar 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Theatre Royal on New Street (1774 to 1956)

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If you ever visit Superdrug, Bella Italia or Boots on New Street, were you aware that they are on the site of the Theatre Royal? It existed from 1774 until it was demolished in 1956 (with a couple of redevelopments in it's almost 200 years of existence). It was replaced from 1958 to 1964 by the Woolworth / Charters Building (refurbished in 1990) and Platform 21 (from 2020-21).

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Theatre Royal - New Street, Birmingham (1774 - 1956)

What is now Platform 21 (formerly the called the Charters Building, and previously the Woolworth Building) was built on the site of the Theatre Royal, which existed on New Street from 1774 until 1956. It was rebuilt a couple of times following fires. A pair of plaques of William Shakespeare and David Garrick were saved (during the 1956 demolition of the theatre) and are now at the Library of Birmingham. The only indication on New Street now of the theatre existing is a blue plaque from the Birmingham Civic Society (between Superdrug and Bella Italia).

Theatre Royal

 

Details below taken from the Arthur Lloyd webpage on The Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham.

There has been four theatres in total on the site of 102 New Street between 1774 and 1956 (a period of 182 years).

 

New Theatre, New Street (1774 - 1792)

The first theatre opened in June 1774, was called the New Theatre. Built for Richard Yates, the architect was called Saul. A new façade added in 1780 and portico designed by Samuel Wyatt, which survived until 1902, despite the rest of the building being destroyed by fire twice.

 

Theatre Royal, New Street (1794 - 1820)

There was a fire at the theatre in 1792. After the fire, the theatre was completely rebuilt by 1794 by George Saunders and Charles Norton, except for the Wyatt façade which survived the fire of 1792. This would be the second theatre on the site. The theatre changed it's name to the Theatre Royal in 1807 when a Royal Patent was granted to the theatre.

Theatre RoyalLithograph - Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham, 1805. Lithographer: T Woodfall. Birmingham Museums Trust

 

Theatre Royal, New Street (1820 - 1902)

Sadly the Theatre Royal, New Street was destroyed by another fire, this time during January 1820. The theatre was rebuilt again by 1820, making it the third theatre on the site, this time designed by the architect Samuel Beazley, who replaced everything behind Samuel Wyatt façade.

The only changes after this was in 1875 with alterations to the stage and auditorium, and then in 1885 there was more alterations to the building. Then a refurbishment in 1898 by the architect Frank J. Bill.

Theatre RoyalEngraving - Theatre Royal, New Street, Birmingham.1820 rebuild.  Artist: Thomas Radclyffe. Birmingham Museums Trust

 

Theatre Royal Plaques

In 1902 the third Theatre Royal was completely demolished, to make way for a new theatre on the same site. A small part of the 1820 theatre survives in the form of a a pair of plaques of William Shakespeare and David Garrick. They were at Birmingham Central Library (until 2013) but are now located at the Library of Birmingham.

The Theatre Royal Plaques were on display at the Library of Birmingham, in the Gallery back in 2016, during an exhibition called Our Shakespeare, which commemorated the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Garrick was on the left, while Shakespeare was on the right.

Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal

 

Theatre Royal, New Street (1904 - 1956)

The fourth theatre opened in December 1904, it was the last Theatre Royal to be on the site. This one was designed by Ernest Runtz with a new frontage designed in the Adam Style. It was built for Theatre Royal Birmingham Ltd. The building was five stories in height. The New Street façade was built in Monk's Parkstone in the semi-Classic style of George III. Above the upper story was a series of bronze figures representing Comedy, Industries, Charity, Justice, Science and Tragedy. The Theatre Royal closed it's doors for the last time in December 1956. Demolition began shortly after it closed for good.

Theatre Royal

Theatre RoyalThe Theatre Royal, New Street, early 20th century (date unknown). Photographer unknown. Public domain.

 

The Shakespeare Tavern (1774 - 1904)

Underneath the theatre was a bar called the Shakespeare Tavern, also known as the Brags' Vaults. This was in existence since the very first theatre on the site (1774) and remained until the rebuild of 1904 (at one point known as the Pit Bar of the Theatre Royal). It later moved to Lower Temple Street, where a Neo-Georgian pub called The Shakespeare was built. This was built from 1910 to 1911 by the architect Arthur Edwards. Before it was built, the theatre ran to Lower Temple Street. At one point The Shakespeare was run by Mitchells & Butlers, later by Nicholson's.

The Shakespeare

 

Woolworth Building / Charter Building (1962 / 1964 - 1990 / 2020)

An office building called the Woolworth Building was later built on the site. It was  designed by Cotton, Ballard & Blow, and built in two parts. The east side from 1958 to 1962 for Woolworths. The west side from 1962 to 1964 for Jack Cotton & Partners. It was made of Portland stone, mosaic cladding and green slate. The building was up to ten stories high. In 1990 there was a refurbishment by Temple Cox Nicholls. This included a glass lift. It is now known as the Charters Building. Retailers on the ground floor include Superdrug, Bella Italia and Boots. The Birmingham Civic Society blue plaque is located between Superdrug and Bella Italia.

Charters Building

Charters Building

Bella Italia

 

Platform 21 (2021 to present)

The offices at 102 New Street were renovated again, this time during 2020 to 2021 at 23 Stephenson Street. The development was called Platform 21. Grade A office space up to 112,000 Square Ft.  HM Government Civil Servants moved into the building near the end of 2021. It was renamed from Charters to Platform 21 in 2016. Workers will probably not be aware that they are at the former site of the Theatre Royal or a Woolworths store (which moved off site at one point into the Pallasades until it closed for good in 2008). Architects was Associated Architects. The client was Evenacre and LaSalle Investment Management.

Platform 21

Platform 21

Platform 21

 

Historic images of Theatre Royal from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource.

Early 20th Century photos via Phil of the Birmingham History Forum (2011).

21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Art; Culture & creativity
14 Mar 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Wizarding World Wand Installation at the Bullring & Grand Central Birmingham

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Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast fans, get yourself down to the Bullring on St Martin's Walk for the Wizarding World Wand  Installation. It started on the 11th and will end on the 17th March 2022. This is ahead of the release in cinemas of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (April 2022).

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Ahead of the release of the third Fantastic Beasts movie in cinemas - Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, on the 8th April 2022.

Wizarding World is having a tour of the UK of it's Wizarding World Wand Installation.

It is in Birmingham at the Bullring from the 11th to 17th March 2022.

You can find them on St Martin's Walk between the entrances of the East Mall and West Mall.

 

It was being advertised on the media eye facing the Bullring at Birmingham New Street Station (Moor Street Link Bridge view).

Wizarding World Wands

 

Wizarding World Wand Installation on St Martin's Walk towards St Martin's Church and St Martin's Square.

Wizarding World Wands

 

Side view of the Wizarding World Wand Installation towards the East Mall and Wing Stop.

Wizarding World Wands

 

Bottom view of Wizarding World Wand Installation towards the Rotunda and Rotunda Square.

Wizarding World Wands

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
10 Mar 2022 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Iron: Man returns to Victoria Square

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Sir Antony Gormley's Iron: Man had been in storage since September 2017 until late February 2022. Initially to make way for the Westside Metro extension past Victoria Square. With Public Realm works going on before the Commonwealth Games, they have installed Iron: Man outside of the Town Hall. Unveiled on 8th March 2022 by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Council Leader Ian Ward.

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Iron: Man Returns

It has been almost five years since anyone had seen Sir Antony Gormley's Iron: Man. Removed to storage back in September 2017. This was to make way for the Westside Metro extension, built from 2017 until 2019 (Grand Central Tram Stop on Stephenson Street to Library Tram Stop in Centenary Square).

But in the years since then, we have asked the question: Where is the Iron: Man?

That was in 2020, then no news at all in 2021. Then out of the blue overnight between 23rd and 24th February 2022, photos emerged online (from Midland Metro Alliance) of Iron: Man being back.

 

Photos taken on the 28th February 2022

Iron: Man with Big Brum and BM & AG

Iron: Man

 

Iron: Man, Queen Victoria statue and 103 Colmore Row

Iron: Man

 

West Midlands Metro trams, Victoria Square House and the Iron: Man

Iron: Man

 

Photo taken on 3rd March 2022

Iron: Man and the Town Hall

Iron: Man

 

Photos taken on 5th March 2022

Iron: Man and the Town Hall on a busy Saturday afternoon

Iron Man

Iron Man

Iron Man

 

Iron: Man and the Council House in Victoria Square on a busy Saturday afternoon

Iron Man

 

Photos taken on 9th March 2022

The day after West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward officially unveiled the statue. But Sir Antony Gormley was unable to attend.

Iron Man

Iron ManPhotos taken by Elliott Brown 

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90 passion points
Transport
07 Mar 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop on Hagley Road - March 2022 update

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Well the Westside Metro Extension to Five Ways and Hagley Road in Edgbaston is months late in opening. While West Midlands Metro restored a service to Library Tram Stop in Centenary Square by mid February 2022, the extension to Hagley Road is not yet open. Still cones and barriers. Edgbaston Village Tram Stop at 54 Hagley Rd now looks close to completion. Early March 2022 update.

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26th June 2021

Last summer, early signs of working beginning to build Edgbaston Village Tram Stop on Hagley Road, outside of the former Barclays Bank and 54 Hagley Road.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

 

4th September 2021

Outside of Morrisons on the Hagley Road, and they had laid a green surface around the tracks. While other parts were covered over.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

 

13th November 2021

More of the same with the green surface outside of Starbucks Coffee, but a lot of barriers around here at the time. Edgbaston Village Tram Stop now has shelters installed.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

 

5th December 2021

From Five Ways Island. Midland Metro Alliance have been spending months building electrical substations above the underpass between Broad Street and Hagley Road.

Five Ways Island

 

26th December 2021

Boxing Day fog. The original plan was to have opened this Metro extension by the end of 2021, but this of course didn't happen. Cones along part of the route, while at least one lane open to traffic heading from Five Ways Island onto the Hagley Road.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

 

9th January 2022

The new year, and a blue sky at the new crossing outside of Morrisons and Starbucks Coffee. With The Lansdowne on the other side of Hagley Road.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

 

7th February 2022

A visit to Morrisons Café on the Hagley Road. Views out of the window, cones and barriers with traffic diverted from Five Ways onto the Hagley Road. If you want to get to Stourbridge, catch the no 9 bus. After I left Morrisons, had a quick look at Edgbaston Village Tram Stop from outside.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

 

5th March 2022

Approaching Hagley Road from Highfield Road in Edgbaston. Edgbaston Village Tram Stop has the overhead cables and grey poles installed, as well as grass tracks next to 54 Hagley Road.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Art; Culture & creativity
07 Mar 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Wondrous Stories for the Birmingham 2022 Festival in Centenary Square

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Rehearsals were taking place on Saturday afternoon, around 4pm on the 5th March 2022. For the Birmingham 2022 Festival. An event called Wondrous Stories will take place on the evenings between 17th and 20th March 2022 in Centenary Square. Saw four people abseiling in different directions. They have taken over the Reflective Pool.

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Wondrous Stories is part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, in the months leading up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Free and unticketed event is scheduled to take place on the evenings of: 17th March 2022 at 7pm. Then from the 18th to 20th March 2022 at 6:30pm and 8:30pm.

A spectacular open air show featuring Motionhouse's professionally trained dance-circus company, alongside a mass cast of hundreds from Critical Mass, Freewheelin Dance Company, Motionhouse Youth, Sampad and DanceXchange.  Led by Artistic Director Kevin Finnan MBE. 

The show features additional choreography by Jamaal Burkmar (Extended Play, Phoenix Dance) and Sonia Sabri (Sonia Sabri Dance Company), live spoken word performance from Coventry and Birmingham-based artists Raza Hussain and Sebbie Mudhai, and digital projections by Logela Multimedia. Birmingham’s Choir With No Name sing to an uplifting soundtrack by Sophy Smith and Tim Dickinson, and designer Sophie Donaldson leads Birmingham City University students in costume creation, making this a magical collaboration of talent.

Produced by Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces.

 

Rehearsals were taking place on stages installed on the Reflective Pool in Centenary Square on Saturday afteroon, around 4pm, 5th March 2022.

Wondrous Stories B2022

Wondrous Stories B2022

Wondrous Stories B2022

 

Views below taken from the Discovery Terrace, Level 3 at the Library of Birmingham.

Wondrous Stories B2022

Wondrous Stories B2022

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown. Some words above taken from Motionhouse.

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Transport
15 Feb 2022 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

West Midlands Metro trams returns to Paradise

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After 203 days, West Midlands Metro has finally resumed services between Bull Street and Library, on the 12th February 2022. The last trams in service for passengers at this end was 24th July 2021. Since then Corporation Street was closed for 11 weeks for track relaying. Then faults in the trams around November 2021, then some back in service to Bull Street by December 2021. Welcome back.

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Saturday 12th February 2022

The 24th July 2021 was the last date that trams ran on a service for passengers to Library Tram Stop. Since then, a 11 week closure of Corporation Street for track relaying. Then delays from November 2021 when cracks were discovered (on the Spanish CAF manufactured trams). Some repaired trams back in service from December 2021, but only to Bull Street (some new Urbos 100 trams have been fast tracked into service alongside the original Urbos 3 trams). 12th February 2022, the first date that West Midlands Metro have got trams back in service towards Centenary Square (but every 12 minutes). Here tram 29 departs Town Hall Tram Stop, and heads around Paradise Circus, passing the new One Centenary Way, before approaching Centenary Square, for it's final approach to Library Tram Stop.

While beyond Library, Broad Street is all tracked, but beyond Five Ways to Hagley Road, it is not quite complete. So might be a couple more months before we can see trams further into Westside.

West Midlands Metro tram 29

West Midlands Metro tram 29

West Midlands Metro tram 29

 

Monday 14th February 2022

On a rainy Valentine's Day, I popped up to the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. Saw West Midlands Metro tram 40 (Urbos 100) at Library Tram Stop. It then departed Centenary Square, via the Bus Gate onto Paradise Circus. While traffic waited at the traffic lights, for the tram to cross over to Paradise Street and to Town Hall Tram Stop.

Tram 40

Tram 40

Tram 40

Tram 40

Tram 40

Tram 40

 

After leaving the Library of Birmingham via Centenary Square and Centenary Way. Walked into Chamberlain Square and Victoria Square. Just about caught West Midland Metro tram 23 departing from Town Hall Tram Stop for Library. The first of three trams I saw heading to Westside.

Tram 23

 

Walking down Pinfold Street, the next tram I saw was West Midlands Metro tram 28 "Jasper Carrott", heading up Stephenson Street, having departed Grand Central Tram Stop. It then headed up Pinfold Street towards Victoria Square. The second of three trams. Maybe at least one was going onto Broad Street for a test run?

Stephenson Pinfold

Stephenson Pinfold

 

One last tram seen from Stephenson Street. West Midlands Metro tram 31 "Cyrille Regis" seen heading down from Corporation Street onto Stephenson Place. Still people walking on the wrong side of the road. There is a pavement next to the Apple building (ex Midland Bank / Waterstone's).

Stephenson Corporation

Stephenson Corporation

 

I actually started this rainy photo walk heading past Snow Hill. The Living Wall and grass track. First up was West Midlands Metro tram 20 heading to Wolverhampton. Then arriving at St Chad's Tram Stop was tram 34 heading to Birmingham. I then went down the steps, and walked up Constitution Hill and Great Hampton Street into the Jewellery Quarter.

Snow Hill trams

Snow Hill trams

Snow Hill trams

Snow Hill trams

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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08 Feb 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Gaia: Earth Art Work at Millennium Point

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Gaia is a sculpture of the Earth, which is located at Millennium Point in Eastside, from 1st February to 28th March 2022. Luke Jerram's Gaia Exhibition is touring the world. Next stop Switzerland. But first enjoy it in Birmingham, UK! Elliott poped to Millennium Point on 2-2-2022.

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Gaia is an art installation by the artist Luke Jerram. From the 1st February to 28th March 2022, visitors to the foyer in Millennium Point in Eastside, can see a giant spinning model of the Earth.

It features NASA imagery of the Earth's surface. 

If you stand 211 metres away, you can see the Earth as if you are seeing it from the Moon. 

Pretend that you are an Apollo astrounaut on the Moon between 1969 and 1972.

See it from the balcony, or see it from underneath, or from the escalators or lifts.

Gaia Millennium Point

Gaia Millennium Point

Gaia Millennium Point

Gaia Millennium Point

Gaia Millennium Point

Gaia Millennium Point

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Art; Culture & creativity
07 Feb 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Chinese New Year 2020 and 2022 in Birmingham

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The Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee and Birmingham Hippodrome were back again at the Bullring & Grand Central. Once again in the West Mall performance area, just outside of the former entrances of Debenhams. I forgot that they last performed there in late January 2020. So this was their first performance in a little over two years!

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Happy Chinese New Year.  There was no dancing Chinese lions / dragons in 2021, but they are back in the first week of February 2022!

The Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee, took the dancing lion / dragon all over Birmingham and Solihull. I was not able to be where they were, as much as I would have liked to see it. So below will have to do.

I've not been able to get the dancing lion / dragon, since I got the yellow one at Cathedral Square in 2018.

 

January 2020

It was Chinese New Year, and that year it was the Year of the Rat. A little over two months later the first lockdown began, and this seemed like a distant memory.

 

Photos below taken on 23rd January 2020.

The Bullring Bull in it's Chinese New Year of the Rat outfit. Two years later (2022) the Bull does not have an outfit on (for the Year of the Tiger). But nice to look two years back (to a couple of months before the first lockdown).

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

 

Photos below taken on the 25th January 2020.

These views from the top floor balcony in the West Mall of Bullring & Grand Central. The Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee putting on a display. It was crowded on all floors.

CNY Bullring

CNY Bullring

CNY Bullring

 

February 2022

Photos below taken 1st February 2022.

Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat began on the 1st February 2022. The Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee were performing all over the City, and in Solihull on the 1st and 2nd February. But I kept missing them, so got the below instead.

 

Southside Media Eye at Birmingham New Street Station - Welcome to the Year of the Rat.

Chinese New Year

 

Ming Moon Chinese Restaurant & Karaoke Bar. Chinese lanterns seen on Hurst Street.

Chinese New Year

 

Birmingham Hippodrome on Hurst Street. Digital billboard wishing you a Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Chinese New Year

 

Photos below taken on 5th February 2022.

Two years later, and the Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee and Birmingham Hippodrome were back with more performances in the Bullring West Mall. This time I took them from the middle floor balcony. Crowds of people on all floors, was hard to get a spot, so took a few photos over peoples heads.

CNY Bullring

CNY Bullring

CNY Bullring

CNY Bullring

CNY Bullring

 

Join us for spectacular Chinese New Year Celebrations. 5th February, 12pm - 5pm. Seen on the Media Eye at Birmingham New Street Station, facing the Bullring. View from the Moor Street Link Bridge.

Chinese New Year

 

Photos below taken on 6th February 2022.

From the 1st to 5th February 2022, I kept missing seeing the dancing Chinese lion with the drums. Then managed to get them on The Queen's 70th Anniversary of her Asccension. I saw them at The Arcadian while they were on Cathay Street.

Cathay St Arcadian

Cathay St Arcadian

 

Gent 48 street art on Wrottesley Street in Southside. Part of the same mural that is on Bath Passage. Seen from Ladywell Walk, opposite The Arcadian.

Chinese New Year

 

On Hurst Street. Lamppost with Chinese lanterns. Below is a Birmingham 2022 banner, Be Bold Be Birmingham. Ahead is the unpleasant concrete eyesore over Smallbrook Queensway, with graffiti that urgently needs removing. Or the building demolishing.

Chinese New Year

 

A Gent 48 piece at the end of Smallbrook Queensway near Holloway Circus and Horse Fair. Of a Panda. It's been here since at least 2019 (I took another photo of it when I first saw it three years ago).

Chinese New Year

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Classic Architecture
06 Feb 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

ODEON Birmingham New Street - the second oldest cinema in the City Centre, used to be the Paramount Theatre

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There has been a cinema / theatre on New Street in Birmingham for around 85 years. Originally the Paramount Theatre from 1937 to 1942. And then ODEON for the last 80 years and counting. The brick building has survived on the railway side from Birmingham New Street Station. Now has around 9 screens and a Costa Coffee. Built on the former site of King Edward VI High School for Girls.

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The Paramount Theatre

After King Edward VI High School for Girls relocated to Edgbaston Park Road, vacating their former New Street premises in the mid 1930s (following the boys school - King Edward's School). The site was cleared and a theatre was built on the site, designed in the Art Deco style by Frank Verity & Samuel Beverley, and built from 1936 to 1937. The distinctive brick building at the back can still be seen from Birmingham New Street Station (either at road level or platform level).

The Paramount Theatre opened on the 4th September 1937. It was one of seven Paramount Theatres built in major UK cities by the American owned Paramount Theatres chain. It used to have a Compton 4 Manual / 10 Rank theatre organ. The Paramount had a large stage, dressing rooms and a café / restaurant. 

 

ODEON

On the 25th August 1942 it was sold to Oscar Deutsch's Odeon Theatres Ltd (about 9 months after his death). It was renamed to Odeon on the 29th November 1942. In the 1960's the Odeon was used for many 'One Night' concerts by pop groups, including The Beatles. In April 1965 the cinema was closed for a major modernisation, removing most of the original Art Deco style decorations, it reopened on the 24th June 1965. 

The Odeon closed on 25th May 1988 for a conversion into a six screen cinema, it re-opened by August 1988. But at this point the Compton organ was dismantled and sold. In 1991 two extra screens were opened in the former restaurant area and in a former bar in the basement. The last major refurbishment was carried out in 1998 when another screen was added. Costa Coffee opened up at Odeon in the foyer in the summer of 2015. 

Tickets can be purchased now either at the Minibar, or online via the website or app. You could collect you tickets at the Automatic Ticket Machines (using your card). As of 2021 onwards, you can present an E-ticket on your smartphone in the app, or in your email.

 

 

ODEON from New Street

Views of the main entrance to ODEON on New Street, seen at the end of December 2009. The Art Deco column above used to have PARAMOUNT on it from 1937 to 1942. But has had the ODEON name since November 1942 onwards. The phrase "Fanatical About Film" is still there now.

Odeon New Street

Odeon New Street

Odeon New Street

Odeon New Street

Odeon New Street

 

The (then) new Costa Coffee, opened up on the left hand side of the foyer of ODEON Birmingham New Street by August 2015. In the years since, I have been to this Costa, if I'm seeing a film at this cinema. Also somewhere to sit if you arrive to early for your film, as there is no seats outside of the screens.

Odeon New Street

 

View of the ODEON Minibar from Costa Coffee, during January 2017. This was where you used to be able to buy tickets, as well as snacks. The ATM's for collecting or buying tickets are on the far right (close to the exit doors to New Street). After all the lockdown closures and reopening, by mid 2021, the ODEON app had changed, and you can now have an E-Ticket with QR code to present to staff instead (of putting your card into the ATM to print off your paper ticket). Although I've only experienced this at ODEON LUXE Birmingham Broadway Plaza in Ladywood a couple of times in 2021. And I've been mostly going to Cineworld (Broad Street or Solihull) and using my E-Ticket (in the app or email) in recent years.

Odeon New Street

 

Zemeckis Cube standee from Ready Player One, seen at the top of the stairs from the foyer, taken while I was in Costa Coffee during March 2018. Up the stairs is screens 3, 4, 5 and 6. The layout of the cinema is a bit weird with all the corridors, and stairs. Probably a relic of the layout from the Paramount Theatre. The screens as they are now are a bit small. And the lights go up during the end credits, so maybe a bit hard to see any mid or post credits scenes here. One year I watched the Tolkien biopic here, thinking that J.R.R. Tolkien went to King Edward's School close to where the cinema is now (the site that is now King Edward House). Ready Player One itself was filmed around Birmingham in places such as Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter back in 2016.

ODEON New Street

 

When Covid hit, ODEON like other cinemas in the country closed shortly before the start of the first National lockdown in March 2020. Costa was closed as well. Birds of Prey was one of the last movies I saw in this cinema around February 2020 (I think).

Odeon New Street

 

ODEON, like other national chains reopened in July 2020. But there wasn't many new films on. So they showed previously released films. And when No Time to Die was postponed into 2021, ODEON once again closed by the middle of October 2020. This was the view of ODEON on New Street during the second lockdown in England (I was heading to work at the time) in December 2020.

Odeon New Street

 

Most cinema chains reopened by the Spring of 2021, this included ODEON. In August 2021, there was a photography exhibition around the City Centre. It was called "Celebrating Britain 70 Amazing Years", for the Queen's up and coming 70th Anniversary in 2022. The Beatles performed a concert at the ODEON on New Street in the mid 1960s. So this photo was of The Beatles posing with local policemen, wearing their helmets. Seen on the morning walk up to the office.

ODEON New Street

ODEON from Birmingham New Street Station

Before the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street, I got these views of the back of ODEON near St Martin's Queensway, at the end of December 2009. You could still see the old Victorian dark brown brick railway wall below the cinema.

Odeon New Street

Odeon New Street

 

View of the back of ODEON take during October 2010. Scaffolding had gone up the brickwork, and early signs of building the Moor Street Link Bridge. The redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station had begun.

Odeon New Street

Odeon New Street

Odeon New Street

 

In March 2012, on a train for a day out in Tamworth. A view of the back of ODEON, with scaffolding for the building of the Moor Street Link Bridge. While another photographer was on a platform that is my spitting image (but is not me of course).

ODEON New Street

 

During September 2012 at Birmingham New Street Station. The Moor Street Link Bridge was forming under ODEON. I was getting a train to Witton (for more photos around Villa Park in Aston at the time).

ODEON New Street

ODEON New Street

 

The Moor Street Link Bridge was more or less almost complete by February 2013, in these views of it below ODEON, from St Martin's Queensway. The Pallasades wouldn't become Grand Central for another two years at least.

ODEON New Street

ODEON New Street

 

By April 2013, the Moor Street Link Bridge (below ODEON) was almost ready to open to the public. Half Time Switchover took place at Birmingham New Street at the end of the month, where half of the new station opened, while the other half, yet to be rebuilt closed to the public. This included opening up the Moor Street Link Bridge between Birmingham New Street and Birmingham Moor Street station's for the first time.

ODEON New Street

ODEON New Street

 

It is now August 2013, and ODEON had their own billboard in use above the Birmingham New Street Living Wall. Back when Orange Wednesday's still existed. They also had Film Fan Monday and Bargin Tuesday at the time.

ODEON New Street

ODEON New Street

ODEON New Street

 

On the train during April 2014, leaving Birmingham New Street for a day out in Coventry with my camera. Views out of the train window of ODEON and the Moor Street Link Bridge from below.

ODEON New Street

ODEON New Street

 

In May 2014, returning to Birmingham New Street from Erdington on the train. Above view of the Moor Street Link Bridge and ODEON.

ODEON New Street

 

Around September 2015, from the Bullring link bridge (later Link Street). A view of ODEON and the Moor Street Link Bridge. This was the last few weeks before Birmingham New Street Station would fully reopen. This view would later go when they installed the pop-up shop retail units on the bridge, so it's no longer possible to get this view.

ODEON New Street

 

View of ODEON from Grand Central Square taken during April 2016. The billboard on the right had been taken over by Costa Coffee.

ODEON New Street

 

A September 2017 view to ODEON and the Moor Street Link Bridge, with a London Midland Class 323 train. I was on the Cross City Line at the time on another Class 323 heading towards Aston, to attend the Civil War Siege event at Aston Hall, during Birmingham Heritage Week. The London Midland franchise ended in December 2017, being taken over by West Midlands Trains (West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway).

ODEON New Street

 

An October 2021 view towards ODEON from Grand Central Square in the rain. The Birmingham New Street Station sign on the wall had been changed into Birmingham Pride colours.

ODEON New Street

 

A look at ODEON on Boxing Day, December 2021. Near the end of the year it had been quite foggy / misty. This view taken from St Martin's Queensway.

Odeon New Street

 

A late January 2022 view of the back of ODEON from near Grand Central Square, in this view with the Rotunda, Living Wall and Moor Street Link Bridge. The red brick reflecting the sunlight, the sunshine even bounced off the ODEON sign.

Odeon New Street

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Sport & leisure
31 Jan 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Be Bold Be Birmingham - the Commonwealth Games is coming to the City this summer 2022!

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Be Bold Be Birmingham! The slogan for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games can be see around the City in the months running up to the event. Such as at Perry Park near the Alexander Stadium (Walsall Road) and other areas, including in the City Centre. Also a new Queen's Baton Relay mural near Birmingham New Street Station.

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Be Bold Be Birmingham

 

At the time of this post being published, there will be around 6 months to go until the start of the Commonwealth Games, around Birmingham and the West Midlands!

 

Alexander Stadium, Perry Barr

The Alexander Stadium in Perry Park, at the beginning of January 2022. Seen near the Walsall Road. The hashtag is #BeBoldBeBham

Be Bold Be Birmingham

Be Bold Be Birmingham

Be Bold Be Birmingham

Be Bold Be Birmingham

 

Victoria Square, Birmingham

Seen at the end of December 2021, the Be Bold Be Birmingham hoardings around where the Floozie in the Jacuzzi used to be (currently having the fountain repaired).

Be Bold Be Birmingham

Be Bold Be Birmingham

 

Seen outside of the Council House during early January 2022. Normally this would be the main entrance, but it's closed while the building (and Museum & Art Gallery) get repaired (BM & AG should reopen ETA April 2022).

Be Bold Be Birmingham

 

The Council House was like this with Be Bold Be Birmingham at the end of September 2021.

Be Bold Be Birmingham

 

BM & AG and the Council House at the end of January 2022 after (or during) a jet wash (with 103 Colmore Row). They have reapplied the Be Bold Be Birmingham slogan around the black hoardings (I think they moved or changed the hoardings).

Council House

 

Stratford Road - Birmingham / Solihull border

Seen on the Stratford Road, leaving Birmingham (Hall Green) for Solihull (Shirley) near Tesco. If you are driving into the City up the A34, you will see "Welcome to Birmingham Proud Host City of the Commonwealth Games 2022". If you are leaving the City and entering Solihull (on your way to the M42) you will see "Thanks for Visiting Birmingham". Seen on a walk down the Stratford Road to Shirley in November 2021.

Be Bold Be Birmingham

Be Bold Be Birmingham

 

High Street, Harborne

I first spotted the Be Bold Be Birmingham signs in the summer of 2021. Such as on this council board on the High Street in Harborne, during August 2021. The same "Welcome to Birmingham Proud Host City of the Commonwealth Games 2022". It also comes up on digital billboards around the city.

Be Bold Be Birmingham

 

The Queen's Baton Relay - mural by Gent 48

This mural painted by Birmingham street artist legend Gent 48, is at the corner of Hill Street and Navigation Street in Birmingham City Centre near Birmingham New Street Station. It was painted and unveiled in the middle of January 2022. The Queen's Baton Relay is going around the Commonwealth.

Queens Baton Relay

Queens Baton Relay

Queens Baton Relay

Queens Baton Relay

Queens Baton Relay

 

Another view of Gent 48's Queen's Baton Relay mural from a car park on Swallow Street, looking down Hill Street to Navigation Street and Birmingham New Street Station. Late January 2022.

Birmingham New Street Station

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Art; Culture & creativity
25 Jan 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Longbridge Colours: a series of five steel sculptural barriers under Bristol Road South, near Austin Park

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From Austin Park in Longbridge, a path has been opened up under the Bristol Road South Bridge on what was originally the Halesowen railway line, and there used to be a station on the other side of the bridge. Local artist Stuart Whipps has designed five steel sculptural barriers in the archways separating the bridge from the River Rea. Based on the 1979 'Mini City' upholstery.

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Starting from Austin Park in Longbridge on Saturday afternoon, 22nd January 2022. Instead of going to the exit gate on Bristol Road South,  I headed down to the footbridge over the River Rea.

Austin Park

 

River Rea view towards Longbridge Town Centre, with South & City College Birmingham (Longbridge Campus) {formerly Bournville College} on the left.

Austin Park

 

The River Rea under the Bristol Road South Bridge. The water looks a bit dirty under here.

Austin Park

 

This used to be the Halesowen railway line. Heading under the Bristol Road South Bridge in Longbridge. On the left is the five sculptural panels by Stuart Whipps (born in 1979).

Austin Park

 

Information sign all about the artwork located here called Longbridge Colours (2015). Unveiled in March 2021 by local Northfield MP Gary Sambrook. There is also thoughts on the former factory from Colin Corke, Vicar of Longbridge.

Austin Park

 

Longbridge Colours based on the upholstery of the 1979 'Mini City' made here at Longbridge. Designed and made by Stuart Whipps in 2015, but installed in 2021.

Colours used include: Vermillion Red, Ermine White, Pageant Blue, Snapdragon Yellow, Russet Brown, Demin Blue, Reynard Bronze, Java Green, Champagne Beige and Black.

Austin Park

Austin Park

Austin Park

Austin Park

Austin Park

 

Exiting onto the other side of Bristol Road South. Approximately at the former site of the Longbridge (Halesowen railway) Station site. The building was derelict by 2010 to 2011, and was demolished by 2012 or 2013.

Austin Park

 

The River Rea from the other side of the Bristol Road South Bridge.

Austin Park

 

First time exiting from this path. This used to be a British Rail gate that was locked. Area overgrown. Site was cleared by 2018, but it was only opened up to pedestrians and cyclists in 2021.

Austin Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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History & heritage
24 Jan 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Garden of Memory at Warstone Lane Cemetery

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Did you know that there used to be funerary chapel at Warstone Lane Cemetery? Dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, it was built from 1847 to 1848, but was badly damaged during WW2 and was demolished in the 1950s. During the 2019 to 2021 restoration works, the site was found again, and was turned into a Garden of Memory. Railings and gates removed during the war was also replaced.

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Garden of Memory

Warstone Lane Cemetery Chapel was dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, and was the funerary chapel, which once dominated the landscape. It had stained glass windows manufactured by the Chance Brothers. It was built around 1847 to 1848. It was demolished in the 1950s having been damaged by bombing of the Jewellery Quarter during WWII. The cemetery was already in decline, and damage can still be seen on many memorials in this part of the cemetery. Restoration work took place from 2019 to 2021, and the footprint of the chapel was recreated as a Garden of Memory, so it can once again be served as a space for the community to congregate, contemplate and celebrate life.

Photos below taken during January 2022. Headed into the cemetery via the open gate on Pitsford Street on Saturday 15th January 2022, while checking out Hockley Mills near Jewellery Quarter Station.

Warstone Lane Cemetery

Warstone Lane Cemetery

Warstone Lane Cemetery

Warstone Lane Cemetery

Warstone Lane Cemetery

 

Vyse Street Gate

The cemetery was originally surrounded by cast-iron gothic railings which were removed in the post war period, when the chapel was demolished. The railings and gate posts were replaced during the 2019 to 2021 restoration works. The Vyse Street frontage has new cast-iron railings which were matched to the original design using archival drawings and confirmed by small pieces found during the restoration work.

Photos below taken during January 2022.

Warstone Lane Cemetery

Warstone Lane Cemetery

 

View below of the new painted railings and stone pilars on Vyse Street, seen during August 2020.

Warstone Lane Cemetery

 

View below of the new painted railings on Warstone Lane, seen during November 2020.

Warstone Lane Cemetery

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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90 passion points
Transport
15 Jan 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Royal Navy 692 - WT 723 at SCC Technology Campus in Tyseley

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On the no 4 / 4A bus route on the Warwick Road in Tyseley. There is now a decommissioned Hawker Hunter at the SCC Technology Campus. After the Shoreham air crash, it would never fly again. But was placed here on a pole stand around September 2021. A short walk up from Tyseley Locomotive Works and Tyseley Station, not far from Greet and the River Cole.

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If you catch the no 4 or 4A bus from Carrs Lane in the City Centre towards Tyseley and Acocks Green, you might spot something unusual. This decommissioned Hawker Hunter Royal Navy plane has been mounted on a pole stand at the SCC Technology Campus between Greet and Tyseley. The Warwick Road junction with Battery Way. Also near the Cole Valley Business Park, Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve (Shire Country Park) and the River Cole. People in cars or other transport might also spot it on their journey up and down the Warwick Road.

First flew in 1955. Retired in 1993. Various owners since. Since Shoreham crash it has been de-registered, and from September 2021 was moved to Tyseley pole-mounted at the SCC premises. All major components removed.

 

Royal Navy 692 - WT 723 - Hawker Hunter

Gallery of eight photos below. Taken on Saturday 15th January 2022.

Royal Navy 692

Royal Navy 692

Royal Navy 692

Royal Navy 692

Royal Navy 692

Royal Navy 692

Royal Navy 692

Royal Navy 692

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Transport
12 Jan 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The rebuilding of University Station - progress from May to December 2021

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University Station originally opened on the Cross City Line in 1978 to serve the University of Birmingham, and now the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Work began to build the new station buildings around Spring 2021. By Winter 2021-22 the main buildings are taking shape and getting cladded. The old station remains open throughout the works. Three photo updates from Elliott.

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University Station - West Midlands Railway

First some photos of University Station in the years before the redevelopment.

View of University Station from platform 1 during March 2012. This was my first time getting off a train here.

University Station

 

Below a view from Westgate taken in January 2013. Sometimes also called University Road West.

University Station

 

In July 2017, a view of a London Midland Class 323 Electric Multiple Unit train, as seen from platform 2. By December of that year the franchise transferred over to West Midlands Railway. 323208 was the number.

University Station

 

By December 2019 there was a new West Midlands Railway sign outside the station on Westgate, replacing the old Network West Midlands one.

University Station

 

In August 2020, a view of University Station, after restrictions were being lifted at the time, but was no access to the University of Birmingham's Edgbaston Campus to members of the public who were not members of staff or students.

University Station

 

29th May 2021

First views of the new University Station getting built from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston.

University Station

University Station

The old 1978 station building remains open from the Westgate with a view of Old Joe (before the clock hands were removed).

University Station

View from the bus stops of the site from New Fosse Way. The new station buildings would be built alongside Vincent Drive, near NHS Blood & Transplant Birmingham and the Birmingham Research Park.

University Station

 

6th August 2021

In the summer of 2021, I got a train down from Birmingham New Street Station. West Midlands Railway 170509. In a purple livery (as it will soon transfer to East Midlands Railway).

University Station

Behind the train you could see the structure of the new building going up.

University Station

Heading down Vincent Drive.

University Station

University Station

It was possible to see Old Joe behind the new building before it was complete last summer.

University Station

University Station

University Station

University Station

Now on Pritchatts Road from the bridge over the Cross City Line and Worcester & Birmingham Canal. There will not be access to the station from this end.

University Station

University Station

 

28th December 2021

Starting this time from Pritchatts Road, after checking out Old Joe (now with clock hands reinstated), the same view as 5 months earlier from the bridge over the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the Cross City Line. The new station building has a new footbridge. When complete it will have an entrance to Westgate.

University Station

University Station

Heading up Vincent Drive to a more complete looking station, although a lot to complete.

University Station

University Station

University Station

Near the bus stops on New Fosse Way. Work was still going on here during the Christmas - New Year holidays.

University Station

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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