Elliott Brown

Passion Points: 101K

Green open spaces
14 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A walk in the Kingfisher Country Park from Hay Mills to Bordesley Green on Easter Sunday 2021

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This was an Easter Sunday walk in the Kingfisher Country Park. Starting from the Coventry Road in Hay Mills. And walking as far as Bordesley Green (not far from Stechford). The Cole Valley Route in Hay Barn Recreation Ground, Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground, Sycamores Recreation Ground and Bordesley Green Recreation Ground. Sadly was a lot of litter to see along the River Cole.

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The Kingfisher Country Park starts in Birmingham from the Coventry Road in Hay Mills. Not far from Small Heath and Haybarnes Circus. This is part of the Cole Valley Route that walkers and cyclists alike can use. Sadly as soon as we got here on Easter Sunday 2021 (Sunday 4th April 2021) I could see litter, rubbish and fly-tipping all over the place (it was not nice to see how people treat our City and wonderful open spaces).

The walk was through four recreation grounds that follow the River Cole.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground starts at the Coventry Road in Hay Mills and ends at Hob Moor Road.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground starts at Hob Moor Road and ends at Yardley Green Road in Bordesley Green.

Sycamores Recreation Ground starts at Yardley Green Road and ends at Bordesley Green East.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground starts at Bordesley Green East and ends at Eastfield Road (you can see the West Coast Mainline to the far end with Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern Railway trains going by).

 

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Starting at the Coventry Road in Hay Mills, there is this map of the entire Kingfisher Country Park from Hay Mills towards Chelmsley Wood in Solihull. Sadly other maps like this in the country park had graffiti on them.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

A Project Kingfisher sign showing signs of past vandalism. It mentions that riding off road bikes with City Council parkland is illegal. I later saw an idiot riding a petrol powered dirt bike around Bordesley Green Recreation Ground in circles, all over the grass. Plus last Christmas was idiots riding bikes in the part in Shard End.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Earlier we first had views of the River Cole from the Berkeley Play Park.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

But was no footbridge to cross over the River Cole at this point, but later found a footbridge further up in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

From the Haymills Old Bridge dated 1903 on Coventry Road, with the River Cole below. A cyclist from Just Eat in orange stopped on the path on the left.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The correct form of bikes, a couple riding bicycles along the Cole Valley Route. This is how it should be done!

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Daffodils to the left of the main path.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

When we first got to the Kingfisher Country Park, we were near the Berkeley Play Park, and walked down to the Coventry Road. While on the Cole Valley Route in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground, spotted this footbridge over the River Cole which we later used as an exit from the park on the walk back to the car.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

View of the footbridge over the River Cole. Which we crossed at the end of the walk heading back to the starting point on Berkeley Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Further on in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground is this open field, running towards Hob Moor Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The path continues alongside the River Cole towards Hob Moor Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Getting close to Hob Moor Road, the bridge is almost in view.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The Hob Moor Road Bridge over the River Cole.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

 

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Now at Hob Moor Road, and into the Newbridge Recreation Ground. Several wooden bollards here. Plus a fingerpost / direction sign on the Cole Valley Cycle Route along the River Cole. The name of the area comes from Newbridge Farm, which used to be located at this site near the river.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

From here, you can cycle left to the City Centre and Small Heath, or right towards Stechford. (Note the sign has an extra "t" which is incorrect).

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

The path in Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground curves to the right, already signs of litter on both sides of the path!

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

The path heads straight towards Yardley Green Road.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Some green areas, so you have plenty of space for the 2 metre social distancing rule, while on your walk (to overtake some slow people).

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Getting close to Yardley Green Road, the path curves to the left.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Bollards and another fingerpost at Yardley Green Road. Also a gate on the right where the lawn is.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Interesting bridge on Yardley Green Road to the right of here. With a separate pedestrian footbridge. Was quiet on the Easter Sunday, but I gather in normal times there could be a lot of cars driving down here.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

 

Sycamores Recreation Ground

From Yardley Green Road in Bordesley Green, we next enter the Sycamores Recreation Ground. More bollards here. Sometimes the Kingfisher Country Park is also called Project Kingfisher.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Beyond the Project Kingfisher sign (missing fingerposts?) the path curves to the right, then beyond to the left.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Heading on the path in the Sycamores Recreation Ground, it now turns to the left before turning to the right.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

A distant cyclist up ahead, the odd piece of litter on the lawn on both sides of the path.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Bordesley Green East is now in view, as the path curves to the left.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

The River Cole is visible again on the right, as is the Bordesley Green East Bridge.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

At Bordesley Green East, more bollards. This is a busy dual carriageway road. Turned right and headed to the pelican crossing traffic lights.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

 

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Starting at Bordesley Green East, we enter the Bordesley Green Recreation Ground after crossing over at the lights. This area was the former site of Batchelors Farm.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Many families enjoying the sunshine and sitting on the lawn. Sadly the litter problem here was quite bad to see.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path curves around the Recreation Ground. While here, kept seeing an idiot riding a dirt bike around the ground in circles. Tyre tracks were visible in the grass. Other signs of burnt out former off road bikes were along the path.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path curves in an S shape as we passed these bushes to the right.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Not too visible here, but in the distance is the West Coast Mainline. Stechford Station is to the far right of here.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Bits of rubbish on both sides of the path, and sometimes on the path.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path is good to walk on though, was even the odd dog walker and cyclist here.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Getting close to the end of the path, a man riding a bike in orange.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

End of the path at Eastfield Road. Litter was really bad around here, plus graffiti on the wall on the right. Turned back from here towards Hay Mills.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

 

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

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70 passion points
Modern Architecture
12 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Osman Yousefzada's Dogtooth Flower at Selfridges

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Scaffolding started going up Selfridges around November 2020. By December 2020, the first pieces of Osman Yousefzada's Dogtooth Flower (IKON Gallery) pink artwork started to go up. Entered the 3rd lockdown in January 2021. So didn't get to see more until I travelled up early April 2021 on the train. So this update mostly before getting the train home from Birmingham Moor Street.

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For years, the shiny discs at Selfridges have been going missing, you might see the odd abseiling worker dangling down the side taking them down, or replacing them. But this process is taking ages. So finally something is being done about it. Scaffolding has been going up the last six months, a long with pink artwork by Osman Yousefzada called the Dogtooth Flower. As of April 2021, they still haven't finished putting it all up. The goal is for workers behind the scaffolding to take down all the discs, and replace them with new ones. Hopefully in time for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022. Good luck! The time is ticking down!

 

This photo below taken during March 2019. Men abseiling down Selfridges with blue bags, probably holding some of the discs.

Selfridges

 

 

16th November 2020

Heading back to the office in the middle of the second lockdown, got off the bus early and walked up Digbeth to see Selfridges with scaffolding going up.

Selfridges

At first the scaffolding only went up Park Street, and the windows were covered up to protect them.

Selfridges

Selfridges

No scaffolding on Moor Street at this point.

Selfridges

 

20th November 2020

Leaving the office just before 5pm GMT, headed down to St Martin's Square at the Bullring to check of the hoardings at Selfridges after dark.

Selfridges

About the same amount of scaffolding as 4 days earlier. Was also Christmas lights on Park Street.

Selfridges

Selfridges

As well as Christmas lights up Moor Street.

Selfridges

Selfridges

Selfridges

 

18th December 2020

On the bus in the evening heading home from work, spotted the first bit of pink hoardings artwork by Osman Yousefzada. Selfridges was claiming that they were still open as usual. At the time in Tier 3 restrictions.

Pink Selfridges

 

24th December 2020

The Christmas Eve walk around the City Centre. Saw the same piece of pink artwork but in the daylight before getting the bus home. Would be the last time I would see it in 4 months. As the 3rd lockdown began a few weeks later early into January 2021.

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

 

3rd April 2021

View from the train pulling into Birmingham Moor Street Station. I would stay on until Jewellery Quarter Station. Couldn't travel in while "Stay at Home" during the 3rd lockdown. But once we changed to "Stay Local" I got my first train in months. From the Restored Chamberlain Clock in the Jewellery Quarter, on a walk to Selfridges.

Pink Selfridges

Later after a walk around the City Centre, got to Upper Dean Street from Southside, got this view over the Bull Ring Open Market and St Martin's Church, with the Bull Ring Tavern on the right.

Pink Selfridges

The views of the pink hoarding artwork up Park Street, starting from St Martin's Lane.

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

The corner of Park Street and Moor Street, near Moor Street Car Park, as a National Express West Midlands bus went past.

Pink Selfridges

Onto Moor Street on the walk up to Birmingham Moor Street Station.

Pink Selfridges

The No 50 NXWM Platinum bus. Not been on a bus in 4 months now.

Pink Selfridges

Artwork information inside of the hoardings opposite. Osman Yousefzada created this artwork in conjunction with Selfridges and the IKON Gallery.

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

View from Birmingham Moor Street Station, platform 3. With two Chiltern Railways trains, 168 325 and 165021. Couldn't see any other views from the station, so walked around the one way system, and crossed the footbridge to get my train home.

Pink Selfridges

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
12 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Big Egg Hunt in Victoria Square, February 2013

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Lets time travel back to February 2013, when for a week, The Big Egg Hunt was on around Birmingham City Centre. 101 eggs to find. These were the eggs that were in Victoria Square at the time. Plus some Lindt Gold bunny's! The trail went nationwide at the time. Does anyone remember them? Hope everyone had a nice 2nd Covid Easter Bank Holiday Weekend break at home.

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THE BIG EGG HUNT

VICTORIA SQUARE

FEBRUARY 2013

 

Coming to Central Birmingham in the last week of February 2013, was The Big Egg Hunt. A trail of 101 painted Easter Eggs. The trail went around all the major Cities in the UK, including Birmingham. And they would be auctioned off at the end of the trail for charity.


There was loads of Easter Eggs in Victoria Square, too many to take in one go, so I only took photos of a couple of them at the time. This view to the Council House.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Humpty Dumpty to the far left, a Lindt Gold Bunny on the right.

The Big Egg Hunt


The charity was Action for Children. The trail was fun for kids and adults alike to see.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

View of all the Big Eggs towards 130 Colmore Row, at the Colmore Row corner with Waterloo Street. This was the site from 1901 to 1970 of Galloway's Corner.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

A Frugal Meal

Near the bottom of the steps at Victoria Square was this caricature of King George III eating a egg in a egg cup. A Frugal Meal by the artist Charlie Billingham. Lot No. 14.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Leafy Abstract

This green egg looked a bit like a dinosaur egg. Was near the bottom of the steps close to one of the Sphinx Guardians. Leafy Abstract by the artist Laura Morrison. Lot No. 41.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Humpty Dumpty

Careful that you don't knock Humpty Dumpty over or he'd break up into a million of pieces!

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Lindt Gold Bunny

One of the Lindt Gold Bunny's in Victoria Square at the time.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Another Lindt Gold Bunny

A giant Lindt Gold Bunny surrounded by fences.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

More Lindt Gold Bunny's

About four Lindt Gold Bunny's outside of the main entrance to the Council House, with Starbucks Coffee to the right.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Hope you had a nice Easter 2021 and Passover 5781.

 

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

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60 passion points
Civic pride
06 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Return of the Chamberlain Clock to the Jewellery Quarter

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Over the weekend of the 20th and 21st March 2021, the Chamberlain Clock was reinstalled at the island at Vyse Street, Warstone Lane and Frederick Street in the Jewellery Quarter. Once restrictions were changed to "Stay Local", I got the train up to the JQ, to start a walk around the City Centre. First target was the newly restored clock. Smith of Derby have done an amazing job.

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The Jewellery Quarter Chamberlain Clock via the JQ BID.

 

Previous Chamberlain Clock posts here:

 

It was probably best that I was unable to travel up to the Jewellery Quarter over the weekend of the 20th and 21st March 2021. As at the time we were still under "Stay at Home" restrictions. This changed on Monday 29th March 2021 to "Stay Local". Working at home, I was unable to travel up to the Jewellery Quarter until the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. So got the train to Jewellery Quarter Station on Saturday 3rd April 2021 in the morning. For the start of a walk around the City Centre (which would end at Selfridges and Birmingham Moor Street Station).

 

A new sign about The Chamberlain Memorial Clock was installed close to The Golden Square and Vyse Street (just behind the Rose Villa Tavern). It's mentions Joseph Chamberlain's roll in what is now called The South Africa War (formerly The Second Boer War of 1899 -- 1902). Chamberlain's tour of South Africa led to this clock being erected near here in 1903. QR code on the sign, leads to the Chamberlain Clock website (link at the top of this article).

Chamberlain Clock

 

First view of the newly restored Chamberlain Clock from Vyse Street, on the walk from Jewellery Quarter Station. The other clock to the far right is at Three Brindleyplace. Jurys Inn was also visible from here.

Chamberlain Clock

 

It was now possible from Vyse Street to see the restored Chamberlain Clock with The Mercian and The Bank Tower 2. As well as the clocktower of Three Brindleyplace behind it. The Bank Tower 1 and Eleven Brindleyplace visible to the right.

Chamberlain Clock

 

View of the Chamberlain Clock, now working from Vyse Street, with Warstone Lane to the left and right. Frederick Street is straight ahead.

Chamberlain Clock

 

The clock was previously restored during 1989 - 90 by Octo Welding. This time from 2020 - 21 by Smith of Derby. Greggs at the Chamberlain Building to the left.

Chamberlain Clock

 

As well as repairing the internal mechanisms, Smith of Derby also repainted the clock and the plaques from 1903 and 1990. This view to the HSBC UK bank.

Chamberlain Clock

 

A close up zoom in of the clock. It looks amazing now. Lets hope it lasts more than 30 years before they have to restore it again.

Chamberlain Clock

 

Now looking from Frederick Street, with the Chamberlain Clock. Vyse Street is behind. Not far away is Warstone Lane Cemetery.

Chamberlain Clock

 

Heading down Frederick Street towards Newhall Hill, one more view of the clock. Since this lockdown began, Costa Coffee opened up a new coffee shop at 32 Frederick Street. Somewhere to stop for coffee in the future (when we can sit inside again, and not just have a takeaway).

Chamberlain Clock

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

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70 passion points
Squares and public spaces
06 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Oozells Square through the seasons: Summer 2020 to Spring 2021

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The trees in Oozells Square at Brindleyplace are wonderful to see at any time of year. Here we check them out during Summer 2020, Autumn 2020, Winter 2020 and Spring 2021. From lush green leaves, to brown leaves. From a wet and rainy square to the end of the Cherry Blossom. Last summer the restaurants had outdoor seating spaces on astroturf. Hopefully they can reopen soon.

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Summer 2020

It was August 2020, and there was astroturf outside of Piccolino Italian Restaurant. Meanwhile there was green leaves on all the trees in Oozells Square.

Oozells Square

It was a bit wet from the rain, and was more space to set up outdoor seating for Siamaiz Thai Restaurant. This was during Eat Out to Help Out (restaurants had only reopened that July).

Oozells Square

 

Autumn 2020

It is now October 2020, and the outdoor seating on the astroturf for Piccolino and Siamaiz was still there. By then, all the leaves had turned brown, with leaf fall going on.

Oozells Square

Sadly by the time November came around, the 2nd lockdown had began, and all restaurants had to close, and would remain closed throughout the winter, and into the 3rd lockdown. Still the trees looked nice at the time.

Oozells Square

 

Winter 2020

Early evening in Oozells Square during December 2020. All the leaves had fallen, and the outdoor seating was gone. Just after the 2nd lockdown ended and we were in Tier 3 restrictions. Was heavily raining at the time.

Oozells Square

The view towards the IKON Gallery, near the Pergola Sculpture by Paul de Monchaux (1998). The rain and the reflections adds to the scene after dark.

Oozells Square

 

Spring 2021

Four months later at the beginning of April 2021 during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. The famous cherry blossom is on the trees in Oozells Square. Was a handful of people about on the way I walked past here. Added to the view now is The Mercian.

Oozells Square

All the restaurants here have been closed for about 6 months now. Hopefully they will be allowed to reopen soon. But first they will need to get the outdoor seating back out again. But the cherry blossom might be finished by then.

Oozells Square

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

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
30 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog, named in honour of the late Joy Fifer MBE

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On my one weekend walk during this third lockdown, I walked towards Moseley Bog, via Swanshurst Lane in Moseley. I got into Joy's Wood at the gate on Yardley Wood Road. It is a nature reserve that was formerly a tip. Named after local environmentalist Joy Fifer MBE, who campaigned between 1980 and 2002, to preseve the wood from building development. Sadly she died in 2003 aged 64.

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Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

There is a couple of gated entrances for pedestrians from Yardley Wood Road in Moseley. This leads to Joy's Wood, which in turn leads onto Moseley Bog.

 

The Wood named after the late Joy Fifer MBE

The wood is now a nature reserve and was named after the late local environmentalist campaigner Joy Fifer MBE (which she received at the end of the year 2000 in the New Year's Honours List, then aged 61). Until the 1980s the land was a tip (or landfill).

Joy first became involved in Moseley Bog around 1980, when she heard that planning consent had been given for building on the land at the time. She and other volunteers were concerned about the wildlife here that might be affected. With them she co-founded the Moseley Bog Management Trust. Their first goal was to convince the council to buy the land on which the Bog was situated, and making sure that nothing was built on the site. After six years the goal was reached. She first got diagnosed with her illness in 1985. But continued to campaign until 2002.

One project involved preserving a bronze-age site which had been found in the rural woodland. Also the link to J. R. R. Tolkien as a child when he lived nearby on Wake Green Road. In the early 2000s they hoped to set up a Tolkien Centre (I don't think that happened, possibly due to the Tolkien Estate rights holders refusing permission). Sadly Joy died of her illness around 2003 (aged 63 or 64).

You can find an archived interview with Joy Fifer here: Your Honour: It's in her nature to keep campaigning; Joy Fifer MBE talks to Peter Rasmussen

 

As of 2021, there is a small bit of land near Moseley Bog being built on at Wake Green Road. This will be Extra Care flats. From Michael Blanning Housing Trust Association. The site has been behind hoardings for about 10 years (since the previous properties on that site were demolished). It would have been ideal to create a new entrance here to Moseley Bog, and a Visitor Centre, than yet another retirement village. A sign for the Wake Green Centre (from Birmingham City Council) is still visible from the roadside. At least one of the former properties looked like a Victorian townhouse, they were all demolished in 2015 (by the looks of Google Maps Street View).

 

Entering Joy's Wood from Yardley Wood Road

Back to my visit to Moseley Bog on Sunday 28th March 2021. I walked up Swanshurst Lane, with the aim of getting in the main entrance of Moseley Bog on Yardley Wood Road. But then saw this gate and entered Joy's Wood at this point.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

Leaves have mostly not yet grown back on the trees, there is a dirt path leading into the wood.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

Some daffodils line the dirt path alongside the trees.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

Paths in two directions, I took the one leading close to the main Yardley Wood Road entrance of Moseley Bog.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

It was a little bit muddy down here, but wasn't slippy. Daffodils on the left.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

Some of the daffodils seen growing to the left of the path.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

There is a large open field here, following the dirt track towards Moseley Bog.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

The path leads to the main entrance of Moseley Bog at Yardley Wood Road.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

There is now a plaque erected in Autumn 2014 about Joy's Wood and the late Joy Fifer MBE. It was funded and erected by the Moseley Society, The Friends of Moseley Bog and Joy's Wood and the Saint Agnes (Moseley) Residents Association.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

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

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80 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
29 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

King Kong is Back at the Bullring (November 2015)

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King Kong is Back was a trail at the Bullring during November 2015 (more than 5 years ago now). It was a trail by the Newness Archive who installed hundreds of tags with facts about Birmingham's history of invention and newness. These were on the Bullring Link Bridge (now called Link Street). Pointing to Kong inside of Selfridges. There was once a Kong statue at the Bull Ring in 1972.

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KING KONG IS BACK

Going back to early November 2015, when King Kong returned to the Bullring, for the first time since 1972 (kind of). Starting from the Bullring Link Bridge, in the windows of the then empty shop units (now called Link Street), there was blow up King Kong's (looked more like gorilla's). If you followed the arrows to Selfridges, you would find a much larger King Kong!

King Kong is Back

In this shop window alone was around five blow up King Kong's.

King Kong is Back

There was hundreds of tags in the windows by Newness Archive, containing facts about Birmingham's history. In 1972 a 23ft high King Kong was installed in Manzoni Gardens. It wasn't there for long.

King Kong is Back

Another window on the Bullring Link Bridge, this time with three Kong's!

King Kong is Back

One of the three King Kong's. Go to Selfridges an celebrate the opening of Grand Central (which had opened to the public less than two months before).

King Kong is Back

 

After a search around Selfridges, I found King Kong near Diesel and Trapstar.

King Kong is Back

King Kong is Back screams the yellow plinth below!

King Kong is Back

Kong was in the menswear section of Selfridges.

King Kong is Back

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

 

King Kong in Manzoni Gardens at the Bull Ring Shopping Centre, 1972

Here we see the infamous King Kong statue in Manzoni Gardens at the Bull Ring Shopping Centre during 1972. Photos courtesy of the Birmingham Mail.

King Kong 1972

Children in 1972 posed with the King Kong statue at the old Bull Ring.

King Kong 1972

The statue moved around Birmingham during 1972. Over the years it has been located at Penrith in the Lake District (2011). It was also once in an exhibition in Leeds during 2016, but it has never returned to Birmingham, but it still exists up north somewhere.

Archive photos from the Birmingham Mail.

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50 passion points
Transport
24 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Motor Museum at the Black Country Living Museum

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Returning to the visit of the distant past from August 2011. This time we take a look at the Motor Museum at the Black Country Living Museum. A collection of vintage cars and motorbikes and other vehicles. It is Bradburn & Wedge Ltd, a car showroom displaying a collection of vintage vehicles, all manufactured around the Black Country. Such as Bean, Westfield, Sunbeam, Guy and AJS.

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The Vehicle Display at the Black Country Living Museum

In the building that houses the Vehicle Display at the Black Country Living Museum, it holds their collection of Black Country manufactured cars and motorcycles. Also commercial vehicles. From Bean to Westfield. From Sunbeam to Diamond. From Guy to AJS.  It has the appearance of a 1950s garage. Based on the car showrooms of local company, Bradburn and Wedge. The company was founded in 1918, when William Howard Bradburn joined with Harry Wedge.

 

The photos in the gallery below, taken during a visit to the Black Country Living Museum in August 2011. While they are still closed on the third lockdown, enjoy this digital post.

 

Sunbeam motorcycle and Guy Fire Engine

On the left is a couple of motorcycles, including a Sunbeam. The one in the middle is a  1918 French Army Model. On the right is a Guy Fire Engine dating from 1924.

Black Country Living Museum

 

Brevitt's

Seen here is an old commercial van. This was General Carriers, J. Brevitt of Willenhall, Staffordshire (now West Midlands).

Black Country Living Museum

 

Collection of vintage motorcycles made in the Black Country

Here we see a collection of old motorcycles. Mostly Sunbeam's. Some are A.J.S motorcycles. Most are T.T. Model's.

Black Country Living Museum

The motorcycle closest to the camera was numbered 13 in the collection.

Black Country Living Museum

Number 2 in the collection in the middle.

Black Country Living Museum

Another view of number 13, towards a car that looks like it dates to the 1990s, and the Brevitt's van.

Black Country Living Museum

 

 

Collection of vintage motorcars made in the Black Country

 

1903 Sunbeam

Entering the museum, the first cars I see near the door. The yellow motor is a 1903 Sunbeam 10/12 HP. car.

In the middle is a 1912 Star Victoria. To the far left is the General Carriers - J. Brevitt van.

Black Country Living Museum

Close up look at the yellow Sunbeam made in 1903.

Black Country Living Museum

 

1912 Star Victoria

A close up look at the dark red Star Victoria motor made in 1912.

Black Country Living Museum

 

1923 Bean 14 Tourer

Next up is a Bean 14 Tourer. It was made by A. Harper, Sons & Bean in 1923.

Black Country Living Museum

 

1934 Sunbeam Dawn

The dark green car is a Sunbeam Dawn. Built in July 1934. It was sold to a Dr. Hilliard in September 1934 (who lived in Taunton). He owned it for 26 years. Since then it has resided in the West Midlands.

Black Country Living Museum

 

1930 A.J.S. Tourer

Next we have a 1930 A.J.S. Tourer (A.J.S. Coachbuilt 2-Seater). It was made by A.J. Stevens & Company Limited. The chassis was built by John Thompson Motor pressings at Bilston.

Black Country Living Museum

 

1931 Star Coupe

The following motor is a 1931 Star Coupe. Built by the Star Motor Company of Wolverhampton. The company was taken over by Guy Motors of Wolverhampton in 1928.

Black Country Living Museum

 

Old motors in a state of repair

Various old motors in a state of repair as they were back in the summer of 2011. Probably all date to the 1930s (or earlier).

 

There was no signs in the window at the time, and even with Google Lens, now in 2021, is a bit hard to tell what model this motor is. Plus the engine was missing at the time.

Black Country Living Museum

Possibly a 1931 Alvis in the photo below.

Black Country Living Museum

This motor might be a Buton. Cannot find any more details.

Black Country Living Museum

 

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

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60 passion points
Modern Architecture
24 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Introducing the Orion Building

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The Orion Building was built from 2004 until 2006. Located on John Bright Street, Navigation Street and Suffolk Street Queensway. It is 90 metres tall. There is a Sainsbury's Local on Navigation Street. The building is opposite The Mailbox and is visible from the flyover on Suffolk Street Queensway.

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The Orion Building is usually seen in a pair with the Beetham Tower. Especially in the views up and down Suffolk Street Queensway. Built from 2004 to 2006, the architects was BBLB Architects.

Some history of the site. A building by Frederick W. Lloyd was built on John Bright Street in 1901. This was demolished in 2002. The facade of a hotel built from 1899 to 1900 by A. B. Phipson was retained when the Orion Building was built from 2003 to 2005.

Located on Navigation Street is a Sainsbury's Local. The Stable, a pizza and cider restaurant / bar opened on John Bright Street in late 2015 or early 2016. An Indian Restaurant later open nearby on Navigation Street by 2017 called Tamatanga.

 

Gallery below of the Orion Building over the years ...

Orion and Beetham Towers

Orion and Beetham Towers

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Photos above by Elliott Brown.

 

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Photos above by Daniel Sturley.

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60 passion points
Civic pride
22 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Busts, statues and portraits in the Birmingham Council House

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Inside of the Birmingham Council House you can find several busts, statues and portraits that belong now to the Birmingham Museums Trust. Seen near the main staircase from the double doors, and portraits in the corridor outside of the Banqueting Suite. Seen during the Birmingham We Are events of November 2018 and January 2020.

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There is many civic artworks to see in the Birmingham Council House. As you enter the giant double doors from Victoria Square, you will pass several busts. Head up the main staircase, and there is a pair of statues halfway up. Then on the corridor on the first floor landing, you will find several portraits of important people in Birmingham's history, as detailed below.


 

Busts in the Council House

There is three busts near the bottom of the main staircase from the entraJesse Collings nce from Victoria Square. Including Joseph Gillott, Jesse Collings and John Skirrow Wright.

Joseph Gillott

This is a marble bust of Joseph Gillott (1799 - 1873) by Peter Hollins (1800 - 1886).
Gillott was a Birmingham pen manufacturer and patron of the arts. He made pens at the Victoria Works on Graham Street and Frederick Street in the Jewellery Quarter. You can see an exhibition of his works at The Pen Museum at The Argent Centre on Frederick Street.

Joseph Gillott

 

Jesse Collings

A marble bust of The Rt. Hon. Jesse Collings PC (1831 - 1920) by Albert Toft (1862 - 1949). Collings was a Liberal (later Liberal Unionist), and later served as Mayor of Birmingham, 1878-9, MP for Ipswich (1882 - 86) and Bordesley, Birmingham (1886 - 1918). There is also a portrait painted in 1885 in the Council House, by Jonahtan Pratt (1835 - 1911), but it is not it a public area to view.

Jesse Collings

 

John Skirrow Wright

This is a bronze bust of John Skirrow Wright. It was cast by William Bloye, from a marble statue by Francis John Williamson. The original statue was made in 1883 and unveiled by John Bright MP in the Council House Square. The statue was joined by the statue of Joseph Priestley, and from 1901 that of Queen Victoria. In 1913, Priestley and Wright were moved to Chamberlain Place (now Chamberlain Square), so that Victoria could be joined by a statue of her son King Edward VII (by the sculptor Albert Toft). The statue remained in Chamberlain Place until 1951, when it was moved to storage (a new site was never found, the statue is now lost). However in 1956, a bronze copy of the bust was made by William Bloye, and was unveiled in the Council House in 1957, where it remains today.

John Skirrow Wright

 

 

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Heading up or down the main staircase in the Council House, you would see statues of a young looking Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

 

Queen Victoria

Victoria was born in 1819, and reigned from 1837 until her death in 1901. A marble statue by Thomas Brock was unveiled in Victoria Square (formerly Council House Square), 12 days before her death. It was later cast in bronze in 1951 by William Bloye. A new Sceptre was installed in 2011, to replace the old one that was lost.

In Birmingham, Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for the Victoria Law Courts, during her Golden Jubilee year of 1887. There was a Queen's College on Paradise Street named in her honour, which gained this status by Royal Charter (it was the original Birmingham Medical School founded in 1828). Now just a façade built in 1904 (the rear building demolished and rebuilt now offices).

Victoria and Albert

 

Prince Albert

Albert was born in 1819, and married Queen Victoria in 1840. He was Prince Consort until his untimely death in 1861.

In Birmingham, Prince Albert laid the foundation stone of the Birmingham & Midland Institute, on Paradise Street in 1855. It was moved from there in 1974 to Cornwall Street, where the Birmingham & Midland Institute is now based on Margaret Street. The old building was demolished to make way for Paradise Circus Queensway, Fletchers Walk and the Birmingham Conservatoire (which itself was later demolished in 2018). You can find a Grade II listed equestrian statue of Prince Albert in Queen Square, Wolverhampton, dated 1866 by Thomas Thorneycroft.

Victoria and Albert

 

 

Portraits in the Council House

There is five portraits to see in the corridor, just outside of the Banquetin Suite at the Council House. Including portraits of Peter Hollins, James Watt, Sir Josiah Mason, George Dawson and Joseph Chamberlain.

 

Peter Hollins

This is a portrait of Peter Hollins, Sculptor (1800 - 1886) by William Thomas Roden (1800 - 1886). Oil on canvas. He was an English sculptor who operated throughout the 19th Century. He was Vice-President of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists for 37 years. In Birmingham, he is known for sculpting the busts of Charles Lloyd (1831) for the Birmingham General Hospital, Felix Mendelssohn (1850) for Birmingham Town Hall and of William Congreve Russell (1853) exhibited at Birmingham Society of Arts. He also sculpted statues that used to be in Calthorpe Park of Robert Peel (1855) (now outside of Tally Ho!) and Thomas Attwood (1859) (currently in storage). Also a statue of Rowland Hill (1869) originally at the Birmingham Exchange, moved to the Birmingham GPO in 1874, and GPO HQ in 1891 (it was lost in storage during WW2).

Council House portrait

 

James Watt

This is a portrait said to be of James Watt (1736 - 1819) by Sir William Beechley (1753 - 1839) attributed. A Scottish engineer who partnered with Matthew Boulton to improve the steam engine.  He lived at Watts House, 17 Regent Place in the Jewellery Quarter from 1777 to 1790. He moved to Heathfield Hall in Handsworth where he lived until his death in 1819. His statue by Alexander Munro (1868) was in Chamberlain Square until 2015. The Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue by William Bloye (1956), gilded in 2006, was on Broad Street until 2017.

Council House portrait

 

Sir Josiah Mason

This is a black and white photograph of Sir Josiah Mason (1795 - 1881). He was a Non-Conformist from a Kiddermister family. He established his first Almshouses in 1858 and an Orphanage in Erdington in 1868. He founded Mason Science College in 1880, which was in Chamberlain Place (later Chamberlain Square), next to the Birmingham Reference Library. This later became the University of Birmingham (which was founded in Edgbaston in 1900). He was knighted in 1872.

Council House portrait

 

George Dawson

This is a portrait of George Dawson (1821 - 1876). He was a preacher. He called for radical and social and politcal reform in Birmingham. In 1866 he gave a speech at the opening of the first Birmingham Central Library. His statue was in Chamberlain Square, which was sculpted in 1880 by Thomas Woolner. It is now in storage. At least one other statue was made of him at the time. There is also several busts, now at the Library of Birmingham and at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre.

Council House portrait

 

Joseph Chamberlain

This is a portrait of Joseph Chamberlain (1836 - 1914) by Sir Oswald Joseph Birley (1880 - 1952). Oil on canvas. The great statesman was the Mayor of Birmingham (1873 to 1876), a Birmingham MP (from 1876). He served as the Leader of the Opposition (1906-07), Secretary of State for the Colonies (1895 to 1903). The Chamberlain Memorial was unveiled in his lifetime in 1880 in Chamberlain Square. The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower was completed in 1908 at the University of Birmingham. There is also a Chamberlain Clock in the Jewellery Quarter from 1903 (removed for repairs in 2020, due to be returned fully restored soon). He lived at Highbury Hall on the Highbury Estate from 1880 until his death in 1914.

Council House portrait

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

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70 passion points
History & heritage
16 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in the former Smith & Pepper jewellery manufactory

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The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is at 75-80 Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter (Hockley). It opened in 1992 in the former Smith & Pepper jewellery manufactory. When the factory closed for good in 1981, it left a time capsule, that the last owners would be unaware that it would be left for future generations to enjoy. Now part of the Birmingham Museums Trust.

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Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Not far from Jewellery Quarter Station is the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter on Vyse Street. I think one of my schools took me there once, in the mid 1990s, and I've not been inside since, but have walked past it many times over the years. It's at 75 to 80 Vyse Street. No 76 on the corner of Branston Street is now The Whisky Club, but was previously used as an Events Space.

 

History of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

The museum occupies the former Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firms premises which closed for good in 1981. They ceased trading, leaving the premises as a time capsule unaware that they would be leaving it for future generations. The museum opened here in 1992 and is a branch of the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Smith & Pepper was founded by Charles Smith and his uncle Edwin Pepper in 1899 and specialised in gold bracelets and other jewellery until it closed down in 1981. When the company closed, all the tools, machinery and papers were left behind. Also the former butterfly wing jewellery specialists T.L. Mott Ltd, along with all it's contents, was added to the museum when it opened in 1992.

It is a Grade II listed building (from 2004). No 75 Vyse Street was built in 1909 by George E. Pepper for F. Moore.No 77 Vyse Street was built in 1914, also by Pepper. No 79 Vyse Street was rebuilt in 1990. The building had alterations during the 20th Century. Built of red brick and ashlar stone dressings. No's 77 and 78 was the former Smith and Pepper Works. The museum to the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter is located in two late 19th Century manufactories. The Birmingham Museums Trust took over the running of the museum from Birmingham City Council in 2012.

 

December 2012

My first views of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter on Vyse Street, surrounded by all the other jewellery manufacturing workshops on that side of the road. The buildings from 75 to 80 Vyse Street are now part of the museum.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

This is the main entrance to the museum. There is a gift shop at the front (and probably the ticket office).

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

 

Information Centre

There used to be an Information Centre at the end of Vyse Street near The Big Peg. It was demolished in 2014 to make way for The Golden Square. It was also seen near the end of 2012.

Jewellery Quarter Information

At the time, there was a sign here for The Jewellery Quarter Birmingham's Gem. Here it made reference to the Award winning Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. As well as The Pen Museum, Historic Buildings and Pavement Trails. Plus St Paul's Square, (Birmingham's last remaining Georgian Square). And the Historic Cemeteries of Key Hill and Warstone Lane.

Jewellery Quarter Information

 

January 2013

A few days later, on New Years Day 2013, another walk past the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter on Vyse Street. The green painted doors at 76 Vyse Street. By 2015, this was used as Event Space at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. By 2019 it was The Whisky Club.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

There is this green letter box, marked as H. Aston Ltd. It is at 76 Vyse Street, what is now The Whisky Club. It is at the corner of Vyse Street with Branston Street.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

There is a plaque at the entrance to the museum, part of the Jewellery Quarter Discovery Trail. It was sponsored by the Birmingham City Action Team. It mentions Smith & Pepper jewellery works at this site. Plus the former premises of butterfly wing jewellery specialists T.L. Mott Ltd. Both of which were turned into the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

This sign with the opening times, Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30am to 4pm. Close on Sunday's and Monday's except for Bank Holiday Monday's. Wheelchair access available on Branston Street.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

The museum received an Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2010. And were a Gold Winner. Congratulations for winning it 11 years ago!

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

 

December 2019

My most recent photos taken a couple of years ago on Vyse Street. Saw the sign for the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, next to a Christmas light of an anchor. Which is the symbol used by the Assay Office.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

The main entrance door to the museum. Dogs on a lead were now allowed to enter the museum with their owners.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Took the plaque again, that I previously took years earlier (sometimes I forget what I've taken previously). Except I got it much closer up here, so you can read it.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

 

During the lockdowns the museum is temporarily closed. Hopefully they will be allowed to reopen later in the spring and summer of 2021.

 

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

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80 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
08 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Akamba Heritage Centre the Metal Zoo in Solihull!

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There is a hidden gem in Solihull, not far from Whitlocks End Station. On Tythe Barn Lane in Dickens Heath is the Akamba Heritage Centre. A garden centre, plus a Metal Zoo with sculptures of zoo animals that you can see from the pavement opposite (without actually entering the site). A small piece of the African jungle in Solihull.

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Akamba Heritage Centre is in Solihull. In an area more known for farmland and grass roots football clubs, the least likely place to find a centre like this is near Dickens Heath. It is on Tythe Barn Lane, a short walk away from Whitlocks End Station.

 

As their signs say: "The home of: Tribe Bar & Eatery (Caribbean Take Away), Uhuru Art Gallery, Juakali Metal Zoo. Specialise in African Art & Culture - Rare & Exotic Plants from all over the World. The Midlands Best Kept Secret. A Garden Centre like no other."

 

March 2018

The first walk past the Akamba Heritage Centre during a walk around Dickens Heath in Solihull. Was walking to Whitlocks End Station to get a train home.

Akamba Heritage Centre

Sign on the right with details of the facilities here and contact details.

Akamba Heritage Centre

Could already see some of the metal zoo sculptures from the pavement opposite.

Akamba Heritage Centre

They have Tribe Bar & Eatery here. Caribbean Take Away.

Akamba Heritage Centre

Juakali Metal Zoo. Hot food and drinks. Plus a Gift Shop.

Akamba Heritage Centre

Also some palm trees in the area outside, the UK weather must be a bit cold for what they have in Africa and the West Indies.

Akamba Heritage Centre

An elephant and crocodile metal sculpture near the "We're open" sign.

Akamba Heritage Centre

Close up zoom in of the metal elephant.

Akamba Heritage Centre

Was also a metal hippo behind the "We're open" sign.

Akamba Heritage Centre

 

February 2021

A walk from Shirley down Haslucks Green Road. Into Major's Green (Worcestershire). Then towards Whitlocks End Station, and up Tythe Barn Lane for another look at Akamba Heritage Centre. Closed of course as we are still on lockdown.

Akamba Heritage Centre

This time, first thing I spot was the palm trees. At least there was a bit of blue sky with the clouds!

Akamba Heritage Centre

A metal horse. Unless it's meant to be a zebra?

Akamba Heritage Centre

A metal bird with a long beak and tall legs. Possibly an African openbill. Or a stork.

Akamba Heritage Centre

Barbed wires above the gates. Metal elephant behind. Palm trees look nice, they survived the British winter.

Akamba Heritage Centre

A metal giraffe.

Akamba Heritage Centre

Despite the sign saying "We are open", I think they have been closed while we are still in lockdown. They probably reopened in 2020 from July to October, before the 2nd and 3rd lockdowns and the Tier 3 and 4 restrictions.

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

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60 passion points
Modern Architecture
04 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selfridges the most photographed building of Birmingham!

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I've been taking photos of the Selfridges Building at the Bullring in Birmingham for well over a decade. It was completed in 2003. I started capturing it back in 2009, and continued to do so until late 2020. I only went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park from late 2017 onwards. In recent years many of the discs have gone missing. And now a pink hoarding is going up with scaffolding.

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The Selfridges Building at the Birmingham Bullring

On Park Street and Moor Street in Birmingham City Centre is the Selfridges Building. Completed in September 2003. It is home to Birmingham's Selfridges Department Store. The architecture firm was Future Systems. It contained over 15,000 anodised aluminium discs on a blue background.

After dark, lights around Park Street and Moor Street light it up in different colours, from blue to orange, to green, to red to white. It is joined to Moor Street Car Park by the Parametric Bridge, which customers can cross over. With buses, coaches, taxis and cars going below. It is an iconic landmark, that runners of the Great Birmingham Run could sometimes run past. It also goes green each year for St Patrick's Day.

You might regularly see men abseiling down the side of the building cleaning discs, or replacing them. But many of the discs started to go missing by 2018 and 2019. So by late 2020, scaffolding started to go up. With a pink hoarding artwork that is continuing to go up during 2021. Osman Yousefzada has designed what he has called the 'Dogtooth Flower'. This started to go up in December 2020.

Being on lockdown again since January 2021, I will have to wait until restrictions are eased again before travelling back into the City Centre to see what it is like now.

 

Below is a gallery of photos I've taken from 2009 to 2020. Not all of them, please go to the gallery in the Selfridges feature for more.

 

21st April 2009

One of my first photos of the exterior of Selfridges, taken from Moor Street Queensway, looking down Moor Street.

Selfridges

 

15th May 2009

Getting some early shots of the Parametric Bridge from the pavement below.

Selfridges

 

22nd August 2009

By the summer that year, had my first bridge camera, and in late August there was a brilliant blue sky. And took some classic Selfridges shots, that everyone would get for the decade that would follow.

Selfridges

 

30th October 2009

A mobile shot taken from Platform 1 at Birmingham Moor Street Station, going home that evening from work. My first time capturing it in blue after dark in the early evening.

Selfridges

 

6th January 2010

Snow at the start of the 2010s. This view from near the surface car park between Park Street and Moor Street Queensway. Looking towards Selfridges and Birmingham Moor Street Station.

Selfridges

 

30th December 2010

Close to the end of the year, got Selfridges lit up in blue light from Moor Street Queensway looking left down Moor Street. Was also Christmas lights on the lampposts.

Selfridges

 

18th October 2011

Selfridges used to get special flashing Christmas lights in the windows around the outside of the building where the famous flashing yellow Selfridges signs are. They used to put them in at the beginning of the decade, then replace them with SALE signs after Christmas.

Selfridges

 

2nd December 2011

Selfridges had been lit up in orange lights. This view from Moor Street Queensway with the main entrance to Birmingham Moor Street Station.

Selfridges

 

7th December 2012

About a year later, lit up in orange lights again. This view from Park Street, with the Christmas lights in the middle.

Selfridges

 

16th March 2013

Selfridges was lit up in green for St Patrick's Day, I had travelled up that evening just to get it in green. This photo ended up in Flickr Explore, and at the time got a lot of views, likes and comments.

Selfridges

 

20th December 2013

A blue view of Selfridges after dark from Moor Street Queensway with Birmingham Moor Street Station. A old and new contrast. With a building originally opened in 1909, to one that opened in 2003. The rebuilding of the Bullring led to the restoration of the Edwardian railway station between 2003 to 2006, with platforms 3 and 4 opening by late 2010.

Selfridges

 

15th March 2014

Went to have a coffee at Starbucks Coffee, and got a table near the window at the time, and took this view of Selfridges. Rarely go to this Selfridges in the years since, as it was always busy (back when you could sit inside of a coffee shop and eat and drink in them, instead of just having a take away).

Selfridges

 

18th July 2014

On the bus heading home, passing Selfridges, when I captured this sunburst from Park Street, on my then smartphone camera.

Selfridges

 

31st May 2015

One of my earliest photos taken inside of Selfridges was of this model of the Bullring Bull made entirely out of sweets!

Selfridges

 

27th June 2015

They put a SALE sign on the outside windows (where the flashing yellow Selfridges signs are behind). SMILE BIRMINGHAM SALE IS HERE.

Selfridges

 

31st July 2015

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015  (a trail of painted owls) was on from July, for a period of 10 weeks before being sold at an auction for charity. One morning I saw Selfie, by the artist Martin Band. It was sponsored LDC. And yes I did take a selfie with it at the time! It resembled the exterior of Selfridges with all the discs.

Selfridges

 

9th February 2016

A pair of Johnsons Coaches buses parked on Park Street outside of Selfridges. Usually the 150 goes to Redditch, and the X20 on The Bard's Bus to Stratford-upon-Avon. Although in recent years the X20 route no longer goes from the Bullring to Stratford-upon-Avon any more (replaced by the X50 on Sunday's).

Selfridges

 

10th November 2016

A view of Selfridges from Birmingham Moor Street Station. This was at platforms 3 and 4, usually used by Chiltern Railways, and Vintage Trains (for the Shakespeare Express or Polar Express). Platform 5 has yet to be reconnected, but for many years there used to be a steam locomotive at the end, before it returned to the Tyseley Locomotive Works.

Selfridges

 

24th January 2017

Diamond also used to park their buses on Park Street. One of my bus stops is opposite. Got a reflection on that passing car.

Selfridges

 

4th February 2017

Near Valentines Day, and on the Selfridges staff doors it said "I love you", "I love me".

Selfridges

 

13th July 2017

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017 (a trail of painted bears) was on from July, for a period of 10 weeks before being sold at an auction for charity. Inside of Selfridges was Brummie Bear, it was by the artist Slobodan Topolović. The sponsor was Selfridges Birmingham.

Selfridges

 

29th October 2017

Inside of the East Mall at the Bullring, saw this giant robin sculpture, next to a dummy with a tall French style army hat.

Selfridges

 

6th December 2017

Went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park, to see the Santa Christmas Train. While there got my first photos from the top of the car park, and shortly afterwards, crossed through the Parametric Bridge to get inside of Selfridges and the Bullring.

Selfridges

 

11th February 2018

The West Midlands Police, at the time had this pair of Police cars parked in the middle of Park Street, checking passing vehicles. I took this from a bus I was on looking towards Selfridges.

Selfridges

 

10th April 2018

A pair of National Express coaches were heading around Park Street onto Moor Street at the time, near Selfridges. Your LONDON tour starts here. Or catch at train from the nearby Birmingham Moor Street Station with Chiltern Railways (your choice).

Selfridges

 

13th June 2018

This T-Rex was inside of Selfridges as part of the Dippy on Tour in the City trail. Was in the children's department. Hence the toys behind.

Selfridges

 

30th August 2018

The Big Brum Buz was replaced with this lime green open top Sightseeing bus, that I captured passing Selfridges, from the top deck of a bus I was on at the time.

Selfridges

 

 

15th December 2018

Heading down the escalators inside of Selfridges, saw this giant plump Santa on the floor below!

Selfridges

 

4th January 2019

Early signs of the missing discs that were on Selfridges. Metal bits sticking out of the centre.

Selfridges

 

9th February 2019

Red lights on Selfridges for Chinese New Year, but not quite dark enough from Birmingham Moor Street Station.

Selfridges

 

18th March 2019

Over the years I've seen many workers abseil down Selfridges to clean the discs. Now they were removing or replacing them. But this wasn't really working as it would take ages to replace them like this.

Selfridges

 

19th August 2019

Still taking down the damaged discs in the summer. Another disc dangles below the man on the ropes in front of Selfridges, with a head for heights.

Selfridges

 

5th October 2019

Crossing over the Parametric Bridge from Moor Street Car Park to Selfridges, I noticed that the gaps at both ends had been covered over. Probably to stop people jumping or leaning over the side. But makes it hard to get a photo now from the sides of the bridge.

Selfridges

 

31st December 2019

My last photo of Selfridges of the 2010s taken from Moor Street Car Park, looking towards the Parametric Bridge and Birmingham Moor Street Station behind. The buses and cars look tiny below!

Selfridges

 

26th January 2020

HAPPY NEW DECADE screamed the sign at Selfridges. Saw it while I was at the Bullring that evening for the Festival of Light. Little could Selfridges predict the coming lockdowns and the pandemic. Plus the long term closures of non essential retailers.

Selfridges

 

3rd March 2020

My last photo of Selfridges that I took about 20 days before the 1st lockdown began. From Park Street in Eastside next to the HS2 hoardings. Park Street would later be permanently closed in the middle by HS2.

Selfridges

 

31st July 2020

Lockdown restrictions were eased by July, so was able to renew my travel pass and go back to the City Centre and work. Still missing discs, in this view towards Digbeth and the Bordesley viaduct. Can see the Custard Factory as well.

Selfridges

 

4th October 2020

HS2 had blocked off my many walking routes from Digbeth to Eastside, so took a diversion via Great Barr Street and Lawley Middleway. Got this view of Selfridges from Curzon Street. The Grade I listed Curzon Street Station was on the right. On the left is the site of the future HS2 station at Curzon Street.

Selfridges

 

16th November 2020

Back to work again halfway into the second lockdown. By then scaffolding was going up around Park Street and Moor Street in front of Selfridges. The hoardings would start going up a month later.

Selfridges

 

24th December 2020

We were in Tier 3 restrictions at the time. I headed into the City Centre to see the Westside Metro extension. Then walked to Park Street to get the beginnings of the pink hoardings in front of Selfridges. This is the 'Dogtooth Flower' design by Osman Yousefzada. The 3rd lockdown started early in January 2021, and I've been unable to travel back into the City Centre to get an update of the progress. When restrictions get eased again, hopefully I will be able to get a bus or train to see it.

Selfridges

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

 

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60 passion points
History & heritage
01 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Newman Brothers Coffin Works

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Did you know that when Newman Brothers Coffin Furniture Factory closed down for good in 1998, they left all the tools and equipment as it was. The building now called the Coffin Works was opened as a museum in 2014 after a period of restoration work under taken by the Birmingham Conservation Trust. In the years since it opened, I've yet to pay a visit to go inside. Fleet Street in JQ.

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The Coffin Works

Located on Fleet Street in the Jewellery Quarter is this hiden gem. The Coffin Works is at 13-15 Fleet Street. Between Summer Row (at Parade) and Hotel ibis Styles (which is between Fleet Street and Lionel Street). Also near the head office of Mitchells & Butlers.

The Newman Brothers Coffin Furniture Factory is a part of the Jewellery Quarter conservation area. Founded by the brothers Alfred and Edwin Newman. They moved to this site in 1894 (the building was built from 1892 to 1894 and designed by Roger Harley in 1892). Their company began life as a brass foundry company, before they changed to making coffin furniture (the handles, nameplates etc, all which would get buried with the deceased in the coffin underground).

Edwin ceased to be involved in the company during 1895, leaving his brother Alfred as the sole trader of the business until his death in 1933. He was succeeded by his two sons George and Horace. They ran the company until George Newman passed away in 1944, and his brother Horace Newman passed away in 1952. After that there was a variety of owners of the company. Although their sister Nina continued to hold shares until 1980.

The business passed to the Doggart and Whittington families. The last owner was Joyce Green, who acquired the company following the death of the companies two managing directors in 1976. Green first joined the company as a secretary in 1949. She moved up through the ranks until she bought the company in 1989, and was the sole trader until the business closed for good in 1998.

 

Restoration

During the 1990s, Joyce Green fought for the building to be restored. The factory received a Grade II* listed status in the year 2000 by English Heritage. In 2001 the Birmingham Conservation Trust carried out a study on the building about the threat of redevelopment and the loss of the building. The factory was one of three candidates in the first series of the BBC's Restoration programme in 2003, although it didn't receive enough votes to reach the final.

But it got enough interest for restoration in the future. In 2006 / 2007 the Birmingham Conservation Trust got a grant of £1.5 million. The credit crunch in 2009 caused a minor setback when Advantage West Midlands collapsed. But Birmingham City Council was able to buy the building from AWM in 2010. Restoration finally took place during 2013 to 2014. The museum opened in October 2014. Joyce Green was involved in the project throughout until her death in 2009.

 

Fleet Street, 2014

In June 2014, I was walking up Fleet Street, when I took my first photo of the building. Viet Moon was a restaurant at 5-11 Fleet Street. While the Coffin Works next door was coming to it's conclusion in terms of it's restoration.

Coffin Works

 

By September 2014, the Coffin Works restoration project was complete. Heading down some steps between Lionel Street and Fleet Street in the Jewellery Quarter, saw these painted signs on the wall to the left "to the Coffin Works Visit Newman Bros.".

Coffin Works

The side of the Coffin Works with at least three chimneys.

Coffin Works

There was another painted sign further down the steps closer to Fleet Street.

Coffin Works

Now a first proper look at Newman Brothers aka The Coffin Works. It would open as a museum in the following month.

Coffin Works

A zoom in to the painted Newman Brothers sign looking as good as new!

Coffin Works

This view below from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. This view towards Fleet Street from near the Cable-Stay Footbridge and Farmers Bridge Lock No 6. Behind me was the Newhall Square development.

Coffin Works

 

Fleet Street, 2018

By April 2018, I saw this plaque on the Coffin Works. From The Birmingham Civic Society, who presented the Renaiisance Award to the Birmingham Conservation Trust for the Newman Brothers Coffin Works in 2014.

Coffin Works

A full look at the building with the plaque. In all the years since it opened as a museum, I never once thought of buying tickets in advance to pop in and take photos.

Coffin Works

 

Fleet Street, 2020

This was on the evening in December 2020, when I was walking towards Jewellery Quarter Station, to see the Christmas lights at St Paul's Square and The Golden Square, as well as surrounding streets. After passing the Library of Birmingham, via Parade, got onto Fleet Street, and saw the Newman Brothers sign lit up after dark! Bit hard to see in this photo.

Coffin Works

 

Maybe once museums can open again, I may think of buying a ticket on their website and pay them a visit. But this will be when I can travel on buses and trains again. After lockdown restrictions get eased again (hopefully for good this time).

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

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
22 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central

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I've only really been past Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central during February 2012, and not been back since (but have walked near Park Central in the years since). So memory will be a bit hazy being that this was from 9 years ago. Sunset Park is between Alfred Knight Way and Mason Way. Moonlit Park is between Bell Barn Road and Mosedale Way. In the Lee Bank area of Birmingham.

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Both Sunset Park and Moonlit Park can be found between Lee Bank Middleway and Bath Row at the Park Central development in the Lee Bank area of Central Birmingham. They stretch as far as Bristol Street.

This explore of the buildings around Park Central was during February 2012, but I didn't actually go into the parks at the time, and have not been back since. But in the years since, have done walks down Lee Bank Middleway, Bristol Street and Bath Row. Plus got photos of the new corner development (Roosevelt Luxury Apartments) near the Belgrave Interchange (including the new cycle paths).

 

Sunset Park

These views of Sunset Park taken on a walk down Alfred Knight Way. Probably got here via Wheeleys Lane and Longleat Avenue.

Sunset Park

There is this metal ramp structure with metal steps in the park.

Sunset Park

Passing the railings on Alfred Knight Way, probably looking at the apartment buildings opposite.

Sunset Park

These apartments are certainly an improvement to what used to be here before.

Sunset Park

Again looking more at the apartments and less at the park. Next heading onto Bell Barn Road.

Sunset Park

 

Moonlit Park

Next up passing Moonlit Park on Bell Barn Road.

Moonlit Park

Looks like a metal sculpture on concrete pillars.

Moonlit Park

Moonlit Park seen over on Bell Barn Road to the far right.

Moonlit Park

Basketball Court near Bell Barn Road.

Moonlit Park

Children's Play Area seen from Bell Barn Road, with what looks like a climbing frame for kids.

Moonlit Park

Corner of the park near Mosedale Way.

Moonlit Park

 

Maybe once the 3rd lockdown ends, and I can go on the bus again, I might make an effort to travel to these parks and walk through them, never really thought about them in the past.

 

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
22 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A visit to Dudmaston Estate during October 2020

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The last National Trust property visit of 2020 was to Dudmaston Estate in October 2020. It's in Shropshire. A 17th Century country house (not open apart from a gallery inside). Near the village of Quatt. As before booked the tickets online for a slot. The grounds you could walk about and explore. Tea Room was open, but you had to have your tea or coffee at picnic tables outside.

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Dudmaston

The National Trust property of Dudmaston is located near the village of Quatt in Shropshire. The country house dates to the 17th century. There is former farm buildings, some of which have been converted into a tea room and second hand book shop. There was a gallery you could visit (sanitise your hands before going in), but no photography allowed inside for copyright reasons (I think the family still live in the house). Tickets and time slot as before booked via the National Trust website (with tickets on EventBrite). If there was a gift shop, I think it was closed.

This visit was on the 18th October 2020 (so was about half a month before the second lockdown began).

 

Outbuildings at Dudmaston

The Outbuildings from the lawn. Near here was picnic tables. A queue for the toilets, sanitise your hands, wer your mask if you go in.

Dudmaston

 

A courtyard near the Outbuildings. All the rooms here were closed. There was a one way system in place, so if you wanted, you could enter the gardens from this gate on the right.

Dudmaston

 

The Outbuildings from the garden. Due to the one way system in place, if you went out of the garden, then back in, you had to head this way to get out.

Dudmaston

 

This gate to the courtyard looked nice, but it was no entry this way (you could only walk through them from the other direction).

Dudmaston

 

Private garden seen over the fence from the Kitchen Garden. Far end of the Outbuildings.

Dudmaston
 

Dudmaston Hall

Round the back of Dudmaston Hall. A tent with National Trust volunteer, to register you before going into the exhibition / gallery. Sanitise your hands again, mask on. No photos allowed inside (tempting as it was).

Dudmaston

 

The back of Dudmaston Hall. It is a Grade II* listed building. A Queen Anne mansion. Built of red brick with stone dressings. Was also a 19th Century office and stable wing built in the Elizabethan style. Couldn't cross the rope on the left.

Dudmaston

 

Heading down the hill, a look at Dudmaston Hall, an impresive looking house.

Dudmaston

 

There was this Red Ivy going down the house. A bit like those poppy art installations around Remembrance time. Some old steps with urns.

Dudmaston

 

Another view of the house with the Red Ivy in the middle.

Dudmaston

 

The Red Ivy looked wonderful from any angle in the parkland.

Dudmaston

 

You could have a walk around the Dingle Walk. Eventually you would end up at the back of the Big Pool, with this wonderful picturesque view of Dudmaston Hall.

Dudmaston

 

Parkland and gardens

A look down to the Big Pool at Dudmaston Estate.

Dudmaston

 

Sculpture in the garden, part of a trail. Spaceframe sculpted by Anthony Twentyman during 1985.

Dudmaston

 

Seated bench area for relaxing and looking at the views of the picturesque parkland.

Dudmaston

 

Greylag geese flying and landing in the Big Pool.

Dudmaston

 

The Kitchen Garden. Pumpkins in the greenhouse before Halloween.

Dudmaston

 

Fingerpost on the Dingle Walk. Head right to the Garden, or left to the Dingle Walk.

Dudmaston

 

Kept spotting this brick boathouse near the Big Pool, although didn't see any boats in the lake.

Dudmaston

 

The South Lodge seen from the car as we left Dudmaston Estate. Now a private house. A Grade II listed building dating to the early 19th Century. Made of coursed sandstone rubble, with a tiled roof. The gate on exiting the estate was an automatic electric gate.

Dudmaston

 

Hope to visit more National Trust properties in 2021, after the 3rd lockdown ends, if we are allowed to travel far again. Especially in the Spring or Summer months.

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
22 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Yellow O's at the Oaklands Recreation Ground

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A lockdown walk to the Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley on the 17th February 2021 (a distance I'd usually get the bus to in normal times). Saw all these yellow O sculptures plus purple I's. I would guess they were installed by the Yardley Arts Forum sometime during 2020. Nice to see. The walk was too long, next time I'm getting a bus there (after lockdown ends).

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A walk of over 12,000 steps and almost 6 miles (via Acocks Green). I walked on Wednesday 17th February 2021 to South Yardley. Not renewed my pass since before we entered this third lockdown (and not been on a bus in a month and half now). Mainly to see the skyline again from the Oaklands Recreation Ground.

While there found all these new yellow O sculptures and purple I sculptures. Plus they are starting to built wildlife friendly planting areas. So development of this park continues into 2021.

 

The first yellow O I saw on entering the Oaklands Recreation Ground was from the entrance on Church Road. Says I love Oaklands on all of them.

Yellow O Oaklands

 

The yellow O's were scattered all over the park.

Yellow O Oaklands

 

Some placed at different angles near the paths.

Yellow O Oaklands

 

This yellow O with a view to the Swan Shopping Centre (with Tesco Extra), Bakeman House and Equipoint.

Yellow O Oaklands

 

Towards Church Road with this yellow O. Some people have already tagged them sadly.

Yellow O Oaklands

 

Back on the semi circle Church Road and got this view of 103 Colmore Row and the BT Tower with a yellow O. Wondered if I could have lined it up with 103 Colmore Row inside of the O?

Yellow O Oaklands

 

Also when first entering from Church Road, saw these purple I's slanted in the soil.

Purple I's Oaklands

 

They are creating wildlife friendly planting areas here. Seen close to Equipoint and the Tesco Extra petrol station.

Purple I's Oaklands

 

Some more purple I's on the path to the other end of Church Road.

Purple I's Oaklands

There was about 7 purple I's here around the path, and one yellow O. View to the Birmingham skyline. The Mercian was visible to the right of it, about 6 miles distance away.

Purple I's and an yellow O Oaklands

 

One of the yellow O sculptures was also visible with the Birmingham skyline from the Oaklands Recreation Ground.

Yellow O skyline Oaklands

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
18 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Floral Trail, The Big Hoot & Sleuth at St Martin's Square

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There has been a couple of Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in St Martin's Square, but only in 2009 and 2013. In 2015 there was several Big Hoot owls around the Bullring, with at least one outside of St Martin's Church. Plus in 2017 there was one Big Sleuth bear outside of the church in the square (another bear was to be found inside Selfridges).

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Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

Birmingham Parks & Nurseries (aka Cofton Nursery) have over the years been making floral trail pieces to go on display in the City Centre every summer. But first they take the main display to the Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners World Live, where they usually win the Gold prize. These are the floral trail features spotted over the years in St Martin's Square.

 

Trafalgar Medal, Summer 2009

I didn't really start exploring the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail until August or September 2009. One of the first pieces I found was Trafalgar, Oct 21 1805 near St Martin's Church in August 2009. It is based on a medal that Matthew Boulton made, following the death of Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. He approached the Admiralty and offered to commemorate the famous victory by presenting sailors who fought in the battle with a medal. Birmingham was the first place in the country to erect a statue of Horatio Nelson in 1809.

Trafalgar St Martin's Square

 

The Best of Birmingham, Summer 2012

This is the second half of The Best of Birmingham. It won Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show, plus Gold and Best of Show at Gardeners World Live in 2012. Seen in St Martin's Square during August 2012. At the top is the Bullring Bull, then Selfridges in the middle and the Birmingham canals at the bottom with a narrowboat. The first half was in Centenary Square (with the Town Hall, Silver Spoon and a Mini).

Best of Birmingham part 2

A look at the bottom half with Selfridges and the Narrowboat in the canal with a lock.

Best of Birmingham part 2

View from the balcony near Selfridges looking down to St Martin's Square. It was very impressive looking. Must have been nice having the two halves together at Chelsea and at The NEC that year.

Best of Birmingham part 2

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Now onto The Big Hoot. In St Martin's Square there was about 3 Big Hoot painted owls from July 2015, for around 10 weeks. Before they were auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Beorma

This owl was located outside of St Martin's Church and was called Beorma (after the nearby Beorma Quarter in Digbeth). It was  painted by the artists Jodie Silverman from a design by Betty Underwood a pupil from Camp Hill School for Girls. The sponsor was The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. Seen during July 2015.

Big Hoot St Martin's Square

There was about 8 interlocking hands at the front.

Big Hoot St Martin's Square

Plus flags of the world on a wing at the back. More little owls could be found inside of St Martin's Church at the time.

Big Hoot St Martin's Square

 

Selfie

This Big Hoot owl resembled Selfridges (seen behind) and was called Selfie. The artist was Martin Band, and the sponsor was LDC. This was up the ramp around the back of the Spiceal Street development, not far from Jamie's Italian. Seen during July 2015. And yes I took a selfie with this one.

Big Hoot St Martin's Square

 

Skyline 2015

This Big Hoot owl was located at the bottom of St Martin's Walk at the Bullring, with the spire of St Martin's Church and the statue of Horatio Nelson behind. Skyline 2015 was by the artist Nick Murley. The sponsor was Bullring. Seen during July 2015.

Big Hoot St Martin's Square

The skyline was painted on the back of this owl as well.

Big Hoot St Martin's Square

 

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

Now onto The Big Sleuth. There was several Big Sleuth bears around the Bullring starting from July 2017, for around 10 weeks. Before they were auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Bearmingham

This Big Sleuth bear was located outside of St Martin's Church, and resembled the Birmingham Forward coat of arms. It was by the artist James Mustafa. The sponsor was The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. Seen during July 2017. There was more little bears inside of St Martin's to find at the time.

Big Sleuth St Martin's Square

 

Brummie Bear

This Big Sleuth bear was to be found inside of Selfridges (and not in St Martin's Square, but adding for completion). It was by the artist Slobodan Topolović. The sponsor was Selfridges Birmingham. It resembled Selfridges, Rotunda, St Martin's Church, Bullring Bull and Birmingham New Street Station.

Big Sleuth St Martin's Square

The famous Selfridges discs at the back of the bear. Lasting longer than the real discs that need some TLC.

Big Sleuth St Martin's Square

 

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

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
17 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Floral Trail and The Big Hoot in Centenary Square

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Taking Centenary Square back in time. The Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in the square in the summers from 2010 and 2016 (most of which won gold at Chelsea). Also the owls of The Big Hoot over the summer of 2015. The Big Sleuth didn't have any bears in the square during the summer of 2017 due to the renovation works in the square (which didn't finish until 2019).

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Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

Birmingham Parks & Nurseries (aka Cofton Nursery) have over the years been making floral trail pieces to go on display in the City Centre every summer. But first they take the main display to the Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners World Live, where they usually win the Gold prize. These are the floral trail features spotted over the years in Centenary Square.

Living Wall, Summer 2010

In the summer of 2010 there was the Living Wall on the hoardings of the Library of Birmingham construction site. Around July 2010, the wall was half complete at the time.

Floral Trail Centenary Square

 

Another look at the Living Wall in August 2010, towards the Hyatt Hotel. You can see the former Municipal Bank on the left.

Floral Trail Centenary Square

The Living Wall remained in place for the rest of summer 2010, before it was moved to a more permanent location (there is now permanent living walls at Aston University, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham Snow Hill Station, but not sure where it went).

Floral Trail Centenary Square

 

The Plight of the Gorilla, Summer 2011

Seen outside of the Library of Birmingham construction site hoardings was The Plight of the Gorilla. Seen during July 2011. It won Silver at the Chelsea Flower Show and Gold at Gardeners World Live in 2011.

Gorilla Centenary Square

At the top was a sculpture of a gorilla.

Gorilla Centenary Square

Below the gorilla was a waterfall over a rock garden.

Gorilla Centenary Square

The water was flowing down the waterfall below the gorilla.

Gorilla Centenary Square

It was very impressive to see, the flowers and plants around it looked nice as well.

Gorilla Centenary Square

 

The Best of Birmingham, Summer 2012

After winning Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show, and Gold and Best of Show at Gardeners World Live in 2012, this floral feature from Birmingham City Council called The Best of Birmingham, was split in two. One half in Centenary Square featured a Mini, a Silver Spoon and Birmingham Town Hall. The other half was in St Martin's Square at the Bullring and included the Bullring Bull, Selfridges and the Birmingham canals with a narrowboat. Seen here during August 2012 next to the Library of Birmingham (about a year before it opened to the public).

Best of Birmingham Centenary Square

A close up of the Mini, covered all over with a floral skin. It was later displayed at Longbridge Island over August 2013, for Birmingham's entry into the Entente Florale Europe 2013.

Best of Birmingham Centenary Square

The silver spoon acted as a fountain, and probably represented the Jewellery Quarter.

Best of Birmingham Centenary Square

Plenty of colourful flowers around this section. You can see why Birmingham win's Gold every year at Chelsea!

Best of Birmingham Centenary Square

 

Enlightenment, Summer 2013

As the Library of Birmingham got ready to open in September 2013, around August 2013, you could see pieces from a floral trail feature called Enlightenment. Which included models of The Two Towers (Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower) plus a deckchair. As well as being part of Summer 2013's City Centre Floral Trail, it was also part of Birmingham's entry into the Entente Florale Europe 2013.

Here you could see the metal sculpture of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower, as it looks like a man walking past Baskerville House was dressed as Spider-Man!

Enlightenment Centenary Square

This view of the model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower towards The Library of Birmingham.

Enlightenment Centenary Square

There was lots of summery flowers around in the landscaped garden in front of the new library.

Enlightenment Centenary Square

Also the model of Perrott's Folly towards The Library of Birmingham.

Enlightenment Centenary Square

View of the Two Towers in the garden outside of the new Library. These days you can find the models at Sarehole Mill. But in the late summer of 2013 you could see them with the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall.

Enlightenment Centenary Square

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch could be seen with the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. All this seen over fences, as the Library and the landscaped grounds wouldn't open until early September 2013.

Enlightenment Centenary Square

View of Perrott's Folly towards The ICC, The REP and the Library of Birmingham.

Enlightenment Centenary Square

The deckchair was covered in the same floral material as the Mini was the year before.

Enlightenment Centenary Square

 

City of Birmingham Ambulance Train, Summer 2014

August 2014 marked the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War, so Cofton Nursery that summer had a trailer of features around the City Centre commemorating Britain's entry into that war. Outside of the Library of Birmingham seen in July 2014 was this floral feature of a train. From the view below you can see the link from The REP to the Library of Birmingham.

City of Birmingham train Centenary Square

This view of the train towards the Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House.

City of Birmingham train Centenary Square

Behind the train was the landscaped garden in front of the Library. It lasted from 2013 to 2017 before being removed. The Hall of Memory to the left. The floral train was later placed outside Birmingham Snow Hill Station in the summer of 2015 (the public square near Colmore Row).

City of Birmingham train Centenary Square

 

Skull and a Book, Summer 2016

The last floral trail piece to be in Centenary Square was this outside of the Library of Birmingham. Resembled a skull with an open book in front of it. The grass behind hadn't faired to well between 2013 and 2017, and would be removed in the 2017 renovation works of the square.

Skull Book Centenary Square

This would be the last floral trail piece to be in the square before the square was revamped from 2017 to 2019. At least in a summer.

Skull Book Centenary Square

 

The Mo Bot, Winter 2018

This is a bonus one. When the World Indoor Athletics Championships came to Arena Birmingham in March 2018, Cofton Nursery got their wicker sculptures out (no flowers). Was strange seeing them in the winter with snow on them. The Mo Bot, based on Mo Farah, was seen in Centenary Square (closed to the Edward VII statue), while the square was in it's second year of renovation works. This February 2018 view as it was snowing.

Mo Bot Centenary Square

 

By March 2018, after the WIAC had ended, I saw workers removing The Mo Bot and putting it on the back of a lorry. They had two small lorries. One to take the soil away, the other to remove the wicker sculpture.

Mo Bot removal

The zoom ins from the Library of Birmingham. Already on the back of this lorry was the Usian Bolt wicker sculpture, originally made in 2012, for their London 2012 floral trail. It had been taken down from Victoria Square (was in front of the Town Hall at the time).

Mo Bot removal

Two Council workmen digging up the soil, while another prepares the Mo Farah sculpture for removal.

Mo Bot removal

Just a pair of red shorts, the purple t-shirt had already gone.

Mo Bot removal

 

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Now onto The Big Hoot. In Centenary Square there was about 5 Big Hoot painted owls from July 2015, for around 10 weeks. Before they were auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Jack

Located outside of the Hall of Memory was Jack. It was by the artist Martin Band. And was sponsored by JLT Specialty Limited. Seen during July 2015.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

Jack was designed by the Union Jack (the British National flag).

Big Hoot Centenary Square

He had the Union Jack on the back as well.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

 

Wise Old Owl

This Wise Old Owl was designed by the artists Kieron Reilly and Lynsey Brecknell. The sponsor was Gateley Plc. They designed it to look like the Library of Birmingham (which you can see behind). Seen during July 2015.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

It closely matches the golds and blues of the Library, plus the silvers and blacks of the circles.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

 

TropicOwl

The owl named TropicOwl was painted by the artist Jenny Leonard. The sponsor was Twycross Zoo. Resembles a jungle with chimpanzees. Seen during July 2015 outside of the Library of Birmingham.

 

Big Hoot Centenary Square

At the back was more features of a jungle, plus giraffes in a desert. This view to Baskerville House.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

 

Owlbert

The owl called Owlbert was painted by the artist Meghan Allbright. The sponsor was University College Birmingham. Seen outside the Library of Birmingham during July 2015.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

This view towards Symphony Hall, The ICC and The REP. It was a rainy day that I saw these owls.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

 

Welcome to Birmingham

Outside of Symphony Hall in Centenary Square was an owl called Welcome to Birmingham. Painted by the artist Laura Hallett. The sponsor was Pertemps Network. Seen during August 2015, with a reflection of the Library of Birmingham and The REP.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

The design featured, Selfridges, the Library of Birmingham, the canals and more.

Big Hoot Centenary Square

 

Bonus content on Centenary Way

Back in Febrauary 2013 there was a trail for one week called The Big Egg Hunt. These same eggs went from City to City. Two eggs were on Centenary Way at the time.

The first egg resembled the Rocket Ship from Wallace & Gromit's A Grand Day Out. Seen towards the Hall of Memory.

Big Egg Hunt Centenary Way

The charity at the time was Action for Children. The next egg was behind, on the way to the Hall of Memory.

Big Egg Hunt Centenary Way

The second egg on Centenary Way was of Ben 10 Omniverse, close to Chamberlain House (demolished in 2018).

Big Egg Hunt Centenary Way

 

The Big Sleuth did not come to Centenary Square, for obvious reasons in 2017, as that's when they began revamping the square, but there was one bear on Centenary Way near Paradise Birmingham.

 

Memoirs of Paradise

This Big Sleuth bear was on Centenary Way, close to the One Chamberlain Square construction site of Paradise Birmingham. Memoirs of Paradise was painted by the artist Gayani Ariyarante. The sponsor was Paradise. Seen during July 2017. Shows what a real paradise looks like! By August 2017, someone had knocked this one over, and they had to remove and repair it, before putting it back in it's place.

Big Sleuth Centenary Way

 

There was more to be found in the Library of Birmingham, 4 little owls in 2015 and 4 little bears in 2017. There was a Big Hoot owl inside of The ICC mall, and another outside at the canalside (in 2015). Plus a Big Sleuth bear at canalside (in 2017).

 

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

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80 passion points
Modern Architecture
10 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Almost 20 years of Millennium Point in Eastside

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It is strange to think that it is almost 20 years since Millennium Point was completed and opened in Eastside near Curzon Street. A Millennium Commission project, it was built between 1997 and 2001 and designed by Grimshaw Architects. Home to Thinktank, as well as Birmingham City University and Birmingham Metropolitan College. There used to be an IMAX / Giant Screen cinema here.

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Millennium Point

It is hard to believe that Millennium Point has been open for almost 20 years (it opened in September 2001, and officially opened by HM The Queen in July 2002 during the Golden Jubilee). It was a Millennium Commission project and was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners. Built from 1997 to 2001 on land near Curzon Street. There was originally an open air car park outside (until it closed in 2011 for the building of Eastside City Park).

Millennium Point

Millennium Point in April 2009, with the car park near Curzon Street

 

Thinktank

The old Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry closed on Newhall Street in 1997 (that site got redeveloped into Newhall Square which was only completed by 2020), and most (but not all) of it's contents were moved over to Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum (which opened at the end of 2001).

Thinktank Millennium Point

Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum in a visit during April 2013

 

Educational Facilities

Millennium Point is also home to Birmingham City University (originally University of Central England until they changed their name in 2005) and Birmingham Metropolitan College.

Millennium Point

Birmingham City University at Millennium Point in February 2019

 

IMAX

There used to be an IMAX cinema at Millennium Point. This later changed to Giant Screen at Millennium Point in 2013, but it was closed down at the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015. It was later converted into PLATFORM in 2018.

IMAX at Millennium Point

The IMAX building at Millennium Point during April 2009

 

Car Park

Millennium Point Car Park was built on land near Cardigan Street from 2010 to 2011. This allowed the closure of the outdoor car park on Curzon Street, to make way for Eastside City Park to be built from 2011 into 2012. This included the Thinktank Science Garden located outside of Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum.

Millennium Point

Millennium Point in August 2011, before the building of Eastside City Park from Curzon Street

 

Millennium Point Time Capsule

The time capsule was commissioned by Birmingham City Council, as a historic memento of the buildings development. It contains artefacts from local schools, community groups and businesses. It resembles a rocket with Russian and USA flags. And can be seen if you are heading for a visit to Thinktank on the top floor.

Millennium Point

The Millennium Point Time Capsule seen in April 2014

 

Millennium Point exterior over the years

View of Millennium Point taken during April 2009 from Albert Street. Grosvenor Street is on the left.

Millennium Point

 

In this August 2009 view, you could still see Rosa's Cafe to the left of Millennium Point, it would be demolished by the year of the year, and would be rubble by the beginning of 2010.

Millennium Point

 

The snow of early January 2010. Rosa's Cafe and the other remaining buildings to the left had been demolished near Fox Street.

Millennium Point

 

In November 2010, a banner was going up about Tron: Legacy which would be shown at the IMAX at Millennium Point. Crane to the left for the building of the Birmingham Ormiston Academy on a site near Jennens Road and Grosvenor Street. This resulted in Nova Scotia Street disappearing forever from Eastside once BOA was completed and opened to students.

Millennium Point

 

In September 2011, the car park outside of Millennium Point was closed (after the multi-storey car park opened on Cardigan Street). This was to prepare for the building of Eastside City Park along Curzon Street. At the same time, Birmingham City University was about to begin construction of their Eastside Campus with the Parkside Building (to the far right).

Millennium Point

 

Eastside City Park was partially opened in December 2012 outside of Millennium Point. For the first time you could see the Thinktank Science Garden. Such as this view from over the wall on Grosvenor Street. The Parkside Building was well under construction for BCU at the time (it was completed in 2013).

Millennium Point

 

Eastside City Park was fully open to the public by April 2013. In this view, the lawn and sculptures were looking pretty new at the time. You can hardly tell that part of Albert Street used to be in the middle of this part of the park.

Millennium Point

 

A sunny day in Eastside City Park with this view towards Millennium Point during December 2016.

Millennium Point

 

View of Millennium Point and Eastside City Park from Curzon Street in April 2017. Cars still allowed to park down here, and drive up here. Several years before HS2 took over, and closed off New Canal Street.

Millennium Point

 

In May 2017, I got this view of Millennium Point from a train, catching the new sign that had been installed on the roof of the building. Overlooking the land that HS2 would take over a few years later for the building of the HS2 Curzon Street Station.

Millennium Point

 

The snow from the Beast from the East as seen during March 2018 in Eastside City Park. Millennium Point to the left, with the Thinktank Science Garden. Then at the BCU Eastside Campus was The Parkside Building, The Curzon Building and University Locks.

Millennium Point

 

Blue Hour at the Jennens Road entrance to Millennium Point, near the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, seen in January 2019.

Millennium Point

 

An October 2020 view of Millennium Point from Curzon Street in Eastside. Took a diversion walking route, as HS2 had blocked off New Canal Street and parts of Park Street. So wanted to find an alternate route to Eastside from Digbeth (via Great Barr Street, Montague Street and Lawley Middleway). Then again, there is still the tunnels on the Digbeth Branch Canal that you can walk through. Exchange Square Phase 1 is now complete as seen behind Millennium Point.

Millennium Point

 

Interiors at Millennium Point

My April 2013 shots from inside of Millennium Point came out quite dark. Was when I went to Thinktank with my camera for the first time. The Giant Screen cinema is to the right. Exit to Jennens Road up the stairs or escalators straight ahead.

Millennium Point

 

One of the Rowland Emett sculptures was in the foyer at Millennium Point during June 2014. There was an exhibition on at the Gas Hall at the time which I saw in May 2014 called Marvellous Machines by Rowland Emett.

Millennium Point

 

6/8 Kafe seen during July 2015 at Millennium Point. I've had coffee here a couple of times over the years since it opened. They used to have a cafe on Temple Row, but that closed down years ago. This is on the same level as the entrance to Thinktank.

Millennium Point

 

A photo exhibition in the Millennium Point foyer, seen during February 2018 of astronaut Tim Peake's photos, taken while he was stationed at the International Space Station.

Millennium Point

 

PLATFORM at Millennium Point seen during September 2018. This events space replaced the Giant Screen cinema (previously IMAX).

Millennium Point

 

Different levels inside of Millennium Point seen during April 2019. Ground floor is Level 0. With the lifts up to Levels, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Birmingham City University on the right.

Millennium Point

 

Giant Christmas tree in the Millennium Point foyer during November 2019. Plus impressive fairy lights on the balconies of all floors.

Millennium Point

 

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

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15 passion points
Green open spaces
10 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Curtis Gardens, once the estate of Fox Hollies Hall

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If you head up and down the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green and Acocks Green, you might spot a green space with trees. This is Curtis Gardens. It opened in 1965, on the site where Fox Hollies Hall used to be (until it was demolished in 1937). Three tower blocks called Coppice House, Hollypiece House and Homemeadow House went up in the early 1960s on the site of the hall itself.

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Curtis Gardens

This green space is located along the Fox Hollies Road between Hall Green and Acocks Green. Just north of York Road, and south of Olton Boulevard East. To the west is Pemerbley Road, where you will find Coppice House to the south, then Hollypiece House in the middle and Homemeadow House to the north.

Curits Gardens from the Fox Hollies Road, seen below during January 2010.

Curtis Gardens

 

Fox Hollies Childrens Centre is to the south east of the site on the Fox Hollies Road, while Hall Green Little Theatre is to the north west.

Hall Green Little Theatre, seen below during February 2014.

Hall Green Little Theatre

 

There is a Play Area in Curtis Gardens, paths and many trees.

Curtis Gardens Play Area seen below during May 2020.

Curtis Gardens

 

From Fox Hollies Hall to Curtis Gardens

Historically the site of a farm, records goes back to 1275 when a farm called Atte Hollies was recorded of being on this site in Acocks Green, but it was later in Hall Green. The Fox family bought the farm in 1626 and it became known as Foxholleys.

By the time Fox Hollies Hall was owned by Zaccheus Walker, he had renamed and rebuilt his grand mansion into The Hollies. The Hall was rebuilt in Italianate style around 1870 by the architect Yeoville Thomason (who also did the Council House). Walker sold the estate to the City in 1925. Fox Hollies Hall was later demolished in 1937. During WW2 the grounds were used as allotments.

Fox Hollies Hall

Fox Hollies Hall c. 1900. Public Domain. Taken from The Walker era

 

All that remained from Fox Hollies Hall was the original gateposts on Fox Hollies Road. Although one of them got knocked over by a Council vehicle and had to be rebuilt. New gates were installed in 2004 as well as a couple of benches.

The gates seen below during January 2010, a regular target for graffiti vandals. They have no respect for history.

Curtis Gardens

 

The three tower blocks were built during the early 1960s (1959 to 1960) and completed by about 1964. This was a result of Jack (or John) Curtis, a local Labour activist. Curtis Gardens was opened in his name in 1965. These were named Coppice House, Hollypiece House, Homemeadow House after three fields in the area at the time called Coppice, Hollypiece and Homemeadow.

The Hollies towers seen below during January 2010.

Curtis Gardens

 

This included the Fish Sculpture by the sculptor John Bridgeman. It was later recognised with a Grade II listing in 2015.

The Fish Sculpture seen below during January 2010.

Fish Sculpture

 

In 2016 the Acocks Green Heritage Trail went up, this was board 8 of 8 in Curtis Gardens, near the gate.

Seen below during August 2016.

Curtis Gardens

 

Curtis Gardens in 2010

My first photographic walk around Acocks Green was back in January 2010. At the time didn't know that this was called Curtis Gardens. View near a car park close to Fox Hollies Childrens Centre.

Curtis Gardens

There was light snow on the paths in Curtis Gardens. This view below toward the gates and benches on Fox Hollies Road.

Curtis Gardens

Plenty of paths and trees around here.

Curtis Gardens

This path leads back to the shops on Fox Hollies Road.

Curtis Gardens

On the right used to be the Fox Hollies Tenants Hall. But long since demolished. In fact, I don't think it's been built on since it was knocked down.

Curtis Gardens

View to the snow covered car park, which at the time looked like an empty tennis court with no nets.

Curtis Gardens

View towards Coppice and Hollypiece House.

Curtis Gardens

A Sainsbury's delivery van looks like it was heading into the car park.

Curtis Gardens

View towards the three tower blocks. Hard to believe that Fox Hollies Hall was there until 1937.

Curtis Gardens

Had the Council kept Fox Hollies Hall, could have made a nice tourist attraction, instead these three towers went up almost 30 years later.

Curtis Gardens

I used to take loads of views of Curtis Gardens back then.

Curtis Gardens

The car park entrance road seen from the Fox Hollies Road.

Curtis Gardens

 

The Gatepost and benches

Some more photos of the gates and benches from January 2010. They were restored in 2004, but by 2010 the gateposts were already covered in graffiti (I think the Council regularly cleans it up, but the taggers keep coming back).

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

View from the back of the gates. They are a recreation of the original ones which were probably removed during the demolition of the mansion.

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

This view towards Greenwood Avenue, which used to be the drive that Zaccheus Walker used to used to get to Fox Hollies Hall. The houses were probably built in the 1930s. Both Greenwood Avenue and Fox Hollies Road were turned into dual carriageways after the estate was sold to the Council.

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

Benches to the back of the gates, I've never once seen anyone sitting on them, on all the walks past here (even when on the 11A or in a car).

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

Also I've only ever seen these gates locked, so you have to walk around the side of the gateposts.

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

They probably used to open around 2004 or 2005 when the new gates were installed.

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

The gates and benches were made by William Hawkes Ltd Blacksmiths. Was  minor bit of paintwork at the time missing. Not sure how often the Council paints these gates.

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

There was also these flowery details on the gates.

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

Two quarter benches behind the gates, both with small plaques on them.

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

Local councillors and a member of the Acocks Green Historical Society was mentioned on them.

Gateposts Curtis Gardens

 

Fish Sculpture

Installed in the 1960 for local children to play on, it has become a local landmark, but is easy for most people to ignore it going past. Made by John Bridgeman, it was recognised with a Grade II listing in 2015. A few more views below from January 2010.

Fish Sculpture

It is a unique survivor in it's original position, but it has been tagged over the years. Bridgeman had done other play sculptures around Birmingham, but it is believed that this one is the only one left surviving. Made on a wire frame covered in concrete.

Fish Sculpture

 

Curtis Gardens from 2019 to 2021

In the years since my original photos, I have walked through Curtis Gardens a lot, sometimes as a shortcut to the number 1 bus on Shaftmoor Lane (more recently the 1A seems to come first). In the last year, getting some photos on the lockdowns.

In late February 2019, I saw crocuses growing in the grass from near the Fox Hollies Road at Curtis Gardens. Spring was on the way.

Curtis Gardens

Lots of white, purple and some yellow coloured crocuses here.

Curtis Gardens

The crocuses looked good close up.

Curtis Gardens

 

A March 2019 view of Curtis Gardens below, taken from near Ferris Grove. Pemberley Road is to the left.

Curtis Gardens

 

Over a month into the first lockdown, it is the end of April 2020, and we were having April Showers. The trees lush and green from the Fox Hollies Road.

Curtis Gardens

The grass in Curtis Gardens was looking long too, perhaps some cow parsley was growing there at the time.

Curtis Gardens

A closer look at the long grass in Curtis Gardens and the cow parsley.

Curtis Gardens

In the last Spring, everything seemed to grow long in the first lockdown.

Curtis Gardens

There was also bluebells growing here, when you can't go far in lockdown, you can only find bluebells in your local green spaces.

Curtis Gardens

One of the paths in Curtis Gardens. The leaves grew back fast in the first month of the original lockdown.

Curtis Gardens

One tree had purply red leaves as the rain was coming down.

Curtis Gardens

 

Another lockdown walk past Curtis Gardens in May 2020. This was near Hall Green Little Theatre on Pemberley Road.

Curtis Gardens

 

Early February 2021, and a 3rd lockdown walk towards Tyseley Station. I passed Curtis Gardens on the Fox Hollies Road. This view near the car park entrance.

Curtis Gardens

By now there was small fences around Curtis Gardens, as in the past travellers had illegally set up camp here. So this is to prevent them driving over the land. As you can see the gateposts have graffiti tags on them again. Fish sculpture seen to the far left.

Curtis Gardens

 

A few days later, a walk around Hall Green. Got these views of Curtis Gardens from York Road, looking up Grimshaw Road.

Curtis Gardens

You can see the three tower blocks to the left from Grimshaw Road.

Curtis Gardens

 

During this walk, got some more views of Homemeadow House, Hollypiece House and Coppice House. This view below taken on Shaftmoor Lane. On the bus route of the no 1 and 1A to Five Ways (via Moseley and Edgbaston).

The Hollies

The 1 and 1A bus route in the other direction on Shaftmoor Lane heading towards Acocks Green Village.

The Hollies

Heading down York Road in Hall Green, was a view of the three towers close to The Link.

The Hollies

Back onto Fox Hollies Road, this view close to The York pub (closed on lockdown of course). Hard to imagine what it looked like over a century ago apart from looking at old black and white photographs of the area.

The Hollies

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
03 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham

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If you miss seeing dinosaur skeletons and fossils at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, why not give the Lapworth Museum of Geology a try? It's free to enter and located at the University of Birmingham in the Aston Webb Building (Quadrant Range). The museum dates back to 1880 (when at Mason College), but has been on this site since the 1920s. Named after Charles Lapworth.

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Lapworth Museum of Geology

The Lapworth Museum of Geology is hidden away to the back of the Quadrant Range at the University of Birmingham. Located near Ring Road South.

 

History of the Lapworth Museum of Geology

The Lapworth Museum of Geology is a geological museum at the University of Birmingham. It was named after the Professor of Geology, Charles Lapworth, with origins dating back to 1880 (when the Geology Department was a Mason College, then located in Chamberlain Square). The museum has been located at the Grade II* listed Aston Webb Building (designed by Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell and built from 1900 to 1909) on the Edgbaston Campus of the University of Birmingham since the 1920s. The museum was redeveloped from 2014 and reopened in 2016.

I saw this history board below during my visit in June 2018. The image showing Mason College. Sadly the building was demolished in the 1960s to make way for Birmingham Central Library (which opened in 1974, closed in 2013 and was demolished itself in 2016).

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

In July 2017, I got my first photos of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, but didn't go in at the time. It is an impressive looking building to house the museum.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

There is a pair of blue plaques here from the University of Birmingham, one for Frederick Shotton, who furthered understanding of climate change 1949-1974.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Also a blue plaque for Charles Lapworth, who undertook pioneering work into the formation of mountain belts 1882-1883.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

This is the modern door that welcomes you to the Lapworth Museum. At the time I was on the hunt for the Big Sleuth bears located around the University grounds, so didn't end up going into the museum until about a year later.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

About 11 months later in June 2018, I was inspired to visit the Lapworth Museum of Geology after seeing Dippy on Tour at the Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

A sign pointing the way on campus to the Lapworth Museum of Geology. Looks like it is being held in place by a tape with a key!

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Another Lapworth Museum of Geology sign in the window.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

The main reason for this visit was to see the replica skeleton of an Allosaurus.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

There was also a Pteranodon hanging from the ceiling behind.

Pteranodon Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

To the back of the museum, was all these fossils and rocks in the tables and on the shelves, behind glass windows. The Pteranodon and Allosaurus seen near the front of the museum.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

A Portrait of Charles Lapworth, the founder of the museum. Charles Lapworth, LL. D.M. Sc. F.R.S. was the Professor of Geology at Mason College (later University of Birmingham) from 1881-1913. He became Emeritus Professor in 1913. His portrait was presented to the museum by Mr. W. Waters Butler.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

Death at the end of the Cretaceous


Skull of the dinosaur Deinonychus.

Lapworth Museum of Geology


Skull of the dinosaur Velociraptor.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

Foot of the tyrannosaurid dinosaur Albertosaurus.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

Parapuzosia sp. (ammonite).

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 


Skull of the carnivorous dinosaur Allosaurus fragilis. From the Late Jurassic.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

Skull and jaws of Dimetrodon (synapsid). From the Permian period (before the Triassic).

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

Smilodon (sabre-toothed cat) from the Quaternary (Ice Age).

Lapworth Museum of Geology

 

Active Earth

Globe - Earth's Palaeogeography. These maps show how Earth may have appeared over the last 600 million years.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
01 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham

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Did you know that there is an art gallery at the University of Birmingham? This is the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Founded in 1932, it's first director was called Thomas Bodkin, who was responsible for purchasing the Equestrian Statue of King George I from the City of Dublin, Ireland in 1937. The gallery is close to Edgbaston Park Road in an Art Deco building completed in 1939.

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The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

If you go to the University of Birmingham's main campus in Edgbaston, and head up Edgbaston Park Road from the Bristol Road, you might see the Barber Institute of Fine Arts on the left. It is opposite King Edward's School and King Edward VI High School for Girls. Also near by is the University of Birmingham Guild of Students (BUGS).

 

Some history of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts

The building was built from 1935 to 1939, it was designed by the architect Robert Atkinson. It is now a Grade II listed building. It is an art gallery and concert hall, and is an Art Deco building. It was opened by Queen Mary (the Queen Consort and later widow of King George V of the United Kingdom). It was set up by Martha Constance Hattie Barber, in memory of her late husband Henry Barber. Who was a wealthy property developer in Birmingham's suburbs. He became a baron in 1924. He died three years later. Lady Barber decided to make a permanent contribution to the city in his memory. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts was founded in 1932. The founding director was Thomas Bodkin.

 

I've only been inside once back in 2008, but at the time wasn't allowed to take photos inside the gallery, and I've never been back. But I did get photos of the exterior of the gallery in the snow of December 2009.

First view of the Art Deco building with the Statue of George I in the snow.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

There was a light dusting of snow on the grass around the statue.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

At the time cars were allowed to park outside of the Barber Institute.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

It's lucky that this building was completed before the start of World War 2.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

The building curves around, with unique Art Deco detailing of the 1930s.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Steps leads to a rear entrance at the back.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

To shields on the building. A Latin motto "Esto Quod Esse Videris". This means in English "Suppose that you are".

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Including the crest of the University of Birmingham.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Snow on the steps to the main entrance, but at the time this could also have been grit salt.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

The main entrance steps and doorway. Above the doors it says "UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM BARBER INSTITUTE OF FINE ARTS AD MCMXXXV". This stone would have been laid in 1935, the year that construction of the gallery began (it would be completed by 1939).

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

 

In my subsequent walks around the Edgbaston Campus at the University of Birmingham, I rarely take new photos of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, but took this pair during one walk in November 2018, heading off the campus via the East Gate.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

There was a sculpture on the wall of a harp. A sign that they also cover music here.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

 

 

Equestrian Statue of King George I of Great Britain

George I of Great Britain was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 until his death in 1727. He had come from Hanover in what is now part of Germany, with the title Elector of Hanover. It is unlikely that he would have ever travelled up to the Town of Birmingham at the time.

The statue was bought by the first director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Thomas Bodkin in 1937. It was originally commissioned by the City of Dublin in 1717, and was unveiled in the City in 1722. It was sculpted by the Dutch sculptor John van Nost the Elder. When in the early part of the 20th Century when Ireland was becoming Independent of the UK, and on it's way to form a Republic, the statue could have been destroyed by the Republicans, but thankfully Mr Bodkin bought it and took it to Birmingham. Today it stands just outside of the gallery on the lawn between University Road East, Ring Road North and Edgbaston Park Road.

 

One of the main reasons for coming to the University of Birmingham on a snowy day in December 2009 was to see the Equestrian Statue of George I.

George I of Great Britain

It is quite impressive, probably the only statue of Birmingham with a King on a horse.

George I of Great Britain

It is similar to a later statue of George IV that I previously saw in Trafalfar Square, London.

George I of Great Britain

There is raser sharp spikes all the way around the plinth, to prevent someone climbing up onto the statue.

George I of Great Britain

It isn't worth trying unless you want to harm yourself.

George I of Great Britain

George I is looking towards King Edward's School, which moved here in 1936. All of this land was part of the Calthorpe Estates.

George I of Great Britain

The equestrian statue was in silhouette on this side.

George I of Great Britain

Back then, I tended to get loads of photos of statues and buildings, when I was new to Birmingham photography.

George I of Great Britain

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

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
28 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Exploring the Birmingham Botanical Gardens over the years from multiple visits

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I've been to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens several times over the last 5 or more years. Usually to attend something like the Magical Lantern Festival, Jurassic Kingdom or Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom events. More recently attended a free open day during Birmingham Heritage Week back in 2019. You can see various birds in cages, a roaming peacock, and butterflies in a greenhouse and more

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Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is located on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Birmingham Botanical and Horticultural Society was founded in 1829 with the intent to found a botanical garden. It opened in 1832. The gardens are Grade II listed and was designed by J. C. Loudon. The Tropical House was built in 1852, followed by the Subtropical House in 1871. The Terrace glasshouses were built in 1884.

The gardens features a Bandstand and Aviary, four glasshouses (Tropical, Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid glasshouses), plus a Alpine House and Butterfly House. There is a sunken Rose Garden, a cast iron Gazebo built in 1850. A rock garden and pool dating to 1895. Various walks that were laid out in 1862. Three period gardens (Tudor, Roman and Medieval) was created in 1994.

The gardens has a gift shop, plant sale centre, tea room, meeting and conference rooms. Famously the leaders of the G8 had a dinner party in the Pavilion Restaurant here in 1998.

 

2012

One of my earliest photos of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens taken during August 2012, walked past on Westbourne Road. I have been here as a child back in the 1980s, but didn't start taking photos here until this point.

 

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

2016

The first event I paid to go to the Botanical Gardens was at the Magical Lantern Festival during December 2016. Hung around the City Centre until it got dark and arrived for my time just before 5pm, but it was heavily raining.

Go here for the Magical Lantern Festival 2016 post.

Magical Lantern Festival

While there (in the heavy rain) I got some photos of the Glasshouses. Bit hard to see in the dark, but was lit up inside.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

View to the Pavilion Restaurant. That was where in 1998, the leaders of the G8 had a dinner party. Including the Clinton's and Blair's.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

2017

In May 2017 I booked to see the Jurassic Kingdom event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Better weather this time and was in the daytime. Animatronic dinosaurs. Plus while there got general photos of the gardens.

Got a post here for both Jurassic Kingdom 2017 and Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom 2019.

Jurassic Kingdom

 

The Bandstand was installed here in 1873. It was renovated on it's centenary in 1973.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Bird Cages also known as the Aviary.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Red-crowned parakeet in the Aviary (Bird Cage).

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

One of the peacocks that roams around the Botanical Gardens.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The fountain was built in 1850. It ceased to flow in 1940 but was restored to working order in 1982.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Gazebo dates to 1850 and was originally located at 32 Church Road, Edgbaston and was made of Cast Iron. Donated by the Lord Chancellor's Department in 1993. Restored in 1994.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Heading through The Tropical House.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

It is very warm in The Tropical House. A bench to sit down on.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Heading out of the Botanical Gardens, saw the blue plaque of Ernest Henry Wilson (1876 - 1930). Placed here by the Birmingham Civic Society in 2010.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

A few months later in August 2017, I was walking past the Botanical Gardens, and saw a view with Old Joe (the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower) at the University of Birmingham.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

By December 2017, there was a Christmas Lights Trail on at the Botanical Gardens, although I didn't go to it myself. But at the time I could see this Helter Skelter and a Carousel from the Westbourne Road. Taken from the no 24 bus. It looks like a fun fair was close to the car park.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

2018

In July 2018, I got off the no 24 bus on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston to see a new blue plaque at Birmingham City University. Got these photos of the Welcome signs on the walk up the road. This car park is usually full during events, and is best for people to park their cars elsewhere in Edgbaston and walk there.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

This Welcome sign on the main entrance building.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

During the open day at the Tyseley Locomotive Works in September 2018, West Midlands Railway was showing off 172 339 with it's purple livery. On the side was 2 for 1 offers, including at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This livery has since been replaced with the standard orange one on all of their Class 172 trains on the Snow Hill Lines. I previously caught this at Birmingham Moor Street Station back in April 2018.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

The Magical Lantern Festival returned to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in December 2018 (it was at Kings Heath Park in 2017). That year I didn't pay to go to it, just saw from either the no 23 or 24 buses. Santa was outside.

Magical Lantern Festival

Was better to get off the bus to see Santa and the presents from Westbourne Road.

Magical Lantern Festival

They had unicorns with wings at the main entrance. Can you spot Old Joe on the right?

Magical Lantern Festival

A few days later, tried to get some more shots from the top of a bus. Christmas tree near the main entrance.

Magical Lantern Festival

Could see this shoe from the bus window.

Magical Lantern Festival

 

2019

Returned in April 2019 for the Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom event. Link to that post is further up this post. It was another opportunity to get general shots of the Botanical Gardens, as well as the animatronic wild beasts! Due to going to the previous event I attended, got an early bird ticket and went quite early on it's run!

Ice Age The Lost Kingdom

 

Saw the peacock on the path near the ice age beasts.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A close up look at the Bandstand.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Into the Historic Gardens. On the right was The Tudor Knott Garden.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

At the far end was the statue of Proserpina.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The garden to the far left is The Medieval Garden.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The garden in the middle is The Roman Garden.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A view of the Alpine Yard redevelopment.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

By September 2019, it was Birmingham Heritage Week, and the gardens was packed! But on the Sunday it was free to visit, so had a full walk around this time. Go here for the Birmingham Heritage Week post of the weekend 14th and 15th September 2019. 5 photos in the original post (plus three other venues I visited that weekend).

More views below.

The entrance to the Botanical Gardens, with the stone dated 1832 above the Welcome canopy and Heritage Open Day bunting.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Arid House, full of cactuses in here.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

It was nice and warm in here for the cactuses.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Outside to the Loudon Terrace. The border looked very colourful. Was also a lot of people around. Probably the last time it was this busy before the pandemic started in 2020.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

This was the Garden of Tomorrow.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The pond at the Garden of Memory.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A look at the Rock Garden and Pool. Lots of water lilies in the pool.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Was on the path from Farrer Walk to Wilson Walk. Saw this unique looking flower called Impatiens niamiamensis. Red, yellow and green.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

In the Butterfly House, was several butterflies, the rest were hibernating.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Saw these Rosy-faced lovebirds in one of the bird cages. There was a lot of them in there.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

On the Perennial borders saw a lot of Yellow coneflowers.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

There was also this flower called Tagetes patula. Had red and yellow petals.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

There was a parrot in the Aviary (Bird House). Saw plenty of other birds in there as well.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

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

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100 passion points
Environment & green action
26 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

An Edwardian gem that is Winterbourne House & Garden

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I've only visited the garden at Winterbourne once, way back in August 2008, so was before I picked up Birmingham photography. One of the last places we went to with my late brother (passed November 2008). In the years since, I took some exteriors of the house fro Edgbaston Park Road when it was being restored, and another time for the blue plaque of John Nettlefold, who lived here.

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Winterbourne House & Garden

Winterbourne House and Winterbourne Botanic Garden is located on Edgbaston Park Road in Edgbaston and belongs to the University of Birmingham. It has been on the site since 1903, and been part of the University since 1944.

 

History of Winterbourne

Winterbourne House was built between 1903 and 1904 as the family home of John & Margaret Nettlefold. They commissioned the local architect Joseph Lancaster Bell to design and build the house. It was made of brick and tiles. The original garden was designed by Margaret Nettlefold herself. They lived here with their children until 1919, when John was getting a bit unwell.

The property was sold to the Wheelock family, who had 9 children. They lived here until 1925. It was then purchased by John Nicholson, who was a local businessman, and a keen gardener. He made improvements to the garden, adding a rock garden and alpine area. He was here until his death in 1944.

Winterbourne was then passed onto the University of Birmingham. Initially the house was used as student halls. The house has had a variety of uses since 1944. During 2009 to 2010, the house was fully restored. During this time the Birmingham Civic Society placed a blue plaque on the house for John Nettlefold.

The garden has many plants from around the world. The house now has a gift shop and tearoom. Plus an Art Gallery. During the Pandemic, the garden has only been open to members.

 

2008

So far the visit of August 2008 was the only time I've been to Winterbourne House & Garden, so is a bit hard to remember this visit (from 12 to 13 years ago). Other than it was one of the places we went to that year before my brother passed away of cancer in November 2008.

View from the garden of Winterbourne House.

Winterbourne Garden

Below, one of my late brothers photos of a small boggy pond.

Winterbourne Garden

A pond with water lilies (my late brothers photo below). Not sure if this is the Chad Brook or not.

Winterbourne Garden

Large leaves over the pond (or Chad Brook). (One of my late brothers photos below).

Winterbourne Garden

Looking at my archive photos from that visit, I didn't take much, so only had a handle of photos like this. The pond / Chad Brook with water lilies.

Winterbourne Garden

One of my late brothers photos towards the house.

Winterbourne Garden

He also took this one in the garden.

Winterbourne Garden

Yes this was one of his photos as well (I Photoshopped myself out of it).

Winterbourne Garden

What looks a ships deck.

Winterbourne Garden

The ships deck from the front.

Winterbourne Garden

 

2009

About a year or so after loosing my brother, during December 2009,  I was walking past Winterbourne House on Edgbaston Park Road, while there was so on the ground at the University of Birmingham. Work was underway to restore the house. Was the same day as I got the statue of George I outside of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (another place we visited back in 2008, but couldn't take photos inside unfortunately).

Winterbourne House

A University of Birmingham sign says this is part of the Green Zone. G.11 is Winterbourne House and G.12 is Winterbourne Botanic Garden.

Winterbourne House

Looked like at the time they were also doing work on the grounds outside near the car park entrance.

Winterbourne House

Details of the first and second floor with the roof covered in snow.

Winterbourne House

A sign welcomes you to Winterbourne. Garden Entrance to the left.

Winterbourne House

It was a blue sky day, snow everywhere but settled. The front drive was quite big. Public car park is also on this side.

Winterbourne House

 

2013

The last time I got photos of Winterbourne House & Garden from Edgbaston Park Road was during February 2013, to see the blue plaque that had been installed there. Although I have walked up Edgbaston Park Road in the years since, just not taken any more photos of Winterbourne since then.

Saw this sign as I got close to Winterbourne House & Garden. Tearoom * Gifts * Gallery * Plants. University of Birmingham.

Winterbourne House & Garden

The house was looking as good as new, cars in the car park to the right.

Winterbourne House & Garden

The drive on the left is the entrance to cars going to the car park.

Winterbourne House & Garden

Heading to the blue plaque on the right.

Winterbourne House & Garden

The Birmingham Civic Society unveiled this blue plaque in 2010 in memory of John Sutton Nettlefold (1866 - 1930). He lived in this house from 1903 until 1919.

Winterbourne House & Garden

 

Winterbourne during the pandemic

During the pandemic, Winterbourne Garden is open, but the house, shop and tearoom remain closed until further notice. But you can order gifts online and click & collect only (they don't offer a postal service). You can also get a Winterbourne Membership if you want to.

They are not operating a pre-booked system. They have reduced the number of visitors they can have at one time. Only University members or students with ID's can visit at the moment. So it looks like if you are not a member, or don't belong to the University you can't visit right now.

Would be nice to go again one day in the future when things get better.

 

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

 

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