Jonathan Bostock

Passion Points: 32K

People & community
19 hours ago - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Across the entire West Midlands, more communities are being empowered to nurture pride of place in a major digital initiative

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Let us introduce you to the most innovative, pioneering and sustainable digital initiative ever to be devised as a collaboration between community, business and the public sector.  


Using a digital product called Community Passport, the entire West Midlands region is being mapped in a neighbourhood led programme that empowers, equips and skills people in the shaping and promotion of the places they live in and grow up in.

With a regional focus and digital devices at every location where people meet or make their travel connections, projections are that views of our digital content will increase from between 60,000 and 100,000 to over 500,000 every month.  The support this will give to the region, economically and socially, will be huge. 


Every neighbourhood, by having access to a Community Passport and with the option of setting up its own Centre for Pride of Place, will be engaged and involved in creating and sharing their own content that can be used in the shaping and promotion of their neighbourhood.  

Here are the locations of the first Centres for Pride of Place we propose opening along the Metro line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

This will result, we predict, in a 5% increase in the volume of trips made by residents to experience what their region offers and will dramatically increase the number of visitors coming to the region.  The Pride of Place generated by engaging and involving community will result in an increase in businesses locating to the region, an increase in the value of real estate and greater investment in the West Midlands.

Birmingham's real estate is already mapped and featured

Take the link HERE to view our map of Birmingham's real estate

A platform dedicated to the coverage of all of Birmingham's real estate can be found at 

Developments that engage and involve the local community we will feature as Centres for Pride of Place.  By inviting the local community to follow the build, this rich locally created content we can process and map at It's your Build, a public expression of the pride people have in the buildings rising up around them. 

Birmingham's culture, and increasingly its hospitality, is mapped, featured and searchable

Take the link HERE to view our map of Birmingham's culture.  

Every neighbourhood will be mapped and showcased in this totally inclusive initiative.

HERE for example is Sparkbrook mapped and featured. 

In Sparkbrook, as with all the region's neighbourhoods, there is some wonderful culture and great community assets to introduce people to.  The maps are not just for people who live in the area to see what's on offer, but aimed at everyone, inside and outside the West Midlands. 

For example here's a wonderful open green space in Sparkbrook called Farm Park.  Take the link HERE for our coverage of Farm Park.

How many people knew that Sampson Lloyd, founder of Lloyds Bank. lived in Sparkbrook.  Now, more people do.  Go HERE for more images. 

There's amazing art on the outside of the Concord Youth Centre. 

There's some great history in the classic architecture across Sparkbrook.

There's a Peace Garden in memory of those who lost their lives at the Carlton Cinema. 

The rich culture of Ladypool Road can be mapped as more businesses get involved. 

By mapping and featuring major developments taking place such as this housing development by Morro Partnerships on Highgate Road, more people can be engaged and involved in the future of their neighbourhoods. 

All of this with a community that's engaged and involved because they are empowered and given the tools and the support they need to help shape and promote the places around them. 

Centres for Pride of Place to spring up all over the region

With more mapping of neighbourhoods, and with more Centres for Pride of Place opening up to engage and involve people in the rich culture around them, just think what this can bring to local communities, to cities and towns and to the region, socially and economically.

empowered communities link

An Academy and A Society for Pride of Place

Within Community Passport is everything needed for gathering and analysing the rich insight that will come from all those engaged and involved in nurturing Pride of Place.

With both an Academy and a Society for Pride of Place, this wealth of valuable insight will be pooled, analysed and made available for all to use in the drive for more cohesive and inclusive communities, improved health and wellbeing and shared prosperity.

For more details, contact:


07432 637322

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50 passion points
People & community
30 Mar 2024 - Your Place Your Space

The Pride of Place Collective

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View the article to find out how, together, and with the right tools, community, business and local/regional government can work smarter to nurture and grow all important pride in the places people live in, work in, grow up in and visit.  It's all about collaboration!  Everyone's talking "Pride of Place".  



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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
23 Mar 2024 - Your Place Your Space

Culture and Pride of Place

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20 passion points
Green open spaces
29 Feb 2024 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

What a fantastic open space!

Hidden away in Winson Green on the border of Smethwick with Birmingham is this lovely park with historical importance.  


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60 passion points
Health & wellbeing
08 Feb 2024 - Your Place Your Space

"I am Daniel and being a contributor helps me with my mental health challenges"

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"To say I have had mental health challenges throughout my life is to say I am Human. As an autistic I have had challenges in certain areas of existence that would be considered as amplified when compared to most others. From mid-2013 and for 18 months I was ill with clinical depression and anxiety disorder.

Here's my story!"


"To say I have had mental health challenges throughout my life is to say I am Human.

As an autistic I have had challenges in certain areas of existence that would be considered as amplified when compared to most others.

The same is true of my talents.

I have had to deal with the challenges. I have been able to express my talents.

The start of my photography journey, in terms of it having a positive effect on my mental health was when I returned from a trip with my father to Chicago, USA in February 1997.

I had taken a small compact film camera and wanted to capture some of the scenes from the trip, largely as a memory reference point, but also to show others.

With such an inspiring ‘canvas’ to work with I quickly started to use up film stock.

I also found during the trip that I wanted to capture images that were not just documentary, but that had an inherent aesthetic, and to extenuate and draw attention to the aspects unique to the place and my experience of it.


Wow, I was awestruck, the sheer scale overwhelmed me, and I became desperate to somehow capture the feeling with photographs.

I was pleased with the process and the results, and when returning to my new adopted city of Birmingham, I sought to find similar feelings and capture the associated photographs.

Birmingham is not Chicago, but it became, for me, something else.

The city is not full of incredible skyscrapers, but it is full of so much more!

People have hobbies, special interests, mine became urbanscape photography.

I began to discover the city of Birmingham and found that I developed a positive perception of the place and its massive diversity on so many levels. I grew up in London and the south-east and had a typical view of cities ‘up-north’ but not having actually experienced any properly.

I knew people had a dim view of Birmingham on a national level, and having started to live there I developed a feeling of indignation, the city had a bad reputation, but that this was largely unjustified.

I enjoyed capturing photos of the city but developed a motivation to use them as a way of dispelling the negative myths about it.

In 2010, having had very positive feedback from friends and family for my burgeoning collection of positive images of the city, and comments made like, “I’ve never seen Birmingham looking like that!”, I decided to create a set of ten actual postcards. I had 200 of each printed and managed to get some local city centre outlets to sell them. In the digital age this proved to be a very limited success but I was encouraged in principle.

From mid-2013 and for 18 months, I was ill with clinical depression and anxiety disorder.

In April 2014, as part of my eventual recovery I tried to get out into the city and take further photographs, as something to do, as a ‘what the hell, I’ve nothing better to do with my time’, the summer was approaching and there was a lot of transformation going on in the city centre.

I decided to start publishing my photography regularly on Twitter and slipped into a process of almost daily acquiring and posting photos of the city centre and surrounding areas.

I have since continued this with a small gap in 2023 due to similar illness. My Twitter account now shows over 12 thousand posts to date.

In 2015 I met Jonathan who had seen and recognised my photography as an expression of my passion and pride in my adopted city.

Having met we soon realised that there was also the large element of a positive benefit to my mental health, from the process and the recognition received through social media for my efforts.

Jonathan was in the early stages of developing a unique digital people engagement tool, the purpose of it’s functionality being to enhance social engagement, community cohesion and producing social values with economic growth.

The platform being developed had a public facing output channel that could host and present my photography (and other community contributors of digital content). This would be adding to a large searchable library of content generated by people passionate about their community, place and their particular interests.

I joined Jonathan and his team as a development partner on a voluntary basis and have continued since.

The involvement in the development of the digital platform, in addition to the onward contribution of digital content, gave me an enormous boost in terms of confidence, self-esteem and general mental health wellbeing.

A mapping project of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands I have been involved in has now attracted well over 2 million views.

As a result of being involved with this project, and my continuing publishing my city photography, further opportunities for me became available.

In 2016 I was contacted by the Chair of PWC Birmingham. Matthew was impressed by my photography, why I was doing it, and had a proposal for me.

I had started to capture and publish regular photos of the demolition of the Central Library, Matthew asked if I would like to continue a photo journal to include the construction of their new headquarters, One Chamberlain Square, on the new ‘Paradise Birmingham’ redevelopment site. This was with view to creating a coffee table book for the eventual launch and opening of the building.

I agreed a small fee and supplied regular photography up to the completion of the building, the book was produced and handed out at the launch event in December 2019.

During this process I decided that I would start to document, in my own photographic style, the construction of several other building in the city, together with a focus on the Paradise Development and have continued since, creating several full construction photo journals for many buildings.

I am now a major contributor of content to many platforms and I have helped with the launch of Centres for Pride of Place. The benefit for myself over the years to my general mental health has been considerable, being busy is always better for me, and being able to indulge in my passion for photography, having an outlet for this, the recognition for my efforts, and the contribution to some social positivity has been significant.

HERE is a link to the video I have helped create.

As part of my extra-curricular work, I have also produced seven 'Birmingham Gems' charity calendars, 2017 to 2023.

Getting out and taking photos is only the start of a process I go through as part of keeping me occupied. Because of the outlet I have through my Twitter account and the contributing to the Community Passport, and wanting to produce images that are the best I can, I go through a process of using software to enhance the images from their original camera acquired versions. 

I generally take more photos than I eventually publish, I like to spend time with my laptop looking through what I may have collected and picking the ones that stand out for me in some way and become worth processing and then publishing. I can be quite harsh with myself and only publish the best images. 

The evaluation and post-processing of my photography gives me an outlet for my creativity, generally I get very positive feedback and this really helps my confidence and self esteem.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my story".

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90 passion points
History & heritage
16 Dec 2023 - Your Place Your Space

Pride of Place: Birmingham to Sandwell history and heritage canal trail

This trail takes in much of the region's amazing places of historical interest including Roundhouse Birmingham, Smethwick Junction, Engine Arm Aqueduct, Galton Valley Pumping Station and Galton Bridge.  Take in some great example of work by engineer Thomas Telford. Enjoy on foot (3 hours one way) or by bike (1 hour one way). 


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80 passion points
People & community
07 Dec 2023 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Centres for Pride of Place across the West Midlands

This video and linked feature explains the Centres for Pride of Place initiative that will see CPOPs right across the region helping to make, shape and promote places. It will connect community and business in a shared passion for place using Community Passport to deliver the initiative.  Contact or call 07432 637322.


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70 passion points
People & community
01 Dec 2023 - Your Place Your Space

Asset Mapping with Community at Centres of Pride of Place

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There are many ways interactive mapping, provided to Centres for Pride of Place when given access to Community Passport, can be used.  One of those is for mapping assets with community. With reference to a particular area of Birmingham, let's show you how it works and how it can add value for shaping places, promoting places and connecting community and business.


The journey we are about to take will show how, with and within community, Community Passport now available to Centres for Pride of Place (CPoPs) from Values Shared is being used for mapping assets and for engaging community and business in growing pride in the places people live in and work in.

Here is our map of Birmingham shared and made available license free to Values Shared.  

All layers on the view of the map shown below are turned off so it has no real value until data and content is added.



So, first .....

Let's zoom in to a particular area on the map. 

In the image shown below we've zoomed in to the area around the Edgbaston Reservoir, a lovely spot with neighbourhoods such as Edgbaston, Ladywood all close by. 

Edgbaston Reservoir is only a couple of miles from the centre of Birmingham.



Still we can't really do anything of real value with this map till content is added.


So next .....

Let's take a look at the layers of data and content which our community at Birmingham We Are has been loading and adding to interactive maps over the past 3 years and which is now regularly updated.

Here are the layers we have available to us.  We can select any of the layers and it will start to build our map. 


Note:  The map created for Birmingham has already been viewed over 2 million times with 100,000 views every month.


In this instance we want to use it for looking at assets around our Centres for Pride of Place.


So next .....

Let's turn on our mapped Centres for Pride of Place (CPoPs) and we can immediately see our first CPoP being run out of Birmingham Settlement's Nature and Wellbeing Centre which we can see pinned and located right next to Edgbaston Reservoir.



By selecting this pin, we can go and find out more about the work being planned that will be carried out at this particular CPoP.  


Within the feature (as shown above) are links, posts, maps and content that the community can engage with. 



People and businesses can connect with the Centre, register on to events, apply to go on courses and learn new digital skills.  Most importantly, they can get involved in promoting Pride of Place and together grow Shared Prosperity for their community and neighbourhood.  


Next .....

Let's go back to the map and start opening up other layers on the map to see what is close to our CPoP.

Below we've selected the layer of lakes and reservoirs and these are then immediately added to the map.  We can now see Edgbaston Reservoir highlighted.



We can now select the Edgbaston Reservoir and this will take us to another feature created and maintained with the help of community.  This time, our feature is all about the great things happening at Edgbaston Reservoir, again with links, posts, maps and content to explore.



Next .....

Let's go back to the map and select the layers of parks and open spaces, canals and rivers.  Let's also add our historic builds and places of historical interest.

Here is the result as mapped below.



Not only are we now starting to map our local assets, we are also creating a wonderful digital space of places for people new to the community or for those residents that have lived here for ages to explore.

This interactive map will be made available at our CPoP run out of the Nature and Wellbeing Centre for people to go and use so they can find out what is close by. 

People will also be invited to participate in this themselves by adding content and creating posts.  



Imagine the impact on the social economy if similar Centres were set up in every ward or district of Birmingham and then rolled out across the region. 

CPoPs could be hosted anywhere, with digital maps and features accessed via a simple QR code. 

CPoPs can be located in libraries, in community centres, in schools, in centres of faith, at developments across the city, in pubs, in fact anywhere convenient for the local community.   People don't have to visit the CPoP if they don't want to, they can connect online.


But for the purpose of showing a place mapped .....

Let's go back to the map we are building of the area around Edgbaston Reservoir. 

Here we can select a layer of construction and work that is in progress.

Note:  All developments from pre-approval through to construction is now mapped on the Birmingham developments map that can be explored here

Developments are shaded in yellow on the map.

Select any of these shaded areas and you can find out what's going on.  

Here we can see that on one side of the reservoir, work continues at the Nature and Wellbeing Centre of Birmingham Settlement.  



On the other side of the reservoir is a new boating complex being built which we now know is for the new home for the young Sea Cadets.  



There are some great community assets being developed and added to the area around the Edgbaston Reservoir and by regularly updating the map and platform, community can be kept informed and involved. 


Next ..... 

Let's return to the map and we can zoom further out to see just what is on the doorstep of the area we have just been looking at.  The full scale of the physical and structural assets offered in Birmingham is now available for people to explore.



People in our community (our greatest local asset)

What about the people who live in this area and what about the groups that are formed by those people.  People will always be our greatest asset.

How can CPoPs help promote the wonderful work groups in community undertake and how can we connect more residents with these groups. 

Let's show you just a little of the work we've started with huge community input. 

As you can see below, on our Values Shared map we've added a "Friends of" layer for mapping all the great work being done by volunteers, social enterprises and people who are passionate about their places and their community.


So first .....

Let's see what this layer when selected brings up at Edgbaston Reservoir.  Here's a "Friends of" pin over the actual reservoir itself.



Next .....

Let's now take a closer look at what this "Friends of" group is and what they are up to.

Here is the Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir feature opened up.



As more people contribute, the number of community groups and networds such as "Friends of" groups mapped will continue to grow for the benefit of everyone. 


What next for mapping assets with community?

Using the mapping tool, community can explore all the assets in and around their neighbourhood.

Most importantly, they can engage with their neighbourhood and add content themselves.  At the CPoP, they can access the tools needed to do this, or alternatively connect to the digital space via their own phone, tablet or laptop while they are in and around places they enjoy visiting.

We can also involve schools that are on the map and train young people in digital skills that have real practical value and benefit to the place and community in which the school is located.



We can get GPS and health centres involved so they can engage patients in exploring the wonderful places close by.  This will all have major health and wellness benefits.



We can get businesses involved, and help create, using the map, greater links with the local community.  Let's map and feature businesses with CSR budgets and those running social value projects so together we can grow the local social economy. 

Let's get local traders and social enterprises mapped and involved. 


In conclusion 

Places and organisations that take on the status of a CPoP, and are given access to Community Passport and Community Workspace, will become a magnet for their local community. 

People new to the area can be introduced to places and local groups.  We can even do this with moderators for people where English is not their main language using the chat module in Community Workspace. 

Community can increasingly help with mapping the assets in their area.

Community, businesses, schools, colleges and universities can all get involved in mapping their local area. 

And most importantly, community, will together, promote "Pride of Place" and opportunity for all.


Further details available from: 

07432 637322

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60 passion points
People & community
01 Dec 2023 - Your Place Your Space

Digital placemaking and promotion of place with BOA Digital


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10 passion points
People & community
01 Aug 2023 - Your Place Your Space

No limits to 'what you can achieve' at the Benson Community

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It all started for Paul, when he and his life-long friend Errol were watching a kick-about in the local park in Winson Green. With a vision that involved 'giving back to society', Paul and his team have gone on to grow a truly inspirational community project, now known as The Benson Community.  

Take a look at what they have achieved.


When you first meet Paul Landucci and his team at Benson Community, you are immediately struck by three things: 

First of all, the passion they have for what they do; second, the energy and determination they have to succeed; and third the enjoyment and pleasure they and others get from what they do within the Community.

Paul says that for him it's all about 'giving back to society'.

You just have to watch and see his face light up when a young person who has never ridden a bike before, let alone ever owned a bike, manages to master the skill of cycling for the first time.

Just see what it means to Paul to see the reaction of the child. For Paul and the team, their message to all those who take part is that there are 'no limits to what you can achieve'.

The Benson Community should be proud of what they have achieved in such a short period of time.

In addition to cycling classes and tuition, the Benson Community offers football, basketball and other activities within the Community. Hundreds of people, of all ages, have enjoyed taking part and being involved.  

Over the years, Paul and Errol have not only given countless hours of their time for free, they have also dipped into their own pockets to buy equipment. 

Much of what is delivered is provided at the Hadley Stadium in Smethwick.  

In addition, equipment needed for their activities is often transported by van to parks and open spaces so more people can take part and enjoy the value of coming together as one community.   

For Paul and the team, it's all about creating a better society for all as the project has no boundaries.  For more details on the Community, to donate what you can and to support them in what ever way you can, contact Paul Landucci on 07882 079454.

Photography courtesy Benson Community.

For more on The Benson Community, click here

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
30 Jul 2023 - Your Place Your Space

Black Sabbath Bench is well looked after in Westside

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The Black Sabbath Bench, now a major attraction in Birmingham, receives an occasional touch up now and again given the attention the art receives from both tourists and locals. Followers of our great Birmingham Gems across Westside were there to see this happening on the 29th July 2023.

Enjoy this great gallery of photography.


Black Sabbath bench at the Black Sabbath Bridge on Broad Street in Westside receives a well deserved touch-up. 

Photography by Birmingham Gems contributor Daniel Sturley.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
18 Jun 2023 - Your Place Your Space

Gardens at Winterbourne House - stunning!

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A visit to Winterbourne House gardens is highly recommended. Here we share some photography taken by follower of Birmingham Gems, Jack Babbington during a visit to Winterbourne House in June 2023.  Enjoy!


Here is a selection of stunning photography of Winterbourne House Gardens.  

We hope you have enjoyed our photography.

Why not go and experience this great Birmingham Gem for yourself.

Thank you Jack Babbington for sharing his photography.

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70 passion points
History & heritage
10 Mar 2023 - Your Place Your Space
Activity for you

Let's chat history of Nechells

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This discussion is all about the amazing history and heritage of Nechells.  We want to learn more from the community of Nechells about the amazing place they live in and the history and heritage associated with that place. 


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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 May 2022 - Your Place Your Space

The Gothic on Great Hampton Street - just look at the detail in this wonderful redevelopment!

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Work at The Gothic on Great Hampton Street is now well underway.  Let's take a look at the attention being given to retain the wonderful original victorian features of this famous Birmingham landmark.


At The Gothic on Great Hampton Street, a Grade II listed building dating back to the late 1870s, there is so much to take in and admire now that internal work on a number of magnificent homes is underway.

During 2020 and 2021, before work commenced and early in Cordia Blackswan's redevelopment of this wonderful building, we had the pleasure of visiting this Victorian Gem to see the treasures that had remained hidden for so long.


The windows of The Gothic - back in 2020/21

Of all the wonderful Gems to admire, both inside and outside, it was The Gothic's amazing windows which, for us, stole the show!

We marvelled at the craftmanship and passion that had gone into the structural shapes of these wonderful windows. 

See the full article from July 2021 here...


And now - as the windows are going in (May 2022)

In May 2022, we were invited back to take a look at how work was progressing with the redevelopment, and most importantly for us, to see what had been done to those wonderful arched windows.

We have not been disappointed!


What about all that wonderful timber!

It's not just the windows though, take a look at the way much of the exquisite timber has been brought back to life and is on full display.

Here's what it was looking like pre-renovation.  What a great job done!


And now - wonderful wooden beams on show (May 2022)

Some of the original steel roof structure has also been incorporated into the restoration.


Go see for yourself!

What wonderful talking points they are for anyone fortunate enough to take ownership of one of these wonderful homes, 

Cordia Blackswan and the team are doing an absolutely brilliant job with the redevelopment of the building into a number of elegantly styled homes.

To find out more about the Gothic:

Homes For Sale Birmingham | The Gothic | Cordia Blackswan



You can't help but love The Gothic!

Here's a few more photos to enjoy, taken during our visit in May 2022.

Photography by Daniel Sturley, a member of the It's Your Build team.


For more on The Gothic and the work on Great Hampton Street go to:


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70 passion points
People & community
23 Mar 2022 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Ghost signs found at Lamp Works site on Great Hampton Street

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During site preparation works at Codia Blackswan's Lamp Works on Great Hampton Street, old painted shop signs often referred to as "Ghost Signs" were found.

Wow, isn't uncovering hidden gems just wonderful!


Whilst the signs are slightly hard to decipher, they are believed to mark the former home of J.R. Stevens, a tailor, hosier, and general outfitters store which traded on Great Hampton Street around 100 years ago.

On the other side of the building, two further ghost signs were also revealed during the demolition. The ghost sign in view is the home of ‘Strawbridge Painter & Glazier’ at 30 Great Hampton Street, estimated to be at least a century old.

These are believed to showcase the former home of a business involved in ‘glass, china and all kinds of Earthenware’. Earthenware is glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery that is normally fired below 1,200 degrees celcius.

The Lamp Works will be a residential led mixed-use scheme of 148 apartments, with the industrial heritage of the site reflected in the design of the building, its form and materials used.

A steel frame from one of the original buildings will be retained in memory of the original central factory space, referencing the sites key history in Jewellery Quarter.

Construction of the Lamp Works will begin in August 2021 with apartments ready for occupation in 2023.

Connect with us HERE.

Become part of our Great Hampton Street community HERE

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60 passion points
People & community
23 Mar 2022 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Original tiles and flooring uncovered at 22a Great Hampton Street

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During renovation work at Cordia Blackswan's new HQ on Great Hampton Street, a range of beautiful original features have been uncovered that has provided wonderful inspiration for the remodelling of this fantastic building which was once a branch of Lloyds Bank. 



The refurbishment of this Grade II listed former Lloyds Bank is a great way for Cordia Blackswan to showcase their approach to developments and the high quality of their work.

Once complete, the 15,000 sq ft building will feature six office suites, with the former banking hall transformed into an independent café space for local business and the community to enjoy.

The intention is to fully refurbish the basement vault into a trendy music venue as part of the renovation - more on that to follow!

Photography by Daniel Sturley

Firstly, when removing the current concrete flooring, Cordia Blackswan discovered some original flooring tiles in a plethora of wonderful and quite unique bright colours, including red, yellow, green, purple, and turquoise.

Photography by Daniel Sturley

It is believed that the tiles date back to the 1880s.

The intention is to restore and retain the tiles in the hall which will be transformed into a café space.

On the same floor, traditional Herringbone Parquet wooden flooring in a rich mahogany brown was also discovered which is also believed to date back to the 1880s. This will also be restored.

Connect with us HERE.

Become part of our Great Hampton Street community HERE

Enjoy our videos of these discoveries. 




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80 passion points
People & community
23 Mar 2022 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Ye Olde Engine Tavern uncovered and rediscovered!

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Wow! Look what was found by Cordia Blackswan at 184a Great Hampton Row, the former site of Nightingale Knitwear - does the Engine Tavern or names Thomas and Annie Rose ring any bells with anyone?


When undertaking a recent removal of the shop frontage, Cordia Blackswan discovered an old mosaic façade for the ‘Ye Olde Engine Tavern’.

According to the Birmingham History Forum and Midland Pubs, the Engine Tavern was trading from the 1830’s originally as a beer house. In the 19th Century, it was believed to be a homebrew house along with other pubs in this throughfare including the Balmoral Inn, Saint George’s Vaults and the Star and Garter.

The electoral roll shows the Engine Tavern occupants in 1930 were a couple by the name Thomas and Annie Rose. Does the name sound familiar? We'd love to hear from anyone that has any details. 

Cordia Blackswan will be transforming The Nightingale into a small number of New York loft-style apartments as a future phase of The Gothic. The apartments will be sold as individual units for buyers to design and bring to life in their own personal style. For more information about any of these exciting developments or to share in uncovering more hidden history, we'd love to hear from you. 

Connect with us HERE.

Become part of our Great Hampton Street community HERE

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50 passion points
People & community
21 Mar 2022 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Please help provide emergency kits for Ukrainian refugees

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Cordia Blackswan and Global Aid Network call on the Birmingham Community to provide emergency kits for Ukrainian refugees.


Birmingham-based property developer Cordia Blackswan has partnered with charity Global Aid Network (GAiN) to collect donations for Ukrainian refugees.

Cordia Blackswan will be offering their head office, located at The Bank on Great Hampton Street, as a public drop off point for anyone to donate emergency hygiene kits which will then be shipped directly to those in need.

The developer is standing together with its owners, Futureal, Cordia Group and HelloParks, to provide support for the crisis in Ukraine. The group is donating 300 million Hungarian Forints in addition to the amount raised by its employees to support humanitarian projects in Hungary, Poland and Romania.

GAiN is a worldwide humanitarian organisation that provides aid and critical care for people in crisis. The organisation is dedicated to bringing hope and tangible help to refugees and people living in poverty, believing that every life counts.

In response to the Ukraine crisis, GAiN is working directly with NGOs receiving Ukrainians across the border to ensure they are collecting the most critical relief items. They are also donating 100% of profits to people in need.

The organisations are calling on the public for urgent donations, with the immediate priority being male and female hygiene kits. To donate an emergency hygiene kit, people can simply purchase any of the products from the list here, and place in a bag for life with “female” or “male” written on the outside.

Kits should be placed in bags for life to ensure that as many emergency hygiene kits as possible can be packed onto the shipping container. The initiative will take place from Monday 11th March until Friday 25th March 2022.

Marcus Hawley, Managing Director at Cordia Blackswan, said “The Cordia Blackswan team is deeply saddened by the events in Ukraine, and want to support everyone involved in every way that we can. We have teamed up with Global Aid Network to ensure that refugees are receiving the critical items they need and call on the people of Birmingham to donate anything they can to support the cause.”

Sarah Patel, GAiN UK Operations Manager, said: “Every donation we receive means one more person, whose life has been torn apart by this war, that we can bring a practical message that we are standing with them. We are incredibly grateful for every response to give and donate that enables us to send this message of hope.”

In addition to donations, the Futureal Groupwill be identifying their own properties in suitable locations to be used for humanitarian activities. In Poland, the transformation of buildings and the establishment of temporary kindergarten and shelters for refugees has already begun. The work with aid and medical organisations will help to rescue people from Ukraine.

The Cordia Group are also offering its available furnished rental apartments in Budapest free of charge to refugee families in need and is calling on its customers to provide housing for those affected by the crisis.

Gábor Futó, Founder and Co-Owner of Futureal Group, said: "We are following events in Ukraine with a heavy heart and with a deep sense of duty to help. I am very proud of everyone at Futureal-Cordia Group, as many of our colleagues have already taken in refugees and many are also preparing to actively participate in the programmes and donations we are organising.”

For anyone in Birmingham who would like to make a donation, the drop off point is located at:

The Bank, 22a Great Hampton Street,Birmingham.  B18 6AH.

Drop off times will be 7.30am-9.30am, 12-2pm and 5-6.30pm from Monday to Friday each week.

Alternatively, if you are making a sizeable donation, you can email and someone will come to collect your parcel. For those based further afield, donation kits can also be sent to the above address via post.

See the list below of items needed in a bag for life donation:

Male                                                                              Female

Soaps                                                                            Soaps

Shampoos                                                                     Shampoos

Toothpastes                                                                   Toothpastes

Toothbrushes                                                                 Toothbrushes

Razors                                                                           Razors

Small towels                                                                  Small towels

Combs                                                                           Combs

Hand creams                                                                 Hand creams

Packets of hand tissues                                                 Packets of hand tissues

New underwear                                                             New underwear

New socks                                                                     New socks

Deodorants                                                                    Deodorants

Sanitary towels/tampons


For more information about Cordia Blackswan, please

To read more about what GAiN are doing to support the crisis in Ukraine, and how you can help, please click here.

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20 passion points
Fundraising & charity
23 Dec 2021 - Your Place Your Space
News & Updates

Birmingham Gems 2022 Charity Calendar - A3 Download and Printable Version

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Our Birmingham Gems 2022 Charity Calendar is now available as a download and print version. We have individual pages as Jpeg files in this post and a link to download a full resolution version PDF file that can be printed to at least A3 landscape full colour!


Here is the link to the full print quality PDF file of the A3 Calendar (65mb):

Download Full Quality Calendar (65mb)

Alternatively you can 'save as' the individual Jpeg files below to your device.


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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
19 Nov 2021 - Your Place Your Space

Great night had by all at Cordia Blackswan's Fundraising party!

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Even though their CEO Marcus was unwell and could not be there, Jess, Brigi and the wonderful team of Cordia Blackswan laid on a great party and fundraiser at their new Birmingham HQ.  

The old Lloyds Bank on Great Hampton Street was a fitting location for the 'spooky' theme with everyone getting into the spirit of things, literally!


See any familiar faces from Birmingham's property and business community?

Phorography courtesy Daniel Sturley.

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50 passion points
Travel & tourism
15 Aug 2021 - Your Place Your Space

City views from the 'Secret Garden' at the Library - wonderful!

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The 'Secret Garden' on the 7th Floor of the Library of Birmingham is open and our regular Birmingham We Are contributors Elliott and Daniel couldn't wait to get back up after 18 months to photograph all the changes across the city. We've included some photos of the inside of the Library and of the Secret Garden in this gallery.


Inside the amazing Library of Birmingham. (August 13th 2021)


The Library's 'Secret Garden' on the 7th floor (13th August 2021)


City views from the Secret Garden

Here looking down at Centenary Square from 50 metres above it in the Secret Garden.


Here's a selection of views over the city.


Here's some of the amazing flowers that can be found in the Secret Garden.

All the amazing photography from our community contributors Daniel Sturley and Elliott Brown.


For our feature on the Library of Birmingham, one of our Birmingham Gems go HERE.

For our Birmingham Gems interactive map, go HERE.

For all Birmingham Gems, go to

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80 passion points
Construction & regeneration
30 Jul 2021 - Your Place Your Space

Introducing 'Map and Track' from It's Your Build

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‘We’re all about connecting People and Community with Place, Construction and great Architecture for maximum Social Impact’

Take the post for details on 'Map and Track'.


“Map & Track” is a community engagement package run on several on-line communities powered by digital tech specialists, Your Place Your Space. 

This is all part of a digital drive to connect more communities with their built environment and connect more developers, construction companies and architects with people who live and work in the places where they are building.

Social impact and the way the industry and its members can demonstrate the social value to the community resulting from the build is shaping many decisions today. “Map and Track” is all about building community connections that drive social value and create even greater social impact for the benefit of all.

Why Birmingham? Why the built environment?

Birmingham is a City undergoing huge change.  People want to know what’s up, what’s going up and what’s in the stage of being planned. 

There is an increasing number of people in Birmingham who enjoy modern architecture and love to follow the builds as they take shape. These are all people who, through their passion, enthusiasm and interest, can play an important role in shaping the future for the industry and encourage others to get involved.

Birmingham was an obvious place to launch our first digital space for connecting community with construction and construction with community.

“Map & Track” gives developers, architects and construction companies an effective way to engage and connect with people with shared values and it gives community an effective way of getting involved.

Over 100,000 people now follow a Your Place Your Space community and our built environment sites and associated maps are now regular visited by people as a source of information, ideas and even inspiration. That’s just for Birmingham!

Starting with Birmingham, we have set up multiple accounts on traditional social media channels and this drives our huge and growing following.  For example, visit the largest twitter account of its type at and our new dedicated account for builds at

We are currently rolling out a number of dedicated domains powered by Your Place Your Space digital technology on which will sit our ‘Map and Track’ application.

covering the built environment as a passion.

covering the built environment as one of over 20 passions.

early in design but will feature builds of architectural value to Birmingham.

All of the above are featuring projects that use “Map and Track”.


“Map & Track” will ensure that information about your company, your property and your values (as well as links to contacts and websites) reaches more people and helps attract and grow a large following for you and your builds.

Costs start at £650 per annum per property featured (discounted for multiple properties) and your brand will appear prominently with every property featured.

Step by step, this is how it works!

Step 1

JOIN our community as an individual and/or organisation.

First, we’ll get you and your organisation listed at ItsYourBuild and other communities as appropriate.

Register HERE.

Step 2

We’ll SET UP your build(s) and project(s) for all followers to see.

This could be a new build, an existing property, an example of great architecture, or a feature you’d like to run with community contributors such as a photography tour, a ‘did you know’ series, a topic for a survey or a debate.

Select your interest and tell us more HERE

If it’s a new build, then our team may already be featuring it at It's your build and we can move forward several steps, attach your branding and engage our followers in the build.

Step 3

MAP the project.

If the project relates to a new or existing build where the application process has been followed, then it should already be included on our Map. If not, it will now be added.

We will now create a site view with a link to take viewers and followers to your property on the map.

Step 4

Add your BRAND.

In partnership with yourselves, we will now ensure your brand is attached to the project. These images, such as the company logo, will subsequently appear on all posts and all material that you sign off prior to it being published.

Add the brands and images you want to see here and promote the project partnership, collaboration and any community links.

Step 5

We’ll create the first POST with links to your PROJECT.

The first introductory post will tell viewers about the project. We’ll do all the work and we will inform you at all stages.

If the project is to tell people about a build, then we would suggest this includes all content that will help promote the build and the organisations involved, the developer, the architect and the contractor. Let’s include those great artist’s impressions as well.

Step 6

Publish through all appropriate channels.

You’ll be given complete digital access to all content via the YourPlaceYourSpace unique Community Workspace, so you can be involved as much or as little as you wish in the creation of posts.

Once you’re happy, we’ll publish and link the post and article to all social media and direct message accounts for maximum exposure.

We’re now up and running and connected to community!

From here, we can discuss your on-going needs and support your community engagement in whatever way you require. 

All for £650 per annum, we’ll add and create ...

Photos, videos, etc building a huge bank of useful and informative content.

Images and build your gallery with the support of our contributors.

Web and URL links to content of your choice.

Multiple posts to drive social media coverage.

Regular content for inclusion in our e-news.

We can also discuss with you ...

Inviting our community contributors to actively participate.

Opening up photo opportunities and visits for creative contributors to attend.

Engaging our community in surveys, polls and discussions.

There is so much we can offer and so many ways we can engage community.


For further details and discuss your requirements:

Jonathan Bostock, ItsyourBuild co-ordinator for FreeTimePays


t: 0121 410 5520

m: 07432 637322


‘We’re all about connecting People and Community with Place, Construction and great Architecture for maximum Social Impact’

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
30 Jul 2021 - Your Place Your Space

Introducing It's Your Build from Your Place Your Space

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With a combined reach of 100,000, Your Place Your Space manages a unique digital space and portal for people to promote and share their passion for their Place..

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and promote yourselves and your passion for your Place!


It's Your Build is a Community of Passion that utilises Your Place Your Space digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

It's Your Build is a digital space for people who are passionate about construction and regeneration and want to do whatever they can to promote their passion.

At It's Your Build, we help connect people where passions are shared; we give people FREE access to their very own digital space where they can promote their passion; and we recognise people for the contributions they make through the allocation of Passion Points. Interested? Connect with us HERE.

The reach of Your Place Your Space is huge and is growing with Communities of Passion being rolled out across the UK. 

Companies and organisations keen to support People with Passion play an essential role and we have a range of partnership, sponsorship and advertising packages available.

We can even go as far as to set groups and networks up with their own portal so they can grow their own branded Community of Passion linked to their own website or social media account.

View our Partnership arrangements or connect with us HERE.

Now let's show you what you get with FreeTimePays. 

Your Place Your Space

Your Place Your Space is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

Your Place Your Space is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With Your Place Your Space, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

There are three components to the Your Place Your Space offer.

There’s Community Passport, Community Workspace and Community Matchmaker. Operating right across the platform in recognition of the valuable contribution being made by users is Your Place Your Space gamification. This takes the form of points and rewards for passions shared.

Your Place Your Space is here for people who really want to become involved in their community or with their particular passion and for those people who are really serious about making a difference. It’s our job at Your Place Your Space to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the great ideas with those who have the potential to turn an idea into something that really does make a difference.

Community Passport

Passport is a personal space which registered members can make their own. With a passport, members can choose to get involved with their passion and participate in many different ways.

They can view regular content and posts; sort and save this content by type or by passion; they can collect points for giving their views through polls and surveys, attend events or even join a discussion.

With a Your Place Your Space Community Passport, members can follow inspiring people and they can learn more about their community and their passion by following regular ‘Did you Know’ features. And the more they decide to do and the more they get involved, the more points they collect and the greater the opportunity to take up offers and win prizes.

Community Workspace

With their unique Community Workspace, Your Place Your Space is able to help those who are inspired and serious about taking things to the next level. Your Place Your Space will give these people their own access rights environment where they can work on their idea or project.

In this digital space they can work alone, or bring in others to share in building evidence, acquiring knowledge and developing plans. This is the ideal space for working on the business; working on the idea; working on the initiative.

A range of facilities and tools can be found in workspace and users can effectively utilise this space for collating documents, photos, videos and web links, for opening up discussion and chat with others, or for running surveys and analysing results.

Community Matchmaker

The whole focus and rationale for Your Place Your Space is making a difference. It’s our job at YourPlaceYourSpace to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the great ideas with those who have the potential to turn an idea into something that really does make a difference.

Matchmaker is where the dreamers can join with the dream makers – with those who are more than happy to put their support, their resources, their connections, and their wealth of experience behind the idea and behind the passionate people responsible for coming up with the idea.

These are the community drivers, the investors, the philanthropists, the funders of great initiatives, the Lottery, and those from local government and the public sector who are responsible for the provision of public services.

These are the people and the organisations who are in positions of making things happen for those who are passionate and inspired to want to make a difference.

For more detail on what is provided by YourPlaceYourSpace connect HERE.

It's Your Build

It's Your Build will grow as a shared space for the many individuals, communities and businesses that will want to connect and share their passion for construction and regeneration.

Their work, their ideas and their proposals can be pulled together in the one collaborative space giving them access to a huge resource bank for sharing images, documents and web links. 

In this space people can chat in a secure environment if they wish; they can set up and promote events; or they can communicate with any of the Your Place Your Space Communities through creating and submitting posts. 

We would be delighted to tell you more.

Contact Jonathan Bostock at or connect HERE with Your Place Your Space for more information on sharing your passion for construction and regeneration.

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102 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
08 May 2021 - Your Place Your Space

Public art on display in the city centre

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Here is an updated selection of wonderful public art that can be found in and across Birmingham's city centre.  This post has been prepared for your enjoyment with the help of our community of contributors who love their art. 


Enjoy with us some of wonderful public art on display in and across the city centre.

‘A real Birmingham family’

Designer: Wearing

Cast in bronze, this sculpture depicts two local sisters Roma and Emma Jones, each a single mother with their respective children, son’s Kyan and Shaye. Emma is pregnant with second son Isaac.  

Where? Centenary Square

Photography by Daniel Sturley

Statue of Queen Victoria

Designer: Originally Thomas Brock (recast by William Bloye)

The statue was originally created in 1901 by Thomas Brock but then recast in bronze by William Bloye in 1951.

Where? Victoria Square.

Photography by Daniel Sturley

‘The River and Youth’ locally known as ‘The Floozie in the Jacuzzi’

Designer: Dhruva Mistry

In the upper pool is a female figure representing the life force. At the bottom of the fountain are two smaller figures representing youth.

Where? Victoria Square

Photography by Daniel Sturley

Statue of Thomas Attwood

Designer: Sioban Coppinger

Thomas Attwood was a banker and economist who founded the Birmingham Political Union in 1830. The bronze sculpture was donated to the city in 1993 by Thomas Attwood’s great great granddaughter Mrs Patricia Mitchell.

Where? Chamberlain Square.

Photography by Daniel Sturley


Joseph Chamberlain monument

Designer: John Henry Chamberlain (no relation)

The memorial was erected in gratitude to the public service given by Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914), businessman, councillor, mayor, MP, and statesman.

Where? Chamberlain Square

Photography by Daniel Sturley

'Industry and Genius'

Designer: David Patten

This is a sculptural tribute to John Baskerville, a Birmingham entrepreneur and businessman.

Where? Centenary Square close to Hall of Memory

Photography by Daniel Sturley


Statue of Bishop Charles Gore

Designer: Thomas Archer

Charles Gore was the first Bishop of Birmingham (1905-11)

Where? Cathedral Square

Photography by Daniel Sturley


Tony Hancock plaque and memorial

Designer: Bruce Williams

Although Tony Hancock left Birmingham within a couple of years of his birth, his links with the city are remembered with this plaque made of bronze and glass.

Where? Old Square

Photography by Daniel Sturley


‘The Guardian’ – Birmingham’s Bull

Designer: Laurence Broderick

This 6 tonne sculpture is recorded as the third most photographed landmark in Britain and has been declared one of the world’s top public works of art.

Where? Entrance to the Bullring Shopping Centre

Photography by Daniel Sturley


'The Tree of Life'

Designer: Ciaran Ryan

This memorial honours the victims of World War II bombing raids over Birmingham and is a sculpture of a tree emerging from the ground surmounted by two hands enclosing the world.

Where? St Martin in the Bull Ring.

Photography by Daniel Sturley


'The Copper Tree'

Designer: Wolfgang Buttress

The 44ft tall tree is made from reclaimed copper and was paid for by Bullring Shopping Centre owners Hammerson.

Where? St Martin in the Bull Ring.

Photography by Daniel Sturley


Statue of Horatio Lord Nelson

Designer: Richard Westmacott

This bronze first publicly funded statue was made in 1809 following Nelson’s visit in 1802.

Where? St Martin in the Bull Ring

Photography by Daniel Sturley


‘The Battle of Gods and Giants’

Designer: Roderick Tye

This sculpture was intended to symbolise Birmingham’s struggle to rebuild its centre.

Where? Close to the ICC

Photography by Daniel Sturley


Birmingham pub bombings memorial

Designer: Anuradha Patel

Unveiled exactly 44 years after the attack in Birmingham on 21 November 1974, the sculpture’s ‘leaves’ bear the names of the 21 victims.

Where? Entrance to Grand Central

Photography by Daniel Sturley


Black Sabbath bench

Designer: Tarek Abdelkawi

This steel bench was forged in the city and is inscribed: “Geezer. Ozzy. Tony. Bill. Made in Birmingham 1968”. It was the brainchild of super-fan Mohammed Osam.

Where? Broad Street

Photography by Daniel Sturley


The Chinese Pagoda

Designer: Unknown

This 12 metre high granite Chinese pagoda carved in Fujian and donated to the city by Mr Wing Yip.

Where? Thomas Gardens, Holloway Circus

Photography by Daniel Sturley



Designer: Luke Burton

Crafted in recycled aluminium, stainless steel and titanium, this sculpture emulates diving in a suitable spot by the canal  

Where? The Cube, outside the Mailbox

Photography by Daniel Sturley

For a map of all the above and more go HERE.


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10 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
14 Apr 2021 - Your Place Your Space

Public art across Birmingham - mapped for you

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In and around Birmingham, there is so much great public art to enjoy. 

Explore this map and our feature for just a selection of the wonderful public art on offer.  Use the map to plan where to go or enjoy it with us here.


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10 passion points
Show more