Construction & regeneration
05 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Chamberlain Square from Birmingham Central Library in 2010 to Paradise Birmingham in 2020

A look at the changes in Chamberlain Square over a 10 year period. Starting with what it looked liked in 2010 when Birmingham Central Library was still standing. Through the demolition works in 2016 and construction of 1 & 2 Chamberlain Square from 2017 to 2020. Since lockdown I've not been able to get into town. So my last photo was earlier in March 2020.

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2010

Birmingham Central Library in Chamberlain Square during February 2010. From the John Madin Design Group. Built 1969-74. Known as the Ziggurat. The Chamberlain Memorial has seen all the changes since it was erected in October 1880 in honour of the Mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain. He was also an Member of Parliament. Paradise Forum (behind) would remain open until 2015.

Birmingham Central Library

2015

Paradise Birmingham had put up hoardings around the former Central Library by February 2015. The Library closed in 2013 before the Library of Birmingham opened in Centenary Square during September 2013. Paradise Forum closed was closed forever by January or February 2015. The shops and restaurants etc inside were closed by the end of 2014. Goodby to McDonald's and Wetherspoon's. This was one of the last times you could see the street art called Todo Es Posible by the artist Lucy McLaughlan, before the library was knocked down.

Paradise demolition

2016

Demolition of Birmingham Central Library started in December 2015.

January 2016. The lefthand side of the old library with layers of concrete stripped away.

Paradise demolition

February 2016. Reaching the middle to the righthand side of the old library. More layers of concrete had gone.

Paradise demolition

Several weeks later and they continued to gut the library.

Paradise demolition

March 2016. More chunks of the inner courtyard area being crunched away.

Paradise demolition

May 2016. More and more layers had gone as they would split the library in half. Was better to see from Centenary Square / Centenary Way at the time.

Paradise demolition

If you went a few steps to the right, there was a good view through the split library in half of the new Library of Birmingham.

Paradise Demolition

And if you went up the steps of BM & AG in Chamberlain Square, the view was even better.

Paradise Demolition

June 2016. One month on, and the concrete curtain kept opening wider, and the view of the Library of Birmingham would get better and better.

Paradise Demolition

August 2016. There was a window in the hoardings at Chamberlain Square, and you could look through it at the time. Only a slither of the old library left on the left, just behind the Chamberlain Memorial. Maybe also a bit to the far right.

Paradise Lost

October 2016. Still the bits to the far left and right to knock down by this point. So the demolition of the library wasn't quite finished.

Paradise Birmingham

2017

January 2017. New Years Day 2017 and there was nothing left of the Library. Cranes down before construction began of One Chamberlain Square.

Paradise rises

You could see the new Library of Birmingham from Chamberlain Square, as well as Baskerville House and The Copthorne Hotel.

Paradise rises

March 2017. Early signs of construction of One Chamberlain Square to the right by Carillion.

Paradise rises

May 2017. One Chamberlain Square starts to rise.

Paradise rises

July 2017. Access to Chamberlain Square was blocked off, but you could go around the back of the Council House to get into the Museum & Art Gallery via Eden Place and what was Edmund Street. Chamberlain Square entrance was still open at the time.

Paradise rises

September 2017. One Chamberlain Square continues to rise up, but Chamberlain Square was still closed from Victoria Square.

Paradise rises

November 2017. Chamberlain Square was reopened with the closure of Fletchers Walk, and the opening of Centenary Way to Centenary Square (for the first time in 2 years).

Paradise rises

December 2017. More cladding had gone up about halfway on One Chamberlain Square.

Paradise rises

2018

July 2018. Carillion went bust in January 2018. So construction didn't resume until BAM took over. BAM were also responsible for building Two Chamberlain Square, which was underway by the summer of 2018.

Paradise rises

2019

March 2019. Two Chamberlain Square had reached the top, and the glass cladding was going up. Made some nice reflections of BM & AG and Big Brum from here.

Paradise rises

October 2019. From Victoria Square with the Town Hall, then Two and One Chamberlain Square. Council House to the right. Chamberlain Memorial will all new surroundings.

Paradise rises

A few days later and a walk past Chamberlain Square, with both Two and One Chamberlain Square looking complete.

Paradise rises

2020

February 2020. A nightshot taken after my visit to The BCAG. One Chamberlain Square was now open.

Paradise rises

March 2020. My last photo before the lockdown. Taken at the beginning of the month. Public realm works were underway.

Paradise rises

Since the lockdown started, I have not been able to travel into the City Centre. As you can not go on the bus or train. I don't drive a car, or ride a bike, and it would be too far to walk.

So look out for updates from Daniel or Stephen.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
05 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selly Oak Park on the Late May Bank Holiday Monday

It's been quite warm for quite a while now, and not popping out much on lockdown other than the odd walk. On the Late May Bank Holiday Monday we headed to Selly Oak Park for a walk towards Weoley Castle and back. The grass has been cut here in stripes for social distancing. Went in the morning before it would get too hot. Even found a path along the former route of the Lapal Canal.

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On the 25th May 2020 sometime after 10am in the morning, we started this Late May Bank Holiday Monday walk around Selly Oak Park from Gibbins Road. Was the first time back in Selly Oak in well over 2 months.

The first thing I saw this time was the back of this sculpted wooden bench simply saying Selly Oak Park.

Selly Oak Park

The bench was made in 2011 probably by the local wood sculptor artist Graham Jones. Sadly there was some litter under the bench, including what looks like a bottle?

Selly Oak Park

Already I could see that the grass had been cut into stripes for social distancing.

Selly Oak Park

The sky was a perfect blue, not a cloud in the sky. It hasn't rained all month.

Selly Oak Park

The striped grass was more visible here, with the longer grass not looking as dry as the cut grass.

Selly Oak Park

The playground was closed, although I'm not sure if the tape was broken as a man was inside (not sure if he was a park cleaner or not?). Please stay out of play areas until they are safe enough to reopen again.

Selly Oak Park

Also out of use during lockdown was this tyre slide ride thing.

Selly Oak Park

More cut striped grass for social distancing.

Selly Oak Park

The trees were lush and green, paths leading in different directions.

Selly Oak Park

More social distancing striped grass.

Selly Oak Park

And more, with this young tree.

Selly Oak Park

After checking out the Lapal Canal site again, found this grass path around the side towards the exit we would take to Weoley Castle.

Selly Oak Park

Not many people around at this time of the morning other than the odd walker or runner. Best to get there when it's early and not too hot.

Selly Oak Park

One last look before we took the wooded path to Weoley Castle.

Selly Oak Park

Later coming back from Weoley Castle past the gatehouse.

Selly Oak Park

It was built in 1899 as the park keepers lodge.

Selly Oak Park

There was a bit of thick grass near Gibbins Road, but also some cut grass. What wonderful weather we have been having, but we need some rain!

Selly Oak Park

 

More Birmingham park posts coming soon, so watch this space!

Expect posts from:

  • Old Yardley Park
  • The Vale Village
  • Summerfield Park
  • Daisy Farm Park
  • Cofton Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Civic pride
05 Jun 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, the Black Lives Matter Protest in Centenary Square - 4th June 2020

The early stages of the Black Lives Matter Protest in Centenary Square at about 1630-1700.

A fantastic Brummie rainbow crowd turned up in masks covering stern and angered faces, the event went on for much longer but here is a gallery of photos capturing the build up to what was our great diverse city stating it's long established standpoint on all forms of prejudice.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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30 passion points
People & community
05 Jun 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

#BLMBIRMINGHAM

Stand up Birmingham! Thousands peacefully gathered in the city yesterday from all different communities and backgrounds to show solidarity with those fighting for justice and black lives everywhere.

#BLMBirmingham

 

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Jun 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVED: A Scientific Research Facility & a new University Rail Station!

Approval has been granted today for two major developments over at the University of Birmingham.

Exciting times for the city, and for the region as a whole.

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RAIL: UNIVERSITY STATION - UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
Decision: Approved

Birmingham Interactive Development Map

The new station comes when the existing station currently struggles with over capacity.

It was built in the 1970s as part of the introduction of the Cross-City Line and was designed for accommodate 400,000 passengers per year and, except for some modifications in the 1990s during electrification, it has remained fairly untouched since.

Today, the station is used by approximately 3.48 million passengers per year, with numbers expected to top 7 million passengers by 2043.

To significantly accommodate and meet these increased capacity requirements, a new station is needed, which will now deliver:

  • Enhanced passenger facilities & improved connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists;
  • A new footbridge over the canal linking University of Birmingham campus to the new station;
  • Improved & upgraded amenities (changing rooms/retail etc) and more efficient operation, reducing over-crowding;
  • Wider platforms with longer canopies, lift access & heated waiting rooms;
  • Large public open space improving the approach to the station;
  • A spacious new public realm area linking the existing station to the new entrance which includes pick up/drop off and cycle storage facilities.

The existing station building will not be totally demolished, the exit will be refurbished and incorporated into the project and used to facilitate a safe, fluid passenger flow across the site, as seen below.

No passenger car parking is included in these plans, however, four spaces for staff (including 1 accessible) will be provided and located adjacent to the main entrance.

27 trees will have to be removed as part of plans; to mitigate their loss, 18 are scheduled to be planted within the landscaped public space, with a potential 60 planted to the rear of Platform 2, as seen below. 

EDU: UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM - MOLECULAR SCIENCES, PHASE 1
(University of BirminghamAssociated Architects)
Decision: Approved subject to a section 106 agreement
 
 

Also approved!

This 12,790 sqm modular sciences academic building will comprise of a world class research facility.

The development forms the first phase by the University of Birmingham to create a flagship facility for world class scientific research, with this project specifically delivering flexible science space, with a focus on thematic research.

Part 6/7 storeys tall, the new building will accommodate up to 500-600 people and will primarily focus on chemical, environmental and biomolecular sciences within post-graduate and academic research. 

The School of Chemistry, a team of environmental scientists from the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES), and a postgraduate research student centre will relocate to the site.

A range of specialist lab spaces for Chemistry & GEES research will be incorporated;

  • Synthetic chemistry – fume cupboard intense primary labs;
  • Specialist labs including NMR & MRI, Mass Spec & Chromatography, Laser Labs, Cell Biology etc;
  • Academic and open-plan offices, meeting rooms;
  • Post-Graduate Research Hub

The building will also comprise of lecture, tutorial and research rooms, breakout spaces, Skype rooms, plus waste and containment rooms.

Outside, a new landscaped plaza will be created with significant new tree planting. A new cycle route is also proposed with new covered spaces for a minimum 23 cycles. Three accessible parking bays will be included.

Words by Stephen Giles, with exclusive artists impressions from Associated Architects

 We're also on Instagram. Feel free to follow us at: @Itsyourbirmingham

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
04 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Take the wooded walk in Hillfield Park

Second visit to Hillfield Park in Solihull. This time in mid May 2020. Took a different path around the park this time. Both car parks were closed. Found a wooded walk that takes you from Brick Kiln Lane back towards the path near the stream. Light not too bad on the lake this time.

Related

For the post on my previous walk around Hillfield Park, click this link: Hillfield Park in Monkspath, Solihull

This visit was on Tuesday 12th May 2020.

Starting with the lake at Hillfield Park. There was Canada Geese and Domestic Ducks here.

Hillfield Park

Close up of a pair of Domestic Ducks.

Hillfield Park

The Domestic Ducks later moved to the back of the lake.

Hillfield Park

Now heading up again the path past the car park and playground. Both of which were closed due to the pandemic.

Hillfield Park

Some views of the Hillfield Park Play Area that I wasn't able to get on my first visit. As it was closed, was able to get photos without anyone using the equipment.

Hillfield Park

To the back was a slide and monkey bars. And other equipment that usually children could climb all over (but not now).

Hillfield Park

I'm not sure of the purpose of these blue hoops. Are children supposed to climb through them or something? (before lockdown of course).

Hillfield Park

Saw this clenched fossil sculpture not far from the playground area.

Hillfield Park

From the back you can see the fingers and thumb clenched into a fist.

Hillfield Park

This time I took the path to the left towards Brick Kiln Lane.

Hillfield Park

The paths continues. If people walked near you, we went onto the grass to stay 2 metres apart from them (if possible).

Hillfield Park

The path curves round to the left.

Hillfield Park

There was this football field with goalposts, but not in use.

Hillfield Park

After reaching Brick Kiln Lane, got to a car park where Solihull Council had left the gate closed due to the pandemic concerns. But at the end of the car park was a path through the trees.

Hillfield Park

Most of these wooded paths have the roots of the trees growing into the path, so you have to be careful where you step.

Hillfield Park

Some leaves on the path here. This would have been two paths between a grass verge, but most of the grass has gone from people walking over it so much.

Hillfield Park

I stopped at one point when I saw this painted rock with a smiley face resting on a tree branch. Smile. Hopefully this lockdown won't last for to many more months, but who knows when life will get back to normal?

Hillfield Park

At some points on this walk, you could see the rest of the park down below. The wide open fields in the park, the paths and trees.

Hillfield Park

Getting close to the end, saw this wooden decking on the path.

Hillfield Park

Then there were dirt steps to take you down to the next path below.

Hillfield Park

After this followed the path back into the park, and went around the side of the lake I didn't go around last time. Then just back around the lake to the starting point.

 

Since lockdown, I have discovered two new parks in Solihull I wasn't aware of:

  1. Langley Hall Park
  2. Olton Jubilee Park

Project, photos and posts for those parks coming soon.

Also look out for more Solihull park posts on Dorridge Park and Knowle Park, coming soon.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
03 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A sunny May afternoon at Kings Heath Park on lockdown

This was my first time back to Kings Heath since lockdown came into effect in late March 2020. Since restrictions were eased, we headed for a walk round Highbury Park, before walking to Kings Heath Park. Was so many people out and about enjoying the weather. Sporting activities were going on there. Playground still closed though.

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Back to Kings Heath for the first time in over 2 months since lockdown came into effect. On Thursday 21st May 2020. Lockdown restrictions have been eased, so you can travel a bit further, but can still not use public transport (so went we in the car).

During the Highbury Park walk, we left Highbury Park heading up Dads Lane, going under the Camp Hill line railway bridge and crossing onto Avenue Road. Just a short walk before reaching the Avenue Road entrance to Kings Heath Park.

My May post at Highbury Park is here: A sunny day in May at Highbury Park and Highbury Hall.

The playground near Avenue Road - the Kings Heath Park Play Area was obviously closed due to the pandemic / lockdown. And remains closed even when lockdown restrictions were eased.

Kings Heath Park

Families sitting on the grass, and in front of them I think a family was playing a game of croquet (or something, hard to tell with the trees in the way).

Kings Heath Park

In the pond, saw a moorhen.

Kings Heath Park

The trees around the pond were lush and green and fully grown back after the last winter. The fountains weren't on though.

Kings Heath Park

Saw a Bowling Green on a walk around, and saw some men playing a game of bowls (not sure if they were of the same family or not). What was concerning was the group of men playing football, surely they are not all related and live in the same household? I did not see any security or Police in the park.

Kings Heath Park

More people relaxing on the lawn to the back of the park, some sitting down on the grass. Hopefully socially distancing?

Kings Heath Park

Meanwhile a walk past the TV Garden. All gates were locked, but I took photos through the bars of the gates. Got this old brick wall and gate.

Kings Heath Park

A purple shed and purple flowers. Google Lens says that they are Allium aflatunese. Last went around here 6 years ago (around the TV Garden).

Kings Heath Park

A close up look at the Allium aflatunese purple coloured flowers, in the TV Garden.

Kings Heath Park

Before we left, I wanted to get a phone of this yarn bombing on the fence of the football pitch.

Life is tough but so are we

Kings Heath Park

More Birmingham park posts coming soon, so watch this space!

Expect posts from:

  • Old Yardley Park
  • The Vale Village
  • Summerfield Park
  • Daisy Farm Park
  • Cofton Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Classic Architecture
03 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A tour of Highbury Hall, the home of Joseph Chamberlain from 1880 until 1914

While Highbury Hall is closed now during the pandemic, you can still go for walks around Highbury Park, and get up and close to the back of the hall from the gardens. I last went inside during the September 2018 open day, and then went around Chamberlain's Gardens before leaving the park. Designed by J H Chamberlain (no relation to Joe) and built in 1879. The hall is on Yew Tree Road.

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Highbury Hall

Highbury Hall is located on Yew Tree Road in Moseley (the Moor Green area), and was built as the home of Joseph Chamberlain between 1878 and 1879. Old Joe moved in during 1880 and lived here until his death in 1914. It took it's name from the Highbury area of London where he lived as a child. The architect was John Henry Chamberlain (who was of no relation). The house is a Grade II* listed building, and now run by the Chamberlain Highbury Trust (who took over from Birmingham City Council).

While Highbury Hall is closed during the lockdown / pandemic, they are restoring the house, and there is scaffolding inside, and I saw some to the right from the back of the house.

 

Previous Highbury Hall and Chamberlain family posts here:

Various views of Highbury Hall over the years.

My first full visit to Highbury Park was during December 2009 when the park was covered with snow. I was given advice on Flickr of where to find Highbury Hall from the back.

Highbury Hall

For some reason I only took the photos from the bottom of the hill, so got these big bushes in the way.

Highbury Hall

I also can't remember if there was a path leading all the way up to the hall or not like there is now.

Highbury Hall

The snow was in patches on the hill up to Highbury Hall. Was quite impressive, but didn't see this view in person again for another 9 years (from the back).

Highbury Hall

 

View of Highbury Hall from Yew Tree Road during April 2011. At the time it was still being managed by Birmingham City Council. This is the left hand side view of the house. The main entrance is to the right of here.

Highbury Hall

There is a gate on this side of Highbury Hall but it does not lead to the car park. Usually used for service vehicles and vans.

Highbury Hall

This is the main gated entrance to Highbury Hall. On this visit the gate was locked.

Highbury Hall

At the time the Council ran the hall so all the signs here had Birmingham City Council on them.

Highbury Hall

 

About a month before the Open Day at Highbury Hall in August 2018, had a walk around Highbury Park, then checked out the hall from Yew Tree Road. The gate was open, so I walked up for some views from the car park.

Highbury Hall

View of Highbury Hall from the car park, about a month before the Open Day. There is a blue plaque on he left hand side of the house.

Highbury Hall

The blue plaque unveiled in 1990 by the Birmingham Civic Society reads:

HIGHBURY

Home of

Joseph Chamberlain

Distinguished Statesman and 
Civic Leader

Highbury Hall

That day in August 2018, it was a bit cloudy, but it does look impressive from the car park side.

Highbury Hall

This view of Highbury Hall from Yew Tree Road, as a green City Council van was parked outside to the left.

Highbury Hall

 

From the back of Highbury Hall during the September 2018 open day. There was a small tent up relating to the Open Day to the right.

Highbury Hall

 

Views of Highbury Hall during May 2020. Chamberlain's Gardens are still open to the public, as is the paths to the back of the hall. At the time was some men sunbathing on the lawn.

Highbury Hall

This is probably the best photo I have taken of Highbury Hall from the garden, with a blue sky and not obscured by any other object.

Highbury Hall

Got a nice shadow on the side of Highbury Hall.

Highbury Hall

This view and the light and shadows hitting the hall looked especially nice from the car park. The gate was closed on Yew Tree Road.

Highbury Hall

Also zoomed up to this date stone with the year 1879, the year the building was completed.

Highbury Hall

 

Now for a look around the inside of the hall. These views were during the September 2018 open day.

The Main entrance doors. Volunteers inside to welcome you on your visit to the open day.

Highbury Hall

You can tell immediately that this is a late Victorian house with all the details around the double doors as you head in. Highbury Hall was also used for Weddings.

Highbury Hall

This room had been set up for a presentation by History West Midlands. You could exit the house through the French Windows into the garden at the back. Weddings would also take place in this room (not on the open day of course).

Highbury Hall

The main staircase leading up from the main hall area up to the first floor landing.

Highbury Hall

The first floor landing area

View of the chandellier from the ground floor hall, looking up to the first floor landing.

Highbury Hall

On the first floor landing, which leads to all the bedrooms. On the Open Day, the Trench Choir was preparing for a performance later (that I missed as I left early and headed on to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre that day).

Highbury Hall

On the left was The Remembrance Altar Cloth. Portraits of the male members of the Chamberlain family around the landing. Open doors leads to the bedrooms.

Highbury Hall

On the left hand side of the wall (to the right) was a portrait of Joseph Chamberlain MP by Nestor Cambier.

Highbury Hall

To the right was a portrait of Neville Chamberlain MP as Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1933 (he later served as Prime Minister from 1937 to 1940).

Highbury Hall

The West Room

This room had good views over the formal garden. Was later used as a ward for ten beds and then as a bedroom of the Superintendent in charge of the home for the elderly.

Highbury Hall

There was a pair of chairs and a table in the West Room near the window. Somewhere to sit, or a good spot for looking out of the window at the garden and park.

Highbury Hall

Mr Joe's Room

This room was Joseph Chamberlain's bedroom after he married his second wife Mary. Known as Mr Joe's Room, it was connected to Miss Hilda's Room. It later became a sitting room for Beatrice, the daughter of Joseph.

Highbury Hall

Miss Hilda's Room

This was initially Joseph Chamberlain's bedroom but following his marriage to Mary Endicott, it became the bedroom of Beatrice Chamberlain, Joseph's eldest daughter. It was connected to Mr Joe's room, which became Beatrice's sitting room.

Highbury Hall

I had earlier seen ladies in period WW1 costumes, preparing. They were probably playing Suffragettes. 100 years since women got the vote. World War 1 ended in November 1918 and women got to vote for the first time in a General Election (during December 1918 after the Armistice the month before).

Highbury Hall

The Carnegie Room

This room was designed as the principal master bedroom at Highbury, and was initially occupied by Beatrice Chamberlain, Joseph Chamberlain's eldest daughter. When Joseph Chamberlain married his second wife in 1888, Mary Endicott, this room became Mary's bedroom.

At this end was a table and chairs, the room was refurbished in 1984, so not necessarily the original furniture.

Highbury Hall

When Highbury was used as a hospital, The Carnegie Room was used as a ward with ten beds, and later became a committee room for the managers of the home for the elderly.

A typical Carnegie style bed to the far left hand side of the bedroom. But this was part of the furniture purchased by the Council in 1984 for this room.

Highbury Hall

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of Highbury Hall. Next time we could have a look around Chamberlain's Gardens.

 

For more views from Highbury Park in late May 2020, go to this post here: A sunny day in May at Highbury Park and Highbury Hall.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Jun 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Square: A new 110m tall for Broad Street

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Plans will see the delivery of three new buildings comprising of a 3*, 8-storey Hotel of up to 231 rooms and 440 build to rent (BTR) apartments across two adjoined residential blocks of 35 (110.85m) and 6 storeys.

The redevelopment is being brought forward by 2020 Living Ltd, otherwise known as Taylor Grange Developments, and has been designed by Corstorphine+Wright.

The Square will be introduced into the emerging Broad Street cluster and will provide a new yardstick for community living in the city

A multitude of amenities will be on offer here as part of the BTR package, with secure unprecedented access to top-of-the-range internal and external amenity offerings totalling 1185.8 sqm.

The Hotel will also feature flexible commercial usages, which will likely contain a bar or restaurant on the ground floor.

For residents, however, both residential builds will be adjoined via a shared podium, as seen above and below; amenities will feature a 200m running track within the courtyard, wellbeing facilities, gym & café space, cinema/party room, dining and lounge areas, a crèche, plus work and meeting spaces.

An inner courtyard will provide external green space offering different zones to either work or play. It will become a place to promote wellbeing and healthy activity, whether through exercise regimes or just a place to chill out and relax in the outdoor seating areas.

Fitness stations will be located on the perimeter for those with regimes to maintain. As the project evolves, there will most certainly be opportunities for enhanced fitness offerings here.

CLICK: Right click on the above image for a cleaner view of the picture

Additional private amenity space will be provided within the crown of the 35-storey. It will offer a continuous 6m cantilevered brick colonnade framing a 360-degree roof terrace that will be lit up at night.

WHAT ABOUT THE RESIDENTIAL MIX?

The residential mix will see a total of 46.4% one-bedroom apartments and 53.6% two-bedroom apartments. The entire mix currently includes 204 one (102 1B1P/ 102 1B2P) and 236 two bed (192 2B3P/ 44 2B4P) - totalling 440.

PARKING & ACCESS

Given the sustainable location of the site, only four EV (electric vehicle) bays will be designated for residents. These will be accessed via the hotels under croft.

168 cycle spaces will be available within Building A, where a dedicated cycle workshop will also be provided.

Access into the residential part of the site will be from Ryland Street, with an area of public realm on the corner providing a clear entrance to the ground floor reception.

Access into the Hotel will be directly off Grosvenor Street West with a clear through route linking into the courtyard for shared amenities between residents and guests. 

Designated lay-by space for drop offs will be accessed on Grosvenor Street West.

A total of 7 trees will also be removed to facilitate the development, with 4 being retained. 40 new trees will be planted as part of these new plans.

WHY THIS SITE?

The principle of residential for the site was established back in 2017 through a prior approval application; fortunately, a change of use from offices never materialised, hence this proposal.

Occupied in some quarters, all builds are around 3-4 storeys and are now deemed unsuitable for commercial tenants. These will be demolished should planning consent be granted.

Before & After:

The Public Consultation Period for this proposal ends on July 2nd 2020. Be sure to comment on the application

Words by Stephen Giles, with exclusive artists impressions from Corstorphine+Wright.

To keep up with Birmingham's many developments, follow us on Instagram

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30 passion points
Squares and public spaces
02 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The British Armed Forces over the years in Victoria Square

Over the years, I have seen the British Armed Forces (RAF, Royal Navy or British Army) in Victoria Square for a variety of reasons. For recruitment, for Armed Forces Day, or even for the 100th Anniversary of the forming of the RAF. Click the post below for a gallery of photos. Including various military vehicles that were in the square at the time.

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2011

ABF The Soldiers Charity

This was on the 9th April 2011. The Lord Mayor's Big Curry was also held in Victoria Square this day.

Army Band.

ABF The Soldiers Charity

ABF The Soldiers Charity

JCB

ABF The Soldiers Charity

ABF The Soldiers Charity

ABF The Soldiers Charity

Rapier - a surface-to-air-missle for the British Army and Royal Air Force.

ABF The Soldiers Charity

The Lord Mayor's Big Curry.

ABF The Soldiers Charity

ABF The Soldiers Charity

Armed Forces Day

This was held on the 25th June 2011 in Victoria Square.

Army ambulance.

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day

BBC WM.

Armed Forces Day

Royal Air Force simulator ride.

Armed Forces Day

Iron:Man observes the RAF Reserves.

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day

The Royal Navy.

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day

2014

Join the Army

Army recruitment drive on the 18th January 2014 in Victoria Square.

Army excavator.

British Army

British Army

The Royal Monmouthshre Royal Engineers (Militia).

British Army

Land Rover Defender for the Army. Mobile base of operations.

British Army

British Army

Toyota Hilux with the army recruitment.

British Army

2018

RAF 100

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918 over the August Bank Holiday weekend from the 25th to the 27th August 2018. Although you could see the planes here before it opened on the 24th August 2018.

Typhoon Full Scale Replica.

RAF 100

RAF 100

RAF 100

RAF 100

RAF 100

Supermarine Spitfire Mk1A.

RAF 100

RAF 100

RAF Charity and the Red Arrows (sadly the weather was not good enough that weekend for a Red Arrows flypast).

RAF 100

RAF 100

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
02 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A sunny day in May at Highbury Park and Highbury Hall

The first time back to Highbury Park since lockdown started (and this part of Moseley & Kings Heath). Starting from the Gatehouse near Moor Green Lane, the walk around the back during May 2020, via the gardens of Highbury Hall, before heading to the Dads Lane exit (to walk up to Kings Heath Park and back). Then taking the grass path back to the starting point.

Related

For my last Highbury Park post go to this link here: Highbury Park through the seasons and the years between Kings Heath and Moseley

Thank you Joseph Chamberlain for leaving your estate as open parkland after your death in 1914 for members of the public to enjoy. Also thanks to the Chamberlain Highbury Trust for maintaining Highbury Hall and the park, and hope they can continue to do so.

 

This visit was on Thursday 21st May 2020, in the afternoon.

Highbury Park

Starting at the Gatehouse near Moor Green Lane and Yew Tree Lane we followed the path amongst the trees into the park.

Highbury Park

I found an old bricked pathway surrounded by trees, so took this route. Don't recall going down here before.

Highbury Park

You can imagine this once being part of Joseph Chamberlain's gardens with colourful flowers, but it now just has green trees, shrubs and bushes.

Highbury Park

Back onto the main path heading past the Long Pond.

Highbury Park

Took a side path round the back of the Long Pond. Was some baby ducklings in there! How cute.

Highbury Park

There was a lot of long grass, especially where cow parsley was growing, but most of the lawns were cut short.

Highbury Park

Now on the path towards Dads Lane. But there was a lot of litter on the ground near the bin. Can people either take their litter home, or properly bin their waste? I also noticed that the car park near the Dads Lane entrance was in use.

Highbury Park

At the Dads Lane exit / entrance near Shutlock Lane before the walk towards Kings Heath Park. The gate was open here as the car park was open.

Highbury Park

After returning from Kings Heath Park, wanted to take the fastest route back to the starting point, and noticed this grass path cut amongst the long grass so took it.

Highbury Park

Continuing along the grass path back towards the Gatehouse. The park looks lovely this time of year.

Highbury Park

Highbury Hall

During the lockdown / pandemic, Highbury Hall has been closed. But Chamberlain's Gardens from Highbury Park was open, so we had a walk round to the back of the house. Saw some people sunbathing on the lawn!

Highbury Hall

The hall looks to be in good condition here, although the hall is being restored inside at the time. The hall was built in 1878-79 for Joseph Chamberlain.

Highbury Hall

Heading round to the left side of Highbury Hall. Got a nice shadow on this side.

Highbury Hall

The main entrance of Highbury Hall. The car park was empty and the gate locked.

Highbury Hall

Zoomed up to this stone with the 1879 date from when it was first built.

Highbury Hall

But I remembered that Highbury Hall had scaffolding and didn't see any until I zoomed towards the right side of the hall.

Highbury Hall

Some of my photos from the September 2018 Open Day are in this post: Inspirational day at Highbury Hall - well done Trustees and Volunteers of Chamberlain Highbury Trust!

Chamberlain's Gardens

Now for a look around Chamberlain's Gardens at Highbury Park & Hall. I was last around here during the September 2018 Open Day (see the Highbury Park gallery for those photos).

Head through these triangular sticks towards Highbury Hall.

Chamberlain's Gardens

Found a bog with algae on it, and a robin (before it flew away!).

Chamberlain's Gardens

The footbridge towards Highbury Hall.

Chamberlain's Gardens

After a look again at the back of Highbury Hall, taking a path back into the park. This tree had fallen over. Also got to be careful with the roots of trees sticking out of some paths.

Chamberlain's Gardens

The trees continue as there was a fence around the site of Chamberlain House.

Chamberlain's Gardens

Children were playing with their parents in these woods near Highbury Hall.

Chamberlain's Gardens

Trees lining the fence near Chamberlain House.

Chamberlain's Gardens

Got to this area with yarn bombing around trees and multicoloured bunting.

Chamberlain's Gardens

Some of these yarn bombing looked like spider webs or dartboards!

Chamberlain's Gardens

Heading back through the Vegetable Garden then back into Highbury Park.

Chamberlain's Gardens

If we can't get to stately homes in the Shire counties and their wonderful parks and gardens, then we can still get to the local parks that were formerly estates with a house (without going into the house of course).

 

More Birmingham park posts coming soon, so watch this space!

Expect posts from:

  • Old Yardley Park
  • The Vale Village
  • Summerfield Park
  • Daisy Farm Park
  • Cofton Park

 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

 

 

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80 passion points
Environment & green action
01 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The ford on Green Road in the Shire Country Park

There is a ford on Green Road in Hall Green where the River Cole crosses it in the Shire Country Park. On foot you would pass it at the shallow ends from the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground into the Greet Mill Meadow. There is a bridge for pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists to use. Cars drive through the river. Sometimes gets flooded in heavy rain.

Related

On the Millstream Way in the Shire Country Park is a ford at Green Road in Hall Green, Birmingham. The River Cole flows through the road, and usually cars drive through it when the water levels are low. There is a footbridge for pedestrians to use, also for dog walkers and cyclists. People with wellies walk into the river as there is a path into the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground. For other people who don't want their clothes and shoes to get wet, there is the dry path. One end of the ford is near the Greet Mill Meadow, a walk which leads to the Stratford Road at the Sparkhill / Springfield border.

2009

The first time I walked into the Shire Country Park was in April 2009, when I started taking photos around Birmingham. I got these photos of the River Cole at the Green Road ford. There is a measuring stick showing how high the water is getting.

Green Road ford

The footbridge is on the left on Green Road, close to the Greet Mill Meadow entrance.

Green Road ford

The River Cole flows into Green Road from the Greet Mill Meadow and continues onto Sarehole Mill and Cole Bank Road.

Green Road ford

2018

The next time I walked to the ford at Green Road was during March 2018. This was after the recent rain or snow, so I expected the river level of the Cole to be higher. After all there is always news about a car getting stuck in the river, or under the bridge! This is on the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground side.

Green Road ford

The stick was showing it was only 1 foot high at this point (the water level of the River Cole).

Green Road ford

There was some men standing on the bridge, but other than that the River Cole seemed shallow and passable at the time.

Green Road ford

In the middle of Green Road, you can see how shallow the River Cole was, but best to get onto the pavement before a car comes

Green Road ford

Personally I would think it would be best to drive on Cole Bank Road or Stratford Road, rather than take your car through the ford, especially if the river level is too high.

Green Road ford

The other side of the River Cole in the Greet Mill Meadow, looked quite high on this side, compared to on the road side.

Green Road ford

Saw one car going through, but I didn't get it going through the ford. I think I next walked back to Cole Bank Road along Sarehole Road at the time.

Green Road ford

2020

In February 2020, after popping down to Sarehole Mill for the Bakehouse open day during Storm Dennis, I walked into the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground, while it was wet and raining and headed to check out the ford on Green Road.

Green Road ford

The ford wasn't as flooded as I expected it to be, but was too unsafe for cars to drive through it that day.

Green Road ford

From this side on the footbridge, the water levels were looking a bit high.

Green Road ford

The view of the River Cole towards the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground. Definetely not worth driving your car into this during a storm!

Green Road ford

The Ford warning sign said: CAUTION DO NOT CROSS.

Green Road ford

A close up of the Ford sign with CAUTION DO NOT CROSS.

Green Road ford

I also saw a man walking his dog while he stopped to let his dog have a drink in the Cole. After this, I walked back to Cole Bank Road along Sarehole Road.

Green Road ford

Now on lockdown in April 2020. We walked from the Sarehole Mill Car Park, and we found this path between the River Cole and Coldbath Brook. It leads towards the ford on Green Road.

Green Road ford

You can see the footbridge on Green Road, but without wellies, and not wanting to get my shoes or jeans wet, turned back and got onto the main path in the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground Instead (via the Sarehole Mill Car Park).

Green Road ford

For the first time, I managed to get a photo of a car driving through the ford on Green Road, giving off a bit of a splash!

Green Road ford

Also saw a cyclist on Green Road, and near Sarehole Road. I would assume that he went into the Greet Mill Meadow.

Green Road ford

Saw this sign, Try your brakes. We headed up Green Road to Wake Green Road to get into the Moseley Bog for a daily walk on lockdown.

Green Road ford

One last look at the ford. It was registering as about half a foot, or less.

Green Road ford

One month on as lockdown restrictions have been eased. It's now May 2020. And we had come back from a walk in the Greet Mill Meadow. Caught this car driving through the ford on Green Road, with a spectacular splash through the River Cole! Just had to go back into the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground and we would be back in Sarehole Mill Car Park.

Green Road ford

Over the coming months there will be more posts from around the Shire Country Park, so watch this space. Also check out the gallery for the photos.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

 

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
01 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The historic 18th Century Leasowes Park in Halesowen

There is a large park near Halesowen called Leasowes Park, close to Lapal in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley. The Dudley No 2 Canal passes through the park. Although sections needs restoring. Designed by the poet William Shenstone between 1743 and 1763. The landscape ranks in importance along with Blenheim and Stowe. Halesowen Golf Club is based in this wonderful park.

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Leasowes Park

My visit to Leasowes Park in Halesowen was during February 2018. Depending on which bus I got via Quinton in Birmingham, I would have got off near the eastern end of the park, but later got another bus back from the western end. I would have got the 11C to Bearwood, and waited for a 9 or X10 on Hagley Road West (opposite Lightwoods Park) towards Halesowen. I think I ended up getting a 9 to Leasowes Park, and later an X10 back into Birmingham.

 

Now for some history (taken from Wikipedia). The park, also known as The Leasowes, was and estate in Halesowen, now in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, but historically in the county of Shropshire. It contained a house and gardens. It is the home of Halesowen Golf Club and is a Grade I listed park on English Heritage's Register of Parks and Gardens.

The parkland was designed by the 18th century poet William Shenstone between 1743 and 1763. After Shenstone's death in 1763, the house and gardens were taken over by Edward Horne, who demolished Shenstone's house and built a new one on the same site in 1776. There was also a walled garden. Future US Presidents Adams and Jefferson visited The Leasowes in 1786.

The property was sold in 1789 to Major Francis Halliday who made major changes to the house and parkland. He died in 1794 and Edward Butler Hartopp became the owner of the estate in 1795. Until it transferred to Charles Hamilton in 1800. Then in 1807 it passed into the hands of Matthias Attwood. But by the 1820s the park was in a state of ruin and desolation.

The Anstey College of Physical Education was housed here between 1897 and 1907. Halesowen Golf Club bought part of the site in 1906. Halesowen Council bought The Leasowes in 1934 (since taken over by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council). Since then the estate has been managed as a public park, with part of the site leased to the golf club.

 

OK, now it's time to go back to my February 2018 visit to Leasowes Park. I would have probably got off the no 9 bus on Manor Lane, then walked up Kent Road, until I entered the park at this gate.

Leasowes Park

A Leasowes Park noticeboard. Not too readable with this glass on top of it, or it might have been the light from the sunshine.

Leasowes Park

Heading along a muddy path past the trees and the fences.

Leasowes Park

From the path at the top, there was some good views towards Halesowen Town Centre.

Leasowes Park

And beyond Halesowen Town Centre was the Hagley Obelisk to the far right (on the top of the distant field).

Leasowes Park

Zoom in to the Hagley Obelisk. Which is Grade II* listed. It is ¾ of a mile from Hagley Hall. Dates to the mid 18th century and made for George, First Lord Lyttleton, of sandstone ashlar.

Leasowes Park

I got to these steps which would take me down to the next level of the park.

Leasowes Park

The steps heads sharply down the hill.  There is other paths to get down there if you don't fancy using these steps.

Leasowes Park

It was a nice sunny day in February, as the path winds around past the trees.

Leasowes Park

A reminder that a golf club is nearby.

BEWARE DANGER FLYING GOLF BALLS

Leasowes Park

At Halesowen Golf Club a yellow flag pole in one of the golf holes on the golf course.

Leasowes Park

The first look at the Beechwater Pool. There is more lakes to see in this landscape.

Leasowes Park

There was streams leading to Beechwater Pool. As a lady walks her dog on the path to the left.

Leasowes Park

A stunning view of Beechwater Pool

Leasowes Park

Now a blue flag pole at Halesowen Golf Club.

Leasowes Park

One of the entrances to Halesowen Golf Club.

Leasowes Park

Passing the golf clubhouse known as The Leasowes. Dudley MBC have placed a blue plaque here for William Shenstone. The house is Grade I listed in the Queen Anne style. Built of Stucco with three bays and two storeys. William Shenstone was born here (in 1714) but not necessarily in this house (if this was the rebuilt house of 1776 and the old one knocked down after Shenstone's death by Horne).

Leasowes Park

Walking past the clubhouse. This way to the Professional's Shop and Locker Rooms.

Leasowes Park

The walk continues through Halesowen Golf Club.

Leasowes Park

A sign about the restoration of the Walled Garden in The Leasowes. News from 2015 onwards. A group of volunteers have taken to restore the walled garden after years of neglect and vandalism (since 2014). Hopefully it is fully restored by now, but they welcome donations to help with the restoration. Good luck.

Leasowes Park

Onto the next lake (or pond). This one isn't named.

Leasowes Park

Now heading towards the Priory Pool. This is also known as the Breaches Pool.

Leasowes Park

A pair of swans in the Priory Pool (Breaches Pool).

Leasowes Park

The Priory Pool (Breaches Pool) looks lovely here.

Leasowes Park

Saw a domestic duck in the Priory Pool (Breaches Pool).

Leasowes Park

A climbing frame for children, part of the playground / Play Area. Kids can climb up the roped net and over the wooden logs.

Leasowes Park

A look at The Leasowe Play Area. Back when it was fine to use playgrounds. One day it will be safe to use them again in the future. It was close to the Leasowes Lane Car Park.

Leasowes Park

Getting close to the Dudley No 2 Canal, also known as the Lapal Canal. This sign with information about the Lapal Canal Trust. Who are trying to restore the canal from Halesowen to Selly Oak.

Leasowes Park

Just before I left the park, a quick look at the Dudley No 2 Canal near the car park. Then exiting onto Mucklow Hill. Where I would catch the X10 bus back into Birmingham.

Leasowes Park

The Lapal Canal near Mucklow Hill. The section at this end needs restoring through a tunnel near an industrial estate. But the canal beyond here is in use though. It's just the section from The Leasowes to Selly Oak that has to be restored, and this will take years to get it reconnected to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

Leasowes Park

Look out for more park posts coming soon in the not too distant future around the Black Country including:

  • Priory Park, Dudley
  • Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich
  • Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge
  • West Park, Wolverhampton

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
01 Jun 2020 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

Love our parks - get involved!

As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.

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Over the next month and for the remainder of 2020, we will be growing our reach and pull together information and details on all the great work being carried out across communities as they collectively protect their parks.  

This will grow into a massive 'community-led' resource for people with a shared interest and passion for their local parks and green spaces.  

Here's just a few of the ideas and initiatives we will be telling you more about so we can share and get more people actively involved.

Litter picking groups - they do a fantastic job.  We'll connect you with your local group.

Art & Culture Trail.  We'll help you set up your trail and showcase your parks.

Walking clubs. We'll connect you and bring in more friends.

Park angels.  Volunteering with a difference.  We'll tell you more.

Creativity and green spaces collide.  Let's look at how art, music, photography and creativity in all its forms can help promote and protect our parks. 

Parks and mental health.  A walk, ride or jog in the park can do so much for your mental health.

There's something for everyone.

Connect with us and help us protect our parks. 

 

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60 passion points
People & community
01 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham - past, present and future in our 'Did You Know' feature

During the lockdown, we've made some great new friends with people who love this City.

For the rest of 2020 and with our growing community at Birmingham We Are, we'll be taking a close look at this amazing city - its' past, its' future, its' heritage and its' culture.

Enjoy!

 

Jonathan Bostock

Related

With our community, we'll be looking at current day Birmingham as well as the future and the past. All our 'Did you Know' posts will be shared via our community platform at www.BirminghamWeAre.net and www.CultureWithYOU.net.

In this, the launch post for our 'Did you Know' feature, we take a look at some great Birmingham Gems, present, past and future.  In advance, we would like to thank Daniel Sturley and Elliott Brown for the photography we have included and the architects associated with the artists impressions and developments we have referenced. 

The city has so much to offer and it can't wait to fully open its' doors again but only when its' safe to do so!  

Architecture

There's some amazing modern architecture that nestles perfectly alongside Birmingham's fascinating history.

The Cube and Hyatt Birmingham.

Selfridges and St Martin's Church.

Paradise Birmingham and Snowhill.

Hall of Memory and Library of Birmingham.

Love your architecture?  Don’t worry, we’ll be featuring so much more over the months to come at www.architectureAndUs.com

Historic builds

Some of the older stunning Birmingham builds are getting ready to open their magnificent doors again.

Grand Hotel in Birmingham.

Municipal Bank in Birmingham.

Even some of the more recent builds are receiving a makeover.

Symphony Hall in Birmingham.

Love your historic builds? Don’t worry, we’ll be featuring so much more over the months to come

Squares and public spaces

There’s Birmingham’s wonderful squares protected for everyone to enjoy.  

Oozells Square in Birmingham.

Chamberlain Square in Birmingham.

Centenary Square in Birmingham.

Victoria Square in Birmingham.

Love your public squares?  Don’t worry, we’ll be featuring more over the months to come.

Canals

With an amazing network of canals, all the City’s gems can be explored on a walk or a cycle ride.

Canal at Brindleyplace

Canal at Gas Street Basin

BIRMINGHAM - Into the future

With many developments and new builds well underway, approved or proposed, we're certainly going to see the city's landscape continue to change in a very big way.

103 COLMORE ROW

103 Colmore Row, due for completion in 2021, is a Sterling Property Ventures & Tristan Capital Partners development currently being built by BAM Construction. At 26 floors, it will be the tallest office build outside of London and is due to be completed early in 2021.

Follow this major build HERE with regular updates and photo galleries from Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build. 

Artists impression by Doone Silver Kerr Architects.  

ARENA CENTRAL

The vast development at Arena Central, now with Kier Property, covers 1.2 million sq ft of mixed-use property and is an integral part of Birmingham City Council's Big City Plan with building work set to continue over the next 6 years as plots are completed.  

Image credit: Arena Central and Kier Property

Follow this major development HERE with regular updates and photo galleries from Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build.

Arena Central (April 2020)

 

THE MERCIAN

The Mercian, a 42 storey mixed-use development on Broad Street from MODA Living and Apache Capital Partners is due for completion in June 2022. The Mercian has been designed by Glenn Howells Archtects, with John Sisk & Son currently building it.

Artists impression of The Mercian.

Follow this major development HERE with regular updates and photo galleries from Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build.

The Mercian (April 2020)

 

ONE EASTSIDE

On the opposite side of the City, we have One Eastside which will be one the largest of all skyscrapers in Birmingham at 51 storeys, taller than the BT Tower. It is the brainchild of Court Collaboration and architects Glancy Nicholls.  

Follow this major development HERE with regular updates and photo galleries from Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build.

Artists impression of One Eastside

And looking further into the future, two huge developments are planned for the City, one on the Smithfields site and another at Martineau Galleries.

 

MARTINEAU GALLERIES

This development from Hammerson with architects Glenn Howells will completely transform the Dale End area of Birmingham into a new neighbourhood, creating a vibrant mixed-use destination and a new gateway to the city from the planned Curzon Street station.

Follow this major development HERE with regular updates and photo galleries from Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build.

Plan credit: Hammerson and Glenn Howells

BIRMINGHAM SMITHFIELD

Birmingham Smithfield is a £1.5 billion redevelopment project that will continue to position the city on an international stage. Lendlease will form a contractual joint venture with the city council and lead the creation of an urban quarter that will include a new home for the city’s historic Bull Ring retail markets, a unique family destination including a leisure and cultural offer, a new public square, integrated public transport and more than 2,000 homes with a public park and community facilities.

Follow this major development HERE with regular updates and photo galleries from Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build.

Indicative artists impression of Birmingham Smithfield.

HS2 AND CURZON STREET STATION

To complete our look into the future, let's conclude with HS2 and what has been described will become one of the most environmentally friendly stations in the world, Curzon Street Station

Follow this major development HERE with regular updates and photo galleries from Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build.

Artists impressions from Grimshaw Architects

Of course ahead of all of this is the Commonwealth Games, which, in 2022, gives Birmingham and the region a great opportunity to show the world what it has to offer. So much to look forward to in the years to come!

Finally, a quick look back (way back) in history 

Although Birmingham is a relatively new city having only acquired its' city status in 1889, records go back much further and tell us more about the people that inhabited the place we are proud to call our City, Birmingham.

We can tell you about Beorma in the 7th century and the Anglo-Saxon connection with Birmingham. We can take you back to the 12th century and share a lot about a certain Peter de Birmingham, an entrepreneur with considerable vision and Lord of the Manor of Birmingham. We can tell you why the 'golden men' made such an impact on the City and how Tolkien got the inspiration for the Hobbit during his time in Birmingham.  We will explain why the city and the people of Birmingham owe so much to the Cadbury family. And, of course, we will look back at the times of the now (world famous) Peaky Blinders.

Through posts, images and video, and with contributions from our great people with passion, over the months we will share with you the wonders of Birmingham.

Follow us.

Make sure you don't miss a thing.  Register here as a follower and we'll keep you posted.

Join our community

We'd love to add you to our growing community of people with passion who want to make a difference. Register here and we'll set you up as a contributor so you can share your passion for your city and community.  All free!

Acknowledgements:

We would like to thanks Daniel Sturley and Elliott Brown for the photography. Credit goes to the architects and developers associated with the artists impressions of the builds and developments we have referenced in this article. 

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
31 May 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Paradise: Transformation of the Public Realm

Earlier in the week we posted a little update on our Instagram showcasing the current progress acoss the civic heart of Birmingham: Chamberlain Square.

Public realm works continue across the site and it is of the highest quality!

Related

New lighting has appeared on Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG), with new paving continuing near the Town Hall.

Next on the agenda will see the restoration and refurbishment of the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial.

Photos by Reiss Gordon-Henry (IYB)

Instagram post: @Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
28 May 2020 - FreeTimePays
Inspiration

Lockdown Photography Competition with UB40

https://www.youtube.com/embed/j7LL-UQh9no

With so many entyries, this competition with great support from UB40 has proved to be a huge success. Final entries need to be in by 31st May 2020.  So whatever has been your experience and greatest memory of the lockdown, send your photography via www.CreativesWeAre.com 

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40 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
27 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Doctor Who, The Big Hoot & Sleuth at The Mailbox and BBC Birmingham

Lets jump in the TARDIS and go back to The Mailbox and BBC Birmingham when it was safe to do so. For many years there has been a Doctor Who TARDIS at BBC Birmingham, and a Dalek. In 2015, The Big Hoot was on. Then in 2017 it was the turn of The Big Sleuth.

Related

Thank you BBC Birmingham / BBC Midlands Today for running a story about the Creatives We Are competition (and using one of my photos on lockdown). Lockdown photo contest to create 'lasting memory'.

If you watch Beccy or Shefali's Insta stories, they are sometimes in the BBC dressing room, and you can see the Birmingham We Are calendar in the background.

DOCTOR WHO

Going back years before our current period when I saw a TARDIS and Dalek from Doctor Who at BBC Birmingham in The Mailbox.

The TARDIS seen in the window of BBC Birmingham from The Mailbox in July 2010. At the time The Doctor was the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant).

Doctor Who

In July 2017, I had to sign a form before I could go around BBC Birmingham, while The Big Sleuth was on with it's Little Bears Detective Club. The TARDIS had been moved by this point. The Doctor by now was The Twelth Doctor (Peter Capaldi).

Doctor Who

There was also a Dalek inside, from around the 9th and 10th Doctor eras (2005 - 2010).

Doctor Who

I'd earlier seen it in the window of BBC Birmingham during May 2017. DO NOT TOUCH THE DALEK.

Doctor Who

Behind was BBC Blue Room. Was a Nando's opposite. EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!!!!

Doctor Who

At the time you could see the Dalek through the window at BBC Birmingham. If you were going on a tour of the Beeb, you could head upstairs for more. For a few years the TARDIS was visible in this window.

Doctor Who at BBC Birmingham

THE BIG HOOT BIRMINGHAM 2015

In July 2015, The Big Hoot owl sculpture trail was on all around Birmingham, and that included in The Mailbox.

Near BBC Birmingham was a Big Hoot Owl called Peacock. By the artist Jane Anderson. The Mailbox was the sponsor.

The Big Hoot

A man was on a saxophone, then some men moved it to the other side closer to the BBC.

The Big Hoot

Two strong men moving the Peacock owl back near BBC Birmingham.

The Big Hoot

Inside the foyer of BBC Birmingham was The Big Hoot's Little Hoot. Five small owls painted by schools. There names were as follows: Chilw-owl, Lileigh, Seasonal Owl, MoMo and The High Five Values. I didn't make a note of who the schools were at the time.

The Big Hoot's Little Hoot

THE BIG SLEUTH BIRMINGHAM 2017

Seen outside of Harvey Nichols in July 2017 was the Peaky Blinders Bear. By the Castle Galleries artist Jon Jones, endorsed by series creator Steven Knight in partnership with Retail BID. The Mailbox was the sponsor.

BY ORDER OF THE PEAKY BLINDERS

The Big Sleuth

On the back of the Peaky Blinders Bear was Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy).

THIS IS OUR CITY ~ THOMAS SHELBY

The Big Sleuth

Bradley's Bear was in the hallway outside of BBC Birmingham (and near the restaurants). While it is a little bear, it was not part of the Little Bears Detective Club. It was designed by Bradley Simpson with thanks to the Retail BID and was brought to life by Donna Newman.

The Big Sleuth

When I went into BBC Birmingham to find The Big Sleuth presents the Little Bear's Detective Club, I had to sign a form when I went in. I found about 7 little bears in total (may have missed one or two?)

Charlie McCheery designed by Kings Heath Primary School.

Little Bears Detective Club

Bear Grylls created by The Oaks Primary School.

Little Bears Detective Club

Totally Tropical Bear created by Wheelers Lane Primary School.

Little Bears Detective Club

The Great Bear created by Colmore Junior School. School sponsored by College of Medical and Dental Science, University of Birmingham.

Little Bears Detective Club

Fox Hollies School Sun Bear created by Fox Hollies School and Performing Arts College.

Little Bears Detective Club

Lulu created by Bishop Challoner Catholic College.

Little Bears Detective Club

Bournville Unwrapped created by Bournville School.

Little Bears Detective Club

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
27 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Breeding Pool and Boating Lake at Cannon Hill Park

Here we look at the main lake in Cannon Hill Park. Starting with the Breeding Pool, we then go onto the main Boating Lake. Usually attracting the usual gulls, geese, swans, ducks etc. The lake closest to The MAC is used as a Boating Lake. In recent years there has been Swan Lake Boats close to The MAC. This replaced the old paddle boats that used to be in the lake until 2016.

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In this post we look at the main lake in Cannon Hill Park. Called the Boating Lake. But at the southern end is the Breeding Pool. This lake runs parallel to the River Rea and Queens Ride. You would find The MAC to the north of the Boating Lake (rebuilt in 2009-10). Swan Lake Boating opened in 2016 along with a Fun Park from Green Space Leisure. Halfway in the middle of the lake is a metal bar which various birds usually perch on (mostly gulls). Paths on both sides for walking, walking your dog, pushing your childs pushchair, running and cycling. Even kids in scooters, or rollerskates or skateboards etc.

 

Breeding Pool

The Breeding Pool in Cannon Hill Park seen during November 2009. It is near the Ornamental Bridge. Mostly gulls at this end at the time.

Breeding Pool

The bridge is Grade II listed and dates to 1875. Made of red bricks and stone dressings.

Breeding Pool

Gulls around the Breeding Pool near the bridge.

Breeding Pool

The bridge leads to the Queens Ride.

Breeding Pool

This view of the Ornamental Bridge if you were coming from the Queens Ride end. There is also a bridge over the River Rea, but just has those painted metal railings. One of the paths from the Rea Valley Route is to the right (leads to Holders Lane Woods).

Breeding Pool

It was foggy / misty at the Breeding Pool during April 2018.

Breeding Pool

Just about see the tree island in the middle of the lake at the time.

Breeding Pool

The ornamental bridge seen during August 2019. Some geese in there at the time.

Breeding Pool

In February 2020, there was a black Great Cormorant in the middle of the bird bars, with a line of gulls either side of it.

Breeding Pool

The Great Cormorant was an unusual site in Cannon Hill Park.

Breeding Pool

But was nice to see a bird that you don't normally see here, other than the usual gulls. There was at least two Great Cormorant there that day.

Breeding Pool

In May 2020 as the lockdown restrictions were eased. Passed the Breeding Pool when I saw a Canada geese family with their newborn babies.

Breeding Pool

So cute! The proud Canada geese parents and their newborn gosling in the Breeding Pool.

Breeding Pool

There was about 7 baby gosling there on the banks of the pool. They will grow fast.

Breeding Pool

View of the Ornamental Bridge towards Queens Ride. Rare for it to be empty like this, but it was in the morning before more people arrived for their daily form of exercise in the park.

Breeding Pool

Boating Lake

In April 2011, and a view up the Boating Lake towards The MAC.

Boating Lake

A pair of Canada geese near the edge of the lake.

Boating Lake

Always loads of Canada geese around here.

Boating Lake

There is a bar in the middle of the lake between the boating side and the Breeding Pool. Usually birds perched on the bars.

Boating Lake

There is paths both sides of the lake to walk or cycle around.

Boating Lake

The MAC was rebuilt in 2009 and reopened in a new building in 2010.

Boating Lake

View of The MAC with the Boating Lake.

The MAC

In January 2013, snow had fallen all over Birmingham and that included at Cannon Hill Park. The Boating Lake near The MAC was completely frozen and covered in snow and ice.

Boating Lake

Even the paths were icy at the time. There may have been birds at the far end of the lake, but not at this end at the time.

Boating Lake

Paddle boat on the Boating Lake in December 2013 as a gull flew past it.

Boating Lake

Swan Boats seen in June 2016. This opened in May 2016 and is called Swan Lake Boating. Close to The MAC. Replaced the old paddle boats that used to be used here.

Swan Boats

Swan paddle boats for four people to paddle about in the lake. It's part of the Fun Park from Green Space Leisure. Small rollercoaster nearby.

Swan Boats

The summer drought during July 2018 when grass all over the City had lost it's green and had gone a dry yellowy colour.

Boating Lake

At the time the Birmingham Thai Festival was being set up on the lawn near the lake. It was held on the weekend of the 28th and 29th July 2018. It hadn't rained for a month and it was quite hot.

Boating Lake

This view of the Swan Boats during May 2019. You can see where they store the orange life jackets behind.

Swan Boats

A pair of Swan Boats seen in use in the Boating Lake during August 2019. Seems like there is room for 4 people were boat and they have to wear orange life jackets.

Swan Boats

In February 2020, I saw all these gulls flying about above the Boating Lake towards The MAC.

Boating Lake

It was quite a sight to see all the gulls flying all over the place. Could even see a floodlight at Edgbaston Cricket Ground behind The MAC.

Boating Lake

Slightly more calm now as the gulls came to land in the lake to the left of The MAC.

Boating Lake

The May 2020 walk past the Boating Lake, while it was quite on lockdown (before the crowds arrived in the morning). The path was empty, and the grass mown.

Boating Lake

Saw another Canada geese family near the lakeside. At least three baby Gosling here. How cute! And some ducks.

Boating Lake

No boats are allowed to be used during lockdown, so just the birds in the lake (and fish if there are any under the water).

Boating Lake

But for your daily form of exercise, you can run or ride a bike (or just walk). The play area near The MAC is of course closed.

Boating Lake

People socially distancing on the benches, while a man rides his bike past the Artists Studios site (was the Peoples Postcode Lottery Arena at The MAC).

Boating Lake

Swan Lake Boating is closed during the pandemic / lockdown period we are in. The boats are 4 seaters. The Peoples Postcode Lottery Arena is being replaced next to The MAC by an Artists Studio

Swan Lake Boating

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Classic Architecture
27 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Blue Coat School from Colmore Row to Edgbaston

Did you know that The Blue Coat School in Birmingham was founded in 1722, and was located at a site on Colmore Row on what is now St Philip's Place from 1724 until 1930 (opposite what was St Philip's Church). They moved to a site in Edgbaston near Harborne on Metchley Lane and Somerset Road. The new buildings were built in the 1930s on the site of what was Harborne Hill House.

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The Blue Coat School

The Birmingham Blue Coat School was founded in 1722, and was originally located at a site on Colmore Row opposite St Philip's Church from 1724 until they moved to a site in Edgbaston (near Harborne) in 1930. The school was founded by Reverend William Higgs, who was a Rector of St Philip's Church (now Birmingham Cathedral). The buildings on the site today are on St Philip's Place and are offices.

In 1930 the school moved to a site on Metchley Lane and Somerset Road in Edgbaston. The new buildings were designed by Henry Walter Simister. Although some elements of the original buildings were moved to the Edgbaston site.

The schools original purpose was to educate children aged 9 to 14 from poor backgrounds. In the early years, 32 boys and 20 girls for educated, clothed and fed there.

The school was rebuilt several times during the 18th century. Mainly between 1792 and 1794. As a four storey neo-Classical building.

In 1930 the new school was planned to be built in Edgbaston, built on what was the site of Harborne Hill House. Statues of a boy and girl in uniform dating to the 1770s were moved to the new school, but placed inside. Copies were made in 1930 and placed in the main entrance porch.

Historical information above taken from The Blue Coat School - History.

 

The Blue Coat School, Colmore Row, Birmingham, watercolour painting by James Billingsley. Topographical view of Birmingham, from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection.

Blue Coat School

Engraving of the Blue Coat School, Birmingham. One of a collection of engravings of local views contained in volume: Wilkinson Collection, Vol.ii.

Blue Coat School

Etching - Entrance to the Blue Coat School, Birmingham by F. Gould. Topographical view of Birmingham, from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection.

Blue Coat School

Public Domain Dedication images free to download from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource.

 

In February 2010, I got photos of the current building from Cathedral Square (or St Philip's Churchyard as I used to call it myself). This was the then home of the the Government Office for the West Midlands at 5 St Philip's Place. This was built in 1935-37 and was the former Prudential Assurance building. Built for the Prudential Assurance Architects' Department. The original architect was P B Chatwin. Built in the Beaux Arts classicism style in Portland stone. Additions by Temple Cox Nicholls from 2002. Information taken from Pevsner Architectural Guides: Birmingham by Andy Foster.

Blue Coat School

There is an old blue plaque at 5 St Philip's Place about the Blue Coat School. It stood on this site of this building from 1724 to 1930. Since removed to Edgbaston.

Blue Coat School

Next door was Hays Recruitment at 4 St Philips Place. This was probably Provost's House. Built with a Cotswold stone front. It replaced a Rectory of 1885 by Osborn & Reading. The rest of the building was by Caroe & Partners in 1950. Rebuilt behind by Temple Cox Nicholls from 1981-82. There is a NatWest bank to the right at Temple Row.

Blue Coat School

Got this photo in December 2010 so I knew what was in 5 St Philip's Place, which at the time was the Government Office for the West Midlands. But the Coalition Government came in May 2010, so this wouldn't last much longer.

Blue Coat School

By April 2011 the Government Office for the West Midlands had moved out of 5 St Philip's Place.

Blue Coat School

The plaque had been removed by this point. Today this building is occupied by Communities and Local Government.

Blue Coat School

 

Time to head over to the Edgbaston / Harborne border.

In May 2018 there was a bus diversion, as Harborne Park Road in Edgbaston was closed, and I took this view of the Blue Coat School from the no 23 bus. One advantage of this site was a playing field for sport, which the old site probably didn't have (unless pupils played sport in what is now Cathedral Square?).

Blue Coat School

The walk up Metchley Lane and Somerset Road past the Blue Coat School. Starting with the School Chapel. It was dated 1932.

Blue Coat School

Above the door as seen from Metchley Lane ws this stone in Latin.

Blue Coat School

AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM MCMXXXII ~ THE GLORY OF THE MAJOREM 1932

Blue Coat School

Above the chapel is this bell tower with cross at the top.

Blue Coat School

This was probably the Gatehouse, on Somerset Road.

Blue Coat School

Onto the main school building built in 1930. Near Somerset Road.

Blue Coat School

Above the middle part of the Blue Coat School was this clock tower and weather vane. Stone dates the school: AD MCMXXX ~ AD 1930.

Blue Coat School

The weather vane on the clock tower has a cockerel sculpture on top.

Blue Coat School

Flag of the Blue Coat School flapping in the wind.

Blue Coat School

Pedestrian Entrance to The Blue Coat School at this gate from Somerset Road. The sign also has the schools badge. It reads: The Blue Coat School Birmingham 1722 * Grow in Grace.

Blue Coat School

Modern 21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
26 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

From the Birmingham Nature Centre to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Located on the Pershore Road in Edgbaston near Cannon Hill Park is the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. This was a rebrand from the former Birmingham Nature Centre in 2014. A name it had since about 1974. Before that it was Birmingham Zoo from 1964 until it closed in 1973. The building used to be the Birmingham Natural History Museum from 1953, until the zoo opened a decade later.

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Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

On the Pershore Road in Edgbaston, is part of Cannon Hill Park that has either been a natural history museum or a zoo. What is now called the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park has had many different names in the past.

The Birmingham Natural History Museum opened in what is now the entrance building (ticket office and shop) in 1953. This was established by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery whose natural history department established a museum on the site. But it didn't last too long. In 1964 the building and the land nearby was turned into the Birmingham Zoo by the Dudley Zoological Society. The zoo suddenly closed in 1973. Only for Birmingham City Council to reopen it as the Birmingham Nature Centre in 1974. It kept this name for 40 years until it was rebranded as the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park in 2014. Which it is still called today.

Some of the information above taken from Birmingham Nature Centre - mapping museums.

The building itself dates back to the 1920s or 1930s when it was originally built as the Birmingham Branch Art Gallery and Museum, at Cannon Hill Park. The building was designed by A Edgerton Leeson. It must have still been open until the early 1950s, when the Natural History Museum replaced it.

It was built on the site of Pebble Mill Farm. Before the farm this was the site of Pebble Mill, which was once a fulling mill. It was a water powered mill that existed from the 16th century. It gave it's name to the Pebble Mill land where the BBC used to be (now developed with new hospitals and a care home). The mill became a blade mill in the 17th century. It was converted to grinding corn in 1842. A dairy farm opened in 1890, with cow fields near the River Rea. The Bourn Brook was diverted at the beginning of the 20th century. The farm was demolished in 1921.

Information above taken from A Brummie's Guide to Birmingham on the Nature Centre.

 

I first took photos of the Birmingham Nature Centre building during the snow of December 2010, from the Pershore Road in Edgbaston.

Birmingham Nature Centre

At the time the Nature Centre might have been closed, although the doors were open.

Birmingham Nature Centre

It still had a sign above the door saying Museum. Probably dating from it's time as a Natural History Museum or before that as an Art Gallery and Museum.

Birmingham Nature Centre

Some close up details of the inter war years museum building, which is now the entrance to what was then the Nature Centre.

Birmingham Nature Centre

There is a set of doric columns at the entrance to the Nature Centre (formerly a museum).

Birmingham Nature Centre

Also a ramp with railings to help people with wheelchairs or pushchairs, or hard of walking get in.

Birmingham Nature Centre

An earlier view of the Nature Centre with a Christmas Tree out front.

Birmingham Nature Centre

A Nature Centre sign / sculpture with all the months of the years.

Birmingham Nature Centre

It also had animals in it's design. The name in the middle has since been covered over with a Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park sign (from 2014 onwards).

Birmingham Nature Centre

The back of the museum building. There is a door here, but it was not open. I would think that there would be a door to the side into the then Nature Centre.

Birmingham Nature Centre

The Queens Ride leads from Cannon Hill Park to the Nature Centre. With the Boy Scouts War Memorial on the left. The fence to the left runs along the site of the Nature Centre. For more on the war memorials of Cannon Hill Park, go to this post: Memorials in Cannon Hill Park . Tyre tracks in the snow from cyclists heading to and from the Pershore Road and the park.

Birmingham Nature Centre

After a look at the entrance building to the Nature Centre, I headed into Cannon Hill Park for a look around the park while it was covered in snow. In the years since, I never got around to paying for a visit around the Nature Centre, but have been back around this area outside many times over the years.

 

In July 2013, I only really got photos of these colourful flower beds outside of the Nature Centre. This one pointing towards Pershore Road and over to Pebble Mill Road (to the far left of here).

Birmingham Nature Centre

This colourful flower bed pointing in the direction of the railings of the Nature Centre with those printed photos of animals.

Birmingham Nature Centre

A pair of flower pots surrounded by logs. On the drive in front of the Nature Centre. The Pershore Road to Selly Park to the left.

Birmingham Nature Centre

Another set of flower pots surrounded by logs close to the roadside. The Pershore Road into Edgbaston and the City Centre to the right of here.

Birmingham Nature Centre

From the Pershore Road, I got this photo through the railings of these emu's (or ostriches). It would be nice one day after lockdown ends, to pay for a visit, or go with a group of other photographers. Anyone up for it when things go back to normal?

Birmingham Nature Centre

Well overgrown as I saw this view of a bridge that crosses the Bourn Brook. It joins up to the River Rea beyond the Nature Centre.

Birmingham Nature Centre

Got some new photos of the Birmingham Nature in August 2014 when it had by this point been renamed to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. Admission Charges to the left and Opening Times to the right. (To date I still haven't paid for a visit around the park).

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

All of these new signs went up outside in the car park for the re-named Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

These signs for the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park points the direction to the car park & main entrance. At the time someone had put put a poster about a Missing Dog. I hope they found their dog at the time (6 years ago now).

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

But have different photos of animals on them. Probably to get young children excited about their visit.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Another one for the Entrance to the Car Park. The gate closes at dusk.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

My only night time photo was from January 2018, as I got off the bus early on the Pershore Road and took this Christmas Tree, while their was Christmas fairy lights on the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Centre. This was just after 5pm in the evening, before a walk up the Pershore Road.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Another view of the bridge over the Bourn Brook from the bridge on the Pershore Road during April 2018. For many years there was flood defence works on this side and on the Pebble Mill side which took years to complete. And one of the paths into Cannon Hill Park, only just reopened.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

During the summer drought in July 2018, grass lawns all over the City had gone from the normal green to a yellow colour. Here the flower beds were looking quite pink at the time. The car park to the park is in the distance to the right. The Pershore Road to the left.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

The other pink flower bed closest to the railings of the Wildlife Conservation Park. By now they had loads of large printed photos of animals for visitors to see before going into the park. The grass was so dry at the time.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Finally in January 2019, I saw this Land Rover Defender parked outside of the entrance of the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. It was from the Park Ranger Service. Could see it from Pebble Mill Road before I walked onto the Pershore Road.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Maybe one day when things are back to normal, someone could organise a group photo visit around the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. Maybe someone at Birmingham We Are, or one of those Facebook groups such as Brumtography. I have no childhood memories of going to the Birmingham Nature when I was little. Could have gone in the 1980s and I remember nothing about it.

But in recent years, I been to London Zoo with my then camera (in 2010) and even went to a Zoo in Lyon, France (2017). I've seen the birds in cages at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Did go to the Birmingham Sealife Centre a couple of times after it opened in the mid 1990s, but didn't have a camera at the time. And only have exterior views from the late 2000s and into the 2010s.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
24 May 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, Cranes Across the City - May Update

Sometimes it's just easier to put the crane on the top of the concrete core, here one atop 103 Colmore Row, see more if this and many other crane photos in this update covering April and May 2020.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport

We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.

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TUI Airways

In 2007 Thomsonfly merged with First Choice Airways and was rebranded to Thomson Airways in 2008. This followed the merger of the travel divisions of TUI Group and First Choice Holidays in September 2007. By 2015 it was announced that TUI would be rebranding all operations to TUI. Thomson Airways changed their legal name to TUI Airways from October 2017.

Thomson / TUI has destinations all over Europe, to the Caribbean and India from Birmingham Airport.

 

In October 2010, while in Park Street Gardens in Eastside, I saw this Thomson Airways plane flying overhead. Back in July 2010, we flew to Verona in Italy for the Lake Garda holiday. But at the time, I didn't take any exteriors of the plane (only photos out of the plane window above the clouds).

Thomson Airways

In June 2012 at the Terminal at Birmingham Airport, heading to get our flight to Naples in Italy.  There was still First Choice branding on the airbridge at the time.

Thomson Airways

Our Thomson plane would be a Boeing 757-200. On both this and the July 2010 flight 2 years earlier, we had an on board meal heated up in the plane. We came back the week later from Naples at night.

Thomson Airways

In June 2014 at the Terminal building in Birmingham Airport, saw this Thomson Airways plane, as we waited to catch our flight to Malaga in Spain with Monarch. I think this was a Boeing 737-800

Thomson Airways

During the August 2014 visit to Blakesley Hall, I saw this plane fly overhead. I think it was Thomson Airways, with their distinctive sky blue livery. (I don't think it was Flybe or KLM).

Thomson Airways

Seen in March 2015 was this Thomson Airways plane (below). Seen from a train as it departed from Birmingham International Station.

Thomson Airways

This Thomson Airways plane was also visible from the train back in October 2016. I had just caught a train from Birmingham International. The airport buses that takes you from the terminal to the steps of the plane (or vice versa) were seen nearby as well.

Thomson Airways

In January 2017, TUI planes were still branded as Thomson at the time. This might have been a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It was seen from a the 966 NXWM Platinum bus.

Thomson Airways

Now onto February 2017 with this Thomson plane. The view from Car Park 5, but a tree was in the way.

Thomson Airways

I first saw a TUI branded plane in June 2017. Was at the Airport while waiting to catch our Flybe flight to Lyon in France.

Thomson Airways

In June 2018, I saw this TUI plane close to the Terminal building, as we headed to catch our flight to Pisa in Italy with Jet2. The airbridge was now being advertised by MG. Birmingham the home of MG

Thomson Airways

The first time I saw a TUI branded plane in flight was in August 2018. This was from the viewing area near the A45 Coventry Road.

Thomson Airways

Get off the bus near the Holiday Inn, then cross at the lights, then walk around the semi circle path until you are in view of the runway.

Thomson Airways

I've only been to this viewing area once, but saw several other planes taking off over the A45. I have loads of memories of coming into land over this end.

Thomson Airways

Now onto November 2018 with this view of a TUI plane, from the the X1 NXWM Platinum bus. The buses have their own semi circle road close to the A45 that leads to the Airport and NEC.

Thomson Airways

My last view from an X1 NXWM Platinum bus was of this pair of TUI planes during August 2019.

Thomson Airways

BONUS THOMSON TUI PHOTOS

At Malaga Airport in Spain during June 2014, I saw this Thomson Airways plane, a Boeing 737-800 at the airport.

Thomson Airways

We were waiting to catch our delayed Monarch flight back to Birmingham (we waited around for hours as was a French Air Traffic Control strike that day).

Thomson Airways

By this point we had got on board our Monarch plane and I got some more views of the Thomson plane.

Thomson Airways

One more view of Thomson as a British Airways plane went behind at Malaga.

Thomson Airways

In June 2017, while waiting to fly back to Birmingham with Flybe, saw this TUI related plane from Jetairfly at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport. They were founded in 2003, but started operations in 2005. They were rebranded to TUI fly Belgium in 2016. Although the plane I saw in 2017 was still branded as Jetairfly.

JetairFly

I think this would have been a view from the terminal building at Lyon Airport of Jetairfly. It has the same tail fin logo as Thomson and TUI.

JetairFly

This view from the Flybe plane as we had just boarded it as Jetairfly was connected to the airbridge. My seat on Flybe was near the wing on the left.

JetairFly

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Staffordshire Hoard Gallery at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

The Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in a field in Staffordshire in 2009 by a metal detector. It is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork to be found. Likely to have been buried in the 7th century, with pieces made in the 6th and 7th centuries. The hoard was purchased by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (Stoke-on-Trent).

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Staffordshire Hoard

In July 2009, Terry Herbert using a metal detector, while searching the area, discovered a hoard of Gold artefacts. Over 5 days he discovered over 244 items. He then contacted the authorities. The landowner Fred Johnson gave permission for excavations to take place on his land to find more.

The first Staffordshire Hoard Gallery opened up at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2009. When it first opened, there was long queues outside of BM & AG going around Chamberlain Square. The first excavation took place at the field on farmland near Hammerwich, Staffordshire in September 2009 by the Birmingham Archaeology and funded by English Heritage. The gallery at BM & AG opened in October 2009 attracting 40,000 people.

The hoard was first displayed at BM & AG from September to October 2009. Parts of it went on display at other galleries including the British Museum (November 2009 to April 2010).  But items were still being displayed in a temporary gallery at BM & AG until they opened permenant gallery from October 2014 onwards.

2012

I was only able to get two photos of the original Staffordshire Hoard Gallery in November 2012. At the time photos in the gallery were not allowed so only got this cardboard cut out of an Anglo-Saxon warrior.

Staffordshire Hoard

Also of this replica Anglo-Saxon warriors helmet. But was told you couldn't take photos in there, so I moved on. Not that I wanted to take the individual items in there at the time.

Staffordshire Hoard

2014

A new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery opened in October 2014, in the gallery that formerly housed the Ancient Greek and Roman collection (below the Ancient Egypt gallery).

Sign on Great Charles Street Queensway advertising the new gallery.

Unearth the story of the Staffordshire Hoard

Staffordshire Hoard

Heading inside BM & AG, I saw another sign pointing the way to the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery.

Staffordshire Hoard

This one welcoming you to the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery.

Staffordshire Hoard

Also this one on the wall saying that the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery was on Level 2.

Staffordshire Hoard

Another sign telling you that you can get a lift to the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery, which is on Level 2.

Staffordshire Hoard

I got the rest of the views of the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery from the Ancient Egypt gallery above. Surrounding the balcony of the gallery is the Frieze of the Mausoleum (it was there long before the Staffordshire Hoard moved in here).

Staffordshire Hoard

In the middle was this tall red object, probably representing an Ancient Anglo-Saxon item.

Staffordshire Hoard

Close up view of that red rectangle sculpture with gold detailing.

Staffordshire Hoard

Questions:

Why did they bury it? Who buried the hoard? When did they bury it? Why did they bury it there?

Staffordshire Hoard

In this area was Sources and techniques.

Staffordshire Hoard

The top of another sectioned off area with pieces of the hoard.

Staffordshire Hoard

Below you can see visitors having a close up look at the Staffordshire Hoard.

Staffordshire Hoard

2018

In November 2018, a Staffordshire Hoard golden helmet replica was unveiled at BM & AG in the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery. I took this photo in zoom in while BBC Midlands Today was making a piece about it, so didn't stick about for long. The original pieces were too fragile to reassemble into a helmet, so two replicas were made (the other one is at the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent). It's the kind of thing that the King of Mercia could have worn before the Kingdom of Mercia was conquered. And they could have been hurriedly broken up into pieces and buried, where they remained until they were found in 2009!

Staffordshire Hoard

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)

Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.

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During a day out to Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, during August 2013, I noticed on my map that there was a Miniature Railway in the gardens to see. So while there I popped over to have a look at it. I didn't pay to go on it myself, but there was a charge of £2 per person (not sure if kids were free or not).

People get to ride up and down on the Miniature Train to and from Boathouse Station.

The Trentham Estate was originally home to Trentham Hall. There had been a house here since the 16th or 17th centuries. But the last house to be built here was by Charles Barry in the 1830s. It would have been fully demolished in the early 20th century, but part of it was demolished, but most of the shell remains. The gardens were designed by Capability Brown in the 1750s. The house and gardens were derelict when St. Modwen Properties purchased the site in 1996. But they restored the gardens and opened them by 2008. There is also a shopping village here.

Now back to the miniature railway.

It would have been open at Easter 2020 holidays (04/04/2020 - 19/04/2020), but assume that the gardens were completely closed during the lockdown / pandemic. Trentham Fern Train Trips this Easter. Tickets would have been: for a Return trip: £2 per person. Return trip with Annual Ticket Holder discount: £1.50 per person. Single trip: £1 person.

 

The photos below were taken during the 11th August 2013.

The tracks are of a narrow gauge. This way to the station.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

Welcome to Boathouse Station. The Railway is open. The fare is £2. Way in to the right.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

Passengers sit on the open carriages as the miniature train goes around the rails.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

The train arriving at Boathouse Station.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

The engine the driver sits on was called Fern. This is also called the Trentham Railway.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

Everybody had got off including the train driver, while it waits at Boathouse Station.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

Near the station the train can only got at a very slow 2 MPH.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

A look further down the line to Boathouse Station.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

Waiting for the next passengers.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

There was also some wooden sheds to the left, maybe they store the train in there?

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

Later saw another passenger load having a ride on the Trentham Railway.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

The train just goes around the track in circles. I think there was only one station.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

The last I saw of it, the train was going around and on to complete the loop with a handful of passengers.

Miniature Railway Trentham Gardens

For another post about another light railway in a park. Have a look at Evesham Vale Light Railway in the Evesham Country Park (August 2014).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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