Environment & green action
16 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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

February 2015

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

Sheldon Country Park

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

Sheldon Country Park

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

Sheldon Country Park

A look at the Westley Brook from a footbridge.

Sheldon Country Park

The footbridge that crosses the Westley Brook.

Sheldon Country Park

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

Old Rectory Farm

One of the horses eating grass.

Old Rectory Farm

Several sheep here as well.

Old Rectory Farm

A pair of sheep.

Old Rectory Farm

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

Old Rectory Farm

Airport viewing area first few visits

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

Airport viewing area

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

Airport viewing area

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

Airport viewing area

Panoramic, was a nice day weather wise.

Airport viewing area

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

Sheldon Country Park train

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

Sheldon Country Park train

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

Sheldon Country Park trains

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

Sheldon Country Park trains

Chinese State Circus

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

Chinese State Circus

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

Chinese State Circus

October 2019

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

Hatchford Brook

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

Hatchford Brook

A footbridge seen crossing the Hatchford Brook.

Hatchford Brook

One side of the Hatchford Brook from the footbridge.

Hatchford Brook

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

Hatchford Brook

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

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

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

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

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

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

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

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

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

Sheldon Country Park Birmingham Airport

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Photography
15 Oct 2019 - Sheena Parry-Davies
Gallery

'10 of the best' great photography taken by People with REAL Passion

Here are our selection of Sheena's '10 of the best' of wonderful photography taken by highly talented  'People with REAL Passion' for Wales. 

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A beautiful morning in Pontypridd.

 

The first day of Autumn (Equinox) Wales.

 

 From Aberporth to Tresaith, Wales.

 

Autumnal explosion Pontypridd.

 

In the misty morning’ Pontypridd.

 

River reflections, Wales.

 

From Aberporth to Tresaith, Wales.

 

Llangrannog Beach, Wales.

 

 Blue skies in Pontypridd.

 

Bright rainbow delight in Pontypridd.

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

Birmingham New Street Station and the Pallasades to Grand Central

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

Related

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Birmingham New Street Station 2010

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

Birmingham New Street Station 2010

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

Birmingham New Street Station 2011

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

Birmingham New Street Station 2012

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

Birmingham New Street Station 2013

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

Birmingham New Street Station 2013

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

Pallasades 2014

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

Pallasades 2014

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

Southside media eye

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

Bullring media eye

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

Stephenson Street media eye

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

Grand Central 2015

Some of the restaurants in Grand Central including Tapas Revolution.

Grand Central 2015

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

Grand Central 2015

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

Birmingham New Street Station 2015

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

Birmingham New Street Statio from the Bullring (October 2015)

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

Hill Street bridge exit 2016

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

Hill Street exit 2017

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

Hill Street bridge 2017

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

Grand Central (May 2017)

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

Grand Central 2018 2019

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

Grand Central mural 2019

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

Trams 32 and 27

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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90 passion points
Photography
15 Oct 2019 - Jenny Burrows
Gallery

Coastal Path Around Camaes Head

A walk along the coastal path from Poppit Sands around Camaes Head and through the nature reserve.

 

 

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30 passion points
Transport
14 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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

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

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses

Bath Bus Company with the Alzheimer's Society.

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses

Southdown with the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses

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

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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0 passion points
Environment & green action
14 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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

December 2018

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

A playground not too far from the hall.

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

Leaving the main entrance from the car park.

Pype Hayes Park

One of the signs for Pype Hayes Park.

Pype Hayes Park

January 2019

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

A pair of swans and various gulls.

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Pype Hayes Park

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

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
13 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Characters from Movies and TV spotted around Birmingham and the West Midlands

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

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Tyseley Locomotive Works

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

Paddington

New Street

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

Predator

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

Alien

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

Iron Man

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

Bumblebee

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

Minion

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

Pikachu and a Minion

High Street

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

Mario

Bullring

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

Shaun the Sheep

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

Optimus Prime

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

Raptors

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

The Stig

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

TMNT

The Mailbox

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

Optimus Prime

Great Charles Street Queensway

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

Wallace & Gromit

Mell Square, Solihull

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

Captain America

MCM Birmingham Comic Con at The NEC

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

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

Bishop

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

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

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

The Stig

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

Captain America Civil War

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

Doc Brown

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

Deadpool

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

Spider-Man

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Sport & leisure
13 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Great Birmingham Run 2019: runners on the Pershore Road in Edgbaston

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

Related

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

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

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

 

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

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

Great Birmingham Run 2019

After this I headed into Calthorpe Park.

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

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

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

Great Birmingham Run 2019 Calthorpe Park

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Oct 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - October 2019

Here's a small gallery of recent photos of the externally completed Two Chamberlain Square. This feature project has photos covering the whole construction process, click 'related' to see the gallery and previous posts.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Oct 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - October 2019

Here's the latest construction photo gallery for Three Arena Central (HMRC), the sub-cladding is complete and the silver final panels will start to appear soon, the building looks very black and dark at the moment but makes for some interesting photos.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Oct 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - September/October 2019

Here's a gallery of photos from September and October so far of the construction of Bank Birmingham Tower Two, with lots of different lighting conditions.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Oct 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of The Mercian - October 2019

There has been a lot of lower structure added to the site of the Mercian, this buils is moving on fast and we can't wait for the tower to start rising, even if it's just the concrete core! More photos in the full post and the feature project's gallery.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Oct 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - October 2019

Here's a few photos of the externally completed One Chamberlain Square from several angles. Don't forget that our gallery for this build has photos of the entire construction from the demolition of the old Central Library onwards, go to 'related' on the post to see the feature project and view the previous posts and the gallery.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Photography
09 Oct 2019 - Jenny Burrows
Gallery

Solva Harbour

Solva Harbour, Pembrokeshire.

 

 

 

 

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20 passion points
Transport
07 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

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

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

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

Defiant

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

5593 Kolhapur

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

5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe

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

7760

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

4965 Rood Ashton Hall

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

7029 Clun Castle

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

9600

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

34053 Sir Keith Park

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

20189

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

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

D1755 / 47773

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

13029

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

D1755 and 13029

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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

Aston Hall and Park in autumn and winter

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

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

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

January 2010

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

Aston Park snow

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

Aston Park snow

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

Aston Park snow

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

Aston Park snow

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

Aston Park snow

December 2016

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

Aston Park

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

Aston Park

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

Aston Park

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

Aston Park

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

Aston Park

September 2017

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

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

Aston Hall and Park

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

Aston Hall and Park

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

Aston Park cricket

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

Aston Hall and Park

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

Aston Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Oct 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

100 Broad Street - a new 61 storey addition planned for the Broad Street cluster

Birmingham is a city experiencing huge change. In the City's Westside, we are calling it the 'Broad Street Cluster' with some massive skyscrapers either planned or already under construction.

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A new 61-storey skyscraper is the next big building on the horizon for Broad Street after plans were revealed recently.

100 Broad Street, brought forward by Yardley-based, Euro Property Investments, will comprise 503 one-and two-bedroom apartments, with a 60th floor Sky Lounge, amenities and commercial units.

Located at the junction of Broad Street and Ryland Street, Centennial House, a disused office building owned by the applicant, will need to be demolished.

Rising to a mammoth 193 metres (633 feet), it's been designed by Jewellery Quarter-based practice, Glancy Nicholls Architects.

Birmingham City Council Planning Officers have intimated that a significant landmark building will be supported on site, subject to design, as the site lies within a location designated for taller ambitions.

No parking provision will be allocated, given that the Midland Metro Tram will service the area in 2021. Secure storage for 250 bikes will be made available instead.

While the design has been inspired by other talls, this proposal is unique for Birmingham - and crucially, it seems the numbers add up!

It's the tallest proposal the city has ever seen, and one which should set a precedent and inspire a new generation of tall buildings and architecture within the city centre.

As pointed out above, the Metro Tram will service the area, an extension that is already paying dividends to the regeneration, not only on Broad Street, but throughout the city, with its cleaner air and vastly improved accessibility.

It supports population and economic growth by linking jobs and people.

It also has the opportunity to perhaps kickstart the first phase of Ladywood's wider redevelopment plan due in the next few years.

With other developments coming forward, all linked via a tram route, the city should become an even more exciting place to live.

THE BUILDING

The building comprises an initial 55 storeys of apartments, with the rest earmarked for amenity, dining & commercial units.

The building will no doubt provide an attractive proposition for those wanting to live in the city.

Indeed, demand for city-centre housing is soaring; roared on by young professionals, and those who fancy a change of lifestyle.

The mix of units will see 224 one and 279 two-bedrooms, with all units available for sale on the open market, with accommodation sizes varying from 55.6 sqm to 80.8 sqm.

THE PAVILION

A two-storey (11m) pavilion will be incorporated into the rear of the site.

With a green roof proposed, it's been designed in a way to respond sympathetically to the nearby housing stock of Ryland Street.

A plethora of amenity offerings will be on offer here, including a gym, work space areas, games room, cinema, and a residents’ lounge with roof terrace – the latter will be accessed through a glazed link bridge.

A designated cycle storage area will be located here and will span both levels.

The materials will, like the tower, be made with an unitised facade system, mixing transparent and opaque panels.

ACTIVE FRONTAGES

The ground floor will boast a triple height lobby that'll be occupied by two commercial units (5,500 sqft) with mezzanine levels. Their entrances will be wholly independent to the residential aspect (see below).

Crucial really, as not only will they complement similar other uses along Broad Street, but they will also offer active frontages that will see the building blend into its surroundings, and enhance the vibrant street furthermore.

'THE CROWN'

Located on the 58th-60th floors lies the jewel in the crown (no pun intended) - the 'Sky Lounge'.

It'll be a publicly accessible bar and restaurant space, with the architect already promoting it as the largest highest-altitude dining experience anywhere in the country.

Gas masks at the ready!

It’ll be accessible from the ground floor lift, right up to the 58th entrance lobby, with the 59th floor offering a full-height bar & the 60th providing space for public and private dining.

EXTERNAL LIGHTING

Birmingham City Council's 'High Places SPD (2003)' requires that tall buildings should be lit by well-designed lighting schemes, and should add to the skyline of the city.

Given that the main pedestrian footpath leads onto a main arterial route, the path will be naturally be illuminated via street lighting, with the added hues of nearby entertainment venues.

The main entrance will be uplit with LED luminaires.

No building mounted feature lighting is currently proposed, but this is subject to change.

Due to the height, an aviation warning lights strategy will also need to be developed in conjunction with Birmingham Airport - a consultee in pre-planning talks.

All external lighting will be dimmable and controllable via photocell and time scheduling.

At the very top, the crown will be illuminated to a low level of ambient lighting which will emit through the open sides.

FACADE

The facade has been inspired by existing builds within the city and others further afield. Each facet of the design has taken a subtle nod from each.

A unitised facade system with titanium frames will take pride of place here, mixing transparent and opaque frosted glass panels. It'll ooze simpleness.

No openable windows are forecast, so the architects have once again incorporated a slot ventilation system into their proposal.

The system allows fresh air in, and fresh air to go out. It will be incorporated into the spandrel panels on the glazing, which have been meticulously designed to minimise the impact on the facade.

Historically, the site was once a well-known brass-works, so the architects will emphasise this with a slim linear articulation design that references the filigree patterns often found in brass-working. 

LANDSCAPING

The site lies immediately adjacent to the proposed ‘Five Ways’ Midland Metro tram
stop - seen below.

Many new trees will be planted and a high-quality public realm implemented, which will, once complete, respond positively to the stop, whilst integrating the scheme into its surroundings.

Eight or so new trees are proposed along the front of the building along Broad Street, with further trees within the external seating area, and off Ryland Street.

EVOLUTION OF THE SCHEME

Through pre-planning discussions, 100 Broad Street has evolved from three buildings, with a pinnacle 40 storey tower, to a 61-storey landmark skyscraper.

The massing of the tower now responds to the relationship between the existing buildings along Broad Street.

It's more simple in form, has more of an impact, with both masses sliding against each other, thus giving the development a more slender appearance - as seen below.

You'll notice that the positioning of the tower has also been delicately positioned. This is to give some enclosure to the adjacent houses on Ryland Street, whilst giving Broad Street an exclusive frontage.

DEMOLITION

All glitzy stuff, but before any of this can materialise, Charter & Centennial House, 34,000 sqft of disused office space, owned by the applicant, will need to be demolished.

All buildings and structures falling within the site have been credited as having no significant heritage value.

Images from Euro Property Investments

SO, WHO ARE EURO PROPERTY INVESTMENTS?

Euro Property Investments Ltd (Epil) operate an extensive property portfolio, with a wide range of glamorous projects undertaken within the UAE and beyond.

On U.K. shores, they've extensive experience in re-purposing and redeveloping sites in urban areas. Within Brum, the company are currently renovating Louisa Ryland House, on Newhall Street, for WeWork.

They are armed to the teeth with affluent Middle Eastern investors, but how this will translate back to the U.K. market and into the regions is anyone's guess.

Given Birmingham's unprecedented investment and construction records, will EPIL's investors make that seamless transition into the U.K. market? Only time will tell.

WHAT NEXT?

The building will go to planning committee soon, possibly towards the end of 2019, with demolition commencing in 2020, before construction in 2021, with a 2024 completion.

Given the exhaustive pre-planning process, this should fly through with approval.

The development will also be subject to a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) sum of over £3.7 million that will be put towards improving key infrastructure within the city.

For the time being, we'll have to play the waiting game.

All images in this article belong to Glancy Nicholls Architects

To keep up with the latest news in and around Birmingham, follow Greater Birmingham Developments on Twitter and on Instagram.

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

Barry Flanagan bronze sculptures at the IKON Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

Barry Flanagan

View towards Cielo Italian.

Barry Flanagan

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

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

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

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

Barry Flanagan

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Oct 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - October 2019

Some early morning shots as the sun came up in this construction photo update, the second crane has been installed this week.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Transport
03 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Southdown bus from the Tyseley Locomotive Works to Tyseley Station

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

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Tyseley Locomotive Works

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

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

Tyseley Station

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

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

Southdown bus

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Photography
02 Oct 2019 - David Clemett
Gallery

'10 of the best' great photography taken by People with REAL Passion

Here are our selection of David's '10 of the best' of wonderful photography taken by highly talented  'People with REAL Passion' for Wales. 

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Sunset at Barry Island.

 

Penarth Pier in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

High tide and moody skies at Barry Island.

 

Western Shelter, Barry Island.

 

Whitmore Bay, Barry Island from the Eastern Shelter.

 

Nell’s Point Barry Island.

 

Whitmore Bay at Barry Island.

 

Beautiful Tenby.

 

Cold Knap in Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Jacksons Bay, Barry Island.

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

Heritage buildings around Handsworth

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

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

 

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

Benson Community School

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

Benson Community School

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

Black Eagle

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

Black Eagle

 

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

Handsworth Library

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

St Michael's Church Handsworth

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

St Michael's Church Handsworth

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

Villa Road Methodist Church

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

St Mary's Church Handsworth

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

St Mary's Church Handsworth

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

Handsworth Park lodge house

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

Handsworth Park lodge house

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

Former St Peter's Church

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

King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys

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

King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Transport
01 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Another NXWM bus in classic cream WM Travel livery

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

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

WM Travel

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

WM Travel

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

 

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Transport
01 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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Soho Benson Road Tram Stop

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

Soho Benson Road

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

Soho Benson Road

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

Soho Benson Road

Winson Green Outer Circle Tram Stop

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

Winson Green Outer Circle

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

Winson Green Outer Circle

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

Winson Green Outer Circle

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

Winson Green Outer Circle

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

Winson Green Outer Circle

Getting closer on the tram bridge, all in blue.

Winson Green Outer Circle

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

Winson Green Outer Circle

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

Corporation Street

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

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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

Handsworth Park the park near where Boulton and Watt are buried

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

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

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

Handsworth Park gates

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

Handsworth Park lodge house

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

Handsworth Park lodge house

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

Handsworth Park Victorian Drinking Fountain

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

Handsworth Park boating lake

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

Handsworth Park boating lake

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

Handsworth Park SS Journey

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

Handsworth Park SS Journey

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

Handsworth Park bench squirrel

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

Handsworth Park Umbrello

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

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

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

 

Handsworth Park The Big Sleuth Sun Guardian

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

Handsworth Park - The Big Sleuth - Wellbeing Bear

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

Handsworth Park - Handsworth Revolution

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

Handsworth Park - Handsworth Wellbeing Centre - Handsworth Playcentre

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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