Construction & regeneration
15 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Birmingham Health Innovation Campus Approved

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Birmingham Health Innovation Campus (BHIC) is set to become a world-leading life sciences campus after a hybrid application was approved by Birmingham City Council.

Full Planning was comprehensively granted for No.1 BHIC, together with outline consent for upcoming plots 2-5.

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Opening in 2023, the first phase will see the delivery of a 130,000 sq ft state-of-the-art office & research development building–positioned to the east of Aston Webb Boulevard and the west of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal–providing a high-quality cluster for health excellence, including biopharma, medtech, precision medicine and genomics.

Designed around the notion of an 'ordered bookshelf, it will become home to the University of Birmingham's Precision Health Technologies Accelerator (PHTA) for start-ups, providing incubation space, wet and dry labs, clean rooms, prototyping and maker space.

This will offer close, direct access to the University's clinical trials ecosystem and research capabilities, and will provide a flawless setting to scale ground-breaking innovations for rapid adoption into the healthcare system.

Support facilities will see a ground floor café space, events and meeting spaces, with a central green parkland & pond, a temporary surface level car park for 258, motorcycle parking for five & outdoor spaces for 60+ cycles.

Pedestrian & cycle links will, too, be formed, alongside the formation of a new spine road connection to the Queen Elizabeth Island roundabout.

BIRMINGHAM HEALTH INNOVATION CAMPUS

The 10-year masterplan is being brought forward between the University of Birmingham, as landowner, and Bruntwood SciTech, in partnership with Birmingham Health Partners (University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust & Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust). 

BHIC will become the regions only dedicated health and life sciences park, providing pioneering facilities within the heart of a cluster of healthcare excellence, bringing together researchers, clinicians, policy makers and industry to rapidly translate scientific and clinical insights into patient benefit and economic growth.

It is projected that up to 10,000 new jobs will be created, alongside the delivery of an extra (Plots 2-5) 700,000 sq ft state-of-the-art lab, office and incubation space acting as a catalyst for the growth of the Midlands’ life sciences sector.

PHASES 2-5

Five new buildings of up to eight storeys are reserved for future phases, with a 1333 space multi-storey car park (MSCP) integrated for good measure.

These builds could well see innovative health and life sciences businesses take up pre-lets or co-locate at the heart of the BHP ecosystem. The potential is enormous.

All images are the property of Sheppard Robson.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Approval For 51 Storey One Eastside

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51-storey (525 ft) One Eastside has been approved again—four months after the previous consent was quashed for failing to mention an objection in its original report.

The landmark Court Collaboration development can finally get underway, subject to a Section 106 legal agreement.

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One Eastside will deliver three builds containing a 2, 16 (51m) & a 51 storey (155.145m) skyscraper on vacant brownfield land at the corner of Jennens Road and James Watt Queensway, comprising 667 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and a two-storey courtyard pavilion.

With its minimalist white fluted appearance, complete with deep reveals & modern yet classic grid design, Glancy Nicholls’ One Eastside design will immediately become the largest structure in the city, conquering top spot and knocking BT Tower (151m) - who’s held that mantle for over fifty years - off its perch and into second.

357 PRS one & 310 two-bedroom open-plan apartments will be provided, with sizes ranging from 38.2-71.36 sqm. Twenty apartments will be allocated for ‘affordable housing’ and these will be available at 20 per cent below local market value in perpetuity.

All three buildings, including the pavilion, will feature a high quality range of residential amenity in the form of co-working spaces, cafe/retail areas, meeting rooms, lounges, roof terrace, residents’ lounge, games room and private dining areas.

An expansive 3,200 square metre landscaped courtyard garden will be positioned between both towers, supporting yet more amenity space.

No car parking provision has been allocated given the location of the development; however, this will be mitigated with 132 secure cycle spaces.

The development was not without its objections. LaSalle Investment & The Victorian Society, once again, objected on the basis that the site would diminish key heritage buildings such as Curzon Street station, Methodist Central Hall and Victoria Law Courts - despite the former funding a building next door that dwarfs most of these.

Planning officers, recommending the scheme for approval before the committee meeting, accepted that, yes, a 51 storey would naturally harm one's surroundings but, with full objections & worries fully assessed, the substantial wider public benefits were considered to outweigh the harm from any such impacts.

PAVILION GYM: To be constructed in a ceramic green gloss metal with transparent and opaque glass.

One Eastside was approved 12-0.

All images are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects & Fira Landscape.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Green open spaces
14 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Daffodils to the left of the main path.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

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

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The Hob Moor Road Bridge over the River Cole.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

 

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

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

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

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

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

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

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

The path heads straight towards Yardley Green Road.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

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

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

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

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

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

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

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

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

 

Sycamores Recreation Ground

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

Sycamores Recreation Ground

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

Sycamores Recreation Ground

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

Sycamores Recreation Ground

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

Sycamores Recreation Ground

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

Sycamores Recreation Ground

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

Sycamores Recreation Ground

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

Sycamores Recreation Ground

 

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

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

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

 

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

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Apr 2021 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, Cranes in the City - April 2021

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August 2020 was the last Birmingham crane photography gallery post and a lot has been added to this feature. Here is a selection, please visit the full gallery to see them all.

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See the full Crane Photography Gallery here: Crane Photography

5th September 2021

11th september 2021

19th Septmber 2021

27th September 2021

30th September 2020

4th October 2021

17th October 2021

5th November 2021

6th November 2021

1st November 2021

5th December 2021

10th January 2020

25th February 2021

28th February 2021

7th March 2021

16th March 2021

21st March 2021

30th March 2021

All photography by Daniel Sturley

See the full Crane Photography Gallery here: Crane Photography

 

 

 

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

Osman Yousefzada's Dogtooth Flower at Selfridges

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

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

 

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

Selfridges

 

 

16th November 2020

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

Selfridges

No scaffolding on Moor Street at this point.

Selfridges

 

20th November 2020

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

Selfridges

As well as Christmas lights up Moor Street.

Selfridges

Selfridges

Selfridges

 

18th December 2020

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

Pink Selfridges

 

24th December 2020

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

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

 

3rd April 2021

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

Pink Selfridges

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

Pink Selfridges

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

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

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

Pink Selfridges

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

Pink Selfridges

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

Pink Selfridges

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

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

Pink Selfridges

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

Pink Selfridges

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

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

St. Paul's Quarter Breaks Ground in the JQ

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A ground breaking ceremony has formally taken place at St. Paul's Quarter, Northwood Street, Jewellery Quarter - the largest development within the Conservation Area, signalling a start in construction on the £125m+ scheme.

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The significant four-acre site - formerly of AE Harris and once home to James Watt - is being brought forward by a Galliard Homes & Apsley House Capital Joint Venture.

Designed & master-planned by Glenn Howells Architects, it will become a mixed-use destination containing 305 new homes–including lofts, townhouses and duplexes–and circa 100,000 sq ft of commercial, retail & affordable business space across 20 buildings between two and five storeys.

The JV follows in the footsteps of Timber Yard and Soho Wharf - both under construction - and the recently proposed Belgrave Middleway, with the intention of providing thousands of high-end homes in the city.

Ground breaking: Photo by Galliard/ Thebusinessdesk

Demolition: Stephen Giles/ March 2021

A chunk of the site’s heritage will be meticulously maintained - two of which are Grade II listed buildings (109 Northwood St & 199 Newhall Street), while redundant factory buildings, deemed as having no architectural merit, have already been demolished.

Northwood Street, partially closed to the public, will also be reopened to pedestrians for the first time in well over 20 years. A new street, called Harpers Hill, will be formed and will stretch from Newhall Street into the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.

A new public square will then be incorporated, animated by vibrant shops, bars and restaurants.



44 car parking spaces will be provided alongside space for circa. 326 cycles.

AE Harris had operated on the site since 1964 but now employs 37 people and only ever used a third of the site. They have since moved to Frankley, having accepted that modern manufacturing methods do not meet their requirements.

We'll be updating on a regular basis. Be sure to follow the project here (opens in same window), as well as on our social media channels listed below.

All renderings are the property of Glenn Howells Architects.

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

The Big Egg Hunt in Victoria Square, February 2013

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

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THE BIG EGG HUNT

VICTORIA SQUARE

FEBRUARY 2013

 

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


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

The Big Egg Hunt

 

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

The Big Egg Hunt


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

The Big Egg Hunt

 

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

The Big Egg Hunt

 

A Frugal Meal

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

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Leafy Abstract

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

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Humpty Dumpty

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

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Lindt Gold Bunny

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

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Another Lindt Gold Bunny

A giant Lindt Gold Bunny surrounded by fences.

The Big Egg Hunt

 

More Lindt Gold Bunny's

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

The Big Egg Hunt

 

Hope you had a nice Easter 2021 and Passover 5781.

 

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

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - April 2021

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We have construction photos added to the gallery for this feature build covering January to April that you may not have seen! Too many to put in a post so please visit the main gallery after looking through this selection. Above is 7th April 2021 just before sunset.

Great photos from Elliott and Daniel...

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Go straight to the main gallery: 103 Colmore Row Construction Photo Gallery

103 Colmore Row from Cathedral Square (3rd January 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

103 Colmore Row at dusk. (19th January 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Tysley Station (2nd February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

The fog hides the top of 103 Colmore Row (6th February 2021). Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Oaklands Recreation Ground. (17th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

18th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row with a rainbow.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

View from Edgbaston (19th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

View from Edgbaston Reservoir (24th February 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

7th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Suffolk Street Queensway near the Mailbox.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

16th March 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Victoria Square.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

22nd March 2021, 103 Colmore Row at sunset.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

26th March 2021, Installation of the bolcony parapet glass.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

1st April 2021, 103 Colmore Row from Victoria Square.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

7th April 2021, 103 Colmore Row just before sunset.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

Click: 103 Colmore Row Construction Photo Gallery for more.

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

Return of the Chamberlain Clock to the Jewellery Quarter

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

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The Jewellery Quarter Chamberlain Clock via the JQ BID.

 

Previous Chamberlain Clock posts here:

 

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

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

 

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

Chamberlain Clock

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

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

Oozells Square through the seasons: Summer 2020 to Spring 2021

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

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Summer 2020

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

Oozells Square

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

Oozells Square

 

Autumn 2020

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

Oozells Square

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

Oozells Square

 

Winter 2020

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

Oozells Square

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

Oozells Square

 

Spring 2021

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

Oozells Square

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

Oozells Square

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

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Apr 2021 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Construction of One Centenary Way - April 2021

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This build is going up fast now, hard to keep up! The steel structure is rising very apparently from all angles with the central core structure on pause while the rest of the building catches up. Great set of recent photos in this article and many more in the full construction gallery in the feature project.

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25th March

28th March

30th March

1st April

Photography by Daniel Sturley

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
01 Apr 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVED: Port Loop, Phase 3

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Phase 3 of Port Loop - Birmingham's premier new island community - has been approved this morning by planning committee (01.04.21) .

The site will now be unlocked with the exciting delivery of 98 new canal-side homes, public and private green spaces, and the planting of over one hundred trees across the site.

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Composed of two housing ideologies, the dwellings will be arranged in 8 terrace blocks running parallel to the canal and Rotton Park Street. Each will be equipped with terraces & will be centred on two spacious internally shared courtyards.

They include 29 two & three storey factory-built ‘Town Houses’—a build already used in earlier phases, and a new one for Port Loop: 69 two & three storey factory-built ‘Row Houses’—all designed by London architecture studio, shedKM.

Significantly, a new section of the canal towpath will be opened up - and this will form a major part of the newly landscaped public realm for both residents and the public to enjoy.

Around 110 new trees will be planted around courtyard areas and within proximity of the dwellings; 13 will be planted beside the canal towpath—with the area set to include new seating, hedges, and other landscaping works.

Town House allows residents to choose their own internal layout, the number of bedrooms, and room sizes; Row House will equally be as customisable but will be smaller, simpler and more affordable.

Around 10% of new homes across the site already provide affordable housing provision, including here, and with more to come. Each of the 98 dwellings will also be presented with a single car parking space alongside secure storage for two bicycles.

SNEAK PEAK OF TOWN HOUSE & ROW HOUSE: WIRRAL WATERS, BIRKENHEAD: 

Spanning 43-aces, this canal-side site, a mere 10-15 minute walk from the city centre, will soon offer up to 1,150 new homes, retail offerings, new stretches of unlocked canal towpath & leisure spaces.

Follow our social media channels for more updates!

All images are the property of shedKM & Urban Splash.

TWITTER: @Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: @Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
30 Mar 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

OCTAGON: Amendments to World's Tallest Octagonal Skyscraper

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Octagon is the world's tallest pure octagonal residential tower - and it's set to dominate the Birmingham skyline!

Newly refined plans have gone in for this unique new skyscraper earmarked for Paradise - on the back of feedback from prospective contractors & investors. 

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Soaring to 49 storeys tall (155m/ 510ft), this unique landmark build-to-rent skyscraper will set a new barometer for healthy, sustainable and quality new homes for the city.

Bouncing on to the scene in October 2020, Octagon is back with several key design & engineering refinements, following dialogue with planning officers, prospective contractors, and investors - one of which is said to be in advanced talks with Argent.

These amendments have resulted in Octagon becoming a much clearer building arrangement, driven by function & user requirements.

KEY REFINEMENTS

  1. Removal of plant space at level 1 & 27-28, alongside a reduction in plant space at the very top of the building. 
  2. ​The residential mix now aligns with prospective requirements from investors.
  3. Revised building entrances & a clear delineation between retail & amenity.

1: The removal of plant space has come following talks with prospective contractors.

An additional 24 apartments have replaced these spaces - further increasing the deliverability of the project. Octagon now provides 370 apartments.

All units, which range from 51.3-115sqm, all comfortably exceed the minimum National Space Standards & are still, by some distance, the largest in the city.

2: The prominent site is seen as an unparalleled opportunity at the ‘premium’ end of the market and is highly likely to appeal to single households and couples.

For that reason, all one-bed (one person) units have been scrapped in favour of a higher proportion of one-bedroom (two person) apartments.

The full mix comprises 218 one (two persons), 144 two (four persons), and 8 three-bedroom (6 person) premium apartments. 30 apartments (8.1%) will be allocated for affordable private rent.

3: Design development and feedback from investors’ has resulted in changes to the entrances and ground floor areas. The key changes will see:

  1. A new retail entrance off Great Charles Street;
  2. Grand residents’ entrance from Paradise Circus Queensway;
  3. Increased amenity floorspace & reconfigurations of both lower & upper ground floors;
  4. Dedicated cycle access provided off Paradise Circus;
  5. Taxi & drop-off access likely within a drop off bay on Great Charles Street.

These bustling new spaces will add vitality and life to the frontages.

A mixture of gym space, wellbeing hub, cycle store, resident's lounge & storage space will be provided; as well as a reception area and cafe space.

The updated plans will now go to public consultation, ending on April 12th.

UPDATED RENDERINGS OF OCTAGON, BIRMINGHAM

& HOW IT LOOKED BEFORE THE CHANGES:

All images the property of Glenn Howells Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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

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

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

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Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

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

 

The Wood named after the late Joy Fifer MBE

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Entering Joy's Wood from Yardley Wood Road

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

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

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

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

Some daffodils line the dirt path alongside the trees.

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

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

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

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

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

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

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

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

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

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

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

 

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

Joy's Wood at Moseley Bog

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

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

King Kong is Back at the Bullring (November 2015)

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

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KING KONG IS BACK

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

King Kong is Back

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

King Kong is Back

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

King Kong is Back

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

King Kong is Back

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

King Kong is Back

 

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

King Kong is Back

King Kong is Back screams the yellow plinth below!

King Kong is Back

Kong was in the menswear section of Selfridges.

King Kong is Back

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

 

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

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

King Kong 1972

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

King Kong 1972

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

Archive photos from the Birmingham Mail.

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50 passion points
Transport
24 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Motor Museum at the Black Country Living Museum

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

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The Vehicle Display at the Black Country Living Museum

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

 

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

 

Sunbeam motorcycle and Guy Fire Engine

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

Brevitt's

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

Collection of vintage motorcycles made in the Black Country

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

Black Country Living Museum

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

Black Country Living Museum

Number 2 in the collection in the middle.

Black Country Living Museum

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

 

Collection of vintage motorcars made in the Black Country

 

1903 Sunbeam

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

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

Black Country Living Museum

Close up look at the yellow Sunbeam made in 1903.

Black Country Living Museum

 

1912 Star Victoria

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

1923 Bean 14 Tourer

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

1934 Sunbeam Dawn

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

1930 A.J.S. Tourer

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

1931 Star Coupe

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

Old motors in a state of repair

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

 

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

Black Country Living Museum

Possibly a 1931 Alvis in the photo below.

Black Country Living Museum

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

Black Country Living Museum

 

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

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

Introducing the Orion Building

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

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

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

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

 

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

Orion and Beetham Towers

Orion and Beetham Towers

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Photos above by Elliott Brown.

 

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Orion Building

Photos above by Daniel Sturley.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
23 Mar 2021 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Construction of One Centenary Way - March 2021 Update Two

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A lot is happening now at the site and the progress is fast! The building will be structurally all steel and the full girth of it can be seen from Centenary Square (the first photo in the main article). The outer perimeter structure is visable from all around the site and the central core structure is rising fast too with a maze of black girders appearing above the hordings.

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Construction of One Centenary Square in Birmingham

The following images have been taken during March 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All photography by Daniel Sturley

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

Busts, statues and portraits in the Birmingham Council House

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

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


 

Busts in the Council House

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

Joseph Gillott

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

Joseph Gillott

 

Jesse Collings

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

Jesse Collings

 

John Skirrow Wright

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

John Skirrow Wright

 

 

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

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

 

Queen Victoria

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

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

Victoria and Albert

 

Prince Albert

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

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

Victoria and Albert

 

 

Portraits in the Council House

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

 

Peter Hollins

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

Council House portrait

 

James Watt

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

Council House portrait

 

Sir Josiah Mason

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

Council House portrait

 

George Dawson

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

Council House portrait

 

Joseph Chamberlain

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

Council House portrait

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

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
17 Mar 2021 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Refurbishment of Three Centenary Square (UOB) - March 2021

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Down to a few railings outside the Exchange frontage on Centenary Square, all cleaned and the beautful architecural details visable again.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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

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

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

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Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

 

History of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

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

 

December 2012

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

 

Information Centre

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

Jewellery Quarter Information

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

Jewellery Quarter Information

 

January 2013

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

 

December 2019

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

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

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

 

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

 

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

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80 passion points
Construction & regeneration
16 Mar 2021 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

S&K Building, Digbeth - All The Renders

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Alive and kicking! Amendments went in last month at S&K Building, Digbeth - an exciting canal-side redevelopment from Taylor Grange & Corstorphine+Wright.

For all the renderings and an overview of the updated project, follow the post.

 

 

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UNITS: 479 PRS (Private Rental Sector) 1-3 bed & duplex apartments.
IN FULL:
227 one (1-2 persons);
235 two (3-4 persons);
1 three (5 persons);
6 duplexes (5 two & 1 three-bed).
HEIGHTS: Between 6-7 and a 10 storey on the corner facing Bradford Street.
FEATURES: Ground floor commercial, courtyards & a new riverway public realm & terraces.

S&K 2021:

All images the property of Corstorphine+Wright

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

Akamba Heritage Centre the Metal Zoo in Solihull!

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

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

 

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

 

March 2018

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

Close up zoom in of the metal elephant.

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

 

February 2021

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

A metal giraffe.

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

Akamba Heritage Centre

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

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

Selfridges the most photographed building of Birmingham!

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

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The Selfridges Building at the Birmingham Bullring

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

21st April 2009

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

Selfridges

 

15th May 2009

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

Selfridges

 

22nd August 2009

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

Selfridges

 

30th October 2009

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

Selfridges

 

6th January 2010

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

Selfridges

 

30th December 2010

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

Selfridges

 

18th October 2011

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

Selfridges

 

2nd December 2011

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

Selfridges

 

7th December 2012

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

Selfridges

 

16th March 2013

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

Selfridges

 

20th December 2013

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

Selfridges

 

15th March 2014

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

Selfridges

 

18th July 2014

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

Selfridges

 

31st May 2015

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

Selfridges

 

27th June 2015

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

Selfridges

 

31st July 2015

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

Selfridges

 

9th February 2016

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

Selfridges

 

10th November 2016

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

Selfridges

 

24th January 2017

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

Selfridges

 

4th February 2017

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

Selfridges

 

13th July 2017

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

Selfridges

 

29th October 2017

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

Selfridges

 

6th December 2017

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

Selfridges

 

11th February 2018

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

Selfridges

 

10th April 2018

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

Selfridges

 

13th June 2018

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

Selfridges

 

30th August 2018

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

Selfridges

 

 

15th December 2018

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

Selfridges

 

4th January 2019

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

Selfridges

 

9th February 2019

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

Selfridges

 

18th March 2019

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

Selfridges

 

19th August 2019

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

Selfridges

 

5th October 2019

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

Selfridges

 

31st December 2019

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

Selfridges

 

26th January 2020

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

Selfridges

 

3rd March 2020

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

Selfridges

 

31st July 2020

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

Selfridges

 

4th October 2020

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

Selfridges

 

16th November 2020

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

Selfridges

 

24th December 2020

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

Selfridges

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

 

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Mar 2021 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Construction of One Centenary Way - March 2021 Update

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One Centenary Way's black steel is now rising above the surrounding hordings. The huge space that is this corner of Paradise is rapidly filling up and the building will become a dominant sight from Centenary Square. Loads of photos in this early March construction photo update.

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2nd March 2021

1st March 2021

25th February 2021

14th February 2021

31st January 2020

24th January 2020

 

10th January 2020

 

28th December 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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