Art; Culture & creativity
16 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From Baubles at Paradise to Christmas lights around the Colmore BID

There is three red Christmas Baubles on Centenary Way at Paradise Birmingham. Meanwhile the Colmore Business District Christmas lights have been turned on during late November 2020, including around Cathedral Square and an artificial Christmas tree at Colmore Square. They look good both in daylight and after dark.

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Paradise Birmingham

Located on Centenary Way is this trio of red Christmas Baubles from Paradise Birmingham, outside of One Chamberlain Square.

'Tis the season to enjoy

Paradise Baubles

'Tis the season of goodwill

Paradise Baubles

'Tis the season to stay safe

Paradise Baubles

Colmore Business District

At Cathedral Square around Birmingham Cathedral St Philip's are these winged angels playing a trumpet, on the ornamental lampposts. They look good in daylight or after dark.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

View towards the BT Tower.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

Towards Temple Row.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

Towards Temple Street.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

After dark towards the Cathedral.

Colmore BID Xmas lights

Colmore BID Trio of Angels

The main feature this Christmas is the Colmore BID trio of Angels. The Colmore Row side towards Birmingham Cathedral. Looks good at midday.

Colmore Angels

The three Angels also looks good after dark towards Colmore Row.

Colmore Angels

Only two years ago there was a Christmas Market here, I suppose these Angel's makes up for that not being here this time around.

Colmore Angels

Colmore Square

The Christmas tree in Colmore Square this year is an artificial one from the Colmore Business District. Changes from year to year. Caught a tram going past at midday.

Colmore Square Xmas tree

I later took another photo after dark of the Christmas tree lit up towards The Wesleyan.

Colmore Square Xmas tree

There is no Christmas tree (or decorations) outside of Birmingham Snow Hill Station this year, probably due to the public realm works outside (or they haven't put it up yet).

 

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

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
16 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Another visit to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills

Only really had time for one park walk during the second lockdown (before I had to go back work in the middle of November 2020). We went to Beacon Hill a the Lickey Hills Country Park (by car). After getting the skyline view updates, we walked into the woods, down and around the muddy paths. Got as far as a stream before going back up. The woods were covered in leaves and was quite wet.

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Beacon Hill into the woods with mud

The weather in November 2020, hasn't been great. We were in lockdown again for 4 weeks. So couldn't go far unless going in the car. And I wouldn't go back to work in the City Centre until the middle of the month (by which time the weather had improved a bit).

Before then we went in the car to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park on the 10th November 2020. Was a bit cloudy. First priority was to get updates of the skyline. Then we had a bit of a walk down the hill into the woods. Some paths were quite muddy and wet, so shoes and jeans got covered in the muck.

Some signposts pointed to the Rose & Crown and Monument Lane. Although we ended up not getting close to either of those (apart from the road with the stream).

 

Birmingham Skyline, November 2020

First up checking out the Birmingham Skyline. New to the skyline is 103 Colmore Row and The Mercian.

Beacon Hill skyline

As well as The Bank Tower's 1 & 2.

Beacon Hill skyline

You can see why they call Birmingham the City of trees!

Beacon Hill skyline

If you zoom in a bit, you can see Old Joe at the University of Birmingham on the skyline with The Sentinels and the Beetham Tower.

Beacon Hill skyline

Zooming in from Beacon Hill to see 103 Colmore Row to the left of The Cube.

Beacon Hill skyline

103 Colmore Row was seen behind Chamberlain Tower at The Vale Village (University of Birmingham).

Beacon Hill skyline

The zoom in to The Mercian finds it in front of The BT Tower. The Bank Towers's 1 & 2 seen to the left.

Beacon Hill skyline

You also have the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Park Regis Birmingham Hotel in this view.

Beacon Hill skyline

Beacon Hill Toposcope

All my main Toposcope photos were taken back during my earlier May 2013 visit so wasn't going to take any new shots of it. But took this pair after the muddy walk down and around the woods as we headed back to the car park.

Beacon Hill Toposcope

Was good to be back at the top of the hill, after getting a bit lost around the woods as you will see below. Nice to see the Toposcope again!

Beacon Hill Toposcope

Around the woods in the mud

At first the path in the woods close to the top of the hill looked quite dry.

Beacon Hill woods

There was leaves all over the ground below the trees.

Beacon Hill woods

The further you got in, the more autumnal it looked, but off the paths.

Beacon Hill woods

Up to the fingerpost. Rose & Crown to the left, Monument Lane to the right.

Beacon Hill woods

Behind the fingerpost, the hill going down. Don't walk down this bit!

Beacon Hill woods

We first headed towards the Rose & Crown. But the path got muddy the further you went down, so we went back up.

Beacon Hill woods

Now heading in the direction of Monument Lane, some trees still have leaves on in yellows and greens.

Beacon Hill woods

Still a bit muddy as we went down the hill.

Beacon Hill woods

Getting further down and there was a lot of leaves on the path.

Beacon Hill woods

Some green fields nearby.

Beacon Hill woods

End of this path near the steps, was very muddy with a puddle, but found another way around.

Beacon Hill woods

This way seemed less muddy down to the stream.

Beacon Hill woods

The stream near the road. I think this was closer to Rose Hill, but we didn't head that way.

Beacon Hill woods

Other side of the stream, lined with rocks. We headed this way.

Beacon Hill woods

Heading up a bit, this path looked dry.

Beacon Hill woods

Saw a bridge over the stream and steps, so headed up this short cut to get back up to the Toposcope.

Beacon Hill woods

Leaves on the path as we went back up.

Beacon Hill woods

Back on the main path back up to the top of the hill.

Beacon Hill woods

Not far now as there was daylight behind the trees.

Beacon Hill woods

Back up at the top with the field at the top of Beacon Hill.

Beacon Hill woods

 

For my original post on Beacon Hill go to this post here: Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park.

 

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

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0 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
16 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Annatomix Birmingham street art trail

Annatomix is one of Birmingham's most well known street artists with her unique style of foxes done in origami. Her pieces can be found around Digbeth and Southside. There is also a Birmingham mural in Grand Central, just as you exit or enter from the ramp. She is also known for her David Bowie pieces.

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ANNATOMIX

Come with Birmingham We Are and one of their followers of street art Elliott on a digital tour of the street art of Brummie legend Annatomix. Known for her distinctive origami style foxes. She also famously did a piece of David Bowie in Southside (which she had to repaint after multiple vandal attacks). Why can't they leave her art alone?

More digital street art trails coming soon. So watch this space.

 

Digbeth

Location: Warwick Bar on the Grand Union Canal (Digbeth Branch). Near the Bond Company, B5 5SE. 

Date found: February 2018.

Annatomix Origami Fox on the River Rea Aqueduct.

Annatomix Fox

 

Location: Custard Factory, Digbeth. B9 4AA.

Date found: April 2018.

Annatomix Origami Fox under the Bordesley Viaduct.

Annatomix Fox

Location: Custard Factory, Digbeth. B9 4AA.

Date found: April 2018.

Annatomix Origami Rabbit under the Bordesley Viaduct.

Annatomix Fox

Location: Custard Factory, Digbeth. B9 4AA.

Date found: February 2019.

Annatomix Giant Origami Cat and a Small Rabbit (near the Heath Mill Lane entrance / exit).

Annatomix Cat

 

Southside

Location: Dudley Street. B5 4RU.

Date found: February 2016.

Annatomix Bowie (her original tribute to the late singer David Bowie who passed away in January 2016, age of 69).

Annatomix Bowie

 

Location: Dudley Street. B5 4RU.

Date found: January 2019.

Annatomix Bowie (version 2, as vandals kept damaging the 2016 piece, but they would target this one as well).

Annatomix Bowie

 

Location: Dudley Street. B5 4RU.

Date found: February 2020.

Annatomix Bowie (a repair to the eyes scratched out with a blindfold, sadly vandals kept targetting her work).

Annatomix Bowie

Detail of the new blindfold and black star above Bowie's head.

Annatomix Bowie

 

Location: Smallbrook Queensway. Next to Rodroj Fish and Chips, 25-27 Smallbrook Queensway, B5 4HE.

Date found: November 2020.

Annatomix Origami Fox (sadly vandalised by the time of my visit, hopefully she can fix it).

Annatomix Fox

 

Grand Central

Location: Grand Central Birmingham (near the ramp). B2 4PY.

Date found: February 2019.

Annatomix Mural of Birmingham featuring the Library of Birmingham, Rotunda, Selfridges, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham Canals (passing people in the way at the time).

Annatomix Birmingham Mural

Location: Grand Central Birmingham (near the ramp). B2 4PY.

Date found: November 2020.

Annatomix Mural of Birmingham with the Library of Birmingham, Rotunda, Bullring Bull and Selfridges (no people in the way due to lockdown).

Annatomix Birmingham Mural

Street art by Annatomix.

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

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0 passion points
People & community
16 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Halloween Decorations around Kings Heath on the 31st October 2020

We are closer to a Covid Christmas now than Halloween. But on the afternoon of the 31st October 2020, I had one last walk around Kings Heath before the 2nd lockdown announcment. Mainly to see those flower planters on closed roads. But also saw Halloween decorations in front of houses, in windows etc. Pumpkins, skeletons, cobwebs!

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HALLOWEEN KINGS HEATH, 31ST OCTOBER 2020

A month late, but Happy Halloween! The Nightmare Before Christmas! It was heavily raining on the morning of the 31st October 2020, and with a dry spell in the afternoon, I got the 11C bus to Kings Heath. Mainly to see the Low Traffic Neighbourhood around Kings Heath. But couldn't help notice some houses had Halloween decorations out at the time. It was rumoured that another lockdown was coming, but it wasn't confirmed until later that day.

 

Halloween bunting spotted on a hedge on Colmore Road in Kings Heath.

Halloween Kings Heath

 

Passing Vicarage Road and Kings Heath Park and onto Avenue Road. Saw this window with these decorations inside. The Day of the Dead!

Halloween Kings Heath

 

Then onto Highbury Road. Social Distance Trick or Treaters Welcome Here! Skeleton on the wall.

Halloween Kings Heath

 

Later after seeing the last of the LTN flower planters went down Springfield Road to get the 11A bus home.

Various Halloween decorations around this tree plus a hand!

Halloween Kings Heath

Cobwebs around this telegraph pole and on the bushes.

Halloween Kings Heath

More Halloween decorations in this window with the blue plaque for Miss Minnie May (who was a Teacher of Dressmaking that lived here in 1939).

Halloween Kings Heath

Near the end of the road was this pair of carved pumpkins. Looks like a bat.

Halloween Kings Heath

A more traditional scary Halloween pumpkin carving!

Halloween Kings Heath

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

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
26 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Digbeth Bus Garage, Phase 1, Set For Approval

Exciting plans for the regeneration of Digbeth Bus Garage has taken a major step forward with Phase 1 & the outline plots 2-6 recommended for approval on December 3rd, 2020.

In total, a bustling community containing 1,250 new homes, up to 950 student accommodation, and vibrant ground floor commercial uses, will be formed.

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The application not only sees the full planning application of Phase 1: The Metalworks, but also introduces outline plans for plots 2-6, which will arrive in more depth over the coming years.

Spread over two parcels of land (see above), the redevelopment will help trigger wider regeneration growth in the area as supported by the Curzon Masterplan.

At present, the northern parcel is inhabited by National Express as a bus depot, with the southern parcel currently used as a car park.

Collaborating with National Express, HUB Group and their project team have formulated these below plans that will give NE the opportunity to move to new, efficient purpose-built facilities as they move towards an all-electric fleet over the next 10 years.

PHASE 1: METALWORKS

  • Demolition of existing buildings & structures;
  • Construction of part 7, 12 & 15 storey building;
  • 213 residential units (104 one, 103 two & 6 three bedrooms);
  • 1,375sqm non-residential flexible floorspace at ground floor (retail, food and beverage uses, office, community/cultural and/or leisure);
  • Communal amenity garden for residents at 1st and 7th floors;
  • 32 parking spaces and 222 cycle spaces;
  • 10 affordable units (low cost home ownership at a discount of 20%);
  • 350sqm affordable workspaces at 70% of market rent.

The site includes the demolition of Pandora's, partial demolition of Digbeth Bus Garage and the wall on Liverpool Street (see Google Street Maps).

Large swathes of the existing wall are to be sensitively retained, arches intact, and blended into Plot 1 and any future Plot 4 scheme, and used for commercial purposes.

The tallest element is at the south-east corner of Adderley Street, which rises to 15 storeys, with the central area dropping down to 7 before ascending to 12 storeys at the junction of Liverpool Street.

This the most prominent corner which directly addresses the expected Midland Metro Tram stop in front of the site. The building will undoubtedly set the benchmark for further regeneration in the area.

Besides the apartments, a communal first & landscaped seventh-floor amenity garden will be incorporated, designed intending to create a healthy and altogether sustainable environment to live and work in.

1,375sqm of ground floor commercial frontages will be mixed into the scheme, providing a variety of uses along Liverpool Street and Adderley Street.

These units are likely to house some of the following: a convenience food-store; retail; food and beverage units; offices; community/cultural uses; and/or leisure units. 

These will be subject to occupier demand.

 

A policy compliant 35% affordable housing has been confirmed as not being financially viable. After careful negotiation, 10 units will be made available across Plot 1, with up to 51 units on Plots 2-6.

Provision for affordable workspaces will also be delivered across a minimum of 50% of the ground floor commercial area across the entire site and will be available at 70% market rent.

Plot 1 will feature 350sqm, with Plots 2 to 6 including a minimum of 1,596sqm and a maximum of 5,050sqm.

Right-click on the below image for a closer look at the phases.

PHASES 2-6: Outline application & subject to more in-depth details (design & resi mix etc) over the coming years.

  • Buildings ranging from 6 to 25 storeys;
  • Up to 950 units of student accommodation;
  • Up to 1,037 residential units (except maybe plots 5 & 6 - see pictures for ref);
  • Student accommodation on Plots 5 & 6;
  • Retail Floorspace between 1,470sqm and 8,725sqm;
  • Office Floorspace of up to 7,080sqm;
  • Community and Cultural Floorspace of up to 1,010sqm;
  • Leisure Floorspace of up to 2,525sqm;
  • Minimum of 1,596sqm and a maximum of 5,050sqm affordable workspaces.

Full in-depth design and thorough mix of residential units will be released in the form of Reserved Matters applications at a later stage.

Indicative heights​:

& following the design code: how the site could look:

PROJECT TEAM:
DEVELOPER: HUB Group
ARCHITECTS: shedkm/ Periscope Landscape 
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Circle
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: CWA Engineering
ENERGY: Couch Perry Wilkes (CPW)

Artists Impressions from HUB Group & shedkm

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Green travel
25 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Low Traffic Neighbourhood around Kings Heath

Various side roads in Kings Heath have been blocked off with flower planters and bollards. Called a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN). Only bikes and pedestrians will be able to enter these roads. Cars and other motor vehicles are banned (apart from residents living on these streets). Has been more traffic on the High Street, Vicarage Road and Howard Road as a result of the road closures.

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Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Kings Heath

In October 2020, various side roads that are connected to the High Street in Kings Heath, had flower planters installed and bollards by Birmingham City Council. In attempt to stop cars using these roads to get to the High Street, or Vicarage Road or from Howard Road. Now they have to take the long way around. Of course the only cars allowed in are residents who live on these streets. So only bicycles and pedestrians are allowed in the LTN areas.

It has been controversial, some people getting angry about it. Delivery drivers having to take different routes to get to the shops they are trying to take goods to. Some days there had been a lot of traffic on the main roads in the area, especially at the Vicarage Road traffic lights near The Red Lion pub (which joins onto Howard Road and Grove Road).

Double yellow lines have been painted where cars are no longer supposed to park. Kids can play in the road between the flower planters without getting run over.

 

On Halloween, 31st October 2020, Elliott made one last trip to Kings Heath before the 2nd lockdown was announced later that day by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

 

Starting with a drink at Coffee #1, crossing the lights over Alcester Road South, then going onto Vicarage Road. Then turning left onto All Saints Road.

All Saints Road to Howard Road

At the end of All Saints Road, there was additional red and white bollards, to stop cars cutting over the grass to get in or out of All Saints Road from Howard Road.

Kings Heath LTN

There was even some colourful benches for kids to sit on.

Kings Heath LTN

Hazelhurst Road from Howard Road

This road off Howard Road, locals with their cars parked outside of their houses, on their drives or on the road. The only way out of Hazelhurst Road now would be from Abbots Road. Which connects to Vicarage Road and All Saints Road.

Kings Heath LTN

Colmore Road from Howard Road

A slightly shorter road off Howard Road. Colmore Road links to Vicarage Road. Again residents now have only one way to enter this road.

Kings Heath LTN

Next Elliott went up Vicarage Road and Avenue Road. Then went up Grange Road. With the idea to get to Station Road.

Highbury Road from Grange Road

Heading up Grange Road from Avenue Road, the next set of flower planters was on Highbury Road. Only way out for residents here was from Vicarage Road. Unless they have a bike or are on foot.

Kings Heath LTN

On Station Road, Elliott didn't quite get as far as the High Street, when he got to York Road. This would be the main LTN road in the Kings Heath scheme.

York Road to High Street

Going down York Road from Station Road. This road turns at a right angle towards the High Street. At least four sets of flower planters here.

Kings Heath LTN

Double yellow lines near Top Bananas. Kids can play in this section if they want to. Cars parked in the next section towards the Hare & Hounds.

Kings Heath LTN

No bollard here, so cars can enter in the middle. Close to the Hare & Hounds and the Kings Heath High Street.

Kings Heath LTN

One more flower planter on York Road at the High Street where the Pedestrian and cycle Zone Ends.

Kings Heath LTN

A short walk to the left down the High Street, before crossing at the lights and walking up Poplar Road.

Poplar Road towards Cambridge Road Methodist Church

Heading up Poplar Road past the shops towards Kings Heath Primary School. One set of flower planters just before the zebra crossing.

Kings Heath LTN

Directly ahead is Cambridge Road Methodist Church.

Kings Heath LTN

Cambridge Road near Springfield Road

At the island near Springfield Road is one last set of flower planters I saw at the end of Cambridge Road. One more walk down Springfield Road to get the 11A bus home, with all the Halloween decorations out.

Kings Heath LTN

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

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
25 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Radio House, Sutton Street: Set For Approval

Developer Liv Property Ltd and their in-house architecture firm, Sjolander de Cruz Architects, are bringing forward plans for residential living on Sutton Street - a stone’s throw away from The Mailbox - with the construction of a six-storey new build.

These plans go to Committee on December 3rd, at 11 am, with approval recommended.

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Radio House will yield 45 one and two-bedroom apartments, ground floor office space, private and shared amenity spaces, and car & cycle parking.

The current site & its environs are characterised by low-density industrial premises with many sites lying either vacant or under-utilised. The existing building, a former car radio repair workshop, will be demolished.

With residential developments coming forward or completing nearby, the massing of the area is vastly changing, with Liv Property pinpointing Sutton Street as a street with the potential to develop into a liveable part of the city centre.

'CONTEMPORARY INTERPRETATION'

The site will be rejuvenated to produce a contemporary interpretation of said industrial buildings, whilst acknowledging the future redevelopment of the area.

A simple elevational grid has been adopted alongside large floor to ceiling windows, high ceiling spaces, and exposed concrete and brick walls. The facade will also emphasise recessed brick patterns and vertical brickwork, as seen below.

There's also the potential for public art to be included on the buildings side elevations.

A double-height ground floor office unit (89.7sqm) with mezzanine will front directly onto Sutton Street, with five upper floors of liveable space & a rear wing of the same size.

A residential mix of 17 one & 28 two-bedrooms will be provided alongside 5 mezzanine apartments - with all apartments catering for one, two, three and four persons.

5 (11.1%) of these have been allocated for affordable Low-Cost Home Ownership - this being the amount that can be afforded without impacting on viability and deliverability of the project.

Amenities are too included in the form of a landscaped courtyard space with planting and seating areas; 9 vehicles and a bicycle store for 48 cycles will be arranged here too.

Some occupants will also have the added benefit of private terrace and external balcony spaces.

THE SITE & SURROUNDING AREA

Plans go to Committee on December 3rd, at 11 am, with approval recommended.

Artists Impressions from Liv Property (Liv Projekt)/Sjolander da Cruz Architects. 

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
24 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Christmas lights around the Retail BID past and present

The Christmas lights as seen after dark around Birmingham City Centre in the Retail BID area past and present. The last Frankfurt Christmas Market was in 2019. The 2020 market was cancelled due to the pandemic, but to brighten things up, the Council still had lights put up around New Street and other roads. Gone from blues of 10 years ago to the yellow and white lights now.

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A comparison of the Christmas lights in Birmingham City Centre over the last decade ago with now. Merry Covid Christmas. And enjoy! 

All around the Retail BID area. So the likes of New Street, High Street and Corporation Street etc. 

NEW STREET

The majority of the Christmas lights are up New Street. Most years seen above the Birmingham Frankfurt Christma Market. Starting from Corporation Street up towards Victoria Square.

November 2010

From the top end of New Street near Victoria Square, after the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market had closed for the night.

Christmas Lights New Street

Between Pret a Manger and the Piccadilly Arcade.

Christmas Lights New Street

They were reused from the year before, all blue and white.

Christmas Lights New Street

November 2020

Seen past the Piccadilly Arcade up to New Street.

Christmas Lights New Street

Not far from the Piccadilly Arcade and Bennetts Hill.

Christmas Lights New Street

Usually the Frankfurt Market would be here by now, but it's been cancelled due to the pandemic and the lockdown etc.

Christmas Lights New Street

Heading up Stephenson Place, past Apple towards Lloyds Bank, saw this Christmas lights on the left. Even got the Lloyds black horse in shot!

Christmas Lights New Street

CANNON STREET

January 2012

After Christmas 2011 was over, the lights were still on in early January 2012, as seen on Cannon Street.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

Was the usual blue and white lights that was used in the late '00s to the mid '10s.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

I think they went all the way down Cannon Street at the time.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

Seen outside of Slater Menswear and White Stuff, towards New Street.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

November 2020

Cannon St at Christmas from New Street. Only the bottom half of Cannon Street has the lights this time around.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

Reverse view of Cannon ST at Christmas towards New Street and the Burlington Arcade.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

The Christmas lights close to Slater Menswear and White Stuff.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

Brightens up the bottom half of Cannon Street towards New Street. All non essential shops down here are closed until the 2nd lockdown ends.

Christmas lights Cannon Street

 

HIGH STREET

November 2012

The Christmas lights on the High Street from near Marks & Spencer towards the Rotunda. The blue and white design towards Rotunda Square. They even had some over the bus stops outsid of DEICHMANN.

Christmas lights High Street

November 2020

The same yellow and white designed Christmas lights on the High Street, as they have now on New Street, seen outside of Marks & Spencer, from my bus stop. These lights have been put up from here towards Rotunda Square, but don't go over the bus routes.

Christmas lights High Street

UNION STREET

December 2012

The Christmas lights here seen at the bottom of Union Street towards Marks & Spencer on the High Street.

Christmas lights Union Street

November 2020

I was suprised to see three sets of Christmas lights on Union Street between Argos, Boots, Burger King and WH Smith.

Christmas lights Union Street

Heading to the bus stop it was nice to see them in the evening. But the lights are on all day.

Christmas lights Union Street

CHERRY STREET

January 2012

On Cherry Street at the time was these red and white Christmas lights. Near Cannon Street and Corporation Street.

Christmas lights Cherry Street

The GAP was at Martineau Place at the time (that's now Poundland). House of Fraser on the left, near Corporation Street.

Christmas lights Cherry Street

November 2020

Heading up Corporation Street, towards Union Street, saw this Christmas lights on Cherry Street between the EE shop and House of Fraser (which doesn't have the usual fancy lights up).

Christmas lights Cherry Street

BEST OF THE REST

In December 2009 they had the Merry Christmas lights at the bottom of Corporation Street near New Street.

Christmas lights Corporation Street

They used Merry Christmas again at the bottom of Corporation Street when I saw it back in November 2010.

Christmas lights Corporation Street

Seen on New Street near Corporation Street was Christmas in Birmingham during December 2014.

Christmas lights New Street

They also had Shopping in Birmingham.com on the other side. It was the last time they had Christmas lights on Corporation Street, before the first Midland Metro extension opened in 2015 and 2016.

Christmas lights New Street

Seen during November 2020 at the bottom of Lower Temple Street near Stephenson Street, between Caffe Nero and Ladbrokes was this Christmas lights.

Christmas lights Lower Temple Street

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

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50 passion points
Squares and public spaces
24 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Floozie from the fountain on in 2010, to the Floral Garden in 2015, to cleared in late 2020

Cofton Nursery removed the plants in November 2020 around the fountain and statues called River and Youth by Dhruva Mistry. We all know it as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi. The fountain leaked in 2008, but was fixed by 2010. Another leak in 2013, led to plants and soil going in by 2015. All stripped out by late 2020. Hopefully the fountain will be repaired going into 2021?

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Previous Floozie post here: Floozie in the Jacuzzi in Victoria Square over the years

During November 2020, Cofton Nursery returned to Victoria Square to remove the plants and soil that had been around River and Youth for 5 years. So for the first time in over 5 years you can now see the Floozie in the Jacuzzi without plants, but the fountain has not yet been switched on, as we are awaiting the leak to be repaired once and for all.

The last fix was in 2010 (after the first leak of 2008), then another leak in 2013 led to it being turned off again. Then in 2015 River and Youth was turned into a Floral Garden. Making it the Floozie in the Floral Garden.

With the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic / lockdown / restrictions etc, it meant that work could continue in Victoria Square with the paving, and also to start to fully restore the fountain in front of the Council House.

 

But first lets look back 10 years to when it was last working.

 

2010

It was near the beginning of November 2010 when I was first able to get photos of River and Youth (the Floozie in the Jacuzzi) with the fountains switched on, and the pools filled with water.

River and Youth

Around the rim of the upper pool is a poem by T.S. Eliot called Burnt Norton.:

"And the pool was filled with water of sunlight, and the lotos rose, quietly, quitely, the surface glittered out of heart of light, and they were behind us, reflected in a pool. Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty."

River and Youth

The general view of River and Youth looking up towards the Council House, with a pair of poppies.

River and Youth

There was a Christmas tree on the Council House balcony between the pair of poppies, as the water went down the steps.

River and Youth

Looking up to the Floozie herself. With the Town Hall, Central Library (closed in 2013, demolished in 2016) and the Council House behind.

River and Youth

It looks quite impressive, like an artificial waterfall. This view towards 125 and 130 Colmore Row.

River and Youth

Looking up the steps towards John Madin's NatWest Tower (103 Colmore Row). It would be demolished from 2015 to 2018.

River and Youth

The water cascades down the steps from River (the Floozie in the Jacuzzi) down to the pair of statues called Youth. The BBC screen was still in Victoria Square at the time.

River and Youth

At the bottom was Youth, with two metal bowls with all the water coming out.

River and Youth

Near the end of November 2010 I saw the colourful lights around River and Youth in Victoria Square for the first time after dark. This was well after 10pm, so the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market had closed for the night.

This view below from heading down Christchurch Passage through the railing bars.

River and Youth

The lighting here was impressive, but it was also from the Frankfurt Christmas Market. View below probably taken through the railing bars on Christchurch Passage.

River and Youth

From the bottom of Victoria Square near the Christmas Tree. The Happy Christmas Birmingham message is on the Council House every year.

River and Youth

The Council House was all lit up, as River Routh was in a mix of blues and purples at this point.

River and Youth

One month on to late December 2010. View of the Floozie lit up in orange lights, just before 5pm, 2 days before the end of the year. London 2012 logo on the BBC Screen.

River and Youth

View of the Floozie in orange towards No 1 Victoria Square and the Town Hall. The fountain was off.

River and Youth

It looked like the fountain had been turned off again, and the pools looked empty.

River and Youth

A line of pink, blue, purple and red lights going down to the Youth statue.

River and Youth

Looking towards Victoria Square House and No 1 Victoria Square. Was still old red phone boxes at the top of Pinfold Street.

River and Youth

2015

5 years later, and a few years after the fountain was last turned on. By July 2015, Cofton Nursery had planted an impressive number of plants, to try and make the area look nice, as the leak couldn't be repaired at this time.

River and Youth

Only the steps didn't have plants on them. Still possible to see Birmingham Central Library at this time, before demolition would begin at the end of the year.

River and Youth

You could hardly see Youth amongst the plants at the bottom, of what by then looked like a tropical garden.

River and Youth

By the end of July 2015, The Big Hoot trail of owls was in the City which would last for 10 weeks. Alf the Penguin Owl was at the bottom in front of River and Youth (neither of which can be seen).

River and Youth

In Early August 2015, there was a group of Morris Dancers in Victoria Square, not far from the Floozie and the floral garden that was in place of the fountains. I'm not sure if they were dancing to hope that the fountain would get fixed, or for the post Summer Solstice?

Morris Dancers

2020

Onto the middle of November 2020. My first day back in the City Centre after about 2 weeks. So took my camera (while on my work lunchbreak) and checked out the Floozie, now that Cofton Nursery had removed all of the plants.

River and Youth

The only water in the pools was from rain water. No market, means that the pavin works around the Queen Victoria statue can continue without interruption by Christmas events.

River and Youth

Compared to the view of 10 years ago, the Central Library is now replaced by Two Chamberlain Square.

River and Youth

It was very quiet in Victoria Square due to the 2nd lockdown, and in town in general. At least Youth at the bottom can be seen again, without the plants.

River and Youth

Later that day after I left work, just before 5pm, had time before getting the bus home to pop to Centenary Square after dark. For the first time in 10 years saw River and Youth lit up with the colourful lights.

River and Youth

New to this view of River and Youth was the new (but unfinished) 103 Colmore Row. Victoria Square was completely empty and quiet.

River and Youth

If this was a normal year, the Frankfurt Market would be on by now. It still looks good all lit up towards 103 Colmore Row.

River and Youth

Hopefully the fountain will be fixed and the water flowing again in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. And I hope it stays fixed this time.

River and Youth

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

 

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40 passion points
Squares and public spaces
23 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

What to do with Selly Oak Triangle: new public square or a park?

I am strongly against the building of yet another unwanted student accommodation block in Selly Oak. The student population for the University of Birmingham in the area is high enough as it is, and the area does not need another student prison to be built. Selly Oak Triangle is currently having the bypass extension roadworks overrunning due to the pandemic. Traffic issues as well.

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SELLY OAK TRIANGLE

Ever since Sainsbury's moved out of their old Selly Oak supermarket building at the end of 2018, to the new Selly Oak Shopping Park, the old building has been boarded up and been a target for graffiti vandals. In 2020 there has been roadworks to extend the Selly Oak Bypass onto Harborne Lane (continuing on from the Aston Webb Boulevard which was completed in 2011). This was originally due to be completed in Summer 2020, but as of Autumn 2020 (due to the Pandemic and lockdowns) still has not been completed.

In late October 2020, Harborne Lane was turned into two way traffic, while Chapel Lane (near the Battery Retail Park) had way too many cars queuing up to the Bristol Road.

There is proposals to build yet another student accommodation block where the old Sainsbury's was. I say to Birmingham City Council to reject this proposal. Selly Oak does not need any more places to imprison students (especially right now during the Pandemic when they can't even go out anywhere).

Perhaps the Council could green light a new public square or park on the land. Or another supermarket.

It's the same with Shirley in Solihull, where idiot developers are planning to build more unwanted retirement villages (Shirley already has too many of them as it is).

 

SAINSBURYS'S

In 2012, I started to go to Sainsbury's Cafe at the Sainsbury's in Selly Oak, and continued to do so on and off until they closed down in 2018. Seen in June 2012, was this brick sculpture of an Oak tree. If demolished will this be saved or be a pile of bricks?

Selly Oak

The Sainsbury's logo on the Bristol Road side of the building.

Sainsbury's

6 years before they moved, Sainsbury's spent a lot of money refurbishing the dated supermarket building. It looked nice, but wouldn't last.

Sainsbury's

Harborne Lane

Selly Oak Triangle from the no 98 bus towards the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham during January 2014. This view towards the Bristol Road. This triangular island has now gone, used to be a pavement and some benches on it.

Selly Oak Triangle

The view towards Sainsbury's and it's car park. Beyond is the Battery Retail Park. When at the time Homebase, PC World & Curry's were over there.

Selly Oak Triangle

Sainsbury's closing down and moved out

By March 2018, signs went up saying that the Sainsbury's site was up for sale. At this point the supermarket was still open. They would move out once their new site was ready by November 2018.

Sainsbury's closing

Pigeon's flying over Sainsbury's. A park or public square would be better for them than say an unwanted student block.

Sainsbury's closing

In November 2018, I saw this "We're moving" sign outside of Sainsbury's from the Bristol Road in Selly Oak. The new Sainsbury's opened at the Selly Oak Shopping Park on Wednesday 21st November 2018. I've been a couple of times, but the cafe experience is a bit different to the old one. Plus it's a much larger supermarket.

Sainsbury's

By February 2019, Sainsbury's had moved out months before. And graffiti vandals had started to tag the abandoned building. The car park was empty. This view from no 63 bus on the Bristol Road. At this point there was no plans for the site at the time.

Sainsbury's

Selly Oak Bypass extension works

A sign I saw in August 2019 said that Selly Oak New Road Phase 1B would be completed by Summer 2020. But that was before the Virus Pandemic and lockdowns started.

Selly Oak Bypass

By early February 2020, more than a month before the first lockdown, the bypass extension works looked a far way off. This view from the no 63 bus on the Bristol Road near Harborne Lane. The triangular island had been dug up and removed. This was on the 2nd February 2020.

Selly Oak Bypass

One day later, I got this view from the top deck of the 11A bus on Harborne Lane, before it headed up Chapel Lane towards the Bristol Road. The bus stop was closed off, and the dead end section of road had been filled in and turned into a pavement. Seen on the 3rd February 2020.

Selly Oak Bypass

There was a raised wall around the former Sainsbury's car park. The pedestrian crossing here was closed off, also temporary traffic lights.

Selly Oak Bypass

There also used to be a small triangular tarmac island here that you could cross over, before these works, that's gone as well.

Selly Oak Bypass

By October 2020, the roadworks here were still not finished, as you can see from Harborne Lane. On the 10th October 2020, I again noticed that the former dead end section of road had been filled in and was now a pavement. Bus stop still closed off. Heavy traffic up Chapel Lane. View from the side window of the 11A bus (I rarely went upstairs on the bus between lockdown 1 and 2).

Selly Oak Bypass

There was big puddle outside of the closed bus stop. The traffic may have also been queuing to get into the Battery Retail Park, as well as waiting at the temporary lights on the Bristol Road junction with Chapel Lane.

Selly Oak Bypass

By the 26th October 2020, after leaving the Selly Oak Shopping Park, I was walking up to catch an 11A bus (or was hoping too). A sign mentioned that major night time works would be starting from 26/10/20 for 3 weeks.

Selly Oak Bypass

It also mentioned that Harborne Lane was now open to two way traffic from 25/10/20. Just look at that traffic up Chapel Lane. So bad.

Selly Oak Bypass

The view of Harborne Lane towards Oak Tree Lane. Most car drivers were still using Chapel Lane. Perhaps not aware that Harborne Lane was now open to two way traffic.

Selly Oak Bypass

Up Chapel Lane to the Bristol Road junction at Selly Oak Triangle. Temporary traffic lights on red. Barriers everywhere. Imagine how bad the traffic would be if developers got their greedy way and built a student accommodation eyesore to the right?

Selly Oak Bypass

I waited for an 11A on the Bristol Road, but I wasn't sure if one would come, then I caught a 63 to Longbridge, and a 45 from Longbridge to Cotteridge before I got an 11A home.

I would guess that the bypass extension will be completed now sometime in 2021. And from 2021, please can the Council listen to residents and reject the proposals for yet another student accommodation block. There is already loads up around the Aston Webb Boulevard, and those are closer to the University of Birmingham.

 

Update : Chapel Lane will be going to two way traffic from Monday 23rd November 2020. Speed limit will be at 20 mph. 

 

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

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40 passion points
Transport
23 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Car2Go all over Birmingham back in 2013 to 2014

Car2Go was a car hire scheme in Birmingham during 2013 to 2014. Using SmartCar's. With slogans on the doors such as "Brum Brummie" or "Free Parking" etc. Users could use an app which they would pay for the use. Use the GPS to locate one and drive around the City. Didn't last more than 12 months though. From May 2013 to May 2014. Was based on was on Fleet Street.

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Car2Go

Coming to Birmingham in May 2013, all of a sudden, there was these Car2Go SmartCar's parked all over the City. They were available all over the City. No fixed designation bays, just jump in and drive off. Free parking on any street pay and display bay (but sometimes parking wardens wouldn't know and would put yellow parking tickets on them). One off registration fee was £29.90 (at the time). Register once, drive anywhere. All inclusive price plans. There was different prices depending on how long you used them.

They were based in offices on Fleet Street, close to the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. But this scheme wasn't to last, and by the late spring of 2014, Car2Go pulled out of Birmingham, never to return.

 

JUMP IN DRIVE OFF

Date: May 2013.

Location: Woodcock Street outside of Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre at Aston University.

Car2Go

Date: August 2013.

Location: Gas Street.

Car2Go

Date: August 2013.

Location: Alcester Road, Moseley Village.

Car2Go

Date: February 2014.

Location: Reservoir Road, Ladywood, on the walk towards Edgbaston Reservoir.

Car2Go

 

BRUM BRUMMIE

Date: May 2013.

Location: Woodbrooke Road, Bournville near The Valley Parkway.

Car2Go

Date: June 2013.

Location: Fleet Street outside of the then Car2Go offices.

Car2Go

Date: September 2013.

Location: Floodgate Street, Digbeth. Note the yellow parking ticket. Was it really free parking then?

Car2Go

Date: May 2014.

Location: Edmund Street. The last ever photo of a Car2Go SmartCar that I would take before they left Birmingham for good.

Car2Go

 

FREE PARKING

Date: May 2013:

Location: Corporation Street, in the Steelhouse Conservation Area near the courts.

Car2Go

Date: June 2013.

Location: Hazelwell Fordrough, Stirchley.

Car2Go

Date: July 2013.

Location: Lionel Street, Jewellery Quarter. Near the Great Charles Street Queensway car park.

Car2Go

Date: August 2013.

Location: Brunel Street. Near Brunel Street Car Park (now called Town Hall Car Park).

Car2Go

Date: September 2013.

Location: Bissell Street, Highgate.

Car2Go

 

HELLO BIRMINGHAM

Date: May 2013.

Location: Aston Street on the Aston University Campus.

Car2Go

Date: July 2013.

Location: Newhall Street, Jewellery Quarter near Newhall Square and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

Car2Go

Date: September 2013.

Location: Bromsgrove Street, Southside. Was close to Bristol Street.

Car2Go

Date: October 2013.

Location: Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston at Five Ways.

Car2Go

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

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60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
22 Nov 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

An Autumn Photowalk in St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter - 22nd November 2020

Daniel took a stroll in and around the beautiful St Paul's Square in the heart Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter containing St Paul's Church and a haze of autumn colours from all the various plants and trees, great late afternoon sunlight too! See the full gallery...

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
18 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Westley Vale Millennium Green in Acocks Green

When a former allotment was turned into a green space at the turn of the Millennium in Acocks Green it was named the Westley Vale Millennium Green. Located on The Avenue, it runs alongside the Westley Brook towards the Grand Union Canal. The area is quite small. Visitors are expected to take their litter home with them. Street art by Hoakser was unveiled in 2015 at The Avenue entrance.

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Westley Vale Millennium Green

The Westley Vale Millennium Green was created as one of the Millennium Greens to provide Breathing Spaces in the early 21st Century. The New Labour Government in 1998 gave support for schemes like this, and this one opened in the year 2000. The area is leased to Birmingham City Council, and a group of Trustees supported by local volunteers manage the site, clean it up, plant and maintain the site as a conservation area.

In 2015, the Birmingham street artist Hoakser was hired to paint a wall at the entrance path from The Avenue. With various birds and animals on it.

Acocks Green Station is a short walk away from the site (as well as the shops on the Warwick Road high street).

2014

I first walked past the Westley Vale Millennium Green in February 2014. This was after a short walk from the Grand Union Canal at Lincoln Road North, I found this gate on The Avenue. I did not enter it at this time, but would a year later.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

On the railings was this Millennium Greens Breathing Spaces sign. A Millennium Project. An initiative of The Countryside Agency.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

2015

My first proper walk into the Westley Vale Millennium Green was during May 2015. Entering from The Avenue, the street art mural by Hoakser was on the right. With owls, foxes, badgers etc.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The far end of the mural had various birds painted onto it.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Many different paths to take around the Millennium Green.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Cow parsley near the footbridge over the Westley Brook.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

An area with benches. It looked like the turf was newly laid at the time.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Following the path past the cow parsley on the left.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Another bench and another path to the left.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The path continues. Lots of tree and very green in the spring.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Now a dirt path through the trees.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Some steps to go up.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Railings on the left. The Grand Union Canal was nearby, but you can't get onto it from this side.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

A gate with an exit to Woodcock Lane.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

A look at the steps down from Woodcock Lane North onto the towpath of the Grand Union Canal.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Just a look at the steps, I don't think I went down to the canal towpath for a walk down there that time around.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

This is a view of the Grand Union Canal from the Woodcock Lane Bridge. I've not walked that section. Sometimes the towpath can be muddy or wet. This is the direction towards Yardley Road, South Yardley and towards Tyseley.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Back into the Millennium Green, and heading around the paths towards Malvern Road.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The path leads to a closed gate at Malvern Road.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Another path from near Malvern Road leads back to The Avenue entrance / exit.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The gate is closed, so you have to use the latch to open the gate, then close it behind you. This was on Malvern Road.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The Millennium Greens Breathing Spaces, Westley Vale Millennium Green and Conservation Area signs at the Malvern Road entrance.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Close up of the Westley Vale Millennium Green signs. Don't dump your rubbish. Pick up and bag your dog waste.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Close up of the Conservation Area sign. Please respect the environment. Bin or take your litter home. Clean up after your pets. Do not damage trees or pick the flowers. No motorcycles or other unauthorised vehicles.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

2020

Didn't get around to coming back to the Westley Vale Millennium Green until doing an afternoon walk around Acocks Green during July 2020. Weren't here for long, before walk a stretch of the Grand Union Canal as well.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The footbridge over the Westley Brook. Everything looking lush and green in the summer.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The grass near the path looked to be cut short near the bushes.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Straight on the path under the trees.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Google Lens says this flower is called Asian pigeonwings. But who knows, Google Lens might be wrong?

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Up the steps on the path towards Woodcock Lane.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

No sooner had we got here, we were almost out of the Millennium Green.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

The area is quite small anyway.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

A bag on the tree for litter (I think).

Westley Vale Millennium Green

A look at the Grand Union Canal. You can not get onto it from this side.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Back to the Woodcock Lane gate. Next headed over the bridge then down onto the canal towpath.

Westley Vale Millennium Green

Near the Woodcock Lane Bridge was these signs from the Canal & River Trust. This area is adopted by Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum.

Grand Union Canal

A look at the Woodcock Lane Bridge from the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. Walked towards the Lincoln Road North Bridge. The Millennium Green is to the far left of here. It is Grade II listed, dating to the late 18th Century, and made of red brick. The canal was built as the Warwick and Birmingham Canal. It later became part of the Grand Union Canal from 1927 onwards.

Grand Union Canal

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

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60 passion points
Green travel
17 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A walk on the Harborne Walkway back in 2016

A former railway line in Birmingham had been turned years ago into the Harborne Walkway. Starting from Harborne close to Park Hill Road, the route passes several bridges via the Hagley Road before heading towards Summerfield Park. I'd say it ends just after the Selwyn Road Bridge in the park. Although the paths continues towards Northbrook Street in Summerfield.

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HARBORNE WALKWAY

The Harborne Walkway forms part of the route of the former Harborne Railway, which had trains going from Birmingham New Street, leaving the branch line at Harborne Junction with the Stour Valley Line (Birmingham to Wolverhampton). The railway opened in 1874, with four railway stations at Harborne, Hagley Road, Rotton Park Road and Icknield Port Road. The line closed to passengers in 1934. The line remained open for coal to be carried until it closed for good in 1963.

Today the line is now of course the Harborne Walkway. It starts in Harborne at Forest Drive. It then crosses over Park Hill Road on a bridge. All other bridges, you can walk, run or cycle under them. Following along the Chad Brook (although you can't see it). The first bridge you walk under is at Woodbourne Road, then Hagley Road.

There is an exit / entrance to Station Avenue and Percival Drive. Which lead to Stanmore Road. Passing through Ladywood, the next bridge to go under is at Portland Road, followed by Rotton Park Road. The final bridge to pass through is at Selwyn Road, before entering Summerfield Park.

The paths split off in many directions in the park, but the route of the former railway line continues towards Icknield Port Road, then Barford Road, before ending at Coplow Street and Northbrook Street.

There used to be a railway bridge over the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline and the Birmingham to Wolverhampton railway line. But all that remains now is the brick buttresses.

 

Forest Drive / Park Hill Road

I did my first half walk on the Harborne Walkway from Harborne towards Hagley Road on the 5th February 2016. As I felt it was too far for me to walk all the way in one go to the end of the line.

First up a look at the Park Hill Road Bridge in Harborne.

Harborne Walkway

Heading around to a cul-de-sac called Forest Drive, I followed the public footpath onto the Harborne Walkway.

Harborne Walkway

The Park Hill Road Bridge is the only bridge you walk over. The other bridges you walk under them.

Harborne Walkway

The views from the bridge looking down at both sides of Park Hill Road in Harborne. The Harborne High Street in this direction.

Harborne Walkway

Beyond Park Hill Road, it leads onto Moor Pool Avenue.

Harborne Walkway

The other side of the Park Hill Road Bridge in Harborne, as seen on the 13th March 2016.

Harborne Walkway

There is an entrance path on the right from Park Hill Road.

Harborne Walkway

Turning around, you can head down to or up from Park Hill Road from the path on the left.

Harborne Walkway

Woodbourne Road

Coming up to the Woodbourne Road Bridge.

Harborne Walkway

The Woodbourne Road Bridge from the other side.

Harborne Walkway

Hagley Road

Coming up was the Hagley Road Bridge.

Harborne Walkway

I exited here at Hagley Road, but would resume the walk 3 weeks later to complete it. Was a man running under the bridge, looks a bit like a tunnel.

Harborne Walkway

20 days later on the 25th February 2016, I headed back to the Hagley Road, to resume my walk on the Harborne Walkway. First up on the left was the exit / entrance to Station Drive and Percival Road. It leads to Stanmore Road.

Harborne Walkway

Portland Road

Passing through the Portland Road Bridge.

Harborne Walkway

It looks like exiting a tunnel under the Portland Road Bridge.

Harborne Walkway

Rotton Park Road

Not too far from the end of the Harborne Walkway now. Passing the Rotton Park Road Bridge. From here it is a short walk towards the Edgbaston Reservoir.

Harborne Walkway

Selwyn Road

The final bridge to pass under is the Selwyn Road Bridge, before entering Summerfield Park. I'm not sure why this section is fenced off, unless there is still railway sleepers here.

Harborne Walkway

The open gate seen from under the Selwyn Road Bridge, the entrance to Summerfield Park.

Harborne Walkway

A look back at the Selwyn Road Bridge from Summerfield Park.

Harborne Walkway

Beyond Summerfield Park there is no more bridges to walk under. But there is a bridge on Icknield Port Road, but the exit gates are at road level so you don't go under that. The only time I went into Summerfield Park, I exited at Dudley Road.

The path towards Barford Road, now runs alongside the Barford Primary School football pitch. There is also a housing estate on the other side of that road, but no bridge.

The footpath ends at Coplow Street which leads onto Northbrook Street. There is the remains of a bridge on one side of Northbrook Street near the canal.

Northbrook Street

That day I did end up on Northbrook Street, so got to see the remains of the railway buttresses over the existing canal and railway line.

Harborne Junction

While the viaduct that used to cross the railway and canal is long gone, there is a lot of old brick walls that remains, but covered in graffiti near the towpath. Can see the BT Tower and Library of Birmingham from here.

Harborne Junction

First look at the massive red brick buttress that used to carry the Harborne Railway over the Birmingham Canal.

Harborne Junction

A Cross Country Voyager (Class 220) heads towards Birmingham New Street, it's last stop was probably Wolverhampton.

Harborne Junction

Of course the trains that would have gone on the Harborne Railway a century ago would have been steam engines, and not the modern diesel or electric trains we have today.

Harborne Junction

One last look at the large brick buttress in the middle of the canal from Northbrook Street. A relic of a lost railway line.

Harborne Junction

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

 

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70 passion points
Green travel
16 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Voi eScooters around the City Centre

In the months before the 2nd lockdown, I was able to travel to the City Centre (when it was allowed), and occasionally saw the new Voi eScooters around. They are road legal, although some users did seem to ride them on pavements, or on pedestrianised roads. It's not just the official orange ones I've seen. Personal owned black eScooters have been seen all over the City as well.

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Voi eScooter's

Voi Scooters users can download an app, and pay for the use of them. They are located all over Birmingham City Centre. Apparently anyone can use the, either a man in a suit or a student in jeans. They reduce noise and air pollution. They enable people to move freely in an urban environment.

There is a 6 month trial in Birmingham City Centre. I think they were to have a trial in Coventry but that was halted. I also found some none Voi eScooter's over in Redditch, Worcestershire.

After about a month, Voi put these pads on the handles, so that they can be cleaned after each use (due to the Pandemic and hand sanitising etc).

I wouldn't want to ride them myself, prefer to get the bus or train and walk.

 

12th September 2020 on the High Street (near lower Bull Street). Got my first photo of a Voi eScooter from my bus stop. Buses on the Stratford Road routes including the 2, 3, 5 and 6.

Voi eScooter

Earlier that day, I got a photo of a masked man riding an Voi eScooter through Centenary Square, outside of the Library of Birmingham.

Voi eScooter

16th September 2020 in Victoria Square. Graham Young of the Birmingham Mail on a test ride, stop as another guy passes him. He later wrote an article for the Birmingham Live, which you can read here: What happened when we tried to ride a VOI scooter in Birmingham city centre

Voi eScooter

You can find him on Twitter: Graham Young.

Voi eScooter

9th October 2020, heading down Hill Street, I spotted this eScooter. Close to Hinckley Street, and not far from Smallbrook Queensway. I was heading down to Southside to check out the latest B-Side Hip Hop street art.

Voi eScooter

On the 10th October 2020, saw this pair of Voi eScooter's near the bike racks on Eden Place. Close to Colmore Row and the Council House.

Voi eScooters

11th October 2020 from Navigation Street outside of Birmingham New Street Station, saw this trio of three Voi eScooter's. Not far from the Stephenson Street entrance to the station. The day I was going to see Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Had just come down from Grand Central Birmingham.

Voi eScooter's

25th October 2020 from the Bullring near St Martin's Church. This Voi eScooter at the corner of Edgbaston Street and St Martin's Lane.

Voi eScooter

2nd November 2020 in The Golden Square near Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter. Three Voi eScooter's, not far from the site of where the Jewellery Quarter Clock was until August 2020.

Voi eScooters

Bonus eScooter's in Redditch, Worcestershire

14th October 2020 a train trip to Redditch to see the John Bonham statue, when I saw some BIRD eScooter's in Redditch on Alcester Street. Similar in design to Voi, but a little different.

Redditch eScooters

There was three BIRD eScooter's outside of the Redditch Town Hall.

Redditch eScooters

 

It will probably not be until the 2nd lockdown is over that I will see more eScooter's around Birmingham. Unless I got out for a local walk, and see someone riding a black eScooter on the pavement (which is illegal, they should be ridden on the road).

I might be back in the City Centre week commencing 16th November 2020, for the first time in 2 weeks, so might see move Voi eScooter's when I'm in town.

 

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

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
16 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Construction of 103 Colmore Row - October & November 2020 photo update

103 Colmore Row is certainly looking superb!

Take our October & November update feature from Daniel and Reiss, contributors at It’s Your Build and Birmingham We Are, and loyal followers of the built environment in Birmingham.

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NOVEMBER

Photos by Daniel Sturley

Photos by Reiss Gordon-Henry.

OCTOBER

Photos by Daniel Sturley

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Priory House Resi Conversion Set For Approval

Rainier Developments and Corstorphine + Wright Architects are bringing forward plans for the conversion of Priory House, Southside, into residential usage - which will also see £200K of improvements to the Gay Village.

Plans go to Planning Committee on the 19th of November, at 11 am, with approval recommended.

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Priory House represents an industrial building of architectural interest.

Built in the 1950s, it was last used as a forensic science lab but has unfortunately lain empty for 8 years, with the previous owner only recently surrendering the lease back in 2019.

THE PROPOSAL

Lying at the junction of Kent Street and Gooch Street North, the proposal seeks to deliver 79 new homes complete with internal and external residents’ amenity spaces, along with secure car and cycle parking areas.

The building will be revitalised to provide a heavy mix of one & two-bedroom homes, in a range of one/two/three/four-person apartments & duplex townhouses. It will also feature a handful of three-bedroom ‘family homes’ - seven of them will be provided.

37 one-bedroom apartments (one & two-person); 35 two-bedroom apartments (three & four-person); and 7 three-bedroom (four-person) apartment units will be delivered overall.

These townhouses will be situated along Kent Street. All three will be double-height duplexes, each with their own individual entrance & stair. 

The exterior of the building itself will be maintained but repaired to retain its character. New windows will be installed along with roof level changes to incorporate a lift overrun.

AMENITIES

A plethora of residents amenities are also on offer, predominately at basement level (98sqm), with additional spaces at ground floor & a 330sqm external courtyard area.

Apartments facing this space will also have the added benefit of private gardens—snazzy!

Given the location, 10 car parking spaces, along with space for 98 cycles will be available at basement level and these will be accessed via Gooch Street North.

SOUTHSIDE IMPROVEMENTS

The application is supported for approval subject to a S106 legal agreement - this includes £200K contributions directed towards public realm improvements in the village, with improved CCTV & enhanced street lighting—with the applicant more than willing to help with this.

As the proposal features the conversion of build and has no new buildings, the scheme isn’t required to make an affordable housing contribution.

Over the years developments have drawn many objections owing to the potential harming and vitality of the Gay Village; Priory House, with a blank wall to licensed premises, is deemed to be of a safe distance away to possess any actual harm, although it will implement suitable noise mitigation measures going forward.

Artists Impressions from Corstorphine+Wright Architects

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
13 Nov 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of The Mercian, Birmingham - November 2020 photography update

The concrete core is now showing 'Floor 38' below the slip-form, 4 to go!

Take our feature for a selection of superb photography of this build from Elliott and Daniel, contributors at It's Your Build and Birmingham We Are and followers of the built environment in Birmingham.

Related

Here is a selection of photography of The Mercian taken by Elliott and Daniel during October and early in November 2020.

Elliott Brown:

25th October

2nd November

10th November

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Daniel Sturley:

4th October

11th October

25th October

26th October

27th October

2nd November

3rd November

4th November

5th November

6th November

 

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
13 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

MODA's 722 BTR Scheme at Great Charles Street Set For Approval

Plans for a 722 build-to-rent apartment complex on 'the bomb site' in the Jewellery Quarter have moved closer to being realised, with Great Charles Street recommended for approval.

Plans will go forward to next week’s Planning Committee on November 18th 2020, at 11 am.

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MODA Living and Apache Capital Partners’ second development in the city will see a new mixed-use scheme of 722 build-to-rent apartments at Great Charles Street.

Ryder Architecture has meticulously designed the scheme to provide a transition between the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area and the city core.

It’ll feature three new-build blocks of 5-6 storeys, 6-16, and a signature 39-storey (126.15m) tower. 

The apartment mix will deliver a healthy 372 one, 315 two, and 35 three-bedroom apartments, in a range of types and sizes.

Broken down, this will accommodate 158 one bed (one person) apartments (42- 45sqm); 213 one bed (two-person) apartments (50sqm); 315 two-bed apartments (70- 86sqm); and 35 three-bed units (93- 113sqm).

To keep the development viable, 5% (36 units) of on-site affordable housing provision at a 20% discount will be allocated. These will comprise 18 one-bedroom (two-person) & 18 two-bedroom (four-person) apartments.

HEALTHY LIVING & WIDE-RANGING AMENITIES

MODA actively promote healthy, socially connected living for all of their residents; with an abundance of state-of-the-art amenities on offer across all of their projects, and this one will be no different.

Residents will have access to lounges, health and wellbeing facilities, a cinema room, open-air rooftop terraces, landscaped private and public gardens, 24/7 concierge service, and flexible workspaces.

Away from the building aspect, improvements to the public realm around the site will feature a brand new plaza and arrival space, with upgraded footways, tree planting, and the addition of street furniture.

The setback 39-storey tower will, too, incorporate an amenity area at the foot of the building, and on the 16th floor - with the massing of the building punctuated with this space, as seen in the renderings.

With a top-notch design to boot, MODA has arguably raised the bar for amenities and design in Birmingham, with other developers in the city playing catch up.

ACTIVE COMMERCIAL FRONTAGES

Pivotal. The intention here is to create a vibrant site that not only complements its surroundings, but one that enhances the hustle and bustle (pre and post-Covid) of the surrounding area.

The aim is to turn this site into a go-to destination with public-friendly frontages with an eclectic range of uses.

All units will be on the lower and upper ground floors of the site’s perimeter.

Many boutique bars, retail units and/or independent cafe's and restaurants could well move here - these will come forward later on down the line. Other uses will include health and wellbeing, workspace and leisure units. 

THE BUILDS

Birmingham City Council has long pushed for a strategically placed, well-designed landmark building at the corner of Great Charles Street & Livery Street, as per the framework documents of the Big City Plan (2011) and Snow Hill Masterplan (2015).

The massing of the 6-16 storey building largely helps ingratiate the tower into the development, without being overly excessive to the surrounding area - although some might think otherwise.

MODA had initially opened negotiations with a 55-storey, however, this was deemed too excessive for the area, and rightly so.

So let’s take a brief look at how the site has been set up.

Lionel Street above and below (Block C) has been designed to complement and reflect the fabric of the Jewellery Quarter, with its proportions, fenestration and brickwork.

Again, along Ludgate Hill, we’ll see a transition, with the sympathetically designed builds at the back soon making way for a stepped-up approach as you head towards Great Charles Street Queensway; this is to support the relationship of the emerging Snow Hill District mentioned earlier.

ACCESS & PARKING

Access will be a fluid one, with locations earmarked for the corners of Ludgate Hill/ Lionel Street and Great Charles Street/ Livery Street. It’s here where the site’s reception facilities and MODA staff will be.

The development will, of course, replace a 200+ car park and, given the location of the site, Great Charles Street will provide 41 car parking spaces & 4 EV (electric vehicle charging points).

4 motorcycle bays and 462 secure cycle storage are provided too, with provision for more if needed.

It is acknowledged that there will be an impact on local heritage assets. However, it is widely accepted that the public benefits outweigh these.

The development is therefore recommended for approval subject to a Section 111 Agreement to secure: 36 on-site affordable apartments; £960K public realm; repaving of pavements in Staffordshire blue brick and repaving of Great Charles Street to a value of £605,000; a contribution of £30,000 towards improvements to and/or maintenance of the Great Charles Street subway; provision of CCTV; and the creation of service lay-bys/ taxi drop off/ signage/ street furniture to a value of £210,000. Exciting stuff!

PROJECT TEAM:
DeveloperMODA Living
PartnersApache Capital Partners
ArchitectsRyder ArchitectureOobe Landscape
Project ManagerRPS Group
Structural EngineerWSP
MEP EngineerTate Consulting
Quantity SurveyorArcadis

Words by Stephen Giles with artists' Impressions from Ryder Architecture & Oobe Landscape

Description: https://www.freetimepays.com/uploadedfiles/aaa.jpg

TWITTER: Buildsweare
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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Nov 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Prosperity's 58-66 Darwin Street Set For Approval

Prosperity Developments and K4 Architects are bringing forward plans for a residential scheme of 116 apartments on land at 58-66 Darwin Street, Highgate.

Plans go to Planning Committee on the 18th of November, at 11 am, with approval recommended.

 

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Lying on a very steep Darwin Street in the Highgate area of the city, the scheme resides within the recently adopted Rea Valley Urban Quarter boundary.

116 one and two-bedroom apartments are proposed here; providing 45 one-bed, 67 two-bed & 4 three-bedroom apartments–in a range one person to four-person properties.

Several will also benefit from private terrace spaces.

Residents’ outdoor amenity will lie amply within two areas of the development; one to the rear, and a roof terrace area on the Darwin Street frontage. These have been meticulously devised to avoid the threat of overlooking and overshadowing on neighbouring properties.

Also, off-site amenities include that of Highgate Park, a mere stone’s throw away.

The apartment block itself is broken into three separate elements and has been formed in response to the falling topography of the area.

At its peak, the building reaches up to seven floors before dropping and varying between 5 and 6 storeys when observed from Darwin Street as the ground-level falls.

Ground floor level will see a series of walls and rails providing defensible space along with a recessed two-storey dark brick base which will be beneath the upper floors. Those upper floors will be clad in dark corrugated metal cladding or vertical zinc standing seam cladding - these are likely to be secured by condition.

24 car-parking spaces & disabled bays will be allocated on-site, representing a 21% provision.

This has sparked a 13 signature petition from residents who believe the street is already the subject of high parking pressure, with Calthorpe Academy and a residential estate adjacent.

Regarding cycle parking, a full 100% provision is included and will be positioned within the basement of the scheme.

The proposal will also contain 12 'affordable' apartments in the form of low-cost-market housing with a discount of 25% on market value.

With a strong industrial past, the site has recently in the last year undergone demolition works as the full planning application evolved behind the scenes with planning officers. 

Plans are recommended for approval subject to the prior completion of a Section 106 legal agreement to secure the 12 affordable dwellings.

*All renderings are the property of K4 Architects.

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20 passion points
People & community
12 Nov 2020 - FreeTimePays
Did you know?

Cadbury Brothers: George and Richard Cadbury

You may have heard about Bournville, and Cadbury chocolate, but do you know about the Brothers behind the company? We take a look at George Cadbury and his brother Richard Cadbury. They were the sons of John Cadbury who founded the original Cadbury company. They aquired land south west of Birmingham in 1878, in what is now Bournville.

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George Cadbury lived from 1839 until 1922.

With his brother Richard, they acquired land to the south west of Birmingham in 1878 and built their factory there in 1879. He helped start the development of the Bournville Village from around 1900 onwards. There is no pubs as the Cadbury's were Quakers.

George Cadbury

George lived at 32 George Road in Edgbaston from 1872 until 1881. There is an English Heritage blue plaque on this house

George Cadbury's house in Edgbaston

The Bournville Village Trust was established in 1900 by George Cadbury.  We take a look at some of the buildings built during George Cadbury's lifetime in the early part of the 20th century.

The Bournville Carillon was built in 1906 by W Alexander Harvey. It is now part of Bournville Junior School. You can sometimes hear the bells ringing if you are in Bournville, it is quite a unique sound!

Bournville Carillon

A bust of George Cadbury is outside of the Quaker Meeting House. That was built in 1905 by W Alexander Harvey. The Cadbury's were Quaker's.

Bournville Meeting House

The Rest House in Bournville Village Green. Built in 1914 by W Alexander Harvey to mark the silver wedding of George Cadbury and his then wife. It is now a visitor centre for the Carillon.

The Rest House Bournville

If you enter Bournville from the Cotteridge end or the Selly Oak end, you might see this sign. It has a photo of George Cadbury at the top welcoming you to Bournville!

Welcome to Bournville Village

Richard Cadbury lived from 1835 until 1899 and was and elder brother of George.

With his brother George, he took over the family business in 1861, and they eventually acquired land four miles to the south west of Birmingham by 1878 and built the Cadbury chocolate factory a year later. He dontated Moseley Hall to the City of Birmingham, and it is now a hospital.

Richard Cadbury

Richard lived at 17 Wheeleys Road in Edgbaston from 1861 until 1871. There is a English Heritage blue plaque on this house.

Richard Cadbury's house in Edgbaston

Richard Cadbury bought the Moseley Hall estate in 1889. He then gave it as a children's home. It was built in 1795. Is now known as Moseley Hall Hospital.

Moseley Hall

Another property in Moseley, this one on the Queensbridge Road is the Uffculme Centre (not far from the Highbury Estate). Built for Richard Cadbury in 1890. It was his last home from 1891 until his death in 1899. His family lived there until the death of his widow in 1906. The house was later gifted to the City of Birmingham in 1916 when it became a hospital until around 1999. Now used as a conference centre.

Uffculme Centre

Almshouses built in Bournville by Richard Cadbury for the benefit of the Cadbury workers. The railings were removed during the Second World War, but new ones were installed in 2008 by the Bournville Village Trust.

Bournville Almshouses

 

You might be familiar with this building if you pass through Bournville, either on the train or walking along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The Cadbury Factory building, on this site from 1879 onwards. Cadbury World has been inside part of the site since the early 1990s.

Cadbury Factory

Cadbury Factory

View from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal over looking the Cross City Line South.

Cadbury Factory

The famous Bournville sign.

Bournville - Cadbury Factory

The famous Cadbury sign.

Cadbury Factory

Post & Photos by Elliott Brown.

 

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50 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
12 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The River Cole at the Scribers Lane ford

There is a few fords that pass through the River Cole. Scribers Lane in Hall Green near Yardley Wood is one of them. Located in the Shire Country Park between the Trittiford Mill Pool and the Scribers Lane SINC. This road is no longer in use, as there is bollards at both ends. There is a footbridge for pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers. The river level changes here during the year.

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River Cole at the Scribers Lane ford

This ford is located on Scribers Lane between Yardley Wood and Hall Green in Birmingham. The River Cole flows through the road on the Cole Valley. Nearby is the Trittiford Mill Pool and the Scribers Lane SINC. Visitors on walks can use a footbridge to cross the river on Scribers Lane. There is bollards at both ends of the river, as it is no longer suitable for cars or other motor vehicles to cross over. One set of bollards on Scribers Lane is near Riverside Crescent. Pedestrians can walk through the middle in the gap.

For my Shire Country Park posts relevant to this area:

2014-16

After a walk down to The Baldwin during February 2014, I walked down Baldwins Lane and then onto Scribers Lane. I got to this Ford sign just before the railway bridge on the Shakespeare Line.

Scribers Lane Ford

The road is liable to flooding. Only cycles can go past here. At the time I thought that you couldn't walk up the road, so I turned back. Beyond here is the Scribers Lane Allotments.

Scribers Lane Ford

The May Day Bank Holiday during May 2016. After leaving the Trittiford Mill Pool, saw the River Cole on the Scribers Lane ford for the first time.

The back of the tree near the River Cole. From a footbridge at the far end of the Trittiford Mill Pool. Can just about see the road surface to the right.

Scribers Lane ford

There's the bridge that pedestrians and cyclists can use to cross the river.

Scribers Lane Ford

At this point in the Spring, the river level was quite low.

Scribers Lane Ford

Scribers Lane sign near the bridge.

Scribers Lane Ford

Discarded barrier in the River Cole near the Scribers Lane ford.

Scribers Lane Ford

The other side of the River Cole into the Scribers Lane SINC.

Scribers Lane Ford

These views of the River Cole at the Scribers Lane ford taken during December 2016. The river level is always higher in late autumn and early winter. This was after a period of heavy rain.

Scribers Lane Ford

You can see why this road is closed off to cars or other motor vehicles, it is just too unsafe for them to pass without them getting stuck.

Scribers Lane Ford

2020

The first National Lockdown at the end of March 2020, and a walk down Scribers Lane to get onto the Trittiford Mill Pool. First up the railway bridge on the Shakespeare Line between Yardley Wood and Shirley.

Scribers Lane Ford

It seems that you can walk down Scribers Lane. Trees yet to get their leaves grown back.

Scribers Lane Ford

Bollards just before the footbridge. The River Cole is to the right on Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane Ford

Crossing the footbridge over the River Cole.

Scribers Lane Ford

The view of the River Cole from the footbridge on Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane Ford

The River Cole from the other side. Within months all of the natural growth would grow back during the first lockdown.

Scribers Lane Ford

The River Cole looked shallow enough to go into from Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane Ford

The main tree near the River Cole on Scribers Lane. Water surrounds it when the river level is higher.

Scribers Lane Ford

Still in lockdown during May 2020. The trees are now lush and green. A month long drought, and the River Cole was quite shallow.

Scribers Lane Ford

Even the main tree was looking dry as the leaves were green, and the river was low.

Scribers Lane Ford

It was so nice and warm in May, and the Shire Country Park was looking green near the River Cole on Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane Ford

The 2nd lockdown began on the 5th November 2020. After a walk down to Yardley Wood and into the Trittiford Mill Pool. Got some Autumnal views of the River Cole on Scribers Lane. The river level now looks higher.

Scribers Lane Ford

There's that tree again, the River Cole going behind it, but the land around it was not flooded at this point.

Scribers Lane Ford

Heading to the footbridge over the River Cole. The closest cars can get now is behind the bollards and close to the Allotments.

Scribers Lane Ford

I think the river level is too high for cyclists to ride through. Then again, I expect that they use the bridge as it's safer to cross.

Scribers Lane Ford

The walk up Scribers Lane towards the railway bridge. Vehicles that do drive down here must be under 12'6".

Scribers Lane Ford

There is also the ford on Slade Lane. I think I'll do a separate post on that ford at a later date.

The other ford in the Shire Country Park, but one that cars can drive through is on Green Road near the Greet Mill Meadow and Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground.

 

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
10 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Lickey Monument

If you are walking to or from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park on Monument Lane, you might spot an obelisk in a field. This is The Monument. Erected in memory of Other Archer Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth by the Worcestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in 1834. He was their Colonel Commandant. From a distance the monument is visible from far and wide.

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The Lickey Monument

I first saw the obelisk behind some gates off Monument Lane in Lickey back in May 2013. I took some zoom ins over the fence at the bottom, but didn't enter the field at the time. I've seen it again close up at least one more time since, but didn't take more close up photos.

 

Some history.

The monument was erected by the Worcestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in memory of their late Colonel Commandant, Other Archer Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth (1789-1833). He lived in a house in nearby Barnt Green for some time.

 

It is Grade II listed. It dates to about 1834. It was made of Anglesey marble.

Located in a field off Monument Lane, it is also close to Old Birmingham Road. Beacon Hill is to the north west, while Bilberry Hill is to the east.

Lickey Monument

Lickey Monument

Lickey Monument

 

In October 2020, I was walking down the Bristol Road South in Northfield, when I zoomed into this view of the Lickey Hills. The Monument was clearly visible from here. At the bottom of the picture is Longbridge.

Lickey Hills

I unexpectedly went down to Longbridge again at the end of October 2020, after getting a bus down Bristol Road South from Selly Oak Triangle. Got off the bus and got this view. The Lickey Hills seen in the distance, but not zoomed in far enough to see The Monument. Bournville College on the corner of Longbridge Lane and Bristol Road South is now part of South & City College Birmingham (either the Bournville or Longbridge Campus).

Lickey Hills Longbridge

 

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

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70 passion points
Photography
10 Nov 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Amazing views from The Cube, Birmingham - a day's photography with Birmingham We Are

On the 4th November, the day before the second national lockdown, Daniel Sturley, community photographer at Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build was invited to The Cube to experience and capture the early morning and late afternoon views from the 25th floor. 

Take the full feature and enjoy a selection of stunning photography.  

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Birrmingham has always been a city of huge creativity and the city's architects are acknowledged for some of the most creative builds seen anywhere across the world. One of the most photographed and talked about is The Cube, designed by architect Ken Shuttleworth of Make Architects. 

Built between 2007 and 2010, The Cube is a mixed-use development located near The Mailbox alongside the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

At 7am on the 4th November, Daniel is given exclusive access to floor 25 of The Cube, home of the Marco Pierre White restaurant.

Here is a small selection of Daniel's photography taken before and during an amazing sunrise as experienced sky high at The Cube. 

Very early before the city sunrise looking at the Mercian and Bank Tower 2 on Broad Street.

Getting creative through the glasses and bottles.

And then the sun riseth.

Creating shadows on the interiors of the rooftop restaurant:

With great views of the city from the terrace:

Later the same day, Birmingham We Are and Daniel are invited back to The Cube to experience the late afternoon views as seen from the 25th floor of The Cube.

Stunning photography!

Thank you to the Cube team for the invitation and the experience. 

Get in touch

Showcase your build and your city with Birmingham We Are and It's your Build.

Contact jonathan.bostock@peoplemattersnetwork.com for more information.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
09 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Five Ways Clocktower

There is a clock at Five Ways that is several decades older than the one that used to be in the Jewellery Quarter. Dated to 1878, this Clocktower is in front of what is now the Costa Coffee Drive Thru at 60 Calthorpe Road. Grade II listed. Erected to commmemorate the First Coroner of the Borough, John Birt Davies who had served 36 years. Gothic Style with an Iron Square Box on top.

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FIVE WAYS CLOCKTOWER

The Five Ways Clocktower is Grade II listed and dates to the late 19th Century. It resembles the Clocktower that used to be in the Jewellery Quarter until the Summer of 2020 (which was erected in honour of Joseph Chamberlain). But the clock over at Five Ways was erected for John Birt Davies, who was the First Coroner of the Borough for 36 years until 1878 (this was about a decade before Birmingham became a City, so was still a Town at this point in time).

Located outside of 60 Calthorpe Road. This is now a Costa Coffee Drive Thru, but when I first took photos of it, it was Solace Spa. Which was an Approved Beauty Day Spa. Costa had an extension built and opened in 2014.

Made of iron, the clock tower has a square box at the top with the four clock faces, and was made in the Gothic style. It has a Finial at the top.

 

2009

The Five Ways Clock seen during May 2009 in a view towards Auchinleck House and the Five Ways Shopping Centre. Lloyds TSB was on the corner of Islington Row Middleway and Calthorpe Road, it is just Lloyds Bank now.

Five Ways Clock

The following five views below taken in June 2009, by which time I had my first Fuji bridge camera.

This view towards No 1 Hagley Road (Metropolitan House).

Five Ways Clock

This is the inscription about John Birt Davies. Dated 1878.

Five Ways Clock

Close up look at the square box and one of the clock faces.

Five Ways Clock

Close up of the details of the clocktower. The Victorians certainly knew how to build impressive clocks!

Five Ways Clock

View towards Lloyds TSB and Royal Mail House on Calthorpe Road.

Five Ways Clock

This evening view of the Five Ways Clocktower during September 2009, towards the Marriott Hotel. I would have been heading to get the no 1 bus.

Five Ways Clock

This view below taken during December 2009 of the Five Ways Clock, towards Royal Mail House and Cropthorne Court.

Five Ways Clock

2014 - 2020

Some indirect views years later of the Five Ways Clock. This nightshot of the clock taken with the Marriott Hotel during January 2014. Can just about see the Joseph Sturge statue.

Five Ways Clock

A February 2016 view below of the Five Ways Clocktower with the recently completed Park Regis Birmingham hotel. Which was a rebuild out of Auchinleck House. The old Five Ways Shopping Centre has been demolished. Sign about the Paradise Circus roadworks which started in January 2015.

Five Ways Clock

The view from inside of the Costa Coffee Drive Thru during August 2018. There was seating areas inside the house part of 60 Calthorpe Road. Behind the Five Ways Clock was the construction site of The Bank Tower 2.

Five Ways Clock

From the table I sat in at Costa at the time, I could see the Five Ways Clocktower and Park Regis Birmingham outside. To think, that this used to be a beauty spa only a decade earlier! While I have been back to this Costa since, don't think I've sat in this part again.

Five Ways Clock

In November 2018, I'd probably just got off the no 1 bus on Harborne Road. And saw this Ellisons Corporate Hospitality coach parked outside of the Costa Drive Thru. The Five Ways Clock seen to the left.

Five Ways Clock

Over to January 2019, and I was waiting for a no 1 bus on Calthorpe Road, when I saw The Green Bus on the 881 to Handsworth pass the Costa Drive Thru and the Five Ways Clock. From here you can see the Marriott Hotel, No 1 Hagley Road and Broadway Residences.

Five Ways Clock

A wet and miserable day during October 2020 as I got to Five Ways. Was raining heavily on the walk from The Mailbox via Gas Street Basin and Broad Street. Heading to catch a no 1 bus. Apexhouse, the Costa Drive Thru (which I've not got around to going back to since the pandemic started) and the Marriott Hotel. Not forgetting the Five Ways Clock.

Five Ways Clock

 

Update: Site of the Jewellery Quarter Clock

The Jewellery Quarter Clock was removed for repairs on the 22nd August 2020. Click this link to view the post.

On the 2nd November 2020, several days before the 2nd Lockdown began, I got the train up to the Jewellery Quarter, and saw the site of where the clock used to be on Warstone Lane. I meant to go up there the day I first found the pop up cycle lane. At least this time, I saw the site, then saw the rest of the pop up cycle lane from Carver Street. The clock should return here in 2021, fingers crossed.

Site of the JQ Clock

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

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50 passion points
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