Construction & regeneration
21 Oct 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

THE TRIANGLE: HUGE REDEVELOPMENT FOR SELLY OAK

'The Triangle' in Selly Oak will transform a neglected former Sainsbury's site into a lively new student & community-driven development.

Three new blocks will be erected, delivering 1187 units, student communal facilities, ground floor commercial & publicly accessible community floorspace. Exciting stuff!

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The site is bordered by Chapel Lane, Harborne Lane and Bristol Road in Selly Oak – otherwise known as the former Sainsbury's site, which has sat derelict since November 2018.

Once demolished, the site will be subdivided into three new brick blocks, with heights varying between 4 to 12 storeys tall, separated by landscaped courtyard space.

TWO PHASES

Phase 1 will deliver 635 units in Block A along with community space, flexible unit(s), student amenity and courtyard spaces.

Phase 2 will then complete the remaining 552 student bedrooms and facilities.

Accommodation will typically be arranged into cluster, studios, standard & premium en-suites.

These builds have been devised to respond to their near neighbours, with each emphasising a stepped-up approach in height across all blocks. Taller builds will be strategically placed at key corners.

Materiality and facade works remain unswerving throughout - as the below renderings will show.

SHARED PUBLIC & PRIVATE STUDENT AMENITIES

Shared amenity spaces will be available at ground floor level - located within Blocks A & B, with A also featuring a communal terrace on the 5th floor and a possible water feature within the courtyard.

The site will offer a wide-ranging mix of private and a semi-public realm with outdoor amenity for students. A public area of accessible open space will also be allocated for community use - aptly created around the retained 'Selly Oak' tree.

Other facilities include a gym, cycle hub, cafe, canteen, lobby, FM room, games room, laundry, and spacious study areas.

A total of 45 accessible wheelchair accommodation will be combined across all blocks.

THE BLOCKS:

BLOCK A

BLOCK B

View down the internal street between Blocks A & B:

View of the arrival off Chapel Lane:

BLOCK C

CAR FREE AFFAIR, BUT PLENTY OF CYCLES!

The inclusion of a cycle hub will provide safe long-stay & short-stay storage areas - with long-stay containing 235 cycles in Block A, and 61 in Block C - totaling 296 bicycle spaces. Short-stay provision site-wide is expected to provide 30 more.

The Triangle will predominately be a car-free affair, other than ‘drop-offs’ and ‘pick-ups’ for taxis and students at the beginning and end of terms; 27 short-stay spaces will be offered, along with 4 permanent blue badge disabled spaces. 

The project is to be managed by Hines' student operator ‘Aparto’.

BEFORE & AFTERS

PROJECT TEAM:
DEVELOPER: HPH Selly Oak Property Ltd (Hines & Henderson Park JV)
ARCHITECTS: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris/ & Bradley Murphy Design
STUDENT OPERATOR: Aparto 
CIVIL & STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING: Price & Myers
MEP ENGINEERING: Cundall
PROJECT MANAGER: Avison Young Second London Wall
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Turner and Townsend
PCSA CONTRACTOR: Bowmer + Kirkland

Words by Stephen Giles, with artists' impressions from AHMMBradley Murphy Design.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
21 Oct 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

OCTAGON: A WORLD FIRST ON THE BIRMINGHAM SKYLINE

Plans have arrived for the world's tallest pure octagonal residential tower - right here in Birmingham!

Located at Paradise, this new unique landmark build-to-rent tower will rise to 49-storeys tall (155m). 
 

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The Octagon will deliver 346 spacious new petal-shaped homes (57sqm-117sqm), with up to eight to a floor getting their own uninterrupted panoramic views of the city.

The mix will provide 170 one, 168 two and 8 three-bed units. with a number of affordable apartments also available for rent.

Communal spaces and resident amenities will be prominently situated at the entrance of the building, with uses set to feature a café/deli, reception area, gymnasium, wellness hub, co-working space, cycle hub, storage areas, and lounges.

Crucially, the new vibrant space will open up to a landscaped courtyard within Paradise - ultimately driving footfall through the evolving redevelopment.

PUREST FORM - A WORLD'S FIRST

Designed by Birmingham-based architects, Glenn Howells, with landscaping coming from global landscaping firm, Grant Associates, Octagon will feature eight equal facades - delivering the purest octagonal form, with the building's frame punctuated by large 10.5m horizontal windows opening up apartments to panoramic views of the city. 

With Council House, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG), and the Grade-II listed, Alpha Tower, all in close proximity, the exterior has been designed to give off a warm tone to reflect its historic surroundings.

The project is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council. Argent is development manager, with private sector funding managed by Federated Hermes.

BEST OF THE REST

Octagon will be brought forward independently of all the other phases, but it is still considered part of Phase 2 within the masterplan. 

Demolition of 77 Paradise Circus Queensway will commence in 2021 followed by construction. Works are anticipated to take three years, with a 2024 completion date.

Words by Stephen Giles, with renderings from Glenn Howells Architects & Paradise Birmingham.

PROJECT TEAM

Client: Argent
Architect: Glenn Howells Architects
Landscape Architect Grant Associates
Project Manager & Quantity Surveyor: Quantem
Planning Consultant: Turley
Structural Engineer: Arup
Mechanical & Electrical: Arup
Civil Engineer: Arup
Acoustic Engineer: Arup
Fire Engineer: Arup
Facade Consultant: Wintech Group
Lighting Consultant: Spiers And Major
 
TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
History & heritage
21 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The demolition of The Eagle & Tun for HS2 in Eastside

The Eagle & Tun has been on the corner of Banbury Street and New Canal Street since perhaps the middle of the 19th century. Although the building just demolished may have been built at the beginning of the 20th Century from a design by James & Lister Lea. Previously closed down in 2008, reopened in 2016. Closed again in 2020 by HS2 in January, and demolished sadly in October.

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The Eagle & Tun was a pub in Digbeth (later Eastside). Close to the viaduct of the West Coast Mainline (also used by the Cross City Line and other routes in and out of Birmingham New Street). It was located on the corner of Banbury Street and New Canal Street. But HS2's plans changed, and it was decided that the pub would have to be demolished.

Originally HS2 had planned to incorporate the pub into the new Curzon Street HS2 Station, but for some reason this changed. This was in 2014, when it was then thought construction on the station would start by 2017 (it didn't).

There has been a pub on this site since at least the late 1850s. The Eagle & Tun originally closed down in 2008, and was derelict for many years. Only to get new landlords in late 2015. It reopened in 2016. Only for HS2 to change their minds again, and the pub closed down by January 2020. By October 2020, demolition was well under way on the pub. It would be gone by the end of the month.

The council had locally listed the pub as Grade B. It never received a Grade II listing from English Heritage (now Historic England).

 

My first photo of The Eagle & Tun, taken during January 2010, from what was then Albert Street. At this point at had been closed for about 2 years.

Eagle & Tun

 

I took more photos of The Eagle & Tun back in February 2010. These shots originally came out dark (on my old camera). And I have just fixed them in Photoshop Elements 2020. You can see that a derelict building was still there on Banbury Street next to the pub (it would be demolished within a few years and become a temporary car park).

Eagle and Tun

Eagle and Tun

Eagle and Tun

Eagle and Tun

Eagle and Tun

Eagle and Tun

Eagle and Tun

 

Below, The Eagle & Tun in late March 2016 after the pub had reopened to the public.

Eagle & Tun

Eagle & Tun

 

The Eagle & Tun in late December 2019. Within the next couple of weeks, HS2 had it closed down for good. See my post from January 2020 when I visited the inside of the pub for the first and only time.

Eagle & Tun

 

A couple of days before the National Lockdown came into force in late March 2020, I got my last full photo of the Eagle & Tun on New Canal Street before it would be demolished. In the months that followed the roads would be closed by HS2 for Enabling Works.

Eagle & Tun

 

By October 2020, I was aware of The Eagle & Tun undergoing demolition. I took this series of photos from New Canal Street on Sunday 4th October 2020. Until then, I wasn't sure if I could walk up New Canal Street, what with the road being closed to cars. But it seems it is open to pedestrians. At this point only the ground floor remained.

Eagle & Tun

Eagle & Tun

Eagle & Tun

Eagle & Tun

Eagle & Tun

 

One more walk past on the 20th October 2020. Heading from Eastside City Park. Nothing left now. HS2 workers were putting up new hoardings around the site of the pub. I found that you could also walk onto Fazeley Street (the road is closed for roadworks as well but there was access for pedestrians).

Eagle & Tun

 

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

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
20 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

12 must visit parks in Birmingham in 2021

There is literally hundreds of parks in Birmingham, but here is a quick look at 12 parks you could visit in 2021 at any time of the year for a walk, cycle, or taking your dog for a walk etc. From the well known parks such as Kings Heath Park and Cannon Hill Park, to the less well known such as Kings Norton Park and Manor Farm Park. So many to choose from.

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Click the links below to go to the projects and view the posts. All parks are reachable by cycle or bus. Some by train and tram. Many of these parks used to be country estates before being acquired by the Council from the late 19th or early 20th Century.

 

Cannon Hill Park

Located between Moseley and Edgbaston on Edgbaston Road and Russell Road. There is also entrances from the Pershore Road. Cannon Hill Park opened to the public back in 1873, on land donated by Louisa Ryland. It is probably the most popular park in Birmingham with lakes, playgrounds and a fun fair. The Midlands Art Centre is also based here. Various memorials are located in this famous park.

Bus routes: 1, 1A, 35, 45 or 47.

Cannon Hill Park

 

Kings Heath Park

Probably the second most popular park in Birmingham is Kings Heath Park. Located on Vicarage Road and Avenue Road in Kings Heath. The park was home to the TV Garden, and there is a Tea Room located in a house built in 1832 for an MP, William Congreve Russell. The land and house later ended up in the Cartland family in 1880, and they sold it in 1900s. Eventually the local council took control, before Kings Heath became a part of Birmingham in 1911. Today there is several play areas in the park, plus a couple of ponds.

Bus routes: 11A, 11C, 27 or 76.

Kings Heath Park

 

Highbury Park

Located between Kings Heath and Moseley, with one entrance near the Kings Heath High Street. It was the estate of Joseph Chamberlain who lived at Highbury Hall until his death in 1914. Highbury Park also has entrances on Moor Green Lane, and one near a gatehouse close to Yew Tree Lane. From Dad's Lane and Shutlock Lane, there is a back entrance to the park also leading to a car park. The park opened to the public in 1930. The park has a couple of ponds that you can see.

Bus routes: 27, 35, 50 or 76.

Trains: A new Kings Heath Station could open in the future by 2022 (the original station closed in 1941).

Highbury Park

 

Kings Norton Park

This park is located down the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton. It was opened to the public in 1924. There is a car park located on Westhill Road. The River Rea flows through the park, although you can't see it. The park features a play area near the Westhill Road entrance, and a skate park. Not too far from the old Kings Norton Village. Part of the Rea Valley Route, and on the National Cycle Network route no 5.

Bus routes: 18, 19, 45, 47 and 49.

Trains: Kings Norton Station on the Cross City Line up the hill in Cotteridge.

Kings Norton Park

 

Handsworth Park

This park is located between Hamstead Road and Hinstock Road in Handsworth. Also with entrances on Holly Road and Grove Road. Nearby is the Church of St Mary, where James Watt and Matthew Boulton are buried. Handsworth Park has at least two lakes. A railway line crosses half way through the park (it was the site of Handsworth Wood Station until 1942). Originally known as Victoria Park, it opened to the public in the 1880s. A sculpture was installed in the park called SS Journey by Luke Perry.

Bus routes: 16, 61 or 101.

Trams: In walking distance of Soho Benson Road or Winson Green Outer Circle tram stops.

Handsworth Park

 

Grove Park

This park is located on Harborne Park Road in Harborne. Grove Park has been a public park in Birmingham since 1963. The southern end of the park is on Mill Farm Road towards the Kenrick Centre. Historically the park was the grounds of The Grove, which was an 18th century Georgian house. One of Birmingham's first MP's Thomas Attwood lived at The Grove from 1823 to 1846. The house was later rebuilt for another Birmingham MP, William Kenrick in 1877-78. He died there in 1919. His son Alderman W. Byng Kenrick donated the estate to the City (he died in 1962). The house was demolished by Birmingham City Council in 1963. The park has a play area and a lake.

Bus routes: 10S, 11A, 11C or 76.

Grove Park

 

Bournville Park

This small park located in Bournville is on Linden Road, and is disected by The Bourn. Directly opposite the world famous Cadbury chocolate factory. The parks goes towards Selly Oak Road and Oak Tree Lane. There is a play area close to Linden Road. Close to Bournville Village Primary School. There is also a tennis court and a bowling green.

Bus routes: 11A or 11C, 27 or 48.

Trains: Bournville Station on the Cross City Line.

Bournville Park

Rookery Park

Up to Erdington for this park. Rookery Park is located on Wood End Road and Kingsbury Road. The site of Rookery House, which was being restored the last time I saw it. The Grade II listed house was built in the 18th century, and was originally known as Birches Green House. Was the home of Abraham Spooner and his descendants from 1730. Various different owner occupiers during the 19th century. The local council took over the land in the late 19th century, then became part of Birmingham from 1911. There was several derelict toilets in the park in urgent need of restoration. As well as a play area towards the Western Road exit.

Bus routes: 11A or 11C or X14.

Trains: In walking distance of Erdington Station on the Cross City Line.

Rookery Park

Selly Oak Park

This park is located in Selly Oak on Gibbins Road and Harborne Lane, close to the Selly Oak Bypass and the site of the Lapal Canal. The park has a play area and plenty of paths for walking. One route along the site of the lost canal goes towards Weoley Castle. Selly Oak Park opened in 1899 on land donated by the Gibbins family. More land was added to the park during the 20th century. The park is maintained by The Friends of Selly Oak Park. You can find carved wooden sculptures around the park, by Graham Jones.

Bus routes: 10S, 11A, 11C or 48.

Trains: In walking distance of Selly Oak Station on the Cross City Line.

Selly Oak Park

Cotteridge Park

This park can be accessed from the Persore Road via a bridge (over the Cross City Line) from Breedon Road. The park also runs up Franklin Road towards Bournville. The park has a play area and tennis courts. Plus a skate park and basketball court. Cotteridge Park had a Sons of Rest building, but it was demolished in the 1990s. The Friends of Cotteridge Park was started up in 1997. A small community building was built between 2019 and 2020.

Bus routes: Not far from the 11A, 11C, 45, 47 or 48.

Trains: Bournville or Kings Norton Station on the Cross City Line.

Cotteridge Park

Manor Farm Park

Over to Northfield for this park, located on the Bristol Road South. Although it is known as White Hill in the area close to Bournville. The park was the site of the Northfield Manor House, which was damaged by fire in 2014 (never seen it myself). It was the home of George and Elizabeth Cadbury, from 1890, until his death in 1922 and her death in 1953. The park was opened to the public in 1951. Also home to a small lake. A wooden picnic barn built in 1894, was sadly destroyed by arsonists in 2017 and has been demolished. The Friends of Manor Farm Park hope to restore the outbuildings in the park.

Bus routes: 44, 48, 61, 63, 76 or 144.

Manor Farm Park

Sheldon Country Park

This large Country Park is located between the Coventry Road in Sheldon towards Marston Green and Birmingham Airport. The Westley Brook flows through the park. There is an Airport viewing area that is good for plane spotting, as well as The Old Rectory Farm. Sheldon Country Park is split into sections, from Coventry Road to Church Road. Then from Church Road towards the Airport Viewing Area. The Hatchford Brook also flows into the park joining the Westley Brook not far from the runway of the airport.

Bus routes: 60, X1, X2, 72 or 73.

Trains: Marston Green Station on the West Coast Mainline (Birmingham New Street to Coventry line).

Sheldon Country Park

Similar post here on the 11 bus Outer Circle.

 

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

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70 passion points
Green travel
20 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Pop up cycle lanes in the Jewellery Quarter

A couple of pop up cycle lanes have been installed in the Jewellery Quarter. One on Newhall Hill, from Sandpits to Frederick Street (no bollards). The other on Legge Lane and Graham Street towards Newhall Street. Whether cyclists will use them, I don't know. Was at least one van parked in the lane on Newhall Hill. And one cyclist on Graham Street didn't even use it.

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Newhall Hill

From the bottom of Newhall Hill towards Sandpits. The Council has placed red and white barriers, closing it off to motorists. So only cyclists and pedestrians can pass through.

Newhall Hill

Just before here, saw a white van parked on the cycle lane, but the Council hasn't installed bollards up here (yet).

Newhall Hill

The Newhall Hill junction with Legge Lane and Graham Street. Near The Argent Centre (under scaffolding), and the Victoria Works of Joseph Gillott. Pens were historically made around here (or pen nibs).

Newhall Hill

Legge Lane / Graham Street

Onto Graham Street, opposite the Victoria Works, I spotted these red and white bollards. Although was originally thinking of walking up Frederick Street towards the site of the clock. Instead I headed down Graham Street towards Newhall Street.

Graham Street

Looking back towards Legge Lane from Graham Street. The temporary sign says that there is no access to Sandpits except for cycles. But there is still some cars around here.

Graham Street

A bit further down Graham Street, and there was a raised platform for the bus stop about halfway down the road.

Graham Street

Graham Street curves into Newhall Street where the pop up cycle lane ends just past the red post box.

Graham Street

See also the pop up cycle lane on Bradford Street and Old Camp Hill in Digbeth / Bordesley.

 

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

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Oct 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Square: New Revised Plans Set For Approval

NEW revised designs have gone in for The Square, Broad Street - it's also recommended for approval on October 22nd.

440 apartments will be constructed within two adjoined builds of 35 (110.85m) and 6 storeys. A standalone hotel building will also be incorporated - providing 229 rooms over 8 storeys. 

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

It's being brought forward by 2020 Living Ltd, a vehicle used by Taylor Grange Developments, and has been designed by Corstorphine + Wright.

LATEST DESIGNS & PLANS

These latest plans, which are now set for approval, will see the demolition of a site deemed unsuitable for commercial tenants and the construction of a 35 storey tower with 6 storey shoulder & one storey podium - all containing 440 rented apartments, plant, storage, reception, communal amenities and cycle parking.

A standalone, 229-bed, 8 storey, 3* mid-market hotel building (white building below) will be built too, located on Grosvenor Street West, delivering flexible commercial ground floor commercial (dining & bar) and private external space.

The revised design will deliver a clean and robust tower using a simple palette that will soon offer something different for Broad Street.

AMENITIES

A multitude of uses will be on offer here as part of the rented package, with secure unprecedented access to top-of-the-range internal and external amenity offerings.

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

The inner courtyard will provide external green space offering different zones to either work or play.

It will become a place to encourage wellbeing and healthy activity, whether through exercise regimes or just a place to chill out and relax in the outdoor seating areas.

Additional external spaces will be provided within at the top of the 35-storey, in the form of a tenants club; the space with also feature a transparent facade providing subtle lighting.

The hotel will include flexible ground floor commercial and will most likely contain bar/ restaurant space. A clear through route will be created that’ll link into the courtyard for shared amenities between residents and guests. 

AFFORDABILITY

The scheme is liable for a CIL payment of circa. £2.179m for the residential element and 225K for the hotel.

In addition to that, an independently accessed viability statement has concluded that a total of 4 apartments (1%) is the most the scheme can sustain without impacting on the viability and deliverability of the scheme. These will be provided at 80% of market rent.

PARKING

The site is on the doorstep of the West Midlands Metro Tram. For that reason alone, four EV (electric vehicle) bays will be provided on site. 

168 cycle spaces will be accessible within the tower together with a dedicated cycle workshop. Hotel users will also be allocated additional space.

Plans are recommended for approval on Thursday October 22nd, at 11am.

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

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
14 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Van Gogh Alive The Experience at the Birmingham Hippodrome

The Birmingham Hippodrome has reopened for the first time since it closed back in March 2020, due to the pandemic / lockdown during October 2020. Not for a play, panto or ballet performance, but for something called Van Gogh Alive The Experience. It opened on the 8th October 2020, and could be on until the end of January 2021. Digital projections on the stage of Vincent Van Gogh's art.

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VAN GOGH ALIVE THE EXPERIENCE

 

Go to Van Gogh Alive to book tickets. This is the UK Premiere in Birmingham. But it has been all around the world. 6 million visitors worldwide, over 50 cities visited, in over 5 continents. It is powered by Sensory 4 projection technology. It is safe and Covid compliant. Wear a mask inside and regularly sanitise your hands.

 

You can book up to 6 tickets per household (Rule of Six). You get a QR code on a PDF. Show on your phone or print out. It will get scanned in the Birmingham Hippodrome about 4 times. Main entrance from Hurst Street. You later exit via the Dance Xchange building on Thorp Street.

 

The digital projections of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings is on the stage. You head down the stairs. The show lasts around 45 minutes to an hour (I think). Classical music accompanies Van Gogh's famous paintings, with some animations, and his life story in France after he left the Netherlands.

 

From Paris (1886-88) to Arles (1888-89) to Auvers-sur-Oise (1890). Including his time in hospital and at an asylum. Vincent famously cut one of his ears off later in his life. Born in 1853 in Zundert, Netherlands, he died in 1890, aged 37 in Auvers-sur-Oise, France (suicide by gunshot).

 

It opened on Thursday 8th October 2020, and if all goes to plan (depending on the latest lockdown restrictions) it could stay open until the end of January 2021.

 

Birmingham We Are's person with passion, award winning Elliott Brown paid a £20 ticket and went on Sunday 11th October 2020. Hopefully inspiring other people to go (depending on the new Covid Tier 2 restrictions).

There is timed slots, so hopefully not too many people in the theatre at one time. I'd advise you to not take a large bag, as the cloakroom is closed, and they do a bag check when you first arrive.

 

Van Gogh Alive - outside of the Birmingham Hippodrome in Hippodrome Square, Hurst Street.

Queue outside, put your mask on, get your QR ticket ready on your phone (or print it out at home and take it along).

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Down the stairs, then before going to the stage, was this area with reprints of Vincent's famous art with descriptions. One way in and out, stay apart, wear a mask at all times.

Van Gogh Alive

 

Vincent's artistic story in France in the 1880s.

Starting with Paris 1886-88.

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Arles 1888-1889

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Starry Night.

Van Gogh Alive

Auvers-sur-Oise 1890

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive

Vincent's Bedroom in Arles, France, a recreation.

Visitors on their way out can stop to have their photos taken with their family. Sit on the chairs, or on the bed.

Van Gogh Alive

After this, exit by heading up the stairs. Leave via the gift shop that was selling Van Gogh merchandise. There was also a coffee shop open (I think). The exit was past the toilets towards the Thorp Street exit (the Dance Xchange building).

 

Van Gogh Alive The Experience was created by Grande Exhibitions and Sensory 4 Immersive Experience.

 

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

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
14 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Superhero and Villains street art around Digbeth and elsewhere in the City

Most of the graffiti street art of superheroes and villains are located in Digbeth. There is some in Southside. Not all the pieces I've seen are still on the wall or hoardings they were painted on. Mostly from Marvel. You can find the Joker from DC in a car park in Digbeth. Plus Judge Dredd is in Zellig Car Park.

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2000 AD

JUDGE DREDD

Located in Zellig Car Park. Seen during October 2019. As far as I'm aware these pieces are still there. Painted as part of the High Viz Street Art Festival.

Judge Dredd

This piece of Judge Dredd below is by After the Robot Apocalypse.

Judge Dredd

JUDGE CASSANDRA ANDERSON

Judge Anderson

PSI ANDERSON DIVISION

PSI Anderson Division

DC Comics

TWO FACE AND THE JOKER FROM THE DARK KNIGHT (2008).

Located at The Paper Mill Digbeth in a car park off Allison Street in Digbeth. Seen in September 2019, it should still be there now. Two Face looks like ex PM David Cameron. Joker is obviously the late Heath Ledger in the Batman movie.

Joker

MARVEL

CAPTAIN AMERICA

This piece by the Forty Eights was seen in Digbeth near some wasteland from High Street Bordesley back in August 2011. It is still there. Seems to me to combine The Terminator T800 endoskeleton in a Captain America costume. This land has sometimes been used as a second hand car dealership.

Captain America

There used to be another Captain America piece in Lower Trinity Street Car Park in Digbeth. Seen during February 2015, I think this has long since been painted over. Had a K instead of an A on the top of the helmet. Possibly painted for the City of Colours in 2014.

Captain America

IRON MAN

Located in Digbeth Court Car Park. Seen during May 2019. It is still on that wall. It is visible from High Street Bordesley from the buses in and out of the City Centre. Same artwork style as Wolverine. Credited artist seems to be Ziah.

Iron Man

But was tags CRZ and VOID on either side of Iron Man.

Iron Man

WOLVERINE

This was located in a wasteland in Acocks Green near the Warwick Road. Painted around the time that Stan Lee passed away. Seen in November 2018, it is no longer there. But at the time was visible from Olton Boulevard East.

Wolverine

Back to Digbeth for this Wolverine street art. First spotted it in September 2019 on Milk Street.

Wolverine

It was still there in March 2020 before the lockdown happened. Next to a Hoakser piece.

Wolverine

This piece below was a bit like Wolverine combined with Mickey Mouse, if Wolverine was played by Mel Gibson. The USA flag with Marvel all over it. Years before Disney bought 20th Century Fox. Seen in Lower Trinity Street Car Park back in Sepember 2015. It is no longer on that wall. Was also Captain America's shields.

Wolverine

SPIDER-MAN

The Marvel Playstation 4 Spider-Man mural located in Lower Trinity Street Car Park (now called Custard Factory Car Park). Seen during September 2018. Painted by the artist Jim Vision for the Hi Viz Festival. This might still be there, but was a Peaky Blinders banner over it in 2019, but I think it's still there.

Spider-Man

Gent 48 painted this Spider-Man on the former Chinese Herbal Medicine & Health Care at 31 Smallbrook Queensway in Southside. It was there in March 2020, but Gent has painted over it with something else. It looks like the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man.

Spider-Man

DOCTOR DOOM

The super villain from the Fantastic Four was on the hoardings on High Street Deritend near Zellig Car Park and the Custard Factory in Digbeth during September 2019. Painted at the time for the High Viz Street Culture Festival. It is no longer there, and has been painted over a few times since with something else.

Dr Doom

BLACK PANTHER

The late Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. Seen near the top of Hurst Street in Southside during October 2020. Painted for the B-Side Hip Hop Festival 2020, also for the Black Lives Matter movement. Chadwick sadly died in August 2020 of Colon Cancer, aged 43.

Black Panther

STAN LEE

The late great Stan Lee. Located on a wall on Barford Street in Digbeth, behind the former Birmingham Wholesale Market. Painted for the B-Side Hip Hop Festival 2020 and seen during October 2020. EXCELSIOR! Stan THE MAN Lee died during November 2018, aged 95. He famously made cameos in many Marvel movies over the years.

Stan Lee

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
People & community
14 Oct 2020 - Jon Police
Introducing

It's your community (Kings Heath & Moseley) - an interview with Fareeda Khan - PCSO with West Midlands Police

Jonathan from Birmingham We Are caught up with Fareeda Khan, a PCSO with West Midlands Police operating in the Moseley and Kings Heath Neighbourhood. Here’s a brief insight to Fareeda’s work with community and how she feels Kings Heath and Moseley can really benefit from Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022. 

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Q.  Can you tell me a little about your work as a PCSO Fareeda?

“As a PCSO we are very visible in the community.  Our role is very much community based and we are the eyes and ears of the community. 

I particularly enjoy engaging with young people through schools and youth clubs.  Young people now understand our role a lot more and I like to think they have a lot more trust in us and are more forthcoming in approaching us.”

Q.  Fareeda, you cover Moseley and Kings Heath.  Can you tell me a little about your patch and the community?

“Moseley and Kings Heath are sometimes referred to as bohemian neighborhoods.  There’s a lot of culture and a lot of community get-togethers with street parties and festivals. They are very creative places to live and visit. People are always helping each other out.

It is a very friendly and inviting part of the city and a great place for people to visit.”

Photo: Welcome to Kings Heath courtesy Christine Wright

Photo: Moseley Bog courtesy Elliott Brown

Photo: Highbury Hall in Moseley courtesy Elliott Brown

Q. How can we ensure that these communities are best able to benefit from the City attracting more visitors with events coming up such as the Commonwealth Games?

“I think more awareness and more outreach work in the community. Raise awareness as some communities may feel a little isolated and that it’s not for them.  Perhaps there could be a showcase of the opportunities for younger people and parents and information on how they can get involved.

Perhaps opportunities via schools and colleges nearer the time so that young people can understand how they can get involved.”

Young people on National Citizen Service visit Art Rooms in Kings Heath 

Photo: The Orchard, Highbury Park courtesy Christine Wright

Q. Do you think the police could have a big role to play in helping the local community maximize the opportunities presented by the Commonwealth Games?

“Because we do a lot of work with the community and work with many different agencies to build trust and confidence, people know they can come to us.  Another way they can connect with us is through something like sport and different types of outreach work.  If the police can get more involved, we can help community get more involved.”

Photo: Woodworkers from the Moseley and Kings Heath Shed courtesy Christine Wright

Photo: St Mary's Church, Moseley courtesy Damien Walmsley.

Q. How important are community leaders to the work that you do?

“We have different types of leaders in the community.

We have business leaders, religious leaders, leaders in education and other community leaders such as neighborhood watch co-coordinators etc. We have done a lot work around active citizens and identifying those key people in the community that have a special role as the voice of a local group who can make a real difference. 

The Active Citizens Fund managed by the Police is there to support the work of such groups.”

Photo: Kings Heath Park courtesy Christine Wright

Photo: Moseley Farmers Market courtesy Elliott Brown

Q.  Would you be able to help our work at Birmingham We Are in introducing young people on programs such as the national citizen’s service to the culture within the local community?

“I would be delighted to help in any way I can. Moseley and Kings Heath are certainly places to experience and enjoy the culture of Birmingham.”

Thank you for your time Fareeda. 

This is one of a series of discussions taking place by Birmingham We Are as an introduction to people as influencers who can make a massive difference to the City and the community in which they live or work. 

Our interviews with PCSOs operating across the City has the full support of West Midlands Police. 

For further details on our work contact Jonathan.Bostock@PeopleMattersNetwork.com.

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100 passion points
Travel & tourism
12 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Enterprise bridges at Destination Star Trek at The NEC in 2016 and 2018

I went to Destination Star Trek Europe at The NEC in October 2016, and two years later as Destination Star Trek Birmingham in October 2018. Both times they had the bridges of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 and NCC 1701-D. I didn't go in 2019. Star Trek turned 50 back in 2016.

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Destination Star Trek Europe was held during the weekend of the 7th to 9th October 2016. I went on the Sunday, the ticket cost about £30 online. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek which started on NBC in the USA on the 8th September 1966. This was the first time an official Star Trek convention was held in Birmingham (technically within the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull).

Fans could get their photos take on the bridges of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 from Star Trek: The Orignal Series (1966-69) or the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94). They could also be in shot with some of the stars (for a price). I of course wasn't going to pay for that.

 

Captain's Log Stardate 77854.6. We have arrived in the City of Birmingham, but it seems like we are in a Borough called Solihull. Never the less, The Birmingham NEC is located here. Plenty of fans in cosplay, plus recreations of the bridge and other sets. I speculate that these halls are large enough to film episodes of Star Trek, if CBS Paramount wish to film the shows over here.

 

TOS BRIDGE

TOS Bridge

TOS Bridge

TNG BRIDGE

TNG Bridge

TNG Bridge

TNG Bridge

Marina Sirtis played Counselor Deanna Troi.

TNG Bridge

TNG Bridge

 

Destination Star Trek Birmingham was held at The NEC during the weekend of the 19th to 21st October 2018. The second time in Birmingham. It would return once again a year later in 2019, but I didn't see the point of paying another £30 for a third time, and didn't find the second visit as good as the first.

TOS Bridge with Tribbles

TOS Bridge

TNG Bridge returns

TNG Bridge

I've got plenty more photos from both events for future possible posts. I couldn't take the classic props at the 2018 convention as photography was not allowed for that (private collection). But was able to get the costumes / props in 2016.

Plus I once went to MCM Birmingham Comic Con back in November 2016 (didn't go back to it in the years since).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
08 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Bill & Ted Face the Music at Cineworld

I've seen Bill & Ted Face the Music twice. First time at Cineworld Broad Street Birmingham on 16/09/2020. Second time at Cineworld Solihull (Touchwood) on 02/10/2020. As it was £4. At the time didn't know that Cineworld was closing down again. The movie is amazing. Even got the book on the Trilogy and the soundtrack! Excellent!

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I'm back, kind of. Been having a minor rest from this site for a bit. The break may continue. Until then all I've been thinking of is Bill & Ted, as Bill & Ted 3 just came out in cinemas (that are open). I have ran out of ideas for Birmingham related posts, and wont be doing those architecture ones.

 

Going to the cinema now is so different under pandemic conditions. As usual with Cineworld I book my ticket online or on the app. And use the e-Ticket that gets scanned at the cinema. You have to wear a face mask in the foyer and in the screen. Go to the numbered seat you chose online. The screens I've been in have been almost empty. First time wasn't too bad. Second time in Solihull was hardly anyone there. No wonder cinemas are struggling right now.

 

The doors at Cineworld Broad Street in July 2020. The cinema reopened at the end of July.

Cineworld Broad Street

The view in August 2020 of Cineworld with the Westside Metro extension to Hagley Road.

Cineworld Broad Street

A few weeks later I went back to the cinema to see The New Mutants. Bill & Ted Face the Music wouldn't open until the middle of September 2020.

Cineworld Broad Street

 

Spoilers below if you haven't seen the movie.

The movie is 90 minutes long plus the adverts and trailers. There is a new CGI Creature Discomforts advert from Aardman Animations. Was a trailer for James Bong 25: No Time to Die (sadly postponed again until April 2021).

Bill & Ted Face the Music is well worth seeing if you are a Bill & Ted fan. I've been waiting the best part of the last decade for it. Bill & Ted are now in their 50s with families but haven't written the song that will save reality and time as we know it. They now have daughters in their 20s called Billie & Thea.

I missed Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) and Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) in the cinema. I think I first saw them on VHS rental, probably in 1992. Loved them straight away.

The excellent duo decide to travel into their future to steal the song from themselves. But it gets worse further into the future they go. Including Prison Bill & Ted.

At the same time Billie & Thea use Kelly's time pod to get historical musicians to form a band.

There is also a robot called Dennis Caleb McCoy. He later zaps everyone and sends them to hell.

The group later finds Death (the Grim Reaper) and convince him to take them back to the real world.

They arrive at MP46 to perform the song at 7:17pm in San Dimas, California. They realise that Preston / Logan is their daughters, who DJ the band to play instruments, while Bill & Ted time travel across realities to get everyone to play an instrument.

There is a funny post credits scene at the end.

 

Cineworld is closing again due to a lack of blockbusters coming out due to the pandemic. Many movies have been pushed to 2021 or 2022. So is nothing much else coming out in the next few months.

 

I've not been back to Odeon since the lockdown began. Sounds like Odeon is going to a weekend only model.

 

Follow Bill & Ted 3 on Twitter. Follow Bill & Ted Face the Music UK on Twitter.

BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER

AND ...

PARTY ON DUDES!

 

RIP to Eddie Van Halen. There is a memorable scene in the first Bill & Ted movie where the excellent duo discuss making a music video and wanting Eddie Van Halen on guitar. Watch it here on YouTube Bill & Ted Wyld Stallyns. EXCELLENT!!!!!!

 

Bill & Ted Face the Music is © Orion Pictures 2020. Distributed in the UK by Warner Brothers Pictures. The franchise is now owned by MGM under their Orion Pictures label.

 

Photos of Cineworld Broad Street taken by Elliott Brown.

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
08 Oct 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

JQ PROJECTS: 37-42 Tenby Street Approved

A prominent area within the Industrial Middle of the Jewellery Quarter has today been given the go-ahead to be redeveloped after plans were formally approved 6-5 at Planning Committee today (October 8th 2020).

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37-42 Tenby Street, a development from Rainier Developments & BDP Architects, is home to one of the most distinguished Jewellery Quarter businesses remaining today: Charles Green and Son.

Plans will now see the plot redeveloped with the erection of a new 4-storey build erected containing 37 apartments, commercial units and crucially, modern new premises for the company.

Designed to give the appearance of three slightly different linked buildings to the site frontages, the tallest element will be situated on the corner block at the junction of Tenby Street and Albion Street, where the building will be the full 4-storeys tall, plus mezzanine, with pitched roof.

NEW MODERN PREMISES FOR CHARLES GREEN AND SON

With a history dating back to 1824, Charles Green and Son have come to the conscious conclusion that their current premises are too big for operations, and are no longer fit for modern manufacturing and business practices.

The granting of redevelopment ultimately safeguards their long-term future, whilst confirming one of Birmingham's long-term businesses stays for many years to come. They will lease their new premises on reduced rent for a minimum of 15 years.

Fronting Tenby Street, the plot will extend the full depth of the land in the form of a shopping wing. A range of workshops, production space and storage facilities will be delivered alongside first floor offices in a part mezzanine area. 

On the street frontage there will be a reception, open plan office space, boardroom, kitchen, four workshop spaces, and a history and gallery space.

With approval secured prior to a Section 106 agreement, the development will see the replacement unit for Charles Green & Son completed first prior to the residential aspect.

RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL USAGES

Next door will see 2,154 sqm of residential floorspace created, delivering one, two and duplex apartments, in a range of 15 one (41sqm- 45sqm), 18 two (61sqm- 66sqm) and 4 duplex (87- 103 sqm) apartments; with two ground floor commercial units (one for Charles Green), and one on the corner facing onto Tenby Street and Albion Street - as seen below.

5% has been allocated for low cost market dwellings – provided at 20% discount. 

First, second and third floors will provide one & two bed apartments, with skylight and dormer windows on the upper floors. Duplexes are offered on the ground floor, each with their own individual entrance facing onto Tenby Street, as well as one on Albion Street.

They also contain mezzanine levels. At the rear a small courtyard area will be accessed from Albion Street.

TRANSPORT

Ground floor facing the courtyard will facilitate double-tiered cycle storage for 48 spaces as well as bin storage and plant.

No car parking is provided, although the Charles Green vehicle access point has been designed to feasibly accommodate a small van.

CONCLUSION

Despite concerns on the effect the overall scheme would have on its settings, it was agreed that the benefits outweigh the harm identified. 

Refusing the application would have left the poorly designed building in the JQ for many more years to come, with the possibility of Charles Green & Son even folding, or potentially move elsewhere.

However, a planning balance was struck and plans are free to proceed with conditions in place. Approved 6-5.

Words by Stephen Giles, with artists impressions from BDP Architects

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
07 Oct 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVED: Birmingham Hippodrome

A major overhaul of Birmingham’s famous Hippodrome theatre has been given full approval.

Works on the theatre will now see major refurbishment and extension works to the Hurst Street façade, along with upgraded foyer and public spaces.

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Planned to start in 2021, the makeover will introduce a broader, more audience focused cultural affair that will inspire public use throughout the day. The theatre will also feature improved pedestrian accessibility around Hippodrome Square, which will include a new secondary entrance on Inge Street.

New food and beverage offerings will be provided at street level - with outdoor seating & retractable awning, as well as a restaurant on the third floor, with the rest of the building including open-air terrace space, small-scale performance spaces, teaching and educational facilities. 

A state-of-the-art digital media screen will be prominently located directly above the main entrance, increasing the theatre’s presence and advertising its diverse programme.

FLOOR BY FLOOR:

Ground: New food and beverage offerings;

First: Dedicated rehearsal space;

Second: Two designated performance spaces & exhibition room;

Third: Restaurant, rehearsal and external balcony space;

Four: Admin, new rehearsal space and provision for a bar.

Words by Stephen Giles, with artists impressions from the architect, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
05 Oct 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

JQ PROJECTS: Exciting Plans For 51 Northwood Street Set For Approval

These ambitious redevelopment plans for 51 Northwood Street - right at the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, have been recommended for approval on October 8, with the area set to be turned into a new mixed-use destination.

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Brought forward by the sites owner - Digital Emartbuy Ltd, and designed by D5 Architects, the Mary Street and Northwood Street site will see ambitious new plans comprising residential and commercial - all in a group of well-designed, three and four storey new builds.

51 Northwood Street will replace poorly-designed builds harmful to the Conservation Area with a high-quality scheme that will not only enrich the area, but will increase the amount and type of commercial offerings on site, whilst also providing residential apartments in a sustainable location.

MIXED-USE DESTINATION

27 one and two bedroom apartments will be created, alongside 1,229 sqm of flexible active ground floor commercial usages across the entire site, with as many as 20 small to medium-sized businesses set to transform the site - employing over 200 people.

Subject to a completed Section 106 agreement, the scheme will provide 6 commercial units at 80% of market value (358.7 sqm), something that will help with the sustainability of the Jewellery Quarter as an area seeking to retain and nurture businesses.

Uses could well include retail, offices, restaurant(s), and/or a health centre/clinic. 39% of the development will be commercially-led – with the rest set for residential.

Given the location at the very heart of the Jewellery Quarter, the project is a car free affair, with secure and enclosed cycle storage for 34 provided for residents and workers instead.

RESIDENTIAL & AMENITIES

All 27 one and two bedroom apartments will be made available for open market sale - comprising 6 one beds (22%), and 21 two bedroom units (78%). 

These dwellings will be provided in various sizes ranging from 50.9 sqm to 96 sqm apartments, catering for two, three and four persons; with all new builds set around a central courtyard amenity space, which will be created for residents and, in equal measure, to the occupiers of the commercial units.

Duplexes will also be created, and they'll have access to private terraces.

REINSTATEMENT OF BUILDING FRONTAGES

To make these ambitious plans a reality, Digital Emartbuy’s premises - a poorly designed two-storey office and warehouse (below) will be demolished before construction can commence.

Redevelopment will then set about repairing and reinstating building frontages back onto the plot.

BEFORE (Northwood Street)

AFTER

BEFORE (Mary Street)

AFTER

The dormer building above will be fully commercial.

These exciting plans go to Planning Committee on October 8th, at 11am, with approval recommended. Watch this space!

Words by Stephen, with artists impressions the property of D5 Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Oct 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

JQ PROJECTS: Cornwall House Redevelopment

THE eagerly anticipated redevelopment of Cornwall House has moved forward with the submittal of a planning application. 

Henry Boot Developments have teamed up with BPN Architects to bring forward vibrant plans for a mixed-use scheme, comprising two apartment blocks & featuring over 5K commercial ground floor uses.

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A part 6, part 12 storey apartment block will be built alongside a standalone 3-storey canal-side build, with one and two bedroom apartments - catering for one, two and four persons, created across the site.

Sure to prove popular for Birmingham's independent scene is the inclusion of vibrant ground floor commercial units (476 sqm), with residents also benefiting from on-site amenities such as lounge space, gymnasium, a central courtyard, and an intimate sixth-floor roof terrace. 

A striking three-storey apartment block, with pitched roof and clay tiles, will be cushioned canal-side within the courtyard area.

Apartment sizes across the site will generally range from 44 sqm to 80 sqm - these will be available for market sale.

KEY LOCATION

Located on Ludgate Hill, the site lies within a key area of transition, sitting as it does on the inner-fringes of the Jewellery Quarter and the edge of the city core.

Redevelopment will enhance the area further with these animated ground floor uses, something the adjacent 'Great Charles Street' project from MODA Living also does well - acting as it will as an extension to the lively Ludgate Hill, whilst bridging the gap with the city core.

OPEN-AIR TERRACE

SUBTLE ARCHITECTURAL NODS

The scheme will be externally finished in two types of brick as a way of adding variation; these will be dark red (lower levels) & light red-orange (upper levels) with glazed terracotta offering bespoke, decorative detailing, and giving a subtle nod to Birmingham's architectural past.

VEHICLES

An undercroft car-park for around 14 vehicles will be accessed via Ludgate Hill, with the main pedestrian entrance via Lionel Street. 100 secure ground floor cycle spaces will be included and will be available to both commercial staff and residents.

DEMOLITION

Before new life can be breathed back into the site, Cornwall House, a seventies office block, will be demolished.

CORNWALL HOUSE: Google Street View

VISUAL CONTEXT & INDICATIVE INTERIORS

Words by Stephen, with artists impressions from BPN Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
01 Oct 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Essex Street Tower: 28-Storey Set For Approval

A new slender 28-storey residential tower is set to be developed after plans were recommended for approval next week (October 8) - subject to a s106 agreement. 

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Located in Southside, at the junction of Bristol Street and Essex Street, the 28-storey development is being brought forward by Essex Street (Properties) Ltd, and Glancy Nicholls Architects.

The unoccupied site will be demolished and replaced with 154 one, two and three bedroom apartments – all earmarked for private sale, with a double-height entrance on Essex Street, a ground-floor commercial unit with mezzanine facing onto Bristol Street, and a multitude of amenity spaces for residents.

The site already benefits from 2017 approval when Sandpiper Group's 68 unit, 18-storey resi tower was given the nod. Work never materialised, with Sandpiper since selling the site on to Essex Street (Properties) Ltd - who are now proposing a redesign and a 10-storey increase.

DESIGN

The design embraces a classic bronze terracotta design containing a curved corner constructed with the use of curved glass, geometric patterned panels, curtain ground floor glazing, and a distinct crown feature at the very top.

The ground floor base, emphasised below by horizontal panelling, fully integrates with the street by way of active frontages on both Essex Street, and a 232 sqm commercial unit on Bristol Street.

Floors 1-6 facing along Bristol Street will feature translucent grey window films - this is to combat the issue of overlooking on a future redevelopment site.

RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION

A double-height reception will welcome residents from Essex Street; the space will feature a foyer, concierge, security room, parcel & post room, along with back of house areas, including a cycle workshop & secure cycle storage area.

Floors 1-27 will provide the living accommodation, with one & two bedroom apartments created alongside a solitary three-bedroom penthouse suite. Apartment sizes will generally range from 49sqm- 93sqm.

The mix will deliver a 45% one & 55% two bed split - the full mix is as follows:

64 one bed (one person); 6 one bed (two persons); 78 two bed (three persons); 5 two bed (four persons); and one 3-bedroom penthouse apartment.

Overall, this equates to 70 one beds, 83 two beds, and 1 three bedroom penthouse. 

AFFORDABILITY

Provision for 8 affordable apartments (5.2%) for low cost home ownership at 20% discount has recently been applied to the scheme - these include 7 one beds & 1 two bedroom apartment. This figure, taking into account the construction costs, location, and values, has been reached without affecting the viability of the scheme.

AMENITIES & CYCLING PROVISION

The scheme includes ample amenity space for residents with a multimedia room, gym space and community room at Level 1, plus the inclusion of a roof garden with areas of seating and the potential for a rooftop cinema space.

Due to the sites constrained nature and centralised location - with the prospect of the Midland Metro Tram arriving in the surrounding area in late-2021, early 2022, no on-site parking has been allocated. Cycle storage for 66 cycles will be provided.

DEMOLITION

Regrettably, these vacant Victorian buildings (31 & 32 Essex Street) will be demolished.

Get ready for more demolition as these aren't the only buildings on the street that are set to make way in the next few years. 

Constructed in 1890, they've been heavily modified over the years, to the extent that much of their character has been lost. Whilst retaining some historic interest, the buildings have fallen into a state of disrepair over the years, as a consequence of neglect.

EMERGING CONTEXT - WITH MORE TO COME

A number of taller buildings are earmarked in the area - these have either been approved, or are progressing through pre-application talks with officers. There is a clear aspiration for a necklace of tall buildings in the area

Some additional developments haven't been highlighted in these contextual drawings from Glancy Nicholls Architects.

Plans are recommended for approval and go to committee on October 8, at 11am. Subject to approval, it is anticipated that work could begin in 2021.

Words by Stephen, with artists impressions exclusively from Glancy Nicholls Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
History & heritage
01 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Tolkien trail between Perrott's Folly and Sarehole Mill

Take this trail (walk, cycle or bus) between Perrott's Folly and Sarehole Mill and enjoy many of the places connected with the world renowned author, J.R.R. Tolkien during his time in Birmingham between 1895 and 1911.  

Take the article, view digital map or download the pdf map.

Article and words credited to Chris Upton, Kristina Williamson & Chris Rice.

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Start or Finish at Perrott's Folly and Edgbaston Waterworks on the Edgbaston/Ladywood border.  View digital map.

Google Maps

Map of Ladywood from Googles Maps

Whilst living in Edgbaston the young J.R.R. Tolkien would have been very familiar with two distinctive local landmarks. The extraordinary 96ft (30m) Perrott’s Folly is named after John Perrott who had it built in 1758. The crenelated gothick tower was originally part of a hunting lodge. In the 19th century it became one of the first weather recording stations in the country.

Along the road at Edgbaston Waterworks stands a later Victorian chimney tower. The tower was part of a complex of buildings designed by J H Chamberlain and William Martin around 1870.

The pair are said to have suggested Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith, the Two Towers of Gondor, after which the second volume of The Lord of the Rings is named. The Tolkien brothers lived with their aunt in nearby Stirling Road between 1904 and 1908.

The Two Towers

See more on Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower here.

A short walk to Newman's Oratory on the Hagley Road.  View digital map.

When Tolkien’s mother converted to Catholicism in 1900, the family worshipped at St Anne’s Church in Alcester Street, Digbeth. After moving to Edgbaston in 1902, Mabel and the boys attended Cardinal Newman’s Oratory on the Hagley Road. The family lived nearby in Oliver Road and, for a time, Ronald was enrolled at St Phillip’s School, at that time located in the same street. The friendship of Father Francis Xavier Morgan, who became the boys’ guardian, was a source of strength during Mabel’s illness and subsequent death.

Birmingham Oratory

See more on Newman's Oratory here.

A short walk to the Plough & Harrow Hotel on Hagley Road.  View digital map.

Whilst living in lodgings in Duchess Road, Tolkien had met and fallen in love with nineteen year old Edith Bratt. He was only sixteen at the time and his guardian Father Morgan attempted to put an end to the relationship by moving the two boys to Highfield Road. It was Tolkien’s last Birmingham address. In 1913, aged 21, and whilst still at Exeter College in Oxford, Tolkien re-established contact with Edith and their romance was rekindled. They were married in the Spring of 1916 in Warwick and in June of that year spent a night in Birmingham at the Plough & Harrow Hotel. Ronald was most likely on embarkation leave prior to his departing for France as an officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers. There is a blue plaque here, which was presented by the Tolkien Society in 1997.

Plough & Harrow

A short walk to one of Tolkien's homes on Highfield Road.  View digital map. 

From 1910 to 1911 Tolkien lived at 4 Highfield Road. It is now a nursery. The houses at 3 & 4 Highfield Road are a Grade II listed building and was built in 1830. It was a semi-detached late Regency stucco villa. There is a blue plaque here from the Birmingham Civic Society and the Tolkien Society. He previously lived from 1902 until 1910 at Duchess Place in Ladywood. On Teleperformance House which was on Hagley Road, there is another blue plaque marking near where he lived at the time.

4 Highfield Road

Then walk or cycle to Moseley Bog (approx. 40 mins) or take the no 1 bus (Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston to Wake Green Road, Moseley).  View digital map.

Google Maps

Map of Sarehole from Googles Maps

Tolkien later lamented the encroachment of the suburbs upon his former home but there is one place that ‘civilisation’ missed: Moseley Bog. The Bog was an ideal place for Tolkien’s childhood adventures. It was once a storage pool for Sarehole Mill, and is also the site of two Bronze Age ‘burnt mounds’. The Bog is recalled in Tolkien’s description of the ‘Old Forest’, last of the primeval wild woods, where ‘Tom Bombadil’ lived. It is now preserved as a Local Nature Reserve managed by the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust. 

Moseley Bog

See more on Moseley Bog here.

Then walk or cycle to another of his homes at 264 Wake Green Road.  View digital map.

In 1896 the Tolkien family moved to 5 Gracewell Cottages (now 264 Wake Green Road) in the hamlet of Sarehole. At the time the area was completely rural and Tolkien said that the times he spent here were the happiest years of his youth. Sarehole is said to have been the model for “The Shire”, the home of the Hobbits, and memories of this country childhood were to colour much of his later writing. 

264 Wake Green Road

See more on the Sarehole area here.

Then walk or cycle to Shire Country Park.  View digital map.

The Shire Country Park follows the attractive and varied valley of the River Cole as a green ribbon for some four miles from Small Heath to Yardley Wood. It was named in 2005 to reflect Tolkien’s links with the local area. The park contains wetland, grassland, woodland and heath, and supports a wealth of animal, plant and insect life. Herons, mallards and moorhens are a common sight, and if you are lucky you may spot a kingfisher hunting for fish along the meandering river. The ford at Green Road (formerly Green Lane) is one of the few remaining fords along the Cole Valley and would have been very familiar to the young J.R.R. Tolkien.

Green Road ford

See more on Shire Country Park here.

Start or Finish at Sarehole Mill in Hall Green. View digital map.

Ronald and his brother Hilary spent many hours exploring the grounds of Sarehole Mill and being chased off by the miller’s son, whom they nicknamed the ‘White Ogre’. In the 1960s Tolkien contributed to the public appeal to restore the Mill as a museum. Today Sarehole Mill is part of Birmingham Museums Trust. As well as being a working watermill, the museum features the Signposts to Middle Earth exhibition which tells the story of Tolkien’s connections with Sarehole and the surrounding area.

Sarehole Mill

See more on Sarehole Mill here.

Photos by Elliott Brown unless stated above.

 

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0 passion points
Green travel
30 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

New cycle lane on Bradford Street in Digbeth

As of September 2020, there is a new cycle lane in Digbeth on Bradford Street. There is also a section on Old Camp Hill and Trinity Terrace near Holy Trinity Church. Double yellow lines and bollards in place to hopefully stop cars parking. But there is car parking spaces on the other side of the road.

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From the bus heading in and out of Digbeth, I've spotted new cycle lanes with red and white bollards. They have also painted white lines on the road. Double yellow lines to hopefully stop car drivers parking their cars in the way of the cyclists. Who would then have to ride into on coming traffic.

The main route goes down Bradford Street towards Moat Lane. There is another section that leaves Camp Hill at Old Camp Hill, then goes down Trinity Terrace (near the former Holy Trinity Church).

 

View 1: after getting off the no 50 bus, saw the demolition site opposite, where Kingfield Heath used to be.

Bradford Street Digbeth

View 2: A bit further down, St Modwen Homes have taken over the St Anne's Court site which had been stalled for a few years. Fabrick Square was completed a few years ago.

Bradford Street Digbeth

View 3: The abandoned S. K. Buildings. Which usually gets tagged and pasted all over. Hopefully this building can be redeveloped into apartments.

Bradford Street Digbeth

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
28 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A visitor for King Edward VII, his sister Princess Helena Augusta Victoria, in Centenary Square on the 23rd September 2020

In Centenary Square next to the statue of King Edward VII is a temporary statue of his sister Princess Helena Augusta Victoria. It is a publicity stunt from Netflix to promote their new film Enola Holmes, which starts on Netflix on the 23rd September 2020. The Princess was a founder member of the British Red Cross and President of the Royal British Nurses Association.

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There was a temporary statue in Centenary Square until Wednesday 23rd September 2020 of Princess Helena Augusta Victoria, the sister of King Edward VII. This is to promote the new Netflix film Enola Holmes starring Millie Bobbie Brown (Stranger Things) and Henry Cavill (Superman in the DCEU).

Princess Helena was born in 1846 to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She died in 1923. She was a founder member of the British Red Cross and was President of the Royal British Nurses Association. She was a lifelong champion of healthcare workers. She also campaigned for better working conditions, rights and pay. Which led to nurse registration.

Netflix had placed other statues around the UK next to other statues. See this article from Screen Rant.

 

Gallery of 10 photos below in a wet Centenary Square.

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
24 Sep 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVED: Moseley Train Station

The historic redevelopment of Moseley Station has moved closer to reopening after plans were formally approved today (September 24) at Birmingham City Council's Planning Committee.

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The reopening of the historic Camp Hill line - which also includes the approved Kings Heath and Hazelwell Stations - will now see Moseley complete the final piece of the jigsaw that will see the re-introduction of passenger services to the south Birmingham line for the first time since 1941.

Brought forward by Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) and the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), the team are working with Network Rail and West Midlands Trains, as well as Birmingham City Council, D5 Architects, and Mott Macdonald to lead the exciting development of the new station.

Plans include two 150m long platforms with 50m canopies, seating, pedestrian access from St. Mary's Row, two raised walkways, lifts and stairs to said platforms, ticket vending machines, and a large pedestrian & cyclist walkway forecourt with a circular vehicular drop-off point (see below).

Platforms will be able to accommodate 6 car trains with a standard service provided every 30 minutes. No ticket offices will be delivered but machines will be prominently placed.

Lying within a highly sustainable location in centre of Moseley, ample covered cycle storage provision for 52 bicycles will be situated within a generously sized forecourt.

This will also become a vibrant public space for community uses with the intention to create an attractive new space that best reflects Moseley. 

The reopening of the station allows Kings Norton station to be opened up as an interchange hub, meritoriously connecting Birmingham Moor Street station with areas south of Kings Norton Station ahead of the forecast opening of HS2 (High Speed Rail) - effectively forming part of a fully integrated transport network for the West Midlands.

MOSELEY CONSERVATION AREA

Bound by Woodbridge Road, St Mary's Row, and lying close to designated Grade II listed heritage assets in St Mary's Church and the War Memorial, the site falls within the all-important Moseley Conservation Area.

No building work is anticipated, however, significant levels of infrastructure will be necessary to facilitate the station, including lifts, hard and soft landscaping, and the incorporation of the new roundel junction to increase traffic flow.

The current station site, lying vacant and offering zero contribution to the area, will be positioned adjacent the Grade II listed church and war memorial, but is generally expected to boost the Conservation Area with the reinstatement of the station line, offering a different mode of travel, as well as seeing the retention of the historic Moseley tunnel and wall.

To mitigate against possible issues, conditions with approval include suitable materials being used, landscaping, and noises from the P.A system will address any potential noise concerns.

PARKING PERMITS?

Once the station is up and running, the station will be closely monitored over a 6 month period to determine whether any traffic orders will be required. The same will be introduced to Kings Heath and Hazelwell.

A SECOND PEDESTRIAN ACCESS POINT IN THE FUTURE?

There was a lot of conversation from residents concerning a second pedestrian access point to the site from Woodbridge Road. Although it was agreed that it would certainly improve accessibility, it was deemed not financially viable to proceed with at this moment in time. Watch this space!

Words by Stephen Giles. Artists Impressions from D5 Architects & Mott Macdonald.
TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
Modern Architecture
24 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

The Cube, Birmingham, UK - A City Gem (modern architecture) - cycle, walk or visit with us

The Cube was built between 2007 and 2010.  It is located near The Mailbox alongside the Worcester & Birmingham Canal on Commercial Street and near Washington Wharf at B1 1RN. The architect was Ken Shuttleworth of Make Architects. 

The Cube is one of Birmingham's iconic builds and is much loved by the City and photographers.

Take our post.

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The Cube at 25-storeys high is a mixed-use development. It contains apartments, offices, restaurants, a hotel and a 'skyline' Steakhouse Bar & Grill run by award winning chef and celebrity Marco Pierre White.  The Cube even has its own bowling alley.

Taking inspiration from the city’s jewellery making tradition, Ken Shuttleworth's vision for The Cube was to create “an enchanting jewellery box”, rich with light and intricate gold and bronze geometric shapes. 

The building’s iconic jewel-like exterior is complemented by an interior that is filled with evocative bronze sculptures by renowned local street artist, Temper.

The panoramic view of the City from the top of The Cube is stunning.

For the site map select HERE.

Here is a selection of photography from our community.

This one taken during construction of The Cube in 2009.

Photographer: Daniel Sturley.

And here are some of our community's gallery of photography after the build was completed. 

Photographer: Chris Fletcher.

Photography: Daniel Sturley

Photographer: Chris Fletcher

And here are some creative takes on the build.

Photographer: Fay Loewy

Photographer: Imran Ali Bashir

For more detail on the build select HERE.

Coming soon - The Birmingham Gems 'Creativity and Culture Trail'

The Cube will be featured in an amazing trail of modern architecture across the City and a new showcase of creativity to be launched on a new Birmingham Gems interactive digital platform later this year.  

To find out more contact:

Jonathan Bostock, email: Jonathan.Bostock@peoplemattersnework.com 

07432 637322

 

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30 passion points
Green open spaces
22 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

An Indian Summer in Kings Heath Park during September 2020

A Sunday afternoon visit to Kings Heath Park during September 2020, on award winning person with passion Elliott's 38th birthday. It was sunny afternoon, plenty of people about. Cartlands Tea Room was open again where you could buy ice cream. Hopefully people were sticking to the "Rule of Six". Households can't mix at home so instead they have public parks.

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September 2020, means that during the month, Elliott (that's me) would have another birthday. On the Sunday afternoon, we headed to Kings Heath Park, for a bit of a walk around. The walk was a bit slow at times (I'm usually a fast walker, but wasn't on my own). On a Sunday in September with sunshine and fine weather, was a lot of people out in the park. Both car parks were full (personally I prefer to get the 11C bus there if I was on my own).

Since my last visit, Cartlands Tea Room has reopened. And you can buy a 99 ice cream with a Flake. The garden centre is open again, but only Monday's to Friday's. The TV Garden was still closed to the public. Kids playing on the basketball court, others having a kick about with a football, or at the two play areas. Or having a picnic on the lawn.

 

Sign / banner seen on Vicarage Road in Kings Heath, Saying that Cartlands Tea Room is now reopened.

Kings Heath Park

The large open field from the path near the drive. The odd couple sitting on the grass.

Kings Heath Park

A stunning blue sky and more people sitting on the grass.

Kings Heath Park

Floral display near the School of Horticultural Training. How home to the Cartlands Tea Room.

Kings Heath Park

Some people took their own foldable chairs to sit amongst the floral displays for a chat.

Kings Heath Park

Kings Heath Garden Centre. Not open at weekends. But if you go Monday to Friday, wear your mask, and stay 2m apart.

Kings Heath Park

Another field near the bottom of the park. At least one person sitting on the lawn. Perfect blue sky.

Kings Heath Park

Steps into the field to the bottom of the park.

Kings Heath Park

Tall thin trees near the bottom end of the park.

Kings Heath Park

More people sitting on the lawn near or having a kick about.

Kings Heath Park

View towards the play area near Avenue Road.

Kings Heath Park

Back near the School of Horticultural Training, home of Cartlands Tea Room (now reopened).

Kings Heath Park

One of the signs on the noticedboard of interest: Don't litter, if the bins are full please take it home!

Kings Heath Park

Entrance to Cartlands Tea Room. Was later a socially distanced queue of people queuing for ice cream or coffee or tea.

Kings Heath Park

They also had these sky blue chairs outside.

Kings Heath Park

Moorhen in the pond.

Kings Heath Park

Robin on the bench around a tree.

Kings Heath Park

Also spotted a squirrel climbing up a tree.

Kings Heath Park

A few more bits and pieces before leaving. One of the short woodland paths off the main path to the bottom of the park.

Kings Heath Park

Another peek at the TV Garden through the locked gate. I've not been able to go into here in over 6 years now.

Kings Heath Park

Never Give Up. Yarn bombing. This was on the fence even during the earlier part of the last lockdown.

Kings Heath Park

The pond, none of the fountain water jets were on. Hose pipe exposed above the water.

Kings Heath Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
21 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Hollybank Spinney on The Haunch Brook Pathways

Beyond Billesley Common, on Hollybank Road is the Hollybank Spinney. Also called the Hollie Lucas Memorial. The piece of land was named after Hollybank Farm. Named in memory of Christopher Hollins Lucas, who was killed during the Great War in 1918. Was a grandson of Joseph Lucas. Just a path and trees along the Haunch Brook. Just a small pocket of the Shire Country Park.

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Hollybank Spinney

Part of the Haunch Brook Pathways, which goes through Billesley Common, if you leave the Common at Hollybank Road in Kings Heath, and cross over the road, is a small section called the Hollybank Spinney. This is also called the Hollie Lucas Memorial. The path amongst the trees goes from Hollybank Road towards Ardencote Road, so it's not very long. There is another short path from Hollybank Road that leads to Chamberlain Road.

The land was named after the Hollybank Farm which used to be on the site. It was given to the City of Birmingham by the Lucas family, known for Lucas Industries, in memory of the late Hollie Lucas, a grandson of the late Joseph Lucas (1834 - 1902).

Christopher Hollins Lucas fought during the First World War (1914-18), which at the time was called The Great War. He was also called Hollies Lucas. He was a second lieutenant in the 8th battalion of the Prince of Wales North Staffordshire Regiment. He was killed in action at the age of 21 on the 10th April 1918 in Belgium.

His medals were sent to his parents, who at the time lived on Cambridge Road in Kings Heath. A road off Wheelers Lane was named Hollie Lucas Road in his memory.

 

My visit to the Hollybank Spinney on a walk from the Kings Heath High Street towards the bus stop on Haunch Lane near Billesley Common, during July 2020.

Approaching the Hollybank Spinney from Hollybank Road in Kings Heath.

Hollybank Spinney

Lots of trees and long grass.

Hollybank Spinney

Onto the path towards Ardencote Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Here's the sign about Joseph Lucas, and his grandson that this area is named after.

Hollybank Spinney

The path curves around the trees.

Hollybank Spinney

Near the end of the path, it's not very long.

Hollybank Spinney

Man walking his dog near the end of the path as it goes onto Ardencote Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Bit hard to see the Haunch Brook from here.

Hollybank Spinney

The Haunch Brook is down there. Goes under this tunnel towards Kings Heath, not sure were it emerges though.

Hollybank Spinney

Going back on the path towards Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Trees and bushes everywhere. A little bit of paradise.

Hollybank Spinney

About halfway back to Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Not too far back to the end of the path.

Hollybank Spinney

The Hollie Lucas Memorial on the left (the Joseph Lucas sign I saw earlier).

Hollybank Spinney

Near Hollybank Road, noticed workmen who were resurfacing the paths in Billesley Common.

Hollybank Spinney

The other end of the Haunch Brook from Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Almost hard to see here too. Some unwanted rubbish on the banks of the brook.

Hollybank Spinney

One more path to take. This leads to Chamberlain Road.

Hollybank Spinney

This path was much shorter.

Hollybank Spinney

Trees all around the Haunch Brook near Chamberlain Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Chamberlain Road is a cul-de-sac with this turn circle at the end. The path into the Hollybank Spinney is straight ahead.

Hollybank Spinney

Chamberlain Road leads to Haunch Lane. Then just a walk down the hill to the bus stop outside of Billesley Common (the wait in my mask for the 76).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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70 passion points
Modern Architecture
17 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

The Mercian, Birmingham, UK - A City Gem (modern architecture) - cycle, walk or visit with us

The Mercian, otherwise known as Moda Tower, is an under construction 132 metre high mixed-use skyscraper located on Broad Street, Birmingham. Developer: Moda Living; Architect: Glenn Howells; Construction: John Sisk & Son.

View full post for all maps, our trail of modern architecture and great images. 

Or select RELATED.

 

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For the trail select HERE.

For the site map select HERE.

For more detail on the build select HERE.

Artists impression courtesy Glenn Howells Architects.

For a gallery of great images and photography from our community select HERE.

Photographer: Stephen Giles.

Photographer: Daniel Sturley.

Photographer: Reiss Gordon-Henry

Photographer: Elliott Brown

This is a FreeTimePays initiative and collaboration with BirminghamWeAre to engage community in their built environment. 

For more information contact us on 0121 410 5520 or email jonathan.Bostock@FreeTimePays.com. 

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
16 Sep 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

3 Arena Central: A Striking Centrepiece

Cladding is virtually complete on this striking centrepiece of a building, right at the heart of Arena Central. Due to open in autumn 2021, Stephen takes a closer look at the development, and how the building is already transforming Arena Central.

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Three Arena Central strikes a distinctive figure on the skyline doesn't it?

At 14-storeys tall, reaching upwards of 73 metres, it will soon become a home from home for several government services, including the new regional HQ for HMRC, in autumn 2021.

Sporting a geometric pattern of hexagonal metallic rainscreen panels, the building sits at the very heart of the Arena Central masterplan where it is already forming a strong identity; wrapping itself entirely around each of the facades to resemble a jewel, or maybe even giving a subtle nod to the former TV show Blockbusters.

The cladding has been divided into a standardised beehive-like grid, so that the rainscreen system can be incorporated throughout. The cladding sports a bright metallic sheen finish, which is in stark contrast to its near neighbours - but that's not to say it doesn't fit in.

COMPLIMENTING ITS NEIGHBOURS

MAKE have certainly designed Three Arena Central to be the striking centrepiece of the redevelopment, whilst being fully complimentary of its more established neighbours.

Yes, Arena Central does have an obvious eclectic mix of builds, but they do share, in one form or another, an architectural connection.

Photo by Stephen Giles.

With its angular geometry on full display, there are gentle nods everywhere you look; the double-height pedestrian friendly colonnades highlight this.

Hexagonal in shape, they’re similar in proportion and scale to the nearby Grade-II listed Alpha Tower, and the recently-completed HSBC UK HQ, next door.

Once the building is complete, and it soon will be, they will wrap around three sides of the building and will allow natural light into the recessed first floor, whilst providing an open vista looking outwards onto the new public square.

These hexagonal features have been designed so internal and external views are both the same, which will allow the tessellating pattern to be enjoyed from both perspectives, whilst also delivering areas of floor-to-ceiling glazing.

The building will boast recessed windows; adding depth, whilst the chamfered corners will naturally frame the building.

Photo by Daniel Sturley.

Photo by Stephen Giles.

This not only connects the relationship between them, but it also connects the dots for the impending public realms at Bank Court (adjacent, complete with water feature), and The Terrace - near Holliday Inn Express.

Arena Central Webcam: September 15 2020.

LIGHTING SCHEME

The strategy is quite simple: let the building do the talking! But that’s not to say the building won’t be washed with light.

The ground floor will be internally lit and will be occupied by units. The colonnades will also be uplit, with the metallic finish of the cladding assisting in illuminating the area even further.

The projecting metallic ‘hoods’ will also reflect light to provide a striking view when seen from below. Offices above, subject to operations, will too be lit.

This will undoubtedly create a random pattern of illumination that will complement the facades tessellating pattern, and become an Instagrammers dream.

With external works nearing completion, the internal fit-out - awarded to ISG - will commence in November and will complete in autumn 2021.

Words and pictures from Stephen Giles, with contributions from Daniel Sturley. Artists Impressions are from MAKE Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
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