Construction & regeneration
18 hours ago - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Construction of The Mercian - June 2021 Update

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Having reached its full height the crown on this landmark 42 storey tower has now been installed alongside a 40th floor terrace - just as the facade continues to inch its way up the 132m building with just a few floors to go.

Follow the construction photo update covering April to 6th June for cracking images from Daniel, Stephen, John & Elliott.

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The 40th floor terrace (3.1m in size) will be created at both ends of the building, adding visual interest to the top of the tower. These terraces will be surrounded by a 3.5m high balustrade to provide a safe environment for residents.

Eventually, the facade will wrap around it to continue its relationship with the rest of the building, with the top finished in a slightly lighter coloured bronze fin panel, providing an elegant crown element to the landmark building.

JUNE

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

MAY

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

Photos by Elliott Brown.

APRIL

Photos by John Gilbert.

Photo by Warwick Dan.

Photos by Elliott Brown.

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

MARCH:

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

Photos by Stephen Giles.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
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30 passion points
Classic Architecture
18 hours ago - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Look no clock hands on Old Joe (at the University of Birmingham)!

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The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham, known more famously by his nickname of 'Old Joe' has been stuck at 12 for ages now. On Tuesday 8th June 2021, mobile cranes / cherry pickers went up to remove the hands from the clock faces. This is the start of work to repair the clock mechanisms. Before long you'll be able to read the time again!

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See this Twitter thread from the University of Birmingham for more.

Having noticed some posts on Twitter about the clock tower at lunchtime, Tuesday 8th June 2021, I travelled down to the University of Birmingham, catching a no 61 bus from Bristol Street to the Bristol Road in Edgbaston (getting off near Edgbaston Park Road).

I walked up to the East Gate, and headed towards the Chancellor's Court via University Road East. This is between the Guild of Students and Barber Institute of Fine Arts (and opposite King Edward's School).

East Gate University of Birmingham

 

Heading towards University Square, I could already see the missing clock hands on one of the clock faces of Old Joe over the Watson Building (School of Mathematics).

Old Joe University of Birmingham

This building is linked to the Poynting Building (Physics Department). Heading under the bridge and turning left into the Chancellor's Court.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

There was barriers around the lawn, but you could still walk around the paths near the Aston Webb Building (in a semi circle).

Old Joe University of Birmingham

A zoom up to one of the clock faces, looks so weird without any clock hands. Also the brickwork could do with a clean, so much bird muck to wash off.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

I arrived in the afternoon, so missed the mobile cranes going up. Although they were still around the clock tower.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

Better lighting from this angle, two clock faces without hands!

Old Joe University of Birmingham

Not all hands had been taken down, the hand pointing to 6.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

Heading out past the Law Building, then down some steps towards the West Gate. The Aston Webb Building seen to the right of here.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

 

Now on University Road West, a look at the Faraday statue and Old Joe. The statue was a gift from the artist, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, in the Centenary Year of the University of Birmingham (2000).

Old Joe Faraday

 

Towards the West Gate and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, I initially got this rear view of the bronze Faraday statue. The University recently celebrated their 121st birthday, since their inception by a Royal Charter issued by Queen Victoria in 1900.

Faraday QEHB

 

Heading past University Station, and crossing over New Fosse Way, followed the path towards the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, to catch my next bus, the 76. I initially waited at the next stop, but realised the 76 was extended from the QE to Northfield, and I wanted the 76 to Solihull. Other buses I saw included the 48 and 25. This was the closest I've got to the QE since the pandemic began in 2020.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

 

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

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70 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
18 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Boating Lake at Cannon Hill Park: before and after de-silting the lake

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In 2021, the Boating Lake and Breeding Pool was completely emptied of water around January 2021. By February 2021, you could see the surface of the lake, and all the debris on the surface. In the months that followed, workmen would have removed what was down there and de-silted it. By June 2021, the water is back in, and the swan boats can be used again. Lets hope it stays clean.

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For the first time in 35 years, the Breeding Pool and the Boating Lake were drained of water, to de-silt them. Over the decades, people have thrown things into the lakes that have never been taken out.  This was work that was much needed to be done. Before the lakes were drained, the fish were safely removed, and care for the waterfowl that use the lakes.

The work was funded by the Council's Parks Pools Safety Programme. Work started around the weir area in January 2021, to repair the gate, and get it working, so that the pools could be emptied of water. Repairing the weir will ensure that water levels are controlled in future, if there was a risk of flooding.

The plan was to empty the pool before the waterfowl started breeding and nesting. When the silt was dry enough, it was to be dug out and spread on the existing grass areas above ground, above the pool and re-seeded.

 

The Boating Lake, February 2021

This was the views of the Breeding Pool and Boating Lake at Cannon Hill Park on the 19th February 2021.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

It was so weird at the time to see it without water.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

First evidence of the debris in the lake that needed to be removed. Metal objects and bricks.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

This view towards the MAC (far left).

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

There was still gulls on their landing railing in the middle of the lake.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

It looks like scaffolding in the water where the gulls were perched on.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Some geese and pigeons were still around, where there was water, the waterfowl were in the lake. But a lot of debris revealed to the side of the lake.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Hopefully all of this mess was removed in the winter or early spring.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Fences stopping people getting too close to the lake, plus the pumping machine on the left which was used to pump out the water.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Canada geese around all the rubbish, rain water in the lake, or water that hadn't been removed.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

During this time it was the early weeks of the third lockdown, and the swan boats were stored away.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

 

The Boating Lake, June 2021

Almost four months later and back at Cannon Hill Park, and I was suprised to see water back in the Boating Lake. Even the Breeding Pool had water again, and the Canada Geese had had their gosling. This visit was on the 6th June 2021, which was bit of a wet morning.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

The view towards the MAC. Bins overflowing with rubbish. The day before would have been nice and sunny, and people left litter all over the field.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

First view of the swan boats in a while, nice to see them back.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

While rainy weather is not the best kind of weather to go on in the swan boats, there has been more sunny blue sky days so far in June, than the non-stop rain in May 2021.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

On the walk back towards the Rea Valley Route, a look at the MAC and swan boats to the far right.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

But the light rain was getting heavier. Canada geese on the left. Some parts of the grass was patchy, probably after having the silt on it during the winter months.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

More patches of grass, but nice to see the lake full of water again.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Please can people on dry sunny days, take your litter home, don't overfill the bins, and don't leave your rubbish around the outside of the bins. As the litter pickers from the park have a lot of rubbish to pick up after you, on rainy days like this. Maybe the Council could provide much bigger bins, and empty them more frequently, to keep the premier park of the City nice and clean every day?

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
18 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The distinctive street art of Mohammed "Aerosol" Ali around Birmingham

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Mohammed "Aerosol" Ali is known in Birmingham for his stencil sprayed on artwork around the City. Such as in Kings Heath, Moseley or Digbeth. Most famous for doing pieces on the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali (who died in 2016). More recently he has done a Malcolm X piece outside The Art Rooms Kings Heath. Plus "I Can't Breathe" Black Lives Matter pieces in 2020.

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The art of Mohammed Ali aka Aerosol Ali seen around Birmingham from 2016 until 2021. Note that not all of his pieces displayed here are still visible to see. Some of his art is politcal.

 

Digbeth

Location: Bradford Street

Date: June 2018

"The fish, even in the fishermans net, still carries the smell of the sea."

This piece has been painted over, and part of the hoarding is missing as of June 2021.

Aerosol Ali Digbeth

 

Location: Bradford Street

Date: August 2020

"I Can't Breathe" - Black Lives Matter.

These posters have probably been removed, and other taggers kept writing over it.

Aerosol Ali Digbeth

 

Moseley

Location: Moseley Central - Alcester Road

Date: February 2017.

Deaths in 2016, including Muhammad Ali, Alex Keogh, USA  (Trump election) and Jo Cox.

These hoardings have gone, and Moseley Central was completed in 2018.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

Muhammad Ali (1942-2016). Famous boxer. His namesake Mohammed Ali (no relation), sprayed pieces like this all around the City after Ali died aged 74.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

USA (1776-2016). The election of Donald Trump in November 2016. Served one term as the 45th President of the United States (20th January 2017 to 20th January 2021). Succeeded by Joe Biden (as 46th President of the United States), after Trump lost the 2020 election. Trump was banned from all social media platforms early in 2021.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

Alex Keogh (1988-2016). Not sure about him, other than a young man that died young, at 28. He was a teaching assistant according to the Birmingham Mail. He died of a alcohol and drug overdose at Christmas Eve 2016.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

Jo Cox (1974-2016). She was MP for Batley and Spen from the 7th May 2015, until she was murdered on the 16th June 2016, in Birstall, West Yorkshire of gun shot wounds, and she was stabbed. She was 41 years old.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

Kings Heath

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: June 2016

Muhammad Ali (1942 - 2016). This was one of the first pieces I found of Mohammed Ali. He also did similar pieces in Sparkbrook and elsewhere in the City at the time.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: October 2019

Greta Thunberg. A teenage environmental activist. She was born in Sweden in 2003. She is now 18 years old. But was 16 when Mohammed Ali sprayed this on the wall.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: July 2020

"I Can't Breathe" - Black Lives Matter. This piece had perspex put over it by the Council.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: January 2021

2021 - Coronavirus Pandemic, the new year after the disaster that was 2020. The year of vaccines in 2021. This piece is still on the wall.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

Location: The Art Rooms - High Street

Date: June 2021

Malcolm X on Marshall Street, Smethwick, 1965. Mohammed Ali also painted a Palestine flag on it, during the "Free Palestine" movement. After the bombings in Israel and continuing issues with the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

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

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0 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 Jun 2021 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Centenary Way - June 2021 Update

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The construction of One Centenary Way moves on to the next set of floors as the structure almost blocks the view of Two Chamberlain Square now from Centenary Square. 12 more photos taken on 5th June in the full article.

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Photography by Daniel Sturley

See more in the full gallery here: One Centenary Way Construction Photography

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 Jun 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

366 New Homes For Moseley Street, Digbeth

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Controversial plans to erect two new blocks containing 366 apartments adjacent to a busy public house, has finally been approved (10th June 2021).

The scheme represents an opportunity to bring this desolate site back to life by delivering a high-quality scheme in a prominent location.

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This derelict, unkempt site is connected by Moseley Street, Moseley Road and Cheapside, and within proximity to Highgate Park.

Rainier Developments are now free to transform the site with the delivery of 366 new one, two & three-bedroom homes (42-91sqm) in two ‘U-shaped’ blocks of 5 and 8 storeys tall.

Designed by BDP Architects, the development inherently responds to the gradient of Moseley Street and incorporates architecture and features that are truly distinctive and relatable to the character and history of the area.

A fresh £500,000 pedestrianised street named 'Park Lane' will dissect the site by providing a superbly designed landscaped public thoroughfare between Cheapside and Moseley Street, enhancing permeability and adding further informal animation to the area.

Vibrant ground floor uses of both blocks will each contain amenity areas, including lounges, concierge, bike stores and other back of house facilities.

Two spacious private courtyards, 1,608sqm in total, will also be provided, with at least a third of the flats having access to private amenity space via a garden, roof terrace or balcony.

A car-free development, the scheme ultimately reacts to the emerging Rea Valley Urban Quarter SPD by allocating 388 secure cycle spaces instead; and these will be available on the ground floor of each block.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

147 one, 207 two, 12 three-bedroom apartments (1-5 persons) will be delivered here, including 33 affordable one & two-bed units. These will be available for low-cost home ownership (9%).

To further support contribution, the Park Lane public realm works, as mentioned above, will cost around £500K, providing the equivalent of 12% affordability.

NOISE ISSUES - MITIGATION MEASURES IN PLACE

However, the proposal wasn't without its troubles. It all stems from 46 flats that will face Cleary’s Irish Bar.

Various noise assessments were undertaken, but an agreement could not be reached between Cleary’s & Rainier. This ultimately led to councillors voting to side with the Public House before voting to ‘defer minded to refuse’ on May 13th 2021.

Although it is widely accepted that the vast majority of units would enjoy a suitable noise environment, a planning balance needed to be struck and was indeed struck. 

The development was approved 7-3, with all 46 apartments within Block B now requiring careful assessment & noise mitigation measures moving forward.

All parties agreed that all affected units will be fitted with mechanical ventilation systems, acoustic glazing & their windows sealed to protect both residents & Cleary’s.

The level of glazing will be dependent on the results of an additional noise survey prior to the occupation of the building.

All images the property of BDP Architects

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20 passion points
Classic Architecture
09 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The original Curzon Street Station (1838 to 1893 / 1966)

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Did you know that the first railway passenger station in Birmingham was opened at Curzon Street in 1838? Built by the London & Birmingham Railway, engineered by Robert Stephenson. The building was designed by the architect Philip Hardwick. It's time as the Birmingham terminus was shortlived after New Street opened in 1854. But continued for excursions to 1893 / goods to 1966.

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Curzon Street Station

(1838 - passengers 1893 / goods 1966)

The first passenger railway linking London to Birmingham was opened in 1838. From London Euston to Birmingham Curzon Street. The station was originally called simply Birmingham Station (it was renamed Birmingham Curzon Street Station in 1852 after Birmingham New Street Station was being built and opened in 1854).

It was the terminus for both the London & Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway, with lines from London, Manchester and Liverpool.

The station located at New Canal Street and Curzon Street in what we now call Eastside, was first opened in June 1838, and the first passenger train arrived from London on the 17th September 1838. The station also had platforms for parcels, but there was no through trains.

The architect of the station was Philip Hardwick, while Robert Stephenson was the engineer in charge of building the line from London to Birmingham. The building was inspired by classical Roman architecture, following Hardwick's trip to Italy in 1818-19.

 

The following image shows Curzon Street Station as it was in 1838. It was published by E C & W Osborne and printed by E Y Moody Bros.

Curzon Street Station

 

The next sketch shows Curzon Street from New Canal Street in 1839. It was an Engraving from Topographical Views  in Wilkinson Collection Vol iii.

Curzon Street Station

 

A more recent drawing of Curzon Street Station dated 1950. It was an ink drawing by John L. Baker. Topographical view of Birmingham. By then the station was only being used for goods. It closed in 1966.

Curzon Street Station Images above are free to download from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection, Public Domain. Digital Image Resource. Creative Commons Zero Licence (CCO).

 

The coming of New Street Station to the closure of Curzon Street Station

The problem was that Curzon Street was not centrally located to the centre of town. So the railway companies decided to build a new station in the heard of the town centre. This would become Birmingham New Street Station, and it's first incarnation opened in 1854. Many services were transferred away from Curzon Street at the time. The station was modified at Banbury Street and New Canal Street by 1874, and was used from Easter that year for passenger excursion trips. Which it continued to do so, until it closed by Easter 1893. Such as on public bank holidays to Sutton Coldfield. The old 1838 platforms were not used as much by then.

Going into the 20th Century, the station continued to be used for goods until it closed for good in 1966. The platforms and original good sheds were demolished in the same year. The site was then used as a Parcelforce depot until that closed in 2006.

In the years before HS2 the land behind the station building was used as a public surface car park, and at one point could have been a redevelopment site called Curzone (which never happened in the end). The HS2 announcement in 2009 changed everything.

The surviving building became a Grade I listed building in 1952. At one point it was modified in 1839 to become a hotel called the Victoria. In 1841 a hotel extension was built and this was the Queen's Hotel. It was on Curzon Street. It was later renamed to The Railway Hotel, when another Queen's Hotel opened at New Street. The hotel at Curzon Street closed in 1900 and was demolished by 1980.

The council purchased the station building from British Rail in 1979 and was used by a University of Birmingham student group called 'Three Bugs Fringe Theatre'.

 

Plaques

Inside of Curzon Street Station is this plaque installed during 1947, which was the Centenary Year of the founding of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers on this site on the 27th January 1847. Photo taken in June 2014, during a visit to Birmingham's Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station.

Curzon Street Station

 

The building also received a Civic Trust Award in 1983. This was probably after Curzon Street Station was restored in the late 1970s and early 1980s (after it had fell into disrepair by 1979). Also seen at Birmingham's Hidden Spaces.

Curzon Street Station

 

There is a plaque on the front of the building that was placed on the New Canal Street side of the building in 1988, on the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first train from London to Birmingham on Monday 17th September 1838. Photo below taken in April 2009. It is now longer possible to see this plaque while HS2 build their new station.

Curzon Street Station

 

Curzon Street Station - exterior of the building 2009 to 2021

Now a gallery of photos of Curzon Street Station taken over the last 12 years or so.

 

View of Curzon Street Station from New Canal Street, taken April 2009. Millennium Point can be seen to the left.

Curzon Street Station

 

A view taken during August 2009 of Curzon Street Station from a now lost road called Bartholomew Street. By then it had long since been closed off. And would disappear by 2011-12 when Eastside City Park was built.

Curzon Street Station

 

It is now January 2010, and Curzon Street Station can again be seen from Bartholomew Street, but in the snow. The Woodman public house seen on the left.

Curzon Street Station

 

By February 2011, I was having a look at Curzon Street Station from the public car park on Curzon Street. All the windows and doors were boarded up. The Rotunda and Pavilions shopping centre were visible to the left of here. Sometimes this car park had been used for the odd fun fair over the years.

Curzon Street Station

 

The hoardings on the left have not gone up for HS2, but for the building of Eastside City Park. Curzon Street Station seen from New Canal Street during September 2011.

Curzon Street Station

 

As late as March 2014, the site behind the old Curzon Street Station building was still being used as a public car park. Selfridges, Beetham Tower, Centre City Tower and the Rotunda were visible on the skyline at the time.

Curzon Street Station

 

By March 2017, it was clear that HS2 would soon take over the building. Hoarding artwork and banners had gone up. It was planned that Curzon Street would become a new cultural hub. The art was from a HS2 / BCU competition, which was won by Sarina Kaur, called Curzon Railway 1838 - 1966.

Curzon Street Station

 

By March 2020, and before the first lockdown, one last walk down New Canal Street before HS2 closed it off, it was also one last chance to see the Eagle & Tun pub before it was demolished. By then the Curzon Railway BCU art banners had been taken down, but the hoardings were still there.

Curzon Street Station

 

A view from the train of Curzon Street Station during August 2020. After the first lockdown restrictions were being eased, I got a train from Stechford to Birmingham New Street. New Canal Street is now closed off, you can also see Millennium Point and The Woodman.

Curzon Street Station

 

October 2020 from Curzon Street. The road beyond was closed by HS2. Was taking a pedestrian diversion from Digbeth to Eastside the long way around (via Lawley Middleway). As HS2 had cut off my old routes. This was before the second lockdown began.

Curzon Street Station

 

By April 2021, the third lockdown restrictions were being eased, and got the train to Birmingham Moor Street for a walk around Eastside and Digbeth. This time via the Digbeth Branch Canal (which was faster than the route I took the autumn before). Took this view of Curzon Street Station from the canal.  The land all being prepared by HS2. The view might be lost in the future once the station is built, and it might bridge over the canal as well (not like the original brick Curzon Street Tunnel that crosses the canal towards New Street in Eastside).

Curzon Street Station

 

Early June 2021, and a view of Curzon Street Station taken from the Cross City Line, I caught the train at Birmingham New Street and got it to Sutton Coldfield. It looks like the turntable (to the far right of here) has been filled in. It's hard to imagine the other buildings that was here over 180 years ago. Millennium Point seen behind from the train. HS2 is a hive of activity.

Curzon Street Station

 

For more photos and the feature, go here for the full gallery of Curzon Street Station in Birmingham Gems.

 

Birmingham's Hidden Spaces, June 2014

From the 21st to 29th June 2014, Birmingham's Hidden Spaces opened up Curzon Street Station to the public. It was an exhibition by Associated Architects, and in association with the Birmingham Post. I saw it on the 28th June 2014. This banner was on the outside of the building.

Curzon Street Station

Inside the main foyer and a look up the staircase to the ceiling. Unfortunately it was too unsafe to go upstairs, so you could only see the ground floor and basement of the building.

Curzon Street Station

Zooming up to the ceiling window.

Curzon Street Station

This sign shows A Brief History of Curzon Street Station. Similar to the information I have presented above.

Curzon Street Station

Another sign about Curzon Street Station built 1838. Philip Hardwick, architect, Robert Stephenson, engineer. Plus the restoration task force in 1983.

Curzon Street Station

Going down the steps to the basement, would have been an exhibition on down here.

Curzon Street Station

The rear door was open, so you could have a look outside. There wasn't much to see out there.

Curzon Street Station

 

Modern 21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sutton Park Town Gate to Boldmere Gate

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I got the train to Sutton Coldfield on the 5th June 2021, on a nice and warm sunny morning in The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield. I headed for the Town Gate for a bit of a walk in Sutton Park. Followed Google Maps to Keepers Pool and Keepers Well. Before changing direction for Powell's Pool and the Boldmere Gate. Much more to explore on a future visit, can't do it all in one go.

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This was more of a proper walk into Sutton Park. As back in August 2017 I only popped into the Boldmere Gate to find the Big Sleuth bear nearby. See this post here: The outer fringes of Sutton Park.

Got the train to Sutton Coldfield Station on the morning of Saturday 5th June 2021 (Cross City Line, now operated by West Midlands Railway). I walked around Railway Road, Tudor Road and Upper Clifton Road, before I got to a roundabout at Park Road. This leads to the Town Gate.

 

Town Gate

On the island was a thatched sculpture of what I think is a Cello.

Sutton Park

Heading up Park Road to the Sutton Park Town Gate. Either side is a pair of gatehouses (looked boarded up). There is a Toby Carvery this way. Tudor Hill to the right had a pair of old gateposts.

Sutton Park

The main road in from the Town Gate. Was a play area on the left, the car park up ahead.

Sutton Park

Heading around the back of the play area, over a footbridge that crosses over the Plants Brook.

Sutton Park

I could see the Visitor Centre to the far left of my then position in the park.

Sutton Park

Crossing over the lawn back onto the main path. I wanted to find the Keepers Pool, so checked Google Maps, and left this road for the route to where I wanted to go.

Sutton Park

Crossing over to the path I needed, saw this tree stump and cut tree log on the ground.

Sutton Park

 

Keepers Pool and Keepers Well

The Keepers Pool looked nice and peaceful in the early summer sunshine. It dates to the 15th Century. In 1887, a lido was built here, an open-air swimming pool. It survived until 2003 when it was burnt by arsonists, another fire in 2004 meant it was lost for good. But the area has returned to woodland and wetland.

Sutton Park

Further up was the Keepers Well. Despite the grass being dry saw a bit of mud, so didn't want to get too close. Would assume it also dates back to the same period as Keepers Pool.

Sutton Park

 

Deer Park Subdivision

Not far from Keepers Pool and Well was this marker for Deer Park Subdivision. The land had been a Norman deer park from the early 12th century. There used to be banks and ditches. But over time they subsided and were filled in, so is nothing much to see now. Although I did cross over some raised bits of earth near the paths and roads.

Sutton Park

This is the path close to the Deer Park Subdivision marker.

Sutton Park

The road continues on towards Streetly. But it was near here that I left the path to make my way towards the Boldmere Gate and Sutton Coldfield Town Centre. Didn't want to go too far in the park.

Sutton Park

Going off the path over the field, so many people walking or cycling over the land had left a trail towards the next path.

Sutton Park

Now back onto a path / road that leads back to the Boldmere Gate.

Sutton Park

But first a diversion into an open field I found. Was wooden markers with yellow warning signs. Apparently this is where people fly their model aeroplanes, but not on the day of my visit to the park.

Sutton Park

Into the heathland, and another path well troden by many other people over the years.

Sutton Park

Saw this weird looking tree, leaning to the left. I was getting close to Powell's Pool and the Boldmere Gate.

Sutton Park

 

Powell's Pool

Back to the path leading to the Boldmere Gate, then one last detour to see Powell's Pool again. Saw this boat with gulls perched on it.

Sutton Park

A perfect morning with a blue sky and little clouds above the pool.

Sutton Park

Taking the gate exit near Miller & Carter. Saw this view of the pool from the car park area on the left.

Sutton Park

Couldn't resist getting a couple more shots from Stonehouse Road of the pool. Yachts as usual to the far left.

Sutton Park

 

Boldmere Gate

Leaving at the park at the Boldmere Gate, via Stonehouse Road, saw another thatched sculpture on an island resembling a harp.

Sutton Park

Not far from the Boldmere Gate on Monmouth Drive was a new West Midlands Cycle Hire point with bikes.

Sutton Park

Down on Monmouth Drive was a football field, was kids taking part in an activity here, was a van near the road, but I didn't get a shot of it, so didn't remember the name of it.

Sutton Park

Leaving via Monmouth Drive, Digby Road, Driffold, Bishops Road and Birmingham Road. Walking back into Sutton Coldfield Town Centre. With a stop for a coffee and a toastie at Caffe Nero at the Gracechurch Shopping Centre.

By the time I walked back to Sutton Coldfield Station, I'd managed 10,000 steps.

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

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Cannon Hill Park - a green space trail

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This trail takes you through this wonderful park to some great landmarks and includes the option (which we most certainly recommend) of a visit to the Nature Centre and the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. 

Explore a few places on the trail over an hour or two or spend a full day at Cannon Hill Park.  

Enjoy!   

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Can we recommend you start the trail at The Midlands Art Centre (The MAC).

 

The Midlands Art Centre (The MAC).

Grab a coffee and a bite to eat at the cafe.  Explore this wonderful arts complex which hosts a mix of theatre, dance, and music, complete with its own cinema and workshops. 

The MAC Cannon Hill Park

Explore more about the MAC HERE

From the Mac you pass the Outdoor Arena and The Children's Adventure Playground.

The Outdoor Arena and The Adventure Playground.

450-seater open-air performance space with an exciting series of outdoor events planned. Next to this, there's a great open space for the youngsters to enjoy at the park's Adventure Playground. 

Now walk on past the Fishing Lake on your left.

Fishing Lake.

Go and enjoy a range of recreational activities on the lake including boating and fishing,

Maybe the swans have tempted you.

Cannon Hill Park

From here you could take a small detour out of the park to enjoy an hour or two at Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.

Boy Scouts War Memorial.

On your way to what was formerly called the Nature Centre is the Boy Scouts War Memorial, Grade II listed. Unveiled in July 1924, in the form of an obelisk. In memory of the lives of the Boy Scouts lost during the First World War. Designed by local architect William Hayward.

Boy Scouts War Memorial

Continue along the path towards the Pershore Road.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.

The Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park is home to a unique collection of animals including Red Pandas, Lemurs, Reptiles, Wallabies, Meerkats, Otters, Birds and a large collection of Monkeys. Some of the animals at this park are endangered and the park plays an important role in protecting and preserving many species.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Explore more about the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park HERE.

Now on to explore the wonderful woodlands at Cannon Hill Park.

Woodlands at Cannon Hill Park.

Cannon Hill Park is made up of 80 acres of formal parkland and 120 acres of conservation area and woodland plantation. Enjoy a wonderful stroll through the woodland! 

Centenary Woodland Cannon Hill Park

From here on to the Sons of Rest.

Sons of Rest.  

Sons of Rest was a movement established by a group of retired working men in 1927. They met to play cards, dominoes and enjoy each others company. The Cannon Hill Sons of Rest was built in 1937.

Sons of Rest Cannon Hill Park

From here on to The Golden Lion.

The Golden Lion.

The Golden Lion was originally built in 1520 in Deritend.  The original site is believed to have been a clergy house and a school before becoming an Inn.  It was moved to Cannon Hill Park in 1911.  Sadly over the last couple of decades, the pub has been behind scaffolding, and is in a poor statue of disrepair. Campaigners are hoping to get it restored, or moved back to Digbeth?

The Golden Lion Cannon Hill Park

The Friends of the Golden Lion have a Facebook page HERE.

From here on to The Bandstand.

The Bandstand.

This is a Grade II listed Victorian bandstand built in the 19th century with a blue-brick and stone base, cast iron columns and a curved pavilion roof.  It dates to circa 1880 to 1890.

Bandstand Cannon Hill Park

Now go and see a fascinating sculpture and Sousse memorial.

"Infinite Wave".

Prince Harry unveiled this memorial dedicated to those killed and affected by the two terrorist attacks in Tunisia in 2015.  Infinite Wave was designed by George King Architects.

How about a bit of fun at the Park's International Mini-Golf course.

Mini Golf at Cannon Hill Park.

36 holes of fantastic mini golf fun complete with water hazards.  An 18 hole mini golf course previously opened in 2012. It is now Golden Putter Mini Golf.

Golden Putter Mini Golf Cannon Hill Park

More information on Golden Putter Mini Golf HERE.

Now for something a little different.

Train Station.

Fancy a ride on the park's train. You can pick it up at the park's train station. 

Cannon Hill Park Station

Now for a detour to the Boer War Memorial.

Boer War Memorial.

This statue is in memory of the British lives lost during the Second Boer War (1899 - 1902) in South Africa. When Joseph Chamberlain was the British Colonial Secretary. The bronze memorial was sculpted by Albert Toft and unveiled in Cannon Hill Park in 1906. It was cleaned and restored in 2012, now Grade II* listed. Surrounded with benches where you can sit down and relax.

Boer War Memorial

Time for a cup of tea or a sandwich?

The Garden Tea Room.

After exploring so much of what's available at this wonderful park, take a break at the tea rooms.

The Garden Tea Room

Now onto remembering a lady who was instrumental to the park's existence as a fantastic open space for us all to enjoy.

Louisa Ryland Monument.

Louisa Ann Ryland (1814 - 1889) gifted the park to the city in 1873.  The blue plaque from the Birmingham Civic Society unveiled at the gatehouse / lodge at 143 Edgbaston Road in 1990. The Rea Valley Cycle Route was officially opened here in 1991.

Louisa Ryland blue plaque

On now to a model of the Elan Valley Project in Wales.

Elan Valley Project Model.

Explore the city's connection with Elan Valley in Wales which supplied much of the city's water for more than 100 years.

Now onto the Canoe Pool.

The Canoe Pool.

More great wildlife to enjoy as we near the end of the trail around the park.

A short walk back to the Mac.

We hope you have enjoyed our trail. 

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40 passion points
History & heritage
04 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A visit to Winterbourne House and Garden during May 2021

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It's been a long time coming, but we went to Winterbourne House and Garden on Wednesday 26th May 2021. You enter via the house. Tickets can be bought inside the house, £7.20 for adults or £6.20 for seniors. You can also choose to have time to go around the house. We went in the house at 3pm. The Tearoom is also open, but you can have your tea and coffee on the terrace.

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Winterbourne House and Garden

It's been a long time coming. But after almost 13 years, we went back to Winterbourne House and Garden. In 2008 only the garden was open to visitors. Since then, the Arts and Crafts style house was fully restored and given full museum status by 2017. Some things had changed with the garden as well. Plus this time I remembered to go down to the Edgbaston Pool. The ground floor and first floor of the house are open to visitors, but only a limited number of people at each time, on timed slots. The Tearoom was open as well. Only one household bubble can go up to the counter to order their drinks, card or app payment only. Have your drinks and cakes out on the terrace outside (tables and chairs). I think the indoor tearoom was open, but wasn't sure as everyone went to have their drinks outside.

 

Recap of the History of Winterbourne

The house was built in 1904 for John and Margaret Nettlefold. They were a wealthy Edwardian couple, who lived and raised their children here. Built in the Arts and Crafts style, John Nettlefold commissioned the architect Joseph Lancaster Ball to design the house. An unusual feature of Winterbourne is the wavy roof line, making the house look older than it actually is. The Nettlefold's were insistent that all the main rooms faced south, including the nursery, to get the maximum amount of sunlight and the best views. The house was built by Isaac Langley of Tyburn, Birmingham. The plaster work was undertaken by local craftsperson G P Bankart. It had all the mod cons of the time including electric lighting and gas fires in several rooms. Many people were moving to Edgbaston in the early 1900s, so it was the perfect place to built their family home. Winterbourne was also close to the new University of Birmingham which was founded by Margaret's uncle Joseph Chamberlain in 1900.

The Nettlefold's lived here from 1904 until 1919 (when John got ill). They were followed by the Wheelock family who lived here from 1919 until 1925. A gardener called John Nicholson bought the house in 1925. When he passed away in 1944, he bequeathed the house to the University of Birmingham.  The house at 58 Edgbaston Park Road has been a Grade II listed building since 1982. The house was fully restored in 2010. It gained full museum status in 2017, with the ground and first floor open to visitors to have a look around at.

 

 

This visit of May 2021, was by chance a couple of days after the 121st anniversary of the founding of the University of Birmingham by a Royal Charter.

 

View of Winterbourne House from the terrace. To the left is the entrance to the house, and also the area for having your teas and coffees outside.

 

 

Winterbourne

The house seen from the Lower Lawn, in the middle is the Pergola.

Winterbourne

The house seen from the Top Lawn. The terrace in front, parasols mostly closed as it was a dry day.

Winterbourne

The house seen from near the exit. The former garden entrance on the left. You now enter the house via  the door to the far right.

Winterbourne

 

A tour of the house inside

Starting your tour (without a guide) at The Drawing Room. It was a place for the family to relax and for entertaining guests. The plasterwork on the walls and ceilings are typical of Arts and Crafts design.

Winterbourne

We next to into The Hallway. It was inspired by 17th century long galleries.

Winterbourne

On the left is a portrait of John Nettlefold (1866 - 1930). The family lived in the house until 1919, when John got ill. It is a photograph of a portrait of John Nettlefold by John Byam Liston Shaw in 1904.

Winterbourne

At the far end of the Hallway is a portrait of Margaret Nettlefold (nee Chamberlain) (1871 - 1949). Born into the Chamberlain family, she was the niece of Joseph Chamberlain (1836 - 1914) and first cousin of Neville Chamberlain (1869 - 1940). The painting was also by John Byam Liston Shaw and done in 1904 (this is a photograph reproduction of the original).

Winterbourne

The next room on the ground floor was The Study. This room is dedicated to John Nettlefold and his work. On his desk lies the plans for the Moorpool estate. The wallpaper is 'Brier Rabbit' by William Morris.

Winterbourne

Up to the first foor and we are now in the Nurses' Room. It is the room on the left of the top of the stairs. It's the kind of room where the servants would have lived in the house.

Winterbourne

That is followed by The Nursery. It was a large and airy room for the children and faced the garden. The children would have played and slept in the room, and even had their lessons here from the Nurse before they were old enough to attend local schools.

Winterbourne

The next room is Nina's Room. It has been styled for a 16 year old girl from the period. The outfit near the window is an example of Edwardian summer dress worn by young girls of Nina's social standing.

Winterbourne

The final bedroom you can view is Ken's Room. Named after John Kenrick Nettlefold, he was the Nettlefold's only surviving son. It represents what the room could have looked like before he left the family home.

Winterbourne

In The Exhibition Room near the door was this sculpture. Standing Lovers, 1974. Made of Terracotta by John Tonks (1927-2012). It was originally exhibited at Winterbourne House in 1974, as part of a restrospective of John Tonks' work.

Winterbourne

 

The Winterbourne Press

This building was originally the garage, to house the Nettlefold's first motor car which they bought in 1906. Today the building houses the Winterbourne Press, which shows the early printing techniques of those used in Arts and Crafts design, with a collection of working 19th and early 20th century printing presses.

Winterbourne

When you go in, only one person is allowed at one time. Beyond this gate is staff only. There was several old printing presses inside, plus examples of prints that they had produced.

Winterbourne

 

Former farm buildings at Winterbourne

There is several former farm buildings and stables at Winterbourne. From the Walled Garden you can see The Old Hayloft houses, which is now the Winterbourne Shop. It is also now the exit from the garden. Various items can be bought here, such as the Guide Book for £5 (card or app payment only at present).

Winterbourne

Exiting the shop, you see the Coach House Gallery, which is now home to the Second-hand Bookshop.

Winterbourne

 

Garden tour at Winterbourne

First up is The Walled Garden. Through here is the shop, second-hand bookshop, the toilets, Winterbourne Press, and  Edwardian Kitchen. In the centre is the Dipping Pool. It was restored after a leak in 2008. To the far end is the Lean-to Glasshouse which was restored in 2005.

Winterbourne

The next area is the Glasshouse and Alpine Garden. Here you can visit The Gilbert Orchid House (pictured below). Also the Arid House and Alpine House. The Glasshouses were first included in this area as early as the 1930s. The Gilbert Orchid House was built in the 1960s.

Winterbourne

The Nut Walk is near the Geographic collections. It is an original feature of the garden, and provides a focal point for this area. It is in a tunnel shape. The hazelnut trees growing here are the same ones planted by Margaret Nettlefold over 100 years ago. By the 1980s the original structure had decayed, and was replaced with a new, longer lasting iron frame, domed in shape.

Winterbourne

The Rhododendron Walk runs straight towards the stream. There is also a gate on one side that leads to the Edgbaston Pool. It is the first part of the garden to burst into colour in the spring. There is the remains of an Oak Tree here, that has been left as a memorial to it.

Winterbourne

Taking a detour of the garden, down a path (from the unlocked gate) to the Edgbaston Pool. It belongs to Edgbaston Golf Club. Visitors to Winterbourne can walk along the path, and sit at the benches. The gate beyond is private property of the golf club. Visitors must leave the pool by 4:45pm, when the gate at Winterbourne is padlocked for the evening. The pool was part of the Edgbaston Estate of the Gough family, later members of the Calthorpe's, whose Calthorpe Estates owns much of the land in Edgbaston.

Winterbourne

Back in Winterbourne Garden, and now walking past the stream. This is the Japanese Bridge and Sandstone Rock Garden. On the day of our visit, the bridge was closed for maintenance, so couldn't do the Woodland Walk.

Winterbourne

The furthest part of the garden you can go to. The Stream Lawn, Streamside Borders and Magnolia Border. It's hard to believe that you are two miles away from the city centre. It was originally used in 1904 to grow vegetables. Later in the 1970s it was home to a small nursery, before it was removed to make way for the present day lawn and flowering shrub borders.

Winterbourne

Next up is the Lower Lawn. In this view you can see the Pergola (view towards the house). The Herb Circle is to the right. The Pergola is a true Arts and Crafts feature, added by John Nicolson. It was restored in 2005. Currently there is no access to it, while you are walking around the lawn.

Winterbourne

The Old Meadow is a part of the Winter Garden. It is alongside Winterbourne's western boundary. Originally pastureland during the Edwardian period, it was tamed by gardening staff in 1969, when it was used to house a series of plant family beds. Later it became a commemorative garden to celebrate the centenary of the City of Birmingham in 1989. The Old Meadow contains The White Border, The Mediterranean Bed and the Winter Border.

Winterbourne

The Top Lawn can be seen from the terrace in front of the house. The Lime Walk is to the right of here. This is the lawn where the Nettlefold's would have played boules and croquet. The Wheelocks, who followed them, used it for family games and tennis.

Winterbourne

 

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

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80 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Jun 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Construction of Alexander Stadium - June 2021

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New images from IYB shows how the £72.4 million centrepiece of Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games spectacular is taking shape.

With construction well advanced, the new stadium is earmarked for completion in Spring 2022.

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Superb progress is being made on the new tiered West Stand at Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, on the grounds of Perry Park.

The stadium will also see the introduction of new tiered seating to the north and south, alongside a new 400m, six-lane warm-up track.

Planning permission was granted in January with Northern Irish construction firm McLaughlin & Harvey (MCLH) confirmed as the contractor - and they’ve not looked back since.

Designed by Arup, with Mace Group as project manager, the stadium will house around 30,000 spectators during the Games, before reverting to a permanent capacity of 18,000 post-Games - still comfortably one of the largest permanent facilities capable of hosting major athletics in the UK.

It will then become a focal point of health, well-being, sport, academic and community activity in a vastly improved Perry Park as part of the wider Perry Barr Regeneration Scheme – which will see over £500million invested in new housing, public space & infrastructure over the next decade.

It'll continue to serve as home to the Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club and will even introduce Birmingham City University and up to 1000 sports and exercise students, as a new anchor tenant.

Funding has come from Birmingham City Council (£27.4million), WMCA (£20million) and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (£20million).

Images by Stephen Giles.

GAMES MODE:

LEGACY MODE (Post Games):

Words by Stephen Giles, with all CGIs the property of ARUP/ Birmingham City Council.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Jun 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Lamp Works: Demolition Progressing

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A series of rundown buildings are currently being demolished on the site of The Lampworks, in the Jewellery Quarter.

The Cordia Blackswan development will soon be reborn with 129 new homes.

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As you can see, a series of rundown industrial & commercial builds on Great Hampton Street and Barr Street are currently being demolished, with the Cordia Blackswan site set to be reborn in the coming months ahead.

THE LAMPWORKS

129 new homes will be created here, by way of retention and conversion of buildings saved from demolition, and the erection of new four & five-storey new builds - in a mixture of one, two, three beds & duplexes.

A ground floor commercial unit, and an inner courtyard, will also be provided.

Demolition images by Stephen Giles. Renderings are the property of BPN Architects.

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20 passion points
Education
02 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools - from Camp Hill in 1883 to Kings Heath in 1956-58

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King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools is two Grammar schools on one site. The boys and the girls school. Founded in 1883, they were at a site at Camp Hill until they moved to Vicarage Road in Kings Heath (boys in 1956, girls in 1958). The old building survives at Camp Hill Circus near Bordesley Middleway and Stratford Road as The Bordesley Centre. The current school is next to Kings Heath Park.

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King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

In this third post on the King Edward VI schools founded in 1883, we look at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls. Originally located at the top of the Stratford Road, near Sparkbrook and Bordesley. They relocated to a site at Vicarage Road and Cartland Road between 1956 and 1958. Unlike Five Ways, the old building at Camp Hill Circus still stands today, as The Bordesley Centre.

 

History of King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Today you can see the old building at the corner of Bordesley Middleway and the Stratford Road, if you are getting the bus around Camp Hill Circus (or travelling in other forms of transport). It was designed by Martin and Chamberlain, and first opened in 1883 for the King Edward VI Foundation. The building is now a Grade II* listed building. The builder was James Moffat. There was later additions to the building during the 20th century, with more alterations in the early 21st century.

The school of 1883 was the boys school, later the girls school was built by 1890. The school was built in the Gothic style. After the school moved to Kings Heath, the buildings was first used as a Teachers Training College, then by the City of Birmingham Polytechnic (later University of Central England, now Birmingham City University). It is now The Bordesley Centre, a religious, educational and advisory centre for Birmingham's Yemeni community, and run by the Muath Trust. The building was remodelled and refurbished in 2004-06.

Photos below taken during March 2012. First photo taken from Camp Hill near Camp Hill Circus. Bordesley Middleway on the left.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Second photo taken from Bordesley Middleway near Camp Hill Circus. At the time went to see a plaque about The Ship Inn, the site of a pub that used to stand here. Was used by Prince Rupert, before his Royalist army attacked Birmingham at Easter 1643. The Ship Inn stood here from 1560 until 1972. It was rebuilt in the late 19th Century.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools today in Kings Heath

The boys school relocated to a site in Kings Heath at Vicarage Road and Cartland Road during 1956. This is next to Kings Heath Park. While the house of the former estate here is now within Kings Heath Park, the gatehouse is in the grounds of the school near the Vicarage Road. Formerly owned by the Cartland family from 1880 until the 1900s (ancestors of the late Romance novel author Barbara Cartland). The girls school relocated to the site in 1958, and both the boys and girls schools share buildings. They also have playing fields at Kings Heath, which they would have had no room for at Camp Hill.

 

During October 2017 from the Vicarage Road in Kings Heath. Pupils can get off the 11C, 11A or 35 bus routes down here. Main entrance to the school is on the right. Just cross at the lights.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

This is the pedestrian entrance for pupils and visitors to the schools. Looked very autumnal that day.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

In April 2019, a walk past King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. Starting at Vicarage Road in Kings Heath near this sign (gatehouse behind).

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Sign seen on Cartland Road. Reception for both schools on Vicarage Road.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

The sports field with rugby goalpost, modern buildings behind. Seen behind the fence on Cartland Road.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Modern buildings shared by both the boys and girls school. I think they also share the sports field. Barbed wire on the fence at Cartland Road.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

A December 2019 view up the main drive to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. Looks like they built modern extensions to the 1950s buildings here. Lined by trees. At the time, the gate on Vicarage Road was open. There is ramps, so vehicles will have to drive slowly towards the schools.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

A more recent view of King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools, taken from Kings Heath Park during March 2021. The Cartland family formed the Priory Trust Co Ltd to manage the grounds. They wanted to develop houses, but ended up selling the land to the local council (Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council). The council opened the land as a park. Birmingham City Council took over the park and Kings Heath in 1911. The remaining land was sold to the council in 1914. The rest of the land of what is now King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools would have been purchased by the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham in the mid 1950s.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

The Lodge to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

This is the Lodge to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. One of the oldest buildings at the school, it dates to the early 19th Century, and is a Grade II listed building. It is rendered, and Battlemented according to the Historic England listing, at 142 Vicarage Road. The lodge was formerly part of the estate of Kings Heath House, and was separated when a fence was erected between the schools and Kings Heath Park (probably in the late 1950s).

First view (below) taken from the 11A bus on Vicarage Road in Kings Heath during April 2017.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

The next view was taken from Kings Heath Park during Febraury 2018. You can see the modern fence separating the park and school grounds here.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Another bus view, this time taken from the 11C during April 2018. You can see the lodge on the left, and the vehicle entrance driveway on the right to the schools.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

School bus

In May 2017, I was on an 11A bus, when I passed this school bus for both King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, seen on the Vicarage Road. Bus ID 112.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

On this side advertising the girls school and their outstanding results! Co-education for all.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

My own history with King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys. I would have done the 11+ here during 1993-94, but I didn't pass it. I recall putting King Edward VI Five Ways School as my first choice, and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys as my second. I ended up at my local Comprehensive school (which was in walking distance). Years later got the 11C on the way to my Sixth Form College (1999 - 2001). I now think I should have put Camp Hill as my number one. My late brother later got into Camp Hill. Of course I pass it now whenever I get the 11C or 11A past the school. Or go to Kings Heath Park.

 

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

 

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
01 Jun 2021 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Beautiful Flowers at Ightham Mote in Kent - May 29th 2021

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I had the pleasure of visiting my mum for the first time in 2 years and we went to have a walk round grounds of Ightham Mote in Kent, here is bunch of flowers, to make a change from architecture and  Birmingham stuff for the (finally) start of summer!

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
27 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Unloved John Madin Office Block Set For Transformation

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An unloved brutalist office block, designed in 1962 by John Madin, will be repurposed and brought back to life to deliver 266-bed student accommodation and a 123-room hotel.

The site at 12 Calthorpe Road contains two blocks, the tallest reaching 11 storeys.

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MERCIA REAL ESTATE (MRE) is now free to transform the site to deliver 266-bed purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), alongside a 123-room hotel.

The vacant site at 12 Calthorpe Road, designed by the famous architect, John Madin, contains two blocks, the tallest of which reaches 11 storeys. They are both joined vertically by a small link. These will be demolished to allow each to become separate entities.

The roofs on both will also be demolished and a two-storey, 31K SF extension added to make the project viable.

The tallest block will be turned into student digs, comprising en-suites & studios, while the smaller five-storey is to become a 123-room hotel, with provision for a 120 cover restaurant pavilion.

The hotel, alongside the pavilion, will feature a reception, restaurant and bar; while the student element will feature a sky lounge, virtual training room, gym, games area, cinema room, and study spaces.

Cycle parking is to be provided alongside the addition of 73 car parking bays across the site, mainly in the rear car park and the basement underneath the hotel.

However, approval wasn’t plain sailing. Brutiful Birmingham, the lobby group that aims to protect the city’s brutalist heritage, objected to demolition, as did Edgbaston MP Prett Gill, and Calthorpe Residents’ Society.

Concerns, however, were dismissed by officers, and agreed by the committee, as causing “less than substantial harm”.

Student needs also cropped up, despite assessments supporting the need for such accommodation, with MRE suggesting that Calthorpe Road could meet shortfalls in the supply of PBSA.

Birmingham City Council agreed: “A need for the student accommodation has been demonstrated. The proposal would support the function of both the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University (a short walk away from Calthorpe Road) as key providers of employment, culture, and learning in the city,”.

Mercia Real Estate have since mentioned that discussions are on-going with Birmingham City University to take bedspaces.

With a demonstrable demand for student digs, and (perhaps) less so for workspaces, certainly at this moment in time, could this become the norm for our city centres?

All renderings are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
27 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

St. James' House To Become A 156-room Aparthotel

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An unloved brutalist office block will be revitalised to deliver a 156-room aparthotel for international hotel brand, Marriot Residence Inn.

St. James' House was approved today at Planning Committee (27th May 2021).

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KENFIN PROPERTY is now free to transform this neglected building to deliver a 156-room aparthotel for international hotel brand, Marriot Residence Inn.

The vacant pre-cast concrete former office building, at 17 Horsefair, has seen frequent past attempts to repurpose it come and go - with noise fears always a significant factor in those previous permissions not being implemented.

However, with comprehensive mitigation plans in place (see below), Kenfin has now received the go-ahead to proceed.

The building - adjoined to O2 Academy Birmingham - will be partially demolished to floors 3-7, before a new lightweight structure is erected and the building extended up to 11 storeys tall.

The new structure will be positioned upon isolated springs to prevent noise travelling, in addition to glazing and facade construction to reduce the impact of any noise.

Clad in metallic finished silver aluminium, with powder coating, large windows, bevelled/angular recesses and projections within the pattern, the building frontage will also feature copper cladding to frame the main facade.

To further appease officers, Kenfin has also agreed to further undertake a noise verification survey before occupation to ensure the mitigation measures are correctly installed.

MARRIOT RESIDENCE INN

Attracting Marriot Residence Inn is something of a coup for the area, not least the building.

The building will facilitate many communal areas, including a bar, gymnasium, lobby, working, dining & lounge areas.

Accommodation will be on floors 3-11, with each room containing a double bed, living area, kitchen and en-suite, with sizes ranging from 24-38sqm.

Given its highly accessible location, zero car parking is provided; however, 4 covered cycle racks will be implemented and accessed via Bow Street.

All images are the property of Cartwright Pickard Architects.

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
27 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVAL FOR REGENERATION OF POST-INDUSTRIAL DIGBETH

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A hybrid application forming a strategic, long-term vision framework for the regeneration of post-industrial Digbeth, has been APPROVED!

Phase 1 of the wider eight-phase regeneration will see 40 new homes, a 'light box' extension to the Custard Factory, and a new office cluster. Exciting!

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4.5M SQFT PLANS; INCLUDING A BIRMINGHAM ‘HIGH LINE’

Digbeth is Birmingham’s creative hub with proud roots in trade, industry, craft and making. Oval Real Estate seeks to conserve this rich heritage, whilst raising the dynamic of the area that will support the city’s diverse communities.

Plans will see 4.15M SQFT developed over eight major phases, offering a genuine opportunity to steer the future development of Digbeth cohesively.

The 15-year plan will involve the redevelopment of 67 plots and the demolition of some 59 buildings, with buildings ranging from one to fourteen storeys tall. If fully realised, the project could be operational by 2035.

The scheme envisages 1.9 million SQFT of offices, up to 1,850 residential units, 230,000 SQFT of new shops, bars, retail, restaurants & takeaways, improved public realm spaces, a nightclub, a 350-bed hotel, a MSCP, 850-bed student accommodation, alongside leisure, education and community facilities.

The city’s 1846-built Duddleston viaduct will also be reanimated into a vibrant New York-esque ‘High Line’ - with all builds setback from the viaduct with a strategically placed pedestrian route alongside its length to the city centre.

IMAGE: View from Gibb Street - Bordesley Viaduct arches.

The River Rea will be uncovered for the first time in decades; two new pedestrian bridges over the Rea & Grand Union Canal will be built, with two others forming a linear sky park atop Duddleston viaduct.

All this will see Digbeth become a permanent daytime economy presiding over thousands of new inhabitants, as well as seeing up to 16,000 new jobs created.

67 PLOTS, 59 BUILDINGS DEMOLISHED, OTHERS BROUGHT BACK INTO USE

Let’s be clear: Large swathes of the site are rundown, with many abandoned buildings and empty plots. These will be demolished, but not all at the same time, as many seem to believe.

Low grade properties will be demolished over the years.

Many, lying either vacant or underutilised, will also be brought back into viable use where appropriate, allowing Digbeth to provide a whole range of suitable improved commercial spaces for a range of businesses, from small scale start-ups to larger companies.

All new builds will then respond to the specific design code of the area. We’ll be posting more on this as the site develops.

PHASE 1

The first phase (in blue) includes ‘Wild Works’, providing 139K SQFT of workspace, 40 new homes at ‘Custard Factory Living’, and a 35K SQFT ‘light box’ upward extension at the Custard Factory.

The Wild Works (Floodgate Street) - Designed by Studio Egret West, Wild Works provides a subtle nod to the areas metalworking past.

The site will be redeveloped to provide four modern commercial blocks in builds ranging from 1 to 8-9 storeys, along with an incubator workspace & a ground-floor restaurant.

Custard Factory Living (Floodgate Street) - Designed by Glenn Howells Architects, the site will see the development of a seven-storey residential building providing 40 (1-3 bed) rented apartments—including four affordable units (10%), with ground-floor retail/food and drink uses.

Provision for a replacement pedestrian bridge is included, and this will cross the River Rea to provide an improved link from Floodgate Street past the Custard Factory to Gibb Street.

Custard Factory Extension - This exciting new three-storey light-box addition will add architectural interest to the area.

Designed around the concept of a light-box, the extension will provide two storeys of flexible-use office space & a further top floor for function spaces alongside an outdoor roof garden area.

An extension will also be made at ground floor level, providing additional retail and office floorspace.

Exciting plans afoot!

All images used here are the property of Studio Egret West & Glenn Howells Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Health & wellbeing
25 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Getting vaccinated at Millennium Point

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My turn to be vaccinated came around in mid May 2021. I booked both at Millennium Point. And I had my first jab on the 19th May 2021. You go in from the ground floor, and get checked. Lift up to 2nd floor, and get directed to chairs to sit down at. After the jab, you go to another chair to sit and wait 15 minutes before leaving. I'll be back in August 2021.

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My experience of going to Millennium Point for my 1st vaccination. When my time came for my age range, the NHS posted me a letter with a link to go to. So I booked both vaccinations for Millennium Point. The first one a few days after the letter came, the second for August 2021.

The text from the GP surgery came a day later, by which time I'd already booked for Millennium Point had had to let them know I wasn't going to the local health centres.

 

My first appointment was on the morning of 19th May 2021. When you get in, you show your reference number and they ask you various questions. You are then directed to the right, then to the lift. Press 2 to go up to the 2nd floor.

Once up, they direct you to a seat to wait to be called. You then get called, same questions again, and the nurse talks to you while injecting the vaccine into your arm.

After this you are directed to another seat, to wait for about 15 minutes, resting after your jab. There maybe side effects within the 24 hours after having it, but should be fine after two days.

Plus you get a card, which you will need to take for the 2nd vaccine appointment. Put it in your wallet or purse.

 

April 2021

Photos below, taken during a walk into Eastside during mid April 2021. Passing Millennium Point. This would be the same route I took going to my vaccine a month later. HS2 works on the right.

Millennium Point

Millennium Point seen on the left from Eastside City Park. Thinktank is due to reopen at the end of May 2021.

Millennium Point

The Millennium Point Covid-19 Vaccination Centre sign from Eastside City Park. I would be back in May.

Millennium Point

That day got the train to and from the City Centre. But you can also get the bus, and walk to Millennium Point.

Millennium Point

 

May 2021

Leaving Millennium Point towards the Jennens Road exit. I noticed that Six/Eight Kafe was gone, and was now another cafe. This exit takes you past the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, towards Aston University.

Millennium Point

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

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
25 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

GO-AHEAD RECOMMENDED FOR 14 STOREY RESI BLOCK

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A 14-storey building containing 80 apartments could be constructed in Ladywood, with plans recommended for approval later this week.

Providing a brand new visual marker, in an area set to see transformational change in the future, be sure to follow the post for an in-depth look at Morville Street apartments.

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Located at the junction of Ladywood Middleway and Morville Street – on the former site of Five Ways Health Centre & more recently, a flower shop – the vacant site is earmarked for demolition to make way for this 14 storey tower.

Designed with the stacking of two blocks set at different angles, the red brick building – containing stretcher and recessed stacked bond to add visual articulation – will yield 80 one and two bedroom apartments, in a mix of 33 one & 47 two bedrooms.

9 apartments (11%) has been designated as affordable and these will be available at 75% of market value.

Morville Street Developments Ltd – a team led by Mark Holbeche of Regal Property Group, and William Houle, of Trigram Properties – are behind the redevelopment, with Glancy Nicholls Architects designing the scheme.

Well considered in its design, scale, material and design quality, the building enhances its local distinctiveness & follows the alignment of its boundaries and street frontages; before cleverly stepping back to an orthogonal form on the eighth floor, as it faces the adjacent Lincoln Tower.

It’ll feature a double floor base with four sets of three floors grouped through the elevation and topped with an open crown around an open-air roof garden space.

All windows will be metal framed and topped off with a natural copper finish.

AMENITIES

A private walled garden (160sqm) and work-from-home space (50sqm) will be provided at ground floor level. On the upper floors, a private roof-top garden with green roof & bio-solar roof panels (241sqm) will become the crowning feature of the development.

Predominately a car-free affair, Morville Street will see the inclusion of 30 internal and 50 external cycle spaces – the former at ground floor level & the latter within the new courtyard.

THE SITE TODAY

EXISTING SITE VIEW: Google Street View (August 2020)

Recommendation: Morville Street apartments has been recommended for approval subject to a Section 106 legal agreement to secure 9 affordable (one and two bedroom) apartments. The development goes to Planning committee on the 27th of May 2021, at 11 am. 

All renderings are the property of Glancy Nicholls Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
24 May 2021 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Construction of One Centenary Way - May 2021 Update Two

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The outer structure is now up to the 5th level and is starting to impose itself on the surroundings, the central core structure is ready to rise again and the floors will catch up fast. 16 photos in this construction gallery update.

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23rd May 2021

Photography by Daniel Sturley

See more in the full gallery here: One Centenary Way Construction Photography

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
23 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Centenary Square - places to visit mapped for you

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Here we have mapped a selection of places that we would recommend you visit in Centenary Square.

This includes: 

The Library of Birmingham, The Hall of Memory, Symphony Hall, The Birmingham Rep, and many other places of interest.

 

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Centenary Square is located in a prime central location in Birmingham. It is host to many of the City's civic and cultural attractions. It first opened in 1991 and reopened in 2019.

Here we have mapped some of the highlights in Centenary Square.  Enjoy with our complements our map of this amazing public space.

Centenary Square 

Centenary Square was named in 1989 to commemorate the centenary of Birmingham achieving City Status.  It opened in 1991 to a carpet brick design by the artist Tess Jaray. It looked like a Persian rug. This was changed from 2010 to 2013 when the Library of Birmingham was built, but still had a grassed area. But the Council had a bright idea to rip this all up and it was redeveloped between 2017 and 2019. This included a reflective pool with fountains / water jets. The old London Plain trees were cut down in 2017, but new trees were planted by 2019.

Centenary SquareCentenary Square (April 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Hall of Memory

This war memorial building was built from 1922 to 1925 and designed by S. N. Cooke and W. N. Twist. It commemorates the citizens of Birmingham who died during WW1. Made of Portland stone. There is four bronze statues outside dedicated to the Air Force, Army, Navy and Women's Services. It was promoted to Grade I listed status in 2014 (from the previous Grade II). There used to be a Colonnade outside of the Hall of Memory, and a fountain as part of the Broad Street Garden of Remembrance (also opened in 1925). But the Colonnade was moved in 1990, to what is now called the Peace Garden to the grounds of St Thomas's Church which was destroyed in the Birmingham Blitz of 1940.

Hall of Memory Centenary Square

Hall of Memory in Centenary Square (April 2020). Photography by Daniel Sturley

For more on the Hall of Memory, CONNECT HERE.

 

Baskerville House 

This was previously called the Civic Centre, it was the only building built for the proposed Civic Centre from 1938. WW2 halted construction, but after the war, Roman Imperial imagery went out of fashion, and the other proposed buildings were not built. The building was renovated from 2003 to 2007. Baskerville House was built on the site where the home of John Baskerville used to be.

Baskerville House

Baskerville House from Centenary Way (April 2013). Photography by Elliott Brown

For more on Baskerville House, CONNECT HERE.

 

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham was built from 2010 to 2013, between The REP and Baskerville House. It opened in September 2013. There is nine levels above ground, plus a couple of basement floors (Children's Library). Only Level 0, MG, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 9 are accessible to the public. Levels 5, 6 and 8 are staff only. Discovery Terrace on Level 3, Secret Garden on Level 7 and the Shakespeare Memorial Room on Level 9. Brasshouse Language's moved onto Level 1 in September 2016.

Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square (September 2019). Photography by Daniel Sturley

For more on the Library of Birmingham, CONNECT HERE.

 

The Birmingham REP

The Birmingham Reperatory Theatre moved to what is now called Centenary Square in 1971. Closed during the building of the Library of Birmingham from 2010 to 2013, they reopened at the same time as the Library. Founded by Sir Barry Jackson at what is now called The Old REP on Station Street in 1913. There is a pair of blue plaques here from the Birmingham Civic Society, including the founder Sir Barry Jackson, and J. Sampson Gamgee, a surgeon, who lived on the site that The REP is now standing. His name was later used by J. R. R. Tolkien for the character of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2021, the REP is celebrating their 50th Anniversary at this site.

The REP

The REP in Centenary Square (September 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

For more on THE REP, CONNECT HERE. (note it is not yet on Birmingham Gems - need edting rights please Jonathan)

 

The ICC and The Symphony Hall 

These buildings opened in 1991, built from 1986 to 1991. Opened by the Queen in June 1991. Host venue of the G8 in 1998. The foyer of Symphony Hall was rebuilt during 2020. It is due to reopen in 2021. An empty plinth has been reserved outside for the statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch, which has been in storage since 2017.

The ICC and Symphony HallThe ICC and Symphony Hall (April 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

For more on The ICC, CONNECT HERE.

For Symphony Hall, CONNECT HERE.

 

One Centenary Square

Built as the home of HSBC UK. It was originally going to be called Two Arena Central. Built between 2017 and 2018. There is a pair of bronze lions outside the main entrance. Built on the former site of Central TV (and ATV before that). It was a former Masonic Building.

HSBC UK One Centenary SquareHSBC UK, One Centenary Square (July 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

For One Centenary Square, CONNECT HERE.

 

The Exchange (formerly Birmingham Municipal Bank)

The Birmingham Municipal Bank originally opened in 1933. A year before in 1932, Neville Chamberlain, at the time Chancellor of the Exchequer, laid the foundation stone of the building. It was his idea to have a municipal bank. In the decades that followed, it later became a part of the TSB, and was a Lloyds TSB when it closed for good in 2006. However in 2017, the University of Birmingham took it over, and it was being renovated during 2020 into 2021. It was formerly addressed as 301 Broad Street, but it is now addresed as Three Centenary Square.

The Exchange BMBThe Exchange (former Birmingham Municipal Bank) (April 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

For The Exchange (former Birmingham Municipal Bank), CONNECT HERE.

 

Library Tram Stop

In 2017, the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue was moved into storage near Arena Central, and this end of Broad Street was built as the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square from 2017 to 2019. Library Tram Stop opened to the public as the temporary terminus of the line during December 2019. The line is currently being extended down Broad Street, and should be open as far as 54 Hagley Road in Edgbaston by the end of 2021. The West Midlands Metro Urbos 3 trams are powered by battery packs from Stephenson Street (Grand Central Tram Stop) to Centenary Square (Library Tram Stop).

Library Tram StopWest Midlands Metro tram 31 at Library Tram Stop (August 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
22 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Street art across Birmingham - mapped for you

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In and around Birmingham, there is some great street art to enjoy. 

Explore this map and our feature for just a selection of the wonderful street art on offer.  Use the map to plan where to go or enjoy it with us here.

Note: Street art can get painted over and replaced and there is no guarantee that it will be there if you visit.

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Street art in Digbeth

Digbeth is renowned for its street art and has attracted a number of extremely talented artists to showcase their art and creativity. Digbeth is home to the High Viz Street Culture Festival and the City of Colours Festival.

 

Black Sabbath

Location: In the short stay car park of Birmingham Coach Station, Rea Street, Digbeth.

Artist: N4T4 and Wingy.

Description: Painted in 2019 during the 50th Anniversary of Black Sabbath, during the High Viz Street Culture Festival.

Photography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Rea St   

Co-ordinates: 52.47471036278989, -1.8885750864166637

 

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Location: The Paper Mill, Allison Street, Digbeth (inside a car park).

Artist: Unknown

Description: Depicts Dr Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, a pair of US Civil Rights leaders during the 1960s, who were both assassinated. Possibly painted in 2019 for the High Viz Street Culture Festival. This was before the Black Lives Matter movement that started in 2020, after a Police officer killed George Floyd in the USA. There is other political street art in here including former US President Donald Trump, plus former UK PM's David Cameron and Theresa May.

Martin Luther King and Malcolm XPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Allison St

Co-ordinates: 52.477078142706745, -1.8897963145198369

 

Forward in Unity

Location: Nortons beer garden on Meriden Street, Digbeth.

Artist: Gent 48.

Description: Painted during the first year of the Coronavirus Pandemic by Gent 48 in 2020. It was commissioned by Paul Cadman for Art 4 Charity. It resembles the Coronavirus being fought by the NHS, the Police, firemen, who are all real superheroes. The mural has since been turned into a book with signatures, including Gent 48 himself!

Forward in UnityPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Meriden St

Co-ordinates: 52.47710679118819, -1.88945191507358

 

Bird's Custard

Location: Side wall of Fazeley Studios, Floodgate Street, Digbeth.

Artist: Seven 9 Signs

Description: Looks like a tin of Bird's Custard Powder. Points the direction to the Custard Factory, where eggless custard was manufactured on that site until 1963, by Alfred Bird & Sons.

Bird's Custard

Photography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Floodgate St

Co-ordinates: 52.477306844642136, -1.882268268892536

 

Marvel Spider-Man

Location: Custard Factory Car Park (near Heath Mill Lane and Lower Trinity Street), Digbeth.

Artist: Jim Vision

Description: Painted in 2018 around the time that the Marvel Spider-Man game was being launched on the Sony Playstation 4. The game was later remastered in 2020 for the new Sony Playstation 5. Painted for the HiViz Festival.

Marvel Spider-Man PS4Photography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Custard Factory Car Park

Co-ordinates: 52.47540435700964, -1.881377469303182

 

Abstract Semi Circle

Location: Proof House Junction of the Grand Union Canal (Digbeth Branch) and the Digbeth Branch Canal.

Artist: Lucy McLauchlan.

Description: It is under the disused Proof House Railway Bridge. In Lucy McLauchlan's distinctive art style of grey, white and black swirls in a semi circle, opposite the canal towpath. The canal here was formerly the Warwick & Birmingham Canal, but is now part of the Grand Union Canal.

Grand Union LucyPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Proof House Junction

Co-ordinates: 52.48011990320871, -1.8839594857713575

 

Street art in Southside 

 

Bowie

Location: Dudley Street, Southside (opposite Edgbaston Street). Close to being under the Smallbrook Queensway Bridge.

Artist: Annatomix.

Description: Famed popstar David Bowie passed away in 2016. Annatomix painted her original Bowie artwork here shortly after that. But it kept getting vandalised. She repainted Bowie in a different design in 2019. More vandalism in 2020, led to her making a repair with a blindfold over Bowie's eyes.

Annatomix BowiePhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Dudley St

Co-ordinates: 52.476333395707464, -1.8966260612490133

 

Love is Love

Location: Nightingale Bar, corner of Kent Street and Lower Essex Street.

Artist: Inkie

Description: A woman with long flowing rainbow hair in the Gay Village, part of Southside. There is more street art to the right on Kent Street. Painted here in 2017.

NightingalePhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Kent St

Co-ordinates: 52.4725526555764, -1.896230195888382

 

Street art in Bordesley

 

Captain "Terminator" America 

Location: On wasteland, High Street, Bordesley.

Artist: The Forty Eights.

Description: It resembles Marvel's Captain America as a Terminator T-800 Endoskelton, or pehaps a zombie.

Captain Terminator AmericaPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - High St Bordesley

Co-ordinates: 52.473196117439805, -1.8792848641522124

 

Street art in the Jewellery Quarter

 

Christmas Reindeer

Location: On the railway wall on Vyse Street, Jewellery Quarter (to the right of Jewellery Quarter Station).

Artist: Banksy.

Description: A Christmas reindeer highlighting the issue of homelessness, some people would pose on the bench on the left, as a sleigh. Painted in December 2019. Network Rail protected the piece with perspex. Someone shortly afterwards painted red noses onto it, or splashed paint onto the perspex, but Network Rail regularly cleans it up.

Banksy reindeerPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Vyse St

Co-ordinates: 52.48962435687972, -1.912765177922335

 

 

Street art in Westside

 

Pissing on Banksy

Location: Wall of Bistro Pierre at Gas Street Basin.

Artist: unknown.

Description: A small boy urinating on Banksy. It has been protected by the Canal & River Trust with a sheet of perspex. It's been here since about March 2021.

Not a Banksy

Photography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Gas St Basin

Co-ordinates: 52.47698624880546, -1.9095415509215925

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40 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
22 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Victoria Square - places of interest mapped for you

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Here we have mapped a selection of places that we would recommend as of real cultural interest in Victoria Square.

This includes: 

Birmingham Council House, The Town Hall, Victoria Square House; The River and Youth ('Floozie in the Jacuzzi'), and the Statue of Queen Victoria.

Enjoy!.

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Victoria Square is home to Birmingham's historic Council House.

Victoria Square was originally called Council House Square, but was re-named to Victoria Square after Queen Victoria in 1901, just 12 days before she passed away.

Here we have mapped some of the highlights in Victoria Square.  Enjoy with our compliments our map of this amazing public space.

 

Historic architecture

First let's introduce you to some magificent architecture and historic builds that are on display in Victoria Square. 

The Birmingham Council House

The Council House was built between 1874 to 1879, and was designed by architect Yeoville Thomason. It is a Grade II* listed building and is home to Birmingham City Council.

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

For more on the Council House, CONNECT HERE.

 

Birmingham Town Hall

The Town Hall is the oldest building in the square was built between 1832 and 1834. It was designed by architects Joseph Hansom and Edward Welch. The Grade I listed building was refurbished between 2002 and 2007. It was the first example of the 19th Century revival of Roman Architecture in Birmingham.

Photography by Elliott Brown.

For more on the Town Hall, CONNECT HERE.

 

Victoria Square House

Victoria Square House was built from 1899 to 1901, and operated as the General Post Office until 1972 when the Royal Mail moved to larger premises. this building was saved from demolition by the Victorian Society.

Victoria Square

Photography by Elliott Brown.

For more on Victoria Square House, CONNECT HERE.

 

Public Art

There are two great examples of public art that can be enjoyed in Victoria Square.

River and Youth ('Floozie in the Jacuzzi')

River and Youth was unveiled in 1993 and was sculpted by Dhruva Mistry. It is known locally by 'Brummies' by her nickname of the "Floozie in the Jacuzzi". There is also a a pair of Sphinx Guardians.

Photography by Daniel Sturley

For more on the Floozie in the Jacuzzi, CONNECT HERE.

 

The Statue of Queen Victoria

The Queen Victoria statue was originally designed in marble by Thomas Brock in 1901, and was later cast in bronze by William Bloye in 1951.

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

For more on the statue of Queen Victoria, CONNECT HERE.

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30 passion points
Education
22 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

King Edward VI Five Ways School - from Five Ways in 1883 to Bartley Green in 1958

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In the second of our posts on the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham (that was founded in 1883). This time we take a look at King Edward VI Five Ways School. Originally located at the junction of Ladywood Road and Hagley Road at Five Ways. They moved to a site on Scotland Lane in Bartley Green in 1958, near Bartley Reservoir. Was a boys only Grammar School until girls joined in 1988.

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King Edward VI Five Ways School

Today at Five Ways Island there is little evidence other than a plaque to tell you that a Grammar School used to be located at this busy traffic island. That school was King Edward VI Five Ways School, and it still exists today, although they have spent the last 63 years based in Bartley Green, on a site on Scotland Lane (next to Bartley Reservoir). The school is about 5 to 7 miles away from where they were originally located.

 

History of King Edward VI Five Ways School

The school was founded in 1883 as part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. The school building was originally the former Edgbaston Proprietary School, at the junction of Ladywood Road and Hagley Road at Five Ways, Birmingham. The building was designed by J.A. Chatwin and opened in January 1883 by A. J. Mundella. At first the school had room for 350 boys. The first headmaster was E.H.F. MacCarthy, who remained in the post until his retirement in 1916. A building at the Bartley Green site was later named after him in his honour.

Public domain photo below dated to 1888 of the old King King Edward VI Five Ways School.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

During the Second World War, the school evacuated to Monmouth, and the boys attended Monmouth School. After the war, the school was getting a bit too overcrowded, due to the development of land around Five Ways, and there was no room to expand. So the decision was taken to relocate the school to Bartley Green. The land was formerly Bartley Farm next to Bartley Reservoir, and the Foundation purchased it. The school opened there at Scotland Lane in April 1958.

After the school moved away from Five Ways, eventually the old building was demolished, and Five Ways Island was developed during the 1960s. Ladywood Road was renamed to Ladywood Middleway. Meanwhile an underpass was built under the island from Broad Street to Hagley Road in Edgbaston. Islington Row became Islington Row Middleway, while Calthorpe Road and Harborne Road remained with the same road names.

In January 1983, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the school, this plaque (photo below below taken in 2009) was unveiled by Councillor P. Hollingworth (when Lord Mayor of Birmingham). It records King Edward VI Grammar School Five Ways from 16-1-1883 to 2-4-1958. The plaque was unveiled on 16-1-1983. It is below the Tubular Steel sculpture in the middle of Five Ways Island.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

When the Westside Metro extension to Hagley Road opens at the end of 2021, passengers will have little idea that they are travelling under the site of a former grammar school!

The site of Five Ways Island today in May 2021, as seen from the top of Calthorpe Road. The school would have been approximately where the Stainless steel sculpture is today, although I suspect part of it could have been where Metropolitan House is now (built 1972 to 1974, refurbished 2015-16).

Five Ways Island

 

King Edward VI Five Ways School today in Bartley Green

The site at Bartley Green has been developed ever since they moved from Five Ways in 1958. This includes the Eyles and Chowen Centres, the former and current home of the Sixth Form Centre. A music block and technology block have been added, as well as a Sports Hall and the MacCarthy Block. The Science Wing was also expanded. In recent years, a sports pavilion was built, as well as an astro turf playing field, a mobile classroom and an Observatory was built. The Eyles building was renovated into the Eyles-Music Block, as the old Music block had become too small.

It was one of the first schools to get computer technology in 1978. This was achieved with links to Aston University. Girls have been admitted to the school since 1988. The school today is the largest co-educational grammar schools in the West Midlands and one of the top five co-ed grammar schools nationally.

 

I took these photos (below) of King Edward VI Five Ways School, back in early March 2021, during a return visit to Bartley Reservoir. The views of the school all taken from Scotland Lane in Bartley Green.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

The view of the modern school buildings taken through the gate on Scotland Lane.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

This road is the exit from the school. The entrance road is to the left.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

This sign welcomes you to King Edward VI Five Ways School.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

An old King Edward's Royal Coat of Arms. I suspect they saved it from the old building at Five Ways in 1958. I'm not sure what else survived from the 1883 to 1958 building.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

Zooming in to a modern Royal Coat of Arms sign of the school. Probably the Royal arms of King Edward VI?

King Edward VI Five Ways School

There is plenty of signs here you let you know that this is King Edward VI Five Ways School.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

Later saw a tractor on the walk back fro Bartley Reservoir (before walking to Senneleys Park).

King Edward VI Five Ways School

Walking past the school, was my first time back since around 1993-94 when I was looking at Secondary Schools to go to. I even put it at as my number one choice for a Grammar School to go to in Birmingham (ahead of Camp Hill). Unfortunately I failed the 11+, and ended up at my local Comprehensive school (which was in walking distance). Then again King Edward VI Five Ways was too far to travel on two buses each day. And I now think I should have put Camp Hill as number one (too late now 28 years later of course). King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys was much closer to get to on the 11C (my late brother went there). The journey to Bartley Green would have taken well over an hour (including the no 18 bus). I only ever did that journey once in 2015 when I first went to Bartley Reservoir.

 

Go here for the post on King Edward VI Aston School.

 

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

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
20 May 2021 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Major Inner City Academy Set For Approval

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Plans for a new Inner City Football Academy for Aston Villa Football Club has been recommended for approval on the 27th of May.

Follow the link for more on this exciting development for Aston Villa and for the city!

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INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham
 
 

The state-of-the-art academy, on Witton Road, will provide access for the local community through the Aston Villa Foundation and in partnership with local junior football clubs.

While Aston Villa operates a training base for senior players at Bodymoor Heath, north of Sutton Coldfield, the club is now bringing forward these exciting new plans that will enable the club to grow its youth training programme within the city - just 500 yards from Villa Park.

Indoor & outdoor 3G pitches – both floodlit – will be included alongside a claret cladded new build that will facilitate lounges for parents, changing facilities, and office space.

The academy, which will provide opportunities for age 4 upwards, is expected to see up to 100 players and 20 staff use the facilities.

Three access points, three new car parks containing 445 vehicular spaces (inc. 5 disabled) & 16 cycles, are to be delivered.

Plans have been brought forward in collaboration with Aston Villa Football Club, 1874 Developments, and Aston Villa Foundation. Plans have been designed by HB Architects & Indigo Landscape, with consultancy from Claremont Planning. Images are the property of HB Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Show more