Elliott Brown

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Green open spaces
12 hours ago - Elliott Brown
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Brookvale Park: following on from Witton Lakes with another large lake to walk around

It made sense at the time while being in Witton Lakes Park to continue the walk into Brookvale Park as it was nearby (and save travelling back there another time). This park is even closer to the M6 than Witton Lakes is, so you can near the noise of the passing traffic. There is a Peace Dove sculpture to see near the start of the walk. We went clockwise around the lake. Xmas Day 2019.

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Just after midday on the 25th December 2019 (Christmas Day) we continued our morning walk from Witton Lakes Park into the nearby park that is Brookvale Park.

My post on Witton Lakes is here to click to read and view the photos: Witton Lakes Park: a pair of lakes north of the M6.

 

First up a bit of history from Wikipedia: Brookvale Park.

The park is located in the Stockland Green area of Birmingham (within the Constituency of Erdington). The park has tennis courts, a bowling green, a children's play area and a sailing club.

I'll skip the history mentioned from the 11th to 12th centuries to the 19th century. A waterworks company in 1826 was formed to supply water to the people of Birmingham. In 1856, a waterworks company acquired the Brookvale site from Wyrley Birch. This was then known as the Lower Witton Reservoir. The Birmingham Corporation bought the waterworks company in 1876. Erdington had it's own Urban District Council in the late 19th century. The park opened in 1909. The lake was used until 1926 as an open air swimming pool. The lake and the park are now operated by Birmingham City Council.

 

Having left Witton Lakes Park at Marsh Hill, we crossed over the road, and headed onto George Road. We headed up the path. To the right was a path named Georgina's Way.

Brookvale Park

Saw these Canada geese and this swan. Almost thought about going around the lake anti-clockwise, but I saw a sculpture on the other side, so we crossed the bridge and headed in a clockwise direction instead.

Brookvale Park

From the bridge is the first proper view of the Brookvale Park Lake. The brook that flows from the pair of Witton Lakes continues into this lake.

Brookvale Park

A close up look at the Dove of Peace sculpture at the north west corner of the lake. It was sculpted by the artist Michael Scheuermann. There was a lot of trees around the lake on this side and a lot of bright sunshine.

Brookvale Park

Heading up the path, I spotted this Guiness World Records Certificate for the most number of flower bulbs planted by the Stockland Green Community Group at Brookvale Park on the 9th November 2014. Well done, congratulations. OFFICIALLY AMAZING

Brookvale Park

Not too far up from that was this sign for John Biddle Walk, which is now the name of the path (running parallel to George Road). Unveiled for the WW1 1914-1918 Centenary, John Biddle served on HMS Monmouth. He died on the 1st November 1914, aged only 23. I would assume this was unveiled 100 years later in 2014.

Brookvale Park

To the south east corner of Brookvale Park. Near where George Road meets Park Road and Rosary Road. There is a pair of former toilet blocks (one pictured on the left). As well as the Duck and Reed sculpture gate posts. This was as far as I saw them as we continued around the path following the lake.

Brookvale Park

First view of the Brookvale Park Lake not obscured by trees, and without too much bright sunshine. But the sky was blue and not many clouds in the sky. Saw one lone swan on the lake.

Brookvale Park

A zoom in to the swan in the lake, it made a nice reflection in the brilliant sunshine that day.

Brookvale Park

On the left was the playground, or Play Park. The sunlight was getting a bit too bright on the right.

Brookvale Park

This is the Sailing Club, beyond the bollards (near Park Road and North Park Road). Also includes the Park Offices.

Brookvale Park

Close up of the Sailing Club. I would guess that they take the boats out of this building. The Park Keeper's Office is on the right. Parking of cars is not allowed in front of these doors.

Brookvale Park

Some more swans, and a ramp for boats to go down into the lake. I did not see any boats here that day, probably as it was Christmas Day.

Brookvale Park

Several Domestic Ducks and Canada Geese. I think someone was feeding them bread (which people really shouldn't do, but they continue to do so anyway).

Brookvale Park

Heading up the path towards the entrance we came in on George Road. Which you can now see the houses behind the lake.

Brookvale Park

A branch in the lake with these birds grooming themselves. They are the Great cormorant.

Brookvale Park

The George Road houses were starting to make nice reflections in the lake. Was more decent views of the lake from this side than from the other side (due to the trees in the way over there).

Brookvale Park

For some reason, the path back felt much faster to walk down, than the path on the other side of the lake. Even the trees made a nice reflection!

Brookvale Park

A gull standing on a rock in the lake (I think). Walking on water.

Brookvale Park

Near the end of the path and caught this cyclist in a bright yellow jacket going past.

Brookvale Park

Before we knew it we had left Brookvale Park and was heading back into Witton Lakes Park to where we started originally on Perry Common Road.

Another park in the area is Short Heath Park, but from Google Maps it just looks like a small park with a field.

Salford Park is on the other side of the M6 and Spaghetti Junction. I will do a post on that park as soon as I can (it's on my Birmingham We Are park backlog to do). I went there in late December 2016.

 

For further photos of my visit to Brookvale Park, please check out my album on Flickr here: Brookvale Park.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

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Green open spaces
12 hours ago - Elliott Brown
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Hillfield Park in Monkspath, Solihull

Another park that I found on Google Maps that I wanted to check out. Hillfield Park is located in Monkspath, Solihull. Not far from Shirley and the M42. There is a footpath that you can follow along an unnamed stream from the Stratford Road. I went on a nice sunny day during January 2020. It is near the no 5 bus route and the Monkspath Business Park. Widney Manor Golf Club is nearby too.

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I did not know that this park existed, when I was in Solihull Town Centre one time, I checked Google Maps and found Hillfield Park. Although that time I walked down to Tudor Grange Park, and left Hillfield Park for another time.

For my Tudor Grange Park post follow this link: Tudor Grange Park: former estate of the Bird family, now near Solihull College. And for Malvern & Brueton Parks follow this link: Malvern and Brueton Parks: from Solihull Town Centre to the M42.

OK back to Hillfield Park. First up with some history from the Wikipedia page Hillfield Park.

The park was converted from a former landfill site, and opened to the public in 1984 in Monkspath, Solihull. It covers and area of 2 acres. There is a small lake in the park. In 2009 a new children's playground was built. The park is home to a variety of birds including: swallows, swifts, herons and buzzards.

 

I got into the park from a public footpath that follows an unnamed stream from the Stratford Road. Starting near the Costa Coffee at the Friars Gate business park. I got off my bus on Marshall Lake Road and walked down the Stratford Road to the Costa (for a drink and toastie), before heading up the path to Hillfield Park. Was a nice day with a blue sky during January 2020. I followed the path, but briefly got off at Radway Road, and had to go up to Highlands Road, before I went down and rejoined the path. A bridge actually crosses above the path, which was a bit muddy. Eventually I got into Hillfield Park.

 

First view of Hillfield Park at the end of the path. Like a curtain of trees revealing the park and the green grass lawns.

Hillfield Park

Over a small footbridge, the stream or brook flows into the lake.

Hillfield Park

Zoom in to the lake as some gulls flew about, with other gulls in the lake itself.

Hillfield Park

Perfect blue sky, looking back at the path I had just walked along. The Business Park was not that far away from here.

Hillfield Park

The path around the lake briefly took me out of the park onto Lakeside Drive. And saw this pair of trees. Was too many trees around the lake on this side to see it.

Hillfield Park

First proper view of this lake, the trees were thin enough to see it from here.

Hillfield Park

Another perfect blue sky with the lawn looking green and shadows from the trees, as an electicity pylon is seen in the park.

Hillfield Park

This lake was quite small in comparison to the lakes I saw a month earlier at Witton Lakes and Brookvale Park. I only went as far as the viewpoint, and not all the way around the lake.

Hillfield Park

Mostly gulls in the lake from the viewpoint and some ducks. Was bright sunshine from this side.

Hillfield Park

The sun shining over Hillfield Park as it reflects off the lake as several ducks swim by. Had a similar effect with the sun like this over at Witton Lakes and Brookvale Park.

Hillfield Park

Railings around the viewpoint of the lake as there was several Domestic Ducks on the bank of the lake.

Hillfield Park

Now heading up the path past the electricity pylon. The playground facilities was straight ahead of here, as I followed the path towards Monkspath Hall Road. There is at least one more path here that I did not follow if I ever go back.

Hillfield Park

The blue sky that Sunday afternoon in January continued to be stunning! Bit like one of those old default Microsoft Windows wallpapers from the Windows XP era.

Hillfield Park

Saw this footbridge over the lawn which I soon would cross, was making nice shadows from this side.

Hillfield Park

Football goalposts in the distance and several electricity pylons on the blue sky.

Hillfield Park

Now crossing the footbridge as it made brilliant shadows in the sunshine. Was several puddles around.

Hillfield Park

So much bright sunshine as the sun shined above the field and electricity pylon (on the right).

Hillfield Park

Almost near the Monkspath Hall Road exit as the trees made shadows on the lawn.

Hillfield Park

A basketball court near the path that led to the Monkspath Hall Road exit.

Hillfield Park

This view of the field in the park from Monkspath Hall Road.

Hillfield Park

I headed to Shelley Crescent where I had more than half an hour to wait for a no 5 bus back to Birmingham. But saw a pair going in the Solihull direction. Probably should have got a bus back into Solihull Town Centre rather than wait ages for a bus back into Birmingham.

Another possibility (if I turned left and not right) would have to walk up Widney Lane towards Marshall Lake Road (as my regular bus route would have been more reliable on a Sunday afternoon). Or to walk towards Widney Manor Station (which was where my previous walk from Malvern & Brueton Park ended last year).

 

For more on my Hillfield Park photos, check out my album on Flickr: Hillfield Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

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Civic pride
12 hours ago - Elliott Brown
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Frederick G. Burnaby: a candidate for a Birmingham MP in 1880 who has an obelisk in Cathedral Square

Have you seen a large obelisk in Cathedral Square near Birmingham Cathedral? It is in memory of Frederick G. Burnaby, a one time Conservative Party candidate to be an MP in Birmingham (in 1880 but he lost). Who died in 1885 at the Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan. The obelisk is close to Temple Row. One side says Khiva 1875 and the other Abu Klea 1885.

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Have you ever seen this obelisk in Cathedral Square near Birmingham Cathedral (with the church grounds of St Philip's Cathedral Birmingham) and wondered who it is for? For a war that no one remembers from the late 19th century.

It is in memory of Frederick Burnaby. Born in Bedford on the 3rd March 1842. He died at Abu Klea, Sudan on the 17th January 1885 (aged 42). He had various military adventures overseas including in the Khanate of Khiva during March 1875. He unsuccessfully stood as a Conservative Party candidate to be an Member of Parliament for Birmingham in 1880. His second attempt in 1885 was also unsuccessful (he died in January 1885 and the election was between November and December 1885 so he couldn't had stood, but he must have hoped to be a candidate again in 1884 before he was killed in action). In the 1880 election, the Liberal Party won three seats including John Bright and Joseph Chamberlain. It was a Liberal hold.

The obelisk was unveiled by Lord Charles Beresford on the 13th November 1885. It is a tall Portland stone obelisk, and contins the inscriptions "Khiva 1875" and "Abu Klea 1885" as well as a portrait bust.

The Burnaby obelisk is Grade II lised. It has been listed since 1970.

 

My earliest photos of the Burnaby obelisk was taken during May 2009. This view towards Birmingham Cathedral, with the dome on the left.

Burnaby obelisk

Close up of the portrait bus of Frederick Burnaby. Most people just pass this and wouldn't even know who this Victorian man even was!

Burnaby obelisk

Not taken many recent photos of the obelisk over the years since, I mostly pass through without getting new photos of it. In May 2017 the flags were at half mast after the Manchester Terror Attack at the Manchester Arena (22nd May 2017). The Burnaby obelisk is seen here between the Union Jack and England flag. This was around a week after that attack.

Burnaby obelisk

Seen during Early November 2019 from Temple Row. There was leaves on the lawn in Cathedral Square. The Burnaby obelisk seen to the right while the Cathedral was to the left.

Burnaby obelisk

Some new photos of the Burnaby obelisk taken in February 2020, as I was thinking of doing this post. This view towards Temple Row. It says Burnaby on this side. There is now plants planted at the bottom on all sides of the obelisk.

Burnaby obelisk

Close up of Burnaby. Could do with a clean up at the bottom of the obelisk.

Burnaby obelisk

Khiva 1875. You can see the new 103 Colmore Row rising on the right.

Burnaby obelisk

Abu Klea 1885. This was where Frederick Burnaby died. Hence he never lived to stand for a second time as a Birmingham Conservative MP. Although the Liberal's won again near the end of 1885, there was more than one Birmingham seat. This view towards St Philip's Place.

Burnaby obelisk

In the end the obelisk was unveiled a few weeks before the 1885 General Election. And it's been on this spot for almsot 135 years.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

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Green open spaces
20 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Witton Lakes Park: a pair of lakes north of the M6

Not far from Witton Cemetery is Witton Lakes Park. It's also quite close to the M6. On the Christmas Day morning of December 2019, we went on a walk around this park. There was also time to pop into Brookvale Park (post coming soon). The walk started at Perry Common Road and passed both lakes towards Marsh Hill and back. Was lucky that morning to have a blue sky and clear weather.

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Is it too late to say "Merry Christmas"? On the 25th December 2019 we headed up to Witton Lakes Park for a Christmas Day morning walk around this park with a pair of lakes. Such a lovely morning. Had blue skies and sunshine. Plenty of birds about such as geese, swans and ducks etc.

First some history from Wikipedia: Witton Lakes. They are a former pair of drinking reservoirs between Perry Common and Erdington. They are fed by two brooks from Kingstanding and from Bleak Hill in Erdington. They overspill into the Brookvale Park Lake before eventually reaching the River Tame. The brooks are natural. The lakes were created near the end of the 19th century to supply drinking water for Birmingham. At the time they were in the countryside but when Birmingham grew and got industrialised, the water was no longer fit for drinking. So the City turned to the Elan Valley in Wales for a supply. One lake is now used for model boating, the other for nature conservation. The North Birmingham Cycle route runs through the park.

 

Getting into the park from Perry Common Road and following this path towards the lakes.

Witton Lakes Park

As the path continues, the trees made some nice shadows in the sunshine.

Witton Lakes Park

Field to the right of the path, I was more interested in seeing the pair of lakes. I found this park a few months before looking on Google Maps when I was last in Erdington.

Witton Lakes Park

Crossing over this footbridge near a brook that feeds into the first lake I would see. This is part of the National Cycle Network route 535. Also known as the North Birmingham Cycle / Walk Route. You can follow a nearby sign to Stockland Green or to the City Centre.

Witton Lakes Park

A look at the brook in the direction of the lakes. This bridge with a grill was closed off (I don't think members of the public can walk over it).

Witton Lakes Park

First view of the first lake. Clouds were clearing, the sky already looking blue. And plenty of birds around.

Witton Lakes Park

Several low rise tower blocks in the distance from this view of the lake. Four towers called: Huntington House, Kingsbridge House, Lynton House and Greenford House.

Witton Lakes Park

Near the end of the first lake. There is a nearby school called Wilson Stuart School. And Perry Common is in this direction.

Witton Lakes Park

Between the two lakes is this path and benches to sit and admire the lakes and the wildlife. Some nice shadows from the benches on the left.

Witton Lakes Park

This Tufted Duck was in the first lake that I saw. Viewed from the path betwen both of the lakes.

Witton Lakes Park

This is a Eurasian Wigeon, also seen in the first lake.

Witton Lakes Park

On the other side of the path that splits the lake. Another path that leads towards the North Birmingham Academy. Next it was time to walk around the second lake in the park.

Witton Lakes Park

There was a large family of swans with their young on the second lake. I would soon walk down the straight that leads to a waterfall or weir.

Witton Lakes Park

View of the second lake. The sky was looking so blue from here, hardly any clouds. A perfect morning.

Witton Lakes Park

Could this be a palm tree on the Witton Lakes? Maybe it would more impressive in the Summer, but in the Winter it looked good.

Witton Lakes Park

This Coot was swimming in this direction, making an interesting ripple effect in the lake water, making a V shape. Various gulls were behind.

Witton Lakes Park

This view of the second lake from the bridge over the weir or waterfall.

Witton Lakes Park

Now heading on the path towards Marsh Hill (and on towards Brookvale Park), saw this weir on the brook that follows out of the second lake.

Witton Lakes Park

Bright sunshine on the path towards Marsh Hill. Hard to believe that this was on Christmas Day. But then on Christmas Day's on years gone past we've had sunshine and blue skies before (I think).

Witton Lakes Park

Later after the walk around Brookvale Park, headed back through Witton Lakes. And got some more views of the second lake on the way back to the car park on Perry Common Road.

Witton Lakes Park

For more photos of this park, please check out my album on Flickr here: Witton Lakes Park.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

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Green open spaces
19 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
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Hazelwell Park: a small park near the River Rea Valley Route

This park you are most likely to be walking along the River Rea in Stirchley than actually going around the park. In the past I've got onto the path from either Fordhouse Lane or Hazelwell Fordrough and walked towards either Cartland Road, or crossed the footbridge over the River Rea towards Hazelwell Lane (near the ex Tesco now Seven Capital land). Path good for walks / cycling etc.

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As I continue to go through the Birmingham parks I've passed through on many walks in the past. This time we take a look at Hazelwell Park in Stirchley. If you get off the 11A or 11C buses on Fordhouse Lane, head up the path alongside the River Rea. Then head right onto Hazelwell Road, then up the next path. The park will be straight ahead. By this point, the river would now be on the left.

You could also get off the 11A or 11C buses at the bottom of Vicarage Road, then walk down Hazelwell Fordrough, and enter the path towards the park. The path is right at the bottom of the hill, just head right.

I wouldn't spend long in the park, as I see the footbridge over the River Rea, this would continue my walk into Stirchley around what was the unbuilt Tesco land, now owned by Seven Capital (and still awaiting development). The footbridge exits you onto Ripple Road and Hunts Road, with Hazelwell Lane straight ahead (but that is now blocked off by Seven Capital hoardings). So you have to take one of the many side roads to get to the Pershore Road or Hazelwell Street (A441).

The final exit from the park is on Cartland Road that I've used. I've not really been around the field in Hazelwell Park, but there are entrances / exits on Edwin Road and from Newlands Road.

 

January 2011

Some of my earliest photos of the River Rea in Stichley, I took from the bridge on Fordhouse Lane in Stirchley. This is near the path that leads to Hazelwell Park. At the time was one my first photo walks around Stirchley, including checking out the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from the Pershore Road for the first time on my then camera. The burnt out ruins of a former pub called The Lifford Curve were to the right of here. A few years later the rubble was removed and it is now Thrifty Car and Van Rental Stirchley. The pub had been on fire sometime before 2011, but the pub had been To Let since 2008. Demolished in 2012, Thrifty didn't open until about 2016.

Rea Valley Route Fordhouse Lane

The path towards Hazelwell Road is to the left of the River Rea. The derelict land on the left, has recently had housing built on it, after being unused for such a long time. That is called The Hazelwells (from Taylor Wimpey).

Rea Valley Route Fordhouse Lane

Looks like at least one of the trees at the time had been cut down, or came down in a storm. It would several years before I ended up walking up that path from Fordhouse Lane towards Hazelwell Road.

Rea Valley Route Fordhouse Lane

June 2013

In the summer of 2013, heading along the path on the Rea Valley Route. On Hazelwell Road walking towards the bridge that crosses the River Rea. I had probably walked down from the Pershore Road if I was at this point, and may not have come from the path from Fordhouse Lane.

Hazelwell Road Hazelwell Park

This path is part of the National Cycle Network route 5. The grass on both sides was left to grow wild, apart from the grass that was mown. This is the path towards Fordhouse Lane.

Hazelwell Road Hazelwell Park

The bridge on Hazelwell Road that leads to the Hazelwell Trading Estate, as well as a path into Hazelwell Park.

Hazelwell Road Hazelwell Park

One of the sides of the bridge, with a look at the River Rea.

Hazelwell Road Hazelwell Park

Passing the graffiti wall near the Stirchley Trading Estate. This is the path that started from Hazelwell Road. On the right is the path towards Hazelwell Fordrough.

Hazelwell Park

A look at the field in Hazelwell Park. In the distance are some goalposts. There is a path on the right that keeps you off the grass, but I have still yet to walk around there. Instead I crossed the bridge over the River Rea.

Hazelwell Park

First time crossing the bridge over the River Rea. At this point the land for development beyond was still owned by Tesco, and you could walk up Hazelwell Lane towards the Pershore Road (but that is not possible now, at least until Seven Capital does something with the land).

Hazelwell Park

A look at the River Rea, looking lush and green in the summer.

Hazelwell Park

Welcome to Hazelwell Park. This sign was opposite the footbridge if you entered the park from this way in. The graffiti on here has been cleaned off, but I suspect that the vandals keep tagging it from time to time.

Hazelwell Park

December 2015

Heading down Hazelwell Lane near the end of 2015, towards the footbridge that crosses the River Rea. Hunts Road to the right and Ripple Road was to the left. I probably got onto Hazelwell Lane from the Pershore Road, but this road is now blocked off by Seven Capital hoardings (was open when Tesco owned the land). From here, you can see that Welcome to Hazelwell Park sign on the other side of the bridge.

Hazelwell Park

A close up look at the footbridge into Hazelwell Park. This particular walk took be towards Fordhouse Lane via the Rea Valley Route. So exited the park before I was in it for too long this time around.

Hazelwell Park

After passing the graffiti wall again on the path towards Hazelwell Road, a look at the bridge near the Hazelwell Trading Estate, as a man was seen crossing the bridge on a bike. I would next get onto the path towards Fordhouse Lane again.

Hazelwell Park

Near the end of the path to Fordhouse Lane on the Rea Valley Route. An NXWM bus on the 11A Outer Circle just passed me. I would have to wait for the next 11A. I usually use the bus stop close to the Pershore Road on Fordhouse Lane, or I may have walked to the left up to the next bus stop. The path continues beyond here on the other side of the road towards the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

11A Fordhouse Lane

January 2016

Another visit during the Winter of 2016. This time looking closely at the playground. The Hazelwell Park Play Area. You can see the houses on Newlands Road from here.

Hazelwell Park

A big slide and a little slide.

Hazelwell Park

A rainbow sign for the Hazelwell Park Play Area.

Hazelwell Park

There is these stones that kids can climb up on, using the netted rope.

Hazelwell Park

Like all Birmingham parks, Hazelwell Park has the yellow elephant sign for the Welcome to Hazelwell Park Play Area. No dogs are allowed in this area though.

Hazelwell Park

Yellow swings to the left. Path in the background to the left, leads to Newlands Road.

Hazelwell Park

This time heading towards Cartland Road. A noticeboard for the Friends of Hazelwell Park. Looks a bit damaged, I hope that in the 4 years that have passed, that they have repaired it, and made it more safe.

Hazelwell Park

The path in Hazelwell Park that runs towards Cartland Road. The River Rea is on the left.

Hazelwell Park

June 2016

The path from the Fordhouse Lane looking lush and green in the summer of 2016. This was from one of my many walks around Stirchley over the years. Probably got off the 11C bus on Fordhouse Lane, then walked towards Hazelwell Street, where I then waited for a 45 or 47 bus to town. Tesco had some old buildings knocked down for a potential petrol station that never got built (this was before they sold the land to Seven Capital).

Rea Valley Route Fordhouse Lane

 

I will do posts on Witton Lakes Park, Brookvale Park and Hillfield Park as soon as the projects are set up for me. Until then I will continue the backlog of parks that I have already been given access to.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

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History & heritage
17 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Bakehouse reopened at Sarehole Mill during Storm Dennis

Sarehole Mill have had the Bakehouse restored during the early part of 2020. And they scheduled a free open day on Saturday 15th February 2020. Storm Dennis didn't stop people visiting the mill or the Bakehouse despite the weather. This is the first time in almost 150 years that they have been able to bake loafs of bread and other things in the oven.

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I've been to Sarehole Mill many times over the years, so wasn't going to stay around here too long during Storm Dennis. Saw something on their Twitter about the mill being open on Saturday 15th February 2020 from about 11am to 4pm, for free. As I didn't want to go too far in the storm, I headed down the 11 Outer Circle bus route and popped into the mill for a bit.

 

The Bakehouse has been out of use for almost 150 years. Early in 2020 it was fully refurbished and is baking for the people of Birmingham again. The last baker was William Anderton, who retired in 1872, after baking here for almost 20 years.

Bakehouse Sarehole Mill

One of the smaller baking ovens on the left. Last time I saw this, there was either a Big Hoot little owl up here (in 2015) or a Big Sleuth little bear (in 2017).

Bakehouse Sarehole Mill

Looking up to the ceiling, with the wooden roof supports.

Bakehouse Sarehole Mill

The Bakehouse was probably built in the 1840s. The oven was never allowed to go cold as it was too expensive to heat it back up from scratch.

Bakehouse Sarehole Mill

One of the Sarehole Mill Bakehouse volunteers places a loaf of bread in the oven, then quickly shuts the oven door.

Bakehouse Sarehole Mill

I didn't stick around too long to see the finished result, but they have also baked other things in here such as pizza and pastries. They have an Instagram account here Sarehole Bakehouse. It might just be the Sarehole Mill account renamed.

Bakehouse Sarehole Mill

The outside of the Bakehouse to the left, still stormy outside. I popped over the the Mill Pool and briefly into the mill again before leaving.

Bakehouse Sarehole Mill

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Squares and public spaces
14 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Model of St Martin's Square at St Martin in the Bullring

I did not know that this model of St Martin's Square was inside of St Martin in the Bullring. After meeting King Charles I Return for the first time for coffee (Aka Daniel Williams) we headed into St Martin's Church for a quick look around. First thing I spotted was this model. I'd say it was made around 2000 for the Bullring that opened in 2003. Also shows Selfridges.

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In this post, first we will look at the model that I found inside of St Martin in the Bullring. Then comparison photos I took around St Martin's Square between Spring 2009 and early 2011 (before it all changed for the Spiceal Street development).

 

This model is between the exit from St Martin in the Bullring Cafe on the corridor to an entrance inside of the Church of St Martin. Didn't know it was there. Not even from a previous photo I took of the corridor to the cafe. I met King Charles I Return (aka Daniel Williams) on Friday 7th February 2020 for coffee. After that we popped into the church for a quick look around.

This view from Digbeth towards St Martin's Church with Selfridges on the right with the East Mall. The West Mall is to the left. The square as it was from 2003 until the 2011 Spiceal Street development added several new restaurants.

St Martin's Square model

It was in a glass dome, so bit hard to get views without reflections. Birds-eye view down on St Martin's Square. Used to be a stepped sitting area on the left. That is where Chaophraya Thai Restaurant is now. Hand Made Burger Co was later built to the left of Selfridges down the right hand side of the path down to the road.

St Martin's Square model

The view between St Martin's Church and Selfridges towards the main entrance to the Bullring. You can see the statue of Nelson in the middle.

St Martin's Square model

This is the view from the markets side of the Bullring. Which is close to where buses drop off passengers (buses do not pick up passengers from this stop).

St Martin's Square model

Another view of the path into St Martin's Square. Those steps on the right is where Handmade Burger Co is now. Sadly the Birmingham based chain has closed down (including their Bullring and Brindleyplace restaurants).

St Martin's Square model

 

Now to compare the model to the real St Martin's Square from 2009 to early 2011 (before the Spiceal Street development got underway).

From the spring of 2009 when I started taking photos of Birmingham, that included the Bullring area. Got this view of St Martin's Church from near the steps during May 2009. The Three Cubes fountains were still there on the left. Little did I know that this area would all change about 2 years later.

St Martin's Church

These views from Digbeth, look quite similar to the model. Taken in October 2009, on the first day that I ever took photos around Digbeth (and not the last). This view past the Bull Ring Tavern towards the crossing between St Martin's Church and Selfridges.

St Martin's Church

Digbeth ends here, then the Bullring starts on the other side of the lights. There is a really short section of road called St Martin's Lane between Moat Lane and Park Street. Usually the buses wait at the lights here.

St Martin's Church

This view from near the Bull Ring Open Markets on Moat Lane. There was bunting on the lampposts. A sign on the right pointed directions to Digbeth Temporary Coach Station, as National Express was having their old coach station rebuilt into Birmingham Coach Station (which opened at the end of 2009 by the then England Football Manager, Fabio Capello).

St Martin's Church

Some of my earliest photos of St Martin's Square from April 2009. This from the balcony not far from the statue of Horatio Nelson. This view towards Borders, the Three Cubes fountain sculpture and Gloria Jeans Coffee. Neither of those were on the model (the sculpture and coffee shop).

St Martin's Square

This view also from April 2009, looking up to the balcony with the statue of Nelson. The stepped seating area was on the left, next to that was the Three Cubes fountain sculpture. St Martin in the Bullring to the right (still there now of course).

St Martin's Square

On month on, now May 2009. The curved semi circle section of the West Mall above Borders, the Three Cubes fountain sculpture and Gloria Jeans Coffee.

St Martin's Square

At the time in May 2009, the stepped seating area was closed off. Perhaps for a deep clean. But they would be dug up 2 years later in 2011 for the Spiceal Street development. This view towards Selfridges.

St Martin's Square

Side view of Gloria Jean's Coffee. This cafe building would be open until the end of 2010 (and into January 2011). The metal panels were later recycled into the tree sculpture that is in St Martin's Square today.

St Martin's Square

Aware that the building occupied at the time by Gloria Jean's Coffee would be dismantled for the Spiceal Street development, I took these early evening shots around 5pm at the end of December 2010.

Gloria Jean's Coffee

There was already some barriers around here, but people could still go up and down the steps. Oh and Forever 21 had opened up above Jamie's Italian by then (where Borders used to be until that closed down).

Gloria Jean's Coffee

A few days later and a couple of days into the new year of 2011. So now January 2011 for some last daylight shots of this building before they took it down.

Gloria Jean's Coffee

There was a planning application here from Birmingham City Council detailing the plans for what was going to happen at Spiceal Street.

Gloria Jean's Coffee

I did not go in. I didn't really start to go to coffee shops until 2012, starting off with Costa Coffee. Before trying Caffe Nero and Starbucks in 2014. I also discovered Coffee#1 in 2015 in South Wales before they opened some stores in the West Midlands.

Gloria Jean's Coffee

In August 2009 a view from the upper balcony near Selfridges towards Digbeth. At this point in time, I had yet to have a photo walk around Digbeth. I didn't start to do that until October 2009. The steps below on the left, were demolished in 2009, and this is where Handmade Burger Co was built. The model of St Martin's Square shows tables and chairs outside of Selfridges on the lower balcony. There used to be a Starbucks in Selfridges at this corner (that has now gone).

St Martin's Square

A nice sunny view heading into St Martin's Square during August 2009. I had changed camera's by this point.

St Martin's Square

This view of Selfridges from Digbeth during December 2009. They were selling (at the time) Real Christmas Trees at Selfridges. The steps were still there at the time (seen on the left).

Selfridges

St Martin's Square in late December 2010. Slightly blurry at about 5pm near the Christmas tree. This was a few months before the Spiceal Street development which took all of 2011 to complete adding several new restaurants, and new steps up to St Martin's Walk with a replacement water feature.

St Martin's Square

The Three Cubes fountain sculpture seen during April 2009. Behind them was the former stepped seating area. Borders Books used to have many of the units there, including a Starbucks Coffee. That later became Jamies Italian and Forever 21 (which at one point had a Costa Coffee). Sadly both have recently closed down. But there is a Starbucks in the West Mall just as you enter the doors.

Three Cubes

As you can see by December 2010, Jamie's Italian had moved in. They would last until 2018 (going into administration and closing down). The cubes were removed in early 2011 when construction of the Spiceal Street development started.

Three Cubes

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Events over the years in Centenary Square on what is now the Reflective Pool

Events held in Centenary Square over the years. Seen from the Library of Birmingham, up until before the square was redeveloped, and again after it reopened (not including Ice Skate Birmingham of course). While the water jets are now back on and kids enjoying it again, I will show what has been on this space in the past. These events usually take place a weekends.

Related

There was still a stepped platform in Centenary Square back in June 2009. About 6 years after an arsonist had destroyed the Forward sculpture. Made in Birmingham was an exhibition of old photos from the 19th century. It was based on The Birmingham Exhibition in Local Manufactures and Natural History from 1886. This view towards Chamberlain House (demolished in 2018).

Made in Birmingham

The O2 Guru Range was in Centenary Square outside of The REP back in June 2010. Construction of the new Library of Birmingham hadn't really started yet, but was cranes on site. Which had just gone up.

O2 Guru

There was Table Tennis tables (Ping Pong) in Centenary Square during July 2011. There was 55 tables around Birmingham from the 8th July to the 8th August 2011 and they were free to play! They were from Ping Brum.

Table Tennis

Back in September 2013, 4 Squares Weekender was being held, including in Centenary Square. It was to celebrate the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. Looked like a storm was coming. Banner with the Alpha Tower to the right. There was also an outdoor photo exhibition called the Reference Works. This was probably before the Library has opened, and before my first visit. Plus back then there was long queues to get in, so I waited until the end of the month before my first visit (I now pop in at least once a month).

4 Squares Weekender

My first visit to the Library of Birmingham near the end of September 2013 and the Reference Works was still to the right of the new lawn (that's gone now). The view from the Discovery Terrace. I waited 18 days before visiting the library for the first time. It was The Library of Birmingham Photography Project. Showing old photos of the previous Central Libraries of Birmingham, from 1865 to 1986.

Reference Works

Free Hugs passing through Centenary Square in November 2013. It was also Free High Fives. This was when the late Stephen Sutton and friends passed through Birmingham. Sadly he died in May 2014. Near The ICC and The REP.

Free Hugs

The Queen's Baton Relay was in Centenary Square during June 2014. It was during the build up to the Commonwealth Games that were being held in Glasgow in August 2014. The view towards the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall. Years before Birmingham 2022 became a reality (they were probably thinking of bidding for 2026 back then).

Queen's Baton Relay

In September 2014 the Zombie Walk was being held in Centenary Square. Looks at those trees in full bloom. They would be cut down before the regeneration of Centenary Square started. The view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. Entertainment was by Free Radio.

Zombie Walk

Back when the Library of Birmingham was open on a Sunday, I popped up when Remembrance Sunday was taking place during November 2014. This was where people would pick up the Poppy Wreaths to lay them at the temporary Cenotaph, or in the Hall of Memory. This hasn't taken place here since about 2016. They moved it to Victoria Square in 2017, and around Colmore Row / Birmingham Cathedral in 2018 and 2019. Although the Armistice Day commemorations returned to the Hall of Memory in 2019 (after the square was completed).

Remembrance Sunday

The St George's Day celebrations that took place in Centenary Square during April 2015. There was a fair on at the time. Was several motorbikes to the right. You could also play a 'hook a duck' game and buy some candy floss. In previous years this event had been in Victoria Square.

St George's Day

The WMFS Band was performing in Centenary Square outside of the Library of Birmingham back in May 2015. The Band of the West Midlands Fire Service.

WMFS Band

During Armed Forces Day in June 2015, members of the Armed Forces were marching around Centenary Square. This view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. In recent years, military parades such as this have taken place around Birmingham Cathedral and Colmore Row. They went around the Hall of Memory and past Baskerville House. You can really see the carpet design of the old Centenary Square that has now been lost.

Armed Forces Day

The Caribbean Food Festival was held in Centenary Square during August 2015. The view from the Discovery Terrace on Level 3 of the Library of Birmingham. Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were still in place, and the former House of Sport had yet to be demolished for Arena Central.

Caribbean Food Festival

Giant Rugby Football on the lawn in Centenary Square during September 2015. This was for the Rugby World Cup 2015. The Big Hoot was also on during that summer as well.

Rugby World Cup 2015

Two years after the 4 Squares Weekender, was the Birmingham Weekender. Seen in Centenary Square during September 2015. This was Lady Godiva.

Birmingham Weekender

The Great Birmingham Run used to go down Broad Street long before the Metro extension works. In October 2015, they were preparing the area near the end of the run. The view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. A Saturday view, as on Sunday the Library was closed, and no one would be able to get a view up here (as the Library opening hours had changed by then). The former Register Office / House of Sport was in the process of being demolished for the 1 Arena Central site (now 5 Centenary Square and not built on to date).

Great Birmingham Run

Badminton courts were set up in Centenary Square during March 2016. As the All England Championships were on at the time at the Barclaycard Arena. Behind early works for cutting down trees and for the future Metro extension to Centenary Square (that is now the site of Library Tram Stop). House of Sport had been demolished, but at the time they were calling the site 1 Arena Central (it is now called 5 Centenary Square but hasn't been built on yet).

Badminton

The International Dance Festival Birmingham was being held in Centenary Square during May 2016. They set up a stage area where dancers would perform their tricks. There was also an old Ford Escort where dancers would jump on fellow dancers shoulders.

International Dance Festival Birmingham

The BE Festival was held in Centenary back in June 2016. In this view from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham, you could see this painted mural by An Wei. There was also a market around here, plus drummers called Bloco Louco. They were already doing a test pit around the trees. A mature tree would end up getting cut down a year later in 2017 (all the other trees went as well). But some new trees have been planted since the square was done up (2017 - 2019).

Be Festival

CBBC Live was being held in Centenary Square back in July 2016. This was taken from the no 24 bus I  got toward Harborne. Was part of CBBC's Awesome Authors event. Since I only got it from the bus, that meant I didn't head up the Library to see it from above.

CBBC Live

About a week later, but still during July 2016, I saw this from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham. Rogue Play was part of the Tilt Festival - Snakes and Ladders. The next Tilt Festival will be in July 2020. Summer 2016 was one of the last times that you could see the old 1991 design of Centenary Square by Tess Jaray. The bricks would be lifted during 2017 and 2018 for the redevelopment of the square that opened in the summer of 2019.

Rogue Play

One of the last things to take place in Centenary Square was Britain's Got Talent during October 2016. Rather that the auditions were probably inside of The ICC at the time. They had set up a screen like this on the back of a lorry one year before this back in October 2015. While the Birmingham auditions do return, they have yet to return to Centenary Square.

Britain's Got Talent

This post isn't really about Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square, but during December 2016, saw these Morris Dancers on the paved section between the grass (which had only opened to the public in September 2013). Seen from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham while it was raining. They were from Earlsdon Morris Coventry. The grass and paving here was lifted in 2017 and 2018. The new paving here opened to the public in July 2019. After this when 2017 started, they fenced off the square, and no other events would take place here until the summer of 2019.

For my Ice Skate Birmingham post when in Centenary Square, follow this link: Birmingham Big Wheel and (later) Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square (2009 - 2016, 2019 - present).

Morris Dancers

This was the first event to be held in Centenary Square since it reopened in July 2019. Birmingham 2022, 3 years to go. Celebrating that it would (at the time) be 3 years to go until the Commonwealth Games would be held in Birmingham in 2022. As you can see they put the logo on the new Reflective Pool. But the fountains were turned off. They were still working around the clock to finish the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square, which was finally completed and opened by December 2019.

Birmingham 2022

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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10 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
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The only time I went around Moseley Park was during a free open day in 2016

Normally to get into Moseley Park you need a key, so as I'm not a Moseley resident (at least not since I turned 5 years old), the only time I've been round the park (with my camera) was back in September 2016 during Birmingham Heritage Week. It is a private park not a public park. Would be nice for it to be open up to the public more regularly. Entrances on three roads.

Related

If you want to check out my previous related post, please click this link to the post: Moseley Hall Hospital and Moseley Park: Birmingham Heritage Week, September 2016.

 

Moseley Park

First up some history from the Wikipedia page.

It is an 11 acre private park maintained by the Moseley Trust, located close to the A435 Alcester Road in Moseley Village. The park was originally part of the estate of Moseley Hall, which were designed by the estate landscape gardener Humphry Repton. By the end of the 19th century, most of the surrounding land was sold for house building. Businessmen bought the parkland so to prevent any further development. The park was opened by local East Worcestershire MP Austen Chamberlain on 29 September 1899.

Since 1983 the park has been part of the wider Moseley Conservation Area. There is regular music festivals held in the park. A Grade II listed ice house dating from the 18th century is located in the park.

Access to the park is with a key for local residents, or you can purchase one with a deposit. The park has gated entrances on Salisbury Road, Alcester Road and from Chantry Road.

 

My only visit was during Birmingham Heritage Week during September 2016 (for details of that visit check the link at the top of this post which includes Moseley Hall Hospital). Which was free to enter, the gates were unlocked (I think there was guides at each gate that I recall from over 3 years ago now).

Probably my only way in now is with Karl Newton (who lives in Moseley and has a key).

 

August 2013

The entrance to Moseley Park & Pool from the Alcester Road. Just the sign between the buildings. Just seen in passing, without a key I couldn't go in. Decades before this, may have entered once, when someone I knew used to live nearby in Moseley.

Moseley Park

April 2015

The Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival was on in Moseley Park from the 10th to 12th July 2015. This banner was on St Mary's Row near Alcester Road, and seen from the no 50 bus during April 2015. That year they got Gregory Porter and Craig Charles to come and perform in Moseley Park.

Moseley Park

Birmingham Heritage Week, September 2016

Heritage Open Days balloons seen at the unlocked gate on Salisbury Road. The open day had begun. This was after I had had a look around Moseley Hall (including the Dovecote and Cow Shed buildings).

Moseley Park

The notice board at the Salisbury Road entrance. You can buy a key from Moseley Travel. I'm not a Moseley resident, so am not really planning or thinking of buying a key.

Moseley Park

The path into the park from Salisbury Road.

Moseley Park

The path continues amongst the trees.

Moseley Park

First look inside of Moseley Park. During the Heritage Open Day there was bunting near the Ice House.

Moseley Park

Unusual looking wooden benches / chairs and a table.

Moseley Park

A directors chair from The Moseley Society/ This was near the Ice House (which you could enter on the open day at the time).

Moseley Park

Now for a look around the pool. A pink H for Heritage Open Days was on the left.

Moseley Park

Might have been September, but it was still quite summery in the park.

Moseley Park

Such a lovely lake / pool to see that only Moseley locals get to see regularly.

Moseley Park

Hard to believe that this is there, as if you are in a car or bus on the Alcester Road (50) or Salisbury Road (1, 1A or 35) you wouldn't even know that this pool was there (other than seeing the gates from the bus).

Moseley Park

Trees leaning into the pool from the far end.

Moseley Park

You could be in the countryside, not in Moseley, but remember this used to be part of the Moseley Hall estate. Just go to one of the many National Trust properties in the UK to get from the hall to the lake.

Moseley Park

What looks like some rocks and a net at this corner of the pool.

Moseley Park

These photos previously posted in my Birmingham Heritage Week post on Moseley Hall & Park. If you want to see a public outdoor pool (lake or pond), head to Swanshurst Park, for what is called the Moseley New Pool. Swanshurst Park through the seasons through the years.

Moseley Park

Three trees with the pool. For another Moseley post, check out my Moseley Bog post here: Moseley Bog from my December 2012 and September 2016 visits.

Moseley Park

A boat house and a big shed.

Moseley Park

The path towards the pool, you can head either direction around it. Somewhere on this lawn would be where they set up those various music festivals. Is always a lot of traffic on the roads outside (and cars park half on the road and pavement). I think the Salisbury Road entrance is used for the VIP guests. Somehow they got the Jacksons to come to Moseley Park last year (one of the brothers is a Wolves fan now!).

Moseley Park

The Ice House. Previously posted in my last post from here. Only a limited number of people can fit inside.

Moseley Park

Before the fridge freezer was invented, this was where you stored your ice. Climb down the ladder. This was the view from the top (obviously I didn't climb down). You can find other similar Ice Houses at National Trust properties.

Moseley Park

Heading to the Alcester Road exit. That green hut belongs to the Chantry Tennis Club. The tennis courts are behind the netted fences nearby to here.

Moseley Park

The path to the Alcester Road exit / entrance. Volunteers out that day for the Heritage Open Day probably from the Moseley Trust that runs the park.

Moseley Park

Turning around, there was two paths. The path on the left was near the tennis courts.

Moseley Park

Saw this six wheeled vehicle before I left. John Deere - Cator. TH 6x4. Some kind of park maintenance vehicle I think. Wasn't too far from the Alcester Road gate.

Moseley Park

October 2019

My most recent photos of Moseley Park were taken from outside the locked gate on Chantry Road. Somehow I missed this entrance during the September 2016 open day, as I entered via Salisbury Road and exited at the time at Alcester Road.

Moseley Park

Looks like steps go down from the Chantry Road gate next to the sign.

Moseley Park

Once again the noticeboard mentions that you need a key to enter the park (which I don't have). In the autumn the parks opening hours was 6am to 8pm. A Free Day Key is for a £10 refundable deposit.

Moseley Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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06 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
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Roxy Ballroom on Heath Mill Lane in Digbeth

The entertainment / culture venues around Digbeth continue to open. Roxy Ballroom is at 58-60 Heath Mill Lane (around the corner from the Custard Factory). Has a bowling alley, pool tables, ping pong tables and shuffleboard. There was also some basketball games and vintage arcade video game machines too. Also they do Flatbread Pizza and have a bar / cocktails. Look for the Ozzy Osbourne!

Related

Another Brumtography meet in Digbeth. This one at the newly opened Roxy Ballroom on Heath Mill Lane. Before it was a bowling alley, this building used to be occupied by McLeman Forklift Services Ltd. Their offices were next door to the left where Birdies is now. To the right is now Drop Shot (that building was formerly occupied by B & K Fabrications Ltd). By 2015 that building had Lisk Bot art on it.

Back to Roxy Ballroom. Thanks once again to Karl Newton for organising the meet and getting permission from them. Much appreciated.

 

We were a bit early so we headed into what is now called Custard Factory Car Park (I've always called it Lower Trinity Street Car Park). The entrance is on Heath Mill Lane. Checking out the street art, saw this view of Roxy Ballroom. Behind you can see Colmore Gate and Three Snowhill.

Roxy Ballroom

One of the first things you see when you enter, is this mural of Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath fame (it's to the right of the bowling alley). Get well soon Ozzy (he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease). There are various pieces of street art around with the names of various bands / groups).

Roxy Ballroom

Bowling Alley

When we first went in, they had the normal lights on, so the lanes looked all yellow. Shortly they would turn off the normal lights with only the red and blue lights keeping the lanes lit.

Roxy Ballroom

This is what the Roxy Ballroom bowling alley looks like with the normal lights turned off. Hashtag at the back #DigbethBallers.

Roxy Ballroom

The view from the first floor balcony, up here is pool tables, but you can enjoy watching the bowling while having a drink and food.

Roxy Ballroom

Used one of the Creative effects filters on my camera for this photo.

Roxy Ballroom

Three lanes were open for us, so we of course tried bowling (for free) and at the same time attempting to take photos. Bit hard at first getting gutter balls. I later came back to the lane on the right and did a bit better (bowling skills that I've had for decades, but don't go that often any more).

Roxy Ballroom

Another view from the top There is 10 lanes in total. Lane One is to the far left, while Lane Ten is to the far right.

Roxy Ballroom

Pool

Up to the first floor mezzanine area where you will find the pool tables. They also have a couple of Shuffleboard tables and one Ping Pong Table. Customers can also watch the bowling from above while having a drink.

Roxy Ballroom

Initially the pool cues were laid out like this. Ozzy can't decide if he wants to play pool, or go bowling!

Roxy Ballroom

Later Karl lined balls 1 to 15 up in a line for some photos.

Roxy Ballroom

From the other side.

Roxy Ballroom

Karl lined up the balls for a shot, and hit the white ball with his Pool cue.

Roxy Ballroom

Action shot as the white ball hits all the coloured pool balls.

Roxy Ballroom

Shuffleboard

Also up here was a game called Shuffleboard, or Shufl.

Roxy Ballroom

They have two of these long tables laid out.

Roxy Ballroom

View of Shufl from one of the pool tables.

Roxy Ballroom

And close up. I didn't see the discs on here.

Roxy Ballroom

Ping Pong

They have two Ping Pong (table tennis) tables at Roxy Ballroom. The first one was on the ground floor, on the left side of the bowling alley, just beyond the four vintage video game arcade machines.

Roxy Ballroom

The second Ping Pong table was upstairs near the pool tables. To the left of the stairs (above the main entrance).

Roxy Ballroom

Roxy Ball Room written onto the side of the Ping Pong table. I've always known it as table tennis.

Roxy Ballroom

Found a Ping Pong ball on a pool table. I put the Pool cues into an X shape. X marks the spot. And placed the Ping Pong ball below. At this point I didn't know that Karl took a tray of Pool balls upstairs.

Roxy Ballroom

The only time I handled the Pool cue was for this shot with the white Ping Pong ball (pretending that it was a white Pool cue ball.

Roxy Ballroom

Photobooth and NBA Game Time

First game you see as you head in from Heath Mill Lane is NBA Game Time. A basketball game. On the left is a Photobooth which you can use to take group photos. Looks like a tight squeeze!

Roxy Ballroom

This view from the bowling alley towards the Photobooth and NBA Game Time. To the right is the Games Desk where you get your bowling shoes, and also Pool balls. Further to the right is the bar. You can also order your pizza from there (I would assume).

Roxy Ballroom

Zoom in to Photobooth and NBA Game Time when the left Basketball hoop was red and the right was blue.

Roxy Ballroom

This section represents the NBA team the Chicago Bulls.

Roxy Ballroom

This one represents the NBA team the New York Knicks.

Roxy Ballroom

Vintage Video Game Arcade Machines

These arcade machines are straight out of the 1980s or 1990s. They are to the left of the Bowling Alley. Four machines in total.

Roxy Ballroom

Left to right: Pac-Man, Leisure 2000, Hyper Sports and Burgertime.

Roxy Ballroom

Zoom in of the Pac-Man machine.

Roxy Ballroom

Hyper Sports.

Roxy Ballroom

Burgertime.

Roxy Ballroom

Games Desk and Bar

The bar where you can order your drinks including Cocktails. Also you can order Flatbread Pizza here (and I'm sure probably other snacks / food).

Roxy Ballroom

The bar towards the Games Desk. This end though is the empty glasses and bottles, waiting to be served.

Roxy Ballroom

Entrance to Roxy Ballroom to the left (from Heath Mill Lane). The stairs to the left leads up to the floor with the Pool tables, Ping Pong and Shuffleboard tables.

Roxy Ballroom

At the Games Desk, switch your shoes for bowling shoes. If you are playing Pool upstairs, they will give you your Pool balls. Ping Pong rackets and balls on the top shelf. Also what looks like paper cups.

Roxy Ballroom

The neon sign for Games Desk and the line of seven lights down the bar.

Roxy Ballroom

Behind the bar, staff will serve you your drink, and from this position, hand out your bowling shoes etc.

Roxy Ballroom

For my previous Custard Factory related post, click here for Ghetto Golf: Ghetto Golf at the Custard Factory.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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04 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
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Bournville Park from Linden Road to Selly Oak Road

Bournville Park is a small park in the suburb of Bournville, between Linden Road and Selly Oak Road (and Oak Tree Lane). The Bourn flows through this little park. There is a playground close to Linden Road. A bowling green and tennis courts. Part of the Bournville Village Trust. Beyond here is the Merritts Brook Greenway, leading to the Valley Parkway.

Related

Most of the time I see Bournville Park from either the 11C or 11A buses in passing, but I have popped into this park twice, once in 2012 and again in 2018. It's so small that you may not be in there for long, if you are walking around the Bournville area. If you are getting off the bus, or coming from the centre of the Bournville Village or Cadbury World, then you enter via Linden Road. The path takes you straight down to Oak Tree Lane and Selly Oak Road.

The playground is close to Linden Road and Bournville Village Primary School. Thorn Road and Beech Road are linked in the middle of the park by a path.

 

August 2012

Mid August 2012 and my first look around Bournville Park. This is the entrance from Thorn Road, the path going straight in the middle of the park.

Bournville Park

Trees along the path from the Thorn Road entrance.

Bournville Park

Footbridge over The Bourn which flows through the park. This is the stream / brook that gave it's name to Bournvile.

Bournville Park

View of The Bourn towards the road bridge on Oak Tree Lane.

Bournville Park

View of The Bourn into the park.

Bournville Park

Another wooden footbridge that crosses The Bourn.

Bournville Park

The Bourn dissects Bournville Park into two. The view towards the playground, or Play Area.

Bournville Park

The Bourn towards the bowling green huts (which are up the path to the left).

Bournville Park

Welcome to Bournville Park. This sign was on Linden Road and has a black and white photo portrait of George Cadbury. Bournville is in the Selly Oak Constituency.

Bournville Park

The Bourn seen from the Linden Road end.

Bournville Park

December 2018

I passed Bournville Park during one of my many walks around Bournville during May 2013, but didn't re-enter the park again at that time. So I didn't really go back into the park again until December 2018.

A squirrel near a tree. Squirrels always make nice park photos, if you can get them into focus.

Bournville Park

Also saw this blackbird.

Bournville Park

Pair of sheds from the bowling green.

Bournville Park

The sheds from the front, bowling green to the left.

Bournville Park

The Bourn looks quite different during the winter, or rather the trees do without the leaves on them. But the leaves were all over the grass.

Bournville Park

This view of The Bourn from the bridge on Oak Tree Lane. Towards the footbridge I previously saw 6 years before.

Bournville Park

Another Welcome to Bournville Park sign. This one on from the entrance near Oak Tree Lane.

Bournville Park

Back to the playground, or Play Area. Not being used when I headed back to the Linden Road entrance.

Bournville Park

All Birmingham parks have these yellow elephant signs in the playground and this one is no exception. Welcome to Bournville Park Play Area.

Bournville Park

For another local park to Bournville Park, please check out my Cotteridge Park post here: Cotteridge Park: the park near the Cross City Line.

I'm hoping to do more park posts as soon as I can. I've recently visited Witton Lakes Park and Brookvale Park (December 2019). Also Hillfield Park in Solihull (January 2020). Other parks I regularly check out from time to time include the Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Civic pride
03 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Webster & Horsfall: 300 Years of Innovation at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

This exhibition is on at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Webster & Horsfall. Founded in 1720. They made wire products in Hay Mills. Including a set at the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace. And parts for BSA bicycles in Small Heath during World War 2. 

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An exhibition at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery started on the 30th January to 4th October 2020 called Webster & Horsfall: 300 Years of Innovation

They have been making steel wire and rope in Hay Mills, Birmingham since 1720.

Webster and Horsfall made the first transatlantic cable in 1866.

A bust of James Horsfall (1813 - 1887). He invented Patented Steel Wire in 1847. Marble bust made by George Slater Barkentin (1841 - 1906). It was exhibited at the Birmingham Society of Artists Annual Exhibition in 1860. It was from the earliest known likeness of James Horsfall at age of 47.

Webster and Horsfall

This is a BSA Airborne Bicycle from 1942 - 1945. Made by the Birmingham Small Arms in Small Heath during World War 2. Webster and Horsfall made the wire components and mechanisms for BSA. Sunbeam and Austin Rover were also clients of them. 

Webster and Horsfall

A mahogany display case containing samples of Patent Steel Wire that was exhibited by James Horsfall at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London in 1851. He was awarded a prize medal. 

Webster and Horsfall

This is a Pin Machine dated to 1888. 

Webster and Horsfall

The Webster and Horsfall heraldic crest, 2020. Made by Rupert Till. On loan from Webster and Horsfall Ltd. First thing you see as you enter the gallery. 

Webster and Horsfall

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020. 

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31 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Festival of Light at the Bullring, from St Martin's Square to Rotunda Square

There are five artworks that are lit up after dark from 5pm each evening from the 24th January to the 2nd February 2020 at the Bullring. For the second year running. This time coinciding with Chinese New Year. Talk to the Skies in St Martin's Square. Up St Martin's Walk With Love, Neon Angel Wings and Pulse. And in Rotunda Square is Birds that Fly Around with You.

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Another Brumtography meet with Karl Newton and one other member of this Facebook group. It had been raining on and off in the afternoon, so wasn't many of us.

Talk to the Skies - St Martin's Square

Shortly after 5pm on Sunday 26th January 2020, a look at Talk to the Skies by ITHACA Studio. Red, blue and green colours go across the bulbs on the ground. While pink, blue or green on the tube where beams of blue light shoot out into the sky. Selfridges seen behind. Wasn't quite dark enough at this point.

Talk to the Skies

The view from the balcony near Selfridges. This was by 5:50pm. On the right was With Love, the throbing red heart that plays music. More on that further down this post.

Talk to the Skies

From the area behind Chaophraya Thai Restaurant looking to the left, as the beams of blue light shoots into the sky to the left of the spire of St Martin in the Bullring.

Talk to the Skies

Back to the Selfridges balcony area, sometime after 6pm. The colours keep chaging down there, and the heart keeps beating.

Talk to the Skies

The beams of light goes so high above the spire of St Martin in the Bullring. It is best to see from up here, although you can check it out from St Martin's Square.

Talk to the Skies

With Love - St Martin's Walk

They didn't get the red heart inflated until about 5:30pm on the evening we went. Seen here from down Pulse on St Martin's Walk. With Neon Angel Wings below. It was designed by Franck Pelletier. You can hear a beating heart sound effect and they had music playing, which you could change if you pressed a button.

With Love

Tried to get some views of the With Love red heart with the statue of Horatio Nelson. Which has been at the Bullring since 1809 (sculpted by Sir Richard Westmacott), some 4 years after Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Meaning this statue is older than Nelson's Column in London!

With Love

There was also a view of the heat with Selfridges, which was lit up orange. I missed seeing it in red for Chinese New Year. I think they should have left the lights red all weekend and not turn it back to orange.

With Love

Where the heart is was where the Snow Dome was until the end of the Christmas season.

With Love

This view lining the heart up with the Talk to the Skies blue beams and the spire of St Martin in the Bullring. This was one of my Creative Effect photos (trying out different settings).

With Love

Neon Angel Wings - St Martin's Walk

Seen down the semi circle tube called Pulse is the Neon Angel Wings by Carla O'Brien. Visitors can pose for selfies with the pair of wings. From this side a bit difficult to get a clear shot without anyone in the way of them.

Neon Angel Wings

A bit further down Pulse towards Neon Angel Wings.  The wings to the left was near the East Mall while the wings to the right was by the West Mall.

Neon Angel Wings

Managed to get a clear view of the wings from the back on St Martin's Walk, looking up towards the Rotunda.

Neon Angel Wings

A close up look at one of the set of wings with Pulse seen behind.

Neon Angel Wings

From the other side. I think the Bullring malls were closed by 6pm, although it seemed like they had closed earlier than that (due to Sunday trading laws). I'm not sure if the restaurants were still open by then.

Neon Angel Wings

Pulse - St Martin's Walk

This semi circle tube of lights is on St Martin's Walk and is by This is Loop. The lights have different patterns. The show lasts 5 minutes, and repeats every 20 minutes.

Pulse

From the top of St Martin's Walk looking down to the spire of St Martin in the Bullring. A Chinese lady had a facemask on, although that's probably common with Chinese people in this country (and nothing to do with that virus outbreak).

Pulse

Caught this cyclist heading through the tunnel down St Martin's Walk.

Pulse

Added a star filter on my camera (which is in one of my cameras Creative effects).

Pulse

One last look at Pulse, up towards Rotunda Square.

Pulse

Birds that Fly Around with You - Rotunda Square

At first they were having problems turning the lights on for this Birds feature in Rotunda Square. As you can see it is loads of birds in a circle. By 5:25pm they still were unable to turn it on. It is by Masochism Shimada.

Birs that Fly Around with You

Got several photos up here, before heading down St Martin's Walk and checking out the other light displays at the Bullring.

Birs that Fly Around with You

Later we popped back up St Martin's Walk to check if they were able to turn it on. After 6pm they had managed to get it working. If someone walks around the centre, the lights on the birds follows them around in a anti clockwise direction.

Birs that Fly Around with You

This view of the birds with the Rotunda (I have still not been up).

Birs that Fly Around with You

One more view of the light on the birds going around in circles.

Birs that Fly Around with You

We spent well over an hour going up and down checking out the Festival of Light features. It was good but very cold. And worth seeing as I missed seeing the 2019 Festival of Light after dark (I only saw it in the daylight hours). So this made up for it.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Art, culture & creativity
30 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Ghetto Golf at the Custard Factory

A Brumtography photo meet on the 16th January 2020 at Ghetto Golf at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. A miniature golf course of 18 holes with graffiti, video games and horror movie references. For over 18's only. They also have a bar and areas for visitors to eat. We went before they opened, around 4 of us in the end. Thanks to Karl Newton for organising / gaining permission.

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GHETTO GOLF

A Brumtography (Facebook) group meet on the 16th January 2020 at Ghetto Golf Birmingham. Which is located at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, on Gibb Street (on the other side of the Bordesley Viaduct). A Crazy Golf course for over 18's only. We went before they opened, and was there for around an hour. They have a Cocktail bar and also serve food for paying customers from Apocalypse Cow. There is amazing graffiti and artwork all over the place, in I think what used to be a former warehouse.

I liked seeing the video game artwork of Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and Abe from Oddworld series. Was also artwork of horror movie characters such as Beetlejuice and Freddie Krueger.

Ghetto Golf

Hole 1 to the right. Apocalypse Cow BBQ Street Food to the left. The graffiti bus behind is hole 3.

Ghetto Golf

In hole 1 was this communal bin with Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street! Graffiti all over the place.

Ghetto Golf

To Hole 2 which is a Petrol Station. This sign is near a recreation of The Old Crown pub. The stairs leads up to other holes.

Ghetto Golf

I would guess that this is the petrol station with all the Mobil signs. The Old Crown is to the right of here. Also near the bus. The stairs leads up to other holes.

Ghetto Golf

Hole 3 is in this former single decker bus from Manchester. Now covered all over in graffiti. They built a DJ station on the roof of the bus.

Ghetto Golf

Inside the bus from the main entrance. You can also get in and out via the emergency exit door to the back on the left. So much graffiti all over.

Ghetto Golf

Hole 4 is this skateboarding ramp. Then hole 5 near the adult shop and red post box.

Ghetto Golf

After hole 5 is a Blockbuster Video which is hole 6. Inside they "rent out" horror movies on VHS video cassettes.

Ghetto Golf

Inside of hole 6 aka Blockbuster Video. Dare you rent out My Girl? Head round the corner to find Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies and see Regan from The Exorcist get lit up!

Ghetto Golf

Then head out past Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and get a Coca Cola. The door to the left exits to hole 5.

Ghetto Golf

Hole 7 is a bathroom. Lots of graffiti street ar here with toilet seats used as heads. Bath in the middle.

Ghetto Golf

It looks like you have to hit your golf ball up the ramp and into the dirty toilet! And put your hand in to get the ball out. Hope they provide gloves!

Ghetto Golf

Hole 8 meanwhile is this chicken pen. Next up is hole 9 which is the recreation of The Old Crown pub.

Ghetto Golf

At the time of this visit, the real Old Crown pub was closed for renovation works. So hole 9 as The Old Crown was the only one that you could visit.

Ghetto Golf

It really looks like an old style public house inside. I've never been inside of the real Old Crown pub though, only walk past it outside (or see it from the bus). That door leads to holes 8, 7 and 6. For hole 10, you have to go upstairs.

Ghetto Golf

Hole 10 on the first floor is Tony's 8 Ball Snooker Hall. Wind your golf ball to the hole like a trick shot, Big Break style.

Ghetto Golf

View of hole 10 from the ground floor from near hole 1.

Ghetto Golf

Next up is hole 12 which is this Dog Kennel.

Ghetto Golf

They appear to be growing something inside of the dog kennel. Somehow you have to get your golf ball in there?

Ghetto Golf

Hole 12 is like something from the Aztec world (I would guess).

Ghetto Golf

They also have images of the Green Man on the wall leading to that creepy face in the door.

Ghetto Golf

The next hole is hole 13 which is this old room. It could be from the 1970s with dated wallpaper and furniture. But the globe and portraits look much older.

Ghetto Golf

Close up look at the globe.

Ghetto Golf

The last hole on the first floor is hole 14, which is a 10 pin bowling alley.

Ghetto Golf

6 pins in position while the other 4 is behind the barrier. Downstairs next to four 16 bit video game inspired holes I think you will love (if you grew up in the early 1990s).

Ghetto Golf

The first video game hole, is hole 15. Based on the 16 bit Super Mario Bros from the SNES (unless it's based on the 8 bit Mario Bros from the NES).

Ghetto Golf

Head past Mario and Bowser (also known as King Koopa). Mario would also have been on the Nintendo Game Boy.

Ghetto Golf

Hole 16 is this Pinball game. Next to the Gameboy saying "Sicker than yo' Average.

Ghetto Golf

At least I think it's pinball and not Space Invaders. Donkey Kong is next at hole 17.

Ghetto Golf

Almost near the end. Hole 17 based on Donkey Kong, which is an 8 bit game from the NES.

Ghetto Golf

There was later a 16 bit game on the SNES called Donkey Kong Country with better graphics. I think you can tell that Sonic the Hedgehog is next!

Ghetto Golf

Finally hole 18 is Sonic the Hedgehog from the Sega Mega Drive. The 16 bit game that was released in 1991 and will soon get his own live action movie!

Ghetto Golf

It is based on the Green Hill Zone that famously opened the classic 2D side scroller. Also featuring Dr Robotnik (who Sega now called Dr Eggman). Game Over Man Game Over!

Ghetto Golf

Now for some bonus photos to finish this post. Near the entrance was this artwork of Beetlejuice (from the 1988 movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton). But will they make Beetlejuice 2?

Ghetto Golf

One of my favourite video game characters was Abe from the Oddworld series. First appearing on the Playstation 1 (32 bit console) and PC CD Rom in 1997 in the game Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, and it's follow up game in 1998 which was Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus. Later Oddworld games were on the original XBox. Abe was known to ask his fellow Mudokons: "Follow me!" and they would reply: "OK!".

Ghetto Golf

Near the Apocalypse Cow area was this logo from Mortal Kombat. The original game I think came out on the Sega Mega Drive. They are still making Mortal Kombat games to this day and Mortal Kombat 11 is on the Playstation 4, XBox One and Nintendo Switch (they are very violent).

Ghetto Golf

More seating here probably for Apocalypse Cow BBQ Street Food near what looks like to be a heavily gratified train!

Ghetto Golf

Karl Newton keeps setting up these photography meets in the Brumtography Facebook group. If you are a Birmingham based photographer, please request to join. Karl or one of the othe admins may accept you. There is now regular meets and Karl sets up the tickets on EventBrite. It is private group, so you have to be a member to see the posts.

One of our recent meets was at the Electric Cinema on the 20th January 2020. We also met up for the first time at The Eagle & Tun pub before it closed for good by HS2, this was on the 11th January 2020.

I most recently joined Karl and another member of the group at the Bullring for the Festival of Light (on the 26th January 2020). Watch this space for an up and coming post!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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29 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Chinese New Year around Birmingham, in 2020 it's the Year of the Rat

The annual celebrations are being prepared for in Birmingham City Centre. They dressed up the Bull. The Chinese dragons is going around, but I've not seen it yet this year in 2020. Missed it in the Colmore BID, and at the Bullring. But saw a dragon at the Custard Factory, and caught some of the dancing at the Bullring (but crowded and hard to see anything). Plus not waiting around.

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Here's a quick brief post on Chinese New Year in late January 2020. The Year of the Rat starts on Saturday 25th January 2020. And there will be the annual celebrations in the Chinese Quarter on Sunday 26th January 2020. I did pop through Southside on Saturday, but could not see much more than them setting up the stage, and I wouldn't want to be around there on Sunday as it will be way too crowded for me.

The Bullring bull seen on the 23rd January 2020 in it's latest costume for Chinese New Year. Which starts on the 25th January 2020. A yellow and red outfit completely covering the bull, apart from it's feet.

Chinese bull 2020

Think I prefer this outfit to the one they used in 2018. Best to get it as early as I'm aware of it, before it gets too crowded around here (especially at the weekend).

Chinese bull 2020

The bull from the back. Festival of Light event to the right.

Chinese bull 2020

The Festival of Lights at the Bullring is back. In 2019 I only saw it in the daylight, and so far in 2020 also in the daylight. This is Pulse of St Martin's Walk.

Festival of Lights Bullring daylight

Birds Fly Around With You in Rotunda Square. Seen them again since, but holding off taking more photos until I possibly head back when it gets dark. It opened on the evening of the 24th January 2020 and should be there until early February 2020. Spire of St Martin's Church down St Martin's Walk.

Festival of Lights Bullring daylight

I went to the Colmore BID on the 24th January 2020, but did not see the Chinese dragon dances (had no idea at all where they were). So walked to Digbeth via the Gun Quarter and Eastside. Saw this Chinese dragon in the window of Ridding and Wynn at the Custard Factory in Digbeth.

Chinese dragon Custard Factory

Saturday 25th January 2020 at the Bullring. Was hoping to see some of the Chinese dragon dances, but when I got to the West Mall only saw this. DANS Dance. Taken from the top floor balcony.

Chinese New Year Bullring

Was a bit crowded on all floors to get decent views here.

Chinese New Year Bullring

Just caught the end as they walked to the Chinese arch made out of balloons.

Chinese New Year Bullring

I later popped back into the Bullring but could not see any dances going on, nor nothing around the Bull, I did not want to wait about. The City Centre around the Bullring was way too crowded for me. Nor did I see anything in Grand Central.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Art, culture & creativity
27 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Introducing The Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery at Arena Birmingham

The Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery opened during early December 2019. I first spotted them above the Legoland Discovery Centre near the end of last year. Popped back on New Year's Day 2020, but they were closed. So returned several days after that and met the couple behind The BCAG. At Arena Birmingham.

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The Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery opened on the 5th December 2019, in the units above the Legoland Discovery Centre Birmingham, at Arena Birmingham. There are steps to the left to get up there. Or use the main steps from King Edwards Road and walk all the way around.

First spotted it on the 27th December 2019, on a photo walk around town with Karl Newton.

Found them on Twitter The BCAG and Instagram The BCAG. And they are now following / liking my photos. Thanks very much. They now have their own People with Passion page at The Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery.

BCAG Dec 19

New Year's Day 2020 on the 1st January 2020, I decided to find where they were, and how to get to them. Got on from the Arena Birmingham steps near King Edwards Road. But you have to go around to the right, as no access to the left from there. Just headed all the way around until I found them.

BCAG Jan 20

Found these steps nearby, which would be easier for future visits.

BCAG Jan 20

Sign in the door. BCAG. But they were not open this day.

BCAG Jan 20

The BCAG with LDC Birmingham below.

BCAG Jan 20

View from the canalside on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, with the Lego Giraffe.

BCAG Jan 20

View from the other side of the canal. The BCAG above LDC Birmingham.

BCAG Jan 20

Tried again visiting on the 4th January 2020, and this was when I met them in person. Sarah Wallace & Albert Wallace. First off, a look around the gallery.

BCAG art int

Metal figures, not sure what to make of them. Prefer the paintings on the walls though.

BCAG art int

Art of the Bullring Bull.

BCAG art int

Painting in a gold frame near the window. Another pair on the floor.

BCAG art int

Metal vase on a glass topped table.

BCAG art int

Was a lot of bright sunshine, leading to shadows that day.

BCAG art int

More shadows over the paintings and figures.

BCAG art int

BCAG sign near the entrance with pictures nearby.

BCAG art int

White leather sofa in the corner. The Lego Giraffe outside looking in.

BCAG art int

Lampshade with a curved arm. With bright sunshine outside. They have a nice view of the canal and Brindleyplace from here.

BCAG art int

One last look at the gallery before I left.

BCAG art int

Before I left, they wanted me to take a few photos of them. Near the Bullring Bull but a lot of shadows here.

BCAG Wallace's

More shadows and light, a bit better in this direction.

BCAG Wallace's

One more with the BCAG sign.

BCAG Wallace's

14th January 2020 and at the Birmingham We Are event. Jonathan Bostock introduces the Lord Mayor of Birmingham (for 2019-20) to the team behind The BCAG.

Lord Mayor meets BCAG

These artworks were at the Council House during the BWA annual event, I think they might be from BCAG (but am not sure). Near where Gloriana was.  This painting reminds me of Gozer, the evil ghost from the end of the original Ghostbusters film.

BCAG art

These little trees in frames are definitely from The BCAG. And the other figures. Plus they had their card on the table to the left.

BCAG art

This one also near the Gloriana sign. Looks like a bald African girl.

BCAG art

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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Squares and public spaces
27 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Victoria Square almost empty over the past decade

Apart from when major events such as the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is there, Victoria Square is empty. On certain Bank Holiday's, the square can look empty and deserted. There has been changes in recent years with the building of the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square (which is now open and more or less complete). So there is new paving and steps. It looks good.

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Victoria Square

The square was formerly known as the Council House Square and was renamed on the 10th January 1901 to honour Queen Victoria who died just 12 days later. The marble statue of Queen Victoria was unveiled at the time and was designed by Thomas Brock, it was later cast in bronze by William Bloye in 1951. Other statues used to be in the square, such as the statue of King Edward VII which later moved to Highgate Park in 1951, but it was restored in 2010 and moved outside of Baskerville House in Centenary Square. The statue of Robert Peel moved to Calthorpe Park, but is now outside of Tally Ho! in Edgbaston on the Pershore Road (now the training HQ of the West Midlands Police). The Joseph Priestley statue was moved to Chamberlain Square, but it moved to storage in 2016. The George Dawson statue was moved to Edmund Street, but is now at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre.

The most recent redevelopment of Victoria Square took place between 1992 and 1994. The River also known by Brummie's at the Floozie in the Jacuzzi, by Dhruva Mistry was unveiled in 1993. Antony Gormley's Iron: Man was also unveiled in 1993, but has been in storage since 2017 (due to the construction of the Westside Metro extension).

The Westside Metro extension was built in Victoria Square between 2017 and 2019 from Pinfold Street to Paradise Street, which included a tram stop on Paradise Street next to the Town Hall. This opened to Centenary Square during December 2019.

 

The following photos taken over the last decade or so. The square almost empty.

Victoria Square during the early May Bank Holiday weekend 2011 (May Day). Union Jack bunting left over from the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate (now the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge). Birmingham Central Library was still there at the time (it would close in 2013 and get demolished in 2016). Seen between the Town Hall and Council House. This was from the New Street end of Victoria Square.

Victoria Square

View towards the Town Hall. Was plenty of bollards here at the time. The pair of red phone boxes near Victoria Square House and Pinfold Street had yet to be removed, as was all those trees.

Victoria Square

This was during the snow of the middle of January 2013. Christmas tree still on the right. This was from the New Street end of the square.

Victoria Square

A wet afternoon in Victoria Square on New Year's Day 2017 (1st January 2017). Raining in the morning, and the square still looked wet and empty when I passed through it. The square is always like this, days after the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market packs up and returns to Germany.

Victoria Square

More snow in Victoria Square, but during March 2018. Some Council workers were laying salt grit in the square. It was around this period that the World Indoor Athletics Championships were being held over at Arena Birmingham. So was direction signs to the Arena. This view towards the Town Hall with the Council House to the right. By this point, construction of the Westside Metro extension was well under way, and the Iron:Man was now in storage.

Victoria Square

One year on in March 2019, and I passed through Victoria Square during a hail storm. Saw white hail stones coming down. This view towards Victoria Square House. Was already new paving around the statue of Queen Victoria, which was done with the Metro extension.

Victoria Square

Heading down the steps towards New Street, as the hail was getting heavier. The Metro extension behind fences, but you could still get to the pavement on Pinfold Street.

Victoria Square

A complete contrast a month later! A stunning blue sky in Victoria Square during April 2019. It was very hot for that time of the year. This photo was taken 10 years to the day when I first started taking photos of Birmingham, including in Victoria Square. Council House on the left, the statue of Queen Victoria, with new paving, to the right.

Victoria Square

Boxing Day during late December 2019. And this was several days after the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market had closed (again) and been dismantled. I approached the square this time from Hill Street. Here you can see the newly complete paving and steps that was built as part of the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square. View towards Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Council House. You can also see the core of 103 Colmore Row.

Victoria Square

New Year's Day 2020 and heading up to Victoria Square on the very first day of January 2020 from New Street. Quite a contrast from my earlier photos, as the tram tracks curves around to the left from Pinfold Street towards Town Hall Tram Stop on Paradise Street. Most of the bollards to the right have survived. Was temporary tarmac to the left, where during the BFCM, there was security barriers. Another new view is to Paradise Birmingham with Two and One Chamberlain Square. Also compared to the earlier view, the Floozie is now in a flowerbed instead of a cascading fountain (although that could get repaired again in the future).

Victoria Square

I originally created this post during early January 2020. So adding one more photo taken at the Council House on the 14th January 2020. Works on the Metro extension have resumed (finishing touches around Victoria Square). Would assume the Iron:Man will be installed in the area to the right near the Town Hall.

Victoria Square

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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53 passion points
History & heritage
22 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Electric Cinema: A Brumtography photo meet (January 2020)

The Brumtography Facebook group had a photo meet on the 20th January 2020 at The Electric Cinema on Station Street (opposite Birmingham New Street Station). We were there for over an hour or so. Exploring screens 1 and 2, the remains of the old curtain of the Tatler News Theatre, old reels of film in the basement and the old projection room. Plenty to see in this small cinema. Opened 1909.

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On Monday 20th January 2020, about 10 members of the Brumtography Facebook group met at The Electric for a photo meet organised by Karl Newton (who contacted them and got permission from them). We did initially meet in the foyer thinking that a member of staff would take us around, but in the end, they let us go around on our own. Although Karl had been before so knew his way around.

The Electric Cinema

Some history. The Electric opened in 1909, and showed it's first silent film that year on the 27th December 1909. It is the oldest working cinema in the UK, predating it's namesake in Notting Hill, London (also called the Electric Cinema), by two months. Over the last century or so, the cinema has undergone several name changes, but reverted back t The Electric in October 1993.

In the 1920s the cinema was bought out and became known as The Select, showing silent movies. In the 1930s Joseph Cohen bought the cinema, and by the late 1930s it was renamed to the Tatler News Theatre, where they showed Pathe rolling news, along with short films and cartoons. Jacey Cinemas Ltd was the name of Joseph Cohen's company after his initials JC. 

Afte the War, TV started to become popular, and in the 1950s it's name was changed to The Jacey Cartoon Theatre. By the 1960s it was renamed to The Jacey Film Theatre. By the 1970s the cinema was in decline, showing adult films. In the 1980s it was taken over by Lord Grade's "Classic" chain and split into two screens. By the mid 1980s it was now known as the Tivoli.

It was only by 1993 when the new owners renamed it back to it's original name of The Electric. Restoration took place between 2003 and 2004. It's original Art Deco features were restored. The Electric celebrated it's Centenary in 2009. And received a history plate from the Birmingham Civic Society in 2016.


So a reminder of the cinemas names: The Electric Theatre, The Select, The Tatler News Theatre, The Jacey, The Classic and The Tivoli. Before reverting back to The Electric Cinema.

 

This view of The Electric, from near the taxi rank at Birmingham New Street Station. There is a glass balcony railing, and I headed right and down the Southside Steps.

The Electric

The Box Office. Buy your tickets here. There is also a bar to the left where you can buy drinks and food, no popcorn here.

The Electric

Screen 1 is downstairs. With red seats at the front, and black leather sofas at the back. Is a piano / organ on the stage.

The Electric

Behind screen 1 is the remains of the Tatler News Theatre of the 1930s and 1940s. The old screen used to be here. You can see the old curtains and various old posters. Including a poster for Xmas cartoons. Probably classic Disney cartoons.

The Electric

Back in screen 1 from the stage.

The Electric

Down to the basement, where they have a large collection of old film reels. Probably dating back decades.

The Electric

Ticket prices back in the day were quite cheap compared to today.  Some smaller films on these shelves.

The Electric

Into the old projection room, first thing I saw was BB8 from the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, and a trophy.

The Electric

The old projector. To the right is the modern additions of the newer digital technology. So they don't need to use the old reels of film any more.

The Electric

Upstairs to screen 2. A bit darker in here, even after the lights were turned on.

The Electric

This screen has black leather sofas at the top and bottom.

The Electric

Outside screen 2 is a gallery of art, which is apparently for sale. Some of the prints were done by Milan Topalović, who you may recall also did art for The Big Hoot (at Birmingham New Street Station in 2015) and The Big Sleuth (at Resorts World Birmingham in 2017).

The Electric

Back outside after the end of the meet, saw a reflection of The Electric in the shiny panels of Birmingham New Street Station. At the time the sign below said UNCUT GEMS.

The Electric

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
History & heritage
16 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Eagle & Tun: HS2 calls it time to sadly knock this historic pub down

The Eagle & Tun in the current building has been on the corner site of New Canal Street and Banbury Street for 120 years. Built to a design from James & Lister Lea in 1900. In 2020 the current licence comes to an end, as HS2 wants to knock this historic pub down to make way for the proposed station. Had a few hours there with the Brumtography Facebook group created by Karl Newton.

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Out of the blue, Birmingham We Are person with passion Karl Newton, over on Facebook set up a new group called Brumtography. And he invited members to go to The Eagle & Tun on Saturday 11th January 2020 from about 3pm to 6pm. I got there by 2:30pm, and we left by 5:30pm. We had plenty of time to take photos of the inside of this historic pub.

The pub was designed and built in 1900 (had been another pub on this site) by James & Lister Lea. The pub was made famous in the 1980s, as UB40 shot a music video here for their single Red Red Wine.  It was also used as the cover of the UB40 Best Of album. More recently Ed Sheeran popped by the pub.

It was closed and boarded up from about 2008 until the new landlords bought and reopened it in 2016. A nice Indian couple and their son.

 

I met up with Karl around here. Lots of old looking tables and chairs. Bar to the left. Window on the right was smashed and had a wooden board covering the damage.

Eagle & Tun

Near the entrance. The bar to the left. Lots of musical instruments were near the top of the walls but below the ceiling.

Eagle & Tun

I wonder where they got all of these musical instruments from?

Eagle & Tun

View of the bar from near where we were sitting / met up.

Eagle & Tun

Into the Pool Room. The pool table, the landlord later lit up the fire.

Eagle & Tun

Saw lots of old looking Roman or Greek pictures on the walls around here.

Eagle & Tun

A pair of gaming machines. The tiles looked quite interesting, they could be saved and go to an interested museum?

Eagle & Tun

Bottles behind the bar. Many drinks to be had here.

Eagle & Tun

Beer pumps from Red Fang, 3D Beer Cisco Steam, Twisted Wheel Brew Co and Pitchfork.

Eagle & Tun

Another look at the bar curving round close to the way in. Door to the back leads to the pool room.

Eagle & Tun

If you left the pool room from this side, this would be the view, near the bar.

Eagle & Tun

Mint Julep and Dixie Beer. Wine glasses and bottles, instruments all around.

Eagle & Tun

Behind the bar. The landlord had a box of really old cameras that he needed to sell.

Eagle & Tun

Another view of what was behind the bar.

Eagle & Tun

Back of the beer pumps. The landlord and landlady pour your beer or lager here.

Eagle & Tun

Was getting dark outside, final curtains on this historic bar. What can be saved?

Eagle & Tun

After we left, we took several photos of the exterior of The Eagle & Tun, after dark. It was also raining. This from Banbury Street. HS2 have put barriers up, so the opposite pavement was closed.

Eagle & Tun

They have coloured lights that change colours on the first floor. Was a lot of passing traffic on New Canal Street.

Eagle & Tun

Could see passing trains go past behind the pub. It will be sad to see this 120 year old pub knocked down. Is there no way to move it brick by brick to somewhere else in the city? Don't go the way of the doomed Fox & Grapes on Park Street. Only The Woodman will remain open, and probably survive the possible building of the HS2 Birmingham terminus station at Curzon Street.

Eagle & Tun

The pub sign of The Eagle & Tun is one thing that hasn't changed. Although at one point a previous landlord renamed the pub as The Cauliflower Ear! But thankfully it was later changed back.

Eagle & Tun

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
People & community
16 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Birmingham We Are at the Council House (14th January 2020)

The annual Birmingham We Are event was held at the Birmingham Council House in the presence of the Lord Mayor on Tuesday 14th January 2020. Once again in the Banqueting Suite and Drawing Room. Birmingham We Are People with Passion had their photos on display. And BWA's Elliott Brown and Daniel Sturley won awards! Thank you very much. Plus various Birmingham organisations were present.

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Postponed from the 3rd December 2019 (due to the General Election) to the 14th January 2020. The annual Birmingham We Are event. A Celebration of a City with Community was held once again in the Banqueting Suite and Drawing Room.

At this end they were showing a slideshow presentation with our photos on Birmingham We Are.

BWA Council House

Looking towards the Drawing Room. Packed at this point.

BWA Council House

Jonathan Bostock introduces the Lord Mayor of Birmingham to some visitors.

BWA Council House

Jonathan introduces the Lord Mayor to the Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery.

BWA Council House

Quite busy at both ends. Lots of tables with various Birmingham organisations with art on display.

BWA Council House

The likes of the Canal & River Trust and Birmingham Museums Trust were represented in the Drawing Room.

BWA Council House

Gloriana the Elizabethan dancers with their official photographer in his interesting looking costume. More on them in another post.

BWA Council House

By this point, a few tables had been cleared, and many people had already left the Council House. At the far end of the Drawing Room was the gallery of photos by Birmingham's People with Passion (including my own).

BWA Council House

One last look before leaving the Council House. Was a lot of standing around.

BWA Council House

In the Banqueting Suite displays of art.

Craftybun Print Making.

BWA arts

The Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery and Gloriana.

BWA arts

Lessness

BWA arts

Get Balsall Heath Reading. St Paul's Community Development Trust. Smart Lyte.

BWA art

This looks like a portrait of the Queen on a stamp but with pressed flowers.

BWA art

Birmingham Urban Sketch. Paula Gabb I think.

BWA art

Commissoned Book Arts.

BWA art

Handmaiduns

BWA art

Birmingham We Are People with Passion Awards 2020

All the awards were concrete models of the Rotunda. Community groups first. The award presented by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

Award 1.

BWA Awards 2020

Award 2.

BWA Awards 2020

Award 3

BWA Awards 2020

Award 4

BWA Awards 2020

Award 5: Birmingham Community Matters.

BWA Awards 2020

Award 6

BWA Awards 2020

Award 7: The Gunmakers Arms.

BWA Awards 2020

Award 8: Elliott Brown. Photo courtesy of Damien Walmsley. Thank you Damien.

BWA Awards 2020

Award 9: Daniel Sturley.

BWA Awards 2020

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are award winner 2020.

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80 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
16 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Gloriana Historical Dance at the Council House for Birmingham We Are (14th January 2020)

For quite a lot of hours, Gloriana Historical Dance, performed Tudor or Elizabethan style dances in the Banqueting Suite at the Council House, during Birmingham We Are's annual event on Tuesday 14th January 2020. I only saw them in here. Didn't see them elsewhere in the Council House, or pop into BM & AG. Thank you for coming.

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They have a public Facebook group here Gloriana Living History and Historical Dance.

First dance in Venetian style masks.

Gloriana

Gloriana

Masks off. Partnering up.

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Going up those sticks with leaves on them.

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Jonathan Bostock introduces the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Mohammed Azim to Gloriana.

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham (for 2019-20) poses for photos with Gloriana.

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

I got Jonathan in shot as well.

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Thank you very much for coming. After this they went to other parts of the Council House and into the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I didn't head to BM & AG as I needed to have a late lunch. And to sit down after standing around for over 4 hours.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are award winner 2020.

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60 passion points
History & heritage
13 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The exterior buildings of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

You can see the exterior buildings of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from the likes of Chamberlain Square. Also on what was Edmund Street, Margaret Street (Council House Extension) and on Great Charles Street Queensway. Has been many changes since Paradise Birmingham started in about 2015. The Birmingham History Galleries opened in 2012 and that restored part of the gallery.

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Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

For my interior galleries post click here A tour (over the years) of the galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Construction of the original Art Gallery building along with the Council House started in 1881 and was completed in 1885. The Council House extension began in 1911 and was completed in 1919. The original building was designed by Yeoville Thomason, while Ashley & Newman did the extension. The main entrance to the gallery is in Chamberlain Square, but is also an entrance on what was Edmund Street (which also leads to the Gas Hall). The back entrance on Great Charles Street Queensway used to be in use until before the Parardise Circus roadworks began. But have been closed ever since (even after the roadworks were completed). 

The Birmingham History Galleries were built on the upper floor of the extension galleries between 2011 and 2012. After the concrete bridge to the demolished Birmingham Central Library was itself demolished, the stonework at the corner above Congreve Passage was finally restored.

 

The link bridge seen from Chamberlain Square during April 2009 looking down Edmund Street towards One Snowhill.  You can walk through it from the Round Room towards the Feeney Galleries. The dates 1885 and 1911 are on the side. 1885 when the original gallery opened, and 1911 when they started to build the extension.

BMAG

The view from Chamberlain Square from the steps near Birmingham Central Library during April 2009. From this position, it was a bit hard to get the clock tower Big Brum in the same shot. Through the columns and up the steps to the main entrance of the gallery. You then head up the staircase to the Round Room.

BMAG

This is the view down what used to be part of Edmund Street (these days part of Chamberlain Square). Part of the Council House, on this side is the Water Hall (I've never been inside). Also from April 2009, but about a week after the previous photos. I had only started taking photos of Birmingham with my then compact camera.

BMAG

This view of the Big Brum clock tower from Chamberlain Square. With Christmas trees and huts from the Christmas Craft Market that used to open here next to the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market (which was in Victoria Square). The view from November 2009. There is a pair of plaques at the corner of Chamberlain Square and Edmund Street:

Council House Clock
The Clock in this tower indicates Greenwith Mean Time on the first stroke of the hour bell. The minute hand moves forward at the completion of each half minute.

Clock Tower
Erected in 1885 as a Gift by Follett Osler F.R.S. Height from pavement 152 ft 4in, 46.43M. Pendulum is 15ft, 4.57M long and weights 4½ CWT, 228.6kg. Hour bell known as Big Brum weighs 3 tons 6 CWT, 3200kg. 159 steps to Clock face level. Cambridge Chime.

BMAG

This is the view of the Museum & Art Gallery from Great Charles Street Queensway. This view from December 2009. This was during the early evening at sunset. Above the Forward window was sculpted coat of arms. This is the Allegories of Art and Industry by William Bloye and made in 1919 of stone. I used to use this entrance until they closed it in about 2014. Roadworks for the Paradise Circus alterations meant that entrance was closed for a few years. But even when they finished the roadworks here, that entrance remained closed to the public.

BMAG

Another Great Charles Street Queensway view of the Council House extension. The galleries of the Museum & Art Gallery are mostly on the upper floors. This was in February 2010. The corner with Margaret Street. The road has been reconfigured in recent years due to the rebuilding of Paradise Circus.

BMAG

This was during March 2011 and there was scaffolding on the Council House extension. At the time was a Yell advert for Street Wiser. They were building the new Birmingham History Galleries. Which opened in October 2012.

BMAG

Another Chamberlain Square view, this from November 2012. The Christmas Craft Market huts set up once again in the square to the left of the Town Hall. Getting a photo from this view now is not possible until Paradise Birmingham finishes off the square sometime in 2020.

BMAG

These three cherry pickers were in Chamberlain Square during May 2016 for the Second Unit filming of the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The crew had a lot of vehicles and equipment in Victoria Square, including the taxi cab that was used for the chase scenes at night around the Colmore Row area. Doubling as London of course. Filming of the movie actually started in Birmingham, before going elsewhere. The film was released in cinemas in September 2017. Ready Player One also filmed in the City in 2016. Come back Hollywood, film more of your big budget movies here!

BMAG

This was the view from the no 23 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus on Broad Street during March 2018. Two Chamberlain Square hadn't been built yet so you could see the Museum & Art Gallery as well as the Chamberlain Memorial and the Town Hall. They had started to build the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square (near where the bus was), which was completed and opened by December 2019. This view made possible by the demolition of the old Central Library in 2016 and Chamberlain House earlier in 2018.

BMAG

This view of Big Brum and the Museum & Art Gallery taken from Centenary Way during November 2018. One Chamberlain Square to the left was already cladded. Two Chamberlain Square had begun construction and was several floors up.

BMAG

In October 2019, Paradise Birmingham had reopened this route from Victoria Square into Chamberlain Square. From July to October 2019, the route was blocked off to pedestrians, and you had to walk round the back via Eden Place and Edmund Street to get to the Chamberlain Square entrance (if it was open). They were getting it open in time before the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market returned. During the summer Eden Place was so busy, I've never seen it so busy with people walking around the back. It has now returned to the normal levels that I expect.

BMAG

Late November 2019, and after picking up my Birmingham We Are calendars, I headed towards Paradise Circus and Great Charles Street Queensway and back to Colmore Row. This is the current state of the back of Paradise Birmingham. One Chamberlain Square is now complete, and PWC moved in January 2020. The side of the Museum & Art Gallery is now restored above the still closed Congreve Passage (could be renamed back to Congreve Street when it reopens in the future). The concrete bridge to the former Central Library (1974-2013) used to be on this side. As was formerly the Paradise Circus tunnel that went towards Paradise Street. Now all gone of course, and looking much better than is used to be.

BMAG

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
08 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Circus Berlin at The NEC Birmingham

I kept seeing posters around Birmingham about the Circus Berlin at The NEC. So wanted to see it from the outside before it closed on the 4th January 2020. I headed to The NEC with Karl Newton although there was a lot of bright sunshine to the right of the circus. It was opposite Resorts World in the South Car Park. 19th December 2019 - 4th January 2020. This NEC visit on the 3rd Jan 2020.

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Circus Berlin

Previous circuses post here Circuses in Birmingham.

There was posters all over Birmingham about this circus, so had to check it out at The NEC before it closed down. It opened for it's first performances on Thursday 19th December 2019 and finished on Saturday 4th January 2020. I travelled to The NEC with Karl Newton (showed him the Air-Rail Link and we also went to Vortex Gaming in Resorts World) on Friday 3rd January 2020. So one day before it was going to close.

This zoom in from just outside The NEC main entrance, past Resorts World Arena, with Resorts World Birmingham on the left.

Circus Berlin

Located in South Car Park 3, there was strong sunlight to the right of Resorts World. The main circus tent where it all took place.

Circus Berlin

As you can see the light was quite bright from this side, but it was about midday on this visit to The NEC.

Circus Berlin

Conely's Thunderdome with Union Jack flags and smiley Emoji's.

Circus Berlin

A close up zoom in of the Circus Berlin tent which was red and yellow all over.

Circus Berlin

The Ticket Office with a sign for Circus Extreme. Above was various flags of the world, although mostly European flags.

Circus Berlin

The Chop Shop. Some kind of dodgems ride I think.

Circus Berlin

The bright sunshine wasn't getting any better on this side, so this was my last photo of the circus tent.

Circus Berlin

I think this ride was called Twister. Could barely see what I was taking with all the strong sunlight so took one more shot of it.

Circus Berlin

Lots of reds and yellows. The photos came out better after editing and fixing the lighting issues.

Circus Berlin

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
06 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Grove Park in Harborne: near the former home of two past Birmingham MP's

Grove Park is located in Harborne on Harborne Park Road (one of the parks on the no 11 Outer Circle bus route 11A and 11C). The park was historically the grounds of The Grove, home to Thomas Attwood MP between 1823 and 1846. Later William Kenrick from the late 1870s until his death in 1919. Birmingham City Council inherited the park and house and opened the park in 1963.

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Grove Park

The park was opened by Birmingham City Council in 1963 on land that was historically part of the estate of The Grove. Located on Harborne Park Road in Harborne, the park is also bordered by Mill Farm Road and Grove Lane.

Thomas Attwood lived at The Grove which was an 18th Century Georgian mansion house from 1823 until 1846. He was one of Birmingham's very first MP's. There is two statues of Attwood, the first sculpted by Peter Hollins used to be in Calthorpe Park, then later New Park, Sparkbrook, but has been in storage at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre since 2008 (covered in graffiti and looking worse for wear). The other sitting statue used to be in Chamberlain Square, sculpted by Sioban Coppinger & Fiona Peever in 1993, until it was moved into storage in 2015 before the demolition of Birmingham Central Library for Paradise Birmingham. It is possible that it could return to Chamberlain Square later in 2020?

The second Birmingham MP to live in The Grove was William Kenrick. John Henry Chamberlain rebuilt the house for him from 1877 to 1878. Kenrick lived there until his death at the age of 88 in 1919.

There is a blue plaque near the Kenrick Centre on Mill Farm Road in Harborne that states that Alderman W. Byng Kenrick (1872 - 1962) gave the Grove Estate to the City. The park opened to the public a year after his death.

The house was demolished in 1963, and the paneled anteroom of the drawing room of The Grove was saved from destruction and acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

 

2012

By first visit to Grove Park was during May 2012.

Welcome to Grove Park sign near one of the entrances on Harborne Park Road. Claims to be A public park since 1936. That could be a mistake if it was 1963?

Grove Park

A tree with many branches and green leaves close to the lake.

Grove Park

Another tree with one long over hanging branch.

Grove Park

In the pond / lake was this tree with pink flower heads.

Grove Park

The lake is small if compared to other lakes I've seen in other Birmingham park's.

Grove Park

Still it attracts geese and ducks etc.

Grove Park

Another bush with pink flower heads.

Grove Park

The end of the lake close to Harborne Park Road.

Grove Park

A Canada Goose in the lake.

Grove Park

2016

Grove Park during January 2016. The lake in winter. Trees with no leaves. Only brown leaves on the ground that fell in the autumn.

Grove Park

Gates on one of the paths. Some trees nearby may have been cut down.

Grove Park

Dark green picnic bench with seats on all four sides.

Grove Park

The playground which is close to Harborne Park Road. Swings near a bench. The public car park for this park is to the right of here.

Grove Park

2018

My most recent visit to Grove Park was during the autumn of November 2018. Mainly to find the blue plaque near the Kenrick Centre. The leaves were all orange and brown looking quite autumnal.

Grove Park

The playground and car park from the path towards Mill Farm Road.

Grove Park

Trees alongside Mill Farm Road. The blue plaque was up this way.

Grove Park

More trees. Mill Farm Road to the right, so this was probably after I saw the blue plaque for Alderman W. Byng Kenrick.

Grove Park

Trees and yellow leaves, the grass was still green.

Grove Park

Leaves all over the ground here as I headed back to a main path.

Grove Park

Can't visit a Birmingham park without seeing a squirrel with a nut!

Grove Park

The lake again in autumn.

Grove Park

More trees and more leaves on the ground.

Grove Park

This park is well worth visiting, if you get off the 11C or 11A buses. And is in walking distance of the Harborne High Street. It's also close to a Cricket Club and two Golf Courses.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
06 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

That time that Ice Skate Birmingham spend two Winter seasons in Eastside City Park

While Ice Skate Birmingham is enjoying a successful return to Centenary Square for the 2019-20 winter season. Do you remember when they had to spend two winters in Eastside City Park? First year was 2017-18 on a part of the HS2 land. Then 2018-19 on Eastside Green. This was due to the redevelopment of Centenary Square which wasn't completed until the summer of 2019.

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Happy New Year 2020. Christmas might be over and we have just had New Year's but doesn't mean Ice Skate Birmingham has closed down yet. Looking back to the two winter seasons over in Eastside.

November 2017 to January 2018

It was open from Thursday 16th November 2017 until Sunday 7th January 2018 at Eastside City Park. They were using land that belongs to HS2.

Setting up during late October 2017 on Eastside Green. This view after 5pm from Fazeley Street.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Before opening in November 2017. The view of the Birmingham Big Wheel and Millennium Point from the train from the Chase Line leaving Birmingham New Street.

Ice Skate Birmingham

This view from the Snow Hill lines heading into Birmingham Moor Street. The Emporium building was under construction behind the Birmingham Big Wheel. With Jennens Court and the Birmingham Ormiston Academy to the right.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Sunset behind Curzon Street Station with the Birmingham Big Wheel sandwiched between that and the Rotunda.

Ice Skate Birmingham

For 2017 / 18 Ice Skate Birmingham had a ride called the Wild Mouse. Bit like a mini roller coaster. This was near New Canal Street.

Ice Skate Birmingham

During December 2017. The view from the top of Moor Street Car Park. The Emporium was still going up, while there were other rides near the Birmingham Big Wheel (bit hard to see from this view).

Ice Skate Birmingham

Nightshot views of the Birmingham Big Wheel. This view from New Canal Street. Headed back to the Bullring via Digbeth.

Ice Skate Birmingham

The Wild Mouse ride lit up after dark. With Curzon Street Station, The Curzon Building, University Locks (of Birmingham City University) and The Woodman behind, in this New Canal Street view.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Still on New Canal Street as the Birmingham Big Wheel was lit up and the ride to the right was spinning. It was called The King.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Closing down during January 2018. Ice Skate Birmingham had it's last day on Sunday 7th January 2018. At the time I wasn't sure if it would return to Eastside or Westside. In the end they got permission to return to Eastside City Park as Centenary Square was still not finished during 2018.

Ice Skate Birmingham

 

November 2018 to January 2019

They couldn't use the HS2 land this time around, so they used the land where the water fountain jets are, and the lawn down to Park Street instead. It was open this from Saturday 17th November 2018 until Sunday 6th January 2019.

These views from November 2018. View of the Birmingham Big Wheel once again outside of Millennium Point. Seen from a Chiltern Railways train I was on, heading into Birmingham Moor Street. Was closer to The Woodman this time around.

Ice Skate Birmingham

This view of the Birmingham Big Wheel from the bridge over the Grand Union Canal (Digbeth Branch) from Grear Barr Street in Digbeth. The canal buildings up Warwick Bar are up here. To the right was Curzon Street Station, and behind was Birmingham Metropolitan College - Matthew Boulton Campus).

Ice Skate Birmingham

The view looking up Curzon Street towards the Birmingham Big Wheel, with Masshouse behind. Curzon Street Station to the left.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Another view of Ice Skate Birmingham from the top of Moor Street Car Park. The land used a year before was now an HS2 site. Monkey World ride to the left.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Now in December 2018, was heading into Eastside City Park to see the Coca Cola truck again, as it was raining. But first up, headed up to Moor Street Car Park again for a nightshot view of the Birmingham Big Wheel. Visibility was poor and I couldn't see the Coca Cola Christmas truck from up here, so headed down and into the park.

My Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham over the years post is here.

Ice Skate Birmingham

As I walked up Park Street towards Eastside City Park, it was freezing cold, wet, sleeting and raining. Not what I would call festive weather! First close up look at the Birmingham Big Wheel lit up after dark.

Ice Skate Birmingham

The Bar & Ice Skating area, seen near the main entrance of Eastside City Park. My camera was getting wet as I headed in. I was soaking! But the ice rink was covered, so those enjoying an ice skate were dry.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Passing the ice rink, wasn't much to see from here into the ice rink, but got interesting lighting effects from the Big Wheel and the wet weather.

Ice Skate Birmingham

A couple of days later and it was now dry in Eastside City Park. A look at the ice rink from the outside.

Ice Skate Birmingham

It is now January 2019, and the Birmingham Big Wheel has already been taken down. The ice rink was behind fences as they started to dismantle it. This was around 5 days after Ice Skate Birmingham had finished for the year.

Ice Skate Birmingham

This was the last time it was in Eastside. Around 10 months later (October 2019), they were setting up Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square again (first time since 2016-17). It opened on the 7th November 2019 and it is due to close on the 12th January 2020.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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