Elliott Brown

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History & heritage
6 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Birmingham's Hidden Spaces: A look around St Martin's Church (September 2015)

It was September 2015 and Birmingham Heritage Week. Mainly popped into St Martin's Church at the Bullring for The Big Hoot's Little Hoot, but also got these shots. May have also been to do with Birmingham's Hidden Spaces. The visit on the 12th September 2015. Stained glass windows, the Alabaster Tomb and more!

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The main reason for this visit was at the time there was various small painted owls inside of St Martin's Church that were part of The Big Hoot's Little Hoot. The trail accompanying The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015 trail. July to September 2015. So this was before the owls were removed and auctioned off for charity.

Here though we will look around the church from the inside.

First look at a pair of stained glass windows. One of these was designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris (the window in the south transept).

St Martin's Church

The next stained glass window close to several memorials on the wall.

St Martin's Church

The walls around this stained glass window came out dark.

St Martin's Church

This stained glass window above some stone scultural details.

St Martin's Church

A bunch of pink flowers with a fan behind (elephant on it). Below is a weaved basket holding the flowers. With white flowers seen below.

St Martin's Church

This is The Alabaster Tomb.

St Martin's Church

This is an effigy of Sir John de Bermingham, probably early 15th century. Sir John was a knight who fought in the wars of France from 1373 until his death in 1393. Close inspection of this tomb reveals tiny patches of ancient colouring on the sword belt and on the coat of mail.

St Martin's Church

Close up of Sir John de Birmingham. Still looking like a Knight after 630 years.

St Martin's Church

The organ pipes.

St Martin's Church

WW1 war memorial (1914 - 1918). For the fallen of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. either side was a pair of Little Hoot owls. Tawney on the left (by King Edward VI Five Ways School), and When I Grow Up on the right (by King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys).

St Martin's Church

Stone arches holding up the left side of the church.

St Martin's Church

Interesting looking carved wooden details towards the wooden doors with glass windows.

St Martin's Church

Plaque on the wall. On Wednesday 23rd March 1887 the St Martin's Society of Change Ringers rung the bells on the visit of Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the Victoria Law Courts (on Corporation Street). The Mayor of Birmingham at the time was Thomas Martineau.

St Martin's Church

In this room was this centre table with lit candles. You can see that plaque behind.

St Martin's Church

This wooden carved entrance ways leading to a modern revolving door.

St Martin's Church

The wooden arched ceiling. Holding up both walls of the church.

St Martin's Church

Some art on this wall. Looks like ghostly crosses to me.

St Martin's Church

This leads to the churches cafe. Never been in myself. Was probably rebuilt in the early 2000s when the modern Bullring was built.

St Martin's Church

A waterfall on these metal table things.

St Martin's Church

Another bunch of flowers on a curvy yellow and orange base. Near the metal waterfall thing. And one of The Little Hoot owls.

St Martin's Church

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Green open spaces
09 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Return to Manor Farm Park at the beginning of December 2019

Went back to Northfield on Sunday 1st December 2019. And while there thought I might as well do an up-to-date walk around Manor Farm Park. Headed down Bell Hill to the entrance I used 2 years earlier. Then headed to the left path. Eventually passing the lake. Then near the housing development before checking out the old farm buildings again. The barn was demolished and now is a car park.

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Aware that the Cadbury barn had burnt down and also the Northfield Manor House (probably both by arsonists / kids), it was time to have another walk into Manor Farm Park.

Walked down Bell Hill and got in again via the entrance close to Shenley Lane. Two years back I think I went right towards Whitehilll Lane. This time I took the left path for the first time.

Manor Farm Park

A new sign at the junction of the paths. Has a donut shaped sign saying Manor Farm Park.

Manor Farm Park

The path heads straight then curves around a bit between the trees.

Manor Farm Park

Near the end of the first path. Over a small footbridge that crosses a stream. This is the route of the Merritts Brook Greenway towards Bournville and Kings Heath.

Manor Farm Park

Turning right, I headed straight down before turning left. Had to see the lake again.

Manor Farm Park

I mainly passed the lake from the main path and not from the path that goes around it. Saw a pair of moorhens here.

Manor Farm Park

A variety of gulls and geese in the lake.

Manor Farm Park

Leaves on the ground on the opposite bank of the lake. Was still thinking of going all the way around the lake at this point.

Manor Farm Park

Canada geese swimming to the right in the lake.

Manor Farm Park

Nice sight of a tufted duck.

Manor Farm Park

View of the tree island in the middle of the lake, to the left. It was around an hour and a half before sunset. The trees made nice reflections in the lake.

Manor Farm Park

After I exited onto Manor House Drive saw this waterfall behind some trees.

Manor Farm Park

Trying to get back into the park. I went around Middlepark Drive, and saw this pyramid climbing frame on the other side of the fence.

Manor Farm Park

Heading back towards White Hill from Griffin Drive. Leaves on the lawn. Before I got a bus back to Selly Oak I first wanted to go back to the main entrance.

Manor Farm Park

Made it back to the main entrance of Manor Farm Park from White Hill. The old farm buildings look mostly the same. Other than one of the buildings on the right might have been demolished. Really headed back this way to see what had happened to the site of the Cadbury barn.

Manor Farm Park

In the years since the fire that gutted the Cadbury barn, it looks like it has been sadly demolished. There is now a car park here. The sign on the right looks relatively new though.

Manor Farm Park

May have been a cold Sunday afternoon, but was still kids playing in the playground watched over by their parents.

Manor Farm Park

The view into the park from the car park. Not far from the former site of the Cadbury barn.

Manor Farm Park

There was this open garden to the back of the boarded up gatehouse or lodge. Nothing much to see in late autumn / early winter. The old farm buildings were to the left.

Manor Farm Park

Zoom in of the boarded up gatehouse or lodge. From the other side it was covered in graffiti. All the doors and windows were boarded or blocked off. Hopeully the Council could do something with this and all the other surviving farm buildings here.

Manor Farm Park

Previous post here with photos taken between 2010 and 2017: Manor Farm Park: a park down the Bristol Road South I've always considered to be in Northfield.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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Art, culture & creativity
09 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The changing face of street art over the years at the Custard Factory

Over the years I keep returning time and time again to see what the latest street art is painted at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. You can now get on via the gate at Floodgate Street and walk over the footbridge that crosses the River Rea. Then under the Bordesley Viaduct through the car park towards Gibb Street. Every month the giant billboard art changes. From City of Colours to Hi Viz.

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Ever changing, the street art always gets painted over. So while the art is gone, the photo of it survives years later.

2013

This view taken on Floodgate Street in Digbeth during Feburary 2013. The Bordesley Viaduct seen crossing from Bordesley towards Birmingham Moor Street Station.

Custard Factory

This view taken in July 2013 in what is now the Zellig Car Park. Looks like a pirate!

Custard Factory

The Custard Factory chimney in November 2013 painted for Movember by Graffiti 4 Hire. It is still there now (yet to be painted over). You can see it from the Zellig Car Park or from High Street Deritend.

Custard Factory

2014

King Kong painted in yellow was outside of The Old Bank on Gibb Street during July 2014. When Adee Phelan opened a salon here. Previously this was Turners Violins. The Clean Kilo is now in this building.

Custard Factory

From the gates on Floodgate Street. This is an alternate entrance to the Custard Factory. Heading under the Bordesley Viaduct. This view taken during August 2014. Cross the footbridge over the River Rea and cross into the car park for the short walk to Gibb Street.

Custard Factory

In October 2014 to check out the wonderful street art painted at the City of Colours Festival during September 2014. The artist was Jimmy C.

Custard Factory

2015

This piece taken on Floodgate Street during January 2015. The artist was Gent. Several skeletons here.

Custard Factory

Garfield seen on Floodgate Street during March 2015. Although I previously got a photo of this one in October 2014. The gates to the Custard Factory was closed. This was on the day of the St Patrick's Day Parade 2015.

Custard Factory

Birmingham Centre of the Universe. Seen during October 2015. The man at the top is Benjamin Zephaniah. On the left is Felicity Jones (who would go on to star in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016). This wall regularly gets repainted, usually with giant painted posters adversing something.

Custard Factory

2016

The view during April 2016 on Floodgate Street and saw this amazing piece. Not sure of the artist or artists, but was quite close to the Bordesley Viaduct.

Custard Factory

The City of Colours Street Art Festival was held again in Digbeth, this time during June 2016. This piece being painted on the wall on Gibb Street. Car park entrance to the right under the Bordesley Viaduct. These artists are amazing. I think it's by Justin Sola (but I'm not fully sure).

Custard Factory

Painted gates on Floodgate Street under the Bordesley Viaduct. This entrance to the Custard Factory was closed. Seen in December 2016. This Must Be the Place painted by Caroline Roose. Probably done at the Summer 2016 City of Colours Festival. It was Boxing Day, so the Custard Factory was probably closed.

Custard Factory

2017

This was seen during February 2017. The bottom of the Moonlight street art painted movie poster. It won the Oscar for Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards. I've not seen this film myself.

Custard Factory

Temporary hoardings at the Zellig entrance of Devonshire House. Merry Christmas from Zellig seen in December 2017. Nice image of a snowman.

Custard Factory

Blade of the Immortal also seen in December 2017 (same day as above). In the Zellig courtyard area.

Custard Factory

2018

The steps from Heath Mill Lane during the snow of March 2018. The walls were very pink down here.

Custard Factory

Crossing the River Rea footbridge under the Bordesley Viaduct during April 2018. And I saw this wall painting of a lady with sunglasses. Possibly a piece by Justin Sola (or someone else).

Custard Factory

On Gibb Street in July 2018 under the Bordesley Viaduct. "The Bohemian from Balsall Heath". Painted for Odeon Cinemas. The man is probably Odeon founder Oscar Deutsch. R2D2 from the Star Wars movies was played by the late great Kenny Baker. Felicity Jones by now a star thanks to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The Beatles probably performed in Birmingham in the 1960s.

Custard Factory

2019

Under the Bordesley Viaduct from Floodgate Street during March 2019. The gates to the Custard Factory were open. "Diablo" by Gent 48.

Custard Factory

Peaky Blinders returned to BBC One in August 2019 with Series 5. And this piece of Tommy Shelby was on the painted billboard wall at the time. Peakys Fan Art by James Mundy.

Custard Factory

Judge Dredd in the Zellig Car Park during October 2019. It was probably painted during the High Viz Street Art Festival, which took place during early September 2019. Saw this during Birmingham Weekender, but I was more interested in the street art.

Custard Factory

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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Transport
08 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Virgin Trains: end of an era (1997 - 2019). From Wolverhampton to Coventry via Birmingham New Street

The 22 year long West Coast Mainline franchise with Virgin Trains finally came to an end on Saturday 7th December 2019. The franchise started in March 1997, and has had many extensions since. Almost losing it to First in 2012. The franchise will be taken over by Avanti West Coast on Sunday 8th December 2019. On trains from Birmingham New Street to London Euston, and other lines.

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A look at various Virgin Trains seen over the years between Wolverhampton and Coventry via Birmingham New Street. Either Class 390 Pendolino or Class 221 Super Voyager. The Super Voyager's either headed up to Glasgow or Edinburgh. Or up to Holyhead in Wales via Shrewsbury.

The Virgin Trains West Coast Franchise ran from the 9th March 1997 until the 7th December 2019. The Diesel Electric Multiple Units known as Super Voyager's were introduced in 2001. While the Electric Multiple Units known as Pendolino's came into service in 2002.

 

Wolverhampton Station

Seen at Wolverhampton Station during March 2019 was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager 221 117. It was going to London Euston. It's next stop would be Sandwell & Dudley. And would go via Birmingham New Street of course.

Virgin Trains Wolverhampton

Tipton Station

Seen passing Tipton Station (they don't stop here) during November 2017 was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager. At least 10 carriages from two 5 carriage Class 221 trains. Passing at speed.

Virgin Trains passing Tipton Station

Sandwell & Dudley Station

Seen in September 2016 at Sandwell & Dudley Station (near Oldbury) was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager. I caught this train back to Birmingham New Street. 10 carriages, but standing room only.

Virgin Trains at Sandwell & Dudley

Smethwick Galton Bridge Station

In November 2017 saw this Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino passing Smethwick Galton Bridge Station on the Low Level. I was at platform 3. You can use this station to interchange between the Snow Hill lines (high level) and Wolverhampton to Birmingham line (low level). But never with Virgin. In the past was London Midland, now West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway.

Virgin Trains passing Smethwick Galton Bridge Station

Smethwick Rolfe Street Station

Passing the mural at Smethwick Rolfe Street Station during November 2017 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. It was heading towards Wolverhampton.

Virgin Trains passing Smethwick Rolfe Street Station

Birmingham New Street Station

Seen during September 2012, at Birmingham New Street Station was this Virgin Trains Pendolino at Platform 1. Going past the block built for Network Rail. Which is near Navigation Street (and between Pinfold Street and Hill Street in the City Centre). Even in 2012 it seemed like the West Coast would be taken over by First, but it got delayed. And the bidding redone.

Virgin Trains at Birmingham New Street Station

Stechford Station

Seen passing Stechford Station in October 2018 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. 390 114. In the last few years many of the Pendolino's got a new red livery. That was until all the Pendolino's were stripped back to all white before Avanti West Coast takes over. This station is having a new footbridge built, and I returned well over a year later to this station. Was a temporary footbridge in use, while the new one is being built. Would assume the new footbridge will open sometime in 2020? The previous concrete footbridge that used to be here was old looking and tired. The new one will have lifts.

Virgin Trains Stechford Station

Marston Green Station

This Virgin Trains Pendolino was seen passing Marston Green Station during February 2015. This station is close to the Sheldon Country Park and the plane spotting area in the park. From the station you can probably only see the planes from the footbridges, and not sitting down on one of the benches. But you can here the planes from here though.

Virgin Trains Marston Green

Birmingham International Station

Stopping at Birmingham International Station during February 2018 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 043. I caught this train from Birmingham New Street. But switched trains on the day I travelled to Berkswell (having to wait for the next London Northwestern Railway train there). The Pendolino at 9 or 11 carriages was quite packed!

Virgin Trains Birmingham International

Berkswell Station

Passing Berskwell Station at speed was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. Seen during February 2018. You could feel the rush of air as the fast trains went past you. So "Stand behind the yellow line". Or sit on the bench like I was doing. I have also been to Hampton-in-Arden Station back in October 2017, but didn't see any Virgin Trains in the time that I was at that station.

Virgin Trains Berkswell Station

Coventry Station

We finish our journey from Wolverhampton at Coventry Station. Seen during May 2015 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. Welcome to Coventry. This train was at the time named Virgin Champion. 390016. This train was going from London Euston to Edinburgh Waverley. I caught it to Birmingham New Street.

Virgin Trains Coventry Station

Good luck to Avanti West Coast who took over the West Coast Mainline on Sunday 8th December 2019.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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Art, culture & creativity
07 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Summer fun fair and The Big Sleuth at the Sandwell Valley Country Park (July 2017)

The only time I popped into the Sandwell Valley Country Park was when The Big Sleuth was on, so didn't go far. Saw a fun fair on the way to the Sandwell Park Visitor Centre. A tourist road train was also going round this part of the park. I've not got around to going back to this park. This visit end of July 2017. Not sure if I'll travel back here, is a long way to travel there

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Do you miss the summer with all the Christmas festivities in winter? Lets go back a couple of summers to late July 2017.

On the 30th July 2017 I was following The Big Sleuth trail of painted bears from Dudley to Sandwell (via the bus). In West Bromwich I got the bears in the Town Centre, then headed through Dartmouth Park and entered the Sandwell Valley Country Park.

On the left was a summer fun fair.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

A couple of bouncy castles here. The one of the right was the Space Shuttle.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Disney Cottage. Would guess that kids and explore it and see Disney cartoon characters?

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Crazy Caterpillar. A small rollercoaster for kids to enjoy.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

The blue tourist road train seen going round the park. Was close to the fun fair. The visitor centre seen in the background.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

It was called the Sandwell Express. All aboard, full steam ahead!

Sandwell Valley Country Park

It did several loops around this end of the park close to the fun fair.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

This is the Sandwell Park Visitor Centre. The Big Sleuth bear I was looking for was outside. While a selection of Little bears was inside. Was originally the Sandwell Park Farm.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

A Grade II listed building. Dating to around 1800. Near Lodge Hill Road. Built of brick with tile roofs. The farm buildings were built as the home farm on the Earl of Dartmouth's Sandwell Hall estate. Sandwell Hall was demolished in 1928.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

The only reason for this visit was to see The Big Sleuth bear called Uncle B. The artists was Louise Blakeley and Warren McCabe-Smith working with Cradley Heath Creative and was funded by Cradley Heath and Sandwell Council.

Big Sleuth

The back side of Uncle B. Wishing he was at the fun fair.

Big Sleuth

The other little bears were inside the Visitor Centre.

More photos on my Flickr here: Sandwell Valley Country Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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Art, culture & creativity
06 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Christmas at the Bullring down St Martin's Walk to St Martin's Square over the years

Every year like clockwork, the Bullring puts up their Christmas lights and Christmas tree between October and November every year. The gallery here from 2015 to 2019. Better to walk down St Martin's Walk, find it quite steep going up hill. The Christmas tree is usually in St Martin's Square outside of St Martin's Church (usually artificial).

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2015

This was during November 2015. The Christmas tree in St Martin's Square lit up after dark with Selfridges in the background.

Bullring Xmas

Looking at the Christmas lights up St Martin's Walk between both the West and East Mall. This is towards Rotunda Square.

Bullring Xmas

2016

This was during November 2016. The artificial Christmas tree seen in St Martin's Square.

Bullring Xmas

This Bar was near all these Christmas trees in December 2016. Around the time that the Cola Cola Christmas truck returned to Birmingham. Post here Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham over the years.

Bullring Xmas

2017

There was a Lurpak Christmas tree in Rotunda Square during November 2017. Was the first weekend of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, but it was unrelated to that.

Bullring Xmas

The Christmas tree and carousel (merry-go-round) that was in St Martin's Square during December 2017.

Bullring Xmas

The carousel was only at the Bullring during the Christmas / winter 2017 / 2018 season. Seen close to Selfridges, lit up in blue after dark.

Bullring Xmas

Looking up at the Christmas lights from the statue of Nelson above St Martin's Walk towards the Rotunda.

Bullring Xmas

2018

Now December 2018 and the Christmas lights up St Martin's Walk had changed. There was also now a small Christmas market at the bottom of the hill.

Bullring Xmas

First look at the Snow House in the direction of the West Mall.

Bullring Xmas

The Salvation Army band were performing near the Christmas tree in St Martin's Square. Visitors could pose with the reindeer in front of the tree.

Bullring Xmas

They had changed the Christmas tree for 2018. Looking more green than the previous white one.

Bullring Xmas

Heavy sleety cold rain as I walked down St Martin's Walk towards the Snow House. Was heading to Eastside City Park, where Ice Skate Birmingham was (at the time).

Bullring Xmas

While it looks Christmasy, the weather didn't feel like it! The resulting photos from that weather came out quite good though, like the Christmas lights with Christmas trees and reindeer with some stars.

Bullring Xmas

The Snow House. People under cover were probably dry. Outside everyone else was getting wet!

Bullring Xmas

2019

The Snow House returned in October 2019, around 10 months later. In time for Halloween. So initially there was pumpkins and cobwebs etc around and a Haunted House.

Bullring Xmas

The Haunted House. It would get replaced in November 2019 by the Christmas market again.

Bullring Xmas

It is now November 2019 and the Christmas lights on the East Mall. "Walk in strut out". This is near Rotunda Square.

Bullring Xmas

Better weather this time heading down St Martin's Walk. It looks like they reused the 2018 Christmas lights. The spire of St Martin's Church on the walk down to the Snow House. By then the small Christmas market at the bottom of the hill was back again.

Bullring Xmas

Not quite as dark enough as I would have wanted it. But zooming into these Christmas lights made it a bit more dark looking. Snow House at the bottom.

Bullring Xmas

The 2019 Christmas tree in St Martin's Square appears to be the same one as in 2018. Complete with the reindeer bench.

Bullring Xmas

Looking up St Martin's Walk. The Christmas lights from the statue of Nelson up to Rotunda Square. You can compare this shot with the equivalent I took in 2017.

Bullring Xmas

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
04 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

City Centre Gardens a hidden gem behind The REP and Library of Birmingham

You can find the City Centre Gardens on Cambridge Street behind The REP and Library of Birmingham. Part of the Civic Centre estate, the gardens were opened in May 1993 close to the four residential tower blocks. Peaceful and relaxing, you would hardly know that it is there. You can go in during any season. Also nice views from the Library of Birmingham. Brindley Drive is on the right side.

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City Centre Gardens

Part of the Civic Centre Estate, there was various proposed schemes from 1918 onwards. Land was cleared in the 1920s near the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal towards the former Baskerville Wharf. The Hall of Memory was completed in 1925 and later Baskerville House by 1940 (just as WW2 broke out). The earlier schemes were abandoned, and by 1958 a new proposal for a line or residential towers was proposed. These were built by 1968 from the City Architect, Alan Maudsley. Including Galton Tower, Norton Tower, Crescent Tower and Cambridge Tower.

On the land where the gardens would one day be built was old factories and a warehouse. Apparently they were very derelict and run down. When Bingley Hall still stood (until the fire of 1984 - now the site of The ICC), you could park down this way. The City Centre Gardens was opened on the 18th May 1993 by two Councillors of Birmingham City Council. It later won an award from the Local Government News, Urban Green Space in 1995 for Street Design, winning the First Prize.

I have popped in here many times over the years in different weather conditions. When the Library of Birmingham opened in September 2013, there was decent views from the back of the Discovery Terrace (on Level 3) and from the Secret Garden (on Level 7).

 

February 2010

First visit into City Centre Gardens was during February 2010. One of the entrance signs on Cambridge Street with childrens artwork.

City Centre Gardens

Main path to the central gazebo. There was some plaques on here, including one dated 18th May 1993 when the gardens was first opened to the public.

City Centre Gardens

The second plaque on the gazebo (at the top) was in memory of Donald Octavius Smith (1949 - 2007), who was the founder of the Organisation for Sickle Cell Research (OSCAR).

City Centre Gardens

The view towards Baskerville House and the Alpha Tower. Construction of the Library of Birmingham hadn't really begun at this point. The Orion Building and Hall of Memory were also visible from here.

City Centre Gardens

View towards The ICC Birmingham. The REP was to the left and Brindleyplace over to the right. Tower of Three Brindleyplace visible from here.

City Centre Gardens

This view towards Brindley Drive Car Park (since renamed Paradise Circus Car Park by Birmingham City Council). Baskerville House on the right.

City Centre Gardens

Exit gate to Cambridge Street. The BT Tower is visible from the gardens.

City Centre Gardens

August 2013

My next major visit to City Centre Gardens was in August 2013, a month before the Library of Birmingham was opened to the public.

A colourful flower tower seen from the far left Cambridge Street entrance (near the roundabout).

City Centre Gardens

Flower beds lining the side of the gardens near Cambridge Street.

City Centre Gardens

The Library of Birmingham seen for the first time completed next to Baskerville House. It would open a month after this. You can see the Discovery Terrace on the left, I would get to go up there when it opened in September 2013.

City Centre Gardens

Hanging flower pot with the BT Tower.

City Centre Gardens

The sun shining on these ball shaped hedges.

City Centre Gardens

Lots of green with pinks and reds on this border.

City Centre Gardens

The mixture of plants and flowers on the border close to Brindley Drive.

City Centre Gardens

September 2013

The view from the Library of Birmingham. This was my first visit inside. I actually went 18 days after it first opened. Back then the library was so busy in the early weeks so I waited a bit. The view from the Discovery Terrace, Below is City Centre Gardens with the view of the four Civic Centre Estate towers (Galton Tower, Norton Tower, Crescent Tower and Cambridge Tower).

City Centre Gardens

People relaxing or playing in the gardens. To be honest I'm not sure what they were doing!

City Centre Gardens

April 2015

My next visit was during April 2015. The groundsmen has planted lots of colourful flowers all round the gardens. And they looked wonderful!

City Centre Gardens

The gazebo seemed to have lost the wooden beams on top by then. Not sure why though.

City Centre Gardens

You can't really go in here, as there is always flowers or plants in the middle. Lots of red,s pinks and yellows seen here during the spring.

City Centre Gardens

A bench and one of the corner flower beds nearby the gazebo.

City Centre Gardens

During 2017

Views during January 2017 from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham as a pair of City Gardeners are seen hard at work.

City Centre Gardens

Probably replanting the borders during a cold winter. There is usually not that much planted here in the witner. So mostly looks green, until spring comes and they plant flowers of a variety of colours. The wooden planks on the gazebo had been reattached by this point.

City Centre Gardens

Panoramic taken in February 2017. From left to right: Baskerville House, Library of Birmingham, The REP and The ICC.

City Centre Gardens

It is now August 2017 and the City Centre Gardens was looking lush and green during the height of the summer. Was several people sitting on the lawn. The usual view from the Discovery Terrace. With Norton Tower, Crescent Tower and Cambridge Tower visible from here.

City Centre Gardens

January 2018

Winter again and it is now January 2018. Some rain and a light dusting of snow.

City Centre Gardens

There was a lot of coaches on Cambridge Street at the time for the Strictly Come Dancing Tour at Arena Birmingham. It was probably really cold!

City Centre Gardens

You can see the Civic Centre Towers from which ever angle you approach them. These are probably Galton Tower, Norton Tower and Crescent Tower.

City Centre Gardens

If you can tell from these photos it was raining at the time, hence rain droplets on my lens. Not usually many people walking in here during winter. maybe the odd one or two.

City Centre Gardens

Autumn 2019

Passing City Centre Gardens during October 2019 on Cambridge Street. This is the corner near Brindley Drive. This is the view from the service road between the Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House.

City Centre Gardens

I'd previously got views from the Discovery Terrace. But I think this was my first view of City Centre Gardens in it's entirety from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham (on Level 7). Very autumnal all over with leaves on the ground during November 2019. The towers seen here are Norton, Crescent and Cambridge towers.

City Centre Gardens

After collecting my Birmingham We Are 2020 Gems calendars, I popped into City Centre Gardens before heading towards St Paul's Square. Late autumn at the end of November 2019. Looking towards the Library of Birmingham.

City Centre Gardens

Hedgerow archway hides the brick walls near those benches. With the BT Tower to the right. Someone will have to go up and install the new BT logos in 2020!

City Centre Gardens

Far corner close to Brindley Drive. The REP and The ICC to the left. With the Civic Centre towers on the right. Leaves all over the place.

City Centre Gardens

Which ever way you look the Civic Centre towers are there. Hedges and bushes of different sizes to the left of the brick wall.

City Centre Gardens

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Transport
03 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Metro trams 34 and 35 on a test run between Grand Central and Town Hall (November 2019)

West Midlands Metro had trams 34 and 35 out at lunchtime on the 20th November 2019. When I saw them go between Grand Central Tram Stop on Stephenson Street to Town Hall Tram Stop on Paradise Street (I didn't have time to go to Centenary Square). They kept going up and down Pinfold Street, using the stop at Grand Central that has been out of service for a few years.

Related

This observation of the trams on a test run was on the lunchtime of Wednesday 20th November 2019. Involving trams 34 and 35. On this day I popped up towards Victoria Square, then back down to Stephenson Street. I saw tram 23 on a test run between the Town Hall and Centenary Square on Friday 22nd November 2019 (link to that post near the bottom of this post).

I had just missed Tram 34 heading down Stephenson Street. Seen leaving Grand Central Tram Stop. While tram 33 was in service to Wolverhampton.

Grand Central Tram Stop

I popped up to Victoria Square via Pinfold Street and found West Midlands Metro Tram 35 at Town Hall Tram Stop.

Town Hall Tram Stop

This was the tram formerly called Angus Adams (not sure why it was denamed). Also the tram the Queen got on board 4 years ago in 2015 (at Bull Street Tram Stop).

Town Hall Tram Stop

Tram 35 seen heading past Victoria Square and the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, making it's way under battery power down Pinfold Street.

Victoria Square

Tram 35 heading down Pinfold Street before turning left onto Stephenson Street. Birmingham New Street Station is directly ahead.

Pinfold Street

Tram 35 comes to a stop at Grand Central Tram Stop. Trams in service were still using the platform next to Birmingham New Street Station.

Grand Central Tram Stop

The view from Caffe Nero as Tram 34 departs from Grand Central Tram Stop. As it was out of service, passengers could not board this tram.

Grand Central Tram Stop

As I sat in Caffe Nero, saw both trams 34 and 35 returning both ways on a test up and down the Westside Metro extension. Bit of an awkward view from the table I sat at. Later in the day I did pop back to Victoria Square (after dark) but did not see any trams on the new extension, but was an opening to Town Hall Tram Stop.

 

Bonus photos.

Tram 30 heading down Stephenson Place towards the current Grand Central terminus.

Tram 30

Tram 36 seen at the end of October 2019. Now with the full blue livery and the My Metro app adverts still on it (passing Martineau Place and Poundland). The other advert trams are also now fully blue. Although tram 19 (1999 - 2019 - 20 Years) is unchanged.

Tram 36

On the 22nd November 2019 I observed tram 23 on a test between Town Hall and Centenary Square. Watch this space as that will be in a separate post to this one.

See that post here West Midlands Metro tram 23 on a test run between Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop (November 2019).

 

Update on the 28th November 2019. It's been a few weeks since Jasper Carrott himself had a ride on a tram for the first time in 70 years (towards Centenary Square). And they had a naming ceremony on tram 28 near the Town Hall in Victoria Square. Been waiting and waiting to see this tram with his name! Finally saw it at Grand Central Tram Stop as it departed for Wolverhampton.

Jasper Carrott

I have heard / read that Town Hall Tram Stop might be called Birmingham Town Hall Tram Stop. And Centenary Square Tram Stop maybe given the name Birmingham Library Tram Stop. Will have to wait and see when the stops actually opens in December 2019.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
28 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
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Tudor Grange Park: former estate of the Bird family, now near Solihull College

Tudor Grange Park is the other main park near Solihull Town Centre. With entrances on Blossomfield Road and Homer Road. Also near Monkspath Hall Road. Originally the estate of the Bird family (of Bird's Custard fame). Solihull Council bought the park in 1946. The Alder Brook, a stream flows into a lake with many geese, ducks and swans etc. Good for walks. Also a cycling track.

Related

Previous related post on Alfred Bird here: Alfred Bird & Sons: the inventor of eggless custard.

Tudor Grange Park

The park was originally the estate of the Bird family, famed for their Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham. They lived in the nearby Tudor Grange House. Solihull Council bought the former farmland in 1946 and turned it into a park. Solihull College is quite close to the park on Blossomfield Road. Solihull Station is also in close walking distance from the park.

The park is quite close to my bus route, and you can walk in and out of the park from Solihull Town Centre. There is a path that goes under a railway bridge that carries the Chiltern Mainline between Birmingham Snow Hill / Moor Street and London Marylebone. Another bridge carries Prince's Way. The other major path for me is the one near Solihull College leading to the bus stop on Blossomfield Road. To the back is Monkspath Hall Road (near a car park).

I've been to this park several times over the years in different seasons so a gallery from different years.

May 2011

Starting from the Blossomfield Road in Solihull Town Centre. One of the paths close to Solihull Station (other side of the road) leads to Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.

Tudor Grange Park

A look at the modern Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.

Tudor Grange Park

Trees lush and green in the spring to the side of the leisure centre.

Tudor Grange Park

One of the paths in the park. Not far from the Alder Brook and the lake.

Tudor Grange Park

The skate park covered in graffiti. It is also close to the speedway or cycleway figure of eight. The skate park was built in 2003.

Tudor Grange Park

This sign welcomes you to Tudor Grange Park and shows a map of the Cycle and Wheeled Sports Track.

Tudor Grange Park

Another path. Feel it is best to stick to the path. The grass isn't too bad in the spring. In the colder months the grass gets a bit wet and muddy.

Tudor Grange Park

The lake is where you would find various birds such as ducks, geese, swans and gulls etc.

Tudor Grange Park

Another Welcome to Tudor Grange Park sign with a history of the park.

Tudor Grange Park

Central area with benches. The park improvements were done in 2008.

Tudor Grange Park

February 2014

The next visit in the late winter of 2014 at the beginning of February. Fingerpost pointing to the Town Centre, Play Area, Sports Area. Also to the Leisure Centre & Cafe.

Tudor Grange Park

Swings on the playground.

Tudor Grange Park

Slide in the playground.

Tudor Grange Park

Another view of the skate park. Interesting street art there at the time.

Tudor Grange Park

The path to Homer Road and the Town Centre. First bridge is the railway bridge that carries the Chiltern Mainline. The nearby railway station is Solihull Station which is to the left of here. Widney Manor and Dorridge are the next two local stations to the right. The next bridge down carries the road Prince's Way.

Tudor Grange Park

Now just before the road bridge for Prince's Way. Halfway to Homer Road. In the distance is the John Lewis Car Park (also near the Touchwood Shopping Centre).

Tudor Grange Park

For some reason I turned around and got another view of the railway bridge then turned back around and headed up the path to Homer Road. Probably wanted the bridges from both sides. In the distance is the playground.

Tudor Grange Park

A man (I think) carries his shopping bags down the path under the Prince's Way road bridge, before heading under the railway bridge. It is possible to see trains from the park, but trees are usually in the way for good views.

Tudor Grange Park

December 2015

It was Christmas Eve in December 2015 when I made this visit to Tudor Grange Park. Some of the birds in the lake. A coot.

Tudor Grange Park

A gull.

Tudor Grange Park

More gulls in the lake.

Tudor Grange Park

A moorhen on the lawn near the leaves.

Tudor Grange Park

January 2016

About a month later, but only had my then mobile camera on me. On this sunny lunchtime walk in the park. Close to the lake towards the leisure centre.

Tudor Grange Park

Rays of the sunshine on the lake full of birds.

Tudor Grange Park

December 2017

Snow in Tudor Grange Park near the end of December 2017. Mostly covering the grass. This was the snow from Boxing Day evening, the next day I headed to the park. But wasn't like the snow from 2 weeks earlier.

Tudor Grange

Snow on the grass either side of the Alder Brook.

Tudor Grange

End of the Alder Brook towards the lake. Wasn't cold enough to be iced over.

Tudor Grange

Gulls flying around the lake as a the sun catches on the surface of the lake.

Tudor Grange

Snow around the skate park.

Tudor Grange

Towards the playground on the left. Interesting lighting effects with the sun and clouds.

Tudor Grange

This is the athletics track at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre seen through the fence. A lot of snow here. Can hardly tell that it's an athletics track like this! There is a football field in the middle hence the goalpost.

Tudor Grange

Ducks behind the fence having their lunch. As well as the usual Mallards, was several Domestic ducks here.

Tudor Grange Park

More ducks and some swans as well.

Tudor Grange Park

December 2018

Another walk into Tudor Grange Park (a quick one). Got on this time from the path on Blossomfield Road (near Solihull College) and headed towards Monkspath Hall Road before going into the town centre.

Tudor Grange Park

The fingerpost and welcome sign again. Sometimes of later visits can't recall if I've previously taken something until I later check out my previous photos.

Tudor Grange Park

This is the railway bridge on Monkspath Hall Road, just outside of Tudor Grange Park. From here you can walk to Prince's Way and around to Homer Road. Either entering the shopping area at Touchwood or heading up Church Hill Road to the end of the Solihull High Street.

Tudor Grange Park

November 2019

An autumnal walk around Tudor Grange Park. This time starting from the path from Homer Road (I had been to the Town Centre again). Heading under the railway bridge into the park with lots of leaves on the ground.

Tudor Grange Park

Trees looking autumnal in browns and yellow colours. But still some green to be seen here.

Tudor Grange Park

The Alder Brook in the direction of the footbridge and lake. A caution sign here "No access to unauthorised persons". Went on the grass for this photo.

Tudor Grange Park

Leaving the park briefly at Monkspath Hall Road, this path takes you back into the park. Under this canopy of trees. Leaves completely covered the path.

Tudor Grange Park

Back in the park, now walking straight down the cycle way path or speedway path. Trees with brown leaves everywhere.

Tudor Grange Park

The path went round in a circle when I got to the far end, but did not see a connecting path to the path I wanted to take. Also a path to Solihull College had no access.

Tudor Grange Park

Cyclists can go round in a figure of eight. Here the path curving to the right. Trees in leaf fall, leaves on the ground.

Tudor Grange Park

Eventually cut past the skate park and playground, and made it to the path towards Blossomfield Road. Almost took the wrong path to Solihull College, before I found the familar path out of the park.

Tudor Grange Park

Looking on Google Maps, there is another park in Solihull called Hillfield Park. It is near Monkspath and Widney Manor. It might be possible to walk there from Solihull Town Centre, or just get the no 5 bus there instead. The weather has not been to great recently for park walks. It needs to be dry. I have been on the 5 past here a few times in the past, but not recently.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Transport
27 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Return of the Polar Express at Birmingham Moor Street Station (22nd November to 22nd December 2019)

It's back! The Polar Express from Vintage Trains. On at weekends from the 22nd November to 22nd December 2019. I saw it at Birmingham Moor Street Station on Sunday 24th November 2019. This was the 14:40 service. I went to get the Chiltern Railways 14:55 service (as far as Solihull).

Related

Last year's Post here Shakespeare and Polar Express.

Chiltern Railways 168002 (the train I would ride one stop to Solihull) and 45305 Alderman A. E. Draper seen at platform 3 and 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station respectfully. The Polar Express is back for the festive season for the 2nd year. I saw families and kids arrive through an open gate (I used the ticket barrier).

Polar Express

This steam locomotive is from the Great Central Railway. 45305 Alderman A. E. Draper. Built in 1936. Originally numbered 5305 for the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMSR). After nationalisation in 1948, British Railways renumbered it as 45305. Withdrawn in 1968. Saved by Albert Drapers and Sons Ltd. Named Alderman A E Draper in 1984. From 1996 was with the Great Central Railway.

Polar Express

Carriages further down platform 4.

Polar Express

20 189 was at the end.

Polar Express

Close up of 20 189, I last saw her at the Tyseley Locomotive Works at the open day 2 months earlier.

Polar Express

Lined up the shot with the Birmingham Moor Street sign.

Polar Express

Looking towards Primark. My train 168002 on the right at platform 3 (looks so small).

Polar Express

Selfridges to the left.

Polar Express

I got on my train sometime after 14:30 and got these close up shots of the steam locomotive. This showing the number 45305.

Polar Express

First saw the nameplate Alderman A. E. Draper here.

Polar Express

With all the steam, the windows on my train were steaming up. Was another 10 minutes before the Polar Express left, and I had to wait 25 minutes before my train departed.

Polar Express

Red lights above the buffer in front of 45305. Way Out and Refreshment signs in the background.

Polar Express

Nameplate about the dedication to the memory of Albert E. Draper. Who was the former Alderman and Mayor of the Borough of Hedon, East Yorkshire.

Polar Express

Just after 14:40 as scheduled, the Polar Express slowly reversed out of Platform 3. While I waited another 15 minutes, another Chiltern Railways Class 168 train arrived from London Marylebone.

Polar Express

My train later passed the Polar Express while it was a red light at Small Heath Station. Didn't take photos from the train as wasn't expected it there. Instead watch this video on Youtube Vintage Trains The Polar Express 24/11/2019. Video by TNXRail.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
26 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cannon Hill Park through the seasons and over the years

I've taken hundreds and hundreds of photos of Cannon Hill Park over the years, so here will cut down to a selection of them. Of course I've been going to this park since I was little. But started taking photos of it in 2009. In winter, spring, summer or autumn always changing. Sometimes the same. Good for a walk. Many memorials here as well. Playgrounds and fun fairs. The MAC etc.

Related

Have a look at my Flickr album on Cannon Hill Park. If I take more photos, I will add them to that album.

2009

This was during May 2009. One of the earlier road trains that goes around the park.

Cannon Hill Park

The playground that is near the boating lake (if you went past the Midlands Art Centre / MAC).

Cannon Hill Park

This playground used to have a big ramp for kids to run along on.

Cannon Hill Park

This was during November 2009. Flower red with a circular pyramid of pots. Still some flowers even at that time of year.

Cannon Hill Park

Looking over the boating lake towards the playground. The cricket towers had yet to get refurbished / redcladded (Wickets Tower and Century Tower). They were given a white look in 2012.

Cannon Hill Park

Looking over the field in the park  towards the playground and boating lake.

Cannon Hill Park

Bridge over the lake. It exits towards the car park over another bridge (that crossed the River Rea). Over here you find many geese and gulls.

Cannon Hill Park

2010

This was during early December 2010 when Cannon Hill Park was covered in snow and all the lakes were frozen over.

Cannon Hill Park

Hardly anyone around as the boating lake was covered in a complete layer of ice.

Cannon Hill Park

Canada geese and gulls were able to stand on it. Was a section of open water near the start of the boating lake.

Cannon Hill Park

Just look at these Canada geese on the ice!

Cannon Hill Park

This is the second lake in the park. Also iced over. Known as the Canoe Pool according to Google Map.s

Cannon Hill Park

Seagulls flying around near this lake in early winter.

Cannon Hill Park

2011

Skipping ahead to April 2011. And was many spring flowers to see in the flower beds. Reds, yellows, purples etc.

Cannon Hill Park

A yellow flower bed.

Cannon Hill Park

Around this stone base or plinth was yellow, red, orange and pink coloured flowers.

Cannon Hill Park

Pink tulips and yellow flowers in this flower bed around a lamppost.

Cannon Hill Park

Palm trees in one area of the park. Maybe the wrong time of year to see them.

Cannon Hill Park

Many of the tulips were to be seen near the Russell Road entrance of the park. Pink ones here.

Cannon Hill Park

Red tulips. Making the park look colourful.

Cannon Hill Park

Another view of the pink tulips with yellow flowers.

Cannon Hill Park

2013

This was in July 2013. Don't think I got anything in 2012. Any way this time of the year was a lot of colourful summer flowrs. Yellows and reds in the flower beds.

Cannon Hill Park

Probably the same flower beds I took in the Spring 2011 photo. Just different flowers. Yellow flowers around the lamppost. Pinks in the flower beds behind.

Cannon Hill Park

A lot of red in these flower beds, plus several flower towers and a bit of yellow.

Cannon Hill Park

White and pinks I think in this flower bed.

Cannon Hill Park

These ones in the direction of the Boer War Memorial. Yellows, purples and pinks here.

Cannon Hill Park

2016

Ice cream van seen in March 2016. From the car park that runs along Queen's Ride. The footbridge over the River Rea is to the left and you head into the park from there. Verrecchia freshly whipped Italian ice cream.

Cannon Hill Park

Macro of a red tulip seen during May 2016.

Cannon Hill Park

And of a yellow tulip. Wonderful to see in April or May of every year.

Cannon Hill Park

Also this orangey yellow tulip.

Cannon Hill Park

2017

Wonderful display of Spring flowers and tulips during April 2017. Yellows, oranges and reds (I think).

Cannon Hill Park

Pink and purple tulips.

Cannon Hill Park

Flower towers and more of the pink and yellow tulips all over this large flower bed.

Cannon Hill Park

Close up of the purple and pink tulips. Red and yellow coloured flowers below.

Cannon Hill Park

They do a good job every year with these flower displays, especially over the spring and summer periods. A lot of reds here.

Cannon Hill Park

2018

Tourist road train seen during July 2018. That summer I'd been to Tuscany in Italy. So I saw road trains like this in Pisa. But I've seen similar over the years elsewhere on holiday as well.

Cannon Hill Park

That summer the grass was quite yellow after a long heatwave in July of that year.

Cannon Hill Park

Get some Italian ice cream. I was probably still uploading my Tuscany and Florence photos to Flickr at that time. Hopefully will go back to Italy again next year?

Cannon Hill Park

Now it was during October 2018. The palm trees were looking OK. The garden that is supposed to be a bit like Ancient Rome or Greece?

Cannon Hill Park

More palm trees and columns. This area is on the left as you enter the park from Edgbaston Road.

Cannon Hill Park

2019

A visit during February 2019. The sky was blue and the grass was green. Yet it was still winter. No leaves on the trees. View towards the boating lake.

Cannon Hill Park

Nice shadows from the trees on the field as families enjoy the sunshine in the winter. View towards The MAC.

Cannon Hill Park

Passing through the park in August 2019. A water jet fountain at the crazy golf course had gone sky blue.

Cannon Hill Park

A cyclist going past the wonderful flower beds. This was close to the Edgbaston Road entrance that I was heading to. A walk that started from Highbury Park and went in the back entrance via the Holders Lane Woods and the Rea Valley Route.

Cannon Hill Park

I'll probably do more Cannon Hill Park posts in the future. Got more material, such as the war memorials.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Photography
26 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Birmingham Big Wheel and (later) Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square (2009 - 2016, 2019 - present)

Here we will look at the Birmingham Big Wheel and other rides that have been in Centenary Square over the years. Eventually Ice Skate Birmingham took it over. My earliest photos from 2009. Ice Skate Birmingham was held in Centenary Square until 2016 (moving to Eastside for 2017 and 2018) before returning now in 2019.

Related

Ice Skate Birmingham has been running the Big Wheel and ice rink since at least 2016 in Centenary Square (also in Eastside City Park). Known as Winter Skate between 2013 and 2015. Before then it was just the Birmingham Big Wheel (and sometimes a few other rides).

Of course the Birmingham Big Wheel had been in Centenary Square before 2009 (10 years ago). But I only started taking photos of Brum back in 2009. So first got the Big Wheel in November and December 2009.

2009

Seen here in November 2009 in Centenary Square. The Birmingham Big Wheel sponsored by the Birmingham Mail. With Symphony Hall and The ICC Birmingham behind. Raining and gale force winds at the time.

Birmingham Big Wheel

It was now December 2009, and getting another view of the Birmingham Big Wheel at sunset. On my walk back into town after seeing Avatar at the cinema. The Christmas Craft Market was also in Centenary Square at the time.

Birmingham Big Wheel

I didn't get photos of the Birmingham Big Wheel in 2010 or 2011. Instead by December 2011 I only took photos of a Chair-o-Planes ride in Centenary Square.

2011

Close to The REP side of Centenary Square was a ride I called the Chair-o-Planes ride. Was other fun fair likes stalls around here.

Chair-o-Planes

Similar to what is in Centenary Square now, but much closer to the ground.

Chair-o-Planes

By 2012 you could already see the Library of Birmingham, around a year before it was due to open in Centenary Square.

2012

The Chair-o-Planes ride seen with the new (then still under construction) Library of Birmingham behind. Seen in November 2012.

Chair-o-Planes

For the first time you could see the Birmingham Big Wheel with the Library of Birmingham. The gold cladding around the Shakespeare Memorial Room wasn't quite finished (the Skyline Viewpoint would also be up there). Chair-o-Planes ride to the right now.

Birmingham Big Wheel

Now in December 2012 in the evening. The Birmingham Big Wheel and Chair-o-Planes rides lit up after dark. Couldn't see the Library of Birmingham as they hadn't turned on the lights (still a construction site until September 2013).

Birmingham Big Wheel

This view from Broad Street towards The REP. The same fun fair style stalls that they had there a year before.

Birmingham Big Wheel

The ice rink returned to Centenary Square in 2013 after the new Library of Birmingham opened. At this time they called it Winter Skate.

2013

The new Library of Birmingham opened to the public in September 2013. By November 2013, the Birmingham Big Wheel was back, and for the first time an ice rink called (at the time) Winter Skate. This was from the Discovery Terrace. This ice rink was not covered.

Winter Skate

Another Discovery Terrace view towards Symphony Hall. The beginnings of Ice Skate Birmingham as Winter Skate. They would return here every year until 2016.

Winter Skate

The Birmingham Big Wheel and Winter Skate seen during December 2013 in the evening. This view towards the Hall of Memory. I was heading to the Library of Birmingham.

Winter Skate

For the first time you could get the Big Wheel with the Library of Birmingham after dark. They even had a Christmas tree in the Amphitheatre below.

Winter Skate

Just a few arty shots in 2014.

2014

Reflection of the Birmingham Big Wheel on Christmas Eve 2014 in the Library of Birmingham. December 2014.

Birmingham Big Wheel

Reflection of the Big Wheel from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham.

Birmingham Big Wheel

View from Gas Street Basin with the Library of Birmingham seen behind. A few days before the end of December 2014.

Birmingham Big Wheel

I'm not sure if they were calling it Ice Skate Birmingham in 2015, but they had the ice rink there. Just more shots of the Big Wheel and a few details. Or it may have still been called Winter Skate Birmingham.

2015

A few nightshots. I noticed that the Birmingham Big Wheel kept changing colours every few seconds. This view towards Symphony Hall and The REP from Broad Street. November 2015.

Ice Skate Birmingham

There was still bus stops at this end of Broad Street, so around 4 years before the Westside Metro extension is due to open (and was 2 years before construction even began).

Ice Skate Birmingham

View from the Library of Birmingham of customers getting onto the Big Wheel. Looked like they had slightly changed the ice rink behind. Buses still using that end of Broad Street at the time.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Now December 2015 on Boxing Day. Ice Bar at what was Winter Skate Birmingham (now Ice Skate Birmingham). The ICC was closed on that day.

Ice Skate Birmingham

It finally got the Ice Skate Birmingham name in 2016. This would be the last year in Centenary Square before a temporary two year move to Eastside City Park (due to the impending redevelopment of the square). After a delay they returned for the 2019 Christmas season.

2016

This view of Ice Skate Birmingham from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham during December 2016. The last time it was in the 1991 style Centenary Square. It was open here until January 2017.

Ice Skate Birmingham

The major difference with the ice rink this time was an artificial Christmas tree in the centre. But still not covered, to protect you from the rain and snow (that would change in future years).

Ice Skate Birmingham

Closer look at the artificial Christmas tree in the middle.

Ice Skate Birmingham

A couple of Ice Skate Birmingham workers scrape the ice after people had skated over it.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Centenary Square would be mostly closed for redevelopment in 2017 and in 2018. And it didn't fully reopen until July 2019. That meant Ice Skate Birmingham had to find somewhere else. They were on Eastside Green in Eastside City Park for the two Christmas seasons they couldn't be in Westside (I will do a separate post of those years on Ice Skate Birmingham in Eastside).

2019

Being set up during the middle of October 2019. Ice Skate Birmingham is back in Centenary Square for the first time in 3 years and is bigger than ever. At this time the covered ice rink was awaiting a few more panels. And the Big Wheel yet to get the spindles for passengers to ride in. The view from near the Hall of Memory.

Ice Skate Birmingham

The view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. When Centenary Square looked like a constructions site again. Only months after fully reopening. Then again the Westside Metro extension is due to open to Centenary Square by December 2019. And the Symphony Hall redevelopment will be finished sometime in 2020.

Ice Skate Birmingham

By the end of October 2019, the Star Flyer had been installed. Fences here for the Symphony Hall redevelopment and the Westside Metro extension. There was a path straight ahead to walk up towards Centenary Way and Paradise Birmingham. Library of Birmingham seen to the left.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Hoping to get Ice Skate Birmingham after dark in the middle of November 2019. I went to Cineworld and saw the film Le Mans '66. After leaving it was raining heavily but still got my photos. The Star Flyer flying after dark and the Big Wheel lit up.

Ice Skate Birmingham

I walked along the path alongside Arena Central going past the former Municipal Bank (being redeveloped for the University of Birmingham) and HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square. Here before heading down the steps you can also see the complete tracks for the Westside Metro extension. I have yet to see a tram in test on them (yet).

Ice Skate Birmingham

The ice rink is now covered and lit inside. So rain (or snow) outside would not effect the inside of the ice rink at Ice Skate Birmingham. It was also covered when they were at Eastside City Park in the two previous winter seasons.

Ice Skate Birmingham

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Transport
25 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

West Midlands Metro tram 23 on a test run between Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop (November 2019)

I did walk up Pinfold Street into Victoria Square again but saw no trams go up or down. So I headed to Centenary Square (after a coffee stop in Starbucks). And saw West Midlands Metro tram 23 on a test run between Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop. I then popped up to the Library of Birmingham to see it. Had a 20 to 25 min wait to see the same tram again!

Related

First up, West Midlands Metro tram 21 departing Grand Central Tram Stop. Now in the full blue livery with the red Just Eat adverts as it moves onto the Wolverhampton bound tracks.

Tram 21

When walking up Stephenson Street I think I saw another tram arrive at Grand Central, but none as I walked up Pinfold Street, into Victoria Square through the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market. After a coffee stop in Starbucks, I headed towards Centenary Square.

West Midlands Metro tram 23 seen heading through Paradise Circus Queensway. The roadway is now complete. The view towards Suffolk Street Queensway and the Beetham Tower.

Tram 23

Heading past Arena Central and Dandara, onto what used to be Broad Street. The Bus Gate has been rebuilt by the looks of it.

Tram 23

Tram 23 comes to a stop outside of HSBC UK at Arena Central. Before continuing onto Centenary Square Tram Stop.

Tram 23

I next crossed through Centenary Square around the ice rink of Ice Skate Birmingham and headed into the Library of Birmingham. And went up to Level 3 and onto the Discovery Terrace. I waited around for around 10 minutes or so, even getting more photos of Ice Skate Birmingham, and the Westside Metro extension without the tram. Then went up to Level 7 to go to the Secret Garden.

Eventually I saw tram 23 heading round Paradise Circus Queensway. Looks like cars or buses in future would have to head down the slip road onto Suffolk Street Queensway.

Tram 23

Seen here heading onto what used to be Broad Street but is now considered to be Centenary Square. As it passes the Alpha Tower and HSBC UK at Arena Central.

Tram 23

Passing HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square.

Tram 23

The Birmingham Big Wheel as tram 23 arrives at Centenary Square Tram Stop.

Tram 23

End of the line, at least for another 2 years. Welcome to Centenary Square Tram Stop.

Tram 23

Heading back towards Town Hall Tram Stop. Back on Paradise Circus Queensway. I think Easy Row Subway is still under there, but the bridge has been reinforced.

Tram 23

About to turn left towards Paradise Street. Which is Tram only. So if you are in a car, don't drive down there OK!

Tram 23

These trams are quite flexible and bendy. No over head wires, all battery powered.

Tram 23

Passing Paradise Birmingham (on the left).

Tram 23

Now on Paradise Street heading towards Town Hall Tram Stop (for Victoria Square).

Tram 23

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
Architecture
21 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Central Square, Brindleyplace: Westside's central hub for events

Development of Central Square in Brindleyplace took place in the 1990s. In the centre is the Brindleyplace Cafe which is a Costa Coffee. One building looks like it escaped from Venice and that's Three Brindleyplace. Four Brindleyplace is now home to Caffe Nero and BANK (a restaurant not a bank). Opposite is Two Brindleyplace. Five Brindleyplace finishes off the square.

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Lets have a look around Central Square, Brindleyplace. First with my earliest photos from May 2009.

Costa Coffee based in the Brindleyplace Cafe or Central Cafe. I have been here several times over the years. Although it's more convenient now to go to the Costa at Arena Birmingham (it's bigger). This view looking towards Six Brindleyplace (to the left) and Five Brindleyplace (to the right).

Brindleyplace

Looking towards Two Brindleyplace. Near there is the water fountain jets. There is a path in the middle that goes down the steps. The building was completed in 1997. At one point it was the offices of Lloyds TSB (now just Lloyds Bank).

Brindleyplace

Now Birmingham's very own escaped from Venice buildings. Three Brindleyplace, which was completed in 1998. It faces the canalside and is to the right of the National Sealife Centre. In recent years restaurant space has been opened up on the ground floor.

Brindleyplace

Five Brindleyplace is seen to the right of Six Brindleyplace and the Costa Coffee Cafe. It was completed in 1996. It was offices of BT. But in recent years has been refurbished into offices for Deutsche Bank (who used to be in One Brindleyplace (that has been taken over by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games).

Brindleyplace

View of the Aqueduct sculpture by Miles Davies seen in November 2009. It was unveiled in 1995. Four Brindleyplace seen behind was completed in 1999. BANK the restaurant was in Central Square 10 years ago like it is now. I think an estate agents was where Caffe Nero is now (on the left). I regularly go to that Caffe Nero (as with others around the City and Solihull).

Brindleyplace

The water fountain jets. Walk down the path in the middle for safety reasons. Kids may want to play in the water. Sometimes it is turned off. Between Two and Three Brindleyplace. Seen in May 2009.

Brindleyplace

Now a look at some of the events held here over the years.

4 Squares Weekender

Held over the weekend of the 6th to 8th September 2013. Co-inciding with the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. They also used Victoria Square, Chamberlain Square and Centenary Square. I saw it on the 7th September 2013.

This is Pif Paf.
The thrilling new aerial sculpture by Pif Paf, within a transforming mechanical world of action, metal and rope, presented by mac Birmingham.

4 Squares Weekender

Some musicians including a man with a guitar. Was still an estate agent at Four Brindleyplace at this time (no Caffe Nero until sometime in 2014).

4 Squares Weekender

One of the pink and white banners for 4 Squares Weekender.

4 Squares Weekender

Another view of Pif Paf.

4 Squares Weekender

Fine and Local Food Market

This was on the 30th May 2014. These market stalls near Two Brindleyplace.

Brindleyplace

These market stalls between the Costa Coffee Cafe and Three Brindleyplace. Looking towards Two Brindleyplace (on the left).

Brindleyplace

Brindleyplace Film Festival

This was held from the 7th to 13th July 2014. On Saturday the 12th July 2014 they were showing Toy Story 2 in Central Square.

Brindleyplace

The crowd of people enjoying the movie in the summer sunshine, as I headed for a coffee at Caffe Nero in Four Brindleyplace. They could be in Venice but Three Brindleyplace is in Birmingham. The Waters Edge on the right leads towards the canal and The ICC.

Brindleyplace

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

It was an art trail of painted owls across the city. Was a pair in Central Square from July 2015 for a 10 week period over the summer. (the old The Big Hoot website is no longer online).

This one was called You Can Call Me Owl by the artist Stephen McKay and the sponsor was Brindleyplace. Seen in July 2015. It looked like a red phone box. Seen close to Two Brindleyplace.

Big Hoot

This owl that resembled the IKON Gallery was outside of Five Brindleyplace. The Oozells Owl by the artist Jodie Silverman and the sponsor was Deutsche Bank (outside of their new home from 2014). See also my IKON Gallery post.

Big Hoot

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

Another public art trail around Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell and Dudley. But this time painted bears. A 10 week trail over the summer from July 2017. Their website has unfortunately been taken over by something that is nothing to do with the trail.

Bearlock was by the artist Lee O'Brien and the sponsor was Deustche Bank. Seen outside of Five Brindleyplace. Based upon Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Seen in July 2017.

Big Sleuth

Bear'indleyplace was by the artist Jennifer Shufflebottom and the sponsor was Brindleyplace. Was close to Two Brindleyplace.

Big Sleuth

Christmas 2016

Seen in December 2016 was Santa's Christmas Boot. A bit like one of those Magical Lantern things that was at the Botanical Gardens at the time.

Brindleyplace

Seems to me like Brindleyplace only put's up teir Christmas tree in early December, like his one in December 2016. looking towards Caffe Nero and Four Brindleyplace. You wont find a Christmas tree here in November (unlike other parts of the City Centre).

Brindleyplace

Amazon Treasure Truck

This was seen in February 2018. Seen parked close to Three Brindleyplace. Over 2018 I kept seeing it return to the City Centre multiple times. Sometimes in Victoria Square, sometimes at the Bullring.

Amazon Treasure Truck

The front side of the Amazon Treasure Truck near Costa Coffee and Five Brindleyplace.

Amazon Treasure Truck

This view towards Four Brindleyplace and Caffe Nero. The occasion for this visit was Valentines Day.

Amazon Treasure Truck

Forget me not

This was during April 2018. Got these views from the Brindleyplace Car Park. There for the second year from the 2nd to 8th April 2018.

Forget me not

2000 wrought iron flowers symbolises a special person who is no longer with us. Views from the car park were a bit awkward to get.

Forget me not

Bit harder to get a decent view from the square itself. I'm not sure if it returned here for a third year in 2019 or not. Didn't hear anything about it this time around.

Forget me not

Fast & Furious

This was seen in Central Square during April 2018. Promoting Fast & Furious Live which was going to be at Arena Birmingham on the 20th, 21st and 22nd April 2018 (last year).

Fast & Furious

Various revved up and modded cars were parked in the square. We now have Fast & Furious 9 to await in cinemas in 2020 (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw came out in August 2019).

Fast & Furious

The Fast & Furious Live lorry parked near BANK at Four Brindleyplace.

Fast & Furious

Brindley The Place

This was a temporary renaming of Brindleyplace as Brindley The Place during April 2019 (these signs have gone now). This was on Three Brindleyplace or Three Brindley The Place.

Brindley The Place

This was at Four Brindleyplace. Or Four Brindley The Place.

Brindley The Place

Welcome to Brindley The Place. This large banner was down Six Brindleyplace or Six Brindley The Place.

Brindley The Place

More Central Square photos here Brindleyplace, Central Square, Birmingham. Including some small dinosaurs and Oompa loompas.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
19 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham over the years

The world famous Coca Cola Christmas Truck used to make an annual visit to Birmingham (and other places across the UK). It will not be returning to Birmingham in December 2019 (instead to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre near Dudley). Instead enjoy this gallery of photos from the Bullring (2014 and 2016) and Eastside City Park (2017 and 2018).

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St Martin's Square, Bullring, December 2014

I was first able to get photos of the world famous Coca Cola Christmas Truck at the Bullring in St Martin's Square on the early evening on the 11th December 2014.

Coca Cola Truck

Was a crowd of people in the queue to get a free can of Coca Cola, or pose with the truck. Was near Selfridges, St Martin's Church and a Christmas tree.

Coca Cola Truck

Views from the upper level balcony at the Bullring are best to see the Coca Cola Truck (and other things that park here).

Coca Cola Truck

The Coca Cola Truck always drew a crowd of people.

Coca Cola Truck

You know the "holidays are coming" when Santa brings his Coca Cola Truck to town!

Coca Cola Truck

St Martin's Square, Bullring, December 2016

Thanks to Birmingham Updates for using one my 2016 photos on their Social Media posts, I now know that it wont be returning to Birmingham in December 2019.

I next saw the Coca Cola Truck when it returned to the Bullring on the 17th December 2016. This time got my photos in the daylight hours.

Coca Cola Truck

Similar views as before, but you can see the Coca Cola Truck properly now. A Coke man takes a families photo with the truck.

Coca Cola Truck

The Bullring's 2016 Christmas tree look rather artificial that year. This is the photo that Birmingham Updates used. Coca Cola Truck Bham Updates.

Coca Cola Truck

Getting different views, but more of the same.

Coca Cola Truck

Going round the side of Selfridges for this view of the Coca Cola Truck at the Bullring.

Coca Cola Truck

Ice Skate Birmingham, Eastside City Park, December 2017

The next time I saw the Coca Cola Truck was when it visited Ice Skate Birmingham in Eastside City Park. This was on the 9th December 2017. This was the day before it snowed. I was coming back on the train from a day out in Bedworth. Not much of a view from the train, so I headed to Eastside after I arrived at Birmingham New Street Station.

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

Close up view of the world famous Coca Cola Truck. New views with it included The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station.

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

This view with the Birmingham Big Wheel and the other rides that were at Ice Skate Birmingham. They found this site in 2017 due to the then redevelopment of Centenary Square (which took two years in the end).

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

Slightly further back with the Birmingham Big Wheel. It would be nice to get something like this again in Westside, but the Coca Cola Truck isn't coming to Birmingham this year.

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

Last 2017 view as the light faded. Masshouse residential blocks to the right. Rotunda in the middle and the Birmingham Big Wheel to the left.

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

Ice Skate Birmingham, Eastside City Park, December 2018

Spending a section festive season in Eastside City Park, Ice Skate Birmingham once again hosted the return of the Coca Cola Christmas Truck. I saw it on the early evening of the 15th December 2018, in rainy sleety cold and freezing weather!

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

Despite the weather conditions, the resulting photos looking quite Christmasy, even thought it wasn't snowing. The Birmingham Big Wheel to the right. With The Woodman pub seen behind.

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

For 2018, they parked the Coca Cola Truck in a slightly different position. Also Ice Skate Birmingham were further to the right, as the land they used previously was now HS2 land.

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

Probably due to the weather, there wasn't many people around.

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

Still the sleety rain added to the effect of a Coca Cola Christmas!

Coca Cola Truck Eastside

I hope people at Merry Hill enjoy it. Never been there myself. Although I know that you can get a bus from Cradley Heath Station (which is on the Snow Hill lines). According to the Birmingham Mail, it will be in Merry Hill on the 6th and 7th December 2019. Coca-Cola Christmas truck 2019 heads to intu Merry Hill.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
History & heritage
19 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

National Trust properties around the Midlands (Spring and Summer 2019)

On my National Trust membership card, been to many National Trust properties around the shire counties in the spring and summer of 2019. I was thinking about doing a post on the Cotswolds properties I went to, but here will stick to the Midlands (for now). Croome Court in Worcestershire. Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire. Farnborough Hall in Warwickshire. Berrington Hall in Herefordshire.

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Previous National Trust posts here: 

Croome Court

A visit to Croome Court during April 2019. This visit was near the end of the month. Located not far from Pershore in south Worcestershire at Croome D'Abitot. Croome Court is a mid-18th-century Neo-Palladian mansion. It is surrounded by parkland designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown for the 6th Earl of Coventry. Some of the rooms were designed by Robert Adam. The house was built in 1751 - 52.

Croome Court

A look at some of the rooms inside. This was the Long Gallery. Most of the fixtures and fittings were sold in the 1940s, so most rooms are now used for temporary exhibitions. At the time was no exhibition in this room, but one was scheduled called "Can't see the trees for the wood". The interiors were done in about 1760.

Croome Court

This is The Golden Box in the Dining Room at Croome Court. There was A stunning display of Croome's porcelain by artist Bouke de Vries.

Croome Court

Back outside, and now on the path to the Chinese Bridge. Would soon cross over the Croome River.

Croome Court

Lakeside view of Croome Court. National Trust deckchairs to the right where you can sit and relax near the lake. Also an urn to the left of the deckchairs.

Croome Court

Distance from Birmingham: about 36 miles via the M5. Journey time in a car about 54 minutes. Postcode for SatNav: WR8 9DW. Rebecca Road, High Green.

Canons Ashby

On the May Day Bank Holiday Monday in early May 2019, we went to Canons Ashby House in Northamptonshire. It is a Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house located in the village of Canons Ashby. About 11 miles south of the town of Daventry. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1981, who have since restored it and done up the gardens. The house dates to the mid 16th century. It was the home of the Dryden family for many centuries.

Canons Ashby

A look inside Canons Ashby House. Photography was fine, as long as without a tripod or flash. The book room or Library. A pair of globes sitting on tables near the desk in the middle of the room.

Canons Ashby

This room was the Servants' Hall. With a long table and chairs in the middle. One of the rooms on the landing as we headed back downstairs.

Canons Ashby

Now back outside in the gardens. From the Top Terrace. Stunning flowerbeds with a multitude of colours. Spring is the perfect time to see colourful displays like this. May have been tulips out at that time of the year.

Canons Ashby

Further out in the gardens. Now on the Mulberry Lawn. The house having originally been built around 1550, was extended in 1590. It was embelished in 1632. The south front was remodelled in 1708 to 1710. The west range to the Green Court with the entrane dates to 1840.

Canons Ashby

Distance from Birmingham: about 61 miles via the M6 in a car. Should take just over an hour to get there. Postcode for SatNav: NN11 3SD. Canons Ashby, Daventry.

 

Farnborough Hall

A private residence, could not take interior photos, so only got the exteriors. Only open on Saturday and Wednesday afternoons on Bank Holidays. This visit on the way back home from Canons Ashby, during the early May Bank Holiday Monday back in May 2019. Farnborough Hall is a country house just within the border of Warwickshire, not far from Banbury (which is in Oxfordshire). It has been owned by the National Trust since 1960. Home of the Holbech family from 1684, although they first moved in around 1692. During WW1 and WW2 the hall was used as a auxiliary hospital. The main entrance into the hall was through that open door.

Farnborough Hall

View of the drive a bit further back. The Clock Court is to the right. The hall is Grade I listed, while the Clock Court is Grade II listed. The way in from the car park is near the Clock Court. It was a Stableblock dating to the 18th century. Was remodelled in 1815 - 1816 by Henry Hakewill for William Holbech.

Farnborough Hall

After a look around the house (I was unable to take photos inside as it was not allowed due to being a private residence). Went around the gardens having a look around.

Farnborough Hall

From the lawn a bit further back looking at this side of the hall.

Farnborough Hall

Further back after a walk down a path to a garden. Another look at the hall behind this field. Got to be careful of low lying tree branches, as I didn't see it one way, and hit my head (ouch). Even with a hat on (need a hard hat). Some places have low ceilings or door frames so have to be careful where I go on my travels.

Farnborough Hall

Distance from Birmingham: about 48 miles along the M40 in a car. Journey would take around 52 minutes. From Canons Ashby it was about 13 miles along the A423, a journey time in the car of 26 minutes. Postcode for SatNav: . .

 

Berrington Hall

In an August 2019 visit to Berrington Hall. It is a  country house located about 3 miles north of  Leominster in Herefordshire. There was scaffolding on part of the hall due to the on going work to restore the dome. So when you head up the main staircase inside the hall, you see the scaffolding and wraps. Some light fittings had to be taken down at the time. It is a neoclassical country house building that Henry Holland designed in 1778-81 for Thomas Harley.

Berrington Hall

Heading to the main entrance for a look around the hall, through the big door, up the steps behind the four columns. Scaffolding to the right. Berrington features Capability Brown's last landscape design. You can head down the field through gates past sheep to the Berrington Hall. Best to do that after you have had a look around the hall first. Berrington has been in possession of the Cornewall family since 1386, but was taken over by the Harley family in 1775 who lived here for 95 years. In 1901 a Manchester businessman, Frederick Cawley MP, later Baron Cawley, purchased the estate. In 1957, the 3rd Lord Cawley transferred it to the Treasury, who in turn passed it onto the National Trust. Lady Cawley was allowed to live here until her death in 1978. A Grade I listed building since 1959.

Berrington Hall

A look around the interior of the hall. This was in the Library. To the left of the fireplace was a chessboard.

Berrington Hall

This is the Drawing Room. Chairs around the wall near a fireplace with a couple of mirrors in the room.

Berrington Hall

Back outside into the Courtyard. There was a tea room to the right and I think if I recall correctly the gift shop was to the left. Through the entrance way straight ahead was a former stables. One of which where you could buy an ice cream, or get a coffee. We later went to the Old Servants' Hall tea room (in the building to the right) down the basement for a coffee and slice of cake. After that, got an ice cream from the Stables cafe.

Berrington Hall

Distance from Birmingham: about 46 miles in the car taking 1 and a half hours via the A456. Postcode for the SatNav: . Leominster.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
18 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Highbury Park through the seasons and the years between Kings Heath and Moseley

I first started getting photos of Highbury Park near Kings Heath and Moseley 10 years ago in December 2009. First proper venture into the park when it was all covered in snow to see Highbury Hall. The park was originally the grounds of the home of Joseph Chamberlain. He gave the park to the city before his death in 1914 and the park opened to the public in 1930.

Related

Highbury Park on Wikipedia. The park is the estate of Highbury Hall which was the former home of Joseph Chamberlain. Once the Mayor of Birmingham in the late 19th Century. He was later an MP. The hall is near the north east corner of the park on Yew Tree Road in Moseley (in the Moor Green area). Before he died he bequeathed the park to the people of Birmingham. The park finally opened to the public in 1930.

The Camp Hill Line is to the south of the park. Hopefully in a few years, Kings Heath Station will be rebuilt close to where The Gym and Homebase are now at the Findlay Road Retail Park.

The main entrance of the park is on the High Street in Kings Heath, close to Queensbridge Road. If you are coming from Kings Heath Park, you can also enter Highbury Park from Dad's Lane, in an entrance on Shutlock Lane. The other entrances and exits are on Moor Green Lane, and near the gatehouse lodge close to Yew Tree Road.

From here you can then walk towards Cannon Hill Park, either down Russell Road or head down Moor Green Lane and enter on Brockley Grove onto the Holders Lane Woods.

 

OK back to Highbury Park.

 

December 2009

The first time I got photos of Highbury Park was from early December 2009 from the High Street in Kings Heath, but I did not enter the park at this time as I wasn't ready. I probably headed up Queensbridge Road at the time.

Highbury Park

The path down into the park. I would return a few weeks later after it had snowed.

Highbury Park

About 4 days before Xmas Day I headed to the park, this time for an actual walk around. Back to the High Street, Kings Heath entrance (at this point hadn't used the other entrances). A bike near the caution sign.

Highbury Park

The old brick wall. It would later be fully repaired years later.

Highbury Park

One of the ponds in the park. Totally frozen and iced over.

Highbury Park

The paths near Moor Green Lane and Shutlock Lane had a thin layer of snow over them. Evergreen trees behind trees that had shed their leaves.

Highbury Park

I think the snow was completely frozen over the paths despite all the footprints and tyre marks from bikes. This path leads back to the old wall. The gardens of Highbury Hall are to the left of here.

Highbury Park

Near the entrance / exit to Moor Green Lane, close to Yew Tree Road is this gatehouse / lodge. Now a private residence. Built around 1880 as part of the original approach to Highbury Hall. Part of the drive is still present. But most of the route is now covered by trees. Now the only main entrance to Highbury Hall is on Yew Tree Road.

Highbury Hall

January 2015

The next major time I visited Highbury Park with my camera was when there was these outdoor musical instruments that people could play with (especially young kids). This one looked like a harp.

Highbury Park

A carved wooden bench.

Highbury Park

Another wooden bench. Notice that they both have flowers carved into them.

Highbury Park

Can you play? Can you play loud or quiet? - Dynamics. Can you play long or short notes? Duration. This is what it says on each one of these musical instruments.

Highbury Park

A bit closer up. Not really sure how they work.

Highbury Park

A wooden circle. Birmingham's very on "Stone Henge" or more like "Wood Henge" in Highbury Park.

Highbury Park

Stone hall in a triangular piece of stone. Again not fully sure what you are supposed to do with this, maybe say something through the hole and another person may hear you?

Highbury Park

August 2018

Heading down Dad's Lane towards the Shutlock Lane entrane of the park. Saw this National Express West Midlands single decker bus on the 27 bus route. It would also pass Kings Heath Park.

Highbury Park

Saw a Land Rover Series II in the car park.

Highbury Park

Mocha Moo Cafe was at The Great Big Pet Picnic. Here people could get food and drink while with their pets in this field.

Highbury Park

The leaves were lush and green in the middle of August 2018. And the ponds made some nice reflections and ripples.

Highbury Park

The pond is also known as the Fish Pond. Many birds are to be seen around here.

Highbury Park

Saw this heron pirched on a branches of a tree that was over the pond.

Highbury Park

Trees in a wood and early signs of the autumn to come.

Highbury Park

Almost the middle of August, and leaves were already falling off trees, and it wasn't yet September!

Highbury Park

Yet the leaves on the trees were still green. Apart from the leaves that had already fallen.

Highbury Park

August 2019

Heading round the back of the old brick wall. Now fully restored, after part of it was damaged. Signs of graffiti, but faint.

Highbury Park

Getting closer to the wall. Trees all full of green leaves at this point. This was near the end of August 2019.

Highbury Park

Here you can see evidence of the brick wall repairs. Looking as good as new.

Highbury Park

A grass path amongst the trees. I didn't head up this one.

Highbury Park

Reflections in the pond. Leaves still lush and green before autumn came.

Highbury Park

A Common moorhen seen in the Fish Pond. The odd leaf had fallen into the pond. And the fishes are just about visible close to the surface. At least I think they are fishes!

Highbury Park

Several flower beds with roses. Close to the Shutlock Lane and Moor Green Lane exit.

Highbury Park

After this I headed down Moor Green Lane and went into Cannon Hill Park via the Holders Lane Woods. In late summer, there is usually a fun fair on the fairground in Cannon Hill Park, which I saw on my walk towards Edgbaston Road. You can even start your three parks walk in Kings Heath Park and walk through Highbury Park and then into Cannon Hill Park. Ending up near the Cricket Ground.

 

For more of my Highbury Park photos, please check out my Flickr album here Highbury Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
People & community
15 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Armistice Day at the Hall of Memory in Centenary Square (11th November 2019)

For the first time since Centenary Square reopened, it was now possible to have an Armistice Day morning service at the Hall of Memory. Also for the first time in front of Ice Skate Birmingham. Getting ready for the two minutes silence at 11am, men in uniform going around with flags. I approached from Centenary Way and left near Baskerville House.

Related

Heading past Paradise Birmingham onto Centenary Way, I was popping into Centenary Square near the Hall of Memory as the service on the 11th November 2019 was getting underway in the shadow of Ice Skate Birmingham (seen behind).

Hall of Memory

The first Armistice Day service to take place in Centenary Square in perhaps 3 years (the Hall of Memory was closed off while the square was being redeveloped and at the time the Book of Remembrance was moved to the Library of Birmingham).

Hall of Memory

Uniformed veterans carry flags around the Hall of Memory.

Hall of Memory

People pause as they watch the ceremony taking place.

Hall of Memory

It has changed so much around the Hall of Memory in the last 10 years. The only buildings that were there back then was the Hyatt Hotel, Symphony Hall, The ICC, The REP and Baskerville House. Now we have HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square and the Library of Birmingham. Ice Skate Birmingham is temporary and will be here until early January 2020.

Hall of Memory

A uniformed officer and a man in a suit with a trumpet.

Hall of Memory

The men with flags have now passed to the right side of the Hall of Memory.

Hall of Memory

I didn't stick around, but ended up in Birmingham New Street Station at 11am when there was a two minutes silence there.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Photography
15 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The 2009 Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market (10 years ago this November)

I took my very first photos of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market 10 years ago on the 14th November 2009. Can't believe that 10 years already has passed since then. I have over the years taken more photos from the market, but not as full as my initial photos (subsequent years mostly the market going up or down). Back then was a helter skelter, giant polar bear and Santa heads!

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These photos were taken on the 14th November 2009. 10 years ago this week. In the years since I have taken more photos at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, but not with all the crowds that I experienced 10 years ago!

Victoria Square, November 2009

Now this is the route of the new Westside Metro extension, but back in 2009 Anthony Gormley's Iron:Man was still here, and they had a helter skelter ride near Victoria Square House! Was also a nest in this tree (now cut down).

BFCM Victoria Square

Anthony Gormley's Iron:Man statue enjoying the first weekend of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market. 10 years on it's still in storage.

BFCM Victoria Square

Another man with a camera heading around the market.

BFCM Victoria Square

Can you see the giant polar bear with a Christmas hat?

BFCM Victoria Square

Close up of the polar bear. I think this was a Polar Beer Bear Bar (or something like that?).

BFCM Victoria Square

Also a giant Santa Claus head. Whatever happened to that?

BFCM Victoria Square

Bob Wilson's Carousel returns like clockwork every year, so expect to see it in Victoria Square now, like 10 years ago. The Floozie in the Jacuzzi, when the River was dry (after a leak).

BFCM Victoria Square

New Street, November 2009

This was the view heading down Christchurch Passage towards New Street.

BFCM New St

Already looking too crowded on New Street, yet I headed down to try and get my first photos of the market.

BFCM New St

Somehow caught a beggar with his hands out near the Halifax (now a Nando's).

BFCM New St

More people as I headed down New Street. This is from Ethel Street.

BFCM New St

This piece is at the Frankfurt Christmas Market every year. Red candles with figures of Santa, Nutcrackers etc. Always just before Bennetts Hill.

BFCM New St

Carrying on past the Tesco Metro. There is never any market stalls between Bennetts Hill and Temple Street. A pedestrianised road to allow vehicles through.

BFCM New St

Getting closer to Corporation Street. Near Slater Menswear and Urban Outfitters

BFCM New St

Near an Oasis shop. Which is still there now. Close to what was a Waterstone's book shop (now an Apple store). Would be a few years later before the market stretched as far as Rotunda Square.

BFCM New St

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
14 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Rookery Park in Erdington: once the site of Erdington Town Hall

I initally went past Rookery Park in Erdington back in January 2019 on Wood End Road, and have only just got around to having a look round the park in November 2019. Was very autumnal on my visit. Rookery House is derelict and under scaffolding. Hopefully the house is being restored. There is also a couple of derelict toilet buildings in the park, boarded up covered in graffiti.

Related

Rookery Park is a small park located in Erdington between Wood End Road and Western Road. You can catch the no 11A or 11C buses to the park. The park is bounded by Kingsbury Road to the east and Rollason Road to the west.

Some history taken from Rookery Park and House, Birmingham, which by the looks of it was taken from Bill Dargue - Erdington's page.

The house in Rookery Park was originally known as Birches Green House. Built in the early Georgian period around 1730 by Birmingham ironmaster Abraham Spooner. He moved to Elmdon Hall in 1760 and his son Isaac and family lived here until Abraham's death in 1789 when they moved to Elmdon. William Wilberforce planned his antislavery campaigns in this park. He married a member of the family Dorothy Spooner. Later Birmingham's first Tory MP, Richard Spooner was born here in 1783.

The glass manufacturer Brueton Gibbons lived in Rookery House from 1816. From 1871 the house was leased by William Wiley. Rookery House became Erdington's Council House after 1894 until 1911 when Erdington became part of Birmingham.

The Council had used it until about 2008 for council services, but in recent years it's become derelict. Now under scaffolding, the house is being converted into flats.

 

I first passed the park on Wood End Road in January 2019, but a Asian wedding party was there for their photos, so I didn't enter at this time. Took me until November 2019 until I actually travelled back to Erdington.

January 2019

Just passing the park as I walked up Wood End Road towards the Erdington High Street. A wedding car was on the road, and was an Asian wedding party there for their photos, so I didn't want to disturb them, so carried on up the road.

Rookery Park

Saw this derelict gents building behind fences, the doors boarded up. The window frames rotten. I don't think it's changed condition in the last year or so.

Rookery Park

November 2019

Entered the park via the gate on Wood End Road in Erdington, I had just seen an Emirates Airbus A380 coming into land at Birmingham Airport (missing getting the photo by the time I entered the park). I took the right path towards Rookery House.

Rookery Park

Leaves on the lawn, trees shedded their leaves. Not too bad at this point as it was before the forecast rain.

Rookery Park

Looking very autumnal as I headed round the path.

Rookery Park

Another old toilet block. All the doors and windows were bricked up, and covered in recent graffiti.

Rookery Park

First look at Rookery House. I was hoping to see it looking like it's former self. Maybe after the restoration is complete.

Rookery Park

A formal garden in front of the house. But nothing much in the flower beds at this time of the year. Like Pype Hayes Park, I hope that the house is fully restored, and perhaps given a use to the public. As flats it would be for private residents.

Rookery Park

Then I saw this playground to the left.

Rookery Park

Heading up the path towards Western Road. Car park to the right.

Rookery Park

Looking back at the field of leaves and trees. My path taken was on the left.

Rookery Park

Just before exiting at Western Road, pair of paths. I used the one on the left. Another path on the right also leads back to Wood End Road.

Rookery Park

From here, checking Google Maps, left Western Road via Rollason Road and Church Road. Leading to the Erdington High Street. After a coffee stop, I went towards Erdington Station, but the rain started by then. Another possible park to visit it Witton Lakes Park, if the weather is better.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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Green open spaces
12 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cotteridge Park: the park near the Cross City Line

Getting off the 11C bus on the Pershore Road in Cotteridge. I usually head up Breedon Road past Cotteridge Junior & Infant School. Crossing into the park over the Cross City Line. There is many paths to take. Last couple of times I ended up at Bournville Station. The bridge over the railway still has the mural painted in 2012.

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Cotteridge Park dates to the Victorian period. The park is near Franklin Road and not far from Bournville. One way into the park is over the railway bridge that you can cross from Breedon Road. The No 11 Outer Circle bus route (11A and 11C) passes nearby on the Pershore Road and Linden Road. The Friends of Cotteridge Park  was established in 1997 and they celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2017.

 

December 2013

Approaching the bridge from Breedon Road. Vehicles can't go over it so there are bollards there.

Cotteridge Park

Painted in 2012 on behalf of the Friends of Cotteridge Park, Birmingham City Council an Network Rail.

Cotteridge Park

Welcome to Cotteridge Park.

Cotteridge Park

Path into the park. Not sure what used to be on that stone plinth in the middle.

Cotteridge Park

A look at the skate park.

Cotteridge Park

The path leading to Franklin Road.

Cotteridge Park

Playground view probably seen from Franklin Road.

Cotteridge Park

August 2018

The view from the bridge crossing the Cross City line. A pair of West Midlands Railway Class 323 trains passing each other. By this point the electrification to Bromsgrove was complete and you can get electric trains all the way there on the Cross City Line.

Cotteridge Park

Another view of the playground. Trees lush and green.

Cotteridge Park

Logs on the lawn. Trees and a path. On the way to Bournville Station.

Cotteridge Park

This tree has been sculpted to read Cotteridge Park.

Cotteridge Park

September 2019

Heading over the bridge from Breedon Road again. There is this view of the skyline towards Five Ways / Broad Street. From Park Regis Birmingham to The Bank Tower Two. Didn't see a train until I entered the park again.

Cotteridge Park

Took a different path this time. Saw a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train passing by. It wouldn't be long before I found myself at Bournville Station yet again.

Cotteridge Park

A container covered in graffiti.

Cotteridge Park

Curved benches, looks like some kind of school camping area?

Cotteridge Park

Noticeboard from the Friends of Cotteridge Park.

Cotteridge Park

Squirrel on a tree.

Cotteridge Park

Playground again and the skating ramps.

Cotteridge Park

A wider look at the camping area.

Cotteridge Park

Feels like a forest in Cotteridge.

Cotteridge Park

Or a wood.

Cotteridge Park

Path up to Franklin Road.

Cotteridge Park

More photos on my Flickr here Cotteridge Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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12 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
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Manor Farm Park: a park down the Bristol Road South I've always considered to be in Northfield

I first went to Manor Farm Park in June 2010. Thought there would be views of the skyline (but there weren't). The park has a large pond that runs near the Merritt's Brook. The Bristol Road South runs past (at White Hill). Always thought it to be in Northfield, although Bournville isn't that far away. The Cadbury's used to have a house on the land of Northfield Manor House.

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Manor Farm Park is a 50 acre open space with woodlands, meadows and a lake. The park opened to the public in 1951 and was originally the grounds of Northfield Manor House.

My first full visit to the park was back in June 2010. I never did find the manor house at the time. But then there was probably no public access. Looking on Google Maps Street View, there is security barriers on the roads that I think probably led to the house. Sadly arsonists burnt down the house years ago and it is now demolished.

George and Elizabeth Cadbury lived in the house that they called Manor Farm. George Cadbury bought the house in 1890, moving in there in 1894. They lived there together until George's death in 1922. Elizabeth continued to live there until her own death in 1951. It was acquired by the University of Birmingham in 1953. The fire happened there in 2014, and there was a partial demolition in 2015. It was located up Manor House Drive.

 

June 2010

My first full walk around the park near Northfield. Getting on from the Bristol Road South in Northfield (shows up as White Hill on Google Maps). At look at Whitehill Lane which curves around past the park.

Manor Farm Park

No paths on this section, so had to walk over the field part of the park past the trees.

Manor Farm Park

In the lake / pond was some Canada geese.

Manor Farm Park

They do have paths in the park, this one near the trees and shrubs.

Manor Farm Park

Also saw a swan in the lake at the time.

Manor Farm Park

The lake / pond in the park. A path does go around it on both sides. They lead to the roads that probably led to the Cadbury's old house.

Manor Farm Park

I took the exit to the road that leads to the car park near White Hill. Before I left saw this old wooded barn.

Manor Farm Park

Glad that I got photos of this barn, as arsonists sadly burnt it down in 2017. Historic Cadbury park set for revamp after £250,000 barn fire payout.

Manor Farm Park

The barn was built by the Cadbury's in 1895. The Friends of Manor Farm Park had hoped to restore the barn before the fire. It was hoped that the building could be restored, but it's future is uncertain at the moment.

Manor Farm Park

Saw these old farm buildings on the way out.

Manor Farm Park

Hopefully they could be restored and turned into a cafe, toilets and a public space.

Manor Farm Park

I'm not sure if they were in use back in 2010 or not. Looked derelict. The park and the buildings have been owned by the City Council since the 1950s.

Manor Farm Park

June 2011

Since I initial visit, I have not been back to the park that much. This is actually a recreation ground in Northfield, taken during a walk down to Longbridge. Coming up on Google Maps as Hilltop Park.

Hilltop Park

A playground in this recreation ground, just seen in passing at the time. Google Maps calls this a Play Park.

Hilltop Park

March 2012

I can confirm that this is from or near Manor Farm Park. This was during a walk from the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital to the demolished former Bournville College. A squirrel on the leaf covered lawn.

Manor Farm Park

This was near the Bristol Road South / White Hill in Northfield (I did not actually enter the park at this time).

Manor Farm Park

Purple crocuses growing out of the grass at the beginning of Spring.

Manor Farm Park

Another squirrel.

Manor Farm Park

April 2017

My last actual visit to Manor Farm Park was during a walk on the Merritt's Brook Greenway. Probably starting at the new Starbucks Drive Thru in Northfield, I headed up towards Ley Hill Park, then across the Merritt's Brook Greenway, until I crossed over the road on Shenley Lane, and into the park.

Manor Farm Park

Newly laid paths takes you into the park from here.

Manor Farm Park

Footbridge over the Merritt's Brook.

Manor Farm Park

A look from the footbridge at the Merritt's Brook.

Manor Farm Park

I was now heading through the park up Whitehill Lane. Daffodils lining the roadside.

Manor Farm Park

Up Whitehill Lane back to the Bristol Road South / White Hill.

Manor Farm Park

Saw this man with a metal detector. Did he find anything?

Manor Farm Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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People & community
11 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Remembrance Sunday parade and service around Birmingham Cathedral (November 2019)

I just about caught the tail end of the parade on Temple Row as they headed round onto St Philip's Place. Was more veterans ready to go outside 103 Colmore Row. The Cenotaph was on Colmore Row outside of Birmingham Cathedral St Philip's. Sunday 10th November 2019 on Remembrance Sunday 2019. 101 years since the end of WW1. 80 years since WW2 started.

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Remembrance Sunday for 2019 was on Sunday 10th November 2019. For the second year at Birmingham Cathedral and Colmore Row. I missed it last time, so managed to get to town in time to see some of the events going on here.

Parade on Temple Row

Heading up Cherry Street, I saw the parade on Temple Row heading past the banks. Got these views from the area in front of Lloyds Bank as they turned onto St Philip's Place past NatWest.

Temple Row

The were marching past Cathedral Square, home of Birmingham Cathedral (St Philip's Cathedral Birmingham).

Temple Row

I was hoping to see them on parade on Colmore Row, but Temple Row will do.

Temple Row

Veteran firemen and police as well on parade.

Temple Row

Marching around past NatWest.

Temple Row

Fire and police officers passing the Mexican Street Food place.

Temple Row

Also volunteers and St John Ambulance personnel.

Temple Row

I think this was the end of the parade on Temple Row.

Temple Row

Veterans outside 103 Colmore Row

I wasn't sure if there would be room outside 103 Colmore Row. But there was. Another man with a camera.

103 Colmore Row

Veterans carrying flags of various regiments and the Union Jack.

103 Colmore Row

Man at the front with a banner representing their regiment or unit.

103 Colmore Row

Men at the back in bowler hats.

103 Colmore Row

Crowd of people in Cathedral Square

The Cenotaph was this year on Colmore Row and a stage was set up, like every year. This time close to the top of Church Street and the Grand Hotel.

Cathedral Square

By this point the poppy laying ceremony was well underway. People could watch what was going on, on the pair of screens. In the distance is the core and cranes of 103 Colmore Row behind Birmingham Cathedral. With the BT Tower and Grand Hotel to the right.

Cathedral Square

From St Philip's Place. The Bishop of Birmingham was on one of the screens. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham would have been there too (not on display on that screen at this point). The Vice Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands was also present.

Cathedral Square

Heading back onto Temple Row, the screen was showing a poppy and The Royal British Legion logo.

Cathedral Square

Remembrance Sunday service on Colmore Row

By the time I got back to Colmore Row, most of the veterans were standing still waiting for 11 o'clock to come. Police and fire officers here.

Colmore Row

In view of Birmingham Cathedral, was a bit hard to see what was going on here.

Colmore Row

The Cenotaph. It goes into storage after the service is over, then comes back out for Remembrance Sunday. It used to take place in Centenary Square, and Victoria Square in one previous year. Been on Colmore Row now two years in a row.

Colmore Row

People gathered at the Colmore Row junction with Temple Row West. Towards Birmingham Cathedral St Philip's

Colmore Row

One last look towards the Grand Hotel. By then they were laying the poppy wreaths near the Cenotaph.

Colmore Row

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Photography
11 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market 2019: Day 1 of 43

Open now for it's 20th annual year in Birmingham, the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market as usual stretches from New Street to Victoria Square. For the first time it opened about 2 weeks earlier than usual on the 7th November 2019. Meaning it will be open for around 43 days until the 23rd December 2019.

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New Street

This is the section of New Street between Corporation Street and High Street. Retail BID have again turned the tree lights pink and purple. This was around 5pm on Thursday 7th November 2019 between the Britannia Hotel and Odeon Cinema.

Birmingham FCM

This year they have an new arch on New Street saying "Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market". Also with the shields / arms of Birmingham and Frankfurt. The cities have been twinned since 1966. Birmingham and Frankfurt.

Birmingham FCM

A closer look at the tower with Birmingham's Forward coat of arms / shield.

Birmingham FCM

Santa Claus and penguins.

Birmingham FCM

Zum Glockenspiel near the end of New Street. Poppies up as it's the time of year of Remembrance.

Birmingham FCM

Victoria Square

Earlier in the day, I popped out at lunchtime and headed up Pinfold Street from Birmingham New Street Station, following the tracks of the West Midlands Metro extension to Centenary Square (also known as the Westside Metro extension).

Birmingham FCM

A small change to the security barriers near the new tram line. As the Birmingham FCM is now open again in front of the Council House.

Birmingham FCM

Even here the towers have Birmingham's Forward coat of arms shield. One of the square's Sphinx Guardian's watches on.

Birmingham FCM

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Civic pride
10 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Remembrance at Birmingham New Street Station 2015 to 2019

After the new Birmingham New Street Station opened in September 2015, there was a new war memorial in the public square. I think they lay the poppy wreaths a few days before Remembrance Sunday in November every year. Photos taken from 2015 to 2019.

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November 2015

The new war memorial seen outside Birmingham New Street Station in the new public square on the 15th November 2015. No poppy wreaths at this time. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were due to officially re-open the station a few days later on the 19th November 2015. It honours the lost workers of the London & North Western Railway from Birmingham, 1914 - 1918 who made the supreme sacrifice.

Birmingham New Street Station

November 2016

First saw poppy wreaths on the war memorial at New Street Station on the 13th November 2016. This was a few days after the Armistice Day anniversary. Wasn't on Remembrance Sunday that I saw them.

Birmingham New Street Station

November 2017

This was on Remembrance Sunday 2017. On Sunday 12th November 2017. By chance I also saw a man with a big poppy on his backpack, as I again passed the war memorial with poppy wreaths.

Birmingham New Street Station

November 2018

The Armistice 100 year. Seen on the 10th November 2018 was this Land Rover Freelander with various Union Jack flags for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Birmingham New Street Station

VETERAN was on the licence plate.

Birmingham New Street Station

Looking towards the Rotunda and the Bullring. It was near the station's war memorial.

Birmingham New Street Station

One of the poppy wreaths on the war memorial.

Birmingham New Street Station

November 2019

Headed through Birmingham New Street Station on Remembrance Sunday 2019. On Sunday 10th November 2019. The Stephenson Street media eye was displaying Lest we forget from Bullring & Grand Central.

Birmingham New Street Station

Getting closer, it was changing too fast, so here it was between adverts as the poppy fades into the advert of some singers album.

Birmingham New Street Station

Another look at the war memorial. The poppy wreaths I think were laid a few days before.

Birmingham New Street Station

I was heading from the Colmore Row and Birmingham Cathedral parade and service for Remembrance Sunday. Link to that post here: Remembrance Sunday parade and service around Birmingham Cathedral (November 2019).

Armistice Day

At 11am on Monday 11th November 2019, Birmingham New Street Station fell silent for the two minutes silence on Armistice Day. 100 years since the first one in 1919. Also 101 years since the First World War had ended.

Two minutes silence

Virgin Trains ant Network Rail staff as well as passengers were silent for two minutes. While other passengers headed for their trains or exiting or arriving at the station.

Two minutes silence

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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