Elliott Brown

Passion Points: 72K

Environment & green action
8 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Hollybank Spinney on The Haunch Brook Pathways

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

Related

Hollybank Spinney

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

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

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

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

 

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

Approaching the Hollybank Spinney from Hollybank Road in Kings Heath.

Hollybank Spinney

Lots of trees and long grass.

Hollybank Spinney

Onto the path towards Ardencote Road.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

The path curves around the trees.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

Bit hard to see the Haunch Brook from here.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

Going back on the path towards Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Trees and bushes everywhere. A little bit of paradise.

Hollybank Spinney

About halfway back to Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Not too far back to the end of the path.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

The other end of the Haunch Brook from Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

This path was much shorter.

Hollybank Spinney

Trees all around the Haunch Brook near Chamberlain Road.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

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

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

Share  Connect with us
0 passion points
History & heritage
16 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Spitfire and Hurricane at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum

It's the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, so Elliott is taking a look back to his 2013 visit to Thinktank where he saw a Spitfire and Hurricane hanging from the ceiling of the museum. Sptifire's were built at Castle Bromwich, while Hurricane's over at the Austin motor car factory in Longbridge. The Battle of Britain started in September 1940.

Related

September 2020, marks the 80th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain. Which took place over the English Channel between the RAF and the Luftwaffe. The official dates of the battle was the 10th July until the 31st October 1940. Did you know that many of the planes that fought in the battle were built right here in Birmingham!

The Supermarine Spitfire were built by Vickers Armstrong in Castle Bromwich. While the Hawker Hurricane at the Austin motor car factory in Longbridge.

 

Photos below taken on a visit to Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum during April 2013.

Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX

The Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX was built in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. The planes were built between 1938, and throughout the Second World War of 1939 to 1945. Vickers Armstrong had built over 11,000 planes there. The Spitfire was the most famous British fighter plane of the Second World War.

This plane was labelled HK A and ML 427. And could be seen above the Move It section of the museum (at the front) from the balcony views of We Made It.

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Behind the Spitfire was the Hurricane.

Spitfire

 

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

To the back was a Hawker Hurricane Mark IV. This plane was known for shooting down over 60% of enemy aircraft during the 1940 Battle of Britain. Around 300 Hurricane's were built at the Austin motor car factory in Longbridge in Birmingham. The Hurricane ended up being overshadowed by the more famous Spitfire. They were built from 1937 until 1944.

This plane was to the back and wasn't as easy to see as the Spitfire. Labelled JX R. With 395 at the rear end.

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
80 passion points
Modern Architecture
14 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Introducing The Wesleyan, Birmingham, UK

The Wesleyan was built between 1988 to 1991 for the Wesleyan and General Assurance Society on the site of the Gaumont Cinema.

It is located at Colmore Square, Birmingham. B4 6AR.

Take our post for a bit of history and a bit of photography.  Enjoy!

Related

Founded in 1841, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, The Wesleyan this year celebrated its 179th anniversary back in April.

Their current building, completed in 1991 and opened by HRH the Duke of Kent KG on their 150th anniversary, offers a bright and modern open-plan working environment, plus an on-site restaurant.

It lies within easy reach of the West Midlands Tram & Snow Hill, Moor Street and New Street train stations.

The Wesleyan, located at Colmore Circus near Steelhouse Lane, was built on the site of the Gaumont Cinema. 

Photo courtesy Kinospoter and Cinema Treasures. 

According to Cinema Treasures, the cinema opened in 1931 and was built in the Art Deco style. In 1961, the cinema was closed and in1963 opened up as a Cinerama Theatre. This then closed in 1973 for repairs and redecoration and closed for the final time in 1983. The building was demolished in 1986.

The facade of the building was dismantled brick by brick and was put into storage.  The original intention was to re-use the brickwork on the same site.

Construction of The Wesleyan began in 1988 and continued until about 1991. The Wesleyan was built for the Wesleyan and General Assurance Society by Peter Hing & Jones.

Built of pink granite, it has a central core with an upside down pyramid roof. 

The subways around Colmore Circus would remained into the late 1990s but have since been filled in.  The area was raised to road level in the 2000s and became Colmore Square, which is located between the bottom end of Colmore Row and Steelhouse Lane at Colmore Circus Queensway.

Here is a selection of photography of The Wesleyan taken over the years.

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

January 2010

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

Photos courtesty of Elliott Brown

The Wesleyan on the 26th July 2014

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

Photos courtesy Elliott Brown and Daniel Sturley

Share  Connect with us
90 passion points
History & heritage
14 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Objects in cages at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre

It's Birmingham Heritage Week again, but I'm not likely to go anywhere and most events are online. So lets look back to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre from two open days I've been to in the past. First room you look around has all these cages with objects to look at. But hard to get your lens behind the bars if you have a big camera. Anything from masks to old cameras.

Related

Click here for my previous posts from the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre:

 

When you first arrive at 25 Dollman Street in Nechells, the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre. The first room you go into has objects in cages in both the ground floor and the first floor. When taking photos, it is hard to get your lens behind the bars (don't even try), to get an image of the object behind. Many objects from the collection of the Council (now Birmingham Museums Trust), where there is no room at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery or at other City museum venues such as Thinktank. Unless they go on a special exhibition at BM & AG.

Open Day on Sunday 13th May 2012

Old toy cars. Possibly part of the collection of Chad Valley of Harborne.

BMCC cages

Old helmets. Could be old Policemen helmets.

BMCC cages

Ancient Chinese (or Japanese) ceremonial armour .

BMCC cages

Very old clocks. Scales at the front.

BMCC cages

Model engines.

BMCC cages

Collection of old cameras. Pollaroid and Kodak (I think).

BMCC cages

Who knows maybe one day your camera will end up in here? Halina in the middle.

BMCC cages

Cameras with wooden bodies. These could be well over a century old.

BMCC cages

There was a lot of these old cameras.

BMCC cages

A coat of arms shield.

BMCC cages

Was plenty of old dolls in the cages as well.

BMCC cages

More vintage car toys and motorbikes. Some of them ended up in an exhibition at Thinktank. Chad Valley of Harborne.

BMCC cages

Up on the first floor. Miniature bust of King Henry VIII and King Charles II.

BMCC cages

This was a Ceramic figure of a man.

BMCC cages

Open Day on Sunday 16th September 2018

This was on the last day of Birmingham Heritage Week. Where I caught a vintage bus from Snow Hill Queensway to BMCC.

Carrier bag from The Birmingham Shopping Centre. This was what later became The Pallasades (now Grand Central Birmingham).

BMCC cages

Cadbury chocolate bars. Dairy Milk, Whole Nut and Fruit & Nut. Probably decades old, so don't eat them!

BMCC cages

Was also a couple of old boxes of Cadbury's Roses Chocolates.

BMCC cages

Lamp sculptures. Candle stick holders.

BMCC cages

Another old clock.

BMCC cages

Maquette of the Forward sculpture that used to be in Centenary Square from 1991 until it was burnt by an arsonist in 2003.

Forward

Luckily this original Forward maquette by Raymond Mason survives in the cages at BMCC.

Forward

Death Mask of Oliver Cromwell.

BMCC cages

Bronze bust of Frederic Lord Leighton by Thomas Brock.

BMCC cages

Sri Lanka Masks.

BMCC cages

There was a wide variety of these Sri Lankan masks in the collection.

BMCC cages

This Sri Lankan mask at the back of the cage was quite big.

BMCC cages

In here was a ZX Spectrum - ZX Microdrive.

BMCC cages

Also a couple of joysticks with a keyboard and mouse.

BMCC cages

This is only a small selection. For more photos check out my album on Flickr.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Modern Architecture
14 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

(Edited) The Wesleyan, Birmingham, UK (Modern architecture)

The Wesleyan was built between 1988 to 1991 for the Wesleyan and General Assurance Society, on the site of the former Gaumont Cinema by Peter Hing & Jones.

This unique Birmingham building comes with a central core and a pyramid roof with artificial pink granite facings. 

Related

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan is located on Colmore Circus, near Steelhouse Lane.

Founded in 1841, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, The Wesleyan this year celebrated its 179th anniversary back in April.

Their current building, completed in 1991 and opened by HRH the Duke of Kent KG on their 150th anniversary, offers a bright and modern open-plan working environment, plus an on-site restaurant.

It lies within easy reach of the West Midlands Tram & Snow Hill, Moor Street and New Street train stations.

Once construction of the building completed, the subways around the building remained in place until the late 1990s, before these were filled in and the area raised to road level in the 2000s.

The area is now known as Colmore Square.

The Wesleyan circa 1999:

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan from 2009 onwards:

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

Photos courtesy of Elliott Brown.

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The WesleyanPhotos courtesy of  Daniel Sturley

LINKS TO MORE ABOUT THE WESLEYAN, MORE PHOTOGRAPHY, MAPS AND TRAILS.

To see more amazing photography of the Library of Birmingham taken by our community and some wonderful articles about The Wesleyan, connect HERE.

For a view of the Site Map of The Wesleyan, connect HERE.

For the full Trail and Tour of modern architecture and builds across Birmingham, connect HERE.

LINKS TO MORE BIRMINGHAM GEMS.

To see our in-development community-led platform, go to www.BirminghamGems.com

For more modern architecture in Birmingham, go to www.ArchitectureAndUs.com also in-development.

For more Birmingham passion, features and posts: go to www.BirminghamWeAre.com.

Share  Connect with us
0 passion points
Environment & green action
10 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Scribers Lane Site of Importance to Nature Conservation in the Shire Country Park

Beyond the Trittiford Mill Pool in the Shire Country Park is an area called Scribers Lane. It is designated as a Site of Importance to Nature Conservation (or SINC for short). It runs alongside the River Cole from Scribers Lane near Yardley Wood and Hall Green, and passes through Slade Lane. It ends on the Birmingham / Solihull border at some stepping stones. Two fords also pass through.

Related

Scribers Lane in the Shire Country Park

Located near Hall Green and Yardley Wood is the Scribers Lane Site of Importance to Nature Conservation (also called SINC). The site runs alongside the River Cole from Scribers Lane (after the southern end of the Trittiford Mill Pool) then heads south towards Slade Lane. The site continues beyond that towards some stepping stones on a stream. If you cross over them you leave Birmingham for Solihull at Nethercote Gardens (and you can continue your walk towards Mill Lodge Park).

You can get onto Scribers Lane from Baldwins Lane in Hall Green. One end of Baldwins Lane leads to Slade Lane. The Shakespeare Line runs along the eastern side of the site, with two railway bridges that you can walk under. There are fords on Scribers Lane and Slade Lane.

2016

First walk through of Scribers Lane was during May 2016. During the May Day Bank Holiday (a walk that started from the Sarehole Mill Car Park).

Wetland near the footbridge close to Scribers Lane (what the area was named after).

Scribers Lane

A look at the wetland from the footbridge.

Scribers Lane

There was what looked like a guillotine lock on the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

Saw this heron, but the photo was not to clear as my camera focused instead on the branches.

Scribers Lane

Gates to the woodland walk.

Scribers Lane

View of the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

Cut branches to the side of the footpath.

Scribers Lane

Some planks of wood on a muddy part of the path.

Scribers Lane

Another view of the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

Got as far as Slade Lane. The fingerpost was missing the direction signs from here.

Scribers Lane

2020

A lockdown walk through Scribers Lane during May 2020. This time went further than last time (as far as the stepping stones).

A look at the River Cole from Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane

The footbridge again this time everything around was overgrown, apart from the grass that was cut.

Scribers Lane

Lilies in the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

The trees on the other side of the river.

Scribers Lane

Hard to believe that this is in south Birmingham (but it is).

Scribers Lane

On this tree is a rope that kids can swing over.

Scribers Lane

Getting to the bridge on Slade Lane. Gate to exit to the left.

Scribers Lane

This time continued further than last time. The path was dry. May had a heatwave.

Scribers Lane

Cow parsley growing on both sides of the grass path.

Scribers Lane

Another view of the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

Was some nice natural reflections in the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

Out onto the path to the end of the nature reserve.

Scribers Lane

The stepping stones. I did stand on them, but didn't cross over the end of May 2020 (from the Nethercote Gardens side).

Scribers Lane

Close up look at the stepping stones.

Scribers Lane

That time we turned back towards the Trittiford Mill Pool.

Scribers Lane

Then back onto the normal path between Slade Lane and Scribers Lane. River Cole on the left.

Scribers Lane

Saw a red ball in the River Cole with a nice reflection.

Scribers Lane

Pair of sluice gates on the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

And the other sluice gate.

Scribers Lane

Later that month we were back in the Scribers Lane SINC having crossed over the stepping stones (on the walk from Mill Lodge Park).

Scribers Lane

The heatwave would last until the end of the month.

Scribers Lane

Blue sky and a lot of long grass.

Scribers Lane

Was a lot of long grass next to the main path from Slade Lane to Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane

Near the end of Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane

The guillotine lock again. After this we headed back into Scribers Lane to walk back to Mill Lodge Park.

Scribers Lane

More views of the River Cole which was quite shallow at the time.

Scribers Lane

Still cow parsley to see near the River Cole at the time.

Scribers Lane

One last look at the Scribers Lane area before crossing back over into Solihull. The suburban area near Shirley and Solihull Lodge.

Scribers Lane

Next post will be the fords on Scribers Lane and Slade Lane.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Green open spaces
08 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Return to the Warley Woods in June 2020

At the beginning of June 2020, we had a walk around Lightwoods Park which continued into the Warley Woods. This time I had a full walk around the woods. Even passed the Visitor Centre (it reopened in late May 2020). But plenty of people out getting their daily exercise. Or looking for those rainbow doors. The golf course was open again as well.

Related

Warley Woods

Previous posts from the Warley Woods:

 

Heading up a path from Lightwoods Park towards Lightwoods Hill. We entered the Warley Woods for the next part of this walk. It was early June 2020. First was a walk around the woods going in a anti-clockwise direction. Then crossing through the large open field. After that following the perimeter paths around the golf course (which was open again and members were playing golf once more). There was also some sculptures to see in the woods and I also found the Visitor Centre.

 

First view of the Warley Woods this time from Lightwoods Hill before entering the gate.

Warley Woods

Proceeding to walk in the woods off the paths.

Warley Woods

Tall trees everywhere.

Warley Woods

Back onto the path.

Warley Woods

The wide open field. People were either sitting on the grass or having fun.

Warley Woods

The gates to the Abbey Road entrance.

Warley Woods

Some sculpted wood that looked like sarcophagus's.

Warley Woods

Now onto the path that goes around the golf course.

Warley Woods

A pair of yellow flags on the Warley Woods Golf Course.

Warley Woods

By early June some lockdown restrictions had been eased, this probably included playing golf.

Warley Woods

Later saw this Sidewinder lawnmower.

Warley Woods

The Visitor Centre near the car park. Both of which are near Lightwoods Hill.

Warley Woods

A bench near the golf course, which was close to the Visitor Centre.

Warley Woods

The Visitor Centre and shop were reopened on the 21st May 2020.

Warley Woods

One last walk into the woods to see some sculptures.

Warley Woods

There was these carved stone sculptures to see in the Warley Woods.

Warley Woods

Also this area with picnic benches. There was bear sculptures to the back, maybe it was a crazy golf course for kids?

Warley Woods

Another set of sculptures, more like carved wooden sculptures.

Warley Woods

Another look at the drinking fountain.

Warley Woods

Back on the path walking to the exit.

Warley Woods

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Green open spaces
08 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Kings Norton Park on the August Bank Holiday Monday

My first walk around Kings Norton Park in many years. This was after visiting West Heath Park for the first time. More people in Kings Norton Park. Kids in the playground / play area, also at the Skate Park. Was also a group of cyclists who I later saw ride past Kings Norton Junction (via the Recreation Ground). Was nice to be back.

Related

Kings Norton Park

Previous Kings Norton Park post here: Kings Norton Park down the Pershore Road South.

After the walk around West Heath Park, there was time in the morning for another park walk, so next we headed to Kings Norton Park. It's been years since I've last walked around it (at least once). Other than skimming it down the Pershore Road South, Camp Lane or Westhill Road. This time went around the field towards the Skate Park. Briefly left the park for the Kings Norton Recreation Ground and Kings Norton Junction (where the Stratford-on-Avon Canal meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal). Before later walking back to the park. Earlier in the park I noticed a group of cyclists meeting up. Eight of them later rode through the Recreation Ground towards the canal junction, and I had to wait until they all went past me. Both green spaces are on the Rea Valley Route and National Cycle Network route 5. It was the August Bank Holiday Monday on the 31st August 2020.

 

Starting with crossing this footbridge over a stream (it's not the River Rea). Just at the end of the Shrub Garden.

Kings Norton Park

Saw this NAF (Northfield Arts Forum) sign about Domesday. The art of a stylised letter 'D' was painted by Thelma Coulson.

Kings Norton Park

Looking back at the Shrub Garden towards the playground / play area and car park.

Kings Norton Park

Into the field, and I noticed a lot of kids playing on the Skate Park ramps.

Kings Norton Park

No paths around here so you have to walk over the grass.

Kings Norton Park

The clouds were looking a bit grey, maybe a sign of later rain?

Kings Norton Park

Kids on skateboards, scooters and possibly bikes. Not seen it this busy before.

Kings Norton Park

Just the field and trees.

Kings Norton Park

There was that group of cyclists meeting in Kings Norton Park. They later rode out towards Kings Norton Junction and beyond.

Kings Norton Park

Sign on the Pershore Road South says that Kings Norton Park has been a public park since 1924.

Kings Norton Park

Later heading back into the park after the walk to and from Kings Norton Junction.

Kings Norton Park

The bridge crosses a small stream.

Kings Norton Park

Towards the trees to social distance from people walking their dog.

Kings Norton Park

Saw this sign about the Kings Norton Park Civic Garden.

Kings Norton Park

The Civic Garden leads towards the Pershore Road South entrance. The park exists thanks to the Birmingham Civic Society when they purchased the land in 1920.

Kings Norton Park

Another NAF sign, this time about the Grammar School. Suffragists mid-protest. Painting by Jenny McClaren.

Kings Norton Park

On the footpath in the tree covered canopy. This leads towards Westhill Road.

Kings Norton Park

Looking out over the field towards the playground / play area.

Kings Norton Park

The path continues on to the steps to Westhill Road. This time I left at the end of the path and walked back towards the car park.

Kings Norton Park

A wide open field with trees.

Kings Norton Park

There was more kids playing at this play area, but only a limited number allowed at one time.

Kings Norton Park

There is a small hill with a slide, and a couple of swings.

Kings Norton Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Arrow Valley Country Park over in Redditch, Worcestershire

Lets head over to Redditch in Worcestershire for this park post. Arrow Valley Country Park is located near Battens Drive in Redditch. In your car from Birmingham follow your SatNav down the A441 or A435. The park is off the A4023 Coventry Highway. Back in July 2020 for a walk around the lake. The play area was open again. Not sure if the Visitor Centre was open though.

Related

Arrow Valley Country Park

Before the lockdown kicked in during late March 2020, we were thinking of going to Arrow Valley Country Park in Redditch, Worcestershire. But until lockdown restrictions were eased for travel and distance, we didn't end up going until the middle of July 2020.

The park was developed in the 1970s by the Redditch Development Corporation. The park is close to the River Arrow. The lake is home to the Redditch Sailing Club. The Arrow Valley Visitor Centre was opened in 2000. There is a playground / play area in the park. The park is on the National Cycle Network route 5. Which takes cyclists between Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Redditch (in Worcestershire) and towards Studley and Stratford-upon-Avon (in Warwicshire).

 

First view of the lake at the Arrow Valley Country Park. We headed around the lake in a Anti-clockwise direction.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Lots of trees surrounding the lake.

Arrow Valley Country Park

First look at the playground / play area. Looks like coloured pencils from here.

Arrow Valley Country Park

First glimpse of the Visitor Centre from the lake. Scaffolding to the right.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Play areas up and down the UK reopened in July 2020, but to a limited number of kids and parents at one time.

Arrow Valley Country Park

A wide open field going up the hill.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Heading down the path near a Cycle lane.

Arrow Valley Country Park

In one direction was the gate of the Redditch Sailing Club. Boats / yachts not in use seen behind.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Continuing around the lake.

Arrow Valley Country Park

View of the club house of the Redditch Sailing Club.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Another view of the many boats / yachts of the Redditch Sailing Club.

Arrow Valley Country Park

A wider view of the boats and club house.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Was more views of the Visitor Centre from the other side of the lake.

Arrow Valley Country Park

There was some small ramps onto the lake. For fishing maybe?

Arrow Valley Country Park

All the usual birds in the lake, geese and ducks.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Some nice reflections of the trees and clouds in the lake.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Onto the final leg of the lake.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Another view of the boats / yachts.

Arrow Valley Country Park

And another view of the club house.

Arrow Valley Country Park

I'm not sure if the Visitor Centre had reopened. There was an ice cream kiosk nearby but we didn't walk close to it.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Kids in the summer having fun in the playground. They'd be back at school by now.

Arrow Valley Country Park

There is more to the park than the lake, maybe we'll go again and walk around other areas next time.

Arrow Valley Country Park

There was also a view of a church spire in Redditch Town Centre.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Getting close to completing one lap of the lake. Visitor Centre again.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Looked like two lines of ropes in the lake with buoys on them.

Arrow Valley Country Park

I have been to other parks around the West Midlands Shire counties over the years. I might set up more projects and post for those (although might not be as many photos). Such as parks in Bromsgrove, Stafford, Warwick or Lichfield.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Heath Park on the August Bank Holiday Monday

Had another park visit to a park I've not been to before now. West Heath Park. It was the August Bank Holiday Monday. The park has these various portals to enter that look like Stargates. There is also a playground / play area with a basketball court. Good for walks, runs and cycles. Not far from Kings Norton.

Related

West Heath Park

West Heath Park is located between Longbridge and Kings Norton in the West Heath area of South Birmingham. Between Staple Lodge Road, Oddingley Road (at the north end of the park) down to Rednal Road (to the south). Paths criss-cross the park and there is at least two playgrounds / play areas. The first is close to the Oddingley Road and the second near the Rednal Road entrance. There is also a basketball court next to the first play area. Mostly just wide open fields with trees all around.

On this visit we walked down and around the paths from Oddingley Road towards the Rednal Road exit. Then headed up Rednal Road and Vardon Way, before re-entering the park from a cul-de-sac called Thomson Avenue (which has two paths leading in and out of the park). It was the August Bank Holiday Monday. 31st August 2020.

 

Parking on Oddingley Road, I first headed to the West Heath Park roundel / portal / gateway. There is similar portals, a bit like Stargates all around the park.

West Heath Park

First view of the play area / playground close to the Oddingley Road entrance.

West Heath Park

There didn't appear to be any children playing at this play area.

West Heath Park

There was also outdoor gym equipment.

West Heath Park

A view of distant modern houses down on Oddingley Road.

West Heath Park

Passing a wide open field with grass cut at different levels.

West Heath Park

It doesn't take long to walk around this park towards Rednal Road.

West Heath Park

Another view of those new houses on Oddingley Road.

West Heath Park

Spliting paths.

West Heath Park

Another path to take.

West Heath Park

The path to Rednal Road.

West Heath Park

Up ahead was the portal exit to Rednal Road.

West Heath Park

View of the Rednal Road portal from outside of the park. Next was the walk towards Vardon Way.

West Heath Park

After the walk along Rednal Road, and up Vardon Way, we got back into the park from these gates at the end of Thomson Avenue.

West Heath Park

View of the playground / play area near Rednal Road. There was at least one dad and his son here.

West Heath Park

The path back into the park from the Thomson Avenue entrance.

West Heath Park

Saw a squirrel.

West Heath Park

On the path back down towards Oddingley Road.

West Heath Park

The basketball court and some residential tower blocks under scaffolding.

West Heath Park

Over the bushes saw this wall with graffiti all over it.

West Heath Park

There was also this teenager hangout shelter near the basketball court and play area near Oddingley Road.

West Heath Park

After this we drove to Kings Norton Park for the next walk. Which will be detailed in a separate post.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
History & heritage
03 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

James Watt's Heathfield Hall in Handsworth

If you go to Handsworth and look for Heathfield Hall, the home of James Watt from 1790 until his death in 1819, you wont find it. Other than The Lodge, built in 1797. In 2019 on the bicentenary of his death, the Birmingham Civic Society placed a new blue plaque on the building. Sadly the hall was demolished in 1927, and the Heathfield Estate is now full of houses.

Related

Heathfield Hall, Handsworth

James Watt lived at Heathfield Hall from 1790, until his death there in 1819. The hall was erected sometime between 1787 and 1790. At the time Handsworth was located in the county of Staffordshire (it wouldn't become a part of Birmingham until 1911). The architect was Samuel Wyatt who was recommended to Watt by his business partner Matthew Boulton. He had designed Boulton's home of Soho House (still standing today and is a museum run by the Birmingham Museums Trust).

After Watt died in 1819, his workshop was sealed, and very few people saw it after that. His son James Watt Jr ended up living at Aston Hall in Aston. By 1876, the hall was eventually surrounded by semi-detached villas, such as up Radnor Road. The contents were later moved to The Science Museum in London in 1924 (to recreate the room) this included well over 8000 individual objects. The hall was later demolished in 1927.

The Heathfield Estate now contains houses around West Drive and North Drive (built during the 1930s). But The Lodge to the hall built in 1797 still survives on Radnor Road. In 2019 on the bicentenary of Watt's death, the Birmingham Civic Society unveiled a blue plaque on The Lodge.

Heathfield Hall

An 1853 painting of Heathfield Hall in Handsworth by Allen Edward Everitt. From the Public Domain. Taken from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource which you can find here: 1977V43 Heathfield Hall, Handsworth.

The Lodge to Heathfield Hall

Located at 33 Radnor Road in Handsworth, this is the only building that survived the bulldozers in the late 1920s. The Lodge is said to date to 1797, so is probably the oldest building on Radnor Road (the other buildings looked Victorian to me).

The Lodge of Heathfield Hall

The Lodge of Heathfield Hall

Blue plaque from the Birmingham Civic Society, placed on The Lodge in 2019. The Lodge was the gatehouse to Heathfield Hall, which was the home of James Watt (1736 - 1819).

The Lodge of Heathfield Hall

There was also a previous plaque here, about The Lodge being the Gate-keepers house to James Watt. Built 1797.

The Lodge of Heathfield Hall

The Lodge of Heathfield Hall

Was also this sign on the corner of Radnor Road and West Drive saying simply, The Lodge 1797.

The Lodge of Heathfield Hall

Heathfield Estate

Before I got to The Lodge, I saw Radnor House, which is a Residential Home at 31 Radnor Road in Handsworth. This was probably a semi-detached villa built around 1876.

Radnor Road

Beyond The Lodge, a look down West Drive. It's a bit hard to imagine Heathfield Hall being somewhere down or around here. Many of these houses were built in the 1930s.

West Drive

On North Drive I saw this lion sculpture holding a shield outside of a house. I wonder if it is a survivor from the 18th century, or a more recent sculpture?

North Drive

Heading back to Hamstead Road to catch the 16 back into the City Centre, I saw this building from Gibson Road. It's the Bethel United Church on the corner of Gibson Road and Beaudesert Road in Handsworth. I'm not sure if this was part of the Heathfield Estate, or just outside of it.

Gibson Road

You can catch the no 16 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus from Birmingham City Centre, and get off on Hamstead Road in Handsworth. I decided to not go to Handsworth Park or see St Mary's Church again this time around, as I just came for the blue plaque mainly. Bus stops in town on Upper Dean Street, Moor Street Queensway, Colmore Circus Queensway and Snow Hill Queensway.

 

You can old black and white photographs of Heathfield Hall here: Birmingham Images: Library of Birmingham.

For more on the blue plaque, click here: Blue Plaque to James Watt unveiled.

 

List of previous Boulton & Watt related posts:

 

Modern photos taken by Elliott Brown at the beginning of September 2020.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
02 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Rainbow stripes and roadside outdoor seating around Southside

The Southside BID was able to make a deal with Birmingham City Council, so they could close off roads on the remaining weekends of August 2020. As well as the painted rainbow crossings, they have also had rainbow stripes put up, such as on Hurst Walk and on Kent Street. Outdoor seating to encourage social distancing outside while enjoying a drink.

Related

The Southside BID was able to get Birmingham City Council to agree to road closures over the last couple of weekends of August 2020. So Hurst Street, Bromsgrove Street and Kent Street were closed (no cars allowed). Tables and chairs were set up, and barriers placed at both ends. You will also find recent installations of rainbow stripes. First was on Hurst Walk at The Arcadian (above the second rainbow crossing) and more recently above Kent Street.

Hippodrome Square

Thursday 20th August 2020 (not at the weekend). A few more views of the Cross with Pride rainbow crossing, and people sitting on the picnic benches on Ladywell Walk. Between the Mapstone Building and The Arcadian.

Hippodrome Square

Hippodrome Square

Hurst Walk, The Arcadian

On Saturday 22nd August 2020, in The Arcadian. There is now rainbow multicoloured stripes above Hurst Walk. Between Las Iguanas and The Dragon Inn. It was raining that day.

The Arcadian

The Arcadian

The Arcadian

Bromsgrove Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. Heading up Bromsgrove Street from Pershore Street. Then onto Hurst Street near the Missing Bar.

Bromsgrove Street

I later got these views of Bromsgrove Street, while crossing from Essex Street to Lower Essex Street to get to Kent Street. Road closed, drivers had to find an alternative route.

Bromsgrove Street

Safety barriers for pedestrians on Bromsgrove Street, and in the car park on the right.

Bromsgrove Street

Hurst Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. The Missing Bar on Hurst Street.

Hurst Street

Looking towards the (closed) Hippodrome past The Arcadian. Tables and chairs outside.

Hurst Street

Later after checking out Kent Street, got this view towards Tesco Express and the Missing Bar.

Hurst Street

Then down towards the Village Inn. With these security barriers.

Hurst Street

Saw some new rainbow banners at The Village Inn near Skinner Lane.

Hurst Street

Hurst Street

Kent Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. Kent Street was closed between Lower Essex Street and Hurst Street. Seen near the Nightingale Club.

Kent Street

Rainbow ribbons / stripes had been installed over the last week, just in time for the Bank Holiday Weekend. Looks nice.

Kent Street

Kent Street

Kent Street

Kent Street

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
01 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Broad Street Tunnel under the Black Sabbath Bridge

Near the end of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline is the Broad Street Tunnel, between Brindleyplace and Gas Street Basin. In 2019, the bridge above it was renamed as the Black Sabbath Bridge in honour of the famous metal group who had been rocking for 50 years. Inside the tunnel the roof is quite low, so if you are tall, you have to duck as you walk through it.

Related

Broad Street Tunnel

The Broad Street Tunnel is located on the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline between Brindleyplace and Gas Street Basin. Above it (from 2019) is the renamed Black Sabbath Bridge. Bars over the Gas Street Basin end include the Australian Bar Walkabout and the Indian O Bar. The BCN Main Line was built during the early 1770s with the canal engineer James Brindley. The canal reached Old Wharf through the tunnel by 1773. This was originally the Paradise Street Branch which left what is now Old Turn Junction towards Paradise Street. Today the canal ends at Gas Street Basin, and beyond what was Old Wharf is all filled in (the Arena Central development site).

At the side of the tunnel near Brindleyplace and The ICC, used to be a church, called the Church of the Messiah, this existed from the 1860s (when it was built above the tunnel), but was demolished in 1978.

In 2019 (for about 3 months), the tunnel was closed to allow the Midland Metro Alliance to strengthen the road above to enable the laying of tram tracks between Centenary Square and Hagley Road (just beyond Five Ways). After these works were complete, the bridge above the tunnel was renamed the Black Sabbath Bridge. Where the Black Sabbath Bench was placed (it has now gone into storage due to the Metro extension works). Instead there is temporary hoardings with images of the four members of Black Sabbath, so that fans can take selfies with them (Geezer, Ozzy, Tony and Bill).

2009

The Broad Street Tunnel seen from Gas Street Basin during June 2009. From the footbridge at the Worcester Bar. Today there is bars on all three sides including, the Tap & Spile, O Bar and Walkabout.

Broad Street Tunnel

Narrowboats taking people through the tunnel below The O Bar.

Broad Street Tunnel

On top of the Broad Street Tunnel during December 2009, with The O Bar and Walkabout on Broad Street. The O Bar is at the corner with Gas Street and is a Grade II listed building at 266 and 266X Broad Street. Build in 1875 of red brick and some stone by Martin & Chamberlain. Also at 2 Gas Street.

Broad Street Bridge

Next door to the left is Walkabout, The Australian Bar, which is in a Grade II listed building at 266A and 267 Broad Street. Built in 1860 of red brick with coloured tiles in Venetian Gothic Style.

Broad Street Bridge

2010

Heading through the Broad Street Tunnel during June 2010. Beware of the low headroom and the width of the tunnel varies. Towpaths on both sides.

Broad Street Tunnel

Near the end of the tunnel, getting close to Brindleyplace (to the left) and The ICC and Symphony Hall (to the right).

Broad Street Tunnel

From the other side of the Broad Street Tunnel. There is steps on the left up to Broad Street. That demolished church used to be located up above around this spot until the late '70s.

Broad Street Tunnel

Through those bars on Broad Street used to be a good view of The NIA. There was also Ozzy Osbourne's Broad Street Walk of Fame star up there.

Broad Street Tunnel

2017

In August 2017 heading over the Broad Street Bridge on the bus. Early stages of roadworks for the Midland Metro extension on Broad Street. The Crown / Reflex 80s Bar on the left, Walkabout on the right.

Broad Street Bridge

By December 2017, cars were having to turn right onto Gas Street, as construction of the first Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square was underway. Ony buses and taxies were allowed beyond this point.

Broad Street Bridge

2018

By November 2018 I was aware that the tunnel was due to be closed from January 2019 for 3 months, so got some photos before the closure.

Broad Street Tunnel

As usual, had to duck as I walked through the tunnel.

Broad Street Tunnel

If you stay on the towpath on this side, you walk around past Regency Wharf towards what was Old Wharf at Bridge Street. A couple of months later the tunnel would be closed for the Midland Metro Alliance works.

Broad Street Tunnel

2019

On the Broad Street Bridge, above the tunnel in January 2019. By this point the tunnel below was closed. And was a lot of restrictions in place at road level as well. All of this for the Midland Metro Alliance works.

Broad Street Bridge

From January 2019 the Broad Street Tunnel was closed for a period of about 3 months. This view from Brindleyplace towards Walkabout and O Bar.

Broad Street Tunnel

From the footbridge at Gas Street Basin, you could see that the towpath on both sides were closed.

Broad Street Tunnel

Scaffolding had been placed over the towpaths and the canal.

Broad Street Tunnel

The barriers, scaffolding and the signs made for some nice reflections at the time.

Broad Street Tunnel

There was also a line of yellow buoys in the canal. No boats could come this way for three months. Would be a long winter diversion.

Broad Street Tunnel

Later in January 2019 for another look from Gas Street Basin. Now was some white sheets over the scaffolding.

Broad Street Tunnel

Another look in early March 2019. The Broad Street Tunnel was still closed. View from the Brewmasters Bridge over the Brindleyplace Bridge.

Broad Street Tunnel

Near the end of March 2019, the tunnel was open again for the first time in 3 months.

Broad Street Tunnel

Saw a narrowboat go through for the first time since the end of 2018.

Broad Street Tunnel

First this narrowboat was going through the tunnel, followed by the Waterbus.

Broad Street Tunnel

From the Gas Street Basin end, caught the red Waterbus from Sherborne Wharf heading through the tunnel.

Broad Street Tunnel

Hard to believe that the tunnel had been closed for three months. Was nice to see boats going through it again.

Broad Street Tunnel

The Black Sabbath Bench seen during July 2019 on top of the Black Sabbath Bridge. Which is above the Broad Street Tunnel. It was later removed in October 2019 for the Metro extension works to take place up here.

Black Sabbath Bench

Back in August 2019, I saw this red narrowboat coming out of the Broad Street Tunnel. Was raining at the time.

Broad Street Tunnel

It was steaming away as I crossed over the Brindleyplace Footbridge.

Broad Street Tunnel

From this September 2019 view (below), you could see that the bridge above the Broad Street Tunnel was now called the Black Sabbath Bridge. This was renamed over the summer of 2019. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler came to Birmingham in June 2019 to unveil the Black Sabbath Bench and rename the bridge above the canal tunnel.

Black Sabbath Bridge

The Black Sabbath Bench was in place on the Black Sabbath Bench, above the Broad Street Tunnel.

Black Sabbath Bridge

Around October 2019 on the Black Sabbath Bridge, the Black Sabbath Bench had been removed to storage, as the Midland Metro Alliance prepared to build the next extension towards Five Ways.

Black Sabbath Bridge

Also in October 2019, I caught this tourist narrowboat emerging from the Broad Street Tunnel to Gas Street Basin. Was another Sherborne Wharf narrowboat called Bosworth Lady.

Broad Street Tunnel

 During December 2019, a view of Black Sabbath Selfie with images of the four rockers, Geezer, Ozzy, Tony and Bill.

Black Sabbath Bridge

2020

The Black Sabbath Bridge seen during February 2020. My last shot of the Broad Street Tunnel before the lockdown.

Black Sabbath Bridge

It wouldn't be until July 2020 (due to months of the lockdown), before I would see the Black Sabbath Selfie hoardings again on Broad Street. This was the first time in about 4 months that I'd seen it again.

Black Sabbath Bridge

A lot of progress had taken place during lockdown to lay tracks along Broad Street, and that included above the Black Sabbath Bridge. At certain points is crossings with gates, but this changes from time to time. Expect trams to cross over here by the end of 2021.

Westside metro extension

At the beginning of August 2020, I followed the Victoria 2012 narrowboat from the Salvage Turn Bridge near The Cube and The Mailbox, towards the Brindleyplace Footbridge. Families once again getting trips on the canal like this.

Broad Street Tunnel

Close to the end of August 2020, I got some more shots of the Broad Street Tunnel. Starting from Gas Street Basin. Much quieter due to the pandemic, even with lockdown restrictions eased.

Broad Street Tunnel

Hardly anyone in the tunnel, at least until I had to wait for some people to walk past me, due to social distancing.

Broad Street Tunnel

As usual, had to duck my head as I walked through both sections of the tunnel.

Broad Street Tunnel

Before heading to Brindleyplace, one last look at the Broad Street Tunnel. With the Black Sabbath Bridge above. Still the Black Sabbath Selfie hoardings on Broad Street for the time being. A lot of the tracks have been laid above.

Broad Street Tunnel

One more view days before the end of August 2020. Before heading up the steps to Broad Street. The Brasshouse and Celebrity Restaurant are to the right. The ICC Mall is still closed, so this is one of the routes to Centenary Square you can go.

Broad Street Tunnel

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
40 passion points
Green open spaces
01 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve in the Shire Country Park

Continuing on from the Chinn Brook Meadows, is the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve. It is a 17 acre site bound by Yardley Wood Road and Warstock Lane, with the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal to the south. The Chinn Brook flows through here. Beyond is the Cocks Moors Woods Golf Course. The area is quite small. Heading to the north you end up at Haunch Lane, and beyond is Billesley Common.

Related

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

The walk around the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve continues on from the Chinn Brook Meadows in the Shire Country Park. Located in Yardley Wood. The main entrance is on the east side on Yardley Wood Road. Paths goes around it and over bridges that cross the Chinn Brook and Haunch Brook. Eventually you would get to Warstock Lane to the west, where there is access to the towpath onto the Stratford-on-Avon Canal which is the southern boundary of the nature reserve. Use the steps and not the muddy hill (I once tried to climb up it but slipped down and got mud on my hands). Another way out is if you head up the path towards Haunch Lane. If you want to, you can continue your walk around Billesley Common.

The Chinn Brook Nature Reserve is a 17 acre site, with a variety of habitats. In the 1900s this area formed part of the area known as the "Happy Valley", the working mens picnic spot. On Sundays and Bank Holidays, boats could be hired, and there used to be a fairground on the open space. Yardley Wood Bus Garage was the location of the original Happy Valley Tea Gardens. Since the 1920s various parts of the site had been used as allotments and during WW2 parts were used to grow corn. There used to be a BMX track in what was known as Cocks Moors Wood in 1986-87. Site improvements in 2010 including new footbridges and fencing over the Chinn Brook.

2014

This was during the Christmas Day 2014 walk which started in the Chinn Brook Meadows and continued around the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve on the 25th December 2014.

Information sign at the Yardley Wood Road entrance.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Enter through the gate on Yardley Wood Road to get in.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Shire Country Park fingerpost. Head towards either Warstock Lane and the Stratford upon Avon Canal, or to the Chinn Brook Meadows and the River Cole.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Heading along the path, the trees were quite bare of leaves.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Trees on the left.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Seems like branches lower down had been cut off.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

This footbridge goes over the Chinn Brook and the path leads to Haunch Lane.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

A look at the Chinn Brook from the footbridge.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

A lot of bright sunlight over the green area.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

The bridge on Warstock Lane. Beyond here is the golf course.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

View of the Chinn Brook from Warstock Lane.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Also the view of the Chinn Brook as it flows into Cocks Moors Woods Golf Course.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

A fence from Warstock Lane. The golf course is on the other side (I think).

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Looking up Warstock Lane.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Heading back into the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve, there was two paths you could walk on.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

A large green lawn that you can walk past.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

2020

This continues the April 2020 lockdown walk into the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve from the Chinn Brook Meadows. As before entered on Yardley Wood Road.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

This time there was more green leaves on the trees, as I had a look at the Chinn Brook.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

The Chinn Brook is not where you dump your wheel and tyre! Take it to a garage!

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Onto the path, as this point, not all of the leaves had grown back onto the thin trees on the left.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

A blue sky with the green open space.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Growing in the grass was yellow iris.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Continuing along the path towards Warstock Lane.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

After Haunch Lane, we headed towards Haunch Lane, and when I saw people who stopped for a chat, we took a different path to be socially distant from them.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Then over the bridge that crosses the Chinn Brook, with a bike on the left.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

So lush and green around the Chinn Brook on both sides.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Yes this is in Birmingham, but it could be in the countryside. But it's in Yardley Wood.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

The path to Haunch Lane surrounded by all these trees.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

It looks wonderful and natural here.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

Flats on the right reminds you that you are still in an urbanised environment, as we got close to Haunch Lane.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

With the lockdown, the only place to see bluebells was your local nature areas such as here.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

The Shire Country Park fingerpost close to Haunch Lane. Head left to the Stratford upon Avon Canal and Warstock Lane. Or go right to Haunch Lane and Billesley Common.

Chinn Brook Nature Reserve

After this headed up Chinn Brook Road back to the car, going past the Chinn Brook Meadows.

Future Shire Country Park posts will include:

  • Scribers Lane SINC
  • Hollybank Spinney
  • The fords on Slade Lane and Scribers Lane

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
27 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Golden Square in the Jewellery Quarter

One of the newest public squares in Birmingham is located in the Jewellery Quarter between Vyse Street and Warstone Lane. The Golden Square was developed on land that used to be a car park in 2014. The Jewellery Quarter Festival has been held here regularly since 2015. At one corner is the Rose Villa Tavern. Both The Big Hoot and Sleuth were here in 2015 and 2017. Floral Ballerina as well.

Related

THE GOLDEN SQUARE

In Birmingham's World Famous Jewellery Quarter is now The Golden Square. It is located between Vyse Street and along Warstone Lane in front of The Big Peg. Originally the space was parking for the office tenants, it was developed into a public square during 2014. At one corner is The Rose Villa Tavern, and until August 2020, the Chamberlain Clock stood at the roundabout near Frederick Street (it's been removed to be fully restored off site at Smith of Derby). See this post here. The square was one component of Birmingham's Big City Plan.

The square combines three spaces: the Orchard, the Promenade and the Plaza.

 

Jewellery Quarter Festival, July 2015

My first time visiting the Golden Square since it was completed was on Saturday 18th July 2015, while the Jewellery Quarter Festival was on.

There was this Lighthouse Helter-Skelter that kids could slide down.

Golden Square

Some excited kids probably climbed up it multiple times to ride it again and again!

Golden Square

New building on Warstone Lane. Part of the Diamond Quarter.

Golden Square

The Stage Bus, providing musical entertainment for the day. For more info about them, go to www.thestagebus.com

Golden Square

The bus had the licence plate no of D920 NDA. Was a former Metrobus last used by Travel West Midlands in 2004. It had previously been a West Midlands Travel Timesaver bus.

Golden Square

I mainly popped to the Golden Square to see The Big Hoot owl. Jewellery Owl, by the artist Sue Guthrie. Sponsor was Birmingham City University.

Golden Square

The Jewellery Owl was quite close to the railings up the steps.

Golden Square

There was also a Dalek from Doctor Who wondering about! Exterminate! Exterminate!

Golden Square

Kids and parents alike followed the Dalek around.

Golden Square

On the green was Circus Mash. With a juggler.

Golden Square

The square was full of people enjoying themselves at the time.

Golden Square

July 2017

Two years later, I was back in The Golden Square to find The Big Sleuth bear there. A look at the refurbished entrance to The Big Peg.

Golden Square

A Ballerina from Cofton Nursery. There used to be an annual Floral Trail around the City Centre, but once The Big Hoot and Sleuth were on, didn't feel like they had a trail any more. Non the less, they still put pieces out in the summer.

Golden Square

The reason for my visit. The Big Sleuth bear known as Gummy Bear, by the artist Deven Bhurke. Sponsor was Jewellery Quarter BID.

Golden Square

Gummy Bear was much further back and close to an ice cream shop called Scoop.

Golden Square

Davenports was going to open where Jewellery Quarter Police Station used to be, but don't think it ever happened. Instead the proposed Davenports space became the Diamond Factory in 2019.

Golden Square

A view towards The Big Peg from the path in the Golden Square to Warstone Lane.

Golden Square

2019

In January 2019, the side of the Rose Villa Tavern was painted with a You Are Birmingham advert from HSBC UK, who had recently opened their regional HQ over at 1 Centenary Square. This wall painting has since been removed / painted over.

Golden Square

Later that year in July 2019, the Ballerina Floral Trail feature had returned to The Golden Square.

Golden Square

As you can see below, the Diamond Factory was where Davenports would have been.

Golden Square

The view over to Lunchi and Urban Coffee.

Golden Square

August 2020

On Saturday 22nd August 2020, while I was in the Jewellery Quarter to see the Chamberlain Clock come down, took advantage to get some new photos of the Golden Square.

This view of the Rose Villa Tavern and The Big Peg from Warstone Lane. The Diamond Quarter is on the right.

Golden Square

The square was empty and a bit wet. Evidence of the earlier rain.

Golden Square

The Diamond Quarter from the other side.

Golden Square

The view back towards Vyse Street with the Rose Villa Tavern on the left and The Big Peg to the right.

Golden Square

Some of the The Big Peg was under scaffolding. Also appears that they had installed new wooden cladding in parts.

Golden Square

Further back, a view of The Golden Square from Warstone Lane. Most people were watching the Chamberlain Clock come down near the Rose Villa Tavern (to the left).

Golden Square

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
26 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A walk around Edgbaston Reservoir back in June 2020

Back in June 2020, we had a walk around Edgbaston Reservoir (which was my first in about 4 months). Although this time went all the way around in an Anti-Clockwise direction. Social distancing measures were in force, and the car park was still closed off (even before the lockdown). The Tower Ballroom has been closed for some time now and covered in graffiti. People out getting exercise.

Related

Edgbaston Reservoir

Click here for my last post on Edgbaston Reservoir.

 

In June 2020, we headed for a Monday morning walk around Edgbaston Reservoir. It was the 15th June 2020. Back in February 2020, I'd only gone around half of the reservoir (in the middle of a long walk from Harborne to the City Centre). This time was just a walk around the Reservoir, and back to the car on Reservoir Road. Was a lot of people out for their daily exercise, either going for walk, taking the dog out for walk, riding the bike, or taking the kids out. Social distancing signs were around. We went in an anti-clockwise direction (not sure if we went the wrong way as when I left saw a sign saying follow the arrows, not that I remember seeing any). The walk took around 40 minutes or more. Was the closest I got to the City Centre in 3 months of lockdown (at the time). I wouldn't be able to travel back into the City Centre until the middle of July. Could also see the Port Loop development while there.

 

Heading down from the Reservoir Road entrance to the car park that hasn't been in use for ages (the gate is still locked).

Edgbaston Reservoir

There was the usual gulls and geese out on the Reservoir, including on this raised decking area.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Nice reflections of the clouds in the water.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Was heading in an anti-clockwise direction past The Tower.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Midland Sailing Club on the right. Yachts on the bank of the reservoir.

Edgbaston Reservoir

View towards the dam (left) and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (middle).

Edgbaston Reservoir

View to The Tower Ballroom, which sadly closed down in the last few years and is covered in graffiti at the entrance.

Edgbaston Reservoir

The City Skyline is visible from here as well as the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Some outdoor gym equipment coming up on the right. Although at the time (due to the pandemic / lockdown), I don't think people were allowed to use them.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Was lovely to get back out around the Reservoir again.

Edgbaston Reservoir

The new footpath was on the right.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Hard to believe that this is all man made.

Edgbaston Reservoir

The distant view over to the Midland Sailing Club.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Midland Sailing Club

Near the end of the dam, to the right you can see the Midland Sailing Club.

Midland Sailing Club

Some of the boats behind the fence, not in use and covered up.

Midland Sailing Club

You can also see the club in zoom in from the other side of the Reservoir.

Midland Sailing Club

City Skyline

From the far end of the Reservoir, you can see the view of the City Skyline over the dam, including the rising 103 Colmore Row.

City Skyline

With 103 Colmore Row to the left, and The Mercian to the far right.

City Skyline

But when complete, neither building will be taller than the BT Tower, which is still the tallest building in Birmingham.

City Skyline

The Two Towers

Seen over The Tower (to the right of the dam) was The Two Towers. Perrott's Folly to the left and the Edgbaston Waterworks to the right. Click here for my post on The Two Towers.

The Two Towers

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
History & heritage
26 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Removal of the Chamberlain Clock in the Jewellery Quarter on the 22nd August 2020

On the 22nd August 2020, the Chamberlain Clock in the Jewellery Quarter, was carefully being dismantled with the clock faces removed, so that workmen could remove the clock tower. It is heading for Smith of Derby who are clock specialists. It is expected that it will return in full working order by early 2021 (fingers crossed). The clock dates to 1903 and was last restored in 1989.

Related

Removal of the Chamberlain Clock in the Jewellery Quarter, 22nd August 2020

On Saturday the 22nd August 2020, workmen were on site in the Jewellery Quarter to remove the Chamberlain Clock. It will be taken care of by Smith of Derby who are clock specialists. It is expected to be back on the roundabout at the junction of Frederick Street, Vyse Street and Warstone Lane in early 2021. There will also be a new information panel.

For my last post on the Chamberlain Clock follow this link: Jewellery Quarter Chamberlain Clock. It is over 117 years old, having been made originally back in 1903. The Grade II listed clock tower was last repaired and restored in 1989 (over 30 years ago).

Views below seen from Frederick Street:

JQ Chamberlain Clock

JQ Chamberlain Clock

JQ Chamberlain Clock

JQ Chamberlain Clock

JQ Chamberlain Clock

Views below seen from Warstone Lane:

JQ Chamberlain Clock

JQ Chamberlain Clock

JQ Chamberlain Clock

JQ Chamberlain Clock

Views below seen from Vyse Street:

JQ Chamberlain Clock

JQ Chamberlain Clock

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Travel & tourism
24 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

We Made It on The Balcony at Thinktank

On Level 1 at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum was from about 2013 an exhibition on the mezzanine floor called We Made It. "What's a Cow got to do with a Car?" asks the leaflet from 2013. You could see a dissected Riley Elf (a bit like a Mini). Birmingham was known as the Workshop of the World. Gadgets used at home. Nuts and bolts. Tins and things.

Related

We Made It

The official Thinktank Website has info on We Made It here. Located on Level 1 at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum (the mezzanine floor).

Information below courtesy of the Birmingham Museums Trust:

We Made It features more than 20 interactive exhibits that show just how and why Birmingham became known as ‘the workshop of the world’. Visitors are taken on a journey from raw materials to finished product, demonstrating how everyday goods are produced.
The journey is illustrated by around 1200 intriguing objects from Birmingham’s world-renowned manufacturing and natural science collections, and contemporary products made or designed in Birmingham. Find out what links a car and a cow, what makes treasure like jewellery valuable, why we use certain types of packaging, and how products are held together.
 
The gallery contains four distinct areas, each focussing on an area of manufacturing for which Birmingham is renowned: 
  •  Nuts and Bolts - Learn about Birmingham’s role in making iron and steel goods for the world.
  • Treasure - Precious possessions made from precious metals and gemstones.
  • Tins and Things - Discover why the West Midlands is the home of aluminium production and decorative glass.
  • Gadgets - Come and uncover inventions that have changed everyday life, from cameras to mobile phones; and find out why wood and plastic have been used to produce these items.

 

The following photos taken from a visit to Thinktank during April 2013.

The pink we made it logo with a subtitle of nuts, bolts, gadgets and gizmos on a yellow background.

We Made It

What has cow got to do with a car? You could also see this cow on the leaflet back in 2013.

We Made It

This is a dissected Riley Elf (a bit like a Mini). I had previously seen it at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre.

We Made It

Build a Mini. Showing you how to build a Mini. The wheels off and the doors off. Think Michael Caine in The Italian Job: "You only had to blow the bloody doors off!".

We Made It

Licence plate at the front and back of the Mini read: TH1NK T4NK.

We Made It

Another Mini, this one at least was fully entact and not cut up like the other ones. Licence plate was XFW 583.

We Made It

Bike art. Made out of a Honda 750cc motorbike engine. Exhaust pipes used as tubes and the sculpture features them bent into extravagant shapes. Custom Chrome, Nuneaton, 1994.

We Made It

Making silver goods. In a typical Silversmith workshop in the Jewellery Quarter.

We Made It

Electricity for silver plating. Made in Birmingham. Was the first industrial electrical machine in the world. Even Michael Faraday was delighted when he first saw it (putting his discoveries into practical use).

We Made It

Etch. Here was a machine that was used to etch glass. You could even press a green button to operate it in the museum.

We Made It

A machine used for Bending wire. Curtain hooks used to be made of metal, but are now made of plastic. Wire in, cut and bend, bend and shape, curtain hooks out.

We Made It

A variety of old cameras made during the 20th Century. Included here in this collection was: Camera by Polaroid, late 1960s, Brown camera by Kodak, about 1905, Cine camera by Kodak, 1950s, Cine Camera by Pathe, 1920s and Cine Camera by Bell and Howell, about 1930.

We Made It

Next up we have a Magic lantern projector. It looks like it could be used in a cinema to show films, but it actually projects magic lanterns.

We Made It

This violin was made in France by Thibouville Lamy. Some people who emigrated to the UK in the Inter War period, might have taken a violin over with them. Like a family heirloom.

We Made It

Glass sculpture. Possibly made out of recycled materials. Looks like it could go in a lighthouse. You could step inside of it on the other side.

We Made It

One of the Lightweight Bicycles hanging from the ceiling. This bike was made from steel. There was other bikes hanging up as well.

We Made It

Slinky childrens toys. The one below like the Slinky dog toy from the Toy Story movies.

We Made It

A typical Slinky walking spring toy. You can play with them in your hands, or push them down the stairs. Still got one myself (but is multicoloured).

We Made It

 

More of We Made it from the next visit to Thinktank during April 2014.

This is an aluminium sail. It is an extruded aluminium yacht mast. Made in the Midlands by Sapa Profiles, Derbyshire, for Selden Masts, 2012. Lent by Sapa Profiles. It was next to the Bike Sculpture (which was to the right).

We Made It

A colourfully designed area with green hearts, blue and pink plastic flowers. Thinktank was now calling this floor, The Balcony. Not sure of the purpose of this area, other than for children to play, and adults to sit down.

We Made It

A collection of old mobile phones. From 'brick' to pocket-sized. Mobile telephones left to right: Sendo, designed in Birmingham in 2002, NEC, United Kingdom, 1995 and for British Telecom, from about the late 1980s.

We Made It

The Chad Valley Co. Ltd was a toy manufacturer that was based in Harborne. Founded in the early 19th century. When they moved to Harborne, they named their company after the nearby Chad Brook. Which in turn gave it's name to the nearby Chad Valley. Was bought by Woolworths in 1988, but is now owned by Sainsbury's.

We Made It

A Chad Valley classic car toy. Of an open topped car with a spare wheel at the back.

We Made It

Guinness Stout. Toy of a classic green car. With people painted onto the side.

We Made It

A toy of a Midland Red bus. Also a sign for The Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company Ltd Builders Smethwick, England 1924.

We Made It

A Chad Valley toy of a red Fire Engine.

We Made It

Another Chad Valley toy car, of a clockwork model of a racing car.

We Made It

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
24 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Edgbaston Tunnel on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The Edgbaston Tunnel is located on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal below Church Road in Edgbaston. It is 105 yards long (or 96 metres long). The tunnel runs parallel with the railway tunnel on the Cross City Line. It takes boats about 2 minutes to get through the tunnel. In 2018, the tunnel was closed for months to allow for the towpath to be widened.

Related

Edgbaston Tunnel

The Worcester & Birmingham Canal was constructed between 1792 from the Birmingham end, reaching Worcester by 1815. The canal reached Selly Oak by about 1795, so it is fair to assume that the Edgbaston Tunnel was built sometime between 1792 and 1795. Probably dug out by navvies by picks and shovels. Built of red brick, the Edgbaston Tunnel is 96 metres long (105 yards long). It is well under Church Road. Today the closest exits with steps are on Islington Row Middleway (near Five Ways Station) and at The Vale (University of Birmingham student accommodation).

Running parallel with the canal is what is today the Cross City Line. This railway line was built as the Birmingham West Suburban Railway from 1876 until 1885. The Church Road Tunnel was built next to the Edgbaston Tunnel along with a Church Road Station which opened in 1876, not far from the North East Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel. The station closed in 1925.

Located close to the South West Portal is Hallfield School and near the North East Portal is Sunrise of Edgbaston. When you are up on Church Road, it is a bit hard to see the canal and railway line from above (the brick wall is too high and there is a lot of tree coverage).

During 2018, the Canal & River Trust closed the tunnel, so that they could widen the towpath. This was completed by about May 2018. And now there is more space for cyclists and walkers alike, even with painted lines and "Slow" signs.

 

2016

First walk through of the Edgbaston Tunnel was during April 2016. I got onto the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Somerset Road in Edgbaston and walked up the towpath towards Five Ways.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Approaching the South West Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel. To the left is the Cross City Line on the other side of the fence. Above behind all the trees and shrubs is Church Road.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Canal & River Trust sign for the Edgbaston Tunnel at the South West Portal. At the time it has space for two way traffic.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Nearing the South West Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel. The towpath inside of the tunnel was quite narrow. So not enough room for both walkers and cyclists at the time.

Edgbaston Tunnel

This sign states that the Edgbaston Tunnel is 96 Metres in length (which is quite short).

Edgbaston Tunnel

The tunnel was lit up, so when you walk on the towpath, or have a ride on a narrowboat, it is not dark in there.

Edgbaston Tunnel

But as you can see, the old tunnel towpath was really too narrow.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Up ahead was a couple of narrowboats that were about to enter the tunnel, as well as a person out for a run on the towpath.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Just as one narrowboat entered the tunnel, to the right you can see the site of the lost Church Road Station.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Old Georgian and Victorian buildings on Church Road at Hallfield School. The engineering brick on the railway, always seems to get tagged by graffiti vandals. You can also watch passing trains here.

Edgbaston Tunnel

2017

The next time I walked through the Edgbaston Tunnel was during November 2017. This walk started from Bath Row and I went as far as The Vale before getting off.

Approaching the North Eastern Portal was this cyclist in an orange jacket.

Edgbaston Tunnel

This time I had a better view of the white building above the canal. The building is now occupied by Robert Powell Estate Agents.

Edgbaston Tunnel

While the cyclist in orange was riding into the tunnel, saw a narrowboat with all these flat caps and beanies on. Peaky Blinders?

Edgbaston Tunnel

Before I entered the Edgbaston Tunnel, saw a London Midland Class 323 train on the Cross City Line entering the Church Road Tunnel.

Edgbaston Tunnel

One of the men on the narrowboat was standing on it's roof as it went through the tunnel.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Now at the South Eastern Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel, the gatehouse to Hallfield School is above to the left.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Then I saw another London Midland Class 323 entering the tunnel bound for Birmingham New Street and Lichfield Trent Valley.

Edgbaston Tunnel

2018

The Edgbaston Tunnel was closed to the public from January to March 2018, so that the Canal & River Trust could widen the towpath, resurface it, and install a new safety railing. There was towpath diversion at the time from Islington Row Middleway to The Vale. By May 2018 it was open again, and I went back to check it out.

This was during a long walk starting at Selly Oak towards Five Ways, Already could see the new towpath extension and railings from the South West Portal.

Edgbaston Tunnel

It was mostly complete, but was still some temporary barriers to the left.

Edgbaston Tunnel

There was a sign for Cyclists Slow as there was a ramp onto the new towpath and it wasn't quite finished.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Inside I could see that the towpath was much wider, compared to what it used to be like.

Edgbaston Tunnel

It seems like the tunnel is long, but it isn't, just a trick of the light.

Edgbaston Tunnel

At the North East Portal, a cyclist waits at the Cyclists Slow sign.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Was also a man running through the tunnel, while a builder in yellow and orange overalls was at the other end.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Went back again in December 2018, after the white lines had been painted onto the towpath, and it had all been fully completed.

A cyclist in a yellow jacket heads towards the North East Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Another cyclist and on the right was a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train on the Cross City Line (passing the site of Church Road Station).

Edgbaston Tunnel

Approaching the Edgbaston Tunnel with the new ramp.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Painted on both sides of the ramp was Slow. Pedestrians get priority in the tunnel.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Before entering the tunnel, Saw a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train go past, in the new orange and white livery (replacing the old London Midland green).

Edgbaston Tunnel

The towpath is now much wider, and even the lighting seems to be brighter in here (not as dark).

Edgbaston Tunnel

Slow sign on the ramp close to the South West Portal.

Edgbaston Tunnel

And another pair of painted Slow signs closer to the exit of the tunnel.

Edgbaston Tunnel

2020

In August 2020, I had my first walk down the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in months (due to the pandemic / lockdown). Starting at The Mailbox and ending at The Vale (was thinking about Somerset Road but The Vale exit came first). Also my first time back in the Edgbaston Tunnel since the end of 2018.

A lady was running towards me, also had to let a couple pass me, due to social distancing.

Edgbaston Tunnel

It was a bit hard to see the at white building on Church Road, due to the amount of leaves on the surrounding trees.

Edgbaston Tunnel

A narrowboat was coming out of the tunnel.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Got this view from just inside of the tunnel as the narrowboat heading out.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Still the optical illusion of the tunnel being long (when it isn't).

Edgbaston Tunnel

A zoom in from the far end of the tunnel as the narrowboat was still heading on it's way.

Edgbaston Tunnel

One last look at the Edgbaston Tunnel as I continued my walk towards The Vale.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
70 passion points
Green open spaces
20 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Chinn Brook Meadows in the Shire Country Park

In Yardley Wood there is two areas named after the Chinn Brook. The Chinn Brook Meadows (also called the Chinn Brook Recreation Ground) and the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve. I've been to both a couple of times (usually walking from one part into the next). In this post though we will take a look at the Chinn Brook Meadows. From Trittiford Road / Highfield Road to Yardley Wood Road.

Related

Chinn Brook Meadows

The Chinn Brook Meadows is one of the satellite parks of the Shire Country Park. Many locals in Yardley Wood still refer it to as the Chinn Brook Recreation Ground (and is labelled as that on Google Maps). The Chinn Brook Meadows is a 34 Acre site that stretches from Yardley Wood Road to the west, towards Trittiford Road and Highfield Road to the East. To the north is Chinn Brook Road and Glastonbury Road is to the south. The Chinn Brook flows through the Recreation Ground, where it joins up with the River Cole in The Dingles. Also nearby is the Trittiford Mill Pool to the east. The site was renamed in 2010 from the Chinn Brook Recreation Ground to the Chinn Brook Meadows, as it was thought that Meadows better reflects it's character.

 

I've had at least two full walks through the Chinn Brook Meadows. In December 2014 on Christmas Day and in April 2020 on a lockdown walk.

2014

For a Christmas Day morning walk on the 25th December 2014, we started our walk in the Chinn Brook Meadows. Getting in from the main entrance on Trittiford Road. There was this information sign and map, although vandals had tagged it at the time.

Chinn Brook Meadows

A look at the Chinn Brook from the bridge on Trittiford Road in Yardley Wood.

Chinn Brook Meadows

The fingerpost in the Chinn Brook Meadows was looking relatively new at the time. Directions to The Dingles, Trittiford Mill Pool and the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve.

Chinn Brook Meadows

The playground / play area that is close to Trittiford Road. There is also an entrance to it from Chinn Brook Road.

Chinn Brook Meadows

S bend in the Chinn Brook.

Chinn Brook Meadows

One of the footbridges over the Chinn Brook.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Was a nice sunny morning at the time, as I had a look over the footbridge. Bollards at both ends.

Chinn Brook Meadows

The path in the Chinn Brook Meadows goes past the field, that most people still call The Rec.

Chinn Brook Meadows

But it's what was growing alongside the path and the Chinn Brook that got it renamed to Chinn Brook Meadows.

Chinn Brook Meadows

More of the same near the Chinn Brook.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Trees not far from the houses on Chinn Brook Road.

Chinn Brook Meadows

The path curving to the right.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Near the end of The Rec section before you walk down a path to Yardley Wood Road.

Chinn Brook Meadows

A couple take their dog for a walk.

Chinn Brook Meadows

The gate at the end of the path near Yardley Wood Road. Exit here and cross over the road to enter the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve.

Chinn Brook Meadows

2017

In January 2017, I saw this carved wooden sculpture close to Highfield Road in Yardley Wood. It was probably done by local Birmingham based carver, Graham Jones. You can find his work in other parks and green spaces around Birmingham.

Chinn Brook Meadows

It had various carvings around it, such as birds and flowers.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Some details at the bottom including a swan.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Later that year in December 2017, while it was snowing in Yardley Wood, I walked down to the Trittiford Mill Pool. While there I got these snowy views towards the Chinn Brook Meadows.

Chinn Brook Meadows

The roads around it had been gritted by the council, but looks quite slushy and dirty.

Chinn Brook Meadows

This side was closer to The Dingles, but was the view in the direction of the Chinn Brook Meadows. Not seen snow around there since then.

Chinn Brook Meadows

2020

In April 2020 we had a lockdown walk through the Chinn Brook Meadows before heading into the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve. Parking on Chinn Brook Road, we passed the playground / play area which of course (at the time) was closed due to the pandemic / lockdown. So no child on the swings or slides until the beginning of July.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Looking through the swings to the slide from Chinn Brook Road.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Notices from the Council, to not enter the play area. Then again, some people ignored these, and hoped over the gate.

Chinn Brook Meadows

The Chinn Brook Meadows fingerpost from Chinn Brook Road, near the entrance to the play area.

Chinn Brook Meadows

One last look at the equipment that children couldn't use from about late March until early July 2020.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Surprisingly, there was a lot of families out in the Recreation Ground for a walk and exercise (more than my previous visit). At the time, getting out for your one form of daily exercise was allowed (apart from getting essentials from the shops).

Chinn Brook Meadows

Was a nice blue sky as we walked up the path towards Yardley Wood Road. Grass nice and short.

Chinn Brook Meadows

As before, the path curves around to the right. People taking their dogs for a walk and having fun in the Chinn Brook to the left.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Plenty of space here to have a game of football, although at the time that kind of activity was not allowed under the restrictions.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Nearing the end of the path close to The Rec.

Chinn Brook Meadows

The path to Yardley Wood Road was a bit narrower, and the leaves on the trees hadn't fully grown back.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Bluebells growing close to the path. When you couldn't go far at the time, your local green spaces was the only place to see them.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Such a short period of time to see the bluebells in flower.

Chinn Brook Meadows

This sign close to the Yardley Wood Road exit reminds you that this area is part of the Millstream Way. Also that it is illegal to access and ride with off-road motorcycles within the City Council parkland. But idiot youths keep ignoring this. And they spray painted over the West Midlands Police logo!

Chinn Brook Meadows

Later on the walk back from the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve down Chinn Brook Road. This was another one of the entrances. Such bright sunshine from that side.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Yellow flowers growing near the gate on Chinn Brook Road. According to Google Lens, they are called Gorse.

Chinn Brook Meadows

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
19 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cross with Pride in the Southside Business District

In the middle of August 2020, two rainbow crossings were painted in the Southside BID. The first in Hippodrome Square, where Hurst Street meets Ladywell Walk. The second on Hurst Walk in The Arcadian. Part of Cross with Pride. Sharing the Chinese Quarter with the Gay Village.

Related

CROSS WITH PRIDE

 

Click here for the renamed Twitter account of the Southside BID. Now Southside District Birmingham (formerly Enjoy Southside, so links to their old Twitter handle no longer works).

 

Delayed due to the pandemic / lockdown, two sets of rainbow crossings have been painted in Southside. One on Hurst Street near Ladywell Walk (Hippodrome Square), and the other one in The Arcadian, located on Hurst Walk.

According to our friends over at Brum Hour they were painted the artists James Gavina Cowper and Matthew Stephens. The 2020 Birmingham Pride Festival should have taken place in May, but was cancelled for obvious reasons. Hurst Street will be closed for 6 weekends from the 15th August 2020, so that local businesses can put out tables and chairs, so people can eat and drink outside.

Hippodrome Square

The Rainbow Crossing seen on the 11th August 2020 in Hippodrome Square. At the time still behind barriers, but they were removed later that day. Located at the end of Ladywell Walk at the junction with Hurst Street. Traffic no longer goes around here since it was closed off years ago and bollards installed.

Rainbow Crossing

Rainbow Crossing

Popped back to Southside on the 13th August 2020, now that I was aware that the Rainbow Crossing wasn't behind barriers any more. They also put picnic tables on Ladywell Walk in Hippodrome Square.

Cross with Pride

The hashtag #CrosswithPride was painted on the crossing towards the Hippodrome and The Arcadian.

Cross with Pride

Cross with Pride

Cross with Pride

Cross with Pride

#CrosswithPride has much interest and is already a focus on some inspired photography in a similar way to Abbey Road became with the help of The Beatles. 

Photo courtesy Southside BID. 

Photo courtesy Rewired PR

Photo courtesy Birmingham City Council 

The Arcadian

The second rainbow crossing was painted on Hurst Walk at The Arcadian. You can get onto it from Hurst Street. Seen on the 13th August 2020. Remember this is still the Chinese Quarter, so many Chinese businesses around here.

Hurst Walk

Hurst Walk

Photos taken by Elliott Brown unless where acknowledged. 

Share  Connect with us
70 passion points
Classic Architecture
19 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Old Joe at the University of Birmingham from 2018 to 2020

While during the lockdown / pandemic you are not allowed to go onto the University of Birmingham campus in Edgbaston you can see Old Joe for miles around the campus. Views here taken between 2018 and 2020. Up until early March 2020 I could still go onto the campus (now it's not possible without an ID). Named after Joseph Chamberlain who was the First Chancellor of the University.

Related

OLD JOE:

JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN MEMORIAL CLOCK TOWER

 

Find my old post comparing the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower here to the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy.

Old Joe on Twitter.

Some history about the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower aka Old Joe. Built from 1900 until 1908, it was the tallest building in Birmingham until 1965, when the BT Tower opened. Designed by Aston Webb and Ingress Bell who were responsible for the initial phase of building the University in the Edwardian period. The tower was based on the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy (see the link above to my old comparison post).

The tower commemorated Joseph Chamberlain who was the First Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. It is the tallest free standing clock tower in the world. It is over 100 metres tall (possibly as high as 110 metres). The tower is Grade II listed and it can be seen for miles around the campus. As far away as the Lickey Hills and Waseley Hills (for instance). Even from nearby parks and suburbs. It is thought that Old Joe was the inspiration for the Eye of Sauron in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

2018

January 2018 from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park. Old Joe on the City Skyline

Old Joe

March 2018: From Vincent Drive overlooking the Cross City Line. The new University of Birmingham Library with Old Joe.

Old Joe

May 2018: Seen from the Bristol Road in Edgbaston, when they got the clock working again!

Old Joe

June 2018: View from Winnie Road in Selly Oak around the time that Old Joe won the World Cup of Birmingham's Best Buildings! on Twitter (held by I Choose Birmingham).

Old Joe

July 2018: Visible from the Bourn Brook Way not far from Harborne Lane in Selly Oak.

Old Joe

November 2018: A close up view from the Chancellors Court at the University of Birmingham.

Old Joe

2019

January 2019: From the Green Heart at the University of Birmingham (before it was completed later that year).

Old Joe

February 2019: In this view from the Bristol Road, Selly Oak, before the Selly Oak Railway Bridge of 1931.

Old Joe

April 2019: Heading down Cartland Road in Stirchley, could see Old Joe between the roofs of houses.

Old Joe

August 2019: Not far from the Bramall Music Building. The clock was once again stuck at 12 on all sides.

Old Joe

October 2019: The view from Bournbrook Road in Selly Park, heading towards Selly Oak.

Old Joe

December 2019: Old Joe was visible on the skyline from Sir Herbert Austin Way in Northfield.

Old Joe

2020

January 2020: Heading towards the Poynting Building from the Guild of Students over a footbridge with this view.

Old Joe

March 2020: One of my last shots of Old Joe before the lockdown began earlier in the month. Clocks stuck at 12 again.

Old Joe

May 2020: The first time I'd seen Old Joe in two months due to the lockdown. This view from Cannon Hill Park.

Old Joe

May 2020: Also saw Old Joe from Highbury Park, not far from Joseph Chamberlain's former home Highbury Hall.

Old Joe

May 2020: Walking back from Weoley Castle past Selly Oak Park down Gibbins Road saw this view of Old Joe.

Old Joe

June 2020: Saw this view of Old Joe from the Waseley Hills Country Park, before I zoomed in on the skyline.

Old Joe

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

Share  Connect with us
90 passion points
History & heritage
18 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Jewellery Quarter Chamberlain Clock

This clock tower located in the Jewellery Quarter is in memory of Joseph Chamberlain's visit to South Africa in 1903 after the Boer War, while he was the Secretary of State for the Colonies. It is at the junction of Vyse Street, Warstone Lane and Frederick Street. It will be removed end of August 2020 for restoration work.

Related

Jewellery Quarter Chamberlain Clock

The Chamberlain Clock is an Edwardian cast-iron clock located in the Jewellery Quarter. It was erected to mark Joseph Chamberlain's tour of South Africa from the 26th December 1902 until the 25th February 1903, after the end of the Second Boer War. It was unveiled while Chamberlain was still alive in January 1904, by Mary Crowninshield Endicott, his 3rd wife. It is at the junction of Vyse Street with Warstone Lane and Frederick Street. At one point Chamberlain lived in Frederick Street (probably before he moved into Highbury Hall). It was last restored in 1989. The clock is Grade II listed.

The clock is next due for a restoration soon, and will be removed on the 22nd August 2020. The clock no longer works. It will be reinstalled in early 2021 with a new information panel. See our friends at Birmingham Updates for more.

 

I first took a series of photos of the clock in November 2009.

View to the Rose Villa Tavern. Today the area behind is now called Golden Square. Corner of Vyse Street and Warstone Lane.

Chamberlain Clock

View to the HSBC bank at the other corner of Warstone Lane and Vyse Street.

Chamberlain Clock

Some information on the bottom of the clock. It was erected by his constituents the electors of West Birmingham.

Chamberlain Clock

Another view with HSBC to the corner of Warstone Lane and Vyse Street.

Chamberlain Clock

An old Metrobus on the 101 to Handsworth about a year before they were withdrawn. Was still Travel West Midlands at the time.

Chamberlain Clock

Christmas lights behind the clock on Warstone Lane.

Chamberlain Clock

This was the view near the Barclays Bank looking up Frederick Street.

Chamberlain Clock

This view below of the Chamberlain Clock was taken during January 2019, from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham. Looking up Newhall Hill to Frederick Street. HSBC was now HSBC UK (after 1 Centenary Square opened). The modern 101 bus is now red from National Express West Midlands.

Chamberlain Clock

Returned to this part of the Jewellery Quarter for the first time in ages in August 2020. Heading down Vyse Street from Jewellery Quarter Station. Barclays Bank on the left at the Warstone Lane and Frederick Street corner.

Chamberlain Clock

The Warstone Lane view of the clock between the Rose Villa Tavern and Barclays Bank.

Chamberlain Clock

Also got this view looking up from Frederick Street. The clock no longer works, it needs repainting. It's in urgent need of some TLC.

Chamberlain Clock

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Transport
17 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Railway 196 101 test run through Yardley Wood Station

I got a tip off where I could see West Midlands Railway 196 101. So I walked down to Yardley Wood Station. This Spanish built CAF train would pass through at about 10:17 on 13/08/2020. Stopping for a moment before resuming it's journey back to Tyseley TMD.

Related

Click here to see the Class 196 mock up at Tyseley post.

WEST MIDLANDS RAILWAY 196 101

I'd like to thank my Flickr friend and fellow train enthusiast Geoff Dowling for this tip off. He said that I might see the test run of West Midlands Railway 196 101 between 10:15 and 10:30 on the 13th August 2020. So I walked down to Yardley Wood Station to see it. Thought I might as well buy an E-ticket to Birmingham Snow Hill on the app as I walked down Highfield Road.

This Class 196 is currently the only full train that West Midlands Railway has, apart from that mock up I saw in Tyseley. Since arriving, it's been regularly doing test runs down to Stratford-upon-Avon or towards Worcester Foregate Street or Worcester Shrub Hill.

In this case, it was returning from Stratford-upon-Avon, probably going back to Tyseley TMD. It arrived around 10:17. Simulating a stop for a few seconds before moving on. I had another half hour wait at platorm 2, for the 10:45 to Birmingham Snow Hill.

Made by CAF in Spain, there is 26 trains of this Class on order. When the full fleet arrives in the UK, West Midlands Trains plans to replace the fleet of Class 170/5 and 170/6 Turbostar's and their Class 153's with the new Class 196's.

WMR 196 101

WMR 196 101

WMR 196 101

WMR 196 101

WMR 196 101

WMR 196 101

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followe

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
17 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Brandwood Tunnel on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal

One of the oldest structures on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal is the Brandwood Tunnel near Brandwood and Brandwood End in South Birmingham. Located between Kings Heath and Kings Norton, it was built between 1793 and 1796 and opened by 1802. It is over 300 metres long. No towpath inside, so the towpaths go up to road level and you have to find the other end. But it's not signposted.

Related

Brandwood Tunnel

The Brandwood Tunnel is on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal in Birmingham. In September 2018 I had a walk of the canal, starting at Alcester Road South near Kings Heath and Alcester Lanes End, and walking towards Kings Norton Junction. It was Birmingham Heritage Week at the time, although my walk here was nothing to do with that.

There is no towpath in the tunnel, so you have to walk up the towpath ramp towards Brandwood Road. And make your way to Shelfield Road for the other end. It was not signposted, and had to check Google Maps at the time (at one point I walked up Monyhull Hall Road in the wrong direction before I turned back and consulted Google Maps).

 

East Portal of the Brandwood Tunnel

Located on the walk between Alcester Road South and Monyhull Hall Road, is the East Portal of the Brandwood Tunnel. It is a Grade II listed building. It was built from 1793 until 1796 of brick and stone. The canal engineer was probably Josiah Clowes. In an age before motorised narrowboats, the narrowboat would have been pulled by a horse. But the horse would have been taken up to road level, while a pair of men legged it through the tunnel. The towpath leads up to Monyhull Hall Road. You have to walk down Brandwood Park Road to Shelfield Road to get to the other part of the canal, and the West Portal.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

Was a nice reflection in the water of the tunnel entrance at the east end.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

Sign about the Brandwood Tunnel at the East Portal. Canoes can go through, but they must check that the tunnel is clear and have a forward facing white light on.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

From this point, the towpath starts to go up the hill.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

Both ends have a portrait, but the East Portal seems to be missing a portrait (maybe it eroded due to weather over 220 plus years?). There was unsightly tags at the top of the East Portal brickwork.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

The Brandwood Tunnel sign looked like it was in need of a repair.  It's hard to tell who this portrait was of.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

The Brandwood Tunnel is 322 metres in length.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

Steps down for someone in a narrowboat to use. Such as the person with the key to the locks.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

Last look at the East Portal before walking up to the road level. Some more graffiti tags on the right.

East Portal Brandwood Tunnel

West Portal of the Brandwood Tunnel

This portal is located near Shelfield Road in Brandwood End. Easy to miss as it was not signposted at road level, so had to check Google Maps to find the towpath. The West Portal is also a Grade II listed building and was built from 1793 to 1794. The north section of the Stratford-on-Avon Canal opened in 1802. This side has a portrait of William Shakespeare (as people in narrowboats will most likely be heading for Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon). Beyond here the canal leads to Kings Norton Junction where it meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Kings Norton (just after a guillotine lock).

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

Heading down the towpath next to the West Portal. More graffiti on the brickwork to the left.

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

First proper glimse at the West Portal of the Brandwood Tunnel, as I headed down the towpath.

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

A view of the portrait of William Shakespeare.

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

This portrait of Shakespeare has survived the centuries, but looks weathered around the edges.

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

Even this side mentions that the Brandwood Tunnel is 322 metres long.

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

One last look at the Shakespeare portrait.

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

A proper look at the West Portal before continuing the walk towards Kings Norton.

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

The Brandwood Tunnel sign at the West Portal at the time was heavily vandalised with graffiti tags. Hopefully the Canal & River Trust has cleaned it up since. But the canal down here always gets tagged, even at the guillotine lock at Kings Norton a bit further down.

West Portal Brandwood Tunnel

 

There are other tunnels that you can walk through. Such as the Edgbaston Tunnel and Broad Street Tunnel on the Worceser & Birmingham Canal, which I can cover in future posts.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Show more