Elliott Brown

Passion Points: 32K

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

The Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery (above the Legoland Discovery Centre Birmingham at Arena Birmingham)

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

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

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

Found them on Twitter The BCAG and Instagram The BCAG. And they are now following / liking my photos. Thanks very much.

BCAG Dec 19

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

BCAG Jan 20

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

BCAG Jan 20

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

BCAG Jan 20

The BCAG with LDC Birmingham below.

BCAG Jan 20

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

BCAG Jan 20

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

BCAG Jan 20

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

BCAG art int

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

BCAG art int

Art of the Bullring Bull.

BCAG art int

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

BCAG art int

Metal vase on a glass topped table.

BCAG art int

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

BCAG art int

More shadows over the paintings and figures.

BCAG art int

BCAG sign near the entrance with pictures nearby.

BCAG art int

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

BCAG art int

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

BCAG art int

One last look at the gallery before I left.

BCAG art int

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

BCAG Wallace's

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

BCAG Wallace's

One more with the BCAG sign.

BCAG Wallace's

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

Lord Mayor meets BCAG

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

BCAG art

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

BCAG art

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

BCAG art

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

Another view of what was behind the bar.

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

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

Eagle & Tun

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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

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

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

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

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

BWA Council House

Looking towards the Drawing Room. Packed at this point.

BWA Council House

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

BWA Council House

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

BWA Council House

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

BWA Council House

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

BWA Council House

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

BWA Council House

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

BWA Council House

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

BWA Council House

In the Banqueting Suite displays of art.

Craftybun Print Making.

BWA arts

The Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery and Gloriana.

BWA arts

Lessness

BWA arts

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

BWA art

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

BWA art

Birmingham Urban Sketch. Paula Gabb I think.

BWA art

Commissoned Book Arts.

BWA art

Handmaiduns

BWA art

Birmingham We Are People with Passion Awards 2020

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

Award 1.

BWA Awards 2020

Award 2.

BWA Awards 2020

Award 3

BWA Awards 2020

Award 4

BWA Awards 2020

Award 5: Birmingham Community Matters.

BWA Awards 2020

Award 6

BWA Awards 2020

Award 7: The Gunmakers Arms.

BWA Awards 2020

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

BWA Awards 2020

Award 9: Daniel Sturley.

BWA Awards 2020

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are award winner 2020.

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

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

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

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

First dance in Venetian style masks.

Gloriana

Gloriana

Masks off. Partnering up.

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Going up those sticks with leaves on them.

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

Gloriana

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

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

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

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

I got Jonathan in shot as well.

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

Lord Mayor and Gloriana

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are award winner 2020.

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60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
16 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Victoria Square almost empty over the past decade

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

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Victoria Square

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

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

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

 

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

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

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

Victoria Square

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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

The exterior buildings of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

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

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Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

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

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

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

 

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

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

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

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

BMAG

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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

Circus Berlin at The NEC Birmingham

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

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Circus Berlin

Previous circuses post here Circuses in Birmingham.

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

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

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

Circus Berlin

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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

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

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

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Grove Park

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

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

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

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

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

 

2012

By first visit to Grove Park was during May 2012.

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

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

Another tree with one long over hanging branch.

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

Still it attracts geese and ducks etc.

Grove Park

Another bush with pink flower heads.

Grove Park

The end of the lake close to Harborne Park Road.

Grove Park

A Canada Goose in the lake.

Grove Park

2016

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

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

Dark green picnic bench with seats on all four sides.

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

2018

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

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

Trees and yellow leaves, the grass was still green.

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

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

Grove Park

The lake again in autumn.

Grove Park

More trees and more leaves on the ground.

Grove Park

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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

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

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

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

November 2017 to January 2018

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

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

 

November 2018 to January 2019

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

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

Ice Skate Birmingham

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Transport
02 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Ending 2019 with a West Midlands Metro tram ride to Wolverhampton

I wanted to check out the new Wolverhampton Station building, and it had been over 2 and a half years since I got the tram all the way to Wolverhampton (not counting when I went to Wednesbury and Bilston). Also the trams have all gone blue since I last saw them in Wolverhampton. Checked out the Wolverhampton Metro extension then walked to Priestfield Tram Stop via the City Centre. HNY 2020

Related

First up on Sunday 29th December 2019, needed to catch a tram in Birmingham City Centre. They seemed more frequent than they usually are on a Sunday. I always prefer to head to Grand Central Tram Stop. But this time had to catch the tram from the platform near The Burlington Hotel, since the Westside Metro extension opened to Library Tram Stop in Centenary Square several weeks ago (with testing before that).

Grand Central Tram Stop

While waiting for a tram to Wolverhampton, saw West Midlands Metro tram 23 Comet arriving at th platform near Birmingham New Street Station.

Tram 23

The pantograph was lowered from the overhead wires, before heading up Stephenson Street under battery power towards Pinfold Street.

Tram 23

Heading past the Guildhall Buildings and the modern part of Victoria Square House. It would turn up right towards Pinfold Street and Victoria Square. A street cleaning vehicle to the right.

Tram 23

Passing Costa Coffee in the Guildhall Buildings (corner of Navigation Street and Stephenson Street) was tram 29 Cupid. Which I would catch to Wolverhampton St George's. A 45 minute journey. The pantograph was probably raised while I was inside of this tram.

Tram 29

Wolverhampton St George's Tram Stop

45 minutes later I arrived in Wolverhampton. Getting off at Wolverhampton St George's Tram Stop. Only one platform here now since it was rebuilt several years ago.

Tram 29

I was first heading to check out the Wolverhampton Metro extension to Wolverhampton Station. As you can see the former platform at the existing terminus is now for buses. Pipers Row has a tram stop with platforms but no shelters. And since they are still re-building Wolverhampton Station, the extension currently stops on the bridge on Railway Drive.

Tram 29

Bilston Road, Wolverhampton

The last time I walked down here in May 2017, the Urbos 3 trams were pink, and I walked up the canal. Ended up that time catching a tram from The Royal to West Bromwich. This time it was a walk down to Priestfield Tram Stop.

After a quick walk around Wolverhampton City Centre, I crossed over Ring Road St George's as West Midlands Metro tram 19 headed between Bilston Road and Bilston Street to the Wolverhampton terminus at St George's. Passing Novotel.

Tram 19

I later saw it heading down the Bilston Road. This was after it had left The Royal Tram Stop. Not sure if it was in service as it did not say "Birmingham" on the front or back digital display.

Tram 19

Tram 19 passing a Vauxhall car dealership on the Bilston Road.

Tram 19

Heading over the Bilston Road Bridge that crosses over the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline (Wolverhampton Level).

Tram 19

Next up was West Midlands Metro tram 18 (one of the trams with Just Eat adverts in red). Seen here going under the railway bridge that carries the West Coast Mainline between Wolverhampton and Birmingham (and London). Saw a couple of Avanti West Coast Class 390 Pendolino's up there (weird not saying Virgin Trains any more).

Tram 18

Passing various car showrooms. Wolverhampton Volkswagen to the left.

Tram 18

Passing a Toyota place on the Bilston Road.

Tram 18

Passing me next was West Midlands Metro tram 32. This was near Ettingshall Road near the boarded up The New Inn (which used to be an Oriental restaurant until it closed down).

Tram 32

Seen continuing up to Wolverhampton St George's. I later got this tram back from Priestfield.

Tram 32

Priestfield Tram Stop

Arrived at Priestfield Tram Stop too late to catch Tram 18 back to Birmingham. But only had to wait another 7 minutes for the next tram. It is here that the trams leaves the Bilston Road and goes back onto the old railway trackbed.

Tram 18

There is paths on both sides of the tracks that leads to the platforms at Priestfield.

Tram 18

I wasn't going to run for the tram like the man ahead of me. Priestfield has it's own car park.

Tram 18

Saw West Midlands Metro tram 30 arriving at Priestfield on it's journey towards Wolverhampton St George's.

Tram 30

I don't think tram 30 has a temporary reindeer name at Christmas time.

Tram 30

There is crossover track here, incase the line beyond here is closed for whatever reason.

Tram 30

Tram 32 arriving at Priestfield. I caught it all the way to Bull Street Tram Stop in Birmingham City Centre.

Tram 32

On Sunday afternoon many football fans of West Bromwich Albion got on board heading to The Hawthorns to watch their team in the Championship. Many of them had scarfs, hats and Baggies football shirts on.

If this is my last post in 2019, then I'd like to say Happy New Year 2020!

One last tram photo on the 31st December 2019. New Year's Eve. Tram 18 with Just Eat livery seen from Victoria Square at Town Hall Tram Stop.

Tram 18

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
29 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selly Oak Park: the gem of a park off the Selly Oak Bypass

Selly Oak Park is located on Harborne Lane in Selly Oak. Sections of the Lapal Canal goes through the north east corner of the park (still to be fully restored). The Selly Oak Bypass (Aston Webb Boulevard) opened in 2011 and the Selly Oak Shopping Park in 2018. They are now building a new section of the bypass near the former Sainsbury's site at Selly Oak Triangle. Also on Gibbins Rd.

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Selly Oak Park

This park is located on Harborne Lane and Gibbins Road in Selly Oak. It was developed under the Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council. Land was donated in February 1899 by members of the Gibbins family. The park was opened in April 1899 on Easter Monday. In 1911 the park was taken over by Birmingham City Council when Selly Oak became part of the city. More land was donated over the years. In 1913 and 1919 by the owners of the Birmingham Battery and Metal Company (also Gibbins family members), in 1935 to give access to the Weoley Park Farm Estate. More land in 1950 by the Birmingham Battery & Metal Company (again). In 1958 some land was transferred to the City’s Public Works Committee. More recent land donations in 1980 and 1982.

The shelter built in 1899, the bandstand built in 1908 and the Daughters of Rest Pavilion built in 1953 have all since been demolished.

The park is now maintained by The Friends of Selly Oak Park. That includes all the wooden sculptures found around the park.

2012

My first walk around Selly Oak Park was during June 2012, testing out my then new camera (which I had until about December 2015). I probably entered from Harborne Lane and headed up the main path.

Selly Oak Park

One of the main squirrels in the park, with a nut.

Selly Oak Park

Saw this red wind funnel thing. There is similar funnels in other nearby parks.

Selly Oak Park

A council lawnmower going around the park cutting the grass.

Selly Oak Park

The trees were so lush and green in the summer, the path curving round to the right.

Selly Oak Park

Another squirrel behind a tree.

Selly Oak Park

Two paths amongst the trees.

Selly Oak Park

Distant view of the red funnel.

Selly Oak Park

2017

The next visit to Selly Oak Park was during January 2017. The Friends of Selly Oak Park had commissioned all of these new wooden sculptures which were worth checking out. On this side it says Lapal.

Selly Oak Park

To the side Welcome. So probably "Welcome to Selly Oak Park". This is near Gibbins Road.

Selly Oak Park

A carved wooden bench. In memory of Geoff Bartlett, Founder of Friends of Selly Oak Park.

Selly Oak Park

Part of the playground. A climbing frame, and a ride along a rope with a tyre (I think).

Selly Oak Park

Another wooden sculpture. Of deer or a kangeroo (probably a deer and it's cub).

Selly Oak Park

A new Welcome to Selly Oak Park sign. It's near the car park off Harborne Lane and close to the corner with Gibbins Road.

Selly Oak Park

2018

This visit during March 2018. View of the new outdoor gym.

Selly Oak Park

Daffodils alongside a path.

Selly Oak Park

Selly Oak Park Play Area. One of the many Birmingham City Council elephant signs that you would find in this and other City parks. Behind was a slide.

Selly Oak Park

Daffodils around a tree.

Selly Oak Park

Daffodils and crocuses. From here I headed up Gibbins Road towards Lodge Hill Cemetery. Weoley Castle is also nearby.

Selly Oak Park

Happy New Year 2020. More park posts to come during 2020.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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90 passion points
Transport
27 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Metro tram in and out of Town Hall Tram Stop on the last weekend of the Birmingham FCM (December 2019)

The all blue West Midlands Metro trams are now running every day between Library and Wolverhampton St George's. Monday's to Saturday's every 6 minutes, and every 15 minutes on Sunday's. Heading up Pinfold Street as a tram heads down from Victoria Square. Also a pair of trams stopping at the new Town Hall Tram Stop. On the last weekend of the Frankfurt Christmas Market.

Related

Starting with West Midlands Metro tram 19 at Grand Central Tram Stop, on the early evening of Wednesday 18th December 2019. The tram with the 20 Years livery (1999 - 2019). Passing here again on Saturday 21st December 2019, it was a bit too crowded for me. Noisy football fans coming out of the Burlington Arcade, and protesters walking past with placards on the opposite platform.

Tram 19

Heading up Pinfold Street nad I have finally managed to get some photos of a tram heading down the hill. West Midlands Metro tram 21 in Just Eat livery, now all blue, but still with the red adverts.

Tram 21

The last weekend of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, it closes on Monday 23rd December 2019.

Tram 21

You can see the Big Brum clocktower from down here which is behind the Council House. It is completely pedestrianised up here.

Tram 21

Tram 21 turns left from Pinfold Street onto Stephenson Street, passing La Galleria and Yorks Cafe in the Guildhall Buildings.

Tram 21

Heading to the end of Paradise Street, as far as pedestrians are supposed to go, saw tram 29 with the reindeer name Cupid coming round Paradise Circus. With Centenary Square behind. Including the Birmingham Big Wheel and ice rink at Ice Skate Birmingham. The REP, Library of Birmingham, Hall of Memory and Baskerville House. HSBC UK at Arena Central on the left, while the site of One Centenary Way to the right.

Tram 29

Pedestrians are not supposed to walk beyond here, but some have ignoring the signs (can they not read?). Tram 29 continues to go round the corner with HSBC UK and the Birmingham Big Wheel seen behind.

Tram 29

Tram 29 Cupid heads onto Paradise Street. As a man with shopping walks beyond the point of no return for pedestrians. Behind you can still see the Big Wheel, Library, Hall of Memory and Baskerville House. Only trams are allowed to enter Paradise Street here. Not cars.

Tram 29

Heading past the Town Hall as tram 29 arrives at Town Hall Tram Stop. The Christmas tree at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is visible to the right.

Tram 29

Tram 22 Dasher arrives at platform 1 for Birmingham (Library) while tram 29 Cupid comes into platform 2, bound for Wolverhampton (St George's).

Tram 29 and 22

A view not possible a few years ago. Big Brum at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery with the Birmingham Town Hall. Seen from Paradise Street while the pair of trams were at Town Hall Tram Stop. And as a bonus, the core of 103 Colmore Row. Paradise Birmingham is to the left. That was where Fletchers Walk and the old Birmingham Conservatoire used to be until a few years ago. And there used to be a road that was part of Paradise Circus that is now long gone.

Tram 29 and 22

Another new view from the tram stop is of Colmore Gate and the dome of Birmingham Cathedral. Never expected to get those with a pair of West Midlands Metro blue trams.

Tram 29 and 22

Tram 22 Dasher continues it's journey towards Centenary Square. You can see it's destination in the background, the Library of Birmingham. The Alpha Tower is usually visible from the end of Paradise Street.

Tram 22

Tram 29 seen leaving Town Hall Tram Stop. Going through Victoria Square, then down Pinfold Street. As visitors to the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market pass in and out of the square.

Tram 29

I will add to this post as it was not published on the 23rd December 2019.

The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was dismantled between the 24th and 25th December 2019, and trams were running apart from on Christmas Day of course.

On Boxing Day, the 26th December 2019, at least two trams were broken down meaning no trams could go beyond Bull Street until they were removed.

On a miserable wet Boxing Day, tram 30 had broken down at Corporation Street. It was on the platform bound for Wolverhampton, but couldn't go anywhere.

Tram 30

Heading round to Bull Street Tram Stop, saw tram 28 Jasper Carrott with no destination on the board. This one on the Wolverhampton bound platform. Was it broken down to / not in service?

Tram 28

Then tram 22 arrived heading to Birmingham. But I'm not sure if it headed down to Corporation Street, or if all the passengers got off here, and it returned in the other direction.

Tram 28 and 22

Back to normal on the 27th December 2019. Saw at least one tram from Victoria Square.

After popping through the concourse at Birmingham New Street Station, I saw tram 18 in the Just Eat livery arriving. I saw the pantograph rising up and connecting to the overhead wires when it got to the tram stop from the newly opened extension.

Tram 18

Saw tram 34 arriving at Grand Central Tram Stop, but tram 18 had started to depart before I was able to get two trams in one shot, so I took this one instead. Looks like the pantograph had been lowered, before it started the journey up to Town Hall and Library.

Tram 34

Merry Christmas 2019 and a Happy New Year 2020. Oh and Happy Hanukkah as well! (Will all be over when this gets published). More tram posts and photos in 2020. I'm hoping to ride the tram again perhaps all the way to Wolverhampton.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
26 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Fox Hollies Park through the years along the Westley Brook

Fox Hollies Park is located on the Shirley Road between Acocks Green and Hall Green, and stretches as far as Gospel Lane. This park is quite small and has the Westley Brook flowing through it. Playgrounds at both ends and a small lake as well. To the west end is close to Fox Hollies Leisure Centre (but is not part of the park). Paths for walks, that can also be enjoyed by dog walkers too.

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Fox Hollies Park

This park is located on the Shirley Road in Acocks Green, close to Hall Green. It stretches along the Westley Brook towards Gospel Lane, which isn't too far from Gospel Oak and Olton in Solihull on the Warwick Road. Other nearby roads surrounding the park include Pool Farm Road, Oakhurst Road and Severne Road. There is two playgrounds, one close to the Shirley Road entrance, the other near Gospel Lane. There is also a small lake / pond where you will find many of the usual bird species to be found in a park like this.

Most of the time I hardly see many people walking around this park. Maybe the odd person walking a dog. Assume that cyclists may pass through here. Or occasionally families using the playground in decent weather. Then again I've only been through it in the winter.

2010

These views of Fox Hollies Park from Shirley Road during December 2010. A snowy walk up Shirley Road and a look at the park. I did not enter the park at this time.

Fox Hollies Park

The playground covered in snow. Three people on a morning jog through the snow covered park.

Fox Hollies Park

Another view of the playground.

Fox Hollies Park

The old Birmingham City Council - Fox Hollies Park sign. It was already looking dirty when it was covered in snow.

Fox Hollies Park

Entrance to the park from Shirley Road. These old railings survived until at least 2017 or 2018 when they were replaced by the Council all the way around the park.

Fox Hollies Park

This from close to the entrance of Fox Hollies Leisure Centre. Apparently the Yardley Constituency Office is also there. The office for the Birmingham Yardley MP is now on Yardley Road in Acocks Green (Jess Phillips MP from 2015 to present). John Hemming used be the MP from 2005 to 2015.

Fox Hollies Park

View of the park from the opposite side of the Shirley Road. A Council advert about visiting Santa in his Grotto.

Fox Hollies Park

The furthest end of the park to the right on Shirley Road.

Fox Hollies Park

2017

I didn't really do an actual walk through Fox Hollies Park until January 2017. Getting in on the Shirley Road I walked as far as the Gospel Lane exit. Leaves on the lawn looking like it was still autumn.

Fox Hollies Park

Passing the empty playground which is close to the Shirley Road entrance.

Fox Hollies Park

The path curving around to the left.

Fox Hollies Park

Straight ahead on the path. This more or less is close to Oakhurst Road (which is to the right of here on the other side of the trees and houses).

Fox Hollies Park

Path up to the trees.

Fox Hollies Park

Distant houses probably on Pool Farm Road.

Fox Hollies Park

Two paths in two different directions.

Fox Hollies Park

The path up to Gospel Lane. The second playground is to the far right of here.

Fox Hollies Park

A look at the pond / lake. Bit hard to get decent views of it, trees in the way.

Fox Hollies Park

2018

Another walk round Fox Hollies Park, this time during December 2018. Slightly different route this time. And the Council was installing new wooden railings and bollards throughout the park. This footbridge crossing the Westley Brook.

Fox Hollies Park

The Wesley Brook from one side.

Fox Hollies Park

And from the other side.

Fox Hollies Park

One of the new Welcome to Fox Hollies Park wooden sign and entrance with metal bars. This was on Pool Farm Road.

Fox Hollies Park

I wasn't quite finished with Fox Hollies Park, so I walked up to the second entrance on Pool Farm Road. Still had the old Council sign on the right.

Fox Hollies Park

A close up look at the slide in the playground close to Gospel Lane.

Fox Hollies Park

Back of the new exit / entrance to Gospel Lane.

Fox Hollies Park

And the front side with Welcome to Fox Hollies Park. As you can see it's near the playground at the Gospel Lane end. From here you can catch the no 4A bus to Birmingham.

Fox Hollies Park

2019

On Christmas Eve Eve in December 2019, I was walking up Shirley Road and remembered that they were installing the new railings here the year before. Seem to recall hoping over the old railings, but they hadn't finished the new ones. A year on and it is complete.

Fox Hollies Park

As well as the new Welcome to Fox Hollies Park wooden entrance sign, the Council has also installed a new sign on the left.

Fox Hollies Park

The new railings are slightly higher than the old ones, tries to make the park look nice and modern.

Fox Hollies Park

Hopefully other City parks will get new railings like these. But it would be nice for more people to use Fox Hollies Park. It's just a quiet out of the way park, that other than locals, people wouldn't really be aware of.

Fox Hollies Park

Merry Christmas 2019 and a Happy New Year 2020. Oh and Happy Hanukkah (will all be over when this gets published). More park posts to come in 2020. Look out for Witton Lakes Park, Brookvale Park and the Oaklands Recreation Ground.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
23 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Peace Garden, a nice peaceful place to relax and remember

The Peace Garden is located off Bath Row on the land which used to be St Thomas's Church, until it was destroyed during World War 2. First laid out in 1955, it was redesigned in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2. World leaders of the G8 came here in 1998, and they each planted a tree. You can sit and relax here, read the plaques of peace. It's not far from The Cube.

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The Peace Garden

Located on Bath Row in Birmingham, between Five Ways and Holloway Circus. This small peaceful park is also on Granville Street, Ridley Street and Washington Street. The ruins of the Church of St Thomas are on the corner of Granville Street and Bath Row.

St Thomas's Church was completed in 1829, one of the so called 'Waterloo Churches'. Built following the victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. It survived until the Birmingham Blitz in 1940 when German bombs destroyed it. It was never rebuilt.

The ground were laid out for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The Peace Garden was redesigned in 1995 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War 2. The First World War Colonnade built in 1925 in what is now Centenary Square (near the Hall of Memory), was relocated here when the first Centenary Square was being built from 1989.

World leaders of the G8 came to the Peace Garden in 1998, each planting a tree and unveiling a plaque, including Tony Blair (British PM from 1997 - 2007) and Bill Clinton (US President from 1993 - 2001).

 

Most of my photos of the Peace Garden were taken in 2009.

The Colonnade seen in March 2009 from Ridley Street. It was designed by S. N. Cooke and W. N. Twist, in 1925.

Colonnade

My first proper visit to the Peace Garden was in April 2009. Here I was having a close up look inside of the Colonnade. Peace plaques on the wall to the left.

Colonnade

The Colonnade viewed from the Peace Garden. Lots of flowers in the flower beds at the time.

Colonnade

First look at the ruins of St Thomas's Church. The clock tower and columns had survived. There was also plaques inside. Railings were designed by Anuradha Patel.

Peace Garden

The paths and lawns were laid out in a cross design by the looks of it. Benches to sit on and contemplate as the world goes by.

Peace Garden

Circle in the middle with a message of peace.

Peace Garden

"May Peace Prevail On Earth".

Peace Garden

Some of the Peace Garden plaques. This one about St Thomas's Church being a victim of World War 2.

Peace Garden plaque

This plaque on the ground for the British Nuclear Test's Veterans Assocation. It was placed here in September 1994.

Peace Garden plaque

Two plaques in the Colonnade (there are more). National Service for Crown and Country (1939 - 1962). And National Service Memorial  to Peace.

Peace Garden plaque

19g8 The Birmingham Summit. Eight trees were planted in the Peace Garden to represent each of the G8 nations taking part in the Birmingham Summit 15 - 17 May 1998. Hard to believe that this was 21 years ago now! Can we have another summit at The ICC in the 2020s?

Peace Garden plaque

This was in January 2011. The view of the clock tower of the ruins of St Thomas's Church and the Colonnade from Washington Street. With the Colonnade on Ridley Street.

Peace Garden

This view of St Thomas's Church ruins from Granville Street.

Peace Garden

A look at the Anuradha Patel railings at the Peace Garden during February 2015. It has images of doves of peace. This was from Granville Street.

Peace Garden

The gate from Washington Street was looking closed. Some of the plaques could to with some TLC. The view towards St Thomas's Church. This is the main entrance to the gardens.

Peace Garden

This December 2016 view of the ruins of St Thomas's Church seen from Bath Row. Looking in good condition in the winter sunshine. This is the view from the bus stop. You can now get the 80, 80A, X20, X21 and X22 on the opposite side of the road. While you can also get the 23 and 24 on the stop towards New Street Station.

Peace Garden

Zoom in to the clock. I wonder if it is still ticking? It must be, as in my other photos the clock hands are at different times.

Peace Garden

A few more plaques seen during November 2017. This one for the Federation of Ex-Service Associations Birmingham.

Peace Garden plaques

This one for the Royal Naval Engine Room Association.

Peace Garden plaques

Close up look at the plaque I previously saw in 2009 for the National Service for Crown and Country.

Peace Garden plaques

And a close up look at the National Service Memorial to Peace.

Peace Garden plaques

Saw this view of the Peace Garden from the no 24 bus on Bath Row during December 2019. All the gates looked closed. Or at least the one on Washington Street. Didn't see anyone in there. Couldn't see if the gates on Granville Street or Ridley Street were open or not. The Cube has dominated the skyline from here since it was completed in 2010.

Peace Garden

Merry Christmas 2019 and a Happy New Year 2020. Oh and Happy Hanukkah (will all be over when this gets published). More posts to come in 2020. More parks and public open spaces etc.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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90 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
21 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Gas Street Basin between 2009 and 2019

There is many ways to walk around Gas Street Basin. At least two entrances from Gas Street. Or from Bridge Street. Also from the Broad Street Tunnel or The Mailbox ends. The BCN was completed in 1773 to Old Wharf, while the W & B Canal completed by 1815. Worcester Bar was between them. Used to be a gate blocking passage between both canals (long since gone). Redeveloped from the 1990s.

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Gas Street Basin

Located near Gas Street in what is now the Westside area of Birmingham City Centre. Gas Street Basin is where the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at the Worcester Bar. The Birmingham Canal completed their canal to Old Wharf by 1773. The Worcester & Birmingham Canal reached as far as Selly Oak by 1795, not being completed as far as Worcester until 1815. The Worcester Bar was a physical barrier between the two canals, which were owned by two separate companies at the time. A gate blocked access from one canal to the other (this has long since been removed).

In the 1990s, Gas Street Basin was renovated. And is now used on both sides to moor narrowboats. You also see the likes of the Waterbus and the Sherborne Wharf narrowboat take tourists down the canal. You can visit Gas Street Basin in all seasons, in all weathers, come sunshine, rain or snow!

Things have changed quite a lot over the last decade. The once derelict James Brindley pub is now The Canal House. The view towards Arena Central is ever changing. The Hyatt Hotel has dominated the skyline there for the past 30 years. The Broad Street Tunnel has Walkabout and The O Bar above on Broad Street. Various bars and restaurants have popped up along Gas Street. The Tap & Spile has been there for a long time. Bistro Pierre opened up a few years ago in the former offices of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

2009

I started taking photos of Birmingham during April 2009. So these are my earliest views of Gas Street Basin. Narrowboats on the BCN side, while you can see The Cube under construction to the far left.

Gas Street Basin

The Worcester Bar Footbridge. I think it was installed during the 1990s, as before then there wasn't a bridge at this point. Until the restoration works, the canal was quite derelict. This bridge allows access from the Gas Street side to the Bridge Street side of the basin at Old Wharf.

Gas Street Basin

This view in June 2009. You can walk walk all the way along the Worcester Bar through the open gate. The blocked off bridge at Bridge Street is the site of Old Wharf. The Birmingham Canal used to terminate just beyond there. The James Brindley pub was boarded up, I don't remember ever seeing it open. At the time the view was towards the Alpha Tower and Crowne Plaza hotel. The old concrete building wouldn't be demolished until the mid 2010's for the Arena Central redevelopment (which got delayed by the 2008 recession).

Gas Street Basin

The view from the Worcester Bar footbridge towards the Broad Street Tunnel. The O Bar on the left, Walkabout to the right. A red brick Grade II listed building designed by Martin & Chamberlain and built in 1875. The Tap & Spile pub also to the left. One of the Sherborne Wharf narrowboats seen heading through the Broad Street Tunnel towards Brindleyplace.

Gas Street Basin

2010

Snow and ice at Gas Street Basin during December 2010. The view towards Regency Wharf and the Hyatt Hotel.

Gas Street Basin

There wasn't too much ice in the canal at the time. The view towards the BT Tower, between the Hyatt Hotel and James Brindley pub (closed and derelict).

Gas Street Basin

This view of the entrance to the Broad Street Tunnel during June 2010. Whenever I walk through it, on either towpath, I have to duck down a bit. Halfway down the roof height changes. The headroom and width of the tunnel varies.

Gas Street Basin

2018

Seen during January 2018 was this Canal & River Trust service boat. It was raining a bit.

Gas Street Basin

The last time we had decent snow and a covering of ice on the canal was during the early part of March 2018. The canal water at Gas Street Basin was completey frozen over. Nothing getting in or out. This view towards Regency Wharf.

Gas Street Basin

Hard to believe that this was the beginning of Spring. It was during the Beast from the East and Storm Emma. Could make a nice Christmas postcard. At the time the World Indoor Athletics Championships was about to start at Arena Birmingham!

Gas Street Basin

Going back to January 2018, saw the red Waterbus heading through the Worcester Bar from the footbridge above, while it was raining. Heading in the direction of The Mailbox. Moored to the left was several Away 2 Dine narrowboats. Leaving the Birmingham Canal Navigations for the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

Gas Street Basin

2019

Heading up to March 2019. The Broad Street Tunnel was open again after being closed for three months due to the Midland Metro Alliance reinforcing it for the future second phase of the Westside Metro extension. Meanwhile, I saw the Waterbus again heading in the direction of the tunnel, having just gone under the Worcester Bar bridge.

Gas Street Basin

In October 2019, traffic under the Broad Street Tunnel was back to normal. Saw this Sherborne Wharf narrowboat with tourists enjoying a ride towards Gas Street Basin and beyond. You can't really tell from down there that it was closed the previous winter for three months.

Gas Street Basin

Raining during December 2019. The view from the BCN side has been completely transformed by Arena Central. 1 Centenary Square and the Holiday Inn Expres are already open. While 3 Arena Central is still under construction.

Gas Street Basin

One of the Away 2 Dine narrowboats is seen heading back into it's spot on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal side of the basin, below the Hyatt Regency Birmingham. There wasn't many people about on the Canalside Walk in the wet weather.

Gas Street Basin

Still reversing in, near Regency Wharf.

Gas Street Basin

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
19 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Shirley Park over the years off the Stratford Road in Shirley

Down the Shirley High Street which is still called the Stratford Road is Shirley Park. Paths for walking, a playground for kids. An area for dogs to do tricks. There used to be a putting green here years ago, but it's long since gone. Since Parkgate opened, there has been a new entrance and war memorial. Recent developments over the last 5 years have included various sculptures.

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There is another Shirley Park further down the Stratford Road near Monkspath and the M42 but that's a golf club. Here we are looking at the main Shirley Park at the heart of the main shopping area in Shirley, behind ALDI (recently rebuilt). The Parkgate retail park opened in 2014 and is also nearby the park. The park is located on the Stratford Road and goes down to Hurdis Road. To the west is Haslucks Green Road and to the east is Grenville Road and Halifax Road. A walk around this park doesn't take too long.

 

2009

These were taken on my then mobile phone camera during May 2009. Lush green trees and green grass.

Shirley Park

The putting green was still there at the time so you could see the flag poles over the other side of bushes.

Shirley Park

I used to go putting here in the 1990s, I did OK, suppose it was fun. But eventually stopped going here.

Shirley Park

Tennis courts on the other side of the now gone putting green.

Shirley Park

Path to the bricked canopy.

Shirley Park

Pinkish reddish flowers hanging from the top of the wooden beams.

Shirley Park

2014

The Parkgate development was completed in 2014, and this included upgrades to Shirley Park. In this August 2014 visit, from the Stratford Road, there was new war memorial plaque on the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 from Shirley Royal British Legion.

Shirley Park

Brand new entrance gateway from the Stratford Road to the main path into the park.

Shirley Park

There was also three of these new pavement mosaics. In good condition in 2014, in recent years I've noticed that some are missing many of the coloured tiles (hopefully someone will come back and repair them). They have also become quite weathered.

Shirley Park

A curcved path around the park. By 2014 the putting green had long since been removed from the park.

Shirley Park

The entrance gate at Hurdis Road, is the same as at the Stratford Road entrance. Just less busy at this end.

Shirley Park

2015

The next visit during March 2015. The playground, no kids here so got this shot of the slides and other equipment. Looked new.

Shirley Park

A wooden climbing frame (I think).

Shirley Park

Wooden sculpture of a giant tortoise.

Shirley Park

Wooden sculpture of a wildlife totem pole. Including a frog, rabbit and an owl that I can see here.

Shirley Park

Colourful slide for kids to climb up and slide down in the playground.

Shirley Park

Some of the outdoor gym equipment.

Shirley Park

One of the pavement mosaics with a rose in the centre and a maze design.

Shirley Park

This pavement mosaic had butterflies on it.

Shirley Park

This is the area that dog walkers can take their dogs into and let them run around and do tricks like at Crufts. They call it the Dog Agility Area. This is close to Grenville Road and Halifax Road. The tennis courts are nearby here. They were built on the land formerly used by the putting green.

Shirley Park

2018

This was during March 2018. Daffodils near a tree in spring.

Shirley Park

The new war memorial in the park. Not far from Shirley Parkgate and the ASDA supermarket.

Shirley Park

The sun breaking through the clouds over this field.

Shirley Park

Ice cream van - Mr Yummy. Birmingham finest ice cream.

Shirley Park

A walk around the park in December 2018. Looking to the playground, looking empty again.

Shirley Park

The same play equipment from a few years ago, looks to be in good condition.

Shirley Park

Probably a weekday, the kids at school. Otherwise if this was a weekend it would be full of kids.

Shirley Park

Where this slide is, is one of the oldest parts of the playground. I probably went up there as a kid. Not sure if it's the same slide as 25 to 30 years ago, or one installed 5 years ago?

Shirley Park

Squirrel in the park.

Shirley Park

2019

These days I would first pop to Costa Coffee in Shirley for drink before walking around the park. Used to be a Coffee #1 at Parkgate but that closed down and is now a TUI travel shop. This walk in the park during May 2019. Wooden climbing frame and totem pole again.

Shirley Park

The skate park area in the park. Bit hard to find something new to take photos of around here.

Shirley Park

A December 2019 walk around Shirley Park on a Sunday lunchtime. Starting from Parkgate after leaving Costa. Saw this Christmas tree in front of the Rugby goal posts.

Shirley Park

The Rugby goal posts.

Shirley Park

Above the war memorial, saw this Remembrance flag. Just over a month since the last Remembrance commemorations. Lest We Forget. We Will Remember Them.

Shirley Park

Semi circle climbing frame. I think kids have to stand on that snake thing connected by the chains.

Shirley Park

Football goal posts.

Shirley Park

Another view of the outdoor gym equipment. Behind the bushes used to be the putting green, but is just now paths and shrubs to walk around near the tennis courts.

Shirley Park

Welcome to Shirley Park - this noticeboard near the exit at Hurdis Road.

Shirley Park

The rebuilt ALDI supermarket. It was closed for a year during 209, but opened in time for Christmas. Where this path is was close to the site of the former putting green. But is hard to tell the way it is now.

Shirley Park

No rivers, no ponds or lakes. So the only water on the ground is puddles on paths from recent rain.

Shirley Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
19 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Summer in Southside through the years at The Arcadian

Every summer during July or August, Birmingham Hippodrome hosts Summer in Southside, also called #BHOutdoors (if you use the hashtag on Twitter during the summer). Here we will look at the goings on at The Arcadian over the years. The Arcadian opened in the early 1990s in the Chinese Quarter in what is also now Southside. Used to be a cinema here but it closed in the early 2000s.

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Summer in Southside

2013

The first Summer in Southside I remember hearing about was during August 2013. I popped to The Arcadian on the 24th August 2013 when I saw these men in white t-shirts, including one spinning a board.

Summer in Southside

Another man climbed onto the water feature near the steps spinning a pointed sign saying Culture Alert.

Summer in Southside

And another one. Seemed like they had several of those signs to spin!

Summer in Southside

Over at the canopied area was some Chinese ladies performing, perhaps dancing?

Summer in Southside

2014

The next year, another Summer in Southside, now the 24th August 2014. People sitting on deckchairs on the left.

Summer in Southside

This raised area is always good for views. This was the FLOAT Circus Mash.

Summer in Southside

INFO from this yellow and red cart.

Summer in Southside

Close up at Circus Mash, they were raising this pink and yellow thing up.

Summer in Southside

2015

Now August 2015. This time on the 29th August 2015. A stage to the left with a couple of blokes playing the guitar.

Summer in Southside

A row of chairs for people to enjoy the music.

Summer in Southside

In the middle was some people dancing.

Summer in Southside

The next move, leg up, arms out.

Summer in Southside

2018

Skipping ahead to 3 years later. This was on the 14th July 2018. A band on the stage with brass instruments.

Summer in Southside

Saw this Indian TucTuc. The Chutney TucTuc. There next performance at 3pm. Perhaps banging those drums and dancing.

Summer in Southside

This was a day later on the 15th July 2018. A rapper and a DJ behind him.

Summer in Southside

2019

The 50th anniversary of the Moon landing by Apollo 11 in July 1969. Saw this giant moon on the 14th July 2019. Most of the activities were happening outside on Hurst Street and Ladywell Walk.

Summer in Southside

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
18 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Morris Dancers and other events in the grounds of St Philip's Cathedral over the last few years

Over the years you may have seen Morris Dancers performing outside of St Philip's Cathedral (in what is now called Cathedral Square). I prefer Grounds of St Philip's Cathedral. After all it was an old churchyard with burials going back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Morris Dancers for St George's Day. One event for 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral. Also a Christmas Market.

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Morris Dancers

These Morris Dancers were performing to the back of Birmingham Cathedral in April 2015 for St George's Day. This was on the 25th April 2015.

Morris Dancers

Colourful costumes. This bunch had white outfits on, while the ladies had blue and green dresses on. And they had England flags.

Morris Dancers

The man in the beard was playing an accordion.

Morris Dancers

Dancing both ways with their wooden sticks.

Morris Dancers

And back the other way tapping the sticks.

Morris Dancers

Also some folk playing drums to the right.

Morris Dancers

Temple Row was a bit different back then. Where Gino d'Acampo is now was Allied Irish Bank. Where The Ivy is now was Austin Reed and Louis Vuitton.

Morris Dancers

This was during October 2017 when the City was experiencing Storm Brian, so it was wet. Not sure what the occasion was, it was on the 21st October 2017, so maybe around Trafalgar Day?

Morris Dancers

Didn't really catch this bunch dancing, so they were between performances I would assume.

Morris Dancers

Something Good Nomad

This was during the 300th Anniversary year of Birmingham Cathedral (1715 - 2015).  Something Good Nomad was seen during October 2015. Live painting by Mohammed Ali as he journeys through Birmingham, inspired by communities of many faiths and backgrounds, and their reflections of light and dark in their neighbourhoods.

Something Good Nomad

There was canopies here with bunting. People could make their own Soul Boat's here. They would have formed part of a flotilla of Golden Boats by Artist Jake Lever, supended in the Cathedral during the winter period between December 2015 to March 2016.

Something Good Nomad

These canvases looks like pink towels suspended on scaffold poles.

Something Good Nomad

But at the back you can see the art they were trying to show.

Something Good Nomad

Aerosol Ali himself, Mohammed Ali stands in front of his art in Cathedral Square.

Something Good Nomad

You could see the art from different paths.

Something Good Nomad

This was the area where visitors could stop and design their own Soul Boat. Hope they had fun (4 years ago).

Something Good Nomad

Birmingham Christmas Markets

The Birmingham Christmas Markets was on for one Christmas period in Cathedral Square from November to December 2018. They had to first cover over the lawns to protect the graves below. This was when the huts were being installed on the 12th November 2018, so not open at this point.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

The gate from Temple Row was fenced off as they were installing this Christmas Market in Cathedral Square.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

Banner seen on Temple Row for Birmingham's Christmas Markets with an arrow to the way in.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

As you can see visitors would have to walk past the stone tombs when visiting the huts.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

The archway near St Philip's Place and the eventual exit to Colmore Row.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

They started installing the market as soon as the Remembrance Sunday commemorations ended the day before on the 11th November 2018. So most of the huts were in place on the 12th November 2018.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

Several Santa's and sleighs with reindeers. I think this was supposed to be a mini rail ride in a loop.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

Tracks laid with artificial Christmas trees in the middle.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

The Christmas Tree Bar. They first did it here in Cathedral Square before doing the same thing a year later in Victoria Square at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

Reindeer on top of the huts.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

It is now December 2018. Had another look once it was open on the 5th December 2018. A hat stall close to the sparkly reindeer. Due to the rain they had to cover over some parts.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

Not very busy on the 7th December 2018. This gravestone surrounded by barriers. You could get a Giant Yorkshire Pudding Wraps or Hog Roast. This was in the morning.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

All Aboard the Santa Train. A throne for Santa to sit on. Also a red post box to post kids Christmas wish lists to the Big Red Man.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

This trailer you could get Bailey's Cadbury Hot Chocolate.

Birmingham Christmas Markets

Perhaps people weren't too bothered by this Christmas Market. And due to bad weather / rain. After it was gone, the grass was found to be quite muddy. But it eventually grew back over the next year. The market has not returned here for a second year.

In years gone by, the Christmas Craft Market used to be in Chamberlain Square and in Centenary Square, but that's not happened for years now due to the Paradise Birmingham works and the redevelopment of Centenary Square. Maybe they could return somewhere suitable in 2020?

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Transport
17 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

The Westside Metro extension now open to Centenary Square and some trams with reindeer names

With no announcement, the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square was open to the public on Wednesday 11th December 2019. I wasn't able to get down to ride the newly opened extension until Saturday 14th December 2019. For the Christmas season, West Midlands Metro has name some of their trams with Christmas reindeer names such as Rudolph, Comet and Dasher.

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Tram 22 Dasher

Sunday 8th December 2019, and on this day we did not know when the extension to Centenary Square would open. I walked along Arena Central, passing HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square and the Municipal Bank redevelopment. Fencing was still up, while a rainbow was behind the Library of Birmingham and the Birmingham Big Wheel.

Tram 22

Before services started, from the 1st December 2019 onwards, trams were leaving Grand Central and heading to Library Tram Stop without passengers. Close up of tram 22 Dasher

Tram 22

The Dasher name is temporary. Will probably be removed in January 2020.

Tram 22

The end of the line (for now) was looking like a mess. The extension to Hagley Road will open in 2 years time in 2021, only they have to build it first along Broad Street.

Tram 22

Tram 36 Rudolph

On Saturday 14th December 2019, it was my first day back in Birmingham City Centre for several days. And when I got to Birmingham New Street Station, I purchased an Adult off peak day ticket in the My Metro app. And rode tram 36 from Grand Central to the newly opened Library Tram Stop in Centenary Square.

Tram 36

For the Christmas period tram 36 is called Rudolph. Seen behind was the Library of Birmingham, Star Flyer and Birmingham Big Wheel.

Tram 36

Zoom in of the temporary Rudolph name.

Tram 36

The trams for now can use both platforms, and there is crossing tracks just in front of the tram stop. Beyond here is hoardings as they still need to build the second Westside extension which will take another two years to complete. Reflection of HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square in the Hyatt Regency Birmingham hotel.

Tram 36

Tram 36 seem heading back to Wolverhampton, as I made the short walk into the Library of Birmingham for views of the trams from above. Not too long to wait this time around as only every 6 minutes Monday's to Saturday's (every 15 minutes on Sunday's but the Library is closed on that day).

Tram 36

Tram 25

First up views from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. Tram 25 seen at platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. The Birmingham Big Wheel was in the way of this view.

Tram 25

One of the trams with lime green OLA adverts. It now has batteries on top. But currently in white not yet blue outside.

Tram 25

No temporary reindeer name on this tram.

Tram 25

Tram 25 is now seen leaving platform 2 at Library Tram Stop on it's way to Wolverhampton. It is passing the Municipal Bank site for the University of Birmingham. On the right is 5 Centenary Square (formerly 1 Arena Central). But that hasn't started yet. Was the site of the Register Office. The tram shelter on platform 1 is close to the site of where the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue was from 1956 to 2017.

Tram 25

Tram 25 seen heading round Paradise Circus. Cones on the road. Only the southbound lanes are open at the moment.

Tram 25

A taxi waits at the traffic light as tram 25 heads to Paradise Street and Town Hall Tram Stop.

Tram 25

Tram 23 Comet

Last saw this tram here on a test in November 2019. I headed up to the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham when I saw this tram again. In this view heading up Paradise Street towards Paradise Circus.

Tram 23

Heading around Paradise Circus. Easy Row Subway below is still closed to pedestrians, but the bridge has been reinforced and rebuilt before they even laid tracks here.

Tram 23

Coming into Centenary Square, in what until a few years ago was part of Broad Street.

Tram 23

Crossing tracks and heading to platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. Behind is HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square. They have also built new roads which in future will be used by buses.

Tram 23

As it headed into the tram stop, passing the Municipal Bank, some scaffolding on the left appears to have been removed.

Tram 23

Pavements on both sides of the road are now free of temporary barriers. Apart from in front of 1 Centenary Square and the Municipal Bank to the left.

Tram 23

Had to wait for some passengers to get off before I could get this zoom in of th Comet name.

Tram 23

Doors open, passengers heading into Centenary Square. They have also installed new bus stops.

Tram 23

Tram 30

It was getting dark as early as between 3pm and 3:30pm and it was time to get my next tram towards Jewellery Quarter. Tram 30 seen coming from Paradise Circus into Centenary Square.

Tram 30

It was about to cross tracks and head towards platform 2. Behind is a new view of Two Chamberlain Square and the Library of Birmingham.

Tram 30

Tram 30 now at platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. On the right is the Arena Central development with HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square and 3 Arena Central (for HMRC I think).

Tram 30

Between Library and Grand Central the tram was nice and quiet. One of the monitors on board showing Library Centenary Square.

Tram 30

The view from my seat. The tram was about to depart. After Grand Central the tram got quite full, of Christmas shoppers etc, and I got off at Jewellery Quarter to check out the Banksy and see what all the fuss was about.

Tram 30

Jewellery Quarter

After riding the tram all the way from Library Tram Stop I got off the busy tram 30 at Jewellery Quarter Tram Stop. On the opposite platform was tram 34.

Tram 30 and 34

St Paul's

After checking out the Banksy on Vyse Street, I walked down Great Hampton Street and Constitution Hill. I saw the bridge down on Livery Street to popped there first which is actually on Northwood Street. Tram 28 was leaving St Chad's Tram Stop.

St Paul's

Birmingham Snow Hill Station behind, tram 28 Jasper Carrott slowly head's to St Paul's from St Chad's, while West Midlands Railway 172 342 heads towards Jewellery Quarter after leaving platform 1.

St Paul's

A Chiltern Railways Class 168 was in it's usual spot at platform 2, as the tortoise vs hare race was clearly being won by West Midlands Railway!

St Paul's

Tram 28 about to arrive at St Paul's Tram Stop as the train headed into the Jewellery Quarter tunnels towards Jewellery Quarter Station. A Matter of Opinion on the right as well as a train not in service.

St Paul's

Jasper Carrot tram 28 coming to a stop to pick up passengers towards Wolverhampton. It was time to walk down to St Paul's Tram Stop with the entrance to the left on Constitution Hill.

St Paul's

I only just got to the tram stop when I saw the tram arriving. Tram 32 is one of those lime green OLA advert trams now with batteries. Seen coming through the Jewellery Quarter tunnels.

Tram 32

I got tram 32 towards Bull Street. Standing room only. All stops after this one on the extensions. St Paul's is the last tram stop to open in 1999 that is closest to the City Centre after the original Snow Hill Tram Stop closed in 2015.

Tram 32

Bull Street

Standing room only on tram 32, I got off at Bull Street Tram Stop instead of Corporation Street. Although both are in walking distance of my usual bus stop on Carrs Lane. The Lewis Building to the right.

Bull Street

As Tram 32 was about to turn onto Corporation Street, I saw tram 17 about to turn onto Bull Street. It was getting dark now, so was time to head to my bus home.

Bull Street

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
17 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Eastside City Park as it was in 2012 onwards after it opened

The land that was used to build Eastside City Park was hoarded off during 2011. And the park was complete and open by the end of 2012. Here we will look at the park when it was brand new and when it was opened. Taking land that was formerly a car park in front of Millennium Point, and part of which was Albert Street. It also runs alongside Curzon Street. Near the BCU Eastside Campus.

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Eastside City Park

Development of the park took place during 2011 and 2012, and was partially opened in late 2012. It was fully opened by the spring of 2013. The park is near Millennium Point, which included the Thinktank Science Garden and a Kids Park. Access to the Science Garden is usually with youtr entrance ticket to Thinktank.

December 2012

This was during December 2012 when the hoardings had come down. My first look around Eastside City Park. Getting on from Park Street, and walking up the footpath around which used to be Albert Street. In the distance is The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station. The park was partially opened by the then Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore on the evening Wednesday 5th December 2012.

Eastside City Park

Looking towards Millennium Point. The tall sculptures near the steps ahead. While new trees had been planted here on the newly laid lawns.

Eastside City Park

The steps when new, with benches to sit on. Looking towards Millennium Point and the Thinktank Science Garden. This was before the skateboarders started to regularly do their tricks here (well where the water fountain jets are to the right of here). Grosvenor Street West is to the left of here (near BOA (Birmingham Ormiston Academy) which leads to Jennens Road.

Eastside City Park

Close up look at the four metal sculptures on the steps. The view to the left is of the former Christopher Wray building and the McLaren Building.

Eastside City Park

Towards Masshouse. The residential block at the front is called Hive.

Eastside City Park

Masshouse without the sculpture columns in the way. To the left is what was called Hotel La Tour (now the Clayton Hotel).

Eastside City Park

Heading along the footpath near Curzon Street with Millennium Point and the Parkside Building on the left. The first building of the Birmingham City University Eastside Campus was complete by the summer of 2013.

Eastside City Park

Now looking back towards Millennium Point. As you could see, the Parkside Building wasn't yet complete.

Eastside City Park

The lawns as they were at the end of 2012. A brand new park, the first one in the City Centre for over a 100 years. Highgate Park was probably the last one to open within what is now the Middle Ring Road (Middleway's).

Eastside City Park

This covered canopy seen on the path from Curzon Street.

Eastside City Park

These early evening photos taken in the middle of December 2012. The Eastside City Park sign with crazy lights near what is now the site of The Emporium Building.

Eastside City Park

I had heard that the park looked good lit up after dark, so checked it out on the way back to my bus from work. This view towards Millennium Point.

Eastside City Park

Rush hour traffic to the left on Curzon Street. Before the University Campus opened here, the park wasn't full of students like it is now. Although Birmingham Metropolitan College has always been based in Millennium Point. And BCU had a presence in there even from the UCE days. At this point BCU were still at their old campus in Perry Barr (to be the site of the Commonwealth Games 2022 village).

Eastside City Park

Some of these shots came out a bit blurry. But you can see the spot lights all over.

Eastside City Park

The white lights lighting up the new trees.

Eastside City Park

Getting close to the area with steps and those four metal sculptures.

Eastside City Park

It was so perfect in December 2012. The paving hadn't got worn like it did in later years.

Eastside City Park

I'm sure many Birmingham photographers have taken these over the years. But I got it early on in December 2012.

Eastside City Park

March 2013

By the middle of March 2013, the park was fully complete. So I had another look around, a few days before it was officially opened in full. This is the curvy benches area under the canopy near the park entrance on Park Street.

Eastside City Park

Benches line this area with plants and new trees. Towards Curzon Street Station and New Canal Street.

Eastside City Park

Towards the Christopher Wray Building and Jennens Court. This is what it looked like 5 years before the Emporium Buillding was built here.

Eastside City Park

A few days later it was the day that Eastside City Park was officially opened on the 16th March 2013. Saw this banner.

Eastside City Park

Over there on the area where the water jet fountains are, was the official opening ceremony. Councillor Sir Albert Bore (then Leader of Birmingham City Council) was talking about how he envisioned a park when they started the Eastside development back in 1999.

Eastside City Park

This view from the steps near the metal sculptures towards the official event formally opening the park in full. The railway line behind with a London Midland train heading in or out of Birmingham New Street Station.

Eastside City Park

Water fountain jets

The water fountain jets seen in Eastside City Park during June 2013. Kids used to play in these like the ones in Centenary Square (that opened in summer 2019). And in later years, skateboarders would do tricks here.

Eastside City Park

This view from April 2014. The water jets would get quite high. In recent years though, these have not been turned on. Especially since Ice Skate Birmingham had their Big Wheel and Ice Rink here in the winter period of 2018 / 19 (they were on HS2 land on Eastside Green in the winter of 2017 / 18).

Eastside City Park

The Canal

Near Millennium Point and the Parkside Building was this canal. There is bridges that crossed it. In April 2013 it looked quite new and in good condition.

Eastside City Park

But by June 2014, the walls where the water jets came out of looked quite rusted around the holes. And hard marks down the side. This night shot was from December 2014. In the last several times that I've been past here, this has not even been turned on or even full of water. Unless rain water filled it up. Hopefully it can be cleaned and turned back on.

Eastside City Park

In late July 2019 the state of the canal near the Farmhouse Dairy Ice Cream block. Hardly much water in it. There must be a reason why the Council hasn't turned it on in a while?

Eastside City Park

More recent views to date

This view of Millenniumt Point taken from Eastside City Park during December 2016. On a lovely blue sky day. This was sometime after 11am on Boxing Day 2016 so hardly anyone around!

Millennium Point

Snow on the side border during February 2017. Wasn't much other snow around here.

Eastside City Park

Snow in Eastside City Park during March 2018. Well here it was quite slushy and icy. The Emporium Building seen under construction.

Eastside City Park

More snow on the grass than on the paving. No one around at midday on the 18th March 2018.

Eastside City Park

This was after dark in January 2019. the Emporium Building was complete by then. Heading into the park, this would be the last time you could see Ice Skate Birmingham at the other end of the park. As they were starting to dismantle the ice rink.

Eastside City Park

What had happened to the grass in Eastside City Park in March 2019? It looked like this. All patchy. They had to replace the grass during the spring of 2019. I may have applied a filter on this phone shot that I took.

Eastside City Park

By May 2019, just soil where the ice rink had been of Ice Skate Birmingham from November 2018 to January 2019. It was raining in the park. As you can see the water jet fountains were still off. And the only water you could see was rain water. HS2 land all hoarded off to the far left. Trees all lush and green though.

Eastside City Park

What a transformation to the grass by July 2019! They had laid new grass. The trees all full of green leaves.

Eastside City Park

Hopefully the grass can stay like this into 2020. These days the park is full of students from Birmingham City University. This view towards Millennium Point.

Eastside City Park

The Woodman pub has been reopen for several years now. Various people walking through the park as I saw this cyclist go past. I think I headed down New Canal Street into Digbeth from here. The tower of Exchange Square Phase I was getting bricked up.

Eastside City Park

These days struggle to find something to take photos of in Eastside City Park. In August 2019, saw this unusual bike outside of The Woodman. Babboe City. A cargo bike.

Eastside City Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
History & heritage
16 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

The walls around this stained glass window came out dark.

St Martin's Church

This stained glass window above some stone scultural details.

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

This is The Alabaster Tomb.

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

The organ pipes.

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

Stone arches holding up the left side of the church.

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

A waterfall on these metal table things.

St Martin's Church

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

St Martin's Church

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
12 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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

2013

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

2014

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

2015

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

2016

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

2017

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

2018

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

2019

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

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

Custard Factory

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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60 passion points
Transport
11 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

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

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

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

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

 

Wolverhampton Station

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

Virgin Trains Wolverhampton

Tipton Station

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

Virgin Trains passing Tipton Station

Sandwell & Dudley Station

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

Virgin Trains at Sandwell & Dudley

Smethwick Galton Bridge Station

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

Virgin Trains passing Smethwick Galton Bridge Station

Smethwick Rolfe Street Station

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

Virgin Trains passing Smethwick Rolfe Street Station

Birmingham New Street Station

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

Virgin Trains at Birmingham New Street Station

Stechford Station

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

Virgin Trains Stechford Station

Marston Green Station

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

Virgin Trains Marston Green

Birmingham International Station

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

Virgin Trains Birmingham International

Berkswell Station

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

Virgin Trains Berkswell Station

Coventry Station

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

Virgin Trains Coventry Station

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
11 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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

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

On the left was a summer fun fair.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Crazy Caterpillar. A small rollercoaster for kids to enjoy.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Big Sleuth

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

Big Sleuth

The other little bears were inside the Visitor Centre.

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
09 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Return to Manor Farm Park at the beginning of December 2019

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

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

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

A variety of gulls and geese in the lake.

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

Canada geese swimming to the right in the lake.

Manor Farm Park

Nice sight of a tufted duck.

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

Manor Farm Park

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
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