Elliott Brown

Passion Points: 121K

Squares and public spaces
18 Nov 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Christmas Markets and Ice Skate Birmingham are back in 2021

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Ice Skate Birmingham is back in Centenary Square and is open from 4th November 2021 to 9th January 2022

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is back in Victoria Square and is open from 4th November to 23 December 2021.

Christmas in Cathedral Square is open in the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral from 17th November to 19th December 2021.

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Ice Skate Birmingham

Ice Skate Birmingham opened in Centenary Square, on the 4th November 2021, and will remain open until 9th January 2022. 

Ice Skate Birmingham

Ice Skate Birmingham

Ice Skate Birmingham

Ice Skate Birmingham

 

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market has returned to Victoria Square (and New Street). As well as Bob Wilson's Carousel. It opened on the 4th November 2021, and will close on the 23rd December 2021.

It's a little bit smaller this time around and no Floozie which has been removed for repairs.

BFCM

BFCM

BFCM

BFCM

 

Christmas in Cathedral Square

Taking place in the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral (St Philip's Cathedral) from the 17th November to the 19th December 2021 is Christmas in Cathedral Square featuring Christmas market stalls, a pub called Pigeon in the Park and a helter skeler.

Hours before the Christmas Market opened on 17th November 2021, the view below taken from Temple Row.

Christmas in Cathedral Square

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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80 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
29 Oct 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

A Nightmare on Central Street - Halloween at the Bullring, October 2021

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There are scary things happening down Central Street aka St Martin's Walk at the Bullring, ahead of Halloween. A Nightmare on Central Street. If you are lucky you might be able to spot the tentacles of sea monsters above the malls.

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It's a Nightmare on Central Street at Bullring & Grand Central Birmingham from the 25th to 31st October 2021. During Birmingham's October Half Term scary creatures can be hunyted down day and night.

Get you camera ready and share with Birmingham We Are.

Follow the link above to the official Bullring website for more information.

The photo below was taken on Sunday 24th October 2021, from the steps heading down to St Martin's Square. Blue and green tentacles cower above the bronze statue of Horatio Nelson, days after the 216th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Halloween Bullring 2021

You should be able to spot more tentacles above the East Mall and West Mall, between Rotunda Square, if heading down St Martin's Walk, towards St Martin's Square and St Martin's Church.

As we see in this photo below taken on the 25th October 2021. You have until the 31st October 2021 to spot them, and anything else spooky down here (day or night).

Nightmare on Central Street

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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50 passion points
Classic Architecture
17 Oct 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House - enjoy our visit shared with you!

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The purpose built Bournville Quaker Meeting House on Lindon Road, Bournville was completed in 1905 to the designs of William Alexander Harvey as part of the Bournville Village Trust, a Trust created by the Cadbury family.

Enjoy this article and photography with us.

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In 1879, Cadbury's relocated their factory from central Birmingham to their new site to the south of the city, now known as Bournville Village.

Following the opening of the new factory in 1879, George Cadbury built a number of houses for key workers close to the factory.

The Bournville Village Trust was established in 1900 and the purpose built Quaker Meeting House was built in 1905 to the designs of William Alexander Harvey.

Internal changes to the meeting room carried out in 1935 included the removal of the rostrum; the replacement of a platform; and the removal of panelling within the arch of the south hall.

An extension was built in 1960 for a children's room with a smaller library and cloakrooms. This was designed by Selby Clewer, the chief architect of the Bournville Village Trust. The library was opened in 1988 to make a lobby area, and the main hall was re-roofed, internal front doors were added, and ancillary facilities were reconfigured.

You enter the House through the green doors.

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

As you go in to the building there is a pair of black and white portrait photographs of Dame Elizabeth Cadbury (1858 - 1951) and her husband George Cadbury (1839 - 1922).

Outside of the Friends Meeting House is a bronze bust of George and his ashes were buried there following his death.

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

There is also a plaque to celebrate the planting of a Cedar Tree outside the buiding on the 24th June 1948 by Elizabeth Mary Cadbury during the year of her 90th birthday. This has now grown into the tree that is wrapped with Christmas lights between November and January each year.

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

The house is a magnificent space similar in design to Bournville Village Primary School which was also designed by architect William Alexander Harvey.

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

A roll of memory contains some of the Cadbury family and a number of other Quaker's who have passed away.

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

A wonderful organ and clock can be found above the door.

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

Outside is the Cedar Tree, on this occasion used to announce "Quakers for Climate Justice".

Bournville Quaker Friends Meeting House

We hope you enjoyed our post with greaat photography from Elliott Brown.

More posts and features and a map of City Gems can be found at www.BirminghamGems.com

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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100 passion points
Classic Architecture
09 Oct 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Bournville Parish Church: St Francis of Assisi - enjoy our visit shared with you!

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Bournville Parish Church: St Francis of Assisi was opened in 1925, 3 years after the death of George Cadbury who had always wanted an Anglican church in the Bournville village. The church was designed by William Alexander Harvey. The South Chapel was built in 1966.

Enjoy this post and photography by Elliott Brown taken during Birmingham's Heritage Week (September 2021).

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The church is located on Linden Road.

Despite being a Quaker, George Cadbury had always wanted an Anglican church to be built in Bournville. The Hall was built in 1913 and the church followed in 1925. 

The South Chapel was opened in 1966 by Laurence and Joyce Cadbury in memory of their children, Julian, Anthea and Lindsay.

Here are some exterior photos of the church.

Bournville Parish Church

Bournville Parish Church

Bournville Parish Church

Bournville Parish Church

Now inside the church.

The ceiling inside St Francis of Assisi Church in Bournville is in the style that William Alexander Harvey was noted for.

Bournville Parish Church

Bournville Parish Church

Bournville Parish Church

Bournville Parish Church

Here is the pulpit inside the church.

Bournville Parish Church

Here is the alterpiece inside the church.

Bournville Parish Church

Next to the alterpiece is the organ.

Bournville Parish Church

There is a stained glass window in memory of Lt. John Barclay who was killed flying from H.M.S. Seahawk on 11th March 1953, aged just 24.

Bournville Parish Church

The South Chapel opened in 1966 by Laurence and Joyce Cadbury in memory of their children, Julian, Anthea and Lindsay (who all sadly died very young).

Alexander Lindsay Aitkin Turner (1927 - 1964) aged 37, Anthea Karen Turner (1936 - 1964) aged 28  and Julian St. John Cadbury (1926 - 1950) aged 24.

Bournville Parish Church

Bournville Parish Church

We hope you enjoyed our post.

More posts and features and a map of City Gems can be found at www.BirminghamGems.com

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Classic Architecture
02 Oct 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

St Mary's Church, Handsworth - enjoy our visit shared with you!

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St.Mary's Church in Handsworth, Birmingham (also known as Handsworth Old Church) is home to the memorial sculptures of James Watt, Matthew Boulton and William Murdoch. Given its history and the importance it played at the time, it is often referred to as "The Industrial Cathedral of Birmingham". Enjoy this great post from Elliott, a regular Birmingham Gems contributor.

Related

During the Birmingham Heritage Week, Elliott went along to visit St Mary's Church in Handsworth, easy to get to on the no 16 bus that takes you to Hamstead Road.

It was quiet inside the Grade II listed Anglican church which is built on ten-acre of grounds, located adjacent to Handsworth Park.

The church is the resting place of famous progenitors of the industrial age, James Watt, William Murdoch and Matthew Boulton and has been described as “the Cathedral of the Industrial Revolution”.

Elliott's been waiting two years to get inside of this church, mainly for the memorials to James Watt, Matthew Boulton and William Murdoch.

The church has origins back to the 12th and 13th centuries, although what you see today is a complete rebuild from the 19th century. Architects who worked on the building in the 19th century included William Hollins in 1820, Thomas Rickman in 1826 (the South Chapel built in memory of James Watt), and later J A Chatwin from 1876 to 1880. More recently the roof was repaired during 2019 to 2020.

It is a Grade II* listed building.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

 

Tour of the interior of St Mary's Church, Handsworth

You enter the church from the side door from the churchyard.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

Below stained glass windows is information panels on James Watt and the Industrial Revolution (probably provided by the Birmingham Museums Trust).

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

Down here you will find the monuments to Matthew Boulton, William Murdoch (spelt Murdock) and Joseph Grice. The South Chapel on the right leads to the statue of James Watt.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

The organ.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

Here are two examples of stained glass windows at St Mary's Church, Handsworth.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

St Mary's Church Handsworth

Here's the pulpit.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

And a piano.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

There's somewhere to light candles under a colourful cross.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

The lecturn resembles golden eagles.

St Mary's Church Handsworth

 

Monuments

The marble statue of James Watt (1736 - 1819) is located in the South Chapel. It was sculpted by Francis Legatt Chantrey.

This is currently the only place to see a statue of James Watt in Birmingham (the 1866 statue of James Watt formerly at Chamberlain Square by Alexander Munro has been in storage since 2015).

James Watt St Mary's Handsworth

The Monument to Matthew Boulton (1728 - 1809) is by Flaxman.

Matthew Boulton St Marys Handsworth

The Monument to William Murdoch (spelt here as Murdock) (1754 - 1839) was also by Flaxman.

William Murdock St Marys Handsworth

There is also a marble bust of William Murdoch in the cafe area (just behind a TV). A childrens book about James Watt was on the left.

William Murdoch

Other memorials here include this one to Joseph Grice Esquire.

Joseph Grice

Also there is a memorial/monument to Sarah Russell, and later her husband John Russell.

Sarah Russell

Also to be found here are these tombs.  A medieval armoured soldier and below him another one.

Tomb St Marys Handsworth

There was also this tomb of a couple found close to the area with the monuments to Boulton, Watt & Murdoch.

Tomb St Marys Handsworth

We hope you enjoyed this informative post and photography.  The full feature on St. Mary's Church can be found HERE.

More posts and features and a map of City Gems can be found at www.BirminghamGems.com

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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90 passion points
Classic Architecture
22 Sep 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Bournville Village Primary School - enjoy our visit shared with you!

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The Birmingham Heritage Week open days were held in Bournville on Saturday 11th September 2021 at about 11 venues. Elliott Brown popped to three venues that day, starting with the Bournville Village Primary School (formerly Bournville Junior School). The school opened in 1906, and celebrated their centenary in 2006. The Carillon was not open, but you could hear the bells ringing.

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Although the Bournville Carillon was not open to the public on Saturday 11th September, you could hear it ringing when getting off the bus on Linden Road. However Bournville Village Primary School was open with an entrance on Woodbrooke Road.

Bournville Village Primary School

Bournville Village Primary School

 

You enter through the doors in the entrance hallway.

Bournville Village Primary School

Bournville Village Primary School

 

The main school hall was designed by William Alexander Harvey and is a truly magnificent space.

Bournville Village Primary School

Bournville Village Primary School

Bournville Village Primary School

 

Just look at the stained glass window unveiled in 2006 on the centenary of the school opening in 1906. It was unveiled by HRH the Duke of Gloucester and is stunning!

Bournville Village Primary School

 

Bournville Village Primary has some great values. 

Bournville Village Primary School

 

There is a black and white photo portrait of the schools founder George Cadbury (1839 - 1922).

Bournville Village Primary School

 

There was also a black and white portrait photo of his wife, Dame Elizabeth Cadbury (1858 - 1951). George married his second wife Elizabeth in 1888 and they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 1913. A tablet was placed in the main school hall in 1913 by the residents of Bournville to celebrate the occasion. Sadly George died in 1922, and Elizabeth was a widow for 29 years (until her own death in 1951).

Bournville Village Primary School

 

Through some of the locked doors, you can see corridors to classrooms, and also see the classrooms from the main hall.

Bournville Village Primary School

We hope you enjoyed our post.

More posts and features and a map of City Gems can be found at www.BirminghamGems.com

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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90 passion points
Modern Architecture
20 Sep 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The story behind the new BT Tower logo

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During 2021, Birmingham We Are's regular photographers Elliott Brown and Daniel Sturley have occasionally been getting updates, everytime BT put up a "T" or a "B". Since at least March 2021, one side had a "T". The "B" didn't go up until August 2021 due to nesting peregrine falcons.

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Between February and August 2021, the BT Tower in Birmingham on Lionel Street finally got the the new BT logos attached on both sides of the building.

The "T" on one side together with a circle was put up between February and March 2021. The "B" and the other "T" didn't go up until late August 2021.  This was due to nesting peregrine falcons.

The photography below was taken by Birmingham We Are's regular contributors Daniel Sturley and Elliott Brown.

 

6th February 2021

"Not for everyone" - workers spotted abseiling from the top of the BT Tower.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

24th February 2021

From Edgbaston Reservoir, it wasn't particularly clear to see what they were doing up on the BT Tower but you could spot the BT logo on Three Snowhill from this vantage point.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

2nd March 2021

Pins are put in place for the circle of the logo and the "T" of BT. The "B" pins can just be seen.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

21st March 2021

First blue circle of the logo and a "T" goes into place on one side of the building.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

3rd April 2021

View from the train going past Birmingham Snow Hill Station. This side of the building at the time had a complete blue circle, but only visible pins for the "BT" logo.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

17th April 2021

Still only a lone "T" can be seen from Hill Street near Birmingham New Street Station. With peregrine falcons nesting at the top, BT engineers couldn't return until late August.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

21st April 2021

A close up view from the bottom of the BT Tower from Lionel Street. It's a long way up.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

16th May 2021

Here's a view up the tower from Lionel Street in the Jewellery Quarter, near Ludgate Hill. It would be another three months before they got back up to finish the BT logos.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown..

 

21st June 2021

View of the BT Tower from St Paul's Square with St Paul's Church. At the time, this side of the BT Tower still just had the blue circle.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

14th July 2021

The view of the BT Tower from Ladywood Middleway. Still just the lone "T" from the Ladywood view.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

23rd July 2021

This view is as you come off the M6 motorway, Junction 6 at Spaghetti Junction  (Gravelly Hill Interchange) onto the Aston Expressway, A38(M).  On the skyline you could see The Mercian and the BT Tower (still without a visible "BT" at this point).

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

27th July 2021

A view of the BT Tower from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal near Ludgate Hill in the Jewellery Quarter.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley..

 

7th August 2021

Scaffolding goes up at the top of the BT Tower and there is now visible ropes from there to the bottom of the tower. Work finally resumes to finish replacing the BT Tower's logo.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

13th August 2021

The Library of Birmingham reopens the Discovery Terrace (Level 3) and Secret Garden (Level 7) to visitors. It was now possible to see the BT Tower from both terraces. This view taken from the Secret Garden. The last time you would see the "T Tower" before the end of the month with Three Snowhill (which already had it's "BT" logos).

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

30th August 2021

In the last weeks of August, engineers returned to the BT Tower to attach the remaining letters to both sides of the building. Some of the scaffolding above had also been removed. This view taken from Great Charles Street Queensway.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

4th September 2021

A quick late afternoon visit to the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham, just before closing provides an opportunity to capture the BT Tower again from up high, now with the completed new logo.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

11th September 2021

A view from the Isaac Tongue Junction in Northfield at Bell Hill. Near the A38 (Sir Herbert Austin Way and Bristol Road South) of The Bank (tower 2), The Mercian and the BT Tower. A distance of about 6 and a half miles for this photo. The new BT logo only visible on a zoom camera (not with the naked eye from that distance).

Bank Mercian BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

We hope you enjoyed this post from Birmingham We Are.

See all our wonderful Birmingham Gems at www.BirminghamGems.com  

 

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80 passion points
People & community
07 Sep 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Library of Birmingham ready for volunteers for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

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From the 6th September 2021 until December, people who applied to be volunteers at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games can show up for an interview (if they have been invited). They will go to the Library of Birmingham. The Library Cafe and half of Level 2 have been taken over. Photos taken by Elliott Brown on the 4th September 2021 before closing time.

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Let the Games Begin! Enter via the door at Centenary Square, to what used to be the Library Cafe at the Library of Birmingham.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

 

As you can see Birmingham 2022 has taken over the space of the Library Cafe.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

As well as the Mezzannine floor (which is above the Library Cafe space).

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games banners have been placed inside of the Library foyer area on the ground floor.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

 

Head up the escalators to Level 2. Note that the you might have to walk up the escalator from Level's 1 to 2, or use the lifts.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

 

Be at the Heart of it. If you are applying to be a volunteer, head this way to your interview. Good luck.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

 

Information about the Legacy Programmes and the Queen's Baton Relay. The relay last went into Birmingham's Centenary Square during 2014 (ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games).

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Meet the mascot, Perry the Bull.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
05 Sep 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

'Gratitude' - A tribute to NHS staff and key workers held in Chamberlain Square, Birmingham

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Elliott Brown, a regular contributor at Birmingham We Are, got chance to experience Gratitude, a tribute to NHS staff and key workers, before it was moved to Manchester. The tribute consisted of 51 sculptures and was curated by creative ambassador Dame Zandra Rhodes.

If you missed the event, don't worry you can still enjoy Elliott's gallery with us here!

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Gratitude was an event held by Wild in Art in Chamberlain Square, at Paradise Birmingham, which ran from the 20th to 30th August 2021. It has now moved on to Manchester and will then move on to Edinburgh and London. It pays tribute to NHS staff and keyworkers during the pandemic.

There were 51 "Lockdown Oscars" displayed in Chamberlain Square close to the Chamberlain Memorial.

The display had mirrors around it and it was curated by creative ambassador Dame Zandra Rhodes.

Gratitude

Gratitude

The gallery below includes 22 photos taken at Gratitude Lockdown Oscars.  Enjoy!

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

'Gratitude' has now moved to St Peter's Square in Manchester.

In Autumn 2021, the sculptures will be auctioned with proceeds going to NHS Charities Together.

Wesleyan was one of the main sponsors of the event.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown can also be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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110 passion points
Environment & green action
23 Aug 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Sandwell Valley Country Park Trail

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Sandwell Valley Country Park Trail

This is a wonderful walk or cycle ride in a wonderful Park. There is so much to enjoy including the Swan Pool, Sandwell Priory ruins and Sandwell Park Farm.  Enjoy with our compliments.

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To get to Sandwell Country Park

If you are travelling from outside Sandwell, catch the West Midlands Metro from Birmingham or Wolverhampton to West Bromwich Central. Alternatively catch the no 74 bus to West Bromwich Bus Station.

Note:  We recommend you buy a day ticket on the My Metro app before you travel.

West Bromwich Central Tram StopPhotography by Elliott Brown

Outside the station you could hire a West Midlands Cycle bike if you do not fancy walking.

West Midlands Cycle Hire West BromwichPhotography by Elliott Brown

Turn left onto the West Bromwich Ringway, then pass West Bromwich Bus Station. Turn right onto St Michael Street, continue onto New Street into the New Square shopping centre. Perhaps stop for coffee.

If you missed West Midlands Cycle Hire before, there is another docking point outside of Central St Michael's Sixth Form College.

West Midlands Cycle HireWest Midlands Cycle Hire at Central St Michael's Sixth Form College (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

Continue through New Square and turn left towards Cronehill Linkway Car Park. Next walk up Cronehills Linkway, stop at the lights and cross over the Cronehills Interchange Bridge.

Cronehills Interchange BridgeCronehills Interchange Bridge. Photography by Elliott Brown

Near The Expressway follow the path onto Sandwell Road North, then onto Taylors Lane and Woodward Street until you get to Dagger Lane.

Turn right onto Salters Lane and continue heading down to the gate.

Enter Sandwell Valley Country Park. 

At the gates, enter Sandwell Valley Country Park.

Sandwell Valley Country ParkSalters Lane entrance to Sandwell Valley Country Park. Photography by Elliott Brown

Continue along Salters Lane through the park. The path/road here is a bit rough.

Along the way you will pass the fields of Sandwell Park Farm.

Sandwell Valley cowsSandwell Park Farm. Photography by Elliott Brown

You will then cross the first bridge over the M5 motorway.

Bridge 1 M5 Sandwell ValleyBridge over the M5 motorway at Sandwell Valley Country Park. Photography by Elliott Brown

You are now on the other side of Sandwell Valley Country Park.

Now turn left onto Beacon Way and follow the path all the way around the Swan Pool.

Swan Pool Sandwell ValleySwan Pool at Sandwell Valley Country Park. Photography by Elliott Brown

After you've gone around the Swan Pool, turn left which takes you back onto the main path /road towards Park Lane. You will pass the Priory Woods Local Nature Reserve.

At the end of this path, turn right alongside Park Lane, heading to the gate.

Note: If you want to leave the park here, you can, but there are no pavements on Park Lane.

Park Lane gate Sandwell ValleyPark Lane gate at Sandwell Valley Country Park. Photography by Elliott Brown

Let's continue along the path towards the ruins of Sandwell Priory and Sandwell Hall.

They were built in the 12th century by William son of Guy de Offeni, Lord of the Manor of West Bromwich.

Located next to the 'Sand Well', a natural spring a short distance to the south from which the Priory gets its name, it was closed by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525 during the Reformation, and later demolished.

It was excavated between 1982 and 1988.

Sandwell Priory RuinsSandwell Priory Ruins at Sandwell Valley Country Park. Photography by Elliott Brown

Next to the Priory is the ruins of Sandwell Hall. The land was bought by Lord Dartmouth in 1701, and in 1705 he demolished the existing buildings to build his house.

The Dartmouth's moved to Patshull near Wolverhampton in 1853, and Sandwell Hall had a variety of uses before it was demolished in 1928.

Sandwell HallRemains of Sandwell Hall at Sandwell Valley Country Park. Photography by Elliott Brown

After this, continue along the path, and then cross over the second bridge over the M5 motorway.

Alternatively if you have time, check out the Ice House Pool and Cascade Pool.

There is also another path that takes you back towards the Swan Pool.

M5 Bridge 2 Second bridge over the M5 motorway at Sandwell Valley Country Park. Photography by Elliott Brown

After the bridge, there is a path where you can take your exit towards Europa Avenue, or you can continue onto Dartmouth Park or Sandwell Park Farm.

The Europa Avenue exit goes past a Mercure Hotel near M5, Junction 1 and The Expressway.

Sandwell Valley Country Park Leaving Sandwell Valley Country Park at Europa Avenue. Photography by Elliott Brown

From Europa Avenue, take Beeches Road to Birmingham Road. If you want to catch a bus instead of the tram, the 74 stops on Birmingham Road.

Here you can either go down Roebuck Street or Roebuck Lane. Go onto Devereux Road, and get onto West Bromwich Parkway.

This is the end of the trail.  We hope you enjoyed it!

If you need a tram, follow the path to Kenrick Park Tram Stop. Look out for trams.

West Bromwich ParkwayWest Midlands Metro tram at West Bromwich Parkway. Photography by Elliott Brown

It shouldn't be too long to wait for a tram at Kenrick Park Tram Stop.

Kenrick Park Tram StopWest Midlands Metro tram arriving at Kenrick Park Tram Stop. Photography by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
Green travel
17 Aug 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Children with guides kayaking up the BCN Mainline - 11th August 2021

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I was walking past Gas Street Basin, when I saw a couple of kayaks full of children and their guides. They went through the Broad Street Tunnel, then up past Brindleyplace and the Brewmasters House towards Utilita Arena Birmingham. They were probably heading for Icknield Port Loop (according to Civic Square on Twitter). I left at Oozells Street Loop. Click View article for five photos.

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Kayaking from Gas Street Basin to Icknield Port Loop

Starting this brief canal walk from The Mailbox, on the 11th August 2021, I walked up to the end of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Worcester Bar, Gas Street Basin. On the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline side, I saw a couple of kayaks attached together, with a guide and several children in both of them.

The kayaks at the back near Gas Street Basin, heading into the Broad Street Tunnel.

Canoeing BCN Mainline

It was now apparent that there was two pairs attached to kayaks. The first one I saw was going through the Broad Street Tunnel, while the second was was metres behind.

Canoeing BCN Mainline

A Just Eat delivery man in orange on his bike. The pair of kayaks, children and their guides. It was time to duck as I walked under the tunnel.

Canoeing BCN Mainline

View from the Broad Street Tunnel (where the head room was a bit higher at the Brindleyplace end). Both sets of kayaks were heading under the Brindleyplace and Brewmasters Bridges. With Utilita Arena Birmingham, The Malt House and the Brewmasters House nearby. Oh and the red Water Bus on the left was about to depart.

Canoeing BCN Mainline

One last view as they headed under the Brewmasters Bridge, past The ICC Energy Centre. I would leave the Main Line via the Oozells Street Loop, heading to Brindleyplace. I assume that they were heading for the Roundhouse.

Canoeing BCN Mainline

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

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80 passion points
Sport & leisure
17 Aug 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Model Boating at Bournville Lake at The Valley Parkway

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On regular Sunday's the Bournville Radio Sailing and Model Boat Club meet to use their remote controlled boats on Bournville Lake at The Valley Parkway, near Bournville Lane. The club has a history going back to 1900, although has been on this site since 1926. On Sunday morning, 15th August 2021, the club was back. Also some archive photos from 2017 and 2018.

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Bournville Radio Sailing and Model Boat Club

The Bournville Radio Sailing and Model Boat Club, also called Bournville Model Yacht & Powerboat Club, was founded in the year 1900 as the Bournville Model Yachting Club at Rowheath Park. By 1926, George Cadbury Jr (son of the late George Cadbury who died in 1922) commissioned an area of marshland on the now famous Bournville Village Trust, to be reclaimed, and a concrete pool of even depth was created. The surrounding park is called The Valley Parkway by Birmingham City Council. The club has their own Boat House on site, and regularly meet on Sunday mornings for model yachting, and Sunday afternoons for model power boating. They sometimes also meet on other days for model boating.

 

26th March 2017

That Sunday there was model RNLI  powerboats on Bournville Lake at The Valley Parkway.

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

 

4th October 2018

On a Thursday morning walk through The Valley Parkway, I only managed to get one photo of a model yacht in the lake. See the project gallery for more photos. They don't usually sail the model yachts on Thursday's. At weekends they regularly meet on Sunday mornings for model yachting, and on weekdays, they meet on Wednesday mornings, and sometimes Tuesday afternoons. It's the power boat sessions that meets on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Valley Parkway Bournville

 

15th August 2021

A Sunday morning walk along Bournville Lane, to see if I could see any activity from the Bournville Model Yacht Club. Luckily, there was a whole bunch of them out at Bournville Lake, with a lot of model yachts, as you can see in the gallery below. The members seem to be mostly retired men and women.

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

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

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100 passion points
Green open spaces
09 Aug 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A visit to Sandwell Valley Country Park on the 4th August 2021

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I've been meaning to do a proper walk around of Sandwell Valley Country Park for a while now. My last visit four years ago for the Big Sleuth, I didn't get far into the park. This time entered via Salters Lane, passed a farm, then a bridge over the M5 led to Swan Pool. Eventually got back on the main path and found the Sandwell Priory ruins before one more bridge over the motorway.

Related

Previous Sandwell Valley Country Park post from my visit of July 2017.

 

Sandwell Valley Country Park, 4th August 2021

It's been around two years since I last got off the tram at West Bromwich Central Tram Stop. And since then we have had the pandemic. By late July 2021, the Midland Metro Alliance closed the extension from Bull Street to Stephenson Street (so all stops to Library are closed until October 2021 for track relaying works). So I booked my day ticket in the My Metro app before I set out, and travelled to Bull Street Tram Stop.

I got the tram to West Bromwich Central, and after a coffee and toastie at Costa at New Square Shopping Centre, started walking towards Sandwell Valley Country Park (via the Cronehills Interchange Bridge which crosses The Expressway). I avoided Dartmouth Park, and got to Dagger Lane, and headed down Salters Lane to get into the park.

 

Sandwell Park Farm

Welcome to Sandwell Valley Country Park. Home to Sandwell Park Farm. This sign seen from Salters Lane. Sandwell Valley Children's Fun Fair is to the right.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

I almost walked up the road to the car park, but instead got back on Salters Lane towards the gate and went through it into the park.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

The path / road to walk on was quite rough. On the right saw a field full of cows.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

These flowers growing in the field are Helicrysum arenarium, according to a scan of Google Lens on my phone.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Further down, another field was full of sheep.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

The rough path continues on towards the first bridge that crosses over the M5 motorway.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Before I crossed the bridge, saw another path, this one runs around Hillhouse Farm

Sandwell Valley Country Park

 

M5 bridge crossing no 1

The first bridge over the M5 motorway. It is a Weak Bridge, so only vehicles of 7.5T mgw or less. Assume it is used by lightweight farm or park vehicles?

M5 bridge 1

The bridge rises over the M5 motorway as I walked towards the other half of the park.

M5 bridge 1

A lot of traffic on the M5 below. Heading towards the end of the M5 and M6, Junction 8. Left lane, M6 south, right lanes, M6 north.

M5 bridge 1

This view below towards M5, Junction 1 for West Bromwich. There was also a sign for Birmingham Park & Ride (either train or tram). If train then it probably means either The Hawthorns or Smethwick Galton Bridge.

M5 bridge 1

 

Swan Pool

This is the largest lake at Sandwell Valley Country Park. It is called the Swan Pool (alternative names include Wasson or Warstone). Used for sailing. Home of ducks, geese and swans. Paths around the lake for walks, taking your dog for a walk. Also used by cyclists.

A walk around Swan Pool, along the paths in a clockwise direction.

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Some swans in the lake, near decking used for fishing.

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

There was Canada geese in the lake as well as some Greylag geese.

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

After leaving Swan Pool, got a couple more photos from the path towards Park Lane, near the Priory Woods Local Nature Reserve.

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

 

Path from Park Lane

After leaving Swan Pool I was next heading towards Park Lane. I eventually got to this gate and crossed over, but couldn't see any pavements to safely walk to The Hawthorns, so instead followed the path towards the ruins instead.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Looking back to the Park Lane exit, behind me, I was approaching the ruins of both Sandwell Priory (closed 1525) and Sandwell Hall (demolished 1928).

Sandwell Valley Country Park

 

Sandwell Priory Ruins

The remains of Sandwell Priory, a medieval Benedictine monastery, which was excavated between 1982 and 1988. Some of the finds are on display at a small museum at Sandwell Park Farm. It was built in the mid 12th century by William son of Guy de Offeni, Lord of the Manor of West Bromwich. It was located next to the 'Sand Well' a natural spring a short distance to the south from which the Priory gets its name. In the first couple of centuries there was probably hundreds of monks here, but by the second half of the 14th century, there was only about one or two monks at the priory. After a recovery in the 15th century, the numbers declined again by the time Cardinal Wolsey closed it in 1525. By this date there was only the Prior and one monk, and many buildings were in a poor state.

Sandwell Priory Ruins

Sandwell Priory Ruins

Sandwell Priory Ruins

Sandwell Priory Ruins

 

Sandwell Hall Ruins

Sandwell Hall was built in top of Sandwell Priory in 1705. The site was bought by Lord Dartmouth in 1701, and in 1705 he demolished most of the existing buildings to build a new house. It was built in brick and had towers on three corners. In the 19th century a portico supported by columns was added to the front of the hall, and the hall was extended to the west. The Dartmouth's moved to Patshull near Wolverhampton in 1853, and Sandwell Hall had a variety of uses before it was demolished in 1928.

Sandwell Hall Ruins

Sandwell Hall Ruins

 

M5 bridge crossing no 2

After seeing the ruins of both Sandwell Priory and Sandwell Hall, the path leads directly to another footbridge over the M5 motorway. Again a Weak Bridge for vehicles with 7.5T mgw.

M5 Bridge 2

I wasn't expecting to cross the M5 twice, as I originally thought of leaving the park at Park Lane (but no pavements).

M5 Bridge 2

Busy traffic on the M5 below. Was a 40 mph limit towards the junction with the M6.

M5 Bridge 2

Southbound towards Worcester and Bristol was fine, just northbound to the end of the M5 looked congested.

M5 Bridge 2

 

Exit to Europa Avenue

After crossing over the second M5 bridge, I left via the path towards Europa Avenue. Found a housing estate with various cul-de-sacs. The path emerged onto a cul-de-sac called St John's Close. Saw this Welcome sign.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Now on Europa Avenue, saw this Sandwell Valley Community Noticeboard next to a red post box.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Passing a Mercure Hotel, I took a route towards Kenrick Park Tram Stop, via Beeches Road, Birmingham Road, Roebuck Lane and Devereux Road. Found a path onto the West Bromwich Parkway, and Kenrick Park was a short walk away. The tram back had no free seats, so stood all the way back to Bull Street.

 

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

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90 passion points
Transport
03 Aug 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Emirates taking off from Birmingham on a Boeing 777-300ER

Post image

It's nice to see that Emirates have resumed their route from Birmingham Airport to Dubai. Although they are not using the double decker Airbus A380 at the moment. So back to the Boeing 777-300ER they were using before. Emirates had been alternating them over the years anyway. Once saw a Boeing 777 taking off while I was plane spotting at the Sheldon Country Park several years ago.

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15th March 2017

That day I spent about an hour plane spotting from the Sheldon Country Park, mainly to spot the Emirates plane. Turns out that lunchtime it was the Boeing 777-300ER taking off from runway 15. It was a glorious sunny blue sky day at the Birmingham / Solihull border. The Emirates Boeing 777 plane took off around 1:50pm during the day, bound for Dubai. At the time they were using the Airbus A380 plane in the evening instead.

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

 

6th August 2017

That time I spotted a Emirates Boeing 777 while walking through Boldmere in Sutton Coldfield (on The Big Sleuth trail). I was on the Boldmere High Street. In this case this Emirates plane was coming into land at Birmingham Airport from Dubai shortly before 12pm that day. Shortly after this I saw a Qatar Airways plane coming into land.

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

 

1st August 2021

I travelled by bus (the 11A changing in Acocks Green) to the Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley, for another look at the City Skyline. First I saw a TUI plane taking off from Birmingham Airport, and before I left the park, I saw this Emirates Boeing 777 taking off for Dubai, just before 2:40pm in the afternoon. I think it's the first Emirates plane I've caught on camera since the pandemic began. Would be nice to see the Airbus A380 over the skies of Birmingham again.

Emirates Boeing 777

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

 

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50 passion points
Modern Architecture
26 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Pink artwork Selfridges - mid April to late July 2021 update

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After more than 9 months, the pink artwork called 'Dogtooth Flower' designed by Osman Yousefzada is now complete. It completely wraps around Selfridges on Park Street and Moor Street. Now the work to remove the discs underneath can begin. This gallery update featuring photos taken from the 17th April until 25th July 2021, at various locations around the City Centre.

Related

For the previous post go here: Osman Yousefzada's Dogtooth Flower at Selfridges

 

17th April 2021

Only a partial bit of pink artwork spotted on the Park Street side of Selfridges. Taken from the Digbeth Branch Canal in Eastside, near Curzon Street, overlooking the HS2 station site.

Selfridges

 

This view below taken in Digbeth from Milk Street, looking up Coventry Street, with the Rotunda seen above. Below is Moor Street Car Park.

Selfridges

 

This Digbeth view taken from Birchall Street, looking up Stone Yard, towards Birmingham Coach Station, near the Connaught Square development site.

Selfridges

 

27th May 2021

West Midlands Cycle Hire docking point seen on Park Street, opposite Selfridges. After this I went up the lift in Moor Street Car Park for the first time in ages.

Selfridges

 

The view from level 8 of Moor Street Car Park. The Park Street side of Selfridges.

Selfridges

Looking right towards the Parametric Bridge that connects Moor Street Car Park to Selfridges.

Selfridges

The view of Selfridges down Park Street, taken from the Parametric Bridge. The gaps have been filled in, so you can't really get your lens through much.

Selfridges

 

29th May 2021

A couple of days later and the standard view of Selfridges from the corner of Park Street and Moor Street. About halfway up, but yet to go over the top of the Parametric Bridge.

Selfridges

 

5th June 2021

The views heading down from St Martin's Walk into St Martin's Square at the Bullring & Grand Central Birmingham.

Selfridges

The screen on for the French Open, was still there for Wimbledon, and for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Selfridges

Vietnamese Street Kitchen is now open, where Handmade Burger Co used to be.

Selfridges

Selfridges near the entrance of Bullring Car Park, on Park Street.

Selfridges

The usual view from the Park Street and Moor Street corner, close to the entrance of Moor Street Car Park.

Selfridges

Heading up Moor Street to Birmingham Moor Street Station, several NXWM Platinum buses waiting opposite on the 50 (or 35).

Selfridges

The view of Selfridges from Birmingham Moor Street Station with the Chiltern Railways 168214 train waiting at platform 3. Rotunda on the right.

Selfridges

Now on platform 1 waiting to catch a train home, saw this view of the station with the Parametric Bridge. Still a long way to go at this point

Selfridges

 

13th June 2021

The view from Barford Street and Sherlock Street over the Smithfield development site. Near Southside. Pershore Street Car Park was getting demolished, Moat Lane Car Park is next for demolition.

Selfridges

 

21st June 2021

Blossom Bar was coming to the Bullring above St Martin's Square. Can barely see Selfridges from here.

Selfridges

It was open by the time we went into July.

Selfridges

 

4th July 2021

Ominious clouds above Selfridges from the usual Moor Street and Park Street corner view. I was walking to the Custard Factory in Digbeth. This was the last photo I took before it started heavily raining while in Digbeth (and I got drenched).

Selfridges

 

19th July 2021

The view from Moor Street Queensway, bus stop MS4. A bus advertising the new Warner Bros / DC movie The Suicide Squad passes Birmingham Moor Street Station, the view of Selfridges on Moor Street.

Selfridges

 

20th July 2021

On the no 50 NXWM Platinum bus heading towards the Bullring. This view of Selfridges, taken from the skyline view on Moseley Road, between Highgate and Digbeth. This view might be lost in the future, if the proposed building between Moseley Street and Cheapside gets built up here.

Selfridges

 

The 50 is now on Moat Lane, about to stop on St Martin's Lane near St Martin's Church and Park Street. I would get off the bus at the 50 terminus on Moor Street.

Selfridges

 

25th July 2021

I got off the bus early on High Street Bordesley, to walk up to Camp Hill. Got this view near Alcester Street of the Rotunda, 103 Colmore Row, Selfridges and the BT Tower. The self storage place has closed down I think.

Selfridges

 

Later walking back up Digbeth near the Beorma Quarter. The Prince's Trust is in the Digbeth Cold Storage building. I saw a no 97 bus passing the building.

Selfridges

Selfridges near the top of Digbeth. St Martin's Church on the left.

Selfridges

Selfridges from Digbeth and on Park Street at the pedestrian traffic lights. A no 50 NXWM Platinum bus goes by.

Selfridges

 

Later I got back on my bus at Moor Street Queensway (MS4), with another view of Birmingham Moor Street Station and pink Selfridges. The taxi rank outside.

Selfridges

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

 

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80 passion points
Classic Architecture
21 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Roundhouse Birmingham: a timeline to reopening

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Finally Roundhouse Birmingham has reopened to the public. Located at Sheepcote Street and St Vincent Street, it is on the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline. Originally opened in 1874, to the designs of W. H. Ward as the Corporation Depot. Also used by the London and North Western Railway as a railway depot at the time. Now co-owned by the Canal & River Trust and National Trust.

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History of Roundhouse Birmingham

A crescent shaped Grade II* listed building, it was built for the Corporation of Birmingham from 1873 to 1874, to the designs of William Henry Ward (he also designed the Great Western Arcade). The two gatehouses facing the corner of Sheepcote Street and St Vincent Street were completed in 1885. It was originally named Corporation Wharf, as it was near the Birmingham Canal. It was also used as a large railway depot for the London and North Western Railway, on the Stour Valley Line.

The site was arranged to create a highly secure internal storage environment, for open air storage, horses and maintenance.

Pevsner describes it having a pair of picturesque Gothic lodges. And that inside was more of a semicircular range with a cartway running under it's centre to the canal. With evocative cobbled pavements.

The building was used by the City of Birmingham Engineers Department until the 1980s, when it became redundant and was sold. It was bought by British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) in 2001.

Unused for many years, other than part of it as a nursery school, the Canal & River Trust and the National Trust gained funding in 2017 for the restoration of the building, and to open it up to the public. It should have opened in 2020, but delays due to the pandemic, means it won't open now until at least late summer 2021.

Some of the earliest tours by narrowboat have started in late July 2021, during the summer heatwave.

 

2009

Some of my earliest photos of the Roundhouse, taken from the opposite towpath on the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline, between the Sheepcote Street Bridge and St Vincent Street Bridge.

 

15th May 2009

At the time there was a lot of narrowboats moored up on both sides of the towpath next to the Roundhouse.

Roundhouse Birmingham

There was still a brick wall alongside the Roundhouse, part of it would be later removed when restoration works began years later.

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2013

A look at the pair of gatehouses from the corner of Sheepcote Street and St Vincent Street, and the first look at the inside of the horseshoe courtyard for the first time. A few months later, I saw the Roundhouse close up from the towpath.

 

23rd February 2013

At the time the Roundhouse for for sale or to let, and the junction here was a bit different.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Signs on the gate "Warning Kingdom Security".

Roundhouse Birmingham

This is what the horseshoe courtyard looked like at the time, years before the restoration began.

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

18th May 2013

A look through the railings to the back of the Roundhouse. The former Fiddle & Bone pub on the right was derelict at the time, but would be restored and reopen a few years later.

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2015

The Fiddle & Bone pub was restored and reopened, so time to look at the Roundhouse again from the canalside towpath.

 

26th December 2015

It was nice to see the Fiddle & Bone restored. They put out painted picnic benches at the time, and they sealed off the arches in the Roundhouse behind.

Roundhouse Birmingham

This area was all part of the Fiddle & Bone beer garden, at the back of the Roundhouse.

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2017

A few years later, the Fiddle & Bone was renamed to The Distillery.

 

26th October 2017

By now, the Roundhouse was co-owned by the National Trust and Canal & River Trust, and within a few years would begin work to restore the building. Meanwhile I was having a look at The Distillery from the opposite side of the canal.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Two years after seeing The Distillery, the Roundhouse next door would start to get restored.

Roundhouse Birmingham

There is an entrance to the pub from the canalside, there was formerly one from the first floor on Sheepcote Street.

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2019

During the BCN 250 celebrations, I noticed that work to restored the Roundhouse had begun.

 

2nd November 2019

There was a parade of narrowboats up and down the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline at the time for BCN 250, while the Roundhouse was under scaffolding.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Scaffolding up the right hand side of the Roundhouse, they were also replacing the old windows.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Now called Roundhouse Birmingham. The area out front was still a beer garden for The Distillery, but the picnic benches were no longer painted.

Roundhouse Birmingham

It should have been completed and reopened by 2020, but the pandemic resulted in it being delayed until 2021.

Roundhouse Birmingham

While at the time this was the beer garden of The Distillery, in future it would (probably) also act as the public entrance to Roundhouse Birmingham.

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

27th December 2019

One last update before the end of 2019, and before I heard about the coming virus. The pair of lodges were under scaffolding. Road layout had changed on St Vincent Street, near Sheepcote Street.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Part of the Roundhouse already had new windows on one side.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Window view of another window.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Similar window shot as the last one.

Roundhouse Birmingham

This area (below) had a temporary wooden hoarding in place. They would later install a window here. Probably an area for people to view the canal out of the Roundhouse?

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2021

My first major photo update of the Roundhouse since the pandemic began, and in time for it opening to the public to the first time.

 

14th July 2021

Views of the Roundhouse from the Sheepcote Street Bridge. Including the Annatomix rustic horse street art.

Roundhouse Birmingham

The Distillery is on the right. Entrance from the canalside, they make Roundhouse Gin here.

Roundhouse Birmingham

The pair of Victorian lodges fully restored, at the corner of Sheepcote Street and St Vincent Street. Was a homeless man sitting close to the gate, so didn't want to get too close to him.

Roundhouse Birmingham

A zoom in beyond the gate to the horseshoe courtyard area.

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

20th July 2021

Views from the opposite side of the BCN Mainline canal, towards the Roundhouse. I walked past the Victoria narrowboat dropping off visitors, below the Sheepcote Street bridge.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Roundhouse Birmingham

Famed Birmingham street artist Annatomix was commissioned to paint this wall, she has painted a rustic horse.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Roundhouse Birmingham

Onto St Vincent Street, a view towards this gate, all fully restored, with new windows installed.

Roundhouse Birmingham

The horseshoe shaped courtyard, seen inside of the gate from the St Vincent Street corner with Sheepcote Street. Some of the bricks on the cobbled surface have been replaced.

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

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

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
19 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Chamberlain Gardens in Ladywood

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In 2020-21 Chamberlain Gardens had new gates and railings installed. Located in Ladywood at Monument Road and Ladywood Road. Towards Beaufort Road. The parkland also has a playground, outdoor gym area, tennis and basketball courts. A short walk to Perrott's Folly and Edgbaston Reservoir. Ladywood Middleway and Broadway Plaza are also nearby. 

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Chamberlain Gardens, Ladywood

During 2020 and 2021, Birmingham City Council has installed new railings and gates at Chamberlain Gardens in Ladywood. The parkland is at the heart of a Council housing estate, many of the tower blocks here have been reclad in recent years.

I found at least four new gates, from Beaufort Road, at the Calthorpe Entrance, at Cawdor Crescent, is the Winfield Entrance. Further up Cawdor Crescent to Monument Road is Perrotts Entrance, and at the Monument Road corner with Ladywood Road is the Osler Entrance.

Chamberlain Gardens was first developed in the 1960s, and was named after the former Mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain (1836 - 1914), he served three terms from 1873 to 1876, before he resigned the office when he got elected to Parliament.

 

2014

I first briefly went into Chamberlain Gardens back in October 2014. I was close to the corner of Monument Road and Ladywood Road at the time. This sign for Chamberlain Gardens, A Barclays Space for Sports.

Chamberlain Gardens

It was very autumnal at the time, when I spotted this hut in the middle near the trees.

Chamberlain Gardens

The roof was missing some tiles at the time. What was it used for in the past, a ticket kiosk, or somewhere to buy ice cream? Anyone know?

Chamberlain Gardens

 

2021

Fast forward to July 2021, and it was time to check out Chamberlain Gardens. Last year I went to see Perrotts Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower again, but at the time decided to not pop into the park. There is now new gates that have been installed since I was last in the area.

Welcome to Chamberlain Gardens. This is the Calthorpe Entrance at Beaufort Road in Ladywood. It is near Kenrick House.

Chamberlain Gardens

Passing Kenrick House from the Beaufort Road entrance into the park.

Chamberlain Gardens

The Council has recently cut the grass here.

Chamberlain Gardens

A look to the Chamberlain Gardens Playground.

Chamberlain Gardens

Next to that was the Chamberlain Gardens Outdoor Gym Area.

Chamberlain Gardens

Heading to Cawdor Crescent, to check out the next gate.

Chamberlain Gardens

This is the Winfield Entrance at Cawdor Crescent.

Chamberlain Gardens

Heading along Cawdor Crescent, double yellow lines, so no cars parked here.

Chamberlain Gardens

View of the tennis and basketball courts from Cawdor Crescent.

Chamberlain Gardens

Between Cawdor Crescent and Monument Road is the next gate, this is Perrotts Entrance. It is close to Perrotts Folly (which is on Reservoir Road). Although Noel Road is closer at this point.

Chamberlain Gardens

Heading back into the park, there is a view here towards The Mercian.

Chamberlain Gardens

Another look at the hut I saw all those years ago. The roof is now repaired by the looks of it, but it is still unused.

Chamberlain Gardens

One of the paths seems to have been resurfaced here, maybe it is suitable for cyclists.

Chamberlain Gardens

Now heading along the path near Monument Road towards Ladywood Road.

Chamberlain Gardens

Nice reflection on the newly laid path of a tree.

Chamberlain Gardens

The path curves around past the trees near Ladywood Road.

Chamberlain Gardens

Out of the park one last time. This is the Osler Entrance at the corner of Ladywood Road and Monument Road.

Chamberlain Gardens

From here, it was a short walk to Ladywood Middleway along Monument Road. It was very hot and sunny.

 

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

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70 passion points
Squares and public spaces
14 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

It's Coming Home at Holloway Circus with the Chinese Pagoda

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The digital billboard from Suffolk Street Queensway towards the Chinese Pagoda at Holloway Circus and Thomas Garden. It's Coming Home, see on the 10th July 2021. The day later England played Italy at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final. A 1-1 draw after extra time. Usual penalties, and we lost 3-2. First time runners up. Better than semi finalists in 1996, 25 years ago. Well done England!

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40 passion points
Transport
13 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Midland Red Private Charter bus at Holloway Circus

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Just a quick post. On the 26th June 2021, walking past Holloway Circus from Smallbrook Queensway to Suffolk Street Queensway, saw this vintage Midland Red bus. It was a Private Charter and had white wedding strips at the front. Just the one photo, before it turned up Holloway Head. Hopefully they are exempt from the Clean Air Zone charges from the Council. Let's hope so.

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50 passion points
Classic Architecture
07 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Stratford House: a timber framed survivor dating to 1601

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Located in Highgate near Highgate Park is a remarkable survival. Stratford House is close to Highgate Middleway on the no 50 bus route. You can see it from the bus on Moseley Road and New Moseley Road. Built in 1601 for Ambrose Rotton and his wife Bridget, it was once surrounded by farmland. In recent years it's been offices and a swingers club. A fire in 2015, led to restoration 2016.

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On the trail between Digbeth and Kings Heath, if you are getting the no 50 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus (you can catch it from outside Selfridges on Moor Street in the City Centre). Heading past Highgate Park on Moseley Road, you will spot Stratford House. One of the oldest remaining buildings within the City Centre and within the middle ring road, dating to 1601 (last few years of Tudor and Elizabethan England).

 

Stratford House is located at 82 Stratford Place, Highgate, Birmingham B12 0HT. Since 2020 it has been the offices of Age UK Birmingham and Age UK Sandwell.

 

I personally think it could become a museum, run by the Birmingham Museums Trust, or the National Trust. With period furniture. The noise from the passing traffic on Highgate Middleway might causes issues though.

 

The history of Stratford House

The timber framed manor house was built in 1601 for Ambrose Rotton and his wife Bridget. It was originally part of a 20 acre farm that Ambrose owned. He farmed sheep, pigs, oxen and cows on the land.

In 1840, a goods yard was opened nearby at Camp Hill by the Midland Railway. The companies successor, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, in 1926 bought the house and wanted to demolish it. There was a public outcry and the house was saved.

There was further plans to demolish the house in the 1950s due to it dilapidated state. But it was bought by Ivor Adams in 1954 and it was saved. It has been a Grade II* listed building since 1952.

 

The following two images taken from the Birmingham Museums Trust Collection, Digital Image Resourse and are in the Public Domain and dates to the early 1950s. Under the Creative Commons Zero Licence (CCO).

Stratford HouseStratford House in 1950. Ink drawing by John L. Baker. Topographical view of Birmingham, from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection.

 

Stratford HouseOld houses, Stratford Place, Birmingham in 1951. Watercolour. By Allen Edward Everitt. Topographical view of Birmingham, from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection.

 

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the house was home to Network Records, one of the UK's exponents of Techno music.

 

Stratford House, 2010

By the late 2000s and early 2010s it was occupied by Birmingham Centre for Art Therapies (BCAT).

Stratford HouseStratford House on Stratford Place in 2010.

 

Stratford House, 2016

In 2014 it was a swingers club called the Tudor Lounge (who signed a 10 year lease with Birmingham City Council). This opened in January 2015, but by December 2015 there was a major fire here. The building was extensively restored during 2016.

Stratford House

Stratford HouseRestoration of Stratford House during April 2016. Views from the no 50 bus.

 

Stratford House

Stratford HouseRestoration of Stratford House during May 2016. Seen from the Moseley Road in Highgate.

 

Stratford House, 2018

By 2018, Stratford House was fully restored, and was available to let.

Stratford House

Stratford House Stratford House fully restored as of April 2018

 

Stratford House, 2021

From 2020, the building is now home to Age UK Birmingham and Age UK Sandwell. In April 2021, Birmingham City Council approved plans for the road in front of Stratford House to be closed to create a Knott Garden. It lies within the Clean Air Zone. If you go onto Highgate Middleway, that is outside of the zone.

Stratford House

Stratford House

Stratford House

Stratford HouseStratford House at the end of June 2021.

 

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

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80 passion points
Classic Architecture
05 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Old Crown in Digbeth, dating back to 1368!

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The Old Crown in Digbeth claims to date back to 1368. The Grade II* listed building as it is now is more likely to have been built between 1450 and 1500, and could have been established as an inn from the 16th or 17th centuries. It has seen many changes over the centuries. Including road widening in the mid 20th century, and soon the Eastside Metro Extension (by the mid 2020s).

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One of the oldest buildings in Birmingham, including within what is now the City Centre (as far as the middle ring road), is The Old Crown. They claim to date back to about 1368. For instance they celebrated their 649th birthday in 2017 with a ribbon on one of the doors.

The Old Crown

So as of 2021 they are now 653 years old!

 

History of The Old Crown

The Old Crown was probably built sometime between the year 1450 and 1500 (in Medieval and early Tudor times). Some evidence dating back to 1492. A man visiting Birmingham in 1538 described the building as a "mansion house made of timber". It is thought that the building was originally built as the Guildhall and School of St. John, Deritend. In 1589 the building was bought by "John Dyckson, alias Bayleys". It remained in the Dixon family for the next 100 years. It may have began to be used as an inn from this time, especially in the years following the Spanish Armada, and gained the name "Crown".

Although later evidence suggests it was used as an inn by around 1626, and being called the Crowne by 1666. During 1643, the forces of Prince Rupert attacking Birmingham during the Civil War (on the way to fire his musket at the cockerel of the old St Martin's Church), there was some skirmishes near the inn.

The house was converted into two houses in 1684, and then into three by 1693. It remained three houses until the 19th century. Joshua Toulmin Smith saved the building in 1851, from demolition by the Corporation of Birmingham (who wanted to improve the street). The Corporation again proposed to knock it down in 1856 and 1862, but Smith saved it each time.

 

The following three Public Domain Dedication images taken from the Birmingham Museums Trust Collection.

An etching of the Old Crown Inn, Deritend, Birmingham, 1895-1900, by Samuel Henry Baker (d. 1909).

The Old Crown Digbeth

A watercolour painting by George Warren Blackham of the Old Crown Inn Deritend, Birmingham. Probably in the late 19th century.

The Old Crown Digbeth

An etching of the Old Crown Inn, Deritend, Birmingham by J. Alfred Swatkins. Possibly late 19th or early 20th century, with the old tram tracks.

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

High Street Deritend, outside of The Old Crown was widened and reopened by 1955. This included removing the old tram tracks, and the old cobbled road surface. Buildings opposite were demolished, and the Bull Ring Trading Estate was later built there (on the site of St. John's Church, Deritend, which was demolished in 1947, after suffering damage during the Second World War in 1940).

 

Two vintage photos taken by the late Phyllis Nicklin, who was a tutor in Geography in the former Department of Extramural Studies, University of Birmingham. They were originally digitised by BrumPic.

The Old Crown in Digbeth taken by Phyllis Nicklin (University of Birmingham). This was probably before the road was widened in the mid 1950s.

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown in Digbeth, taken in 1960 by Phyllis Nicklin (University of Birmingham). High Street Deritend had been widened in the 1950s.

The Old Crown Digbeth


The Old Crown was bought by the Brennan family in 1991. In the summer of 1994, they found an old well, while doing repairs, when they were clearing out the old sheds at the rear of the property, which at the time had been closed off for more than 100 years. The Brennan family reopened the pub in 1998.

The pub is a Grade II* listed building (since 1952) at 186, 187 and 188 High Street Deritend, and is on the corner of Heath Mill Lane. It is situated to the right of the Custard Factory.

As of the summer of 2021, roadworks are taking place down on the Digbeth High Street. This is to build the Eastside Metro Extension. Which will be starting properly from July 2021. The route will go past the HS2 Curzon Street Station. Work has also began to built a Sprint bus route towards Solihull and Coventry on the A45 (via the Small Heath Highway and Coventry Road). It could be ready in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

 

The Old Crown in the 21st Century

The following images of The Old Crown were taken during October 2009 by Elliott Brown. This was on the first day that I would take photos around the Digbeth area.

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown 1368.

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Beer Garden / car park at the back from Heath Mill Lane.

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

The Old Crown Coffee Club, seen from High Street Deritend during January 2014.

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

Irish flags and bunting up, at The Old Crown, during March 2014 for the St Patrick's Day Festival. The parade used to take place down the Digbeth High Street each March until 2019.

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

A red ribbon on The Old Crown during November 2016, getting ready for Christmas. This view taken from the bus.

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

The Old Crown during March 2017 for St Patrick's Day. Getting ready for The Father Ted's Lampa. The St Patrick's Fundraiser.

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

Seen in March 2018, with snow on the roof, was The Old Crown. Again getting ready for St Patrick's Day. The beer garden around the back, became the Guinness Village, to show the England vs Ireland Six Nations Rugby Union match on the TV. 

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

One year on, to March 2019. St Patrick's Day again at The Old Crown. This time it had signs on it for 13 Hop House Lager.

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

Passing The Old Crown in Digbeth on the no 4 bus during the middle of June 2021. This was during the Euro 2020 match between England and Croatia.

The Old Crown Digbeth

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

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80 passion points
Health & wellbeing
29 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The message from the residents of Springfield Road, Kings Heath is clear: "SLOW DOWN 20 IS PLENTY!"

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Since the introduction of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme to Kings Heath in 2020, it has resulted in heavy levels of traffic on the High Street and Vicarage Road. As a result, car drivers have been taking shortcuts down Springfield Road. The speed limit is 20 miles per hour, but many are exceeding this. Residents have yarn bombed lampposts and bollards all the way down the road.

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The problem with Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Kings Heath

While the Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme in Kings Heath has been designed for pedestrians and cyclists. It has created issues for car drivers. Residents live on those streets, and how do they get their cars out? As a result, traffic is now always busy up and down the Kings Heath High Street, as well as Vicarage Road, due to so many streets being closed to motorists. Residents of Vicarage Road have signs in their windows, such as "We need clean air too!".

 

Yarn bombing on Springfield Road, Kings Heath

Over on Springfield Road (from Poplar Road, Valentine Road and Cambridge Road towards Brook Lane) the speed limit is 20 miles per hour. There is even speed bumps. But idiot car drivers continue to exceed this speed limit.

So local residents have been getting busy during the last lockdown, knitting, and yarn bombing lampposts and bollards up and down the road. As you will see in the examples below.

Photos taken on the afternoon of Sunday 27th June 2021. Starting from near Cambridge Road Methodist Church.

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Instead of driving a car down here at 100 miles per hour, perhaps walk, or ride a bike? Or catch a bus? (note that riding private electronic scooters is illegal on roads or pavements, even in Kings Heath).

 

This is near the Outer Circle bus route 11. The 11A bus stop on Brook Lane near Moseley Golf Club, while the bus stop for the 11C is on Addison Road. The 35 and 50 are a short walk away on the High Street (walk via Valentine Road, Poplar Road, Heathfield Road, Institute Road or Addison Road).

 

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

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60 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
28 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Olton Reservoir: only viewable from the train between Solihull and Olton

https://www.youtube.com/embed/eLcVgjS1d9o

There is a reservoir in Olton, Solihull. It is private, so there is no way for members of the public to walk around it. But you can spot Olton Reservoir from the train between Olton and Solihull, on the bridge that goes over the Warwick Road. It is used by Olton Mere Sailing Club. It was built in 1799 to supply water to the Warwick and Birmingham Canal, later part of the Grand Union Canal.

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Olton Reservoir

Located near the Chiltern Mainline and the Warwick Road in Olton, Solihull is Olton Reservoir. From the road / pavement it is a bit hard to see. But if you catch a train with West Midlands Railway (or Chiltern Railways) between Olton and Solihull (or in the other direction), you might be able to see the reservoir through the railway bridge that crosses the Warwick Road.

 

History of Olton Reservoir

Olton Mere was constructed as a reservoir to act as a feeder for the Warwick and Birmingham Canal in 1799 (it became part of the Grand Union Canal from 1927 onwards, after being purchased by the Regents Canal Company). The Mere was formed from marshland fed by Folly Brook (now Hatchford Brook). The Mere was extended in 1834 to increase the capacity in order to supply up to 150 locks.

It is the largest of the few areas of open water in Solihull and supports a large number of waterfowl. The woodland surrounding the Mere has remained undisturbed for many years, providing an important habitat for plants and animals.

There is no public access to the Mere but there is a good view of the Mere from the trains travelling between Solihull and Olton. Sailing on the Mere started in 1899 when five residents of St Bernard’s Road leased the reservoir from the canal company. A club was formed for sailing, fishing and shooting, although shooting was suspended in 1926 owing to a shortage of wildfowl.

The reservoir is now privately owned by the Canal & River Trust, who in turn lease it to the Olton Mere Sailing Club.

 

Below is the satellite hybrid view of Olton Reservoir on Google Maps.

Olton Reservoir

 

On my YouTube video above (in the introduction), recorded in early February 2017 on a London Midland Class 172 train from Acocks Green to Solihull. We pass Olton Reservoir from 2:20 to about 2:43.

 

Three video screenshots from that video. First screenshot passing over the Warwick Road Railway Bridge.

Olton Reservoir

Second screenshot, a view of Olton Reservoir from the train.

Olton Reservoir

The view continues, although it was sunny, and the sun was on that side of the train.

Olton Reservoir

 

A more recent view of Olton Reservoir, taken from the train, back in April 2018 (over 3 years ago at the time of this post). Time time caught some yachts on the reservoir from the Olton Mere Sailing Club. This was taken from a Chiltern Railways Class 165 train (sitting in the Quiet Zone), on a train ride from Solihull to Birmingham Moor Street.

Olton Reservoir

 

Warwick Road railway bridge, Olton

This is the railway bridge on the Warwick Road in Olton, Solihull where you can see Olton Reservoir. This view from June 2010, as a Chiltern Railways Class 168 Clubman train passed over it. You can see the reservoir from the train window. If it's clear and not too bright that is (or raining).

Warwick Road railway bridge Olton

By October 2016, Network Rail had give the bridge a fresh lick of green paint, making it look as good as new.

Warwick Road railway bridge Olton

Another look at the Warwick Road railway bridge in Olton during February 2021. Taken during a lockdown 3 walk to the Grand Union Canal and back home. If you are in a car, sorry you won't be able to spot the reservoir from down there. I didn't get a train again until April 2021 (after restrictions were eased). But not got a train between Solihull and Olton since sometime in 2020.

Warwick Road railway bridge Olton

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

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80 passion points
Green travel
28 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Cycle Hire docking points all around the West Midlands

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So far I have found the docks for West Midlands Cycle Hire in Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and Walsall. I have yet to travel back to the boroughs of Dudley or Sandwell or the City of Wolverhampton to see them. But it's time for a post. Been gathering photos of the docks from April to June 2021, and will probably get more on my travels around the West Midlands in the months to come.

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Birmingham

Mostly in the City Centre and at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston. Also in Sutton Coldfield.

 

Birmingham City Centre

Location: Digbeth, Birmingham, West Midlands. Opposite of Digbeth Police Station.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Park Street, Birmingham, West Midlands. Near Selfridges.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Moor Street Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands. Between Primark and Birmingham Moor Street Station.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Fore Street, Birmingham, West Midlands. Between Cannon Street and Corporation Street. Not far from Corporation Street Tram Stop.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Paradise Street, Birmingham, West Midlands. At Town Hall Tram Stop and near Birmingham Town Hall and Victoria Square.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Station Street, Birmingham, West Midlands. Below the Southside Steps of Birmingham New Street Station.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Summer Row, Birmingham, West Midlands. Next to University College Birmingham. Seen from Paradise Circus Queensway.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Bath Row, Birmingham, West Midlands. Opposite St Thomas' Peace Garden. Near Park Central and Lee Bank.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

University of Birmingham

Location: Bristol Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands. Near the University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness Centre. Close to Edgbaston Park Road (also the South and East Gate of the University of Birmingham).

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Ring Road South, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands. Near the University of Birmingham School of Chemistry.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: New Fosse Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands. Between the University of Birmingham  (West Gate) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (and not far from University Station).

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Sutton Coldfield

Location: Monmouth Drive, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, West Midlands. Near the Boldmere Gate of Sutton Park.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Coventry

Location: Butts Road, Coventry, West Midlands. Near the Premier Inn Coventry City Centre (Earlsdon Park) and Albany Theatre.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Corporation Street, Coventry, West Midlands. outside of a Coffee Shop called Shakeout.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Solihull

Location: High Street, Solihull. Close to Hunters and the Masons Arms public house.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Station Approach, Solihull, West Midlands. Opposite of Solihull Station.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Station Road, Solihull, West Midlands. Close to Indian Brewery.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Location: Lode Lane, Solihull, West Midlands. Close to Solihull Hospital.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Walsall

Location: Broadway North, Walsall, West Midlands. Outside of Walsall Arboretum.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Can riders remember to properly dock the bikes when they are finished. Don't just randomly leave them on a pavement nowhere near a dock. They have GPS trackers on them (I think).

 

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

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
23 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Walsall Arboretum - a historic Victorian public park!

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A short walk away from Walsall Town Centre is Walsall Arboretum, which is Walsall's public park. First opened in 1874, originally as a paid for attraction, the local council bought it and reopened it as a free to enter public park in 1884. From 2010 to 2015 there was a refurbishment programme here, including opening a Visitor Centre. Hatherton Lake has a boat house and bandstand.

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Walsall Arboretum

 

I got the train back to Walsall from Birmingham New Street. Starting from platform 4c, the train went via the Soho Loop Line (meaning it bypasses Perry Barr and Aston, and doesn't stop at Hamstead or Bescot Stadium as it was the train to Rugeley Trent Valley). The only stop before Walsall was Tame Bridge Parkway. From the station, it was around a 15 minute walk, via the High Street and Council House in Walsall. Then you have to cross the traffic lights at the busy junction of Broadway North with Littleton Street East. Which was also near Queen Mary's High School. Your first sight of the arboretum is the Arboretum Lodge.

 

History of Walsall Arboretum

The Arboretum was built on the site of Reynolds Hall, which was the home of the Persehouse family from the 16th century. By the 18th century the estate had been inherited by the Littleton family, who developed lime quarries in Walsall. By the 1840s, one of the quarries had been flooded, and was used by local people for bathing and skiing. The then Mayor of Walsall during 1844 drowned in the lake, by then known as Hatherton Lake. By the 1850s, the quarries was being surrounded by villas and Queen Mary's Grammar School.

The Walsall Arboretum and Lake Company was formed in 1870, and plans started to turn the estate into a park. Plans included the building of two lodges, a boat house and bandstand by the county surveyor Robert Griffiths. The Arboretum was laid out from 1872 and opened to paying customers by 1874. In the following decade the Arboretum Company ran into financial difficulties, and it was sold to the Town Council, who opened it up as a free public park in 1884.

There was a major refurbishment programme in the park from 2010 until 2015, this included restoring the buildings, the lakes etc, and building a new Visitor Centre. 

A bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome, an author born in Walsall was unveiled in 2016, while a bronze statue of a horse was relocated to the park in 2017.

 

West Midlands Cycle Hire

Before entering the park, I spotted a new West Midlands Cycle Hire docking point on Broadway North, so checked that out first. At least two bikes were not properly in the dock.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

Later after leaving the park, saw a man with a white van, loading some bikes into the van, and making sure the other bikes were properly in the dock. I did not find any other West Midlands Cycle Hire docks in Walsall on this visit.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

The Arboretum Lodge

This is the main entrance to the park at the corner of Lichfield Street and Broadway North. Built in 1872, it was originally the subscription paid for entrance to the park, but has been free to enter here since the local Council bought the park in 1884. It is now near the busy traffic junction on the Walsall ring road. It has a distinctive clock tower.

Walsall Arboretum

As I entered, I saw the bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome and a man riding one of the new West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes out of the park.

Walsall Arboretum

 

Bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome

The Walsall born author of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome (1859 - 1927) was honoured with a bronze bust, close to The Arboretum Lodge. It was sculpted by local artist Phil Kelly, and was unveiled in June 2016. Jerome was a Freeman of the Borough of Walsall, and the Jerome K. Jerome Society lobbied for a sculpture to be made to recognise him, in the town of his birth.

Jerome K. Jerome

Jerome K. Jerome was born on the 2nd May 1859 at Belsize House on Bradford Street in Walsall. The Grade II listed house used to be a museum from the 1980s until 2007-08. The Jerome K. Jerome Society is hoping to find a new home for the exhibits that used to be in the museum.

Jerome K. Jerome

 

Hatherton Lake

Originally a quarry pit, it was later flooded, and by the middle of the 19th century it was a lake used for bathing and skiing. There is a boat house on one side (built 1874) and a Bandstand (built 1924) on the other side.

This view of Hatherton Lake towards the bandstand.

Hatherton Lake

This view of Hatherton Lake towards the boat house.

Hatherton Lake

Later found an upper path that led back to the lake, and got this view with a distinctive Victorian style lamppost.

Hatherton Lake

Another view towards the boat house on the opposite side of the lake. Hard to believe it used to be a quarry pit until the mid 19th Century.

Walsall Arboretum

One more view from the benches viewing area on Broadway North of the lake. Noticed that there is no steps or ramp down to the park from up here, you have to enter via the lodge, or anther gate.

Hatherton Lake

 

Boat House

The Boat House is the only Grade II listed building in the park, dating to 1874. Probably designed by the county surveyor Robert Griffiths. It is a timber-framed building with hipped tiled roofs and a raised lantern. It has cast-iron columns and a concrete base supports above the water level. It is on Hatherton Lake.

First saw the boat house going in a clockwise direction around the lake.

Boat House Walsall Arboretum

Later saw the boat house on the walk back to the lodge,  just after passing the poppy field, and from the opposite side of the lake. Hard to believe it was opened around 1874-75. Especially with all the modern alterations to it.

Boat House Walsall Arboretum

 

Bandstand

The present bandstand was erected in 1924, replacing a previous structure on the same site that was built in 1873, which was of the conventional octagonal form. It is near Hatherton Lake.

The first view of the bandstand from the opposite side of the lake, shortly after I first arrived in the park.

Bandstand Walsall Arboretum

The second view going off the upper path, was an area where you could look down at the bandstand and the lake below.

Bandstand Walsall Arboretum

 

Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre was opened in November 2015. The opening of the visitor centre was the culmination of the arboretum restoration programme, delivered 2010 - 2015. Within the new building is retained a former agricultural building that pre dates the park. The new centre was wrapped around this key historic feature.

On the left is the Industrial Garden featuring Fluffy the Oss.

Visitor Centre Walsall Arboretum

 

Bronze horse statue of Fluffy the Oss

This statue of a bronze horse was originally commissioned by Walsall Council in the 1990s, and used to be outside of the Civic Centre. But due to vandalism, it was removed to storage. Years later it was restored to the condition it is in now, and installed in the Industrial Garden near the Visitor Centre at the Arboretum in 2017. It was originally sculpted by Marjan Wouda. The garden celebrates Walsall's industrial heritage and is situated by the site of the old limestone workings.

Fluffy the Oss is a feature of the Industrial Garden at Walsall Arboretum.

Fluffy the Oss

 

The Leckie Building

This building was built from 1902, and opened in 1904 as the Pavillion Refreshment Room. It was designed by H. E. Lavender, and was the focal point of the park. It closed down in 1931, but reopened in 1936 as the  Joseph Leckie Sons of Rest Social Club for older adults which it remains to this day.

First view from the path to the centre of the park, but was a pair of trees in the way of the view.

The Leckie Building

Later walking back to the lake and lodge, got a pair of rear views.

The Leckie Building

There was a stone dated 1902 at the back of The Leckie Building.

The Leckie Building

 

Ladies Bowl Pavillion

This was originally a refreshment pavillion built in 1934. It was called the Richard B Sutton shelter. It was built of Cotswold Stone under a tiled hipped roof, with a locally supported by circular section rustic stone columns. In 2003 it became the club house for the Ladies Bowls Club.

This was near the halfway point of the park, saw a Welcome to Walsall Arboretum sign / map, and then followed another path back towards the lodge and lake.

Ladies Bowl Pavillion

 

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden was quite close to The Leckie Building. This was an upper path view of it.

Walsall Arboretum

There was these steps with railings down the middle and a semi circlular arch above.

Walsall Arboretum

 

Summer Poppy Field

The poppy field is quite a sight to see at Walsall Arboretum each summer. It is close to Broadway North and Arboretum Road, and not far from the bandstand.

Poppy field

I wasn't the only one to stop and take photos of this poppy field, even dog walkers stopped to take a look!

Poppy field

A macro zoom in to one of the poppies.

Poppy field

After I left the park, a look at the poppy field over the wall from Broadway North.

Poppy field

 

The best of the rest of the park

Having just passed the Arboretum Lodge, and bust of Jerome K. Jerome, I saw these flower beds to the right of the path.

Walsall Arboretum

The paths around the Arboretum. This one (below) was between Hatherton Lake (right) and the Deep Pond (left).

Walsall Arboretum

While I was checking out the Hatherton Lake, I also saw the small pool to the left of the path. This is also called the Deep Pond. Behind is the villas on Victoria Terrace, which indirectly led to the quarry here closing, and the land being landscaped as a arboretum / park.

Walsall Arboretum

After the Visitor Centre, the long path that runs past The Leckie Building. A lot of tree coverage here.

Walsall Arboretum

A view of the Hoar Brook that flows through the Arboretum. Didn't see much of it, other than this view.

Walsall Arboretum

Near an area called The Lion's Den. Briefly went off the main path to the left. Then back over the area with picnic benches near the Ladies Bowls Pavillion (on the right).

Walsall Arboretum

This path was after the halfway point of the park, and the start of the walk back to the lake and lodge. Lots of trees, after all this is an arboretum!

Walsall Arboretum

Some hills as the path goes around a curve, and more trees. Perhaps this landscape was carved out as the quarry, then later grassed over from the 1870s.

Walsall Arboretum

Now on the path that follows the wall (on the left) near Arboretum Road. Down below (to the right) is Hatherton Lake and the Hoar Brook.

Walsall Arboretum

Eventually the path goes back down towards the lake, as you can see here.

Walsall Arboretum

 

After I left the park I saw WM bus 6600. It was on the National Express West Midlands, Black Country Bus Rally from Walsall to Wolverhampton. This was the only bus I saw. It was on Broadway North crossing the lights onto Littleton Street East (the Walsall ring road). Click the link above for the photos.

 

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

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