Construction & regeneration
08 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch and the construction of the Library of Birmingham

Between 2011 and 2013 the three famous trio on Broad Street, Boulton, Watt & Murdoch observed as the Library of Birmingham was built. They saw it from their then position outside of the House of Sport (the ex Register Office). Using James Watt's secret steam powered time machine they kept popping back until the Library was complete.

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The Library of Birmingham was built in Centenary Square between January 2010 and September 2013. The architect was Francine Houben of Mecanoo architecten. The main contractors was Carillion and Capita Symonds (Project Managers). It opened to the public on the 3rd September 2013.

Going back in time, we will see the Library of Birmingham as it was being built and as it was being observed by Boulton Watt and Murdoch.

 

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch's view on the 19th March 2011. The pair of cores as the library started to go up.

Boulton Watt Murdoch Library of Birmingham

By the 2nd August 2011, Boulton, Watt & Murdoch could see that the library was almost at full height, but missing the floor that would hold the Shakespeare Memorial Room.

Boulton Watt Murdoch Library of Birmingham

On the 15th October 2011 the cladding started to go up as observed by the golden trio. The circular shapes at this point reached up to just below what would become the Discovery Terrace. The future home of the Shakespeare Memorial Room was beginning to form.

Boulton Watt Murdoch Library of Birmingham

By the 18th February 2012 the golden cladding covered all of the library (apart from the top floor). And the circular shapes based on the trades in the Jewellery Quarter were continuing to go up. Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were fascinated by this.

Boulton Watt Murdoch Library of Birmingham

On the 22nd May 2012, the Library of Birmingham looked almost finished. Was some golden panels missing from the Level 9 cylinder (now home of the Shakespeare Memorial Room and the Skyline Viewpoint). Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were gold and shiny that day.

Boulton Watt Murdoch Library of Birmingham

On the 31st August 2013 and the Library was complete. 3 days open it would open to the public. Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were impressed by what they saw, if a bit too futuristic by their standards. The golden trio would remain in this spot until they were removed to storage 4 years later on the 23rd August 2017.

Boulton Watt Murdoch Library of Birmingham

While the new Centenary Square was developed from 2017 to 2019, Boulton, Watt & Murdoch have not yet returned. There is a spot saved outside of the Symphony Hall foyer refurbishment. They could return later in 2020 (but this could be delayed by the current lockdown / pandemic we find ourselves in). I'm not sure if they will be facing the Library or facing the tram line. Either way, they will have lost the view they had until 2017.

 

On the 12th January 2020 a view of the Library of Birmingham from approximately where the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue used to be. Library Tram Stop had opened in mid December 2019. This was the last day of Ice Skate Birmingham, so before the Star Flyer and Birmingham Big Wheel were dismantled. West Midlands Metro tram 34 with the temporary Christmas reindeer name of Blitzen was waiting at the tram stop.

Library of Birmingham

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Squares and public spaces
08 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The only complete Georgian Square left in Birmingham is at St Paul's Square

A look at the buildings around St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter. Many of them dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. It is the last Georgian Square left in the City of Birmingham. The square was built from 1777-79, and many of the buildings around the square went up after 1780 and are Grade II listed. It was part of the Newhall estate of the Colmore family.

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St Paul's Square

St Paul's Square is more than just St Paul's Church. The square surrounding it has these old Georgian houses, some also dating to the Victorian period that are now offices, restaurants and cafes. The roads leading to St Paul's Square include Charlotte Street, Mary Ann Street, Brook Street and Cox Street (between Newhall Street and Livery Street). Ludgate Hill goes to the south east from Great Charles Street Queensway, while Caroline Street goes to the north west further into the Jewellery Quarter (turning into Hall Street to Great Hampton Street). Many of these road names were named after members of the Colmore family.

 

2009

My first full look around St Paul's Square was during November 2009. So was a lot of To Let signs at the time. Starting at Ludgate Hill going around the square in an anti-clockwise direction (although not necessarily the order that I saw them in).

1 St Paul's Square

At the corner of St Paul's Square and Ludgate Hill is this town house at no 1 St Paul's Square. This building dates to 1780 and is a Grade II listed building. Also at 28D and 28E Ludgate Hill.  It's a three storey red brick town house on the corner with Ludgate Hill. The Jam House is to the left at nos 3-5. You can see the Manangel on the wall of no 1 above the doorway with Doric Columns.

St Paul's Square

The Manangel by David Begbie is at 1 St Paul's Square, next door to the right to the Jam House. Sometime in 2016 it went missing, but was back by 2017 (see a later photo further down this post).

St Paul's Square

The Jam House - 3-5 St Paul's Square

There is three town houses here dating to 1780 all are Grade II listed buildings. The Jam House seen at 3 St Paul's Square.  Formerly three storeys built of red brick. The upper floors were removed after fire damage. 4 St Paul's Square and 5 St Paul's Square are to the left but are not pictured here. The Jam House has big-name jazz, blues and rock acts in an intimate 3 storey Georgian building with a top floor restaurant.

St Paul's Square

Grosvenor House - 11 St Paul's Square

Seen from Mary Ann Street, this building is now home to Anderson's Bar and Grill. A Grade II listed building. Built in 1780 as a five bay red brick three storey town house. Classical dressings dated to 1880-90. Some of the windows had been bricked up.

St Paul's Square

The view of 11 St Paul's Square taken from St Paul's Square. It is also called Grosvenor House.

St Paul's Square

12, 13 and 14 St Paul's Square

Three town houses also dating to 1780 and Grade II listed buildings. Built of red brick up to three storeys. These houses are the least altered in the square. Leading up to Saint Paul's House to the far left.

St Paul's Square

St Paul's House - 15-20 St Paul's Square

This view of St Paul's House to the corner with Cox Street. It is not listed. Located at 15-20 St Paul's Square. It is now a hotel. I did not get a view of The Rope Walk (to the right) until early 2013. The pub was in the red brick building at the time.

St Paul's Square

30 St Paul's Square

This is an office block built in 1993 which also contains a building from the late Victorian period and Inter war period. Including three buildings. Pevsner mentions a swagger factory by Marcus O. Type dating to 1936 built in the Arts and Crafts style (left). A later 19th century building with three storeys and terracotta insertions and a six storey block by Associated Architects built in 1993 (right).

St Paul's Square

This would be the former swagger factory of 1936 at 30 St Paul's Square that is mentioned in my Pevsner book on Birmingham. It has giant arches big end pediments and a rusticated ground floor but rather Arts and Crafts brick details.

St Paul's Square

Saint Paul's Club - 34 St Paul's Square

At the corner of Caroline Street and St Paul's Square is Saint Paul's Club. A Grade II listed building built circa 1780. A block or two of at least two town houses. The building is completely stuccoed. Has a short section of 18th century railings outside the door with Doric Columns. This was altered in the 1930s.

St Paul's Square

35 - 38 St Paul's Square

These buildings are at the other corner with Caroline Street. Dating to 1780 like many of the other buildings in the square, they are a Grade II listed building. A row of town houses. No 35 at the corner of Caroline Street is built of red brick with three storeys, with stuccoed doorways. Evidence of some windows bricked up on Caroline Street. Nos 36-37 appears to have been a one 5-bay house, the other 3-bays. No 38 has large mid-19th century panelled pilaster doorway.

St Paul's Square

This is the view from St Paul's Square of no 35. The section of the town house to the left is painted red. Also has a doorway with Doric Columns.

St Paul's Square

This view from St Paul's Square of nos 36-38. Both doorways have a pair of Doric Columns. This building is completed stuccoed from the outside.

St Paul's Square

To the corner of St Paul's Square with Brook Street. The trees had mostly shed their leaves. Nos 35-38 were to the right. While Matthew Linwood House at no 42a was to the left. The big building straight ahead is St Paul's Place at 40 St Paul's Square. In 2009 and 2010 it was a development of Chord. Flats and apartments were to let at the time. It was the Insider Magazine Residential Developer of the Year 2010. It has 1 & 2 bed studio apartments. The building to the south west had scaffolding on it at the time. This is at 42 to 54 St Paul's Square.

St Paul's Square

Matthew Linwood House - 42a St Paul's Square and 15 Brook Street

This was taken around 2 weeks after my other November 2009 photos on Brook Street. I was getting photos of Pasta Di Piazza Restaurant at 11 Brook Street to the right and the RBSA Gallery at 4 Brook Street (both off St Paul's Square but not on it) at the time. I don't think I ever got a view of 15 Brook Street from the St Paul's Square side. A Grade II Listed Building. Dates to 1880, so built 100 years after the original Georgian town houses around the square.  A tall building of four storeys, built of bright red brick with engineering bricks and stucco detailing. Has a modern "Georgian" doorway inserted facing the square.

St Paul's Square

55 St Paul's Square, including 61 Charlotte Street

This building is at the corner of Charlotte Street. Dating to 1780 it is a Grade II listed building. It was originally built as two town houses, but was altered to be one premises. Built of red brick up to three storeys. Has a hipped roof from the early 20th century. St Paul's Dental is next door at the Cogent Works which is also a Grade II listed building. But dates to 1902. It was converted to commercial use in 1989.

St Paul's Square

This view from Charlotte Street. Is a big sign for Pearson Row Solicitors. There is a plaque here about the John Betts Building. The Betts family moved to Birmingham from Sheffield in 1760. John Betts bought this building in 1970 from another old company, Sheffield Smelting and the name "John Betts & Sons Ltd" was put up on the wall facing Charlotte Street. The Betts name is still associated with metal sales in the Jewellery Quarter, though not from this address.

St Paul's Square

The Old Chapel - 57 St Paul's Square

This building dates from approximately 1851 and was historically used as a charging station. The building has never been listed. The BT Tower is seen behind on Lionel Street.

St Paul's Square

Fleurets - 63 St Pauls Square

At the corner of Ludgate Hill and St Paul's Square is this building. Offices that was formerly a bank dating to the late 19th century. A Grade II listed building. Made of smooth red brick with painted dressings and a slated roof. Three storeys high with a turreted style corner. The door dates to the late 20th century and is a six panel door.

St Paul's Square

2013

This was on New Years Day in January 2013 when I got a few more photos of the Georgian buildings in St Paul's Square. Although most of the time in the years since, I don't get much of the buildings, due to my earlier photos from 2009.

The Rope Walk - 15-20 St Paul's Square

This was a restaurant called The Rope Walk, it was there until at least 2015. Before it became a hotel called Saint Paul's House from 2016 onwards. The building is not listed.

St Paul's Square

Close up, it looks like the late 18th century style with Doric Columns, but am not sure if it also dates to 1780 or later.

St Paul's Square

13 St Paul's Square

This visit to St Paul's Square was to mainly see the blue plaque for Samuel Malkin. Who was a bucklemaker to George III. He lived here from 1786-1798. This house is also called Premier House. Details above but it dates to 1780.

St Paul's Square

14 St Paul's Square

I also at the time got a view of this house. Between nos 13 and 14 is The Mews through a gate to no 13A. This house dates to 1780, details further up for 12, 13 and 14 St Paul's Square.

St Paul's Square

2017-19

1-5 St Paul's Square

I originally took this photo using Twitter on my then phone camera, as the Manangel went missing sometime during 2016. But by January 2017 it was back. So my only full view of The Jam House and the Music Works was in this low resolution view, probably sitting on a bench outside of St Paul's Church. Details about no 1 and nos 3 to 5 further up this post. You can see Ludgate Hill to the right.

St Paul's Square

35-38 St Paul's Square

This view from an autumnal St Paul's Square during October 2017, towards nos 35-38. Trees were shedding their leaves. Matthew Linwood House is beyond the modern building to the left at 15 Brook Street.

St Paul's Square

This view of 35-38 St Paul's Square during the snow of December 2017. At the time the building was for sale which included the few remaining units.

St Paul's Square

This autumnal view towards Matthew Linwood House and up to 35-38 St Paul's Square during November 2018. As usual St Paul's Square looked very picturesque with the leaves on the ground and the tree shedding their leaves.

St Paul's Square

Saint Paul's House - 15-20 St Paul's Square

This used to be a pub / restaurant called The Rope Walk (until it closed in 2015). In 2016 under new ownership and it was now a hotel called Saint Paul's House. In November 2019 the Christmas decorations were up around the Doric Columns.

St Paul's Square

The Old Chapel

The view from Charlotte Street near St Paul's Square. Taken near 55 St Paul's Square / 61 Charlotte Street as I saw this group of cyclists riding their bikes around St Paul's Square. They went past The Old Chapel before turning to the left. Was here in December 2019 to see the new Peaky Blinders statue. Might put that in another post. 

St Paul's Square

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Green open spaces
07 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Elmdon Park in Solihull during late December 2015

This visit to Elmdon Park was a delayed Christmas Day 2015 walk on the 28th December 2015. It was a Bank Holiday Monday as Boxing Day 2015 was on a Saturday. The park is a local nature reserve in the Elmdon area of Solihull. Established in 1944 on the estate of Elmdon Hall. The park is close to the Jaguar Land Rover factory. Elmdon Church is located in the eastern part of the park.

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Welcome to Elmdon Park in Solihull. It was the Christmas - New Year period, so late December 2015. Couldn't go for a park walk on Christmas Day 2015 as it was raining. Boxing Day fell on a Saturday, so the Bank Holiday Monday was on the 28th December 2015.

The park was established in 1944 by the then Solihull Urban District Council from the house and grounds of Elmdon Hall which was derelict at the time. The house was used by the Home Guard (Solihull's very own Dad's Army) before becoming derelict and it was demolished in 1956.

Elmdon Church is located within the park, also known as St Nicholas's Church. There is also a old walled garden which is now a local nature reserve managed by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The park also has playgrounds, tennis courts, and football pitches.

To the South and West of the park is the massive Jaguar Land Rover plant. Birmingham Airport is to the east of the park. I'm not sure if there is an entrance to the park from the Coventry Road or Damson Parkway. The main entrance to the park is from Tanhouse Farm Road and Elmdon Park Road.

 

Near the car park from Elmdon Park Road was this Welcome to Elmdon Park sign and map.

Elmdon Park

The football pitch with at least one goalpost visible to the far left of this tree.

Elmdon Park

Views of the playground. Not entirely sure what this semi circle structure is, perhaps a modern bandstand? Swings are seen behind.

Elmdon Park

All the usual playground equipment that you would normally find in a park play area. (I would expect all of this to now be closed during lockdown).

Elmdon Park

Twitters the wooden owl sculpture. 'Twitters' came to Eldon Park in 2003 and is carved from a tree that was removed from the park.

Elmdon Park

A waterfall near Elmdon Lake. With ducks at the top.

Elmdon Park

Ducks at the top of the waterfall at the Elmdon Lake.

Elmdon Park

An old stone footbridge over the Elmdon Lake. Would assume this is something that has survived from the Elmdon Hall Estate.

Elmdon Park

One of the many views of the Elmdon Lake. Most of the ducks, gulls, geese and swans were close to the waterfall end.

Elmdon Park

At this point the Elmdon Lake gets thin and narrow towards the Hatchford Brook.

Elmdon Park

Baubles on a Christmas Tree.

Elmdon Park

Something that won't be possible now, but back then, a group of runners were seen going up the hill.

Elmdon Park

A view of the chimneys at Jaquar Land Rover.

Elmdon Park

View further back of Jaguar Land Rover with an interesting looking tree in the middle.

Elmdon Park

At the time someone left this beanie hat on a wooden post which had BOOM all over it!

Elmdon Park

A beacon in Elmdon Park. A beacon to commemorate the joining of the EU was installed in 1992, and this now marks the centre of Elmdon Hall. (of course the UK just left the EU when Brexit went through).

Elmdon Park

This is Elmdon Church. Also known as  The Parish Church of St Nicholas Elmdon. It is a Grade II listed building: Church of St Nicholas, Solihull. Designed by John Standbridge of Warwick in 1780-1. Altered in 1979. Made with Ashlar limestone and slate roofs. It is hidden in a dense woodland.

Elmdon Park

About 5 wooden bollards here. The path here was a bit muddy.

Elmdon Park

Suburban Solihull from the top of the hill. These houses are a bit further north of Jaguar Land Rover.

Elmdon Park

Heading back past the playground / play area. Saw this wooden frame thing, think kids are supposed to swing like monkeys on the ropes.

Elmdon Park

Heading back to the car park, saw this wooden Owl totem pole. The totem pole was created from ideas put forward by local schools, after an Oaks and Shires event in 2004. Below the owl it looks like a horse.

Elmdon Park

Just before we left, saw this Solihull M.B.C. Elmdon Park sign near the entrance. Solihull Council has similar signs to this in their other parks and green spaces all over the Metropolitan Borough.

Elmdon Park

For more Elmdon Park photos please check out my album on Flickr here: Elmdon Park.

 

I might not be able to get to parks further away now, but in the past I've done photos walks to parks in:

Sandwell

  1. Lightwoods Park, Bearwood,
  2. Victoria Park, Smethwick
  3. West Smethwick Park
  4. Victoria Park, Tipton
  5. Warley Woods
  6. Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich
  7. Sandwell Valley Country Park, West Bromwich

Dudley

  1. Priory Park, Dudley
  2. Leasowes Park, Halesowen
  3. Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge

Wolverhampton

  1. West Park, Wolverhampton

So will hope to do posts for those parks in the future (I already did one for Sandwell Valley Country Park).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Green open spaces
07 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Kings Heath Park over the years from 2012 to 2019

I might not be able to go to Kings Heath Park now (as it's not in walking distance), but we can look back at my photos taken between 2012 and 2019 when I was able to get an 11C to Kings Heath. Most of my early photos were taken around February 2012, and I have returned on and off ever since. Although probably went to this park as a child in the 1980s (using the playground).

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It's about time for a new Kings Heath Park post, but using my photos taken on walks around the park between 2012 and 2019. Usually travel to Kings Heath on the 11C bus, but the 76 also goes past the park. The bus stop is on the Vicarage Road, but I might sometimes now get off on Addison Road and stop off for a coffee before walking to the park (of course this was all before lockdown). The schools of King Edward VI Camp Hill are located next door to the park. The High Street and Alcester Road South are in walking distance of the park down Vicarage Road.

 

For my previous Kings Heath Park posts click the following links to read and enjoy the photos:

 

2012

I first had a photo walk around Kings Heath Park in early February 2012.

Near the corner of the Vicarage Road and Avenue Road entrance is The Lodge at 72 Vicarage Road.

Kings Heath Park

Swings in the playground as a jogger runs past me. I probably used these facilities back in the 1980s (These are not the same swings and slides as when I was a child and there wasn't a perimeter fence 35 years ago, but was in the same location).

Kings Heath Park

This slide has a cylindrical shaped for kids to climb up.

Kings Heath Park

It was winter and it was very cold as I walked around the paths in the park. The grass was frosted. And it snowed later that day.

Kings Heath Park

Some dirt paths amongst the trees. They lead to the ponds.

Kings Heath Park

The pond was completely frozen over at the time.

Kings Heath Park

View to the School of Horticultural Training in what was Kings Heath House. A Grade II listed building School of Horticultural Training (in Kings Heath Park), Birmingham.  Dates to the early 19th century. But a previous house on this site that was owned by John Harwood was burnt down in 1791 during the Birmingham 'Church and King' Riots of 1791 (according to Bill Dargue's site (Kings Heath - Bill Dargue). The City Council later bought the existing house and grounds in 1908. It became a training centre for Birmingham Parks staff and the Birmingham Horticultural Training School was housed here from 1952.

Kings Heath Park

This view of the pond while frozen opposite the School of Horticultural Training.

Kings Heath Park

A dirt path through some trees. At the furthest end of the park, not far from the Camp Hill Line.

Kings Heath Park

Several branches lying on the ground near the bed of leaves.

Kings Heath Park

Another playground close to the Avenue Road entrance with this tyre that kids can slide down the rope.

Kings Heath Park

Also saw this squirrel at the time.

Kings Heath Park

2013

Trees in Kings Heath Park seen during the middle of May 2013. This was the day of the Free Radio Walkathon (link to the post is above). The trees were seen on Vicarage Road.

Kings Heath Park

A couple of weeks later and saw these bluebells from Avenue Road on the Late May Bank Holiday Weekend. From a walk down to Dog Pool Lane and Dad's Lane in Selly Park.

Kings Heath Park

2014

The visit during a warm March 2014, was to see the TV Garden on an Open Sunday, I only had my then smartphone camera with me at the time.

Saw this flower tower. The flower pots were planted by Cofton Nursery (Birmingham Bloom).

Kings Heath Park

There ws also this flower bed. I think it was close to Kings Heath House.

Kings Heath Park

The pond in fine weather. I was trying to record a video clip but somehow also got this photo of the pond as well.

Kings Heath Park

This time the sky was blue and the water jet fountains in the pond was one. Is several areas to sit with benches around the ponds.

Kings Heath Park

TV Garden

The TV Garden was open on Sunday 16th March 2014, and it is usually open about once a month in the afternoon. Although this was the only time I went around it. It was formerly used by ATV and Central TV in the past.

View of some greenhouses.

Kings Heath Park

Close up to the three greenhouses in the wonderful sunshine.

Kings Heath Park

Small pond with an abstract sculpture in it.

Kings Heath Park

Decking over a sandy beach leading to a beach hut.

Kings Heath Park

This area was taped off as there was a sprinkler watering the plants.

Kings Heath Park

Triangular sculptures and  a small palm tree.

Kings Heath Park

A wet patch, or another pond.

Kings Heath Park

Beyond the pond, on the right was a green shipping container. Daffodils in the background.

Kings Heath Park

2015

During the summer of 2015, The Big Hoot 2015 owl sculpture trail was on around Birmingham, and that included Kings Heath. Was two owls in the park, one big one, and a Little Hoot owl in the tea room. I saw them during August 2015.

Outside was Blodeuwedd by the artist Guy McKinley. The sponsor was Wild in Art (who runs these trails all over the country / world).

The Big Hoot in Kings Heath Park

As close up look at Blodeuwedd.

The Big Hoot in Kings Heath Park

The back of Blodeuwedd. I only really got this one from the side.

The Big Hoot in Kings Heath Park

Inside of the tea room at Kings Heath House was the Big Hoot's Little Hoot owl was Annie's Owl by Vinnie the Coach. Vinnie illustrates how The Little Hoot can be used as a device to enable young people of all ages to achieve their Arts Award. He takes inspiration from acclaimed Birmingham writer Benjamin Zephaniah's poem Nature Trail and visual influence from Vincent van Gogh. The sculpture is in memory of local resident Matt Kendall and will be a permanent monument for the Foundation set up in his honour.

The Big Hoot in Kings Heath Park

The Big Hoot website that was up in 2015 is no longer online sadly. But has been saved / archived on the Wayback Machine. The Big Sleuth in 2017 did not have a trail around Kings Heath, which was a bit disappointing.

2016

Just one photo of Kings Heath Park taken on my then smartphone camera during May 2016. There was warm sunny weather at the time. Just up the path from the Vicarage Road. I think I sat on a bench to have a sandwich. The view towards the playground.

Kings Heath Park

2017

This view of red tulips seen from the 11A bus on the Vicarage Road, passing Kings Heath Park during April 2017.

Kings Heath Park

In August 2017 this gate at the corner of Vicarage Road and Avenue Road was temporarily closed as a precautionary measure. It was probably to stop travellers driving their caravans into the park and setting up an illegal camp.

Kings Heath Park

Again sat on a park bench in Kings Heath Park, in a view similar to the one from a year before. This time as well as the playground, you could see the spire of All Saints Church.

Kings Heath Park

My next proper walk in Kings Heath Park was during the autumn of October 2017. This was the start of a walk along the path near Avenue Road towards a bus stop on the Pershore Road in Selly Park.

Kings Heath Park

A nice floral display around these bushes and trees.

Kings Heath Park

Leaves all over the lawn near the playground, not far from Avenue Road.

Kings Heath Park

Leaves falling off the trees. This relatively new looking tree had yellow leaves coming down.

Kings Heath Park

Saw a squirrel near one of the trees on the grass near all the leaves.

Kings Heath Park

2018

A quick visit in February 2018. There was scaffolding on the School of Horticultural Training - Kings Heath House.

Kings Heath Park

This view of the scaffolding from the pond side.

Kings Heath Park

Crocuses seen above the grass.

Kings Heath Park

My next visit was during April 2018. It was a nice sunny day, and I popped into Kings Heath Park before walking down Avenue Road, Dad's Lane and Moor Green Lane, before going into the Holders Lane & Pebble Mills Fields (rear entrance of Cannon Hill Park).

Got some decent photos of the water jet fountains in the pond.

Kings Heath Park

Zooming in past the water jet fountain to the ducks.

Kings Heath Park

Red and yellow coloured flowers seen on the woodland walk.

Kings Heath Park

This tree hadn't yet had it's leaves grow back at the time.

Kings Heath Park

White daffodils with orange parts in the middle.

Kings Heath Park

Yellow daffodils on the hill near Avenue Road. Just before passing the Camp Hill Line railway bridge.

Kings Heath Park

Caught this squirrel before I headed down Dad's Lane.

Kings Heath Park

Another walk around Kings Heath Park, this time during October 2018. This was from one of the times where I had a coffee at Coffee#1 then walked down to the park for a photo walk.

A dog being walked on a leash.

Kings Heath Park

More autumnal trees with leaves on the ground on the side near Avenue Road.

Kings Heath Park

There was a lot of leaves on the ground around these purple coloured flowers.

Kings Heath Park

More leaves on the ground around one of the paths.

Kings Heath Park

Saw these sheds / garages that I hadn't noticed on previous visits to the park.

Kings Heath Park

Close to one of the car parks was this small rock garden with summery trees.

Kings Heath Park

For my photos from November 2018 please check out my post here: Raining at Kings Heath Park in late November 2018.

2019

For my April 2019 photos please check out this post here: Kings Heath Park over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend 2019

My last walk to date walking around Kings Heath Park was in October 2019. Again a walk after having a coffee at Coffee#1.

This time getting some new photos close up of the playground since my original photos back in 2012.

Kings Heath Park

Saw some orange berries on a tree.

Kings Heath Park

I thought that the play equipment was new, but it's probably the same ones that I've always seen in this playground.

Kings Heath Park

As with other City parks, they have the yellow playground sign here. Welcome to Kings Heath Park Play Area. (of course now during the lockdown it is closed while the park is open).

Kings Heath Park

This slide is the exact same one that I took in 2012, but from the other side. When I used the slides and swings here in the mid 1980s, the equipment was different and there wasn't a perimeter fence around the playground. The benches in the park back then were also different.

Kings Heath Park

Another dog going for walk, this one didn't have a leash on (it's owner would have been nearby).

Kings Heath Park

Another squirrel running across the grass with leaves everywhere.

Kings Heath Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

 

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
06 Apr 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Hilton Birmingham Metropole & Stride Treglown reveal new NEC Hotel plans

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HENDERSON Park and Stride Treglown last week revealed plans for a new Hampton by Hilton hotel and multi-storey car park at the NEC in Solihull.

The new hotel (7/8 storeys) & MSCP (5 storeys) will be situated within car park 3 and 4 of the Hilton Birmingham Metropole (HBM), on Pendigo Way.

Property investor Henderson Park acquired the 790-room, HBM, from London-based The Tonstate Group back in 2017, along with Hilton London, for approximately £500 million. The deal was the investment firm’s first move into the UK hotel market. 

With the NEC and surrounding areas central to future investment plans, which includes HS2, Birmingham Interchange, International Station, the NEC Masterplan, UK Central, and the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Henderson Park have deemed this the perfect time to expand.

The hotel will deliver 191 standard bedrooms; 12 of which will be accessible rooms. A fitness room, lounge and dining facilities will be facilitated within the new development, as part of a central hub space.

A reception, dining area and back of house areas will be located on the ground floor, with the fitness room located on the sixth floor.

THE DEVELOPMENT

These renderings from Stride Treglown, the architect of record, shows a bold yet simple design. The hotel has been designed to suit the Hampton by Hilton brand. 

The positioning of the building reflects the sites location within the curtilage of HBM, its proximity to Perimeter Road and the pedestrian pathways that connect the NEC buildings to the car parks

The main hotel is separated into three distinct elements; the central body, rear wings and a podium at ground floor level which wraps the main entrance to the public areas.

The extensive use of glazing on the ground floor podium frames the hotel’s main entrance and public areas, providing visibility and active views through the building to the pedestrian footpath that circles the site and the pedestrian route to the NEC.

The central block is partly hidden by the horizontal bookended wings, with chamfered deep window recesses that will allow for this building to be completed by off-site construction methods.

LANDSCAPE

The arrival space has also been designed by Stride Treglown, which aims to provide a seamless connection to the existing Metropole hotel, HBM, MSCP, and beyond.

Clear and direct access, plus wayfinding through the site to the NEC has been thoroughly thought of.

The entrance plaza converges all routes and movements in and out of the site, with colour surfaces implemented to clearly separate car park from pedestrian route. Taxi drop offs will be provided to the front of the hotel with shared block surfaces for pedestrians and hoteliers alike.

New trees will be planted within the entrance plaza; adding visual interest and unquestionably enhancing the surrounding context.

There will be cycle storage too, with approximately 20 secure cycles directly available to the north of the MSCP.

THE MSCP

USE: 440 Standard & 12 accessible = 452 Total Spaces.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

PROJECT TEAM

CLIENT: Henderson Park Capital
ARCHITECTS (& Landscaping): Stride Treglown
PROJECT MANAGER/ QUANTITY SURVEYOR: John Rowan & Partners
M&E CONSULTANT: Silcock Dawson & Partners
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Peter Dann

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Words by Stephen Giles. Artists impressions from Stride Treglown.

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20 passion points
Green open spaces
06 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Edgbaston Reservoir in Ladywood over the years

The last time I had a walk round Edgbaston Reservoir (well half of it) was about a month before lockdown. But I have been many times to the reservoir in Ladywood over the years. Sometimes I walk the full lap, sometimes half. It was originally known as the Rotton Park Reservoir. Originally a small pool called the Rock Pool. Enlarged by Thomas Telford for the Birmingham Canal Navigations.

Related

Some history about the Edgbaston Reservoir from Wikipedia.

Located in Ladywood, Birmingham, the reservoir was originally called the Rotton Park Reservoir and on early maps as the Rock Pool Reservoir. Between 1824-29 Thomas Telford expanded the pool to supply water to the Birmingham Canal Navigations for the Birmingham and Wolverhampton Levels, as he was straightening out James Brindley's old canal. This became the Birmingham Canal Navigations New Mainline. The Icknield Port Loop is close to the dam at the reservoir.

These days the reservoir is used for leisure, there is a path all the way around for walking, cycling and for dog walkers. The reservoir is also used for rowing and sailing. The Midland Sailing Club is also based at Edgbaston Reservoir. From April 2019, the car parks were closed off to vehicles due to anti-social behaviour.

 

2011

My first visit to Edgbaston Reservoir was during May 2011. So the water looked nice and blue at the time. I went in the main entrance from Reservoir Road. And probably headed to the left around the reservoir in a clockwise direction.

Edgbaston Reservoir

The trees were lush and green as some pigeons flew by.

Edgbaston Reservoir

A tree here was just a stump, and it looked like the reservoir was receding at bit, like a beach.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Some nice shadows from the trees.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Hard to believe that this was all man made in the 19th century.

Edgbaston Reservoir

From here you can see the dam and the skyline, from here the BT Tower was visible.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Can just about make out the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower from here.

Edgbaston Reservoir

The main entrance to the resevoir from Reservoir Road, and to the left was The Tower Dancing & Banqueting Suite (now closed down but open at the time).

Edgbaston Reservoir

2014

My second visit was during February 2014. The conditions was windy and blustery with choppy water. Again approaching from the Reservoir Road main entrance. So perfect weather for sailing or canoeing.

Plenty of cars in the car park at the time (it would be open for another 5 years).

Edgbaston Reservoir

This time I could see sailors in yachts in the reservoir. Perfect conditions for sailing.

Edgbaston Reservoir

This one had a sail with the code: GBR 11224.

Edgbaston Reservoir

This sailor has 4186.

Edgbaston Reservoir

This pair had E GBR 22901.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Several yachts seen sailing here.

Edgbaston Reservoir

This one in a canoe with a sail.

Edgbaston Reservoir

This canoeist had 133256. The spire of St Augustine's Church was behind.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Three people in a speedboat marked MSC, Joan.

Edgbaston Reservoir

2018

My third visit was during July 2018 during the summer heatwave. There was a drought at the time and all the grass all over the City had gone yellow. The reservoir around the edges was looking quite dry. This time I got into the reservoir from the Rotton Park Road entrance at the back.

Edgbaston Reservoir

It was a bit like a beach, the grass was dry and the trees were green, but was very hot.

Edgbaston Reservoir

The reservoir had lost a lot of water during this dry spell. There should be water on the parts that look like dry soil beaches.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Birmingham skyline view behind the dam. Including the BT Tower and Three Snowhill was under construction at the time.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Just look at this poor heron near the edge of the reservoir. Was also a fish struggling for water when it should have been below it!

Edgbaston Reservoir

The western edge of the Reservoir with the skyline above the dam. It was looking quite green in the parts not covered with water.

Edgbaston Reservoir

This could be like a beach right here in Birmingham, but the ground was not find sand. And you shouldn't really sit on the edges. Picnics are probably done in the summer of the grassy parts.

Edgbaston Reservoir

I don't think I've seen the reservoir like this before or since. Once it started raining again, it probably filled back up and went back to normal. Another dam / skyline view.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Even this corner near the dam was dry and lacking reservoir water. After this I left the reservoir via the main Reservoir Road entrance and walked towards Broadway Plaza.

Edgbaston Reservoir

2020

This was during February 2020, a walk that started in Harborne. Got onto the Edgbaston Reservoir again at Rotton Park Road. Since my last visit they had laid new tarmac paths and the water level had gone back to normal.

View towards the Midland Sailing Club.

Edgbaston Reservoir

The nice new tarmaced path, this was during the period after the storms, so the path was a bit wet. Ahead was a person running.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Several cyclists doing laps around the reservoir. This was before social distancing measures.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Over the dam could just see some residential tower blocks.

Edgbaston Reservoir

I only walked halfway around the reservoir this time.

Edgbaston Reservoir

It was looking full of water and in better condition than the drought of 2 years before.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Saw this Great cormorant sitting on a branch of a tree that was in the water.

Edgbaston Reservoir

Gulls flying about over the reservoir like they do.

Edgbaston Reservoir

At the Midland Sailing Club was yacht 3530 and the speedboat MSC, with the name Joan.

Edgbaston Reservoir

One last look at the reservoir. At the time I didn't know why the car park was empty, then saw that the barrier at the Reservoir Road entrance was closed.

Edgbaston Reservoir

After this I continued my walk via the new Ladywood Leisure Centre into the City Centre (don't think I want to do a Harborne via Edgbaston Reservoir to City Centre walk again was too long). Might be a while before I can come back here, so enjoy my photos from my four visits over 2011, 2014, 2018 and 2020.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

 

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
06 Apr 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

THROWBACK: Construction of Three Snow Hill (2016-2020)

Three Snowhill is the largest (420,000 sqft) and most prestigious commercial development outside of London. We've followed construction every step of the way, dating back from 2016, to building completion. Enjoy these throwback pictures!

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Having already completed Snowhill 1 & 2, Three Snowhill was the third and final phase of the Snowhill estate from Irish developer, Ballymore.

The development, funded by M&G Real Estate, and built by BAM Construction, kicked off in late 2016, and when fit-out completes in May 2020, the building will soon house approximately 4,000 workers.

BT have already secured a 283,000 square foot pre-let to be based here.

Enjoy the throwback!

MAY 2016 onwards:

Metrogogo

2017

2018

2019

2020

What a superb development! Pictures & words by Stephen Giles

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20 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
03 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A virtual tour of Cadbury World from my visit from November 2015

Would you like to see what it is like inside of Cadbury World, and can't go now due to lockdown? Then have a look at my post with photos taken during a visit in early November 2015. It's like a Cadbury chocolate theme park right in the heart of Bournville. You have to get your tickets pre-booked online before you go. There is many different zones, and a few rides to go on as well.

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Welcome to Cadbury World. It first opened in 1990. Cadbury World is located in Bournville, Birmingham within the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. There is 14 zones that tells the story of chocolate and the Cadbury business through  various static sets, animatronics, video presentations, multi-sensory cinema, interactive displays and activities, and staff demonstrations.

One of my earliest visits was probably in the early 1990s, but came back in November 2015 when some relatives from overseas wanted to go there.

When you first go in you see this Cadbury World sign.

Cadbury World

Aztec Jungle

Take a trip back in time to Mexico where you walk through a tropical rainforest of the Mayan Indians. Discover the origins of the cocoa bean.

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Bull Street

What the shops on Bull Street used to be like that Richard and George Cadbury ran. Also shows St James' London.

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Manufacturing

Discover how popular Cadbury brands are made, including Creme Egg, Buttons and Roses with interactive video stations.

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadabra

Ride around in a Beanmobile on a magical journey full of surprises. Head past Beanville, full of those little Chuckle Beans!

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Advertising Avenue

Take a trip down memory lane. How many Cadbury adverts do you remember?

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

4D Chocolate Adventure

We had to wear 3D glasses, and the seats we sat on moved (was a bit like a rollercoaster at one point). The following photos were taken after the 4D film.

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Portraits of the characters seen in the 4D "film".

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

The Worlds Biggest Cadbury Shop

In this shop you can buy all the usual Cadbury chocolate including Curly Wurly's, Caramel etc. Also Bassett's Liquorice allsorts. They also had the usual fridge magnets, key rings and tea towels.

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

The Bournville Experience

An exhibit about the Cadbury Brothers, George and Richard. About the factory in Bournville and the village. Also the shop they had established and some old Cadbury packaging and adverts.

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

For more of my Cadbury posts please check out the following links:

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
02 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Perry Park home of the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr

Perry Park is located in Perry Barr. It is the home of the Alexander Stadium where over the years the British Grand Prix has been held each summer a long with the Diamond League meet. The Tame Valley Canal runs past to the northern edge of the park. Perry Reservoir is also in the park. The M6 motorway is to the east. Between Walsall Road and Aldridge Road.

Related

Perry Park

The park has a 2 kilometre walking route. In 2012 a BMX track was built for the BMX World Championships. It is the home of the Birmingham BMX Club. They were established in 2009. The park is best known for the Alexander Stadium. It is used for International Athletics and it is home of the world-famous Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club. The stadium will be converted for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Increasing the capacity from 17,000 (as it is now) to 20,000.

The park is located between the Walsall Road and Aldridge Road in Perry Barr. The M6 motorway is to the eastern side of the park.

 

2012

When I went to Perry Park back in August 2012, it was mainly to see the Birmingham Alexander Stadium from the outside. I got the train up to Perry Barr at the time and walked up the Walsall Road. It was a few days before the Aviva Grand Prix. This sign for the Alexander Stadium was on the corner of the Walsall Road with Church Road in Perry Barr.

Perry Park

Some kind of weather or wind reader (I think). Close to the Walsall Road. I think I must have continued up the road looking at things to do with the (then) upcoming Aviva Grand Prix, then entered the park at Perry Park Crescent.

Perry Park

This sign for the Birmingham Alexander Stadium was off the Walsall Road. The entrance to the stadium is this way.

Perry Park

The view of the park from behind the stadium. The lawn up to the trees that line the Tame Valley Canal. Not far from the Perry Park Crescent entrance.

Perry Park

The back of the Alexander Stadium as it was in 2012. I must have entered the park at Perry Park Crescent.

Perry Park

Continuing past the Alexander Stadium, hard to see much of the stadium from up here.

Perry Park

The grass had probably just been cut at the time. This was close to the northern edge of the park near the Tame Valley Canal.

Perry Park

The car park near the Alexander Stadium. These buildings are the GMAC (Gymnastics and Martial Arts Centre).

Perry Park

Trees near the southern edge of the Alexander Stadium.

Perry Park

Saw this Birmingham Alexander Stadium sign. For Car Park's B and C. Not far from Church Road.

Perry Park

The playground in the park near Church Road.

Perry Park

Trees in Perry Park from Church Road.

Perry Park

More trees in Perry Park from Church Road as I headed to the Aldridge Road (to find the old bridge and check out the Perry Barr BCU campus when it was still there at the time).

Perry Park

This road from Church Road had a gated barrier in the way. You can see the Alexander Stadium in the distance from here. Was also banners there for the Aviva Grand Prix.

Perry Park

A zoom in to the most modern stand at the Alexander Stadium (as it was in 2012). Hopefully the stadium will be rebuilt for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (hope the lockdown doesn't delay things too much in 2020).

Perry Park

Saw this rusted Birmingham City Council sign from Church Road. The playing of golf is not permitted on this site.

Perry Park

I did not get any more photos of the park in 2012 as I then went down the Aldridge Road to first see the old bridge over the River Tame. So I missed the skatepark and the BMX track. In 2014 I went to the Boar's Head, but it was quite dark when I left, but got a bus back to the City Centre near there (just beyond the M6 overpass).

2018

In April 2018, I was back in Perry Barr for a walk along the Tame Valley Canal. And saw these views of Perry Park (I did not go in). The Birmingham Skyline was visible behind these buildings. Probably the back of the GMAC (Gymnastics and Martial Arts Centre).

Perry Park

This was only view from the Tame Valley Canal of Perry Park that wasn't hidden by the trees. It's close to a path into the park.

Perry Park

Trees obsuring the view of the Alexander Stadium from the Tame Valley Canal, but a better view of the stadium than I had 6 years earlier.

Perry Park

As you can see with the trees from the canal, it was a bit hard to see the Alexander Stadium. But if they rebuild the stadium for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, there wont be much to see from the canalside.

Perry Park

A view from the Tame Valley Canal of the Perry Reservoir. I need to one day come back and walk around that (after the lockdown ends, will be a long while off before I'm able to go back).

Perry Park

Another view of the modern stand at the Alexander Stadium, this time seen from the Tame Valley Canal.

Perry Park

There was these steps down from the Tame Valley Canal into Perry Park which would lead to the Perry Reservoir. But as I was on a canal walk, I didn't get off the canal until I got to College Road.

Perry Park

I finished my Tame Valley Canal Walk at College Road and walked down to the bus stop not far from the Boar's Head. And didn't think about popping into the park or getting photos of the BMX track or skatepark (at the time). Will need to go back to Perry Park in the future (during lockdown this is not possible). Would be nice to walk around Perry Reservoir sometime in the future, when it is safe again to travel up there.

Bus routes nearby include the 33, 51 and 52.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
31 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Kings Norton Park down the Pershore Road South

While I've been to Kings Norton many times over the years, I've only had one proper walk into Kings Norton Park way back in 2011. Back in 2009 I passed it on the way down the Pershore Road South to Kings Norton Village. And only skimmed it from Westhill Road in 2016. The park is down the hill from Kings Norton Station and Cotteridge. There is a Recreation Ground opposite.

Related

Kings Norton Park

This park is located down on the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton, between Kings Norton Station and Cotteridge to the north and the old Kings Norton village to the south. Westhill Road is to the west while Camp Lane is to the north. You can also approach the park from Wychall Lane, and is on the no 45 and 47 bus routes.

There is a group called the Friends of Kings Norton Park. A group of local volunteers who come together to improve and protect the park and neighbour playing fields. (There blog has not been updated since 2014).

There is a 2 kilometre walking route in the park, as well as a skatepark and a playground. The River Rea flows to the northern edge of the park. National Cycle Network route number 5 passes through the park, and it is also part of the Rea Valley Route.

 

2009

My first indirect photos of Kings Norton Park were taken on a walk down the Pershore Road South. Starting in Bournville, then passing Cotteridge and going down to the old Kings Norton village. This was when I started taking photos around Birmingham during April 2009.

Some views of the River Rea. There is at least two bridges on the Pershore Road South, so the first bigger one is definitely the River Rea. The other smaller bridge crosses an unnamed stream.

Kings Norton Park

Another view of the River Rea or an unnamed stream. This was 11 years ago, so I can't remember which bridge I took them from.

Kings Norton Park

The main path into Kings Norton Park with a pair of long paths, with flower beds on the grass in the middle.

Kings Norton Park

2011

My walk near the end of June 2011 through Kings Norton Park was my first proper walk around the park. Starting on Westhill Road. This is probably the River Rea (I used to think it was an unnamed stream).

Kings Norton Park

The main entrance on Westhill Road is similar to that on the Pershore Road South, they look identical. A pair of paths with flower beds in the middle of the lawn.

Kings Norton Park

The playground near the Westhill Road entrance to the park is also near a car park. (obviously during our current situation the playground is now closed). This was some kind of curved climbing frame for kids.

Kings Norton Park

Still in the playground, not sure what this is, with a pair of steps. Can't see if it has a slide. The view was towards the spire of St Nicholas's Church.

Kings Norton Park

Two pairs of swings in the playground.

Kings Norton Park

This was the slide in the playground here.

Kings Norton Park

Now over the the skatepark area of Kings Norton Park.

Kings Norton Park

The skatepark had many ramps for skateboarders and BMX bike riders to do crazy tricks on.

Kings Norton Park

It had graffiti all over it.

Kings Norton Park

Was loads of different sections of the skatepark with barriers at the higher levels.

Kings Norton Park

This was the lower section of the skatepark.

Kings Norton Park

Now onto a path with the trees mostly to the left.

Kings Norton Park

More trees as I got closer to the Pershore Road South.

Kings Norton Park

An old stone bench, which was off one of the paths from the main Pershore Road South entrance.

Kings Norton Park

Saw this wooden post. Sponsored by Birmingham City Council. Would assume it was installed by the Friends of Kings Norton Park. Possibly from some kind of floral trail?

Kings Norton Park

There was this dirt path through a pair of brick and stone gate posts, not far from the Pershore Road South entrance. I have never walked up here (I don't think).

Kings Norton Park

No path behind these brick and stone gateposts, just overgrown bushes (at the time).

Kings Norton Park

2016

Passed nearby again briefly back in February 2016. Again from Westhill Road, but this time I found some steps near the south west corner of the park. You can see the playground in the distance to the left. I started a walk from Kings Norton village from The Green and ended up going up Westhill Road.

Kings Norton Park

A look at the steps from Westhill Road. I did not go up these steps, or go into the park this time around.

Kings Norton Park

A cycling sign seen from Westhill Road outside of the park. The pavement is only on the left, not pavement on the right (if you are heading up to Camp Lane).

Kings Norton Park

Yellow and purple crocuses seen on the grass just outside of Kings Norton Park.

Kings Norton Park

The crocuses were on the roadside of the lawn, separated by the park barrier.

Kings Norton Park

Another look at the River Rea from Westhill Road, before I walked up Camp Lane to the Pershore Road South.

Kings Norton Park

I keep thinking I already had the photos in past years, so find it hard to find something new to take in Kings Norton. I wont be able to return again until the lockdown ends. It's been well over a year since I last got several buses to Kings Norton. Including when I last walked up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal to Kings Norton Junction. And even on those visits, never thought about going into Kings Norton Park again (the canal walk ended at the Kings Norton Recreation Ground and it was raining at the time).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
30 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley over the years

The Oaklands Recreation Ground is a large park between South Yardley and Hay Mills. And is close to the Swan Island, Coventry Road and Church Road. Also opposite the Swan Centre (with the big Tesco Extra). I've walked around here several times over the years. Even when covered in snow and it was freezing cold! In recent years the parkland has been done up. Also nice skyline views.

Related

The Oaklands Recreation Ground is a large parkland located in South Yardley and near Hay Mills in Birmingham. Not far from the Swan Island and the Coventry Road, A45. The semi circle road altered for the rebuilding of the Swan Centre, Church Road passes the park to the east. While Hob Moor Road is to the north and Holder Road to the west.

Nearby bus routes include the 11A, 11C, 60, X1 and X2 from National Express West Midlands.

Improvement works took place here until 2017 (which included Phase 4 that year). There is paths for walking or running, a new outdoor gym, playgrounds and a skatepark.

For skyline lovers, on a clear day you can see the Birmingham Skyline from here.

 

Over the years, I have popped into this park or recreation ground several times. One year there was snow there and it was very cold, so wasn't there long (and headed to the Costa in the Swan Centre to warm up).

 

2013

I usually get in from the Church Road semi circle road in South Yardley. My first visit was during December 2013. There is a pathed entrance near here. Not far from the 11A bus stop and Tesco petrol station.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

This view towards a pair of Gas Holders. Probably the Nechells Gas Holders (or Saltley).

Oaklands Recreation Ground

One of my early Birmingham skyline photos from the Oaklands Recreation Ground. Here you can see The Cube, The Sentinels and the Beetham Tower.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Football goalposts. Would assume that the park was in it's early phases of improvements at this point in time.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

The path at the other Church Road exit. If you enter or exit here, you are opposite Yardley Primary School.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

In this view, I got the skyline of Birmingham with the lawn and paths in the Recreation Ground. From the Beetham Tower to the Rotunda. The Hyatt Hotel and Alpha Tower are in the middle of this view.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

 

2017

My second visit to the Oaklands Recreation Ground with my camera was during October 2017. By then the improvement works were well under way and were due to be finished by December 2017. As before entered the path from Church Road opposite the Swan Centre. Path to the right, but I headed to the left.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

The path to the left that I followed down the hill. You can see that they weren't quite finished with the improvement works here at the time.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

A set of swings.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

This view towards Bakeman House and Equipoint. A residential block of flats above the Swan Centre near Tesco Extra that was refurbished when the Swan Centre was rebuilt. Equipoint was offices, but for years they struggled to let them, so now they are being converted into flats or apartments (or they were before the lockdown came into force).

Oaklands Recreation Ground

View towards The Vibe. A youth centre on Holders Road.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

New sculpted gates at the exit to Holders Road. The design of animals on flowers by the looks of it.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

The path to the left leads to the Coventry Road, while the path to the right leads to Holders Road. I headed to the Coventry Road this time around.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Getting close to the Coventry Road entrance / exit. The brick walls and gates had yet to be built at this point.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

 

2018

Would you believe it that during March 2018, there was snow and ice in the Oaklands Recreation Ground. This was during the weather event known as The Beast from the East 2. It felt like -15°C but was probably more like -3°C. This was the height restriction barrier in the car park near Boughton Road.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

It was as cold as it looks! Snow and ice everywhere. Bollards and the new railings were ahead of me.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Another look at one of the new gates. Nice sculpted design on this one.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

The grass poking just above the snow, but still looks like it could be in Antarctica or something. So so cold. My hands and feet were freezing. Had to keep putting my gloves back on.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Tried to get as many snow photos as I could before heading to the Swan Centre for a warm coffee in Costa.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Getting close to Tesco Extra and the Swan Centre. Saw this climbing frame, probably part of the outdoor gym set. No one would be using it in these conditions.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

The middle of March 2018 and the leaves hadn't yet grown back on the trees. View of Equipoint.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Heading out of the Oaklands Recreation Ground onto Church Road. View of the Tesco Extra petrol station and Equipoint.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

By April 2018, the snow of the month before was a distant memory. The new brick gate posts on the Coventry Road was complete along with new railings either side of it.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

There was also this brick wall around the oak sculpture. Also the daffodils had finished flowering.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

I didn't go into the Oaklands Recreation Ground this time, just saw in passing probably heading to the X1, X2 or 60 bus stop on the Coventry Road. The Oaklands sign looks nice don't you think? The gateposts also had a pair of oak sculptures on them. Was done as part of the Queen Elizabeth II Field - Fields in Trust. Diamond Jubilee 2012.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

 

2019

The first of my three visits here was during January 2019. A look at one of the new playgrounds.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

An outdoor gym seen from the path coming from the Coventry Road, which I assume is now the main entrance to the Recreation Ground.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

My second visit in 2019 was during October 2019. View of the Birmingham skyline, while the trees looked autumnal. 103 Colmore Row was rising to the left. With the BT Tower in the middle.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

This view towards The Cube and The Sentinels with The Bank Tower 2 seen behind.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

From this path you can see the skatepark with the skyline behind.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Saw this stone with the Queen Elizabeth II plaques. I had previously seen it a few years before with no plaques on it. But on this visit I did not get too close to them, so I had to return to see them again a few months later.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Another City Skyline view from the Recreation Ground with the houses near Holders Road below.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Another view of one of the new playgrounds towards Holiday Inn Express. Also known as the Holders Road Play Area as I discovered when I returned on Boxing Day 2019.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Third and final visit in 2019 was on Boxing Day near the end of December 2019. Mainly to get close to that i stone with the Queen Elizabeth II plaques. Saw this yellow swing thing in one of the playgrounds.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

The Holders Road Play Area empty on Boxing Day 2019. All playgrounds in the cities parks are now closed during the lockdown while the parks remain open.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Saw this sign close up in the design of an oak leaf. This is where I saw the Holders Road Play Area name.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Going past the skatepark. It was pretty quiet here on Boxing Day.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Another set of swings with a lime green bar at the top. Also saw a magpie.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

The outdoor gym equipment on Boxing Day. These will now also be out of use during the lockdown we now find ourselves in.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Finally got up and close to the stone with the plaques. The top one was the Queen Elizabeth II Fields in Trust Diamond Jubilee 2012 plaque. The bottom one was the blue plaque stating that the Oaklands Recreation Ground was awarded Fields in Trust status in 2014 in recognition of the site's importance to the local community, and so it will be protected for generations to come. The boulder represents the strength and durabilty that working in partnership can bring, resulting in a better and sustainable future for all.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Back to the path leading to the gates at Coventry Road and heading to the 11C bus stop near Yardley Primary School. Buses are now reduced during the lockdown, and can't use them again until the lockdown is over.

Oaklands Recreation Ground

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
History & heritage
30 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

National Trust properties in the Cotswolds: Snowshill Manor and Hidcote Manor (Summer 2019)

While all National Trust properties and gardens are now closed, we look back to my visits in the Summer of 2019 to a pair of properties in the Cotswolds (Gloucestershire). In July 2019 we went to Snowshill Manor (not far from Broadway in Worcestershire) and the last National Trust property we went to was at Hidcote Manor near the end of August 2019. Both had eccentric owners in the 20th C.

Related

For my last National Trust properties post in the Midlands follow this link: National Trust properties around the Midlands (Spring and Summer 2019).

 

Snowshill Manor

This visit to Snowshill Manor was during July 2019. We passed through Broadway in the car to and from the manor (we would later go back to Broadway in September 2019 on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway).

Some history taken from the Wikipedia page (linked above). Snowshill Manor is a National Trust property located in the village of Snowshill in Gloucestershire. It is best known for it's 20th century owner Charles Paget Wade. The property is a typical Cotswold manor house. It has been Grade II* listed since 1960. Wade gave the house and the contents to the National Trust in 1951.

 

When you arrive in the car park and walk to the entrance, the first thing you would see is the Visitor Reception and Shop. National Trust members can get their cards scanned inside of here.

Snowshill Manor

On the walk to the manor house, you can see this model windmill with toy soldiers. Although I later took it on the way to the cafe later during the visit.

Snowshill Manor

Before we left, we headed to this building to have a coffee. We sat outside. It looks like a traditional Cotswolds type of building. Not sure how old it is though.

Snowshill Manor

First view of Snowshill Manor heading up the path. It is a Grade II* listed building Snowshill Manor. The manor house dates to the 17th century, with additions in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was altered in 1919-23 by Charles Paget Wade.

Snowshill Manor

The house was made of Coursed squared sandstone with a stone slate roof. There was timed entrances to the house, so we didn't go in at this point. This was my first view head on of the house.

Snowshill Manor

Another view from within the gate. Above the main entrance is the Sambach coat of arms.

Snowshill Manor

Getting a view of Snowshill Manor behind the gate. As this was the view that Charles Paget Wade saw in a magazine called Country Life which was advertising it for sale in June 1916.

Snowshill Manor

After our visit to the other buildings and a look around the gardens we eventually got to have a full look around the inside of the house, where you could see many of the objects that Charles Paget Wade had collected during his time here. In this room was one of the model ships that he owned.

Snowshill Manor

A pair of large candlesticks with a bust of a man in the middle with a ruff.

Snowshill Manor

This darkened room had Ancient Japanese armour. Like Samurai warriors or something.

Snowshill Manor

Upstairs to the attic, and there was loads of bicycles in this space. As well as another model windmill.

Snowshill Manor

Back downstairs and this room had loads of masks in open drawers. Was also some swords on the wall on the left.

Snowshill Manor

This room had rifles on the wall on the right. Also some shields, a tall hat and a pair of boots. There was much more than this to see, this is just a highlight of the collection in the house. Wade probably didn't live in this house with his collection.

Snowshill Manor

This was the Priest's House and Workshop. It was in this building that Charles Paget Wade actually lived. At the time I couldn't get the full exterior in one photo due to the amount of people in the way. It is a Grade II listed building Brewhouse, in Garden, Adjoining Snowshill Manor. It was built in the 16th and 17th centuries with extensions in the 19th century. Wade made changed in 1919-23. Made of Squared stone in courses with a slate roof. You could go up the stairs to see the contents inside.

Snowshill Manor

What looks like to be Wade's kitchen table. With objects on shelves and on the steps.

Snowshill Manor

Loads more objects on this side including a pair of chairs. Lots of swords and pikes hanging from the ceiling by the looks of it. Near a fireplace.

Snowshill Manor

This was the interior of the Priest's House. A statue on the right near an alter. A desk and a chair on the left.

Snowshill Manor

Outside you can see a model village in the gardens. It is of Wolf's Cove. Wade started building the village in 1907 when he lived in Hampstead. When he moved to Snowshill in 1919, he brought the models with him and by the 1920's had started to create the model Cornish fishing village of Wolf's Cove. National Trust volunteers and staff started to recreate it from 2010 onwards. The model train returned in 2018.

Snowshill Manor

Located in the Well Court was this clock with doors. Latin inscriptions on both sides. I am doing this post after the clocks went forward again to British Summer Time. It is also like a Zodiac with the stars on it.

Snowshill Manor

The other side of the Well Court. There was a small pond here, be careful not to fall in! The building is Grade II listed Two Gardenhouses, About 8 Metres North of Dovecote, Snowshill Manor. They were former cowhouses now Garden Houses. Dated to the late 18th century and early to mid 19th century. Probably altered from 1919 to 1923 by Charles Paget Wade. Walls made of Random rubble with a slate roof. There was a further area to look at through the door, but you have to duck down to get through and look where you are going.

Snowshill Manor

Distance from Birmingham: well over an hour via the A435 and A46. Postcode is WR12 7JU. About 38 miles away. During the lockdown / pandemic period we are in it is temporarily closed. So glad we got to go last summer. National Trust website: Snowshill Manor and Garden.

Hidcote Manor

This visit to Hidcote Manor Garden was during the August Bank Holiday Weekend in late August 2019. After we went here, we went to Kiftsgate Court Gardens again in the afternoon. Was my fisit visit back to Kiftsgate in about 9 years (but that is for another post).

Some history taken from the Wikipedia page (link above). Hidcote Manor Garden is a garden located in the village of Hidcote Bartrim near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire (part of the Cotswolds). The American Lawrence Johnston and his mother settled in the UK in the early 20th century, and he immediately became a British citizen and fought in the British army during the Boer war. In 1907 his mother purchased the Hidcote Manor Estate. Johnston became interested in developing the garden which he started doing in 1910. After World War II he spent most of his time at his property in the South of France, so he entrusted Hidcote to the National Trust in 1947.

 

Just before the visitor centre, I spotted this farm. It is called Manor Farm (Righton). It was not too far from the Barn Cafe.

Hidcote Manor Garden

This view of Hidcote Manor and the Former Chapel (to the left) was from the plant sales area behind the Barn Cafe. The chapel is Grade II listed Former Chapel at Hidcote Manor. Was a former barn, later a chapel. Dated to the 18th century, converted in the 20th century to a chapel by Lawrence Johnston. Made of ashlar and limestone.

Hidcote Manor Garden

Later near the end of my visit, I popped into the chapel. Saw several stained glass windows like this one. Was also an exhibition in here that didn't really interest me.

Hidcote Manor Garden

First look at Hidcote Manor from the plant sales area just beyond the Barn Cafe and toilets. You head out of this area and into the courtyard to get to the house and chapel. The gift shop was the building to the right (just out of shot).

Hidcote Manor Garden

The first full view of Hidcote Manor from the inner courtyard. It is a Grade II listed building Hidcote Manor. Was a former farmhouse. Dates to the late 17th century, which was refronted in the 18th century. With more alterations in the early 20th century. Made of ashlar limestone with a tiled roof.

Hidcote Manor Garden

Only a few rooms on the ground floor were open to explore. This was the library with a fireplace and desk.

Hidcote Manor Garden

In the living room was some comfy chairs near a fireplace.

Hidcote Manor Garden

To the side was a cards table with chairs.

Hidcote Manor Garden

Back outside of the house. This view was from the East Court.

Hidcote Manor Garden

This view of Hidcote Manor was from the Old Garden. Almost hidden by the trees.

Hidcote Manor Garden

I later saw this view of the house, not far from Mrs Winthrop's Cafe. Didn't have a coffee here, as we later had a drink at Kiftsgate Court instead (I later had a cola).

Hidcote Manor Garden

Now for an explore around Lawrence Johnston's gardens. The White Garden in the Old Garden. Steps between the bushes.

Hidcote Manor Garden

Red Borders and the Gazebos. This area was roped off so had to fins another way to that pair of buildings near the steps. The Gazebos was Grade II listed buildings Two Gazebos and Attached Walls, Railings and Steps at Hidcote Manor Gardens. They date to the early 20th century. Made of Squared limestone. Decorated by Lawrence Johnston.

Hidcote Manor Garden

I later saw another view of the Gazebos. And you can walk through one of them. The other one had plates and a surface for making sandwiches or something, like Johnston had it set up for picnics on the lawns somewhere.

Hidcote Manor Garden

This is in the Bathing Pool Garden. It features a statue installed in 1930 of a boy and a dolphin. Was a fountain.

Hidcote Manor Garden

View of the Italian Shelter. Was built in the 1910s. Has some benches to sit on. Was also Italian style or Roman style statues in there, and wall paintings.

Hidcote Manor Garden

This was in the Central Stream Garden. All these gardens were looking nice in the later summer period.

Hidcote Manor Garden

On the way out of the gardens I saw the Alpine Terrace. It runs parallel to the Stilt Garden. There is an urn at the end.

Hidcote Manor Garden

To the back of the house was Mrs Winthrop's Cafe. As mentioned above we didn't stop to have a drink here. The cafe was to the right, while the gardens, toilet, shop and exit were to the left.

Hidcote Manor Garden

Distance from Birmingham: an hour via the M42 and M40 (SatNav takes you through Stratford-upon-Avon). About 47 miles away. Postcode is GL55 6LR. During the lockdown / pandemic period we are in it is temporarily closed. So glad we got to go last summer. National Trust website: Hidcote.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
26 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Ley Hill Park up the hill in Northfield

For this green spaces / park post, we go back to early April 2017, when I went up to Ley Hill Park in Northfield. Starting at the Starbucks Drive Thru in Northfield, I went up Vineyard Road past Bellfield Junior School. The park was at the top of the hill. It's part of the Merritt's Brook Greenway, with a path heading to Manor Farm Park.

Related

During the lock down and the one form of exercise a day, I can only walk to the closest parks in walking distance. I don't know how many weeks or months this will last for. With many places closed down. But parks are open (playgrounds are not). So please continue to enjoy my virtual park visits from my actual past visits (if you can). And maybe once things goes back to normal after the virus crisis ends, we will all be able to enjoy parks and visit the places we used to be able to.

 

Here we will go back about 3 years to a visit to Ley Hill Park in Northfield when it was OK at the time to get the bus or train.

The then new Starbucks Drive Thru in Northfield first opened around April 2017 and during my visit there, was thinking of somewhere to go. I could see a park up the hill nearby (also by checking Google Maps). Plus this walk would lead me towards Manor Farm Park and near the no 61 and 63 bus routes when I left.

 

The entrance to Ley Hill Park. Heading through a green space near Vineyard Road. I crossed over Merritt's Brook Lane and into the park. Welcome to Ley Hill Park.

Ley Hill Park

The path into the park towards a footbridge that crosses the Merritt's Brook.

Ley Hill Park

A look at one side of the Merritt's Brook. Looks like the routes of the tree on the right grows quite close to the brook.

Ley Hill Park

A pair of paths. A third one makes a triangle.

Ley Hill Park

I must have taken the right path by the looks of it.

Ley Hill Park

Following one of the paths past the trees. The Merritt's Brook is to the right, and this was near the bottom of the park.

Ley Hill Park

The path continues as the trees make shadows on the path and lawns. The fields to the left don't really have gravel paths to walk up to.

Ley Hill Park

A pair of trees in the middle of the hilly field in the park.

Ley Hill Park

The path leading to Merritt's Hill and the exit gates.

Ley Hill Park

Another exit to Merritt's Hill. Hadn't really finished looking around Ley Hill Park at this point.

Ley Hill Park

To head up the hill, I followed the mown grass paths up the hill.

Ley Hill Park

Saw this robin but only got it from the back at the time.

Ley Hill Park

Near the top of the hill and there was nice views of the Northfield and surrounding areas from up here.

Ley Hill Park

Top of the hill. An zoom in's could see the local school and towards the tallest building on the Northfield High Street (Bristol Road South).

Ley Hill Park

Heading to the next area. Here the bushes forms a triangular shape (which makes more sense if you look at the Satellite view on Google Maps).

Ley Hill Park

Now for a pair of dirt paths near the trees.

Ley Hill Park

There was more grass paths near the top end of the park.

Ley Hill Park

This tree stump was lying on the ground up here.

Ley Hill Park

Another exit gate to Merritt's Hill, this one was also near Clun Road.

Ley Hill Park

One more look at the park from the top. Views not so visible from up here though.

Ley Hill Park

Just outside of Ley Hill Park was a green space near Merritt's Hill. Starting at Clun Road going down to Meadow Brook Road.

Ley Hill Park

I headed down Merritt's Hill via this green area. Which at this point led down to Meadow Brook Road.

Ley Hill Park

Even from here the shopping centre on the Northfield High Street (Bristol Road South) was visible.

Ley Hill Park

This path was near the houses south of Clun Road. And it takes you down to Meadow Brook Road.

Ley Hill Park

The west view of the green area. Beyond the trees was Ley Hill Park.

Ley Hill Park

Looking up the path I had just walked down from Clun Road.

Ley Hill Park

Getting closer back to the Merritt's Brook Greenway, one last look at the path I went down. Getting back to Merritt's Hill.

Ley Hill Park

There's that side entrance from Ley Hill Park that I saw earlier. Seen from Merritt's Hill.

Ley Hill Park

Going down Merritt's Hill. Brookside was to the left which was near the Merritt's Brook Greenway entrance I was heading to.

Ley Hill Park

And there's that Ley Hill Park entrance I saw earlier. That was on the Merritt's Brook Greenway. Next I took the path in the other direction towards Manor Farm Park.

Ley Hill Park

To see my photos from Manor Farm Park, see my first post on that park here: Manor Farm Park: a park down the Bristol Road South I've always considered to be in Northfield.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
History & heritage
26 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A look back on Dippy on Tour in the summer of 2018

Dinosaur bones, or rather recreations in a cast. Dippy from the Natural History Museum in London started going on a tour of UK museums, and was at the Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in the summer of 2018. After my June 2018 visit, it got me to visit Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham for more dinosaur skeletons. Was also a floral style trail around.

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Dippy on Tour

Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

26th May to 9th September 2018

 

Dippy on Tour was a touring exhibition starting in 2018 at the various City museums around the country. It was at BM & AG in the Gas Hall in the dates above.

Dippy had been at the Natural History Museum in London from 1905, until 2017 when it went on a nationwide tour!

 

I booked my ticket online in advance and went on the 3rd June 2018. Got in earlier than my time and spent about 20 to 30 minutes here. Was plenty of families and kids there at the time. There were other exhibits in here. In this post we will mainly look at Dippy the Diplodocus and other full dinosaur skeletons in Birmingham.

 

This was my first view of Dippy!

Dippy on Tour

Side view of the skull.

Dippy on Tour

The tail from the back of the Gas Hall.

Dippy on Tour

Another view from the front, from the left side this time.

Dippy on Tour

Trying to get Dippy with the height of the ceiling in the Gas Hall.

Dippy on Tour

Front view of Dippy's skull.

Dippy on Tour

This was from a panoramic of Dippy in the Gas Hall.

Dippy on Tour

One more view of Dippy with the Gas Hall ceiling.

Dippy on Tour

Before Birmingham, Dippy was at a museum in Dorchester. After Birmingham, Dippy went to: Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne and Cardiff. Dippy is now in Rochdale (but I assume that the museum is closed now due to the lock down / pandemic period we are in). Dippy was next scheduled to go to Norwich.

 

Co-inciding with Dippy being at the Gas Hall was this Dippy on Tour Floral Trail around the City Centre during the summer of 2018. There was ten topiary dinosaurs to find.

Seen on the High Street outside of Marks & Spencer was this Allosaurus. A few weeks later I saw a full size Allosaurus skeleton at the Lapworth Museum of Geology (see further down the post for the photos). Sponsor was Retail BID Birmingham.

Dippy on Tour

Triceratops seen in Rotunda Square between New Street and High Street. Sponsor was Retail BID Birmingham.

Dippy on Tour

On New Street not far from the Apple building and HSBC UK was this T-Rex (and near the Midland Metro line to Grand Central Tram Stop). Retail BID Birmingham was the sponsor.

Dippy on Tour

Further up New Street was this Stegosaurus opposite Cashino and Pret a Manger. Retail BID Birmingham was the sponsor.

Dippy on Tour

Seen in Victoria Square during June 2018 for Dippy on Tour was the star of the shop the Diplodocus. At this time Council workmen were replanting plants around Dippy, so didn't get a clear view of her. Retail BID Birmingham was the sponsor.

Dippy on Tour

One more indirect view of the Diplodocus in August 2018 when this band was playing in front of her. They were called Inpulse Percussion. At the time groups for the Transplant Games were near the top of Victoria Square. I never did get this one on it's own.

Dippy on Tour

Back to June 2018 and we are now in the Great Western Arcade for Dippy on Tour. This is the Coelophysis. Retaiil BID Birmingham was the sponsor.

Dippy on Tour

Seen at the bottom of Corporation Street opposite what was then a Vodafone store on the corner of New Street (opposite HSBC UK) was this Velociraptor. Near the Midland Metro line to Grand Central Tram Stop.

Dippy on Tour

The last outdoors dinosaur was the Brachiosaurus outside of The Mailbox. Retail BID Birmingham was the sponsor.

Dippy on Tour

The last two were a bit harder to find. The second T-Rex was in the childrens toys section on the bottom floor at Selfridges in the Bullring. Thank you to Shopping in Birmingham on Twitter who at the time gave me advice of where to find them. Much appreciated if you are reading this!

Dippy on Tour

The last dinosaur I needed to find was inside of John Lewis Birmingham. The second Stegosaurus. This one was a few floors up near the cushions and in an awkward position (near the windows overlooking the escalators) to get a photo of (on my then smartphone camera). Trail complete.

Dippy on Tour

Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham

Just over 2 weeks later after seeing Dippy at the Gas Hall (the middle of June 2018), I headed to the University of Birmingham to see the dinosaur skeletons and bones in the Lapworth Museum of Geology. Located in the red brick Quadrangle, near Ring Road South.

This is a skeleton of a Allosaurus (not a T-Rex as I once thought). There was also rocks and minerals in this museum.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Full side view of the Allosaurus, towards all the rocks in the collection.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Zoom in to the skull of the Allosaurus.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

From the other side, there was a first floor area with a balcony view. Not very busy when I visited.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

The Allosaurus was standing on this white table with glass walls around it. I'm sure I once saw a T-Rex skeleton at BM & AG back in the 1990s (whatever happened to it). Then again as a child I remember queuing to get into the Gas Hall for a dinosaur exhibition (around the time Jurassic Park first came out, so around 1993, early 1990s).

Lapworth Museum of Geology

The other full dinosaur skeleton at the Lapworth Museum of Geology was this Pteranodon hanging from the ceiling.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

A close up view of the Pteranodon's skull and body.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

View from the back of the Pteranodon and the Allosaurus.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Side view of the Pteranodon's skull from the first floor balcony area in the museum. The museum was quite small, I was in and out in about 10 minutes. Once I saw what I wanted to see I left. And I wasn't too interested in the rock samples. There was also skulls in the museums without the bodies.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Bonus photos to finish off this post. During Summer in Southside in the middle of July 2018. Was this Triceratops on Wheels on Inge Street outside of the Birmingham Hippodrome and not far from The Arcadian. Perhaps inspired by that summers Dippy on Tour (which was still on at the time).

Summer in Southside

A close up of the Triceratops skull. Was also another set of bones (not real of course) in a pram to the right.

Summer in Southside

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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40 passion points
Transport
26 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Reopening the Camp Hill Line at Moseley Station, Kings Heath Station and at Hazelwell Station

Today the Camp Hill Line is Freight only and Cross Country through trains only. But hopefully new stations will be built at the sites of the old ones at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell (in Stirchley). The stations originally opened in 1867 but closed in 1941 during the Second World War and were never reopened. But now it is possible that new stations may open by 2022.

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Moseley Station

Moseley Station was located at a site between Woodbridge Road and St Mary's Row in Moseley from 1867 until it closed in 1941 on the Camp Hill Line. A previous station named Moseley Station was later renamed to Kings Heath Station (it's near Highbury Park). This station is close to St Mary's Church in Moseley Village.

There has been many proposals for a new station here sine 2007, but they were revised in 2016 by the West Midlands Combined Authority. In 2019 plans for the new stations gained Government funding. Construction could start later in 2020, to open in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

 

My original photos of the old Moseley Station site were taken from the Woodbridge Road Bridge near the end of April 2009. Remains of the old platforms are visible towards the tunnel.

Moseley Station

I only had a compact camera at the time (having started taking photos around Birmingham in April 2009), so this was as far as I was able to zoom in to the tunnel. But you can see the overgrown platforms remains.

Moseley Station

The other side of the Woodbridge Road Bridge. This direction towards Birmingham New Street. The Camp Hill Line goes through Balsall Heath, before joining other lines at Proof House Junction. Freight trains and Cross Country Trains operate non stop trains down here.

Moseley Station

A new March 2020 photo from the bridge on the Woodbridge Road. A zoom in to the Moseley Tunnel that goes under St Mary's Row. Recently West Midlands Railway had stopping trains at Moseley and at the other sites in Kings Heath and Hazelwell. Stopping for the first time in almost 80 years.

Moseley Station

This is the view of the Moseley Station site from St Mary's Row during February 2018 near St Mary's Church. The view was taken from the no 1 bus. This would be an ideal site to build the new station building and car park. Although I've noticed that their's land on Woodbridge Road for a car park as well.

Moseley Station

Kings Heath Station

Kings Heath Station on the Camp Hill Line was located near the High Street and Highbury Park. It was open from 1840 until it closed in 1941 during the Second World War. It was originally called Moseley Station, but when a new station opened in Moseley at the site between Woodbridge Road and St Mary's Row, that station was named Moseley Station, and this one renamed Kings Heath Station. The new station could be built later in 2020 to open in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

 

These views from December 2009. Now the Findlay Road Retail Park, down the bottom is Homebase. Building at the top used to have MFI and Allied Carpets. By 2009 Topp Tiles occupied some of the units. Easy Gym moved in to the upper units by 2014. That is now The Gym.

Kings Heath Station

Walking towards Highbury Park is this car park, somewhere near the old Kings Heath Station site. Bit hard to see behind the trees.

Kings Heath Station

There is land here to build a new station, but wonder if they will have to knock down any of the retail units to the left?

Kings Heath Station

The bridge on the Kings Heath High Street is too high to look over, so got this view from the top deck of the no 50 bus during April 2015. Here you can clearly see where the old station used to be. They might have to take over some of the land in Highbury Park when they build the new station.

Kings Heath Station

Another view from the no 50 bus on the Kings Heath High Street. Snow on the line. The line heads in this direction towards Moseley and onto Balsall Heath. This was during January 2018.

Kings Heath Station

Hazelwell Station

Hazelwell Station opened in 1903 and closed during 1941 (World War 2). The station was located on a site between Vicarage Road and Cartland Road. Being near Kings Heath and Stirchley. Hopefully the new station will begin construction here later in 2020, to open in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

These photos taken from the Vicarage Road Bridge between Kings Heath and Stirchley during December 2009.

Hazelwell Station

There was snow on the line at the time. Remains of the platforms were close to the Cartland Road Bridge.

Hazelwell Station

These views were taken from the Cartland Road Bridge in Stirchley during January 2015. This was the old Hazelwell Station building. It is currently Designer Bathrooms by Michael, but this building could be demolished when the new station is built here.

Hazelwell Station

There are several fenced off areas at the site, that used to lead to the platforms.

Hazelwell Station

One fence next to the Cartland Road Bridge. This could have been an old pedestrian footbridge. Now overgrown and with a large pipe to the right.

Hazelwell Station

Behind this gate was the old ramp down to one of the platforms. Now grassy and had a lot of litter down there at the time.

Hazelwell Station

Zooming further down to a gate. Currently no access to the public, only to Network Rail staff.

Hazelwell Station

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Digital services
25 Mar 2020 - FreeTimePays
News & Updates

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
25 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Woodgate Valley Country Park near Quinton

We go back to October 2018 for this visit to Woodgate Valley Country Park, which is near Quinton in South West Birmingham. Getting the no 24 bus from Harborne, was hard to find a way into the park until I got in from Barn Piece. I followed the paths as far as the exit on West Boulevard. The route mostly followed the Bourn Brook.

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Woodgate Valley Country Park is a country park located between Bartley Green and Quinton in South West Birmingham. It is the third largest country park after Sutton Park and the Lickey Hills Country Park in Birmingham. It was set up in 1984. Having previously been rural land and small holdings.

 

Back in October 2018, I got the no 24 bus from Harborne. Had to keep checking Google Maps until I found an entrance at Barn Piece. I followed the main path towards an exit at West Boulevard. The Bournbrook Walkway goes through this park. Good for walkers, cyclists and dog walkers. I think I later got a no 23 bus back in the direction of Harborne from Northfield Road near California Way (the Bournbrook Walkway continues beyond the park).

 

I initially got close to Woodgate Valley Country Park in December 2016 after my walk around Senneleys Park when I was on Barnes Hill in Bartley Green (close to Weoley Castle), but didn't get around to heading back for an actual walk in the park until about October 2018. It's quite far to travel on a couple of buses. I had previously saw a sign to Woodgate Valley after a walk in December 2015 to see the Weoley Castle ruins.

 

Getting of the no 24 bus in Quinton, I think around Dwellings Lane off Quinton Road West, it was a bit hard to find a way into the park. I kept checking Google Maps until I found a way in at a cul-de-sac called Barn Piece. This is one of the maps of the Woodgate Country Park. There was a "You are here" red dot near the top left corner of the map.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

This was the gate to the country park from Barn Piece. Make sure to close it as you go in.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

Heading from the path from Barn Piece to the main path, saw this leaf basin. The main path goes to the left.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

Onto the main path. Long and straight until it curves to the right.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

A crossroads of paths. I took the path towards West Boulevard. Meaning that there was a part of the park I never saw (I missed the Woodgate Valley Urban Farm and the Woodgate Valley County Park Visitors Centre). I have not been back since this visit, and with the current situation in the world, I wont be coming back here any time soon.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

This view of the Bourn Brook seen from the path. There is the main path and another path that runs on the other side of the Bourn Brook.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

A newly laid surface suitable for cyclists, dog walkers, joggers and walkers. And photographers, not forgetting us! Hold on to the railings if you want to. Or lean your bike on it.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

One of the many footbridges over the Bourn Brook. There was also a path on the right that went into the brook.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

In this view of the Bourn Brook from the footbridge, there is also a path that goes through the brook. Possibly for horse riders or those on dirt bikes (or normal bicycles).

Woodgate Valley Country Park.

After crossing over the first footbridge over the Bourn Brook,  I followed a section of the dirt path through this canopy of trees. Still with green leaves in October.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

But there was yellow and brown leaves fallen on the dirt path. The Bourn Brook was now to the right.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

Another footbridge over the Bourn Brook, of the same design as the other one. Crossing back from the dirth path back to the main path.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

As with the other footbridge on the Bourn Brook this one also had a track going into the brook, but on the other side of the bridge. This view of the Bourn Brook with the main path on the left.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

Back on the main path now, and saw this area with a bench to the back. Surrounded by trees. Bit like a camp site. Leaves all over the ground. Very autumnal. A woodland area.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

A look at the Bourn Brook and the trees all around it.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

On the main path to West Boulevard, saw this tree hanging over the path. The leaves here at the time made it look quite autumnal.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

Back on the path now heading towards West Boulevard. As you can see it is suitable for all those cyclists that ride their bikes in here.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

Another view of the Bourn Brook.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

First glimpse of West Boulevard behind this gate. Close to the end of this walk now. Although I didn't exit from this gate.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

The exit to West Boulevard. I crossed over at the lights and continued on the next section of the Bourn Brook Walkway. It only took me about 25 minutes to walk from one end of the park to this end.

Woodgate Valley Country Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
People & community
23 Mar 2020 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

A look back of a great collection of Welsh photography!

Advice is STAY HOME and this could well be enforced - but let's share the love of Wales - let's look back through all your great photography.

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Photo courtesy We Love Aberystwth

 

Photo courtesy Aberporth Coastal Holidays

 

Photo courtesy Warpool Court Hotel

 

Photo courtesy W J Jones

 

Photo courtesy Anthony Ward

 

Photo courtesy Brian Davies

 

Photo courtesy Bleddyn Jones-Pearson

 

Photo courtesy Tony Batey-Isingrini

 

Photo courtesy Brian Finney

 

Photo courtesy Stephen Griffiths


Photo courtesy Catherine Mayo

 

Photo courtesy Sorcha Lewis

 

Photo courtesy Colin Duffy

 

Photo courtesy David Clemett

 

Photo courtesy Sion Esmond

 

Photo courtesy Dean Taylor

 

Photo courtesy Don Cardy

 

Photo courtesy Drew Buckley

 

Photo courtesy Sheena Parry-Davies

 

Photo courtesy Duane Evans

 

Photo courtesy Edward Wyn Roberts

 

Photo courtesy Rose Voon

 

Photo courtesy Frank Moore

 

Photo courtesy Richard Moult

 

Photo courtesy Gareth Davies

 

Photo courtesy Phil Taylor

 

Photo courtesy Gareth Mon Jones

 

Photo courtesy Pembrokeshire Coast & Wildlife

 

Photo courtesy Nicky Mallen

 

Photo courtesy Gareth Southworth

 

Photo courtesy Marilyn Williams

 

Photo courtesy Ian Humphreys

 

Photo courtesy Glenn Roy

 

Photo courtesy Jason Davies

 

Photo courtesy Morwendon House

 

Photo courtesy Jenny Burrows

 

Photo courtesy Mark J Davies

 

Photo courtesy Jim Cossey

 

Photo courtesy Karl McCarthy

 

Photo courtesy Kathryn Trott

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

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30 passion points
Squares and public spaces
23 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A variety of events that were held in Chamberlain Square until 2015

Before Paradise Birmingham took over Chamberlain Square at the end of 2015 to demolish Birmingham Central Library, the square had over the years been used for a variety of events. Here we will take a look at what took place here. From trails of Easter Eggs to the Big Hoot. Even 4 Squares Weekender took place here. The Lord Mayor's Show and the St George's Day celebrations.

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2009 - 2012

Back in the summer of 2009. June 2009 to be exact, the Monarch Beach was in Chamberlain Square with a fake beach. It was a hot summer. Pretend that you were getting on a Monarch plane at Birmingham Airport and jetting off to a European destination in the sun. The beach was full of sand, picnic benches with parasols and deckchairs. This view towards BM & AG and the Town Hall.

Monarch Beach

This view towards the Town Hall. At the time Monarch had destinations all over Europe from Birmingham Airport. I eventually flew with them once on a holiday to Spain in the summer of 2014 (flying to Malaga for a tour holiday of Seville and Granada and other places that were part of Moorish Spain).

Monarch Beach

Sadly Monarch, the airline no longer exists. They sadly ceased trading in October 2017. Since then we have also lost Thomas Cook and more recently Flybe. BMI Baby also ceased to exist years ago. So going back almost 11 years, this beach was nice to see. Not sure it will ever happen again.

Monarch Beach

The first time I saw the St George's Day Celebrations in Chamberlain Square was back in April 2011. It was a hot bank holiday weekend. The event also took place in Victoria Square that year, but was too crowded and couldn't see what was going on, so only got the photos here in Chamberlain Square.

St George's Day

Looks like there was a open air bouncy castle ride for kids, and behind a small ride. The view was towards the Town Hall. The city centre that day was packed and it was very hot, a heatwave. And I was walking back into town after seeing a film at a cinema in Five Ways at the time. So was just passing through at the time.

St George's Day

In August 2011 during the 6 week school summer holidays was Six Summer Saturdays. On this particular Saturday was Snow in the City. It was organised by the Birmingham Hippodrome. Event description as following:

Birmingham has woken up to a snow storm in the middle of the night and you can join in the fun and throw a snow ball or two. Yes, really! In partnership with Snow Business.

Six Summer Saturday's

It was The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and this was celebrated in Birmingham during June 2012. There was a stage set up with deckchairs for people to sit in and enjoy. All they they had performances by a tribute act The Rat Pack, and Rock 'n' Roll music from The Bravo Boys and Skiffle. Although when I went past I didn't catch any of that. There was also Maquee Workshops set up in Victoria Square with Union Jack flags.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

In August 2012 it was the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Jamaica from the UK. Jamaica in the Square was held in Chamberlain Square and in Victoria Square. There was a stage set up in Chamberlain Square next to the Town Hall. I was in fact on the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail at the time, so just got a few views of this event at the time.

Jamaica in the Square

2013

The Big Egg Hunt was a trail of painted Easter Eggs around Birmingham City Centre, for around a week during February 2013. Unlike the later Big Hoot or Big Sleuth trails, it was on display all over the country. Before Birmingham, the trail was around London. After Birmingham it went to Liverpool. This view towards the Chamberlain Memorial and Birmingham Central Library (which would close later in 2013 before the new Library of Birmingham opened).

Big Egg Hunt

Lots of eggs here, so I didn't want to take every individual one. The view near Birmingham Town Hall. Buses at the time still used Paradise Circus, and a bus stop used to be outside of the Town Hall. Fletchers Walk was behind (now demolished).

Big Egg Hunt

The only egg I took up close was Smiley Stop ;-) by Jack Brindley. Lot no 31. the view towards BM & AG, Chamberlain Memorial and the Town Hall.

Big Egg Hunt

One last view next to the Chamberlain Memorial. I believe that when this trail ended, they were all up for auction.

Big Egg Hunt

The St George's Day Celebrations that took place in Chamberlain Square during April 2013. With a Punch & Judy puppet show near the Chamberlain Memorial.

St George's Day

The entertainer here seen juggling next to the Punch & Judy tent.

St George's Day

Visitors on deckchairs in Chamberlain Square. A bit like a beach. There was pictures with holes to stick your heads in, get your picture taken.

St George's Day

The event spread over that weekend into Victoria Square as well. Plenty of things to keep families and their kids entertained.

St George's Day

Moving on to September 2013, 4 Squares Weekender was held in Chamberlain Square (also in Victoria Square, Centenary Square, Central Square and Oozells Square, Brindleyplace) to celebrate the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. Dancers from DanceXchange were on the stage.

4 Squares Weekender

The DanceXchange dancers at this point had their arms up. Some members of the audience were dancing along with them.

4 Squares Weekender

This moment the DanceXchange dancers were pointing their arms at the audience.

4 Squares Weekender

View of the stage from the side which was near the Town Hall.

4 Squares Weekender

2014

The last St George's Day Celebrations that I have a record of in Chamberlain Square took place during April 2014 (and in Victoria Square). This time it was a battle arena for Medieval Knights, not that I saw any them clashing swords!

St George's Day

The arena was set up between BM & AG and the Town Hall. So no deckchairs in the square this time. A different kind of event.

St George's Day

Close up it's hard to see what the people were looking at, but was shields and bows and arrows down there (I think).

St George's Day

Close up look at the medieval style shields. It was also during the Easter weekend. They moved the St George's Day events to Centenary Square the following year in 2015.

St George's Day

The Lord Mayors Show 2014 was held in Chamberlain Square during June 2014. View of deckchairs set out not far from BM & AG.

Lord Mayors Show

There was man climbing on this scaffolding with ladders towards the Council House Extension.

Lord Mayors Show

The deckchairs from the other side of the pool near the Chamberlain Memorial as a  pair of security guards look on.

Lord Mayors Show

One of the last events of it's kind in Chamberlain Square. The event was also taking place over in Victoria Square where you could see the then new Lord Mayor for 2014-15 Shafique Shah. This view towards the main entrance to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Where you could see the Marvellous Machines: The Wonderful World of Rowland Emett exhibition in the Gas Hall.

Lord Mayors Show

Held in Chamberlain Square during August 2014 was Minimum Monument WW1 by Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo. Ice sculptures on the steps. Held by the Birmingham Hippodrome. By the time I got there, most of the ice sculptures were melting. Was only aware of it that day due to seeing something on Social Media (Twitter probably). As you can see only the iced legs were left here.

Minimum Monument WW1

There was a lot of people taking photos of them. I would think that the summer sunshine was quickly melting them.

Minimum Monument WW1

5000 ice sculptures were placed on the steps of Chamberlain Square to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in 1914. This was by 2:30pm that day. There was also red petals on the steps.

Minimum Monument WW1

If I knew about it sooner, I might have travelled into the City Centre much earlier that day. But there was a lot of people around even in the afternoon, so wasn't too bad in the end. There had also been rain in the morning, then the sun came out. They might have lasted longer if they were inside in cooler conditions.

Minimum Monument WW1

2015

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Seen in Chamberlain Square during July 2015 was Our Happy Hospit-owl. The artist was Cathy Simpson and the sponsor was Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. This view towards the Paradise Birmingham hoardings around Birmingham Central Library. Demolition would not start until December 2015, Congreve Passage was still open, as was Paradise Forum.

The Big Hoot

This view of Our Happy Hospit-owl towards the main entrance of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The trail was on that summer for 10 weeks before being auctioned off.

The Big Hoot

The next time I saw Our Happy Hospit-owl on it's own was two years later in August 2017. The location was at the Little Ripley Day Nursery on Goldieslie Road, Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield. I was in Sutton Coldfield at the time on the bear hunt for The Big Sleuth, so this was a surprise to see at the time. This nursery must have won it at auction. It used to be outside of BM & AG in Chamberlain Square for 10 weeks over the summer of 2015.

The Big Hoot

Back to July 2015, and the other Big Hoot owl in Chamberlain Square was The Ship by the artist Neil Morris. The sponsor was Listers. The view towards BM & AG.

Big Hoot

I didn't get a direct on The Ship as other people were having a look at it, at the time. This view towards the Chamberlain Memorial. There was also owls inside of BM & AG to see, including the Little Owls.

Big Hoot

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Civic pride
21 Mar 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Inspiration

A Trifecta of Skyline Photos from Clent, Romsley and Frankley - 21st March 2020

Here are three photos of our great city skyline from the west, above from Romsley Hill, one from Clent and one from Frankley in the full post.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
People & community
20 Mar 2020 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

A collection of amazing Spring photography

A great collection of Spring photography taken by people with a real passion for Wales!

 

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Photo courtesy Ade Ward

 

Photo courtesy Bleddyn Jones - Pearson

 

Photo courtesy Helen Williams

 

Photo couresy Marilyn Williams

 

Photo courtesy Anthony Ward

 

Photo courtesy W J Jones

 

Photo courtesy Stephen Griffiths

 

Photo courtesy Sorcha Lewis

 

Photo courtesy Jason Davies

 

Photo courtesy Colin Duffy

 

Photo courtesy Marilyn Williams

 

Photo courtesy Gareth Southworth

 

Photo courtesy Rose Voon

 

Photo courtesy Ian Humphreys

 

Photo courtesy Karl McCarthy

 

Photo courtesy Kathryn Trott

 

Photo courtesy Edward Wyn Roberts

 

Photo courtesy Don Cardy

 

Photo courtesy Phil Taylor

 

Photo courtesy David Clemett

 

Photo courtesy Dean Taylor

 

Photo courtesy Drew Buckley

 

Photo courtesy Mark J Davies

 

Photo courtesy Nicky Mallen

 

Photo courtesy Richard Moult

 

Photo courtesy Tony Batey-Isingrini

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30 passion points
Food & drink
20 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A look around the Chinese Quarter over the years around Ladywell Walk and Hurst Street

The Chinese Quarter in Birmingham's Southside, has been based in the area around Ladywell Walk and Hurst Street for well over 30 years now. The area stretches from Dudley Street and Pershore Street in the east towards Bristol Street in the west. But the main area is around The Arcadian with all the Chinese Restaurants and shops nearby. Southside now stretches up to Station Street.

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The Chinese Quarter in Birmingham is located in the City's Southside area. Mainly around Pershore Street, Ladywell Walk and Hurst Street, with The Arcadian in the centre. Many of the buildings are Chinese owned, having been established here since the 1960s. It was recognised as the Chinese Quarter during the 1980s. Many of the buildings have Chinese style roofs and wall murals.

 

Ladywell Walk

These views of Ladywell Walk were taken during January 2011, just before Chinese New Year.

The Mapstone building on the corner of Ladywell Walk and Wrottesley Street. Various restaurants and establishments are located in this building. Malaysian Delight is located on the corner. Next door to that on Ladywell Walk, was The Village Cafe. They had Singapore, Malaysian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine. Since 2016 this has been Look In Takeaway Restaurant. On Wrottesley Street is Bambu, which is a nightclub.

Ladywell Walk

This is Chung Ying - Cantonese Restaurant. They were established in 1981 on Thorp Street. Located at 16-18 Wrottesley Street. This restaurant is known as Chung Ying Cantonese. They also have another restaurant on Colmore Row called Chung Ying Central.

Ladywell Walk

Next up near the car park is China Court Restaurant and Legs 11. China Court is at 24 Ladywell Walk. Legs 11 is now Stories Nightclub and this is at 30 Ladywell Walk.

Ladywell Walk

View of the entrance to China Court Cantonese Restaurant.

Ladywell Walk

Close up to what used to be Legs 11. United Travel used to be on the left. For many years that has been United Travel Alliance.

Ladywell Walk

A close up look at what used to be Legs 11. In more recent years this has been Stories Nightclub.

Ladywell Walk

At the far end near Dudley Street used to be CC Karaoke. From 2014 this was then CCK Lounge. But they still did karaoke. It is now the Royal 1 Club.

Ladywell Walk

The main entrance to The Arcadian from the corner of Pershore Street and Ladywell Walk, seen during January 2011. The Chinese Lanterns were in place at the time just before Chinese New Year. You can either walk straight in, or use (as I have done many times) the steps to go up to or down from the upper level. The path / road this way is called Cathay Street.

The Arcadian

By January 2017 this entrance to Cathay Street had been completely redesigned. These red Chinese shutters / gates had been added. To the left is New Sum Ye Chinese Restaurant, and Day In Oriental Supermarket is to the right. The entrance still looks like this now.

The Arcadian

This is how the Ladywell Walk entrance to The Arcadian looked like during April 2012. If you enter this entrance, the path is called Ladywell Way. The French restaurant Le Truc used to be to the left, but the unit has been vacant for quite some time. In recent years, this archway has long since gone.

The Arcadian

Seen in December 2012 at the corner of Pershore Street and Ladywell Walk at night was the Day In Supermarket at The Arcadian. This was before the top of Hurst Street was closed off to traffic at Smallbrook Queensway, so it was very busy with all the cars during the evening rush hour.

The Arcadian

This view of Ladywell Walk was during February 2013 with the Chinese Lanterns out for Chinese New Year. The Arcadian is the left and the Mapstone building to the right. Straight ahead on Hurst Street was Albany House (before it was recladded).

Ladywell Walk

In February 2017 Ladywell Walk was quiet. This was due to the fact that the top end of Hurst Street was no closed to cars, and they would eventually put bollards on Ladywell Walk just after the Mapstone building. At The Arcadian is the Oriental Supermarket, and next to that is the Ibis Hotel. This is near the proposed site for a Chinese Arch, which still hasn't been built to date. Although was a temporary cardboard box version in Hippodrome Square a few years ago.

Ladywell Walk

Hurst Street

This entrance to The Arcadian from Hurst Street is along Theatre Walk. Which was between The Coffee Room Cafe Bar (now The Green Room) and The Old Fox Theatre Bar. Seen in January 2011 just before Chinese New Year hence all the Chinese Lanterns.

The Arcadian

On Theatre Walk to The Arcadian during September 2017, this entrance had been replaced by umbrellas. But there is now just light bulbs up there.

The Arcadian

On Hurst Street during February 2011 was Circus Casino and Ming Moon. It was the former W.H. Smith warehouse by H.F. Bayliss of their architects department. There are shops on the ground floor to the right including Mr Egg to the far right.

Hurst Street

In this night shot from December 2012, I was able to get the building all in one, instead of having to stitch two or three photos together. Was by this point Genting Casino. Ming Moon was still there.

Hurst Street

Seen on these trees during December 2016 was these Chinese Lanterns. Seen a few days before Christmas Day. Passing The Arcadian.

Hurst Street

The Chinese lanterns on these trees on Hurst Street, close to what is now Hippodrome Square (or Southside Square) at the junction of Hurst Street and Ladywell Walk. Genting Casino and Ming Moon to the far left. Shops including Happy Lemon and Mr Egg. Then the Mapstone building on Ladywell Walk. Chinese Christmas lights were up at the time.

Hurst Street

The shops on Hurst Street during January 2017. Close to Chinese New Year, when it would be the Year of the Rooster. Happy Lemon and Mr Egg.

Hurst Street

A close up look at the Happy Lemon figure outside. They have different variety of teas and smoothies.

Hurst Street

Seen on Hurst Street during September 2017 was this Greek Restaurant called Santorini Restaurant. Located at 16 Hurst Street. In 2008 this used to be K Bar. By 2011 on the ground floor was The Spaceroom Cafe Bar. By 2014 this was T.E. Bar.

Hurst Street

Seen in the window of So Hair on Hurst Street was this Waving cat and dragon skeleton. Seen during November 2017. At the time I was heading to Victoria Square to catch the Remembrance Sunday Service. They are a Chinese hair salon.

Hurst Street

This night shot of the Genting Casino and Ming Moon Chinese Restaurant & Karaoke Bar was taken near the end of December 2018. In 2008 Ming Moon was Barracuda, while Genting Casino was Circus Casino.

Hurst Street

This restaurant is off Hurst Street, but is on Thorp Street. Chung Ying Garden Cantonese Restaurant. This was the site of their first restaurant in 1981, which led to the establishment of Birmingham's China Town (or the Chinese Quarter as it's also known). Seen during December 2018. From the same owners as Chung Ying on Wrottesley Street and Colmore Row. It is within a building dating to 1880. Built as the Warwickshire Rifle Volunteers' Drill Hall, the foundation stone was laid by Alderman Richard Chamberlain. The architects was Osborn & Reading. It was once home to the 1st Warwickshire Rifle Volunteers. Further down Thorp Street, is an entrance to Thorp Street Car Park through this Victorian building.

Thorp Street

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
19 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Senneleys Park in Bartley Green

This was a visit to Senneleys Park in Bartley Green, during December 2016. Mainly to find a sculpture that I heard about. Got the no 22 bus here (the route no longer exists but there is the X22 elsewhere in Birmingham). Remains of a Pyramid by Avtarjeet Dhanjal was what I came to see. But it was missing a bronze statue or figure.

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Senneleys Park is a large green space in south west Birmingham. There is football pitches, an outdoor gym and a BMX track. Large green areas, and a tree lined brook.

In December 2016 I got the no 22 bus to Stonehouse Lane and got into the park from Mill Lane. This is the Bartley Brook.

Senneleys Park

First look at the playground below an electricity pylon. It was not that far from the Bartley Brook.

Senneleys Park

One of the old Birmingham City Council - Senneleys Park signs from the Department of Recreation and Community Services. Looking quite worn at the time. It was near Stonehouse Lane.

Senneleys Park

View of the Bartley Brook with an electricity pylon to the left and a path to walk up on the right.

Senneleys Park

This path for some reason had these wooden frames as you pass down it. But then again it is also a road for vehicles to go down. Such as cars to the car park, or council park maintenance vehicles. There is at least two car parks in this park.

Senneleys Park

Slide seen in the Senneleys Park Play Area.

Senneleys Park

This path is part of the BMX track.

Senneleys Park

On top of the hill, the grass was a little overgrown here. There are paths that circle this hilly area.

Senneleys Park

There was another playground in the park called the Senneleys Meadow Play Area. With another slide for kids to use, and this swinging tyre ride thing.

Senneleys Park

This was what I came to Senneleys Park to see. Remains of a Pyramid by Avtarjeet Dhanjal. It was made around 1989 to 1991. It used to have a bronze statue figure with it, but it either got stolen, or went into storage due to vandalism. The broken pyramid pieces were made from Portland stone, but is quite weathered now after over 25 years. Who knows how it has fared in the years since I last saw it (4 years ago).

Senneleys Park

Another view of Remains of a Pyramid. The lost statue I think used to be somewhere in the middle between the parts of the pyramid. Wonder what happened to it?

Senneleys Park

It was a small booklet that I once bought from the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery that led me to find this sculpture. Public Art in Birmingham (priced only 50p from the BM & AG Gift Shop). There is a photo in the booklet showing the statue leaning against the right side of the pyramid. The booklet says the bronze figure was modelled from a former pupil of nearby Hillcrest School. It was cast by Frank Forster. Near where the Portland stone was discoloured a bit.

Remains of a Pyramid

Another photo shows Eleonor McFarlane posing with the statue as it was being made. She was the model used by the sculptor Avtarjeet Dhanjal.

Remains of a Pyramid

Scans taken from the BM & AG booklet Public Art in Birmingham produced in August 1993 by the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

I saw this dead tree in the park.

Senneleys Park

A gull on the grass.

Senneleys Park

A crow on the lawn.

Senneleys Park

One of the paths in the park. A bench to sit on.

Senneleys Park

 

A footbridge over a path. Close to Senneleys Skate Park.

Senneleys Park

Welcome to Senneleys Skate Park. The usual ramps and walls with graffiti all over.

Senneleys Park

A basketball court.

Senneleys Park

A boarded up building. Not sure what it was used for, but it has had a lot of graffiti on it over the years.

Senneleys Park

This time I was close to Senneleys Meadow Play Area and got a close up look at the slide as it curved round to the left.

Senneleys Park

The lawn with trees. A big field seen from a path.

Senneleys Park

One last look at the large field in Senneleys Park. A view like this could be in the countryside, but it is within the City of Birmingham! And if you look on Google Maps, the park is surrounded by streets of houses.

Senneleys Park

Took my exit from the park via this car park near Overfield Road. Welcome to Senneleys Park. The max height for cars was 1.95m under this gated entrance.

Senneleys Park

The park is close to Bartley Reservoir, Woodgate Valley Country Park and Lodge Hill Cemetery. Looking on Google Maps there is some other green spaces to explore (not right now though of course). One green space marked on Google Maps as Green Hill. There is also Old Quarry Park. So many green spaces around Birmingham. One day I might check them out (when everything is back to normal that is).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
People & community
18 Mar 2020 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

A Stunning collection of great Welsh Photography!

Here we share some of the great photgraphy taken by people with a real passion for Wales! 

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Photo courtesy Sorcha Lewis

 

Photo courtesy Marilyn Williams

 

Photo courtesy Ade Ward

 

Photo courtesy Bleddyn Jones-Pearson

 

Photo courtesy Aberporth Coastal Holidays

 

Photo courtesy Barrie Johnson

 

Photo courtesy Rose Voon

 

Photo courtesy Colin Duffy


Photo courtesy Brian Davies

 

Photo courtesy Dean Taylor

 

Photo courtesy Edward Wyn Roberts

 

Photo courtesy Duane Evans

 

Photo courtesy Gareth Davies

 

Photo courtesy Jenny Burrows

 

Photo courtesy Ian Humphreys

 

Photo courtesy WeLoveAberystwth

 

Photo courtesy Phil Taylor

 

Photo courtesy W J Jones

 

Photo courtesy Stephen Griffiths

 

Photo courtesy Don Cardy

 

Photo courtesy Tony Batey-Isingrini


Photo courtesy Gareth Mon Jones

 

Photo courtesy Anthony Ward

 

Photo courtesy Catherine Mayo

 

Photo courtesy Gareth Southworth

 

Photo courtesy Jason Davies

 

Photo courtesy Karl McCarthy

 

Photo courtesy Sion Esmond

 

Photo courtesy Drew Buckley

 

Photo courtesy Sheena Parry - Davies

 

Photo courtesy Mark J Davies

 

Photo courtesy Richard Moult

 

Photo courtesy Nicky Mallen

 

Photo courtesy Kathryn Trott

 

Photo courtesy Pembrokeshire Coast & Wildlife

 

 

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30 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
18 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

From the City Centre Floral Trail to the Big Hoot & Sleuth over the years in St Paul's Square

Every summer during the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail there used to be certain floral sculptures in St Paul's Square. In the summer of 2015 there was the Big Hoot and in the summer of 2017 there was the Big Sleuth. Here we will look at what was on display from about 2009 to 2019.

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Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

I started taking photos of the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail in September 2009 when I spotted Wallace & Gromit on Great Charles Street Queensway from the footbridge. Although didn't see the piece in St Paul's Square until November 2009. Planted Silver Tureen, which seems permenant now, was part of the 2009 Floral Trail.

BCC Floral Trail

It represented the Jewellery Quarter, and is of a Planted Silver Tureen. Which was made by Matthew Boulton for Mrs Elizabeth Montagu, a long time friend of his. It was part of a large dinner service. Similar products are still being made in the Jewellery Quarter today. Over 2300 plants have been planted.

BCC Floral Trail

It was a mixture of cotton lavender, curry plant and helichcrysum korma. A Christmas tree was out, and you could see the base in the middle that was later used for future Floral Trails and the later Big Hoot and Sleuth trails.

BCC Floral Trail

While there was a bit of purple, they had finished flowering by the autumn of 2009.

BCC Floral Trail

Seen during July 2011 was Planted Silver Tureen. Which I previously saw in 2009. The middle of July is the best time to see the lavender here in bloom. Looked like the base in the middle had gone (it would be back).

BCC Floral Trail

Seen in St Paul's Square during August 2012 was the Paralympian Tennis Player. A wicker sculpture based on Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker. It was the summer of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. And this was obviously based on the Paralympics.

BCC Floral Trail 2012

The wicker sculpture of a Paralympian Tennis Player seen from the back. It had red coloured flowers all around the base of it. Before London 2012, Birmingham hosted the American and Jamaican teams who trained at the Alexander Stadium and at the University of Birmingham respectfully.

BCC Floral Trail 2012

No wicker sculptures in July 2013 but this was when Birmingham was having visitors from the judges of the Entente Florale Europe competition. Birmingham was chosen to represent the UK by the Royal Horticultural Society, due to it's recent gold wins at various RHS flower shows in recent years. The lavender of previous years was still there, if a bit overgrown. See details further up about this piece known as the Planted Silver Tureen.

BCC Floral Trail 2013

Nothing much else to see at the time, so took these bushes and flowers as someone was sunbathing to the left. Note that you can see one or two of the gravestones to the right. But everything was lush and green. I hope the judges liked what they saw all over Birmingham at the time.

BCC Floral Trail 2013

The last year of the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail was in 2014, before the Big Hoot trail a year later in 2015. The theme for 2014 was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One in 1914. The British Victory Medal was a wicker sculpture seen in St Paul's Square during July 2014. It was one of five campaign medals issued to individuals who saw service in the First World War.

BCC Floral Trail 2014

This time there was red, pink and purple coloured flowers around The British Victory Medal. It resembled an angel with wings. People out and about enjoying the summer sunshine, sitting on benches in their shorts and t-shirts, or just walking up towards St Paul's Church.

BCC Floral Trail 2014

After the years of the Big Hoot & Big Sleuth (see below) it didn't feel like there was still a Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail. Or at least not as big as in past years. There were smaller trails, such as ones with dinosaurs when Dippy was on Tour. In August 2019 I saw the Angel in St Paul's Square again. Formerly known as The British Victory Medal in 2014. It was nice to see it again. The lavender that had been there for at least 10 years was still around.

BCC Floral Trail 2019

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Bejewelled Owl was by the artist Claire Scully and the sponsor was the Jewellery Quarter BID. It was near the lavender which comes up every summer. Seen during July 2015.

The Big Hoot

Slightly further back. People sitting on benches or walking past in St Paul's Square. Doesn't Bejewelled Owl look wonderful in the middle of the lavender? I once went to Provence in May 2011 but didn't see lavender there until we went to Norfolk in about July 2011.

The Big Hoot

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

Peabody by the artist Tory Allen and the sponsor was the Jewellery Quarter BID. Seen during July 2017. The lavender was there again as it is every summer.

The Big Sleuth

This view of Peabody with St Paul's Church and the distinctive spire.

The Big Sleuth

From the back, Peabody seems to resemble the wings of butterflys. This view looking to Ludgate Hill.

The Big Sleuth

There was at the time a second bear in St Paul's Square. Harley, the Original Bear's Angel, designed by Valerie Osement, painted by Mik Richardson and the sponsor was Harley Investments. The view to the main entrance of St Paul's Church.

The Big Sleuth

From the back it looks like Harley was wearing (almost typed bearing) a leather jacket, which read "Bear's Angels Motorcycle Club West Midlands".

The Big Sleuth

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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