Construction & regeneration
17 hours ago - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - May 2019

Some great views of the externally complete building including some from our recent photography & art trip to the top of the Rotunda thanks to Staying Cool.

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Birmingham developments overview map

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Photography
17 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The many outfits of the Birmingham Bullring Bull!

Everytime the Bullring posts a photo of the Bullring Bull's new outfit, I have to pop to the Bullring and get a photo or two of the new outfit! This gallery of the various outfits over the years that they have dressed the bull up. Usually for events such ad St Patrick's Day or Birmingham Pride or for Christmas time. Also known as The Guardian by Laurence Broderick in 2003.

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The Guardian was made by Laurence Broderick in 2003 for the opening of the new Bullring. Made of bronze. Over the years the bull has been dressed up in many outfits! One of the most photographed pieces of public art in Birmingham!

May 2009 - no outfit. One of my earliest photos of the bull, this was before I was aware that the Bullring regularly dressed it up!

Bullring Bull

June 2012 for the first outfit I noticed on the bull. This during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Dressed in a Union Jack outfit.

Bullring Bull

June 2013 - The Botanical Bull. This for Gardeners World Live. An event that comes every June to The NEC (usually after the Chelsea Flower Show has finished). Birmingham City Council enter's their display at both and they normally win Gold!

Bullring Bull

Santa's Little Helper for Christmas 2015. Seen in November 2015.

Bullring Bull

This red outfit seen during March 2017. Puzzle pieces and hearts. Created by LHM UK and BCU.

Bullring Bull

Wearing a red nose for Red Nose Day 2017. Seen during March 2017.

Bullring Bull

Onto Christmas 2017. The bull seen in this green outfit during November 2017.

Bullring Bull

Onto January 2018 and time to loose those pounds with Bullfit! Perhaps Mr Motivator was in town.

Bullring Bull

Chinese New Year 2018. 2018 was the Year of the Dog. Seen during February 2018.

Bullring Bull

A green hat for St Patrick's Day 2018, also co-insiding with the annual St Patrick's Day Parade in Digbeth. March 2018.

Bullring Bull

West Midlands Railway took over from London Midland during December 2017. And by April 2018 the bull was wearing an orange outfit inspired by the new West Midlands rail franchise operator! The other half of the former London Midland is now known as London Northwestern Railway (for services between London, Birmingham and Liverpool). Both are part of West Midlands Trains.

Bullring Bull

A multicoloured wig for Birmingham Pride 2018. Seen during May 2018. It was a rainy day at the time.

Bullring Bull

Onto Summer 2018 for this outfit seen in August 2018. A shirt with parrots all over and sunglasses (or shades as you will). Seen between a set of rain showers, but dry when I saw the bull like this.

Bullring Bull

It's now Christmas 2018 for this outfit on the bull. Hip Hop Santa. Seen during December 2018. Actually taken from the window near the railing down to Birmingham New Street Station. The bull normally draws a crowd and can sometimes get busy from the front, so I try and get him from the side or back!

Bullring Bull

Onto St Patrick's Day 2019. This was the day after the parade, so the green hat was gone, but the green outfit was still on!

Bullring Bull

This outfit was inspired by the birthday (and death day) of William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), which also co-insides with St George's Day! Happy 455th birthday Mr Shakespeare! (he passed away 403 years ago).

Bullring Bull

Now May 2019 and the bull was dressed up for the Rocky Horror Picture Show which was coming to Birmingham, which was on at The Alexandra Theatre. Also out in May 2019 at cinemas was the Elton John biopic Rocketman! But it was more for Rocky Horror.

Bullring Bull

One more for now. Birmingham Pride 2019 in May 2019. I expect more outfits to come over the months and years to come! If the Bullring tweets about it, I may again pop to the Bullring to try and get a shot! If there is bunch of people at the front, I usually try and get it from the side, like this.

Bullring Bull

 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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Construction & regeneration
17 hours ago - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - May 2019

Hard to keep up on this build it's going up so fast, here a massive gallery from many different angles going back to early May.

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Birmingham developments overview map

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Construction & regeneration
24 May 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Wow this is exciting! Proposal for development at S&K Building, Birmingham

The S&K Building is an exciting residential project in Digbeth.The planning application has just been submitted. Follow developments with us here at ItsyourBuild. 

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S&K Building is another in the long line of exciting developments proposed for Birmingham.

Brought forward by Taylor Grange Developments, the site is located in Digbeth and bound by Bradford Street, Birchall Street & Cheapside.

It's been designed by Corstorphine + Wright, who are proposing 6 new residential blocks of between six and nine storeys, providing a total of 503 one, two and three bedroom apartments.

To break that down, these will be 260 one, 241 two & 2 three beds.

We'll see the demolition (see picture below) of buildings currently standing in poor condition, except for the Bradford Street facade that is, which is being retained and incorporated into the development with a new two-storey rooftop extension.

RIVER REA

A new riverside public realm walkway linking through the site has been designed to open up access to the Rea - undoubtedly Digbeth's biggest asset.

Included is 350sqm of amenity space and 539sqm of flexible floorspace - three units, which could potentially house a cafe, restauraunt or bars.

All of these will be prominently located on the ground floor facing onto Bradford Street and the newly landscaped riverside walkway. 

There will also be two courtyard gardens, provision for 38 car parking spaces, which includes basement parking, plus space for 270 bicycles. 

There will be 35 standard car parking spaces, 3 disabled spaces, plus 5 will be allocated for electric vehicle charging points.

INTRODUCING: S&K BUILDING, BIRMINGHAM

Demolition plan. Red is to be demolished. Blue is to be retained.

All pictures and images by Corstorphine+Wright

Planning application: 2019/04152/PA 

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Transport
23 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Taking off or Coming into land at Birmingham Airport

I usually get the window seat on my planes in and out of Birmingham Airport, so I try to get photos out of the window, normally near the wing. During actual take off / landing I don't have my camera out (so may miss things I see from the window). But this is what I have got. I have just come back from Barcelona (May 2019). Photos also from the return from Lyon 2017.

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If I've been preoccupied by holidays and planes, it's due to my recent trip to Catalonia in Spain including Barcelona during May 2019. So not been thinking about Birmingham much. Usually go on Riviera Travel holidays (organised tours in France, Italy or Spain).

 

In June 2017 I went on a Riviera Travel holiday to Lyon and Burgundy in France. On the way back with Flybe, the plane headed over Sutton Park on the way down to runway 15 (near the Sheldon Country Park).

Heading over English fields somewhere.

Landing at BHX 2017

Am not sure but this might be Witton or Aston?

Landing at BHX 2017

Details hard to see from up here, but this maybe somewhere over Birmingham?

Landing at BHX 2017

Sutton Park

Landing at BHX 2017

Sutton Coldfield maybe.

Landing at BHX 2017

Sutton Park - it looks really massive from up here!

Landing at BHX 2017

Passing Erdington and Fort Dunlop.

Landing at BHX 2017

Closer look at Fort Dunlop. Bit hard figuring out the location on Google Maps!

Landing at BHX 2017

Probably the M6.

Landing at BHX 2017

Somewhere between Castle Bromwich and Marston Green before landing at runway 15.

Landing at BHX 2017

 

I have just come back from another Riviera Travel holiday to Barcelona and Catalonia in Spain, during May 2019 with Ryanair. Coming back it headed over the Warwickshire countryside down to runway 33 over the A45 Coventry Road. I had to miss the visit to the top of the Rotunda as it was the day before going to the airport! What I saw over in Spain was well worth missing the Rotunda views (a change from the same old Birmingham views).

On the first day shortly after taking off from Birmingham Airport for the 2 hour flight to Barcelona. I saw Resorts World on takeoff, but only got my camera out when we levelled up. Fields somewhere in Warwickshire (I think).

Ryanair BHX to BCN

Was thinking this could be Silverstone in Northamptonshire, but it isn't. It's the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire with their own race track. I saw it on the way back to BHX as well! Jaguar Land Rover are also based here (probably testing out new cars).

Ryanair BHX to BCN

Heading further south down England, more fields. Was a clear day on the day we flew down to Barcelona, not many clouds in the sky!

Ryanair BHX to BCN

It only took around 15 minutes before we got to the English Channel. More fields in the south of England somewhere.

Ryanair BHX to BCN

On the 7th day of the holiday it was time to fly home. The airport in Barcelona wasn't that far from the hotel so not far to go. After a 2 hour flight it was time to descend down to runway 33 at Birmingham Airport. Was cloudy most of the way so couldn't see much under the clouds until we went through the clouds.

Not entirely where this is below, but as a guess I could say Oxford? Before this was mostly just above the clouds.

Ryanair BCN to BHX

Heading down through the layers of clouds over England somewhere. The clouds look a bit weird from up here, and it always feels like going down on a rollercoaster ride (not that I've ever been on a scary rollercoaster!).

Ryanair BCN to BHX

Or maybe this is Oxford?

Ryanair BCN to BHX

English fields, probably in Warwickshire.

Ryanair BCN to BHX

More clear as we headed down to the runway. Flaps on the wings starting to open up.

Ryanair BCN to BHX

The flaps on the wings open out exposing the insides of the wing a bit. This helps as the plane lands on the runway and to help it to slow down before taxiing back to the terminal building. I noticed that we were heading over the semi circle part of the A45 Coventry Road. Would later travel on that road in the taxi home.

Ryanair BCN to BHX

 

If you want to see my French Chateaux post, it's not yet been approved, after I created it in March 2019 (but is visible to read on my page). My Italian Lakes post is up though.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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Environment & green action
22 May 2019 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

Brilliant! Birmingham wins Gold for the 8th year running at RHS Chelsea Flower Show!

Take our post and wonderful gallery to see how this year's Chelsea Flower Show display from Birmingham City Council and sponsored by Veolia secured Gold. This year's display focuses on the need for Action on Climate Change.  

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A partnership with Baroness Floella Benjamin, this year's garden from the City Council focuses on four key themes: air quality, water conservation, reducing waste and community involvement.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council said, “I am delighted that we have again achieved Chelsea Gold for Birmingham while simultaneously being able to highlight the importance of our local environment. This is the first year that we’ve been in the ‘Discovery’ area at the show and so it’s fantastic to be recognised for more than just the incredible flora but also the future vision for sustainability in Birmingham.

“However, none of this would have been possible without the support of Baroness Floella Benjamin and our brilliant sponsors, Veolia, who have paid for this year’s display. A big thank you to both who have helped us reach this great achievement.”

Donald Macphail, Veolia’s Midland Director, said: “Veolia are pleased and proud to support Birmingham City Council's commitment to promote resource management, as part of the circular economy. Our on-going partnership with the Council will deliver recycling and composting services to the city, which this wonderful exhibit demonstrates. To win an eighth successive gold is a brilliant achievement - I congratulate everyone involved with this project."

This is a wonderful achievement and the people of Birmingham should be rightly proud of the importance attached to Action on Climate Change right across the City.

 

Well done on another great win! 

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Art, culture & creativity
22 May 2019 - Debra Power
Gallery

'Sky High' creativity from The Rotunda - Birmingham

Our talented 'People With Passion' took an opportunity to share their creative skills and talents through a mixture of great art, photography & sketching, capturing the stunning skyline views of our great city. We are delighted to feature 'Birmingham Sky High' from the Rotunda as part of a BirminghamWeAre 'Sky High' feature.

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Before we introduce you to our stunning gallery of images, let's take a brief look at the history of the Rotunda.

The construction of the Rotunda began in 1961 and was competed in 1965 it stands 266ft tall. The original plans, were to house a rooftop restuarant & cinema. Dring the1980s sugestions were that it should be demolished.  However, from 2004 to 2008, the Rotunda, a Grade ll listed building was refurbished and partially converted for residential use. The redevelopment created 232 luxury apartments, including six penthouse suites on the 20th floor. The whole of the 19th floor and one of the penthouses on the 20th floor is run as serviced apartments by the Manchester-based operator, Staying Cool.  

 

Photo by Mac McCreery

 

Standing tall at 81 metres (266 ft)

Photo by Barry Whithead

 

The Rotunda still shining bright in the city centre after completion in 1965. 

Photo by Tammie Naughton

 

The Rotunda stands proud over our city -  The building had originally been intended to look like a candle with a flame-like weather beacon on top, changing colour to reflect the weather.

Photo by Elliott Brown

 

Below we share some great photography of sentional views from 20th floor of the Rotunda. What great views of our ever changing city's skyline.

Photo by Daniel Sturley

 

Photo by Damien Walmsley

 

Photo by Karl Newton

 

Photo by Pete Davies

 

Photo by Simon Felton

 

Photo by Christine Wright

 

Sketching by Tim Griffiths

 

Photo by Stephen Cooper

 

Photo by Damien Walmsley

 

Photo by Chris Fletcher

 

Photo by Kev Maslin

 

Photo by Damien Walmsley

 

Photo by Jay Mason-Burns

 

Photo by Pete Davies

 

Photo by John Paddington

 

Photo by  Damien Walmsley

 

Photo by Jay Mason-Burns

 

Photo by Karl Newton

 

Photo by Daniel Sturley

 

Photo by Kev Maslin

 

Photo by Damien Walmsley

 

Photo by Chris Fletcher

 

Photo by Kev Maslin

 

Photo by Damien Walmsley

 

Photo by Daniel Sturley

 

 

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Environment & green action
21 May 2019 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

When Puffin and plastic meets - We must make a difference!

We must make a difference, before it's to late....... Plastic polution affects all our beautiful wildlife on land & sea, and there very exsitence. When Puffin meets plastic on the Welsh Island of Skokholm, on the Pembrokeshire Coast, an example, of the affect plastic waste is having on all our wildlife & their environment around the world. 

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One parent bringing back sand eels to the burrow for it's baby puffin.

The other a bundle of plastic waste........

They usually keep the same mate every season and use the same burrow as in previous years.

All photography Courtesy Sorcha Lewis 

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Construction & regeneration
21 May 2019 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

Introducing Smithfield (previously home to the Wholesale Market), Birmingham, UK

Take the post for details of Smithfield development and plans going forward. 

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PROJECT DETAIL:

Demolition of the former Wholesale Markets is well underway, which will then make way for a mixed-use family destination. In January 2019, Birmingham City Council announced Lendlease as its development partner to deliver the transformation of the 17-hectare Birmingham Smithfield site.

Birmingham Smithfield is a £1.5 billion redevelopment project that will continue to position the city on an international stage.

Lendlease will form a contractual joint venture with the city council and lead the creation of an urban quarter that will include a new home for the city’s historic Bull Ring retail markets, a unique family destination including a leisure and cultural offer, a new public square, integrated public transport and more than 2,000 homes with a public park and community facilities.

The development of Birmingham Smithfield is part of the city’s Big City Plan, launched in 2010, which sets out a 25-year vision to grow the city centre by more than 25 per cent. As one of the areas of transformation, Birmingham Smithfield is located directly adjacent to the Bullring and New Street Station; and will be a short walk from the new High Speed 2 City Centre Terminus Station which is set to open in 2026.

The council and Lendlease will finalise the terms of the partnership, start the preparation of a planning application and produce a business plan for the site’s redevelopment before the formal award of the contract, which is expected to happen by the end of the year.

The first phase of the scheme set to include the new homes, the new retail markets building and public realm.

DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS:

Lendlease & Birmingham City Council

MASTERPLANNING ARCHITECTS:

Prior Associates

PHOTOS & IMAGES from Lendlease and Prior Associates:

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Construction & regeneration
19 May 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - May 2019

The cladding is approaching completion and is really starting to catch the light, many more photos from various perspectives in this gallery, including from our recent trip to the top of the Rotunda thanks to Staying Cool.

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Photos by Stephen Giles

 

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Construction & regeneration
19 May 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - May 2019

Two Chamberlain Square is well on the way to looking like a finished building, here's the latest construction photo gallery.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Construction & regeneration
15 May 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Grand Hotel, Birmingham - Update on restoration work (May 2019)

Birmingham’s most iconic hotel is set to be restored to its former glory when it opens next year.

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Occupying a prominent position on the city’s grandest address of all, Colmore Row, The Grand Birmingham Hotel is scheduled to open its doors in May 2020.

It follows ten years of extensive renovation works throughout the building, which has seen Hortons’ Estate invest more than £25 million to give this Grade-II listed beauty a well deserved second chance at life.

Developed by the Horton Family themselves between 1879 and 1895, this opulent French Renaissance inspired building has played host to royalty, A-list Hollywood film stars and politicians over the years, as well as staging many dinners, concerts and dances in the picturesque Grosvenor Suite – a suite that will be returning to the public next year.

The Grand Hotel, 1894 - Photo by British Library

The Grand Ballroom - Photo by Birmingham Post

Plush new shops, upmarket restaurants and upgraded new offices now adorn the lower floors fronting onto Colmore Row, with more to come on Barwick Street.

This work has been supported by grants from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), Birmingham City Council and Historic England.

Photo by 55ColmoreRow

Photo by Tom Grunt

HOTEL OPERATOR

The crowning glory for Hortons' Estate in all of this was securing a hotel operator, however, this has proved to be more difficult than anticipated.

The search for a builder to undergo works, in order to attract an operator, has been painstakingly frustrating at times, with builders put off by the antiquated nature of the interior, with modernising works seemingly too difficult to overcome.

However, a deal was reached and an announcement was duly made midway through 2017 when Principal Hotel Company announced plans to turn the upper floors into a luxury 180-room hotel.

The hotel will include extensive conference and banquet spaces, along with a restaurant, bar, and spa.

Initial plans for a rooftop infinity pool have since been scrapped in favour of five more spacious rooms. The hotel will now contain a total of 185 rooms, with a decision on the star rating yet to be made.

“We have always believed that the restoration of The Grand would not be complete if it did not include a luxury hotel.

After considerable time and effort we have chosen to work with Principal on the project because they share our commitment to creating the city’s finest hotel and because of their impressive track record working on similar buildings in other major cities.” - Tony Green, chief executive of Hortons’ Estate

With the hotel set to open in twelve months time, Graham Construction won the fit-out contract to deliver the hotel late last year, with work inside very much underway.

The Grand Hotel is well on its way to being reborn!

Artists Impressions by Berman Guedes Stretton

For more information on Birmingham's developments, follow @GtrBhamDev on Twitter

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
14 May 2019 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - Photo Gallery (May 2019)

Cladding samples are now on site. Windows continue to be installed in the hexagonal frames, together with black sub-cladding. The steel structure on the upper floors are also close to being constructed.

Map of the site

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Photos by GregglesUK

 

Photos by Stephen Giles

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Art, culture & creativity
12 May 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, 'Sky High' from the Rotunda - May 2019

I went up to the top of the Rotunda today for the ItsYourBuild photography and art trip, I got some nice photos of the city and some rare ones, for me, of people.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Digbeth

One Chamberlain Square, Big Brum, the Council House Dome.

The Library of Birmingham, cranes at Paradise Birmingham, Two Chamberlain Square, Centenary Square.

The Westside towards Edgbaston.

Grand Central and New Street Station, John Lewis, Southside, and Westside.

St Martin in the Bullring.

Artists Paula Gabb and Tim Griffiths enjoying the opportunity.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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40 passion points
Green travel
11 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Velo Birmingham at Victoria Square

On the 10th and 11th May 2019, Velo Birmingham & Midlands was at Victoria Square in Birmingham. For cyclists to register for the event, and there was also stands there with information and bikes there too. Velo Birmingham took place on Sunday 12th May 2019. Starting at Birmingham for a 100 mile ride around the Midlands. Including to Coventry and around Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

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Over the 10th and 11th May 2019, Velo Birmingham were set up in Victoria Square. So that cyclist could register for the event, pick up their number and get a goody bag! The main event itself was held on Sunday 12th May 2019 around Birmingham & the Midlands. That was effecting road closures and buses would have to be diverted. I wasn't expecting to get out to see the cyclists riding around the city and the West Midlands, but this gathering in Victoria Square will do (I'm not a cyclist, have never ridden a bike, or owned one!).

Riders can ride 100 miles or 42 miles.

A look around Victoria Square. No sooner had the Knife Angel been installed in the square, that they set up the Velo Birmingham event all around! This to the right of the Knife Angel and left of the Queen Victoria statue.

Velo Birmingham

Help Desk. Insturctions for registering for the event. Was a lot of people around.

Velo Birmingham

The Cycle Republic Mini will be the events crew car.

Velo Birmingham

The Cycle Republic Mini looking towards the Council House.

Velo Birmingham

Enjoy The Ride! This seen at the bottom of Victoria Square near New Street and the newly opened Nandos.

Velo Birmingham

Stands including West Midlands Cycle and West Midlands Network.

Velo Birmingham

West Midlands Railway were there too!

Velo Birmingham

Velo Birmingham & Midlands banners seen near the Knife Angel from Chamberlain Square, looking towards Victoria Square House.

Velo Birmingham

The view from Colmore Row towards the Town Hall.

Velo Birmingham

Good luck to all the riders taking part. (am assuming that this will go up after the Velo Birmingham event has finished).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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Civic pride
10 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

If you visit Sarehole Mill, inside or out, you may see these signs (if they are still there) of a Bilbo Baggins / The Hobbit trail. The biopic Tolkien was released in UK cinemas in early May 2019. Featuring scenes set in Birmingham and near Sarehole Mill and around Edgbaston and the City Centre. This is a fun trail for Tolkien fans!

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These photos below were taken during a free open day at Sarehole Mill in October 2013. Couldn't help but notice these The Hobbit signs. Clearly part of a picture trail round the mill!

Seen in the tea room, when it also used to be the ticket office (that was later moved into a building close to the car park).

Bilbo Baggins - look for his pictures around the mill.

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

Gandalf the Grey - he is looking for young Bilbo Baggins.

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

Bilbo Baggins - a Hobbit.

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

Gandalf A grey wizard.

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

Thorin Leader of the Dwarves

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

Gollum A Stoor Hobbit of the River folk.

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

On the top floor of the mill, Bilbo's house!

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

When the leaves are gold before they fall, look for Bilbo in the woods of the Shire

The Hobbit at Sarehole Mill

During another visit to the gardens of Sarehole Mill (September 2016), I saw these four signs on stones with JRR Tolkien quotes from his books! Only had my (then) smartphone camera on me at the time. So not as detailed as would be on my main camera. I would guess that they were meant to be clues?

One Ring to rule them all One Ring to find them ...

JRR Tolkien LOTR quote

Tall ships and tall rings, Three times three what brought they from the foundered land ...

JRR Tolkien LOTR quote

For Bole and bougo Are burning a bit the furnace We go to War ...

JRR Tolkien LOTR quote

Reeds by the shady pond. Lillies on the water ...

JRR Tolkien LOTR quote

Bonus photos. It was the Summer of 2015. And The Big Hoot's Little Hoot trail was on around Birmingham, along with the bigger The Big Hoot trail. In Kings Heath they had several of them in shop windows. But if you popped into Lloyds Bank between July and August 2015 (may have still been there September 2015), you may have seen Frowldo Baggins!

Frowldo Baggins

This owlet was designed by Zac Iman and based on the character Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings. I saw it during August 2015 in the Lloyds Bank in Kings Heath (Alcester Road South next door to Sainsbury's).

Frowldo Baggins

There was little owl sculptures at Sarehole Mill, but they weren't really Tolkien related.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 May 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - May 2019

Some 'Beaky Blinders' hanging around in Centenary Square with the externally completed One Chamberlain Square, the new home for PwC in the Midlands. More photos in the gallery.

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Construction & regeneration
10 May 2019 - Tom Grunt
News & Updates

Timber Yard, Birmingham, UK - latest update

Work has commenced on the build of Timber Yard, a residential scheme in the Southside area of Birmingham.  

Take the post for more on this build.

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Timber Yard is a residential scheme in the Southside area of Birmingham designed by Claridge Architects.

It is one of several projects brought forward by joint-venture developers Apsley House Capital and Galliard Homes, and the first one to have reached a construction stage.

The project includes 379 apartments spread across two buildings ranging from 7 to 14 storeys, lots of private and public green space, plenty of ground floor commercial space, private gym for residents, concierge, cinema and 95 car park spaces.

There’s going to be 10 commercial units for shops and restaurants on the ground floor and all located on Skinner Lane. These will benefit from a number of bespoke, timber benches placed along this street.

A planning application was submitted in November 2017 with approval granted in October 2018. There was a brief delay in approving the scheme as objections were raised by local club owners, who feared that presence of apartments in immediate vicinity of their clubs could lead to noise complaints from future residents, which in turn could lead to the clubs being forced to close.

Following these complaints, the developer held a meeting with the club owners and reassured them that all the bedroom windows would be sufficiently sound-proofed.

Architecture & Massing

One of the scheme’s objectives is to restore the urban grain in the area, as the plot has been nothing but a surface car park since the 70s which has had a negative visual impact on the landscape.

The density of this scheme is in keeping with buildings around it and also takes into account future projects, namely Smithfield.

The development acts as a transition between Smithfield and other residential builds to the west and north.

The city planners weren’t supportive of the originally proposed 19-storey building at the corner of Pershore Street and Skinner Lane and so the height was reduced to 14-storeys, only as tall as necessary to mark the corner.

The design directly reflects the area’s context, with the most used material in the area being red and brown brick, hence why brick has been chosen for this development, albeit of a slightly different colour.

The brick chosen is somewhat paler and has a more contemporary feel, but compliments its surroundings.

The site is bounded by four streets, and the composition of façade differs to an extent on each of the streets to reflect the immediate vicinity. For example, because Hurst Street is quite a narrow road with high pedestrian footfall and a lot of shops, it felt appropriate that the façade facing this road should assume a more vertical expression.

On the other hand, blocks facing Skinner Lane and Pershore Street have façades with wider openings and horizontal expressions as the roads are wider and are not major pedestrian routes.

Public Space & Greenery

The block breaks up in two places which allows for creation of two public pocket parks, one on Skinner Lane and one on Claybrook Street.

There’s a large communal private garden in the courtyard on which grass, fern, shrubs and trees will be planted in an informal arrangement. A pedestrian route with benches will run through the garden, and give off a light woodland feel.

Further greenery is going to be created along Claybrook Street with a wide planting strip created running along the full length of the street and varieties of indigenous wild flowers will be planted on the roof to create bio-diverse gardens.

It is one of the first pieces of puzzle in the continuous regeneration of this part of Birmingham, with a number of other schemes underway or proposed.

Tomas Grunt

Artist impression by Claridge Architects

Artist impression by Claridge Architects

Artist impression by Claridge Architects

Artist impression by Claridge Architects

Artist impression by Claridge Architects

Artist impression by Claridge Architects

Artist impression by Claridge Architects

Photo by Stephen Giles

Photo by Stephen Giles

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40 passion points
People & community
09 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Knife Angel in Coventry and Birmingham

The Knife Angel by Alfie Bradley was in Coventry for around 2 months. During March and April 2019. It was located outside of Coventry Cathedral. It has now moved to Birmingham and is in Victoria Square for the duration of May 2019 until the beginning of June 2019.

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The Knife Angel by Alfie Bradley was made out of over 100,000 knives that were handed over in 2015/16. He made it at the British Ironworks Centre in Oswestry and is a memorial to those affected by knife crime. It is 27ft high. In 2018 it began it's tour of the UK outside of Liverpool Cathedral. It has also been shown in Hull.

Knife Angel in Coventry

Seen outside of Coventry Cathedral at the end of March 2019. I got the train down from Birmingham New Street to Coventry to see it. At the time, wasn't aware that it would be moving to Birmingham in May! There was a crowd of people in front of it, so I took these from a distance, close to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. On the left is Epstein's sculpture of St.Michael and Lucifer. It was in Coventry from the 14th March to the 7th May 2019.

Knife Angel Coventry

Zoom in's of the Knife Angel outside of Coventry Cathedral.

Knife Angel Coventry

It's position in Coventry meant you couldn't fully see the wings behind, but you can in Victoria Square, Birmingham!

Knife Angel Coventry

There was some kind of event on at the Coventry Cathedral ruins on the 30th March 2019, and I saw all these coaches and buses parked near the cathedral. I'm not sure if they were there for the Knife Angel, for some other event. I think I saw a VIP car parked close to Coventry University as well.

Coaches and buses at Coventry Cathedral

Knife Angel in Birmingham

The Knife Angel was moved to Victoria Square in Birmingham in front of the the Town Hall during early May 2019. First shown to the public on the 8th May 2019, it will be in Birmingham until at least the 5th June 2019. Details from Birmingham City Council here Birmingham welcomes the Knife Angel as city works to tackle knife crime.

As with Coventry, when I got to Victoria Square, found a crowd of people in front of the Knife Angel. So I took a zoom in from distance. I think it's better to take photos of it from a little bit far away!

Knife Angel Birmingham

A zoom in of the Knife Angel in front of the Town Hall.

Knife Angel Birmingham

A comparison of the Knife Angel with the statue of Queen Victoria and the Chamberlain Memorial in Chamberlain Square. Two and One Chamberlain Square to the right as well.

Knife Angel Birmingham

Looking to Chamberlain Square. The location in Victoria Square, means that you can now see the wings of the Knife Angel from behind (that wasn't possible in Coventry). One Chamberlain Square to the left and the Council House to the right.

Knife Angel Birmingham

View of the wings from the right side towards the Council House. Most people viewing the Knife Angel from the front.

Knife Angel Birmingham

The wings fully from the back of the Knife Angel. Statue of Queen Victoria to the right. Crane for 103 Colmore Row to the left.

Knife Angel Birmingham

The view from the bottom of the steps of the Knife Angel with the Chamberlain Memorial. Backed by the Town Hall, Two Chamberlain Square and One Chamberlain Square.

Knife Angel Birmingham

Seen with the Floozie in the Jacuzzi. And can you see Queen Victoria in the Floozie's lap?

Knife Angel Birmingham

Let's hope that Anthony Gormley's Iron:Man returns soon, although that's unlikely by the time the Knife Angel leaves Birmingham for it's next destination! This is just a mock up. The Iron:Man is still in storage, at least until the Westside Metro Extension near the Town Hall is completed!

Knife Angel Birmingham

 

If anyone wants their Knife Angel photos in a gallery, please send them to Daniel or Deb who I'm sure will produce a gallery of your photos! I recommend doing a Coventry and Birmingham gallery in one.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
People & community
08 May 2019 - The Friends of Kings Heath Park
Gallery

April in Kings Heath Park.

Fresh spring leaves, spring blossom, and Easter Egg hunting in the park.

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April brought new colours to Kings Heath Park as the buds opened to reveal fresh green leaves and spring blossom. The spring weather brought more people to the park, and the Friends of Kings Heath Park Litter Pickers were out, making sure that the park was tidy for all to enjoy.

The highlight of the month was the Easter weekend, with sunshine and warm temperatures making the park the perfect place to go. The Friends of Kings Heath Park put on a children's Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Saturday. Each child had to find one of the many wooden discs that had been hidden in the area of the park around the big horse chestnut tree, then exchange it for two eggs - a wooden one to paint, and a chocolate one to eat. The keen painters could also decorate rocks to hide in the park, continuing the 'Kings Heath Rocks' craze that has been keeping children and families entertained for well over a year now. 

The evenings are getting longer still, and the park is enjoyed by walkers of all ages, nature lovers, runners and sports groups, dog walkers, and families and children. A wonderful open space in our community of Kings Heath!

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
07 May 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Massive development at 103 Colmore Row in Birmingham is back on track!

The Landmark office development at 103 Colmore Row is back on track after a brief delay in construction.

Map of site

Gtr Birmingham developments overview map

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103 Colmore Row is one of a kind.

Standing at an imposing 26 storeys (108m from its lowest peak and 105.5m at its highest), it will become the city’s tallest office building once complete.

But not only that, it also takes the crown of being the largest office under construction anywhere outside of London, showing once more that Birmingham continues to be a hugely attractive city to invest and do business in.

Sterling Property Ventures and Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP teamed up in 2014 (until the latter were acquired by Patrizia in late 2017) to bring this project forward, that is until a top London investor entered the scene recently, which saw a brief pause on construction.

Tristan Capital Partners acquired Patrizia’s interest in the site and will now work with development manager Sterling PV to commence this eagerly-awaited development.

Work has now officially recommenced with work on the concrete core set to rise this month.

Photo by Sterling Property Ventures

WHAT IS IT WE'RE GETTING?

Artists Impression by Doone Silver Kerr

Designed by architects Doone Silver Kerr, and currently being built by BAM Construction, 103 will boast 223,631 sq ft (square foot) of office space over 20 floors, 7,665 sq ft of restaurant space on the ground and top two floors, a winter garden, 18th floor terrace and multi-purpose business lounges. 

In fact, the top two floors will see a signature double-height ‘lantern’ bar and restaraunt, offering panoramic views across the ever evolving Birmingham skyline for everyone to enjoy.

It will be lit up like a beacon at night, ensuring that this majestic building is visible from miles around the city.

Artists Impression by Sterling Property Ventures

Artists Impressions by Doone Silver Kerr

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50 passion points
Transport
06 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Class 165 trains with Chiltern Railways, between Stratford-upon-Avon / Leamington Spa to Birmingham Moor Street

Here we will take a look at the slowest trains on the Chiltern Railways network, as seen in the West Midlands region. From Birmingham Moor Street to Leamington Spa, and also at Stratford-upon-Avon. They stop at stations such as Lapworth and Hatton, as well as Warwick, Solihull and Dorridge (not in that order).

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The Class 165 trains with Chiltern Railways are operated on their lines from London Marylebone towards Leamington Spa, Birmingham Moor Street and also Stratford-upon-Avon. They were built between 1990 and 1992 originally for Network SouthEast. They were refurbished between 2003 and 2005. With Chiltern they are known as Chiltern Turbos.

Seen at Stratford-upon-Avon Station during January 2013 was Chiltern Railways 165035. Passengers heading to or from London Marylebone can get the train from or to here. Tourists can come up from London to experience the tourist attractions in Stratford-upon-Avon, including Shakespeare's Birthplace, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre etc.

165035 at Stratford-upon-Avon

In October 2011 at Leamington Spa Station was Chiltern Railways 165018. It was heading towards Stratford-upon-Avon. This was one of my earliest photos of a Class 165 train, but I would take some more at London Marylebone Station during November 2011.

Chiltern Railways 165018 at Leamington Spa Station

Seen in May 2016 stopping at Warwick Station was Chiltern Railways 165023. It was heading to Leamington Spa from Birmingham Moor Street. I later got this train back to Solihull, and would ride it again a year latter when I went to Hatton. That weekend was the Wembley Special timetable, as the FA Cup Final was on that Sunday.

Chiltern Railways 165023 at Warwick Station

At Warwick Parkway Station after a walk up the Grand Union Canal, from Warwick Station, during April 2019. I found that the pair of Class 165's that pass this station don't stop here. such as Chiltern Railways 165005 heading up to Birmingham Moor Street. But the Class 168 Clubman's usually stop here between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone!

Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Warwick Parkway Station

For another Grand Union Canal walk during March 2017, up the Hatton Locks, I got Chiltern Railways 165023 from Solihull to Hatton Station. After a walk around the Hatton area, then heading up past the Hatton Locks of the Grand Union Canal, I returned to Hatton Station. After a wait of around an hour on a Sunday afternoon (having just missed the last train), I would get 165023 again back to Solihull.

Chiltern Railways 165023 at Hatton Station

My first visit to Dorridge by train was during January 2017. Seen at Dorridge Station was Chiltern Railways 165005. I was waiting for a London Midland train back to Acocks Green, but was more convenient to get this back to Solihull instead (and then get a bus from Solihull).

Chiltern Railways 165005 at Dorridge Station

Not stopping at Widney Manor Station during February 2013 was Chiltern Railways 165005. This station in Solihull is close to the M42 motorway, and near the number 5 bus route. Chiltern trains rarely stop here apart from rare evenings in the rush hour. Widney Manor Golf Club and the River Blythe are nearby to this station.

Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Widney Manor Station

I mostly get Chiltern Railways trains from Solihull Station, my local station on the line down to London Marylebone, but in recent years I have been going to the intermediate stops in the West Midlands and Warwickshire! Chiltern Railways 165007 seen during May 2013, stopping at Solihull before resuming it's journey to Leamington Spa. Is this James Bond 007's train of choice?

Chiltern Railways 165007 at Solihull Station

I saw Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Acocks Green Station during January 2017. It was heading from Leamington Spa to Birmingham Moor Street. I was waiting for my London Midland train down to Dorridge that day. I later caught this train from Dorridge back to Solihull, rather than wait for another Class 172 train back to Acocks Green!

Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Acocks Green Station

I saw Chiltern Railways 165020 passing Tyseley Station during December 2013. It was heading non-stop towards Leamington Spa, with it's next stop being Solihull. At the time I was doing the unusual journey from Hall Green to Solihull via Tyseley. I would normally get the bus down to Solihull. In terms of Tyseley I can get the 4 or 4A bus there on the Warwick Road (they were previously the no 37 bus). I saw this train again a few hours later at Solihull Station. Seen behind is the Tyseley Energy from Waste Plant at the Tyseley Tip (household and recycling centre for south east Birmingham). You normally see the chimney pumping out fumes!

Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Tyseley Station

Seen at platform 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station during February 2014 was Chiltern Railways 165019. I had just got off this train, having ridden it from Solihull. The train headed over the Bordesley Viaduct quite slowly! These trains are small, but quite comfortable to ride.

Chiltern Railways 165019 at Birmingham Moor Street Station

I normally only see Class 168's or Class 172's over at Birmingham Snow Hill, so will stop here for now with the Class 165 trains.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
05 May 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - May 2019

There has been some windows intalled in the hexagonal frames on the lower floors together with some black sub-cladding. The final steel structure for the upper floors is being constructed.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Green travel
04 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sky Ride Birmingham 2012 and 2013

While this event is no longer held in Birmingham, there used to be a Sky Ride event in the city back in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 it was around Edgbaston. In 2013 around Digbeth. Families could ride together along the route wearing a Sky Ride yellow bib! While we haven't had Sky Ride since 2013, a few years later was replaced by Lets Ride Birmingham sponsored by HSBC UK.

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Sky Ride Birmingham 2012: Edgbaston

This event was held on Sunday 19th August 2012.

Seen on the Edgbaston Park Road.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2012

Passing Edgbaston Park at The Vale (University of Birmingham).

Sky Ride Birmingham 2012

Passing a man with Union Jack balloons, looked like a clown with that wig on!

Sky Ride Birmingham 2012

Near the top of Edgbaston Park Road. I think it was bidirectional on this road.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2012

This bunch was turning from Church Road onto Edgbaston Park Road. Barriers round the corner blocked access to Arthur Road.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2012

Sky Ride Birmingham 2013: Digbeth

This event was held on Sunday the 13th September 2013. Around Highgate, Digbeth and Eastside.

Seen on Rea Street South in Highgate. Bidirectional on this road. Many side roads were closed at the time.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2013

Seen on Moseley Street in Highgate.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2013

Passing the Custard Factory on High Street Deritend in Digbeth.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2013

This was seen on River Street in Digbeth. Bidirectional on this section of the route.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2013

On Fazeley Street in Digbeth, heading for Eastside. Hotel La Tour is now the Clayton Hotel. Masshouse on the right. Bidirectional here too!

Sky Ride Birmingham 2013

On New Canal Street in Eastside, between The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station. The route ended / started near Millennium Point in Eastside City Park.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2013

While there has been no more Sky Ride's in Birmingham since 2013, Birmingham has had Velo Birmingham in September 2017. But that is for professional cyclists. The next Velo will be held on Sunday 12th May 2019 throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands. But there is an event coming for amateur cyclists, Lets Ride Birmingham. Sponsored by HSBC UK. To be held on Sunday 9th June 2019.

I saw this in the window of the HSBC UK bank on Poplar Road in Solihull Town Centre, about Lets Ride. HSBC UK are a proud partner of British Cycling.

HSBC UK Lets Ride Solihull

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
04 May 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Cannon Hill Park, the Memorial to the Sousse Terror Attack Victims - April 2019

In March the memorial to the 31 British victims of the 2015 Sousse Terror Attack in Tunisia was unveiled by Prince Harry in Cannon Hill Park, here's a small gallery of photos of this amazing sculpture called 'Infinate Wave' created by George King Architects.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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There are 31 stainless steel tubes creating this sculpture, one for each of the 31 British victims.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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100 passion points
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