Modern Architecture
12 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Introducing the Holiday Inn Express at Arena Central, Birmingham

Resembling the video game TETRIS during construction, the Holiday Inn Express hotel is located on Holliday Street and was part of the Arena Central redevelopment site (the first building to be completed). Construction started in the autumn of 2015. The hotel was opened in the spring of 2017. Located close to the Crowne Plaza hotel.

19 Holliday Street, Birmingham, B1 1HH.

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Holiday Inn Express was built on a site on Holliday Street in Birmingham City Centre. Construction began in the Autumn of 2015 and was complete and open by the Spring of 2017. When going up, the building resembled a game of TETRIS (on the Nintendo Game Boy).

Each piece was pre-cast off site and lowered down by a crane. The windows in shapes of a right angle. Eventually the building was cladded in a white and black cladding.

Since opening in April 2017, the hotel has officially been called Holiday Inn Express Birmingham - City Centre. Located at 19 Holliday Street, Birmingham, B1 1HH.

 

Regular contributors Elliott thinks of it as the TETRIS building, while Daniel as the Minecraft building.

Gallery of photos taken from 2015 to present:

2015

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

2016

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

2017

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

2018

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

2019

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

2020

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Photos courtesty of Elliott Brown

2017

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

2018

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

2019

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

2020

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express

Photos courtesty of  Daniel Sturley

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0 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 hours ago - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

APPROVED: Moseley Train Station

The historic redevelopment of Moseley Station has moved closer to reopening after plans were formally approved today (September 24) at Birmingham City Council's Planning Committee.

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The reopening of the historic Camp Hill line - which also includes the approved Kings Heath and Hazelwell Stations - will now see Moseley complete the final piece of the jigsaw that will see the re-introduction of passenger services to the south Birmingham line for the first time since 1941.

Brought forward by Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) and the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), the team are working with Network Rail and West Midlands Trains, as well as Birmingham City Council, D5 Architects, and Mott Macdonald to lead the exciting development of the new station.

Plans include two 150m long platforms with 50m canopies, seating, pedestrian access from St. Mary's Row, two raised walkways, lifts and stairs to said platforms, ticket vending machines, and a large pedestrian & cyclist walkway forecourt with a circular vehicular drop-off point (see below).

Platforms will be able to accommodate 6 car trains with a standard service provided every 30 minutes. No ticket offices will be delivered but machines will be prominently placed.

Lying within a highly sustainable location in centre of Moseley, ample covered cycle storage provision for 52 bicycles will be situated within a generously sized forecourt.

This will also become a vibrant public space for community uses with the intention to create an attractive new space that best reflects Moseley. 

The reopening of the station allows Kings Norton station to be opened up as an interchange hub, meritoriously connecting Birmingham Moor Street station with areas south of Kings Norton Station ahead of the forecast opening of HS2 (High Speed Rail) - effectively forming part of a fully integrated transport network for the West Midlands.

MOSELEY CONSERVATION AREA

Bound by Woodbridge Road, St Mary's Row, and lying close to designated Grade II listed heritage assets in St Mary's Church and the War Memorial, the site falls within the all-important Moseley Conservation Area.

No building work is anticipated, however, significant levels of infrastructure will be necessary to facilitate the station, including lifts, hard and soft landscaping, and the incorporation of the new roundel junction to increase traffic flow.

The current station site, lying vacant and offering zero contribution to the area, will be positioned adjacent the Grade II listed church and war memorial, but is generally expected to boost the Conservation Area with the reinstatement of the station line, offering a different mode of travel, as well as seeing the retention of the historic Moseley tunnel and wall.

To mitigate against possible issues, conditions with approval include suitable materials being used, landscaping, and noises from the P.A system will address any potential noise concerns.

PARKING PERMITS?

Once the station is up and running, the station will be closely monitored over a 6 month period to determine whether any traffic orders will be required. The same will be introduced to Kings Heath and Hazelwell.

A SECOND PEDESTRIAN ACCESS POINT IN THE FUTURE?

There was a lot of conversation from residents concerning a second pedestrian access point to the site from Woodbridge Road. Although it was agreed that it would certainly improve accessibility, it was deemed not financially viable to proceed with at this moment in time. Watch this space!

Words by Stephen Giles. Artists Impressions from D5 Architects & Mott Macdonald.
TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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20 passion points
Modern Architecture
12 hours ago - FreeTimePays
Introducing

The Cube, Birmingham, UK - A City Gem (modern architecture) - cycle, walk or visit with us

The Cube was built between 2007 and 2010.  It is located near The Mailbox alongside the Worcester & Birmingham Canal on Commercial Street and near Washington Wharf at B1 1RN. The architect was Ken Shuttleworth of Make Architects. 

The Cube is one of Birmingham's iconic builds and is much loved by the City and photographers.

Take our post.

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The Cube at 25-storeys high is a mixed-use development. It contains apartments, offices, restaurants, a hotel and a 'skyline' Steakhouse Bar & Grill run by award winning chef and celebrity Marco Pierre White.  The Cube even has its own bowling alley.

Taking inspiration from the city’s jewellery making tradition, Ken Shuttleworth's vision for The Cube was to create “an enchanting jewellery box”, rich with light and intricate gold and bronze geometric shapes. 

The building’s iconic jewel-like exterior is complemented by an interior that is filled with evocative bronze sculptures by renowned local street artist, Temper.

The panoramic view of the City from the top of The Cube is stunning.

For the site map select HERE.

Here is a selection of photography from our community.

This one taken during construction of The Cube in 2009.

Photographer: Daniel Sturley.

And here are some of our community's gallery of photography after the build was completed. 

Photographer: Chris Fletcher.

Photography: Daniel Sturley

Photographer: Chris Fletcher

And here are some creative takes on the build.

Photographer: Fay Loewy

Photographer: Imran Ali Bashir

For more detail on the build select HERE.

Coming soon - The Birmingham Gems 'Creativity and Culture Trail'

The Cube will be featured in an amazing trail of modern architecture across the City and a new showcase of creativity to be launched on a new Birmingham Gems interactive digital platform later this year.  

To find out more contact:

Jonathan Bostock, email: Jonathan.Bostock@peoplemattersnework.com 

07432 637322

 

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30 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
12 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A visitor for King Edward VII, his sister Princess Helena Augusta Victoria, in Centenary Square on the 23rd September 2020

In Centenary Square next to the statue of King Edward VII is a temporary statue of his sister Princess Helena Augusta Victoria. It is a publicity stunt from Netflix to promote their new film Enola Holmes, which starts on Netflix on the 23rd September 2020. The Princess was a founder member of the British Red Cross and President of the Royal British Nurses Association.

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There was a temporary statue in Centenary Square until Wednesday 23rd September 2020 of Princess Helena Augusta Victoria, the sister of King Edward VII. This is to promote the new Netflix film Enola Holmes starring Millie Bobbie Brown (Stranger Things) and Henry Cavill (Superman in the DCEU).

Princess Helena was born in 1846 to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She died in 1923. She was a founder member of the British Red Cross and was President of the Royal British Nurses Association. She was a lifelong champion of healthcare workers. She also campaigned for better working conditions, rights and pay. Which led to nurse registration.

Netflix had placed other statues around the UK next to other statues. See this article from Screen Rant.

 

Gallery of 10 photos below in a wet Centenary Square.

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Princess Helena

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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0 passion points
Green open spaces
22 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

An Indian Summer in Kings Heath Park during September 2020

A Sunday afternoon visit to Kings Heath Park during September 2020, on award winning person with passion Elliott's 38th birthday. It was sunny afternoon, plenty of people about. Cartlands Tea Room was open again where you could buy ice cream. Hopefully people were sticking to the "Rule of Six". Households can't mix at home so instead they have public parks.

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September 2020, means that during the month, Elliott (that's me) would have another birthday. On the Sunday afternoon, we headed to Kings Heath Park, for a bit of a walk around. The walk was a bit slow at times (I'm usually a fast walker, but wasn't on my own). On a Sunday in September with sunshine and fine weather, was a lot of people out in the park. Both car parks were full (personally I prefer to get the 11C bus there if I was on my own).

Since my last visit, Cartlands Tea Room has reopened. And you can buy a 99 ice cream with a Flake. The garden centre is open again, but only Monday's to Friday's. The TV Garden was still closed to the public. Kids playing on the basketball court, others having a kick about with a football, or at the two play areas. Or having a picnic on the lawn.

 

Sign / banner seen on Vicarage Road in Kings Heath, Saying that Cartlands Tea Room is now reopened.

Kings Heath Park

The large open field from the path near the drive. The odd couple sitting on the grass.

Kings Heath Park

A stunning blue sky and more people sitting on the grass.

Kings Heath Park

Floral display near the School of Horticultural Training. How home to the Cartlands Tea Room.

Kings Heath Park

Some people took their own foldable chairs to sit amongst the floral displays for a chat.

Kings Heath Park

Kings Heath Garden Centre. Not open at weekends. But if you go Monday to Friday, wear your mask, and stay 2m apart.

Kings Heath Park

Another field near the bottom of the park. At least one person sitting on the lawn. Perfect blue sky.

Kings Heath Park

Steps into the field to the bottom of the park.

Kings Heath Park

Tall thin trees near the bottom end of the park.

Kings Heath Park

More people sitting on the lawn near or having a kick about.

Kings Heath Park

View towards the play area near Avenue Road.

Kings Heath Park

Back near the School of Horticultural Training, home of Cartlands Tea Room (now reopened).

Kings Heath Park

One of the signs on the noticedboard of interest: Don't litter, if the bins are full please take it home!

Kings Heath Park

Entrance to Cartlands Tea Room. Was later a socially distanced queue of people queuing for ice cream or coffee or tea.

Kings Heath Park

They also had these sky blue chairs outside.

Kings Heath Park

Moorhen in the pond.

Kings Heath Park

Robin on the bench around a tree.

Kings Heath Park

Also spotted a squirrel climbing up a tree.

Kings Heath Park

A few more bits and pieces before leaving. One of the short woodland paths off the main path to the bottom of the park.

Kings Heath Park

Another peek at the TV Garden through the locked gate. I've not been able to go into here in over 6 years now.

Kings Heath Park

Never Give Up. Yarn bombing. This was on the fence even during the earlier part of the last lockdown.

Kings Heath Park

The pond, none of the fountain water jets were on. Hose pipe exposed above the water.

Kings Heath Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
21 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Hollybank Spinney on The Haunch Brook Pathways

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

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Hollybank Spinney

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

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

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

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

 

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

Approaching the Hollybank Spinney from Hollybank Road in Kings Heath.

Hollybank Spinney

Lots of trees and long grass.

Hollybank Spinney

Onto the path towards Ardencote Road.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

The path curves around the trees.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

Bit hard to see the Haunch Brook from here.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

Going back on the path towards Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Trees and bushes everywhere. A little bit of paradise.

Hollybank Spinney

About halfway back to Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

Not too far back to the end of the path.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

The other end of the Haunch Brook from Hollybank Road.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

This path was much shorter.

Hollybank Spinney

Trees all around the Haunch Brook near Chamberlain Road.

Hollybank Spinney

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

Hollybank Spinney

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

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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70 passion points
Modern Architecture
17 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

The Mercian, Birmingham, UK - A City Gem (modern architecture) - cycle, walk or visit with us

The Mercian, otherwise known as Moda Tower, is an under construction 132 metre high mixed-use skyscraper located on Broad Street, Birmingham. Developer: Moda Living; Architect: Glenn Howells; Construction: John Sisk & Son.

View full post for all maps, our trail of modern architecture and great images. 

Or select RELATED.

 

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For the trail select HERE.

For the site map select HERE.

For more detail on the build select HERE.

Artists impression courtesy Glenn Howells Architects.

For a gallery of great images and photography from our community select HERE.

Photographer: Stephen Giles.

Photographer: Daniel Sturley.

Photographer: Reiss Gordon-Henry

Photographer: Elliott Brown

This is a FreeTimePays initiative and collaboration with BirminghamWeAre to engage community in their built environment. 

For more information contact us on 0121 410 5520 or email jonathan.Bostock@FreeTimePays.com. 

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20 passion points
Construction & regeneration
16 Sep 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

3 Arena Central: A Striking Centrepiece

Cladding is virtually complete on this striking centrepiece of a building, right at the heart of Arena Central. Due to open in autumn 2021, Stephen takes a closer look at the development, and how the building is already transforming Arena Central.

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Three Arena Central strikes a distinctive figure on the skyline doesn't it?

At 14-storeys tall, reaching upwards of 73 metres, it will soon become a home from home for several government services, including the new regional HQ for HMRC, in autumn 2021.

Sporting a geometric pattern of hexagonal metallic rainscreen panels, the building sits at the very heart of the Arena Central masterplan where it is already forming a strong identity; wrapping itself entirely around each of the facades to resemble a jewel, or maybe even giving a subtle nod to the former TV show Blockbusters.

The cladding has been divided into a standardised beehive-like grid, so that the rainscreen system can be incorporated throughout. The cladding sports a bright metallic sheen finish, which is in stark contrast to its near neighbours - but that's not to say it doesn't fit in.

COMPLIMENTING ITS NEIGHBOURS

MAKE have certainly designed Three Arena Central to be the striking centrepiece of the redevelopment, whilst being fully complimentary of its more established neighbours.

Yes, Arena Central does have an obvious eclectic mix of builds, but they do share, in one form or another, an architectural connection.

Photo by Stephen Giles.

With its angular geometry on full display, there are gentle nods everywhere you look; the double-height pedestrian friendly colonnades highlight this.

Hexagonal in shape, they’re similar in proportion and scale to the nearby Grade-II listed Alpha Tower, and the recently-completed HSBC UK HQ, next door.

Once the building is complete, and it soon will be, they will wrap around three sides of the building and will allow natural light into the recessed first floor, whilst providing an open vista looking outwards onto the new public square.

These hexagonal features have been designed so internal and external views are both the same, which will allow the tessellating pattern to be enjoyed from both perspectives, whilst also delivering areas of floor-to-ceiling glazing.

The building will boast recessed windows; adding depth, whilst the chamfered corners will naturally frame the building.

Photo by Daniel Sturley.

Photo by Stephen Giles.

This not only connects the relationship between them, but it also connects the dots for the impending public realms at Bank Court (adjacent, complete with water feature), and The Terrace - near Holliday Inn Express.

Arena Central Webcam: September 15 2020.

LIGHTING SCHEME

The strategy is quite simple: let the building do the talking! But that’s not to say the building won’t be washed with light.

The ground floor will be internally lit and will be occupied by units. The colonnades will also be uplit, with the metallic finish of the cladding assisting in illuminating the area even further.

The projecting metallic ‘hoods’ will also reflect light to provide a striking view when seen from below. Offices above, subject to operations, will too be lit.

This will undoubtedly create a random pattern of illumination that will complement the facades tessellating pattern, and become an Instagrammers dream.

With external works nearing completion, the internal fit-out - awarded to ISG - will commence in November and will complete in autumn 2021.

Words and pictures from Stephen Giles, with contributions from Daniel Sturley. Artists Impressions are from MAKE Architects.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
History & heritage
16 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Spitfire and Hurricane at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum

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

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

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

 

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

Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX

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

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

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Spitfire

Behind the Spitfire was the Hurricane.

Spitfire

 

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

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

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

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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80 passion points
People & community
15 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Inspiration

Lockdown Photography Competition: Top 20 photographs chosen by our judges

It's not been easy but wih the help of our judges (see end of article), we've managed to select 20 photographs from over 200 submitted and entered into our Lockdown Photography Competition.  

The standard of the photography and the thought that has gone into all of the submissions has been quite amazing.

Take the article to view all 20. Enjoy!

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In 20th place ....

Photographer: Daniel Tonks

In 19th place ....

Photographer: Maria Reaney

In 18th place ....

Photographer: Fiona Probert

In 17th place ....

Photographer: Joy Batchelor

In 16th place ....

Photographer: Karen Elizabeth Bucknall

In 15th place ....

Photographer:  Jay Mason Burns

In 14th place ....

Photographer:  Damien Walmsley

In 13th place....

Photographer: Liam Nicholls

In 12th place....

Photographer:  Mac McCreery

In 11th place....

Photographer: Rachel Dean

In 10th place....

Photographer: Stephanie Jackson

In 9th place....

Photographer: Julia Moyse

In 8th place....

Photographer: Sylwia Ciszewska Peciak

In 7th place....

Photographer: Goodfella

In 6th place....

Photographer: TellyVision

In 5th place....

Photographer: Phil Hook

In 4th place....

Photographer: Tony Mayo

In 3rd place....

Photographer: Kevin Maslin

In 2nd place....

Photographer: Charlie Tomlinson

And the winner is:

Photographer: Jack Crook

Our Judges

Many thanks to our judges who helped with the extremely difficult task of selecting our top 20 photographs.

  • Nicola Beckford, Presenter/Journalist, BBC News
  • Anita Bhalla, Chair, Performances Birmingham Limited
  • Councillor Ian Ward, Leader, Birmingham City Council
  • Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands
  • Rebecca Woods, BBC Online
  • Justin Varney, Director of Public Health, Birmingham
  • Earl Falconer, musician, UB40
  • Robin Campbell, musician, UB40
  • David Furmage, Creative & Cultural Lead, GBSLEP
  • Ruth Millington, art historian, critic & blogger
  • Albert Wallace, owner, the bmag

Exhibition and video of photography

When restrictions ease we hope to run an exhibition of the photography.  With the wonderful UB40 providing the backing music, we will also be pulling the brilliant images together in a video and memory of times during Lockdown. 

Competitions, programmes and initiatives and celebrations of Creativity, Culture and Community

To find out more about our ongoing initiatives and our forthcoming events and festivals, please contact Jonathan Bostock on 07432 637322 or email jonathan.bostock@freetimepays.com 

 

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
14 Sep 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Construction of The Oynx - April 2018- September 2020

The Oynx is in the final stages of completion, with students now moving into the building.

Stephen, Reiss, and Alan have followed this landmark student development every step of the way - dating back to April 2018. For all the images, including details on the project & renders, hit the post below.

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Construction is reaching its climax at The Oynx - a 1,025 bed purpose built student accommodation development located at Lancaster Circus.

Reaching 24 storeys (76m), the development sits on one of the most prominent sites in this area of the city, with close access to both Aston and Birmingham City Universities.

The scheme comprises two separate builds of 9-13 and 24 storeys, with extensive shared spaces available, including common rooms, study zones, health and fitness areas, and a cinema and living room on the 24th floor - offering views over the city.

An external communal amenity space is also provided within a central courtyard area opening out onto the south of the site.

Zero car parking provision has been allocated, however, a dedicated pick-up/drop-off area will be provided on Vesey Street.

In terms of bicycle storage, 256 secure spaces will be located on the lower ground floor.

Artists Impressions from Urban Innovations.

The development is being developed by MRP - the property and investment division of McAleer & Rushe. Urban Innovations are the architect of record, with AIG Global Real Estate forward funding the scheme to the tune of £100m - the largest PBSA deal in the UK, as well as the highest value deal outside of London.

LATEST UPDATE

September 12-13 2020:

Students are now moving into the building. There's still a few more tweaks to go before this one is completed! Also, a large 'To Let' sign hangs on the ground floor which could potentially offer some much needed commercial activity into the area.

September 4-10:

Photos by Stephen Giles.

JulyNew signage up!

May:

Photos by Reiss Gordon-Henry.

February:

Photo by Sherp.

2019

December:

Photos by Stephen Giles.

September:

Photos by Alan Webb.

August:

Photos by Reiss Gordon-Henry.

June:

Photos by Stephen Giles.

March:

Photo by Reiss Gordon-Henry.

February:

Photo by John Egan.

2018

December:

September:

May:

April:

Photos by Reiss Gordon-Henry.

Photos by Stephen Giles.

Words by Stephen Giles, with artists impressions from Urban Innovations.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
Modern Architecture
14 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Introducing The Wesleyan, Birmingham, UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Kinospoter and Cinema Treasures. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

January 2010

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

Photos courtesty of Elliott Brown

The Wesleyan on the 26th July 2014

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

The Wesleyan

Photos courtesy Elliott Brown and Daniel Sturley

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90 passion points
Modern Architecture
14 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

The Library of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (Modern architecture)

The Library of Birmingham, which opened in September 2013, is one of the most photographed of modern builds in the City. It is estimated to have cost £188.8 million to build and contains some wonderful examples of modern architecture and design. 

 

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The design team for the new library was led by Mecanoo, a Netherlands-based architectural practice and the construction was led by Carillion. 

The building has been recognised for both its innovative design and for its positive social impact and has won a number of awards including:

  • National Constructing Excellence Awards (2014) project of the Year – WINNER!
  • Stirling prize - shortlisted 
  • Construction News Awards (2014) - Project of the Year
  • Royal Inst. of Chartered Surveyors (West Mids) Awards (2014)- Design Innovation & project of the year.

There are many internal and external to admire with this impressive build and the Library's outdoor secret garden is a must to go and experience.   

But before work could even be started, archaelogists needed to be called in.

Throughout the Summer of 2009, archaeologists were on site of the then car park of Birmingham Council, revealing the former Baskerville Basin.

Part of the canal network used to stretch into what is now Centenary Square, but was filled in during the 1930s to make way for a proposed Civic Centre. 

Once the upper layers were dug up, work could begin on digging up the remains and see what was left below. Intact brick walls of Baskerville Basin were found on the site with many remains and finds. Towards the site of what is now Centenary Square used to be Gibson's Arm which was a private canal built during the 1810s. Baskerville Basin was filled in during 1938 before the proposed Civic Centre was to be built. While Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory were built, the rest of the proposals were not which was indirectly due to the outbreak of World War Two.

Below is a map printed in 1880, this section showing Baskerville Wharf between Cambridge Street and Broad Street. Old Wharf is below (that was later filled in as well). 

Go HERE for more on the history of this site.

1880 map

Here are a few images taken prior to construction commencing.

Baskerville Basin remains

Here's a link pre-build in which you can see another of our great modern builds, The Hyatt Hotel. The side of The Rep seen here was demolished during the build of the Library with a new link between the builds being created.

Here are a selecton of images taken during the build of the Library.

Library Baskerville

Photographer: Elliott Brown

Library Baskerville

Photographer: Elliott Brown

Here is a selection of photography of the completed library taken by our amazing community of contributors at Its Your Build and People with Passion for Birmingham and all its neighbourhoods.

Photographer: Chris Fletcher

Photographer: Fay Loewy

Photo courtesy Daniel Sturley

Photo courtesy Barry Whitehead

Photo courtesy Jay Mason-Burns

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

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

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

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

LINKS TO MORE BIRMINGHAM GEMS.

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

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

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

 

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50 passion points
History & heritage
14 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Objects in cages at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre

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

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

 

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

Open Day on Sunday 13th May 2012

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

BMCC cages

Old helmets. Could be old Policemen helmets.

BMCC cages

Ancient Chinese (or Japanese) ceremonial armour .

BMCC cages

Very old clocks. Scales at the front.

BMCC cages

Model engines.

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

There was a lot of these old cameras.

BMCC cages

A coat of arms shield.

BMCC cages

Was plenty of old dolls in the cages as well.

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

This was a Ceramic figure of a man.

BMCC cages

Open Day on Sunday 16th September 2018

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

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

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

Lamp sculptures. Candle stick holders.

BMCC cages

Another old clock.

BMCC cages

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

Forward

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

Forward

Death Mask of Oliver Cromwell.

BMCC cages

Bronze bust of Frederic Lord Leighton by Thomas Brock.

BMCC cages

Sri Lanka Masks.

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

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

BMCC cages

In here was a ZX Spectrum - ZX Microdrive.

BMCC cages

Also a couple of joysticks with a keyboard and mouse.

BMCC cages

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
14 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

Introducing The Library of Birmingham

So much to explore at The Library of Birmingham,  The Library opened in September 2013 and is most certainly an Icon of Birmingham and one of the most photographed places in the City.  

There is so much our community want to share with you so for posts, photography, maps and all things Library of Birmingham take the related link. 

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40 passion points
Environment & green action
10 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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Scribers Lane in the Shire Country Park

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

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

2016

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

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

Scribers Lane

A look at the wetland from the footbridge.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

Gates to the woodland walk.

Scribers Lane

View of the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

Cut branches to the side of the footpath.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

Another view of the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

2020

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

A look at the River Cole from Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

Lilies in the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

The trees on the other side of the river.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

Cow parsley growing on both sides of the grass path.

Scribers Lane

Another view of the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

Was some nice natural reflections in the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

Close up look at the stepping stones.

Scribers Lane

That time we turned back towards the Trittiford Mill Pool.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

Pair of sluice gates on the River Cole.

Scribers Lane

And the other sluice gate.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

The heatwave would last until the end of the month.

Scribers Lane

Blue sky and a lot of long grass.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

Near the end of Scribers Lane.

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

Scribers Lane

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
09 Sep 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

The Construction of Symphony Hall - August & Early September 2020

A superb gallery from Daniel, Elliott and Stephen in this August and early September update, with the project now on the home straight to completion!

Click the post for a new render and some exclusive interior pictures from Galliford Try Construction - many thanks to them for sharing. 

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INTERIOR UPDATE:  

The internal scaffolding has come down to reveal the new extended space that'll feature the new foyer and performance spaces. Take a look around and you'll see some cool new seating in the form of cascading stairs and integrated balconies.

All images the property of Galliford Try Construction.

AND HOW IT'LL LOOK ONCE COMPLETE:

Artist Impressions from Page/Park Architects.

EXTERIOR: 

September 5-7: 

Photos by Stephen Giles.

September 4:

August 29:

August 19: Pouring down with rain..

August 13-16:

Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall

August 7:

August 1:

Photos by Elliott Brown.

August 7-8:

Photos by Daniel Sturley.

August 3:

Photos by Stephen Giles.

'LET THE MUSIC PLAY'

PROJECT TEAM: 
DEVELOPER: Birmingham Performances Ltd
ARCHITECTS: Page\Park Architects
CONTRACTOR: Galliford Try Construction
PROJECT MANAGER: David Stanley Consulting
COST CONSULTANT: PMP Consultants
CLIENT ADVISOR: Invigour
PRINCIPAL DESIGNER: CDM Scotland
MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL: Max Fordham LLP
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: ARUP
ACOUSTIC: Hoare Lea
WEBSITE: https://making-an-entrance.thsh.co.uk/
Words & pictures from Stephen, with additional photos from Daniel & Elliott.
 
Artists Impressions from Page/Park Architects; Interior images from Galliford Try Construction.
 
TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
08 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Return to the Warley Woods in June 2020

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

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Warley Woods

Previous posts from the Warley Woods:

 

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

 

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

Warley Woods

Proceeding to walk in the woods off the paths.

Warley Woods

Tall trees everywhere.

Warley Woods

Back onto the path.

Warley Woods

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

Warley Woods

The gates to the Abbey Road entrance.

Warley Woods

Some sculpted wood that looked like sarcophagus's.

Warley Woods

Now onto the path that goes around the golf course.

Warley Woods

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

Warley Woods

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

Warley Woods

Later saw this Sidewinder lawnmower.

Warley Woods

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

Warley Woods

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

Warley Woods

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

Warley Woods

One last walk into the woods to see some sculptures.

Warley Woods

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

Warley Woods

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

Warley Woods

Another set of sculptures, more like carved wooden sculptures.

Warley Woods

Another look at the drinking fountain.

Warley Woods

Back on the path walking to the exit.

Warley Woods

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
08 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Kings Norton Park on the August Bank Holiday Monday

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

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Kings Norton Park

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

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

 

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

Just the field and trees.

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

The bridge crosses a small stream.

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

Saw this sign about the Kings Norton Park Civic Garden.

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

A wide open field with trees.

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

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

Kings Norton Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
History & heritage
07 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Did you know?

J.R.R. Tolkien and The Shire Country Park

The Shire Country Park follows the attractive and varied valley of the River Cole as a green ribbon for some four miles from Small Heath to Yardley Wood. It was named in 2005 to reflect Tolkien’s links with the local area. The ford at Green Road (formerly Green Lane) is one of the few remaining fords along the Cole Valley and would have been very familiar to the young J.R.R. Tolkien.

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60 passion points
History & heritage
07 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Did you know?

J.R.R. Tolkien and The Plough and Harrow Hotel

 In 1913, aged 21, and whilst still at Exeter College in Oxford, Tolkien re-established contact with Edith and their romance was rekindled. They were married in the Spring of 1916 in Warwick and in June of that year spent a night in Birmingham at the Plough & Harrow Hotel. here is a blue plaque here, which was presented by the Tolkien Society in 1997.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
07 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Did you know?

J.R.R. Tolkien and The Edgbaston Waterworks Tower

Along the road at Edgbaston Waterworks stands a later Victorian chimney tower. The tower was part of a complex of buildings designed by J H Chamberlain and William Martin around 1870. The pair (Perrotts Folly) are said to have suggested Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith, the Two Towers of Gondor, after which the second volume of The Lord of the Rings is named.

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40 passion points
History & heritage
07 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Did you know?

J.R.R. Tolkien and Perrott's Folly

Whilst living in Edgbaston the young J.R.R. Tolkien would have been very familiar with two distinctive local landmarks. The extraordinary 96ft (30m) Perrott’s Folly is named after John Perrott who had it built in 1758. The crenelated gothick tower was originally part of a hunting lodge. In the 19th century it became one of the first weather recording stations in the country.

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The pair (Edgbaston Waterworks Tower) are said to have suggested Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith, the Two Towers of Gondor, after which the second volume of The Lord of the Rings is named.

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40 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Arrow Valley Country Park over in Redditch, Worcestershire

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

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Arrow Valley Country Park

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

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

 

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

Lots of trees surrounding the lake.

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

A wide open field going up the hill.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Heading down the path near a Cycle lane.

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

Continuing around the lake.

Arrow Valley Country Park

View of the club house of the Redditch Sailing Club.

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

A wider view of the boats and club house.

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

Onto the final leg of the lake.

Arrow Valley Country Park

Another view of the boats / yachts.

Arrow Valley Country Park

And another view of the club house.

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

Arrow Valley Country Park

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Heath Park on the August Bank Holiday Monday

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

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West Heath Park

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

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

 

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

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

There was also outdoor gym equipment.

West Heath Park

A view of distant modern houses down on Oddingley Road.

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

Another view of those new houses on Oddingley Road.

West Heath Park

Spliting paths.

West Heath Park

Another path to take.

West Heath Park

The path to Rednal Road.

West Heath Park

Up ahead was the portal exit to Rednal Road.

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

Saw a squirrel.

West Heath Park

On the path back down towards Oddingley Road.

West Heath Park

The basketball court and some residential tower blocks under scaffolding.

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

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

West Heath Park

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
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