Elliott Brown

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Art; Culture & creativity
06 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Raging Bull in Centenary Square and Ladywood

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The Raging Bull, from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was in Centenary Square from 29th July to 23rd September 2022. After that he was moved to a car park in Ladywood at St Vincent Street and Great Tindal Street. There is also a street art mural on Ladywood Middleway on the wall of CostCutter (near Spring Hill Island). That was painted for the Hi Vis Festival.

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Gallery of photos taken between July and September 2022, from Elliott Brown and Daniel Sturley. During the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, you could only photograph the Raging Bull from Centenary Square itself, but once the terraces reopened at the Library of Birmingham (in August) you could see him from the Discovery Terrace and Secret Garden. By the 23rd September, the bull had been relocated temporarily to a car park on Great Tindal Street and St Vincent Street. There is also a Birmingham mural with the Raging Bull on Ladywood Middleway (back of CostCutter), not far from Spring Hill Island.

 

29th July 2022

First day in Centenary Square, the day after the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Raging BullPhotography by Reiss Gordon-Henry

 

From above the Library of Birmingham Amphitheatre.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

30th July 2022

The first Saturday in Centenary Square.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

31st July 2022

Commonwealth Games volunteers shows visitors where to go.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

5th August 2022

Early morning view before the tourists showed up.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

6th August 2022

Super Saturday, the last weekend of the Commonwealth Games.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

13th August 2022

View from the Library of Birmingham terraces

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

14th August 2022

View towards Paradise Birmingham.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

20th August 2022

The Commonwealth pins was still in Centenary Square at the time.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

View from the Library of Birmingham terraces.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

3rd September 2022

First weekend of PoliNations, so they decorated the Raging Bull.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

11th September 2022

The Raging Bull was present for the Proclamation of King Charles III in Centenary Square. This was a couple of days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

16th September 2022

A West Midlands Metro tram enters the bus gate from Paradise Circus into Centenary Square, passing the Raging Bull on it's way to Library Tram Stop. As a pair of National Express West Midlands buses head in the other direction (towards Great Charles Street Queensway).

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

20th September 2022

The Raging Bull is going to miss the Conservative Party Conference 2022, but was present when the marquees went up.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

24th September 2022

A long walk along Ladywood Middleway from Five Ways to Spring Hill to see this mural of the Raging Bull. It's on the wall of a shop called CostCutter. Painted by George Tattooer' and artist Tokes, for the Hi Vis Festival, which took place in Digbeth at the Tea Works over the weekend of 24th - 25th September 2022.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Raging Bull was last seen in a car park in Ladywood near St Vincent Street and Great Tindal Street. The land is next to the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline. He is going away for repairs and TLC, and a home indoors (TBC).

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

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Sport & leisure
06 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Welcome to / Thank You for Visiting Birmingham sign on the Coventry Road near Sheldon Country Park

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Drivers or people on buses might see this sign on the A45 Coventry Road, between Solihull and Birmingham. Having just passed Birmingham Airport, and heading into Sheldon. Birmingham City Council in recent years has been using it to advertise athletics sporting events. Comparison from summer 2017 to autumn 2022.

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You can get to the Welcome to Birmingham / Thank you for visiting Birmingham sign on the Coventry Road in Sheldon, by either walking down from the Hobs Moat Road / Sheaf Lane junction, or exiting from the Sheldon Country Park (the path from the perimeter walk near Birmingham Airport). The X1 bus also stops near here. You can of course also see it from a car on travelling on the bus, or coach. You would probably have come off the M42 at Junction 6 (for Birmingham Airport and NEC), and heading for the Swan Island on the Coventry Road, or to Birmingham City Centre via the Smal Heath Highway?

 

Birmingham Athletics

Birmingham Athletics adverts seen in July 2017. Five years after London 2012, Team USA once again trained at the Alexander Stadium, while Team Jamaica trained again at the University of Birmingham. This was ahead of the London World Athletics Championships 2017.

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

 

 

Be Bold Be Birmingham

The Be Bold Be Birmingham poster from Birmingham City Council, seen on the Welcome to / Thank you for visiting Birmingham sign, seen during October 2022, with an image of the Bullring bull. A couple of months before it had an image relating to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, but only saw it from a car. I had caught a 72 bus from Sheaf Lane, Sheldon to Marston Green Station Interchange, walked through the Sheldon Country Park, past the Airport Viewing Area, to the Coventry Road exit near the sign. Would have caught an X1 bus from here, but too long a wait, so just walked back up to catch a X2 back to Solihull Town Centre.

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Photos by Elliott Brown

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0 passion points
Transport
29 Sep 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

National Express West Midlands: Birmingham Pride buses

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Whenever there is a Birmingham Pride parade, National Express West Midlands always has at least one bus in rainbow colours. They have been doing this since at least Pride 2018. And you can catch it in regular service during the year as well.

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National Express West Midlands proud to support Birmingham Pride 2018

Enviro 400 - 4879 - BX61 LNZ

On the 12th July 2018, I caught this National Express West Midlands on the 24 service, from Broad Street (near Five Ways Island). And got off at Colmore Circus Queensway (near the Colmore Building). 

Birmingham Pride

Birmingham Pride

 

National Express West Midlands - be proud of who you are

Enviro 400 - 4905 - BX13 JWE

First spotted on the 11th May 2019, on St Martin's Queensway outside of the Bullring, on route 47. It had been used for Birmingham Pride 2019.

Birmingham Pride

 

I next spotted the "be proud of who you are" bus on the 20th August 2019, in Digbeth. It was on bus route 60, while I was on a no 50 bus.

Birmingham Pride

Birmingham Pride

Birmingham Pride

 

On the 9th February 2022, I saw the "be proud of who you are" bus on bus route 97, it was on Moor Street Queensway.

Birmingham Pride

 

On the 1st April 2022, the "be proud of who you are" rainbow bus was on bus route 24, on Colmore Row, opposite of the Grand Hotel.

Birmingham Pride

Photography by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
Transport
13 Sep 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Birmingham Bus Bash at Birmingham Moseley Rugby - 4th September 2022

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The Birmingham Bus Bash for 2022 was held at Birmingham Mosely Rugby, at Billesley Common, on Sunday 4th September 2022 (near Yardley Wood Road). Elliott popped along on Sunday afternoon around half an hour before it finished for the day. Not as many buses here like the 2017 Bus Bash at Cannon Hill Park. Was also free bus rides to The Transport Museum, Wythall. 

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This is the first Bus Bash I have been to since the Birmingham Bus Bash 2017 at Cannon Hill Park. The 2022 Bus Bash was the first one since 2019 to be in person (2020 and 2021 was online only during the pandemic). This bus bash seemed a bit smaller with less buses than before. But still had a prescence from National Express West Midlands / Coventry and The Transport Museum, Wythall. Was the usual free bus rides towards the museum from Birmingham Moseley Rugby (Billesley Common) and back.

 

National Express West Midlands / National Express Coventry

In the field in front of the pitch of Birmingham Moseley Rugby (while a women's rugby game was on). There was line up of modern National Express West Midlands and National Express Coventry heritage livery buses. Plus a Hydrogen and Electric bus (not heritage livery).

From left to right: National Express West Midlands 4780, 4535, 1834, 2102, 4722, 4679. National Express Coventry 4453 and 875. National Express West Midlands 4651 and National Express West Midlands Hydrogen H1013. National Express Coventry Electric E038.

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

 

Midland Red West

I'd only see Midland Red West about 6 days before at The Transport Museum, Wythall on the August Bank Holiday Monday. But saw it again from the Maypole on Alcester Road South. I'd caught a 50 down to the Maypole to pop to the Starbucks Coffee Drive Thru, and was thinking of catching a no 2 bus to Billesley on Maypole Lane, but then remembered the 2 doesn't run to the Maypole on Sunday's, so walked back to Alcester Road South to catch a 50 to Wheelers Lane. And then would walk to Birmingham Moseley Rugby via the back entrance road.

Midland Red West 544 was taking visitors for free from Birmingham Moseley Rugby (venue of the Birmingham Bus Bash 2022) to The Transport Museum, Wythall.

I later saw it again on leaving the Bus Bash, this time it was on Yardley Wood Road and Brook Lane in Billesley (but was in a bus stop waiting to catch an 11A, and it was raining).

Midland Red West

Midland Red West

Midland Red West

 

Yellow Buses

At the Bus Bash, I saw this pair of yellow buses. The first on the left was the Midland Red Towing bus. To the right of that was the Children's Party Bus. Piccadilly Whip ice cream van was to the right of the Party Bus. I'd previously seen the Midland Red Towing bus at The Transport Museum, Wythall over the August Bank Holiday Monday.

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

 

Birmingham City Transport and coaches

It's Birmingham City Transport 2222 again. I once caught that from Snow Hill Queensway to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre back in September 2018 (four years ago). Next to the BCT bus was two coaches including: National Express XC 262 and Mighty Travels. I saw BCT 2222, JOJ 222 one last time from the bus stop on Yardley Wood Road (opposite Billesley Community Fire Station). Didn't get a photo, but it was raining, and I was in the bus stop waiting for the 11A at the time. I think it went back to Acocks Green Bus Garage.

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

 

WMPTE / NXWM / TWM

Next up we see WM Travel 2462, National Express West Midlands 669 and Travel West Midlands 313. I'd last saw WM 2462 on car park shuttle bus duties at The Transport Museum, Wythall on the August Bank Holiday Monday, but have seen it at previous bus garage open days as well.

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

 

Timesaver

Waiting for my bus to go home, I saw the blue Timesaver bus again. It was heading from Yardley Wood Road onto Brook Lane around the island. Was in the bus stop opposite Billesley Community Fire Station, so did not get a new photo of it. Here's one from 2013, when I rode it from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood bus garages on the Open Day.

Timesaver 900 2018

Photos by Elliott Brown

 

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70 passion points
People & community
13 Sep 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Proclamation of King Charles III outside of the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square - Sunday 11th September 2022

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Queen Elizabeth II sadly died aged 96 on the 8th September 2022 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Her son automatically became King, taking the regnal title of Charles III. After the Accession Council at St James's Palace on the 10th September, and Proclamation, a day later in Birmingham, the Lord Mayor read it out at 1pm in front of the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square.

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Sunday 11th September 2022

Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 on Thursday 8th September 2022, after a 70 year reign as Queen of the United Kingdom. Charles, Prince of Wales automatically became King. Taking the title of King Charles III.

The Accession Council met at St James' Palace on the morning of Saturday 10th September 2022 to officially proclaim King Charles III. And the Proclamation was read out there.

The following day, Sunday 11th September 2022, the Proclamation was read out in Town's and Cities across the UK and the Commonwealth. Including here in Birmingham.

The venue was outside of the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square. In the 20th Century, Victoria Square outside of the Council House was used, but was obviously unavailable due to PoliNations.

The City of Birmingham Brass Band was playing around 12:30pm, and by 1pm the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and other dignitaries came out. Including the Bishop of Birmingham and Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council Brigid Jones. Lawrence Barton from Southside was also there to introduce the proceedings.

 

Westside BID has posted and article with a link to a video HERE.

 

11 photos below taken by Elliott Brown. Full gallery of 30 photos on his Facebook page HERE.

 

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Charles III

Photography by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Transport
05 Sep 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Visit to The Transport Museum, Wythall over the August Bank Holiday Monday 2022

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On previous Bank Holiday weekends, I'd seen heritage buses from the collection of The Transport Museum, Wythall on the Alcester Road (south of the Maypole in Hollywood) or at Bristol Street or Suffolk Street Queensway (near The Alex Theatre, but CAZ stopped that). Finally went on the August Bank Holiday Monday 2022, plus rode a bus on a loop via Earlswood.

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The Transport Museum, Wythall is located at Chapel Lane, Wythall, Worcestershire, B47 6JA. On the Event Days of the August Bank Holiday weekend, Sunday the 28th and Monday the 29th August 2022, visitors could park their cars at Phoenix Group and get a free shuttle bus to the museum. Visitors could also get a free bus from the Maypole or from Wythall Station. As it was an Event Day, there was also free bus rides around the area. They used to also have buses going towards The Alexandra Theatre, but I'm unsure if they still do this since the Clean Air Zone came into force in 2021.

 

Car Park Shuttle buses

Bus route 758 from Phoenix Group to The Transport Museum, Wythall. We went on Travel West Midlands 4001 both ways, from the car park to the museum and back later that day. It was the first low floor bus in the fleet, also had seats to lift up for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Other buses on the Car Park Shuttle route 758 included West Midlands Travel 4613, National Express West Midlands 4321 and West Midlands Travel 2462. I'd earlier seen NXWM 4321 passing the Becketts Farm Flower Field on shuttle bus duties. And later saw it coming back on a Midland Red bus from a half hour bus ride to Earlswood and back.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Midland Red

This Midland Red bus was no 1902 with Mercian branding. Was parked next to a Birmingham City Transport bus, no 486.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Midland Red West 544 was one of the buses used for free bus rides on the Event Day.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Midland Red 4255 was in a new exhibition. The Barn Find Exhibition. Buses and old milk floats found in barns, and left unrestored, as they were as they were discovered.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

More Midland Red buses in the garage to the north west of the site. No 5399, plus a couple of others to the left.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

As we exited the milk float exhibit, saw this Midland Red bus, for route M33 Malvern Link.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

In the repair shed was some familiar buses. An unidentifed Midland Red bus on the left and to the right, one destined for Gloucester on the X72.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Time for a free bus ride. The 13:15 was supposed to go to Beoley via Alvechurch, but the driver did not know the route. So the bus we went on went from Wythall towards Earlswood and back on a half hour journey. It was Midland Red 5767.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

On leaving Wythall on the car park shuttle, saw from the top deck, Midland Red 5656, originally the Birmingham London Motorway Express on route ME1.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Birmingham City Transport

Seen inside of The Power Hall was these Birmingham City Transport buses. You could sit in 0-9926 and have your photo taken with it.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Seen outside of the engine repair shed was this pair of Birmingham City Transport buses 3009 and 486. Out so people could have bus rides on them.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Birmingham City Transport 486 later spotted on Chapel Lane, heading back towards the museum. From the Midland Red bus we were on, which was on Hill Lane at the time. Our bus on the half our round trip towards Earlswood and back to Wythall via the A435.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

It's been almost four years since I've seen Birmingham City Transport 2548. Inside the repair shed, licence plate missing at the front.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

West Bromwich Corporation

This West Bromwich Corporation bus was one that you could go inside. And was parked up next to a Birmingham Fire Engine, in The Power Hall.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Walsall Corporation

Bus no 56 from Walsall Corporation was inside of the repair shed.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Bus no 116 was in the Midland Red repair shed. This is the first time since I last saw it at the Birmingham Bus Bash in Cannon Hill Park in 2017. I previously caught it on the road in Bromsgrove back in 2013. Some of it's wheels was off.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Wolverhampton Corporation

This trolley bus was from Wolverhampton with overhead pantograph. The conductor would have to move it with a pole. It was seen in The Power Hall.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

West Midlands Travel

This West Midlands Travel bus no 4527 was parked outside on the Event Day.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Various including Midland Red, Birmingham City Transport etc

A variety of different buses from around the West Midlands in this garage, including several Midland Red buses, Birmingham City Transport, West Midlands Travel and Travel West Midlands. The no 47 bus stood out for me, no 2811, as I may have ridden this bus back in the 1990s or early 2000s. The Metrobus was withdrawn from service in 2010.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Photos by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
Transport
05 Sep 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Miniature Railway Wythall operated by Elmdon Model Engineering Society at The Transport Museum, Wythall

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It wasn't just heritage buses at The Transport Museum, Wythall. On the August Bank Holiday Mondat 29th August 2022, visitors could pay to go on the Miniature Railway Wythall operated by Elmdon Model Engineering Society. The locomotive in use was called Blanche from the Penrhyn Railway. Kids seemed to have enjoyed it.

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Miniature Railway Wythall operated by Elmdon Model Engineering Society

Shortly after getting off the car park shuttle bus at The Transport Museum, Wythall, I saw the station Elmdon Halt from the Miniature Railway Wythall.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

The first time I saw the miniature railway in action, was while looking at various heritage buses parked up. Was a grassy bank, and saw the miniature steam train Blanche come around.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

I was in The Power Hall, and briefly popped out when I saw this footbridge, shortly afterwards saw the miniature train heading around on the tracks. It went past the heritage buses, as well as a picnic bench area with bouncy castle and slides for kids.

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

Transport Museum Wythall

 

I was later in another bus garage on site, near the milk float collection, popped out and saw this tunnel. I did not wait around to see if the miniature steam train would come out of it. So back to the milk floats and buses it was.

Transport Museum Wythall

 

Before leaving, and after coming back to Wythall from a free bus ride, and ice cream. Saw the miniature steam train at Elmdon Holt, before we got back on the car park shuttle bus, to return to the Phoenix Group car park.

Transport Museum Wythall

Photos by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
Squares and public spaces
31 Aug 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Brum's Big Splash, part of Birmingham Weekender at the Bullring

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The Birmingham Weekender returned once again, this time the August Bank Holiday Weekend on the 27th and 28th August 2022. Down Central Street (St Martin's Walk) at the Bullring & Grand Central Birmingham, from Rotunda Square, going down was Brum's Big Splash. In association with the Birmingham Hippodrome. A long water slide basically.

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Brum's Big Splash

Heading up St Martin's Walk at the Bullring & Grand Central Birmingham (renamed Central Street) was Brum's Big Splash. It was installed and tested the day before on Friday 26th August 2022. But opened on Saturday 27th August 2022, just after 12pm. People who wanted to ride it had to book up a space in advance, but was apparently some walk-up slots.

Brums Big Splash

Brums Big Splash

Brums Big Splash

 

I headed up to Costa Coffee in Next, and managed to get a window seat, and got these views, as I saw some people slide down the splash-way!

Brums Big Splash

Brums Big Splash

Brums Big Splash

Brums Big Splash

Brums Big Splash

Brums Big Splash

Brums Big Splash

This was all part of the Birmingham Weekender, which was held on Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th August 2022.

Photos by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
24 Aug 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

PoliNations coming to Victoria Square in September 2022

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PoliNations is coming to Victoria Square from the 2nd to 18th September 2022. A free event. Following the end of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, this is part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, and they are putting it up in the last three weeks of August 2022. Elliott got a first glimpse on Saturday 20th August 2022 on passing through Victoria Square.

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PoliNations is part of Unboxed Creativity in the UK. During the last three weeks of August 2022, after the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games things were dismantled (including Hew Locke's Foreign Exchange on the Queen Victoria statue). PoliNations moved in.

The free event is due to take place from the 2nd to 18th September 2022.

Step into a spectacular city-centre garden of magical proportions where you will be welcomed by an epic array of colour and nature.  

Giant architectural trees and thousands of plants will transform Victoria Square into an urban oasis, which will host free events, workshops and performances including live music, dance, spoken word and drag.

This supernatural wonderland uncovers the origin stories of the plants we know so well – daisies, pansies, apple trees, roses – in fact these, and most of the plants we see in our gardens are not from the UK. They tell the story of journeys, movement, dispersal, and new roots. 

PoliNations is a celebration of colour, beauty, and of natural diversity. Explore, enjoy and be your true unique self. You can experience music from around the world, an incredible light show each evening, and a grand finale like no other where the tree’s canopies will burst into a joyful cloud of confetti and colour.  

This is Carnival and Holi combined in one brilliant, messy, playful party and everyone is invited.

 

I first spotted the giant trees from Chamberlain Square.

PoliNations

 

Heading into Victoria Square, the PoliNations construction is all fenced off at the moment.

PoliNations

PoliNations

 

They encourage people to get public transport to PoliNations, including the West Midlands Metro, get off at Town Hall Tram Stop. Also in walking distance of the main railway stations and your bus stops.

PoliNations

 

The statue of Queen Victoria has been returned to normal after two months as Hew Locke's Foreign Exchange.

PoliNations

 

Key to the City ended on the 7th August, so it will no longer be possible to get views of Victoria Square from the 18th floor balcony like before.

PoliNations

PoliNations

PoliNations

PoliNations

 

Heading down Pinfold Street, then catching a view of a tram heading up towards Victoria Square and the PoliNations trees.

PoliNations

PoliNations

 

I will probably get more photos of PoliNations over the next couple of weekends, and probably in September as well (if time).

 

Photos by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
Squares and public spaces
17 Aug 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Victoria Square - View from 103, Key to the City

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In June 2022, Elliott was gifted the Key to the City by the lady behind the 103 Colmore Row Twitter and Instagram accounts. He visited 103 Colmore Row for views from the 18th floor balcony four times between June and August 2022. Here are the changing views of Victoria Square. Including during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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Having missed the February 2022 meet at 103 Colmore Row, Elliott was promised to get the key to 103 Colmore Row. He was gifted it by the lady who runs the 103 Colmore Row Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Between June and August, he went up four times. Usually as the view of Victoria Square kept changing. He always went on Saturday's.

Every time you arrive, you show your key to one of the Key to the City volunteers. The wait in the foyer could be anywhere between 20 minutes and 50 minutes (especially near the end of the Commonwealth Games). You would get a slot of 10 to 15 minutes to go up the fastest lift to the 18th floor, for views from the balcony.

It was an opportunity to get views of Victoria Square. When street art was painted ahead of the games, Elliott went twice on two Saturday's in July. And one final time in August on Super Saturday, while the 60th Jamaican Independence Day was being celebrated.

 

11th June 2022

General views down to Victoria Square from the 18th floor balcony of 103 Colmore Row.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

 

River and Youth aka the Floozie in the Jacuzzi was flowing again.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

 

Hew Locke reimagined the Queen Victoria statue as an artwork called Foreign Exchange (with the IKON Gallery). It would remain here for two months (until the middle of August 2022). Sir Antony Gormey's Iron: Man statue seen to the left.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

 

The Council House from above.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

 

Victoria Square House from above.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

 

The Town Hall from above.

Victoria Square

 

16th July 2022

Second visit to the 18th floor balcony, to see the artwork being painted called Connections by the artist Anjuli McKenna, in Victoria Square. It was half complete at this point.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

 

Hew Locke's Foreign Exchange artwork with Iron: Man as it was meant to be seen.

Victoria Square

 

The Town Hall again, this time with a Perry the Bull banner on Beneficial House behind.

Victoria Square

 

23rd July 2022

One week on, and the Victoria Square Fan Zone was almost complete, several days before the start of the Commonwealth Games. Also to see the Connections street art in Victoria Square fully complete. There was now a stage in the square, and would be the finish point for the Birmingham Marathona week later. The West Midlands Metro trams were also now running all the way between Wolverhampton St George's and Edgbaston Village.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

 

West Midlands Metro trams passing Victoria Square and stopping at Town Hall Tram Stop, in both directions.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

See more of that day here Riding trams in Zone 1.

 

6th August 2022

Super Saturday, and the final weekend of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the City Centre was very busy. It was also the 60th anniversary of Jamaican Independence which was being celebrated in Victoria Square at the time. This would be my final visit to 103 Colmore Row, before Key to the City ended the following day.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

Victoria Square

 

Thank you to 103 Colmore Row, the Key to the City volunteers, to Fierce and Yale Locks.

 

Next up is PoliNations in September 2022, but will have to get views from Victoria Square itself.

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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110 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
16 Aug 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The World Reimagined - a painted globes trail around Birmingham City Centre

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The World Reimagined is a trail of painted globes in Birmingham and other UK cities, from mid August to the end of October 2022. There is eight globes to find in Birmingham City Centre.

 

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The World Reimagined Birmingham trail

 

St Martin in the Bullring at St Martin's Square, Bullring

Spirit of the Diaspora by Pauline Bailey

The World Reimagined

 

Cathedral Square - corner of Temple Row and St Philip's Place

Dear Archives by Glory Samjolly

The World Reimagined

 

Unity by Gabriel Choto

The World Reimagined

 

Hippodrome Square at Hurst Street, Southside

A Code For A Better Future by Jess Perrin

The World Reimagined

 

City Centre Gardens off Cambridge Street, Westside

Sacred Healing Wisdom by Gayani Ariyaratne

The World Reimagined

 

The Golden Square near Vyse Street, Jewellery Quarter

The Love From Africa by Kassessa Gandara

The World Reimagined

 

Augusta Street at Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter

Voyage Of The Guineamen by Donna Newman

The World Reimagined

 

St Paul's Square, towards Ludgate Hill, Jewellery Quarter

Abstraction Be Damned by Tamika Galanis

The World Reimagined

 

Outside of the City Centre there is two more on the trail in Newtown. And there might be more inside of Millennium Point, the Library of Birmingham and at the Roundhouse.

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
Transport
25 Jul 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Riding the West Midlands Metro in Zone 1 between Edgbaston Village and Jewellery Quarter

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The Westside Metro extension between Centenary Square and Hagley Road opened on the 17th July 2022. Then there was the heatwave. Elliott got a chance to ride it on the 23rd July 2022, on an off peak day ticket in the My Metro app, for Zone 1 only. Starting from Edgbaston Village, passing Five Ways and Brindleyplace. And on towards St Paul's and Jewellery Quarter.

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A trip from Edgbaston to Jewellery Quarter via the City Centre, on the 23rd July 2022, to see King Kong return, then pop to The Golden Square, and get a tram back to the Colmore Business District for another visit to the 18th floor balcony at 103 Colmore Row. And one final tram journey from Victoria Square to Brindleyplace.

On the 20th July, I'd travelled to Broad Street to get photos of my first trams in service, but left riding the tram until the Saturday.

 

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

I got the no 1 bus from Acocks Green via Moseley, which was diverted twice, including the scheduled diversion (due to Church Road being closed as The Vale is a Birmingham 2022 athletes village). Eventually got off the bus at Calthorpe Road and walked round to Harborne Road, then up the new Edgbaston Village Walk to the newly opened tram stop on the Hagley Road. It wasn't too long to wait for the tram to arrive.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

Zone 1 is from Edgbaston Village to Jewellery Quarter. There is three other zones from Jewellery Quarter to Wolverhampton St George's.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro tram 21 arrives, heading past Morrisons, and headed to the platform I was waiting at.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

The tram was pretty empty from the first stop, another photographer got on board, but he got off at Five Ways (the next stop).

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

 

Five Ways Tram Stop

After heading through the Five Ways underpass between Hagley Road and Broad Street, the next stop would be Five Ways Tram Stop.

West Midlands Metro

The Superfreak street art was seen from tram 21, on the wall of Atlas Intercity, and near Islington House (was formerly Zara's).

West Midlands Metro

A few days before on the 20th July 2022, I caught a no 24 bus and saw tram 22 on a test run towards Edgbaston Village, it was heading down the Five Ways underpass from Broad Street.

West Midlands Metro

Before that, I'd got my first photos of a tram arriving at Five Ways Tram Stop, that would be West Midlands Metro tram 42. They need to manually change the display, as this one still said Edgbaston Village, but was heading to Wolverhampton St George's.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

Even More Brum! Seen on Five Ways Tram Stop before I took my first tram photos on Broad Street.

West Midlands Metro

On the 15th July 2022 they were applying the vinyls a couple of days before the line opened. Got this nice shot of Five Ways Tram Stop with the Five Ways Entertainment Complex.

West Midlands Metro

 

Brindleyplace Tram Stop

Back to the journey on the 23rd July 2022, the next stop on Broad Street was Brindleyplace Tram Stop. Right outside of a restaurant called Qavali. Another tram went past.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

In front of the driver, was a National Express West Midlands bus, no 6104 (not sure of the route number). Heading for Edgbaston Village Tram Stop was West Midlands Metro tram 40.

West Midlands Metro

Later that day, I'd caught my third tram, this time from Town Hall Tram Stop at Victoria Square, and got off at Brindleyplace Tram Stop. Was on tram 21 again, as tram 42 was heading for Wolverhampton St George's. Note that both trams said Edgbaston Village. Those tram drivers need to manually change the  digital destination display!

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

On the 20th July 2022, I headed up to the Secret Garden on  Level 7 at the Library of Birmingham to see if I could catch a tram on Broad Street. I managed to capture West Midlands Metro tram 43 heading for Edgbaston Village Tram Stop.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

By the time I left the library, I walked up Broad Street and saw tram 43 departing from Brindleyplace Tram Stop. There is still people riding e-Scooter's on Broad Street, near the trams and buses.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

 

Library Tram Stop

Back to the journey on the 23rd July, the tram arrived at Library Tram Stop for Centenary Square. This was when it started to get a bit busier.

West Midlands Metro

The tram went past the statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch, as well as the Birmingham 2022 Megastore.

West Midlands Metro

I also saw from the tram window, the Library of Birmingham and the Commonwealth Games flag pins.

West Midlands Metro

No 24 bus journey on the 20th July, as West Midlands Metro tram 39 (University of Birmingham livery near The Exchange) dpearted for Edgbaston Village (not Wolverhampton).

West Midlands Metro

 

Town Hall Tram Stop

On the 23rd July, my second tram trip was from Jewellery Quarter, got off at Bull Street (standing room only). Then walked up Colmore Row, to use my Key to the City for a third time at 103 Colmore Row. A 20 minute wait, before getting taken up the lift to the 18th floor balcony again. Took the opportunity to get the trams passing through Victoria Square, including tram 39 (University of Birmingham adverts) having just departed Town Hall Tram Stop.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

Not long after West Midlands Metro tram 42 (Nourished adverts) went past Victoria Square House towards Town Hall Tram Stop.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

After leaving Town Hall Tram Stop on Paradise Street, it passed Perry the Bull on it's way to Library in Centenary Square (crossing over Paradise Circus).

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

Earlier, on my first tram towards St Paul's, the tram passed Victoria Square with this view to the Birmingham 2022 Fan Zone and 103 Colmore Row.

West Midlands Metro

After leaving 103 Colmore Row, I went to Town Hall Tram Stop for my third and final tram trip of the day (towards Broad Street, Brindleyplace Tram Stop).

West Midlands Metro

The Paradise Street side of the Town Hall now has Birmingham 2022 banners, as workmen got the building ready for the opening of the games.

West Midlands Metro

Tram 21 arrived, the tram I'd caught earlier that day. 103 Colmore Row, Foreign Exchange (Queen Victoria), Iron: Man and a tram. Finally!

West Midlands Metro

 

St Paul's Tram Stop

I ended my first tram journey on Zone 1 at St Paul's Tram Stop. I'd caught West Midlands Metro tram 21 at Edgbaston Village. It was closer here to get off and then see King Kong on Great Hampton Row. Also the tram was started to get a bit fuller than earlier stops.

West Midlands Metro

The new King Kong was a short walk away from St Paul's Tram Stop, from Constitution Hill and Great Hampton Street, to Great Hampton Row in 'King Kong Park'.

King Kong

 

Jewellery Quarter Tram Stop

After a quick look at King Kong, a walk towards The Golden Square, and checking out the Jewellery Quarter Festival, before a coffee stop at Costa Coffee on Frederick Street. Then a walk up Vyse Street to catch my second tram back into the City Core. Into Jewellery Quarter Station, then across to the tram stop platforms.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

On the railway side, I saw West Midlands Railway 172004 (and an unidentified Class 172 at the back) heading in the direction of Birmingham Snow Hill Station.

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro

My tram had arrived, West Midlands Metro tram 39. It was a bit full, so standing room only, and I got it to Bull Street. Later saw it from the 18th floor balcony at 103 Colmore Row (see further up this post for those photos).

West Midlands Metro

Photography by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Sport & leisure
01 Jul 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Birmingham 2022 seating stands at the University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

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Seating stands are going up around the hockey pitches at the University of Birmingham near the Aston Webb Boulevard. For the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The view will be spectacular, with Old Joe and the Chancellors Court as a background, when shown on BBC Sport during July and August 2022. The Sports Pitches are close to Ring Road North. Photos taken on the 21st June 2022.

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The University of Birmingham is a host venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Here on the Sports Pitches will be Hockey and Squash. Temporary seating stands are being erected, here we can see the hockey pitch near Aston Webb Boulevard (Selly Oak Bypass).

 

Photos taken on the 21st June 2022.

Starting from Aston Webb Boulevard towards the Southgate on the Bristol Road at the University of Birmingham. There will be specatular views of Old Joe and the Chancellors Court from the hockey pitch. When shown on the BBC.

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

 

These views can be seen from Ring Road North, from the level above near the stone wall perimeter. The specator stand is only on one side here.

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

University of Birmingham Sports Pitches

 

I did not find the squash courts, but it was probably inside of the University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness Centre. I only popped into the Costa Coffee here and saw the swimming pools.

Swimming pool

Swimming pool

Photography by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
28 Jun 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Walk with Little Amal in Birmingham on the 23rd June 2022

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Little Amal is a 3.5 metre puppet of a ten year old Syrian refugee girl. She walked around Birmingham on Thursday 23rd June 2022 from Victoria Square via Chamberlain Square to Centenary Square. Lots of people followed her, and school children were there as well. She has travelled through over 70 cities in 12 countries. The UK tour of 19th to 27th June 2022.

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The Walk (Little Amal)

New Steps New Friends is a tour of the UK from the 19th to 27th June 2022.

She started her remarkable journey in 2021 crossing the Syria / Turkey border, across Europe in search of her mother and to fine a new home. She travelled over 8,000km representing all displaced children, many separated from their families and carried the urgent message "Don't forget about us".

She has travelled through over 70 cities in 12 countries and has been welcomed at more than 160 events, reaching 875,000 people along her route and millions more online.

In June 2022, one year on from leaving Syria she is exploring her new country, visiting towns and cities across the UK, meeting old friends and making new ones.

Today hundreds of thousands of children who have fled war and persecution need our support to get an education and to rebuild their lives. To try to help they have launched The Amal Fund with Choose Love. Visit walkwithamal.org/the-amal-fund/ to find out more.

 

Little Amal walks around Birmingham

Little Amal was in Birmingham City Centre between 11:30am and 1pm on Thursday 23rd June 2022.

The schedule was for people to gather in Victoria Square at 11:30am.

Then the walk began at 12pm and would last until about 12:50pm.

After Victoria Square, she would go around Chamberlain Square.

 

Then up Centenary Way past Paradise Birmingham.

 

Ending in Centenary Square.

Photography by Elliott Brown

 

After Birmingham, Little Amal visited Bristol, London, Stonehenge and even the Glastonbury Festival! She ended her journey at Folkestone on the 27th June 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
21 Jun 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A visit to Perry Park at the end of May 2022

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On the 30th May 2022, I got the train to the new look Perry Barr Station. After coffee at Costa at the One Stop shopping centre, I had a half hour walk up Aldridge Road to get into Perry Park. Managed to see the Perry Reservoir, but some paths blocked off due to the Alexander Stadium redevelopment for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and was a temporary path towards the canal.

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This post will just be a photo gallery of Perry Park. I will do my May 2022, Alexander Stadium update in another post. At the time of writing, it is mid June 2022, and it is very hot in Birmingham.

The late May day visit to Perry Barr was much cooler.

I would think if people are going to the Alexander Stadium from Perry Barr Station, it would be faster to get a shuttle bus than take the long walk that I did last month.

 

This visit on Monday 30th May 2022.

 

Birmingham BMX Club

Entering Perry Park from the main entrance on Aldridge Road near the Birmingham BMX Club. The M6 motorway is beyond here.

Perry Park

Near the entrance is a skatepark for BMX riders, and behind that, the actuall BMX track.

Perry Park

Welcome to Birmingham BMX Club.

Perry Park

The path outside of the BMX Club, heading into Perry Park.

Perry Park

The start and finish line, the BMX track looks a bit bumpy.

Perry Park

 

Holbrook

The Holbrook is a stream that flows through Perry Park. There was a high fence alongside the path, so could only take it at the time from this bridge.

Perry Park

 

Paths and trees in Perry Park

Paths in Perry Park. One leads towards Perry Reservoir (and the Alexander Stadium, but the paths are currently blocked off). The other leads to the Alexander Stadium Woodland Walk.

Perry Park

After a look at the reservoir, a quick look at the Canada geese and trees. As you can't go beyond this path (to the right). But there is a pedestrian diversion path.

Perry Park

The diversion path runs to one side of the Perry Reservoir. The trees are lush and green here.

Perry Park

The path takes you around the reservoir, and eventually to the steps up to the Tame Valley Canal. Where you can then take your exit towards Walsall Road. Many routes around the Alexander Stadium are closed, at least until after the games have finished.

Perry Park

 

Perry Reservoir

One of the main reasons of this visit was at long last to get a proper look at the Perry Reservoir. Having only glimpsed it years ago from the Tame Valley Canal.

Perry Reservoir

The reservoir was quite quiet, other than the usual ducks, geese and swans.

Perry Reservoir

On the opppsite side of Perry Reservoir was swans and Canada geese.

Perry Reservoir

I then saw a family of Canada geese with their gosling. How cute!

Perry Reservoir

The reservoir is surrounded by trees on at least two sides.

Perry Reservoir

With part of the reservoir blocked off by the Alexander Stadium development site, I got the rest of my views from the pedestrian diversion path.

Perry Reservoir

The Alexander Stadium made for some nice reflections in the water. See more photos in my Alexander Stadium post.

Perry Reservoir

One last look at the reservoir, before leaving the park for the Tame Valley Canal, where I got more views of the Alexander Stadium on the walk back to the Walsall Road, and later Perry Barr Station.

Perry Reservoir

 

Text and photos by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
Sport & leisure
21 Jun 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The regenerated Alexander Stadium at the end of May 2022

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I had previously tried to see the Alexander Stadium in early January 2022, but didn't have good views. This time, end of May 2022, I walked up the Aldridge Road in Perry Park to Perry Park. And got views from the park, Perry Reservoir, Tame Valley Canal and Walsall Road. Bit of a long walk. So maybe a shuttle bus is needed from Perry Barr Station in July and August 2022?

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The Alexander Stadium was completed in Spring 2022 ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, due to take place for 11 days from late July to early August 2022.

You can now see the stadium from various points in Perry Park, from the Perry Reservoir, Tame Valley Canal towpath and the Walsall Road in Perry Barr.

It was around a half hour walk from Perry Barr Station (I did stop for coffee first in Costa at One Stop), via the Aldridge Road to Perry Park. Then another half hour or so down the Walsall Road back to the new look Perry Barr Station.

So the shuttle bus test they did for the Diamond League event, maybe they could do that from the station, as would be a long walk for ticket holders?

 

2nd January 2022

My previous attempt to get into Perry Park during 2022 was from the Walsall Road entrance. Tried to get views of Alexander Stadium over the Walsall Road Allotments, but wasn't much to see from here.

Alexander Stadium

There was too many trees in the way, and I ended up not getting to the other side of Perry Park at the time, but the stadium was just about visible at the time.

Alexander Stadium

 

 

30th May 2022

A proper look at the Alexander Stadium from multiple views, starting from Perry Park.

 

Views from Perry Park

Trees covering the view of the stand completed in 2011, with the temporary floodlights.

Alexander Stadium

The stadium looks much bigger now, or it might just be the temporary seating and floodlights that have been erected here.

Alexander Stadium

The temporary seating goes quite high, this will probably be dismantled after the games end in August.

Alexander Stadium

 

Views with Perry Reservoir

The reservoir makes for some interesting reflection shots of the new look Alexander Stadium.

Alexander Stadium

The stand completed in 2011, with the temporary stands on the right, plus the temporary floodlights with the reservoir.

Alexander Stadium

Most of these views were from the pedestrian diversion from Perry Park towards the Tame Valley Canal.

Alexander Stadium

Some of the new seating is permenant, the rest is temporary.

Alexander Stadium

 

Views from the Tame Valley Canal

Onto the Tame Valley Canal, the views from the towpath was better than what I saw four years earlier. They have built a training (or warm up) track to the right of the stadium.

Alexander Stadium

The temporary seating over hanging from the back.

Alexander Stadium

View of the blue warm up track near the stadium.

Alexander Stadium

It looks much better than it was before we won the right to host the Commonwealth Games.

Alexander Stadium

These stands on the right are permanent, and looks amazing!

Alexander Stadium

So many views from the canal, the temporary and permanent seating stands.

Alexander Stadium

Workmen were still putting the finishing touches to the stadium. Which had a test event here about a week earlier.

Alexander Stadium

The Birmingham Diamond League was held here on the 21st May 2022.

Alexander Stadium

One last view from the canal towpath, including the new permenant stands.

Alexander Stadium

 

Views from Walsall Road

After leaving the Tame Valley Canal at the Walsall Road, I wasn't expecting to see any more views, but I got these of the Alexander Stadium entrance.

Alexander Stadium

This is the entrance to the Alexander Stadium on Stadium Way, from the Walsall Road in Perry Barr.

Alexander Stadium

 

Text and photos by Elliott Brown

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90 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
20 Jun 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

"Foreign Exchange" by Hew Locke: reimagined statue of Queen Victoria in Victoria Square

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As part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, artist Hew Locke has transformed Birmingham's statue of Queen Victoria in Victoria Square. The artwork is called "Foreign Exchange" and has certainly opened up a range of conversations. Unveiled on 14th June 2022, it will remain in the Square until August 2022. Photos taken by Elliott and Daniel.

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Birmingham's statue of Queen Victoria was originally unveiled in 1901. Made of marble by Sir Thomas Brock. It was the idea of the founder of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, who wanted to present a statue of the Queen to the City, during her Diamond Jubilee year of 1897. It was finally unveiled 12 days before the Queen's death.

50 years later, the statue had got quite weathered, and the orb was badly damaged during VE Day in 1945.

The statue was removed in 1951, and was cast in bronze by William Bloye. This was all thanks to the Birmingham Civic Society.

More recently, the missing tip of the sceptre was recast and added in 2011, then the Birmingham Civic Society had the statue fully cleaned in 2018.

Here are some photos of the work of artist Hew Locke called "Foreign Exchange" prior to the unveiling.

Saturday 11th June

Views from the 18th floor balcony of 103 Colmore Row.

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Photography by Elliott Brown

In Victoria SquareForeign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Photography by Daniel Sturley 

Sunday 12th June

By Sunday afternoon, workmen had installed a helmet on top of the original statue of Queen Victoria.

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Photography by Elliott Brown

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Foreign Exchange Victoria

Photography by Daniel Sturley

The unveiling of the statue has certainly created a stir and opened up a conversation, as no doubt intended by the artist and those commissioning the work.

Locke’s vision behind the art is to create “an object of veneration, leading a battalion of other statues to represent the home nation throughout the Empire.”

 

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80 passion points
Transport
09 Jun 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Eastside Metro extension roadworks in Digbeth: August 2021 and May 2022

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Views from the bus heading out through Digbeth during August 2021, and into town via Digbeth in late May 2022. In between it wasn't worth getting photo updates when there was just holes in the road, and Midland Metro Alliance were just moving pipes. By Spring 2022, they have installed curb stones, and temporary tarmacing the southbound road surface.

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The major roadworks in Digbeth from July 2021 to July 2022 by the Midland Metro Alliance. They usually work during the week, apart from on Bank Holidays or at weekends.

The southbound lanes have been closed between Digbeth Police Station and The Rainbow, while the northbound bus lane has been closed and open to all traffic. The inner northbound lane has been used for southbound traffic. There is plenty of temporary traffic lights. Entrances from Heath Mill Lane, as well as the Zellig Car Park, and others that need access.

I've been getting the bus up and down it throughout, so not always wanted to get updates, when there was just big holes in the ground. Plus they will not be laying tracks on this side.

Sometimes takes 20 minutes to get through, if there is a lot of traffic. Longer if the traffic lights fail to work.

 

August 2021

On Monday 16th August 2021, the southbound lanes was closed by the Midland Metro Alliance, and they moved the southbound traffic into one of the former northbound lanes, close to Birmingham Coach Station. The northbound bus lane was open to all traffic.

Views from the top deck of the no 6 bus with National Express West Midlands Electric. Sitting at the time near the front, on the left, second window seat back.

Passing Digbeth Police Station. The first day that the traffic heading out of Digbeth would be diverted south onto one of the northbound lanes.

Eastside Metro Extension

Fancy Fabrics on the left. Early stages of the road being dug up.

Eastside Metro Extension

Passing the Custard Factory and Zellig.

Eastside Metro Extension

Custard Factory / Zellig and then the Clean Kilo.

Eastside Metro Extension

Passing the Clean Kilo, followed by The Old Crown. Heath Mill Lane would remain open to traffic into 2022.

Eastside Metro Extension

The Old Crown, early stages of the road surface being dug up.

Eastside Metro Extension

 

May 2022

Saturday 28th May 2022, views from the top deck of the no 6 bus, National Express West Midlands Electric heading into the City Centre via Digbeth. Window seat on the right at the front.

Midland Metro Alliance have started to tarmac the southbound road surface at long last. It will only be temporary, as it needs to be in place for the Commonwealth Games.

Near The Rainbow.

Eastside Metro Extension

New paving outside of The Old Crown. They recently discovered a long lost hole, though to be a coal entrance, it's now been covered over.

Eastside Metro Extension

On the right is the Custard Factory, Kilo Zero and The Old Crown. 

Eastside Metro Extension

At long last a tarmaced road surface. View towards Birmingham Coach Station, not far from the Custard Factory.

Eastside Metro Extension

They will resume the work on Monday morning. This view not far from the coach station.

Eastside Metro Extension

On the right is the Big Bulls Head. Side roads such as Milk Street have been closed to traffic.

Eastside Metro Extension

Next up is The Kerryman. The pavement has been quite narrow while they widen it, you can see the new curb stones here.

Eastside Metro Extension

This bit near the BCU Steam House (being demolished). View towards St Martin's Church and Digbeth Police Station. The eventual Metro line will come from HS2 via Meriden Street.

Eastside Metro Extension

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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90 passion points
Modern Architecture
09 Jun 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Mercian - Great Modern Architecture

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The completed Mercian is the dominant tower on Broad Street in the West Side at 132m. Here is a gallery of recent photos of the building. Take the full feature link to see the construction photography gallery, previous posts and map of the site.

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15th November 2021

25th November 2021

26th November 2021

26th December 2021

29th November 2021

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

4th December 2021

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

5th December 2021

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

6th December 2021

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

24th December 2021

31st December 2021

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

5th January 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

9th January 2022

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

15th January 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

19th January 2022

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

20th January 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

29th January 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

6th February 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

19th February 2022

Photography by Elliott Brown.

 

22nd February 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

23rd February 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

27th February 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

6th March 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

19th March 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

2nd April 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

3rd April 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

17th April 2022

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

30th April 2022

The Mercian

The MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

14th May 2022 

The Mercian

The MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

21st May 2022

Mercian

MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

25th May 2022

The MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

30th May 2022

The MercianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

There are now over 1500 photos of the construction of this building and can be seen in reverse date order in the full gallery here: The Mercian Full Construction Gallery.

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70 passion points
Transport
06 Jun 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Perry Barr Station reopened at the end of May 2022

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Perry Barr Station was reopened on Sunday 29th May 2022 on the Wolverhampton via Birmingham New Street to Walsall line. Elliott got an off-peak return to the station the following day to check the station out. Trains every half hour in both directions. Looks much better than the old station, it now also has lifts. Platform gap to trains is a bit high, but other than that it's ok.

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A visit to Perry Barr Station on Monday 30th May 2022, with an off-peak day return ticket only £3.00 in the West Midlands Railway app from Birmingham New Street and back.

I arrived at Perry Barr on the 11:40 on platform 2 on board London Northwestern Railway 350101.

Perry Barr Station

London Northwestern Railway 350101 seen shortly before departing for Walsall. Youtuber Sim0n Trains was there most of the day.

Perry Barr Station

Up the steps, a quick look at the concourse on the way out.

Perry Barr Station

It's pretty spacious in here, a bit quiet during off peak hours.

Perry Barr Station

Was raining on arrival at Perry Barr. A quick look at the exterior of the new station building.

Perry Barr Station

It looks like rusted metal, compared to the old concrete that was there from the 1960s until 2021.

Perry Barr Station

After a Costa Coffee stop out of the rain at the One Stop Shopping Centre, the start of a walk towards Perry Park, had to cross over Walsall Road, and find my way onto Aldridge Road.

Perry Barr Station

About an hour later after coming back via the Tame Valley Canal, there was now a worker on a cherry picker near the Perry Barr Station sign. View with The Mercian.

Perry Barr Station

A lot of work still to be done in the public realm outside of the station and One Stop, near Walsall Road.

Perry Barr Station

One shutter that was open earlier was now closed while the cherry picker was there, but was an entrance near the ticket machine.

Perry Barr Station

The concourse from the other side, near the ticket desk.

Perry Barr Station

View from the bridge between the lifts, Sim0n Trains and friend were still there getting footage for his video.

Perry Barr Station

Sim0n Trains videoing the steps from platform 2 by the looks of it.

Perry Barr Station

View down platform 1.

Perry Barr Station

Had a half hour wait for my train back to Birmingham New Street. First up, the 13:40 to Walsall showed up at platform 2. London Northwestern Railway 350403.

Perry Barr Station

Then London Northwestern Railway 350403, the 13:43 to Wolverhampton (via Birmingham New Street showed up) about a minute late. Caught this back to Birmingham.

Perry Barr Station

Photography by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
31 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Summer 2022 umbrellas between The Mailbox Canalside and The Cube

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The Mailbox has put up colourful umbrellas on the Canalside near the bars and restaurants, on the paths towards The Cube. They will be up for the duration of Summer 2022. No guarantee of keeping you dry from the wind and rain though!

Enjoy this post of five photos.

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You can either approach the umbrellas from The Mailbox, at the exit to the Canalside, or head up the path from Holliday Street. Alternatively come from The Cube, or from Gas Street Basin and over the Salvage Turn Bridge.

The umbrellas are black, red, white, and green.

They on the upper level near Six Sixes and Miller & Carter, and the lower level near Zizzi and Churchills.

Oh and if you visit in late May / early June 2022, you will probably see the Union Jack bunting for HM the Queen's Platinum Jubilee!

Mailbox umbrellas

Mailbox umbrellas

Mailbox umbrellas

Mailbox umbrellas

Mailbox umbrellas

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
31 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Floral canopy on Hurst Walk and rainbow bunting at The Arcadian

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If you are walking around Southside / the Chinese Quarter during Summer 2022, be sure to check out the floral canopy on Hurst Walk (enter from Hurst Street) and the rainbow bunting inside of The Arcadian. Best viewed from the upper walkway before heading to the steps near Cathay Street and exit to Pershore Street.

Five photos in this post.

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Head down Hurst Street from Smallbrook Queensway, and enter Hurst Walk.

It's the one with the rainbow path on it (the other one of Ladywell Walk has been tarmaced over during the Public Realm Works).

Above you, you will see a floral canopy that leads into The Arcadian.

The Arcadian

The Arcadian

 

You now see there is colourful rainbow bunting in the central arena part of The Arcadian. Just walk around the upper path past the bars / restaurants to see from above, or head down the steps. If you stay on the upper path, it leads around to the steps above Cathay Street, and the exit to Pershore Street.

The Arcadian

The Arcadian

The Arcadian

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Transport
30 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Westside Metro Extension: Broad Street and Hagley Road - April and May 2022 update

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Trams continue to be tested along Broad Street and Hagley Road via Five Ways. The roads will be reopened to buses from 5th June 2022, but trams will only be in service to Bull Street when it resumes again. 

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2nd April 2022

Broad Street

At Centenary Square, near Broad Street. Pink Midland Metro Alliance barriers near Library Tram Stop.

Westside Metro Extension

 

9th April 2022

Broad Street

The Midland Metro Alliance has installed an electricity substation at Five Ways Island, above  the Five Ways Underpass (between Broad Street and Hagley Road in Edgbaston). St Martin's Place and Park Regis Birmingham seen behind with a bus on the 23 or 24 bus routes via Harborne.

Westside Metro Extension

Cones and pink Midland Metro Alliance barriers on Broad Street between The Mercian and The Bank. Towards the Five Ways Entertainment Complex.

Westside Metro Extension

Cones and barriers on Broad Street between Brindleyplace and O'Neill's towards The Crown Reflex.

Westside Metro Extension

 

7th May 2022

Broad Street

Close to the site of Brindleyplace Tram Stop on Broad Street towards the Library of Birmingham. Pink Midland Metro Alliance barriers were in the middle of the road.

Westside Metro Extension

 

25th May 2022

Hagley Road

Outside of Morrisons on the Hagley Road. What looks like green astroturf, with TRAM ONLY painted on this side. Towards Starbucks Coffee.

Westside Metro Extension

To the Five Ways Underpass from Hagley Road. The barriers have been removed, but cones remain in place.

Westside Metro Extension

A Midland Metro Alliance worker is there to remove the cones when the test trams come through the Five Ways Underpass. View towards The Mercian and Hampton by Hilton Broad Street hotel.

Westside Metro Extension

 

28th May 2022

Broad Street

Cones line both sides of Broad Street between JD Wetherspoon: Solomon Cutter and The Crown Reflex, towards The Brasshouse. A car drives up the middle, while a yellow taxi cab is parked on the right.

Westside Metro Extension

Cyclists have made good use of the closed roads. Here a cyclist is seen riding his bike through the middle of the cones up Broad Street and past The Brasshouse. Entrance to Brindleyplace and the canal on the right.

Westside Metro Extension

Closest we've been able to get to the Five Ways Underpass from Broad Street. There is a Midland Metro Alliance worker who moves the cones and barriers when a test tram comes through. View towards the Marriott Hotel.

Westside Metro Extension

It looks like the underpass will be for buses and trams only. All other traffic will have to use Five Ways Island from Broad Street. View near Park Regis Birmingham and Broadway Residences.

Westside Metro Extension

For further photos click here for almost 400 photos: Westside Metro extension Broad Street to Hagley Road

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Green open spaces
23 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A visit to St George's Park on Great Hampton Row

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Getting the train one way to Jewellery Quarter, I walked to St George's Park in Newtown (other side of Great Hampton Street). Found my way there via Lucas Circus and New John Street West, through an housing estate. The park was developed from the 1960s after St George's Church (1821 - 1961) was demolished. But architect Thomas Rickman's tomb and a war memorial survive here.

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St George's Park is located on Great Hampton Row and Uxbridge Street in Newtown, Birmingham (it was part of Hockley). It is a short distance away from Great Hampton Street and the Jewellery Quarter.

For me it was easier to get a train one way to Jewellery Quarter Station and walk, rather than get two buses via the City Centre. Although the no 52 bus route from National Express West Midlands is nearby.

The park was formerly St George's Church. It was built in 1821 from designs by architect Thomas Rickman. After his death 20 years later in 1841, he was buried in a tomb here.

The church was proposed to become Birmingham's Cathedral for the Church of England, after the creation of the Diocese of Birmingham in 1905, but St Philip's Church was chosen instead (that was more centrally located in the City Centre).

The church continued to survive, but fell into disrepair, and was demolished during 1960-61 due to structural problems.

Later in the 1960s, four tower blocks were built around the park including Ryland House, Holland House, Cadbury House and Bowater House.

 

Main entrance to St George's Park from Great Hampton Row

The morning visit on Saturday 14th May 2022.

One of the parks entrance's from Great Hampton Row has a modern gate and path into the park.

St George's Park

This is similar to the other parks in the Newtown area (on the other side of New John Street West). You are now in St George's Park.

St George's Park

Mid May, and the trees are lush and green, creating shadows in the sunshine.

St George's Park

Paths including one towards Uxbridge Street.

St George's Park

There is a play area / playground in the centre of the park. Trees with shadows on the lawn.

St George's Park

Another look at the play area as I headed to the former church yard of St George's Church.

St George's Park

One last look at the play area, before heading into the former churchyard.

St George's Park

Gate to the south east corner of the park.

St George's Park

 

Tomb of Thomas Rickman

I spotted this curious object in the park. It is the Tomb of Thomas Rickman, although it looked like the only remaining bit of St George's Church.

St George's Park

A close up look at the Tomb of Thomas Rickman (1776 - 1841). It is Grade II listed. Phyllis Nicklin photographed it herself in 1967 (several years after the church was demolished). See Thomas of Thomas Rickman by Phyllis Nicklin.

St George's Park

The Tomb is now surrounded by trees. This was once also called St George's Gardens.

St George's Park

 

St George's Church War Memorial

This is the St George's Church War Memorial. In the shape of a Celtic Cross. It commemorates those who were lost during the First World War (1914-18). There is now a couple of park benches near it.

St George's Park

 

St George's Gardens

Heading to the south west corner exit of St George's Park,a look at the former site of St George's Church, or perhaps it's churchyard.

St George's Park

Gravestones remains around the perimeter wall, and the area is full of trees, perhaps they were planted in the 1960s?

St George's Park

Outside of St George's Park, now back on Great Hampton Row. To the right is St George's C of E Academy (a primary school). St George's Community Hub is also located here. The old brick walls with railings of the former St George's Church survive here at St George's Park.

St George's Park

 

Views from St George's Park

I found a view from St George's Park towards the spire of St Paul's Church in the Jewellery Quater, Library of Birmingham and The Mercian in Westside.

St George's Park

On the left is the spire of St Paul's Church in the Jewellery Quarter. Behind the church is Arena Central in Westside, where you can see HSBC UK at One Centenary Square and HMRC at Three Arena Central.

St George's Park

In the middle you can see the Library of Birmingham with Hyatt Regency Birmingham behind.

St George's Park

Finally on the right you can see The Mercian with The Bank in the distance in Westside from St George's Park.

St George's Park

Photography by Elliott Brown

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History & heritage
11 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is (partially) open again - the visit of 7th May 2022

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It has been closed for a long time. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery partially reopened (five galleries) on the 28th April 2022. It closed during the pandemic, briefly reopened October 2020, then again (lockdowns etc). Then re-wiring works. The Round Room has We Are Birmingham, Industrial Gallery has Black history and nightclub history. Also one room on local cinema history.

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Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery reopened on the 28th April 2022. I didn't visit over the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend, but instead popped in a weekend later on Saturday 7th May 2022 (coming back from Cineworld and the Library of Birmingham).

The approach from Centenary Way into Chamberlain Square, at Paradise Birmingham (103 Colmore Row behind). Entrance of course to BM & AG from Chamberlain Square.

BM & AG

We Are Open. Heading to the double doors of BM & AG, the Chamberlain Square entrance.

BM & AG

The ground floor entrance room is empty, but has 'Welcome to Museum & Art Gallery Birmingham' signs on panels around it. Seen here from the stairs heading down to the Chamberlain Square exit.

BM & AG

BM & AG

The stairs leads up to Level 2. There is a new Directory of what is open now, and what will be in Gas Hall (when it reopens on the 14th May 2022).

Round Room - Don't Settle: We Are Birmingham

1. Shop

2. Industrial Gallery - Birmingham Music Archive: In The Que

Fierce: SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea

Kalaboration Arts: Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence

3. Gallery
Flatpack Projects: Wonderland

4. Edwardian Tearooms

8. Bridge Gallery - Collection Stories

10. Gallery
Unprecedented Times

BM & AG

 

Round Room - Don't Settle: We Are Birmingham

Sir Jacob Epstein's Lucifer statue is the only original piece to return to the Round Room. The walls have been painted a cream colour, and their is an exhibition on called We Are Birmingham.

BMAG

We Are Birmingham: Our Journeys - The Past is Now.

BMAG

An image of Selfridges on the right.

BMAG

We Are Birmingham: Our City. As well as Cold War Steve's Birmingham collage, their is black & white photos on the wall of Indian families.

BMAG

We Are Birmingham: Our Joy. Indian related objects and a bicycle.

BMAG

Heading back into the Round Room from the Bridge Gallery.

BMAG

 

1. Shop

From the Round Room to the Industrial Gallery. Plenty of gifts to buy here.

BMAG

The walkway above the Industrial Gallery was open, and found this view through a grill to the shop below (and Round Room beyond that).

BMAG

 

2. Industrial Gallery: Birmingham Music Archive and Blacklash

There is several exhibitions located in the Industrial Gallery. Coming in from the Round Room, on the left is: 'Birmingham Music Archive: In The Que'. On the right is: 'Fierce: SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea' and 'Kalaboration Arts: Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence'.

Industrial Gallery

You can head up the stairs to the upper level, but there is no objects upstairs, but there is tables to sit down on, study etc. The African exhibits including Blacklash are on the left, while In The Que (nightclubs) is on the right. This view towards the Shop and Round Room.

Industrial Gallery

Some of the tables with benches that you can sit on. There used to be Ruskin pottery up here (or it used to be on the side near the stairs). I'm sure it will all be back one day in the future.

Industrial Gallery

This view towards Wonderland in Gallery 3. With In The Que (left) and Blacklash (right) below.

Industrial Gallery

 

Birmingham Music Archive: In The Que

The exhibit on the left hand side of the Industrial Gallery is currated by Birmingham Music Archive, and is called 'In the Que'. Que Club posters from the 1990s.

Industrial Gallery

Heading in, there is a display of magazine articles. Que Here - Lifestyle.

Industrial Gallery

QUE in big colourful letters, plus some black and white photos from the nighclub.

Industrial Gallery


 

Kalaboration Arts: Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence

In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement during 2020. A history of Black protests and marches. Some posters as you head into the Industrial Gallery.

Industrial Gallery

No Justice No Peace! The visit of Malcolm X to Smethwick in the 1960s. Black People Alliance. Also the Asian Youth Movement in the 1980s.

Industrial Gallery

African drums and spears. Some objects used at demonstrations. 'No Justice - Just Us!'

Industrial Gallery

There was more posters under the stairs.

Industrial Gallery

 


Fierce: SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea

The second Afro themed exhibition. This bit about the Empire Korero on May 25th 1918. Various costumes and something about Good Captain Cook Day.

Industrial Gallery

The entrance to the SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea seen from above.

Industrial Gallery

The stairs between the SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea and Blacklash exhibitions.

Industrial Gallery

A quick look at the SaVage K'Lub Va Tamatea exhibition on passing it by.

Industrial Gallery

 

Gallery 3: Flatpack Projects: Wonderland

Located in the gallery between the Industrial Gallery and the Edwardian Tearoom is a Birmingham Cinema's themed exhibit called Wonderland, run by Flatpack Projects.

BM & AG

Wonderland is Birmingham's Cinema Stories. Sign seen from the Industrial Gallery.

BM & AG

Cinemas closed for months during 2020, briefly reopened in the summer, then closed again, bookended by two lockdowns, and then the tiered restrictions. They only reopened without closing again during Spring 2021 last year.

BM & AG

Cinema related objects in glass cases to the left, and near the Edwardian Tearoom entrance.

BM & AG

Pictures on the wall of Birmingham cinema's including some that have closed a long time ago.

BM & AG

This section below focuses on The Electric Cinema on Station Street.

BM & AG

The Xmas Crackers sign. I remember seeing it on a visit to The Electric, early in 2020 (few months before the first lockdown).

BM & AG

Three red cinema seats. Was only an hour or so after I'd left Cineworld on Broad Street before I go to this exhibition.

BM & AG

 

4. Edwardian Tearooms

After well over two years, you can now pop into the Edwardian Tearooms again. Buy your food and drink, cash or card is accepted. Plenty of tables like before. Access through Gallery 3 (currently Wonderland) via the large doors on the left (or right).

Edwardian Tearooms

The galleries above are closed, with no objects on display.

Edwardian Tearooms

 

8. Bridge Gallery - Collection Stories

You can either head into the Industrial Gallery first, or into the Bridge Gallery. Where they have objects from the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre under the title 'Collection Stories'. Just past through under the 'ART GALLERY EXTENSION AND FEENEY GALLERIS A.D. 1912' sign, and the blue plaque (for Bertha Ryland, unveiled back in 2018 by the Birmingham Civic Society).

BMAG

Art on the walls of the Bridge Gallery, some objects in glass cases.

BMAG

No entry to the Birmingham History Galleries upstairs, as it's closed, and the objects are still in storage, as the re-wiring works hasn't finished yet.

BMAG

In front of the stairs, and near the small cafe, is Souvenir 9 (Queen Victoria). Was made in 2019 by Hew Locke, and acquired for the City by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

BMAG

 

Gallery 10: Unprecedented Times

Since the Museum & Art Gallery had been closed from 2020, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, various local artists had painted or created the art on display here. Art in response to being on lockdown. During the two lost years of the museum being closed.

BMAG

This small gallery is just beyond the Bridge Gallery to the right, and nothing else beyond here is open at the moment.

BMAG

The red shutter at the end was closed, as BM & AG still has a lot of work to do to re-wire the whole building.

BMAG

The steps to the Gas Hall & Exit was closed also. But I suspect it will reopen on the 14th May 2022, when an exhibit at the Gas Hall called 'Found Cities, Lost Objects, Women in the City' opens.

BMAG

Photography by Elliott Brown

 

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