Elliott Brown

Passion Points: 119K

Modern Architecture
17 Sep 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The new logo going up the BT Tower during 2021

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

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Between February and August 2021, the BT Tower in Birmingham on Lionel Street, got the the new BT logos attached on both sides. The "T" on one side and a circle was put up between February and March 2021. The "B" and the other "T" didn't go up until late August 2021, due to nesting peregrine falcons.

Gallery below of photos taken by Birmingham We Are photography regular contributors Daniel Sturley and Elliott Brown.

 

6th February 2021

Crazy men abseiling down the top of the BT Tower.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

24th February 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

2nd March 2021

Pins go in place for the circle and the "T". The "B" pins are faint at this point.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

21st March 2021

First blue circle and a "T" goes up.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

3rd April 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

17th April 2021

Still the lone "T" as seen from Hill Street near Birmingham New Street Station. With a peregrine falcon nest up there, BT engineers couldn't return until late August.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

21st April 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

16th May 2021

The view up from Lionel Street in the Jewellery Quarter, near Ludgate Hill. Would be another three months before they got back up to finish the BT logos.

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown..

 

21st June 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

14th July 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

23rd July 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

27th July 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley..

 

7th August 2021

Scaffolding had gone up the top of the BT Tower, and there was now visible ropes from there to the bottom of the tower. Work had finally resumed to finish replacing the BT Tower's logo.

BT TowerPhotography by Daniel Sturley.

 

13th August 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

30th August 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

4th September 2021

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

BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

 

11th September 2021

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

Bank Mercian BT TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown.

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

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

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

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

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

 

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

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

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

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

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

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

 

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

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

 

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

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

 

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

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Meet the mascot, Perry the Bull.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude

Gratitude

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

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

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

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

Wesleyan was one of the main sponsors of the event.

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

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park Trail

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Sandwell Valley Country Park Trail

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

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To get to Sandwell Country Park

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

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

West Bromwich Central Tram StopPhotography by Elliott Brown

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire West BromwichPhotography by Elliott Brown

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

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

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

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

Cronehills Interchange BridgeCronehills Interchange Bridge. Photography by Elliott Brown

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

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

Enter Sandwell Valley Country Park. 

At the gates, enter Sandwell Valley Country Park.

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

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

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

Sandwell Valley cowsSandwell Park Farm. Photography by Elliott Brown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was excavated between 1982 and 1988.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kayaking from Gas Street Basin to Icknield Port Loop

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

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

Canoeing BCN Mainline

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

Canoeing BCN Mainline

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

Canoeing BCN Mainline

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

Canoeing BCN Mainline

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

Canoeing BCN Mainline

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

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

Model Boating at Bournville Lake at The Valley Parkway

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

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Bournville Radio Sailing and Model Boat Club

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

 

26th March 2017

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

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

 

4th October 2018

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

Valley Parkway Bournville

 

15th August 2021

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

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

Valley Parkway Bournville

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

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

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

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

Related

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

 

Sandwell Valley Country Park, 4th August 2021

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

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

 

Sandwell Park Farm

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Further down, another field was full of sheep.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

 

M5 bridge crossing no 1

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

M5 bridge 1

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

M5 bridge 1

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

M5 bridge 1

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

M5 bridge 1

 

Swan Pool

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

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

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

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

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

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

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

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

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley

 

Path from Park Lane

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

 

Sandwell Priory Ruins

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

Sandwell Priory Ruins

Sandwell Priory Ruins

Sandwell Priory Ruins

Sandwell Priory Ruins

 

Sandwell Hall Ruins

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

Sandwell Hall Ruins

Sandwell Hall Ruins

 

M5 bridge crossing no 2

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

M5 Bridge 2

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

M5 Bridge 2

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

M5 Bridge 2

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

M5 Bridge 2

 

Exit to Europa Avenue

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

Sandwell Valley Country Park

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

 

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

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90 passion points
Transport
03 Aug 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

Related

15th March 2017

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

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

 

6th August 2017

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

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

Emirates Boeing 777

 

1st August 2021

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

Emirates Boeing 777

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

 

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

Pink artwork Selfridges - mid April to late July 2021 update

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

Related

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

 

17th April 2021

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

Selfridges

 

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

Selfridges

 

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

Selfridges

 

27th May 2021

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

Selfridges

 

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

 

29th May 2021

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

Selfridges

 

5th June 2021

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

 

13th June 2021

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

Selfridges

 

21st June 2021

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

Selfridges

It was open by the time we went into July.

Selfridges

 

4th July 2021

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

Selfridges

 

19th July 2021

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

Selfridges

 

20th July 2021

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

Selfridges

 

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

Selfridges

 

25th July 2021

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

Selfridges

 

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

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

Selfridges

 

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

Selfridges

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

 

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

Roundhouse Birmingham: a timeline to reopening

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

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History of Roundhouse Birmingham

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2009

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

 

15th May 2009

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2013

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

 

23rd February 2013

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

Signs on the gate "Warning Kingdom Security".

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

18th May 2013

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2015

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

 

26th December 2015

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2017

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

 

26th October 2017

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2019

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

 

2nd November 2019

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

27th December 2019

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

Window view of another window.

Roundhouse Birmingham

Similar window shot as the last one.

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

2021

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

 

14th July 2021

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

20th July 2021

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

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

Roundhouse Birmingham

 

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

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

Chamberlain Gardens in Ladywood

Post image

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

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Chamberlain Gardens, Ladywood

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

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

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

 

2014

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

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

 

2021

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

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

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

The Council has recently cut the grass here.

Chamberlain Gardens

A look to the Chamberlain Gardens Playground.

Chamberlain Gardens

Next to that was the Chamberlain Gardens Outdoor Gym Area.

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

This is the Winfield Entrance at Cawdor Crescent.

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

View of the tennis and basketball courts from Cawdor Crescent.

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

Nice reflection on the newly laid path of a tree.

Chamberlain Gardens

The path curves around past the trees near Ladywood Road.

Chamberlain Gardens

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

Chamberlain Gardens

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

 

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

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

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

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

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40 passion points
Transport
13 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Midland Red Private Charter bus at Holloway Circus

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

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

Stratford House: a timber framed survivor dating to 1601

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

The history of Stratford House

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Stratford House, 2010

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

Stratford HouseStratford House on Stratford Place in 2010.

 

Stratford House, 2016

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

Stratford House

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

 

Stratford House

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

 

Stratford House, 2018

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

Stratford House

Stratford House Stratford House fully restored as of April 2018

 

Stratford House, 2021

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

Stratford House

Stratford House

Stratford House

Stratford HouseStratford House at the end of June 2021.

 

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

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

The Old Crown in Digbeth, dating back to 1368!

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

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

The Old Crown

So as of 2021 they are now 653 years old!

 

History of The Old Crown

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

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

 

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

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

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

The Old Crown Digbeth


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

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

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

 

The Old Crown in the 21st Century

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown 1368.

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

The Old Crown Digbeth

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

 

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

The Old Crown Digbeth

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

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

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

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

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The problem with Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Kings Heath

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

 

Yarn bombing on Springfield Road, Kings Heath

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

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

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

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

Slow Down 20 Springfield Road Kings Heath

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Olton Reservoir

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

 

History of Olton Reservoir

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

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

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

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

 

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

Olton Reservoir

 

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

 

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

Olton Reservoir

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

Olton Reservoir

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

Olton Reservoir

 

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

Olton Reservoir

 

Warwick Road railway bridge, Olton

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

Warwick Road railway bridge Olton

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

Warwick Road railway bridge Olton

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

Warwick Road railway bridge Olton

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

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire docking points all around the West Midlands

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

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Birmingham

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

 

Birmingham City Centre

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

University of Birmingham

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Sutton Coldfield

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Coventry

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Solihull

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

Walsall

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

 

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

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

Walsall Arboretum - a historic Victorian public park!

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

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Walsall Arboretum

 

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

 

History of Walsall Arboretum

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

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

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

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

 

West Midlands Cycle Hire

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

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

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

The Arboretum Lodge

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

 

Bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome

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

Jerome K. Jerome

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

Jerome K. Jerome

 

Hatherton Lake

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

This view of Hatherton Lake towards the bandstand.

Hatherton Lake

This view of Hatherton Lake towards the boat house.

Hatherton Lake

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

Hatherton Lake

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Hatherton Lake

 

Boat House

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

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

Boat House Walsall Arboretum

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

Boat House Walsall Arboretum

 

Bandstand

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

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

Bandstand Walsall Arboretum

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

Bandstand Walsall Arboretum

 

Visitor Centre

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

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

Visitor Centre Walsall Arboretum

 

Bronze horse statue of Fluffy the Oss

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

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

Fluffy the Oss

 

The Leckie Building

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

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

The Leckie Building

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

The Leckie Building

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

The Leckie Building

 

Ladies Bowl Pavillion

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

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

Ladies Bowl Pavillion

 

The Rose Garden

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

 

Summer Poppy Field

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

Poppy field

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

Poppy field

A macro zoom in to one of the poppies.

Poppy field

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

Poppy field

 

The best of the rest of the park

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

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

Walsall Arboretum

 

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

 

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

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80 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
21 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021

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After a delay, Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 finally began in May 2021, and will be on in the City of Coventry for the next year or so. Coventry won the bid to host it in late 2017. The City Centre is being redeveloped as arts and cultural activities get underway. Get the train down from Birmingham New Street with Avanti West Coast, a 20 minute journey. Then 10 minute walk.

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COVENTRY UK CITY OF CULTURE 2021

 

Transport to Coventry

If you are heading to Coventry from Birmingham, the fastest route is from Birmingham New Street Station to Coventry Station with Avanti West Coast. Their Class 390 Pendolino service towards London Euston only takes about 20 minutes (with one stop at Birmingham International). If you went with London Northwestern Railway in one of their Class 350 Desiro trains, the journey might be longer.

Avanti West Coast CoventryAvanti West Coast Pendolino 390 010 to Birmingham New Street. Welcome to Coventry. 12th June 2021.

 

If you go by bus, take the X1 on a National Express West Midlands Platinum bus. The journey would take at least an hour or more (depending on where you get on). The bus terminates at Pool Meadow Bus Station in Coventry (not far from the Coventry Transport Museum).

X1 CoventryThe X1 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus to Birmingham at Coventry Pool Meadow Bus Station, 29th February 2020.

 

Coventry's BID for UK City of Culture 2021

In 2017, the City of Coventry bid to be the 2021 UK City of Culture. Coventry won the bid in December 2017. The other bidders were: Swansea, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland.

"We weren't sent to Coventry, we chose to come. Coventry is a city of welcome, a city of stories, a city of innovation and invention, a City of Culture".

I saw the sign below at the Friargate development, not far from Coventry Station during October 2017.

Coventry 2021

 

Thre was also this sign about Coventry's bid for UK City of Culture 2021. Seen in Broadgate, Coventry, behind the Lady Godiva statue. Was in the window of Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre. This was in March 2018, so Coventry by this point had won the bid around 3 months earlier.

Coventry 2021

 

End of February 2020, and I saw this sign about Coventry 2021 at Friargate near Coventry Station.

"We are UK City of Culture 2021". This way to the City Centre. Several weeks before the 1st lockdown, and over a year before Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 would begin. It ended up getting delayed until May 2021 in the end. What with the 3rd lockdown, and having to wait for restrictions to be eased again.

Coventry 2021

 

Cultural activities in Coventry City Centre, March 2018

On the 24th March 2018, over 3 months since Coventry officially won the bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, there was various street entertainment taking place at the time around Coventry City Centre.

Men in kilts with a ladder near West Orchards Shopping Centre on Smithford Way.

Coventry 2021

"My City 2048". Also seen on Smithford Way in Coventry. Coventry (UK) is twinned with Volgograd (Russia). And this art was part of the Young Artists' Exchange. 50 young people in Coventry and in Volgograd, Russia were asked to imagine how their cities might look in the year 2084 (when Coventry and Volgograd will have been twin cities for 140 years). This is the exhibition that they came up with.

Coventry 2021

Canteen advert at West Orchards Shopping Centre, on a four wheeled slow vehicle. This was near a fountain and the Upper Precinct. There was also some people around in orange outfits at the time.

Coventry 2021

Colourful banners at the Upper Precinct. On my most recent visit to Upper Precinct on the 12th June 2021, I noticed that this footbridge above has been removed. As has the escalators behind with the glass windows.

Coventry 2021

Finally we had the Bureau of Silly Ideas, making sensible use of silly. There was a moving cone. This was at Broadgate.

Coventry 2021

 

Return visit to Coventry, June 2021

I got the train down to Coventry to see a bit of Coventry 2021 on the 12th June 2021. After checking out new station building, took a long walk around until I got back into the City Centre via Spon Street. Got to see the ribbons at Broadgate and the rainbow arcade on Hertford Street. I may have missed other areas I wasn't aware of. Was my first time travelling back to Coventry since the pandemic began.

This banner on the Friargate hoardings, I later saw on the walk back towards Coventry Station. There is a Coventry 2021 app apparently.

Coventry 2021

 

Earlier I saw this Coventry 2021 sign in the windows of a former BHS store, I was heading from the Upper Precinct to the Lower Precinct for a stop at Caffe Nero.

Coventry 2021

 

While landscaping of the City Centre streets continues in Coventry, at the Upper Precinct is this new water jet fountains for kids to play in.

Coventry 2021

The previous footbridge and escalators that was here has been removed, as you can see in this view towards the Lower Precinct. There is still a lot to do in regards to the new paving.

Coventry 2021

The view from the other side, it's not just Centenary Square, Birmingham where kids can have fun in water in a public space, such as here in Coventry!

Coventry 2021

 

Hertford Street rainbow arcade

I'd previously seen photos by Damien Walmsley taken in here. You can see his post on his blog here: Coventry looking good in the sun. The rainbow arcade is on Hertford Street.

Coventry 2021

I kept looking up at the many colours on the roof.

Coventry 2021

I missed spotting the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 shop (on the left). I wasn't aware of it when I was there.

Coventry 2021

I popped up some steps that led to a car park, after some views I headed back the way I came.

Coventry 2021

One more view of the rainbow arcade before returning to Broadgate.

Coventry 2021

 

Ribbons at Broadgate

Approaching Broadgate from the Upper Precinct for my first view of the ribbons.

Coventry 2021

The sun was shing as cyclist rode past, and people sitting on the benches below the ribbons.

Coventry 2021

The ribbons with messages above the infamous Lady Godiva statue.

Coventry 2021

There was also Coventry 2021 sky blue banners around the square.

Coventry 2021

View from the back of the Lady Godiva statue. The Upper and Lower Precinct were to the right.

Coventry 2021

More shadows with a view of the ribbons towards the Upper and Lower Precinct. After this I headed to Hertford Street (see above).

Coventry 2021

Coming back from Hertford Street, now back in Broadgate towards Primark, and retracing my steps down the Upper Precinct.

Coventry 2021

 

I would have looked for more after leaving the Lower Precinct, but ended up walking back to Coventry Station to return to Birmingham. That and get a few more shots of the new red station building.

 

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

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80 passion points
Transport
21 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

WM 6600 bus in Walsall

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On Saturday 19th June 2021, National Express West Midlands had a vintage bus rally around the Black Country. From Walsall to Wolverhampton. I travelled up to Walsall by train and went to Walsall Arboretum. After leaving, I only saw the WM 6600 bus on Broadway North, before it went up Littleton Street East. I did not spot any other heritage buses around.

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WM Travel bus 6600

I was aware of National Express West Midlands having a vintage bus rally in the Black Country. This included their modern buses in the heritage liveries. This was on Saturday 19th June 2021.

Got the train up to Walsall Station, and walked to Walsall Arboretum. After a walk around the park, I exited from the Arboretum Lodge that I entered earier, I saw a vintage bus on Broadway North.

 

I quickly got some photos of it while it was at the traffic lights, but was a car in the way.

WM 6600 bus

There was no time to wait for the car to move out of the way.

WM 6600 bus

Was able to get one more shot of the bus with licence plate no: NOC 600R as it passed the lights. With route 39 on the rear. It was heading onto Littleton Street East. These roads are part of the Walsall ring road.

WM 6600 bus

 

I'd previously seen the same bus (WM Travel 6600, NOC 600R) at the Yardley Wood Bus Garage open day, back in November 2018. When it was displaying as route 74 to Wednesbury via Wednesbury (The modern 74 bus route goes from Birmingham to Dudley via West Bromwich).

Yardley Wood bus garage 2018

 

Look out for a Walsall Arboretum post coming soon!

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
15 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The distinctive street art of Mohammed "Aerosol" Ali around Birmingham

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Mohammed "Aerosol" Ali is known in Birmingham for his stencil sprayed on artwork around the City. Such as in Kings Heath, Moseley or Digbeth. Most famous for doing pieces on the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali (who died in 2016). More recently he has done a Malcolm X piece outside The Art Rooms Kings Heath. Plus "I Can't Breathe" Black Lives Matter pieces in 2020.

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The art of Mohammed Ali aka Aerosol Ali seen around Birmingham from 2016 until 2021. Note that not all of his pieces displayed here are still visible to see. Some of his art is politcal. Connect with Mohammed on Twitter (click the link above).

 

Digbeth

Location: Bradford Street

Date: June 2018

"The fish, even in the fishermans net, still carries the smell of the sea."

This piece has been painted over, and part of the hoarding is missing as of June 2021.

Aerosol Ali Digbeth

 

Location: Bradford Street

Date: August 2020

"I Can't Breathe" - Black Lives Matter.

These posters have probably been removed, and other taggers kept writing over it.

Aerosol Ali Digbeth

 

Moseley

Location: Moseley Central - Alcester Road

Date: February 2017.

Deaths in 2016, including Muhammad Ali, Alex Keogh, USA  (Trump election) and Jo Cox.

These hoardings have gone, and Moseley Central was completed in 2018.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

Muhammad Ali (1942-2016). Famous boxer. His namesake Mohammed Ali (no relation), sprayed pieces like this all around the City after Ali died aged 74.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

USA (1776-2016). The election of Donald Trump in November 2016. Served one term as the 45th President of the United States (20th January 2017 to 20th January 2021). Succeeded by Joe Biden (as 46th President of the United States), after Trump lost the 2020 election. Trump was banned from all social media platforms early in 2021.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

Alex Keogh (1988-2016). Not sure about him, other than a young man that died young, at 28. He was a teaching assistant according to the Birmingham Mail. He died of a alcohol and drug overdose at Christmas Eve 2016.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

Jo Cox (1974-2016). She was MP for Batley and Spen from the 7th May 2015, until she was murdered on the 16th June 2016, in Birstall, West Yorkshire of gun shot wounds, and she was stabbed. She was 41 years old.

Aerosol Ali Moseley

 

Kings Heath

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: June 2016

Muhammad Ali (1942 - 2016). This was one of the first pieces I found of Mohammed Ali. He also did similar pieces in Sparkbrook and elsewhere in the City at the time.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: October 2019

Greta Thunberg. A teenage environmental activist. She was born in Sweden in 2003. She is now 18 years old. But was 16 when Mohammed Ali sprayed this on the wall.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: July 2020

"I Can't Breathe" - Black Lives Matter. This piece had perspex put over it by the Council.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: January 2021

2021 - Coronavirus Pandemic, the new year after the disaster that was 2020. The year of vaccines in 2021. This piece is still on the wall.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

Location: The Art Rooms - High Street

Date: June 2021

Malcolm X on Marshall Street, Smethwick, early February 1965. A few weeks after his return to the US, he was shot dead in New York. Mohammed Ali also painted a Palestine flag on it, during the "Free Palestine" movement. After the bombings in Israel and continuing issues with the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Aerosol Ali Kings Heath

 

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

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90 passion points
Classic Architecture
14 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Look no clock hands on Old Joe (at the University of Birmingham)!

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The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham, known more famously by his nickname of 'Old Joe' has been stuck at 12 for ages now. On Tuesday 8th June 2021, mobile cranes / cherry pickers went up to remove the hands from the clock faces. This is the start of work to repair the clock mechanisms. Before long you'll be able to read the time again!

Related

See this Twitter thread from the University of Birmingham for more.

Having noticed some posts on Twitter about the clock tower at lunchtime, Tuesday 8th June 2021, I travelled down to the University of Birmingham, catching a no 61 bus from Bristol Street to the Bristol Road in Edgbaston (getting off near Edgbaston Park Road).

I walked up to the East Gate, and headed towards the Chancellor's Court via University Road East. This is between the Guild of Students and Barber Institute of Fine Arts (and opposite King Edward's School).

East Gate University of Birmingham

 

Heading towards University Square, I could already see the missing clock hands on one of the clock faces of Old Joe over the Watson Building (School of Mathematics).

Old Joe University of Birmingham

This building is linked to the Poynting Building (Physics Department). Heading under the bridge and turning left into the Chancellor's Court.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

There was barriers around the lawn, but you could still walk around the paths near the Aston Webb Building (in a semi circle).

Old Joe University of Birmingham

A zoom up to one of the clock faces, looks so weird without any clock hands. Also the brickwork could do with a clean, so much bird muck to wash off.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

I arrived in the afternoon, so missed the mobile cranes going up. Although they were still around the clock tower.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

Better lighting from this angle, two clock faces without hands!

Old Joe University of Birmingham

Not all hands had been taken down, the hand pointing to 6.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

Heading out past the Law Building, then down some steps towards the West Gate. The Aston Webb Building seen to the right of here.

Old Joe University of Birmingham

 

Now on University Road West, a look at the Faraday statue and Old Joe. The statue was a gift from the artist, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, in the Centenary Year of the University of Birmingham (2000).

Old Joe Faraday

 

Towards the West Gate and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, I initially got this rear view of the bronze Faraday statue. The University recently celebrated their 121st birthday, since their inception by a Royal Charter issued by Queen Victoria in 1900.

Faraday QEHB

 

Heading past University Station, and crossing over New Fosse Way, followed the path towards the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, to catch my next bus, the 76. I initially waited at the next stop, but realised the 76 was extended from the QE to Northfield, and I wanted the 76 to Solihull. Other buses I saw included the 48 and 25. This was the closest I've got to the QE since the pandemic began in 2020.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

 

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

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Rivers, lakes & canals
14 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Boating Lake at Cannon Hill Park: before and after de-silting the lake

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In 2021, the Boating Lake and Breeding Pool was completely emptied of water around January 2021. By February 2021, you could see the surface of the lake, and all the debris on the surface. In the months that followed, workmen would have removed what was down there and de-silted it. By June 2021, the water is back in, and the swan boats can be used again. Lets hope it stays clean.

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For the first time in 35 years, the Breeding Pool and the Boating Lake were drained of water, to de-silt them. Over the decades, people have thrown things into the lakes that have never been taken out.  This was work that was much needed to be done. Before the lakes were drained, the fish were safely removed, and care for the waterfowl that use the lakes.

The work was funded by the Council's Parks Pools Safety Programme. Work started around the weir area in January 2021, to repair the gate, and get it working, so that the pools could be emptied of water. Repairing the weir will ensure that water levels are controlled in future, if there was a risk of flooding.

The plan was to empty the pool before the waterfowl started breeding and nesting. When the silt was dry enough, it was to be dug out and spread on the existing grass areas above ground, above the pool and re-seeded.

 

The Boating Lake, February 2021

This was the views of the Breeding Pool and Boating Lake at Cannon Hill Park on the 19th February 2021.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

It was so weird at the time to see it without water.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

First evidence of the debris in the lake that needed to be removed. Metal objects and bricks.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

This view towards the MAC (far left).

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

There was still gulls on their landing railing in the middle of the lake.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

It looks like scaffolding in the water where the gulls were perched on.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Some geese and pigeons were still around, where there was water, the waterfowl were in the lake. But a lot of debris revealed to the side of the lake.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Hopefully all of this mess was removed in the winter or early spring.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Fences stopping people getting too close to the lake, plus the pumping machine on the left which was used to pump out the water.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Canada geese around all the rubbish, rain water in the lake, or water that hadn't been removed.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

During this time it was the early weeks of the third lockdown, and the swan boats were stored away.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

 

The Boating Lake, June 2021

Almost four months later and back at Cannon Hill Park, and I was suprised to see water back in the Boating Lake. Even the Breeding Pool had water again, and the Canada Geese had had their gosling. This visit was on the 6th June 2021, which was bit of a wet morning.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

The view towards the MAC. Bins overflowing with rubbish. The day before would have been nice and sunny, and people left litter all over the field.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

First view of the swan boats in a while, nice to see them back.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

While rainy weather is not the best kind of weather to go on in the swan boats, there has been more sunny blue sky days so far in June, than the non-stop rain in May 2021.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

On the walk back towards the Rea Valley Route, a look at the MAC and swan boats to the far right.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

But the light rain was getting heavier. Canada geese on the left. Some parts of the grass was patchy, probably after having the silt on it during the winter months.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

More patches of grass, but nice to see the lake full of water again.

Boating Lake Cannon Hill Park

Please can people on dry sunny days, take your litter home, don't overfill the bins, and don't leave your rubbish around the outside of the bins. As the litter pickers from the park have a lot of rubbish to pick up after you, on rainy days like this. Maybe the Council could provide much bigger bins, and empty them more frequently, to keep the premier park of the City nice and clean every day?

 

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

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80 passion points
Classic Architecture
09 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The original Curzon Street Station (1838 to 1893 / 1966)

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Did you know that the first railway passenger station in Birmingham was opened at Curzon Street in 1838? Built by the London & Birmingham Railway, engineered by Robert Stephenson. The building was designed by the architect Philip Hardwick. It's time as the Birmingham terminus was shortlived after New Street opened in 1854. But continued for excursions to 1893 / goods to 1966.

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Curzon Street Station

(1838 - passengers 1893 / goods 1966)

The first passenger railway linking London to Birmingham was opened in 1838. From London Euston to Birmingham Curzon Street. The station was originally called simply Birmingham Station (it was renamed Birmingham Curzon Street Station in 1852 after Birmingham New Street Station was being built and opened in 1854).

It was the terminus for both the London & Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway, with lines from London, Manchester and Liverpool.

The station located at New Canal Street and Curzon Street in what we now call Eastside, was first opened in June 1838, and the first passenger train arrived from London on the 17th September 1838. The station also had platforms for parcels, but there was no through trains.

The architect of the station was Philip Hardwick, while Robert Stephenson was the engineer in charge of building the line from London to Birmingham. The building was inspired by classical Roman architecture, following Hardwick's trip to Italy in 1818-19.

 

The following image shows Curzon Street Station as it was in 1838. It was published by E C & W Osborne and printed by E Y Moody Bros.

Curzon Street Station

 

The next sketch shows Curzon Street from New Canal Street in 1839. It was an Engraving from Topographical Views  in Wilkinson Collection Vol iii.

Curzon Street Station

 

A more recent drawing of Curzon Street Station dated 1950. It was an ink drawing by John L. Baker. Topographical view of Birmingham. By then the station was only being used for goods. It closed in 1966.

Curzon Street Station Images above are free to download from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection, Public Domain. Digital Image Resource. Creative Commons Zero Licence (CCO).

 

The coming of New Street Station to the closure of Curzon Street Station

The problem was that Curzon Street was not centrally located to the centre of town. So the railway companies decided to build a new station in the heard of the town centre. This would become Birmingham New Street Station, and it's first incarnation opened in 1854. Many services were transferred away from Curzon Street at the time. The station was modified at Banbury Street and New Canal Street by 1874, and was used from Easter that year for passenger excursion trips. Which it continued to do so, until it closed by Easter 1893. Such as on public bank holidays to Sutton Coldfield. The old 1838 platforms were not used as much by then.

Going into the 20th Century, the station continued to be used for goods until it closed for good in 1966. The platforms and original good sheds were demolished in the same year. The site was then used as a Parcelforce depot until that closed in 2006.

In the years before HS2 the land behind the station building was used as a public surface car park, and at one point could have been a redevelopment site called Curzone (which never happened in the end). The HS2 announcement in 2009 changed everything.

The surviving building became a Grade I listed building in 1952. At one point it was modified in 1839 to become a hotel called the Victoria. In 1841 a hotel extension was built and this was the Queen's Hotel. It was on Curzon Street. It was later renamed to The Railway Hotel, when another Queen's Hotel opened at New Street. The hotel at Curzon Street closed in 1900 and was demolished by 1980.

The council purchased the station building from British Rail in 1979 and was used by a University of Birmingham student group called 'Three Bugs Fringe Theatre'.

 

Plaques

Inside of Curzon Street Station is this plaque installed during 1947, which was the Centenary Year of the founding of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers on this site on the 27th January 1847. Photo taken in June 2014, during a visit to Birmingham's Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station.

Curzon Street Station

 

The building also received a Civic Trust Award in 1983. This was probably after Curzon Street Station was restored in the late 1970s and early 1980s (after it had fell into disrepair by 1979). Also seen at Birmingham's Hidden Spaces.

Curzon Street Station

 

There is a plaque on the front of the building that was placed on the New Canal Street side of the building in 1988, on the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first train from London to Birmingham on Monday 17th September 1838. Photo below taken in April 2009. It is now longer possible to see this plaque while HS2 build their new station.

Curzon Street Station

 

Curzon Street Station - exterior of the building 2009 to 2021

Now a gallery of photos of Curzon Street Station taken over the last 12 years or so.

 

View of Curzon Street Station from New Canal Street, taken April 2009. Millennium Point can be seen to the left.

Curzon Street Station

 

A view taken during August 2009 of Curzon Street Station from a now lost road called Bartholomew Street. By then it had long since been closed off. And would disappear by 2011-12 when Eastside City Park was built.

Curzon Street Station

 

It is now January 2010, and Curzon Street Station can again be seen from Bartholomew Street, but in the snow. The Woodman public house seen on the left.

Curzon Street Station

 

By February 2011, I was having a look at Curzon Street Station from the public car park on Curzon Street. All the windows and doors were boarded up. The Rotunda and Pavilions shopping centre were visible to the left of here. Sometimes this car park had been used for the odd fun fair over the years.

Curzon Street Station

 

The hoardings on the left have not gone up for HS2, but for the building of Eastside City Park. Curzon Street Station seen from New Canal Street during September 2011.

Curzon Street Station

 

As late as March 2014, the site behind the old Curzon Street Station building was still being used as a public car park. Selfridges, Beetham Tower, Centre City Tower and the Rotunda were visible on the skyline at the time.

Curzon Street Station

 

By March 2017, it was clear that HS2 would soon take over the building. Hoarding artwork and banners had gone up. It was planned that Curzon Street would become a new cultural hub. The art was from a HS2 / BCU competition, which was won by Sarina Kaur, called Curzon Railway 1838 - 1966.

Curzon Street Station

 

By March 2020, and before the first lockdown, one last walk down New Canal Street before HS2 closed it off, it was also one last chance to see the Eagle & Tun pub before it was demolished. By then the Curzon Railway BCU art banners had been taken down, but the hoardings were still there.

Curzon Street Station

 

A view from the train of Curzon Street Station during August 2020. After the first lockdown restrictions were being eased, I got a train from Stechford to Birmingham New Street. New Canal Street is now closed off, you can also see Millennium Point and The Woodman.

Curzon Street Station

 

October 2020 from Curzon Street. The road beyond was closed by HS2. Was taking a pedestrian diversion from Digbeth to Eastside the long way around (via Lawley Middleway). As HS2 had cut off my old routes. This was before the second lockdown began.

Curzon Street Station

 

By April 2021, the third lockdown restrictions were being eased, and got the train to Birmingham Moor Street for a walk around Eastside and Digbeth. This time via the Digbeth Branch Canal (which was faster than the route I took the autumn before). Took this view of Curzon Street Station from the canal.  The land all being prepared by HS2. The view might be lost in the future once the station is built, and it might bridge over the canal as well (not like the original brick Curzon Street Tunnel that crosses the canal towards New Street in Eastside).

Curzon Street Station

 

Early June 2021, and a view of Curzon Street Station taken from the Cross City Line, I caught the train at Birmingham New Street and got it to Sutton Coldfield. It looks like the turntable (to the far right of here) has been filled in. It's hard to imagine the other buildings that was here over 180 years ago. Millennium Point seen behind from the train. HS2 is a hive of activity.

Curzon Street Station

 

For more photos and the feature, go here for the full gallery of Curzon Street Station in Birmingham Gems.

 

Birmingham's Hidden Spaces, June 2014

From the 21st to 29th June 2014, Birmingham's Hidden Spaces opened up Curzon Street Station to the public. It was an exhibition by Associated Architects, and in association with the Birmingham Post. I saw it on the 28th June 2014. This banner was on the outside of the building.

Curzon Street Station

Inside the main foyer and a look up the staircase to the ceiling. Unfortunately it was too unsafe to go upstairs, so you could only see the ground floor and basement of the building.

Curzon Street Station

Zooming up to the ceiling window.

Curzon Street Station

This sign shows A Brief History of Curzon Street Station. Similar to the information I have presented above.

Curzon Street Station

Another sign about Curzon Street Station built 1838. Philip Hardwick, architect, Robert Stephenson, engineer. Plus the restoration task force in 1983.

Curzon Street Station

Going down the steps to the basement, would have been an exhibition on down here.

Curzon Street Station

The rear door was open, so you could have a look outside. There wasn't much to see out there.

Curzon Street Station

 

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

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