Elliott Brown

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Art; Culture & creativity
4 hours ago - 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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0 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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70 passion points
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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70 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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80 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sutton Park Town Gate to Boldmere Gate

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I got the train to Sutton Coldfield on the 5th June 2021, on a nice and warm sunny morning in The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield. I headed for the Town Gate for a bit of a walk in Sutton Park. Followed Google Maps to Keepers Pool and Keepers Well. Before changing direction for Powell's Pool and the Boldmere Gate. Much more to explore on a future visit, can't do it all in one go.

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This was more of a proper walk into Sutton Park. As back in August 2017 I only popped into the Boldmere Gate to find the Big Sleuth bear nearby. See this post here: The outer fringes of Sutton Park.

Got the train to Sutton Coldfield Station on the morning of Saturday 5th June 2021 (Cross City Line, now operated by West Midlands Railway). I walked around Railway Road, Tudor Road and Upper Clifton Road, before I got to a roundabout at Park Road. This leads to the Town Gate.

 

Town Gate

On the island was a thatched sculpture of what I think is a Cello.

Sutton Park

Heading up Park Road to the Sutton Park Town Gate. Either side is a pair of gatehouses (looked boarded up). There is a Toby Carvery this way. Tudor Hill to the right had a pair of old gateposts.

Sutton Park

The main road in from the Town Gate. Was a play area on the left, the car park up ahead.

Sutton Park

Heading around the back of the play area, over a footbridge that crosses over the Plants Brook.

Sutton Park

I could see the Visitor Centre to the far left of my then position in the park.

Sutton Park

Crossing over the lawn back onto the main path. I wanted to find the Keepers Pool, so checked Google Maps, and left this road for the route to where I wanted to go.

Sutton Park

Crossing over to the path I needed, saw this tree stump and cut tree log on the ground.

Sutton Park

 

Keepers Pool and Keepers Well

The Keepers Pool looked nice and peaceful in the early summer sunshine. It dates to the 15th Century. In 1887, a lido was built here, an open-air swimming pool. It survived until 2003 when it was burnt by arsonists, another fire in 2004 meant it was lost for good. But the area has returned to woodland and wetland.

Sutton Park

Further up was the Keepers Well. Despite the grass being dry saw a bit of mud, so didn't want to get too close. Would assume it also dates back to the same period as Keepers Pool.

Sutton Park

 

Deer Park Subdivision

Not far from Keepers Pool and Well was this marker for Deer Park Subdivision. The land had been a Norman deer park from the early 12th century. There used to be banks and ditches. But over time they subsided and were filled in, so is nothing much to see now. Although I did cross over some raised bits of earth near the paths and roads.

Sutton Park

This is the path close to the Deer Park Subdivision marker.

Sutton Park

The road continues on towards Streetly. But it was near here that I left the path to make my way towards the Boldmere Gate and Sutton Coldfield Town Centre. Didn't want to go too far in the park.

Sutton Park

Going off the path over the field, so many people walking or cycling over the land had left a trail towards the next path.

Sutton Park

Now back onto a path / road that leads back to the Boldmere Gate.

Sutton Park

But first a diversion into an open field I found. Was wooden markers with yellow warning signs. Apparently this is where people fly their model aeroplanes, but not on the day of my visit to the park.

Sutton Park

Into the heathland, and another path well troden by many other people over the years.

Sutton Park

Saw this weird looking tree, leaning to the left. I was getting close to Powell's Pool and the Boldmere Gate.

Sutton Park

 

Powell's Pool

Back to the path leading to the Boldmere Gate, then one last detour to see Powell's Pool again. Saw this boat with gulls perched on it.

Sutton Park

A perfect morning with a blue sky and little clouds above the pool.

Sutton Park

Taking the gate exit near Miller & Carter. Saw this view of the pool from the car park area on the left.

Sutton Park

Couldn't resist getting a couple more shots from Stonehouse Road of the pool. Yachts as usual to the far left.

Sutton Park

 

Boldmere Gate

Leaving at the park at the Boldmere Gate, via Stonehouse Road, saw another thatched sculpture on an island resembling a harp.

Sutton Park

Not far from the Boldmere Gate on Monmouth Drive was a new West Midlands Cycle Hire point with bikes.

Sutton Park

Down on Monmouth Drive was a football field, was kids taking part in an activity here, was a van near the road, but I didn't get a shot of it, so didn't remember the name of it.

Sutton Park

Leaving via Monmouth Drive, Digby Road, Driffold, Bishops Road and Birmingham Road. Walking back into Sutton Coldfield Town Centre. With a stop for a coffee and a toastie at Caffe Nero at the Gracechurch Shopping Centre.

By the time I walked back to Sutton Coldfield Station, I'd managed 10,000 steps.

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

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Cannon Hill Park - a green space trail

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This trail takes you through this wonderful park to some great landmarks and includes the option (which we most certainly recommend) of a visit to the Nature Centre and the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. 

Explore a few places on the trail over an hour or two or spend a full day at Cannon Hill Park.  

Enjoy!   

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Can we recommend you start the trail at The Midlands Art Centre (The MAC).

 

The Midlands Art Centre (The MAC).

Grab a coffee and a bite to eat at the cafe.  Explore this wonderful arts complex which hosts a mix of theatre, dance, and music, complete with its own cinema and workshops. 

The MAC Cannon Hill Park

Explore more about the MAC HERE

From the Mac you pass the Outdoor Arena and The Children's Adventure Playground.

The Outdoor Arena and The Adventure Playground.

450-seater open-air performance space with an exciting series of outdoor events planned. Next to this, there's a great open space for the youngsters to enjoy at the park's Adventure Playground. 

Now walk on past the Fishing Lake on your left.

Fishing Lake.

Go and enjoy a range of recreational activities on the lake including boating and fishing,

Maybe the swans have tempted you.

Cannon Hill Park

From here you could take a small detour out of the park to enjoy an hour or two at Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.

Boy Scouts War Memorial.

On your way to what was formerly called the Nature Centre is the Boy Scouts War Memorial, Grade II listed. Unveiled in July 1924, in the form of an obelisk. In memory of the lives of the Boy Scouts lost during the First World War. Designed by local architect William Hayward.

Boy Scouts War Memorial

Continue along the path towards the Pershore Road.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.

The Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park is home to a unique collection of animals including Red Pandas, Lemurs, Reptiles, Wallabies, Meerkats, Otters, Birds and a large collection of Monkeys. Some of the animals at this park are endangered and the park plays an important role in protecting and preserving many species.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Explore more about the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park HERE.

Now on to explore the wonderful woodlands at Cannon Hill Park.

Woodlands at Cannon Hill Park.

Cannon Hill Park is made up of 80 acres of formal parkland and 120 acres of conservation area and woodland plantation. Enjoy a wonderful stroll through the woodland! 

Centenary Woodland Cannon Hill Park

From here on to the Sons of Rest.

Sons of Rest.  

Sons of Rest was a movement established by a group of retired working men in 1927. They met to play cards, dominoes and enjoy each others company. The Cannon Hill Sons of Rest was built in 1937.

Sons of Rest Cannon Hill Park

From here on to The Golden Lion.

The Golden Lion.

The Golden Lion was originally built in 1520 in Deritend.  The original site is believed to have been a clergy house and a school before becoming an Inn.  It was moved to Cannon Hill Park in 1911.  Sadly over the last couple of decades, the pub has been behind scaffolding, and is in a poor statue of disrepair. Campaigners are hoping to get it restored, or moved back to Digbeth?

The Golden Lion Cannon Hill Park

The Friends of the Golden Lion have a Facebook page HERE.

From here on to The Bandstand.

The Bandstand.

This is a Grade II listed Victorian bandstand built in the 19th century with a blue-brick and stone base, cast iron columns and a curved pavilion roof.  It dates to circa 1880 to 1890.

Bandstand Cannon Hill Park

Now go and see a fascinating sculpture and Sousse memorial.

"Infinite Wave".

Prince Harry unveiled this memorial dedicated to those killed and affected by the two terrorist attacks in Tunisia in 2015.  Infinite Wave was designed by George King Architects.

How about a bit of fun at the Park's International Mini-Golf course.

Mini Golf at Cannon Hill Park.

36 holes of fantastic mini golf fun complete with water hazards.  An 18 hole mini golf course previously opened in 2012. It is now Golden Putter Mini Golf.

Golden Putter Mini Golf Cannon Hill Park

More information on Golden Putter Mini Golf HERE.

Now for something a little different.

Train Station.

Fancy a ride on the park's train. You can pick it up at the park's train station. 

Cannon Hill Park Station

Now for a detour to the Boer War Memorial.

Boer War Memorial.

This statue is in memory of the British lives lost during the Second Boer War (1899 - 1902) in South Africa. When Joseph Chamberlain was the British Colonial Secretary. The bronze memorial was sculpted by Albert Toft and unveiled in Cannon Hill Park in 1906. It was cleaned and restored in 2012, now Grade II* listed. Surrounded with benches where you can sit down and relax.

Boer War Memorial

Time for a cup of tea or a sandwich?

The Garden Tea Room.

After exploring so much of what's available at this wonderful park, take a break at the tea rooms.

The Garden Tea Room

Now onto remembering a lady who was instrumental to the park's existence as a fantastic open space for us all to enjoy.

Louisa Ryland Monument.

Louisa Ann Ryland (1814 - 1889) gifted the park to the city in 1873.  The blue plaque from the Birmingham Civic Society unveiled at the gatehouse / lodge at 143 Edgbaston Road in 1990. The Rea Valley Cycle Route was officially opened here in 1991.

Louisa Ryland blue plaque

On now to a model of the Elan Valley Project in Wales.

Elan Valley Project Model.

Explore the city's connection with Elan Valley in Wales which supplied much of the city's water for more than 100 years.

Now onto the Canoe Pool.

The Canoe Pool.

More great wildlife to enjoy as we near the end of the trail around the park.

A short walk back to the Mac.

We hope you have enjoyed our trail. 

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40 passion points
History & heritage
04 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A visit to Winterbourne House and Garden during May 2021

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It's been a long time coming, but we went to Winterbourne House and Garden on Wednesday 26th May 2021. You enter via the house. Tickets can be bought inside the house, £7.20 for adults or £6.20 for seniors. You can also choose to have time to go around the house. We went in the house at 3pm. The Tearoom is also open, but you can have your tea and coffee on the terrace.

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Winterbourne House and Garden

It's been a long time coming. But after almost 13 years, we went back to Winterbourne House and Garden. In 2008 only the garden was open to visitors. Since then, the Arts and Crafts style house was fully restored and given full museum status by 2017. Some things had changed with the garden as well. Plus this time I remembered to go down to the Edgbaston Pool. The ground floor and first floor of the house are open to visitors, but only a limited number of people at each time, on timed slots. The Tearoom was open as well. Only one household bubble can go up to the counter to order their drinks, card or app payment only. Have your drinks and cakes out on the terrace outside (tables and chairs). I think the indoor tearoom was open, but wasn't sure as everyone went to have their drinks outside.

 

Recap of the History of Winterbourne

The house was built in 1904 for John and Margaret Nettlefold. They were a wealthy Edwardian couple, who lived and raised their children here. Built in the Arts and Crafts style, John Nettlefold commissioned the architect Joseph Lancaster Ball to design the house. An unusual feature of Winterbourne is the wavy roof line, making the house look older than it actually is. The Nettlefold's were insistent that all the main rooms faced south, including the nursery, to get the maximum amount of sunlight and the best views. The house was built by Isaac Langley of Tyburn, Birmingham. The plaster work was undertaken by local craftsperson G P Bankart. It had all the mod cons of the time including electric lighting and gas fires in several rooms. Many people were moving to Edgbaston in the early 1900s, so it was the perfect place to built their family home. Winterbourne was also close to the new University of Birmingham which was founded by Margaret's uncle Joseph Chamberlain in 1900.

The Nettlefold's lived here from 1904 until 1919 (when John got ill). They were followed by the Wheelock family who lived here from 1919 until 1925. A gardener called John Nicholson bought the house in 1925. When he passed away in 1944, he bequeathed the house to the University of Birmingham.  The house at 58 Edgbaston Park Road has been a Grade II listed building since 1982. The house was fully restored in 2010. It gained full museum status in 2017, with the ground and first floor open to visitors to have a look around at.

 

 

This visit of May 2021, was by chance a couple of days after the 121st anniversary of the founding of the University of Birmingham by a Royal Charter.

 

View of Winterbourne House from the terrace. To the left is the entrance to the house, and also the area for having your teas and coffees outside.

 

 

Winterbourne

The house seen from the Lower Lawn, in the middle is the Pergola.

Winterbourne

The house seen from the Top Lawn. The terrace in front, parasols mostly closed as it was a dry day.

Winterbourne

The house seen from near the exit. The former garden entrance on the left. You now enter the house via  the door to the far right.

Winterbourne

 

A tour of the house inside

Starting your tour (without a guide) at The Drawing Room. It was a place for the family to relax and for entertaining guests. The plasterwork on the walls and ceilings are typical of Arts and Crafts design.

Winterbourne

We next to into The Hallway. It was inspired by 17th century long galleries.

Winterbourne

On the left is a portrait of John Nettlefold (1866 - 1930). The family lived in the house until 1919, when John got ill. It is a photograph of a portrait of John Nettlefold by John Byam Liston Shaw in 1904.

Winterbourne

At the far end of the Hallway is a portrait of Margaret Nettlefold (nee Chamberlain) (1871 - 1949). Born into the Chamberlain family, she was the niece of Joseph Chamberlain (1836 - 1914) and first cousin of Neville Chamberlain (1869 - 1940). The painting was also by John Byam Liston Shaw and done in 1904 (this is a photograph reproduction of the original).

Winterbourne

The next room on the ground floor was The Study. This room is dedicated to John Nettlefold and his work. On his desk lies the plans for the Moorpool estate. The wallpaper is 'Brier Rabbit' by William Morris.

Winterbourne

Up to the first foor and we are now in the Nurses' Room. It is the room on the left of the top of the stairs. It's the kind of room where the servants would have lived in the house.

Winterbourne

That is followed by The Nursery. It was a large and airy room for the children and faced the garden. The children would have played and slept in the room, and even had their lessons here from the Nurse before they were old enough to attend local schools.

Winterbourne

The next room is Nina's Room. It has been styled for a 16 year old girl from the period. The outfit near the window is an example of Edwardian summer dress worn by young girls of Nina's social standing.

Winterbourne

The final bedroom you can view is Ken's Room. Named after John Kenrick Nettlefold, he was the Nettlefold's only surviving son. It represents what the room could have looked like before he left the family home.

Winterbourne

In The Exhibition Room near the door was this sculpture. Standing Lovers, 1974. Made of Terracotta by John Tonks (1927-2012). It was originally exhibited at Winterbourne House in 1974, as part of a restrospective of John Tonks' work.

Winterbourne

 

The Winterbourne Press

This building was originally the garage, to house the Nettlefold's first motor car which they bought in 1906. Today the building houses the Winterbourne Press, which shows the early printing techniques of those used in Arts and Crafts design, with a collection of working 19th and early 20th century printing presses.

Winterbourne

When you go in, only one person is allowed at one time. Beyond this gate is staff only. There was several old printing presses inside, plus examples of prints that they had produced.

Winterbourne

 

Former farm buildings at Winterbourne

There is several former farm buildings and stables at Winterbourne. From the Walled Garden you can see The Old Hayloft houses, which is now the Winterbourne Shop. It is also now the exit from the garden. Various items can be bought here, such as the Guide Book for £5 (card or app payment only at present).

Winterbourne

Exiting the shop, you see the Coach House Gallery, which is now home to the Second-hand Bookshop.

Winterbourne

 

Garden tour at Winterbourne

First up is The Walled Garden. Through here is the shop, second-hand bookshop, the toilets, Winterbourne Press, and  Edwardian Kitchen. In the centre is the Dipping Pool. It was restored after a leak in 2008. To the far end is the Lean-to Glasshouse which was restored in 2005.

Winterbourne

The next area is the Glasshouse and Alpine Garden. Here you can visit The Gilbert Orchid House (pictured below). Also the Arid House and Alpine House. The Glasshouses were first included in this area as early as the 1930s. The Gilbert Orchid House was built in the 1960s.

Winterbourne

The Nut Walk is near the Geographic collections. It is an original feature of the garden, and provides a focal point for this area. It is in a tunnel shape. The hazelnut trees growing here are the same ones planted by Margaret Nettlefold over 100 years ago. By the 1980s the original structure had decayed, and was replaced with a new, longer lasting iron frame, domed in shape.

Winterbourne

The Rhododendron Walk runs straight towards the stream. There is also a gate on one side that leads to the Edgbaston Pool. It is the first part of the garden to burst into colour in the spring. There is the remains of an Oak Tree here, that has been left as a memorial to it.

Winterbourne

Taking a detour of the garden, down a path (from the unlocked gate) to the Edgbaston Pool. It belongs to Edgbaston Golf Club. Visitors to Winterbourne can walk along the path, and sit at the benches. The gate beyond is private property of the golf club. Visitors must leave the pool by 4:45pm, when the gate at Winterbourne is padlocked for the evening. The pool was part of the Edgbaston Estate of the Gough family, later members of the Calthorpe's, whose Calthorpe Estates owns much of the land in Edgbaston.

Winterbourne

Back in Winterbourne Garden, and now walking past the stream. This is the Japanese Bridge and Sandstone Rock Garden. On the day of our visit, the bridge was closed for maintenance, so couldn't do the Woodland Walk.

Winterbourne

The furthest part of the garden you can go to. The Stream Lawn, Streamside Borders and Magnolia Border. It's hard to believe that you are two miles away from the city centre. It was originally used in 1904 to grow vegetables. Later in the 1970s it was home to a small nursery, before it was removed to make way for the present day lawn and flowering shrub borders.

Winterbourne

Next up is the Lower Lawn. In this view you can see the Pergola (view towards the house). The Herb Circle is to the right. The Pergola is a true Arts and Crafts feature, added by John Nicolson. It was restored in 2005. Currently there is no access to it, while you are walking around the lawn.

Winterbourne

The Old Meadow is a part of the Winter Garden. It is alongside Winterbourne's western boundary. Originally pastureland during the Edwardian period, it was tamed by gardening staff in 1969, when it was used to house a series of plant family beds. Later it became a commemorative garden to celebrate the centenary of the City of Birmingham in 1989. The Old Meadow contains The White Border, The Mediterranean Bed and the Winter Border.

Winterbourne

The Top Lawn can be seen from the terrace in front of the house. The Lime Walk is to the right of here. This is the lawn where the Nettlefold's would have played boules and croquet. The Wheelocks, who followed them, used it for family games and tennis.

Winterbourne

 

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

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80 passion points
Education
02 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools - from Camp Hill in 1883 to Kings Heath in 1956-58

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King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools is two Grammar schools on one site. The boys and the girls school. Founded in 1883, they were at a site at Camp Hill until they moved to Vicarage Road in Kings Heath (boys in 1956, girls in 1958). The old building survives at Camp Hill Circus near Bordesley Middleway and Stratford Road as The Bordesley Centre. The current school is next to Kings Heath Park.

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King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

In this third post on the King Edward VI schools founded in 1883, we look at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls. Originally located at the top of the Stratford Road, near Sparkbrook and Bordesley. They relocated to a site at Vicarage Road and Cartland Road between 1956 and 1958. Unlike Five Ways, the old building at Camp Hill Circus still stands today, as The Bordesley Centre.

 

History of King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Today you can see the old building at the corner of Bordesley Middleway and the Stratford Road, if you are getting the bus around Camp Hill Circus (or travelling in other forms of transport). It was designed by Martin and Chamberlain, and first opened in 1883 for the King Edward VI Foundation. The building is now a Grade II* listed building. The builder was James Moffat. There was later additions to the building during the 20th century, with more alterations in the early 21st century.

The school of 1883 was the boys school, later the girls school was built by 1890. The school was built in the Gothic style. After the school moved to Kings Heath, the buildings was first used as a Teachers Training College, then by the City of Birmingham Polytechnic (later University of Central England, now Birmingham City University). It is now The Bordesley Centre, a religious, educational and advisory centre for Birmingham's Yemeni community, and run by the Muath Trust. The building was remodelled and refurbished in 2004-06.

Photos below taken during March 2012. First photo taken from Camp Hill near Camp Hill Circus. Bordesley Middleway on the left.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Second photo taken from Bordesley Middleway near Camp Hill Circus. At the time went to see a plaque about The Ship Inn, the site of a pub that used to stand here. Was used by Prince Rupert, before his Royalist army attacked Birmingham at Easter 1643. The Ship Inn stood here from 1560 until 1972. It was rebuilt in the late 19th Century.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools today in Kings Heath

The boys school relocated to a site in Kings Heath at Vicarage Road and Cartland Road during 1956. This is next to Kings Heath Park. While the house of the former estate here is now within Kings Heath Park, the gatehouse is in the grounds of the school near the Vicarage Road. Formerly owned by the Cartland family from 1880 until the 1900s (ancestors of the late Romance novel author Barbara Cartland). The girls school relocated to the site in 1958, and both the boys and girls schools share buildings. They also have playing fields at Kings Heath, which they would have had no room for at Camp Hill.

 

During October 2017 from the Vicarage Road in Kings Heath. Pupils can get off the 11C, 11A or 35 bus routes down here. Main entrance to the school is on the right. Just cross at the lights.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

This is the pedestrian entrance for pupils and visitors to the schools. Looked very autumnal that day.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

In April 2019, a walk past King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. Starting at Vicarage Road in Kings Heath near this sign (gatehouse behind).

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Sign seen on Cartland Road. Reception for both schools on Vicarage Road.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

The sports field with rugby goalpost, modern buildings behind. Seen behind the fence on Cartland Road.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Modern buildings shared by both the boys and girls school. I think they also share the sports field. Barbed wire on the fence at Cartland Road.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

A December 2019 view up the main drive to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. Looks like they built modern extensions to the 1950s buildings here. Lined by trees. At the time, the gate on Vicarage Road was open. There is ramps, so vehicles will have to drive slowly towards the schools.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

A more recent view of King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools, taken from Kings Heath Park during March 2021. The Cartland family formed the Priory Trust Co Ltd to manage the grounds. They wanted to develop houses, but ended up selling the land to the local council (Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council). The council opened the land as a park. Birmingham City Council took over the park and Kings Heath in 1911. The remaining land was sold to the council in 1914. The rest of the land of what is now King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools would have been purchased by the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham in the mid 1950s.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

The Lodge to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

This is the Lodge to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. One of the oldest buildings at the school, it dates to the early 19th Century, and is a Grade II listed building. It is rendered, and Battlemented according to the Historic England listing, at 142 Vicarage Road. The lodge was formerly part of the estate of Kings Heath House, and was separated when a fence was erected between the schools and Kings Heath Park (probably in the late 1950s).

First view (below) taken from the 11A bus on Vicarage Road in Kings Heath during April 2017.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

The next view was taken from Kings Heath Park during Febraury 2018. You can see the modern fence separating the park and school grounds here.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Another bus view, this time taken from the 11C during April 2018. You can see the lodge on the left, and the vehicle entrance driveway on the right to the schools.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

School bus

In May 2017, I was on an 11A bus, when I passed this school bus for both King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, seen on the Vicarage Road. Bus ID 112.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

On this side advertising the girls school and their outstanding results! Co-education for all.

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

 

My own history with King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys. I would have done the 11+ here during 1993-94, but I didn't pass it. I recall putting King Edward VI Five Ways School as my first choice, and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys as my second. I ended up at my local Comprehensive school (which was in walking distance). Years later got the 11C on the way to my Sixth Form College (1999 - 2001). I now think I should have put Camp Hill as my number one. My late brother later got into Camp Hill. Of course I pass it now whenever I get the 11C or 11A past the school. Or go to Kings Heath Park.

 

Previous posts:

 

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

 

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70 passion points
Health & wellbeing
25 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Getting vaccinated at Millennium Point

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My turn to be vaccinated came around in mid May 2021. I booked both at Millennium Point. And I had my first jab on the 19th May 2021. You go in from the ground floor, and get checked. Lift up to 2nd floor, and get directed to chairs to sit down at. After the jab, you go to another chair to sit and wait 15 minutes before leaving. I'll be back in August 2021.

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My experience of going to Millennium Point for my 1st vaccination. When my time came for my age range, the NHS posted me a letter with a link to go to. So I booked both vaccinations for Millennium Point. The first one a few days after the letter came, the second for August 2021.

The text from the GP surgery came a day later, by which time I'd already booked for Millennium Point had had to let them know I wasn't going to the local health centres.

 

My first appointment was on the morning of 19th May 2021. When you get in, you show your reference number and they ask you various questions. You are then directed to the right, then to the lift. Press 2 to go up to the 2nd floor.

Once up, they direct you to a seat to wait to be called. You then get called, same questions again, and the nurse talks to you while injecting the vaccine into your arm.

After this you are directed to another seat, to wait for about 15 minutes, resting after your jab. There maybe side effects within the 24 hours after having it, but should be fine after two days.

Plus you get a card, which you will need to take for the 2nd vaccine appointment. Put it in your wallet or purse.

 

April 2021

Photos below, taken during a walk into Eastside during mid April 2021. Passing Millennium Point. This would be the same route I took going to my vaccine a month later. HS2 works on the right.

Millennium Point

Millennium Point seen on the left from Eastside City Park. Thinktank is due to reopen at the end of May 2021.

Millennium Point

The Millennium Point Covid-19 Vaccination Centre sign from Eastside City Park. I would be back in May.

Millennium Point

That day got the train to and from the City Centre. But you can also get the bus, and walk to Millennium Point.

Millennium Point

 

May 2021

Leaving Millennium Point towards the Jennens Road exit. I noticed that Six/Eight Kafe was gone, and was now another cafe. This exit takes you past the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, towards Aston University.

Millennium Point

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

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
23 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Centenary Square - places to visit mapped for you

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Here we have mapped a selection of places that we would recommend you visit in Centenary Square.

This includes: 

The Library of Birmingham, The Hall of Memory, Symphony Hall, The Birmingham Rep, and many other places of interest.

 

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Centenary Square is located in a prime central location in Birmingham. It is host to many of the City's civic and cultural attractions. It first opened in 1991 and reopened in 2019.

Here we have mapped some of the highlights in Centenary Square.  Enjoy with our complements our map of this amazing public space.

Centenary Square 

Centenary Square was named in 1989 to commemorate the centenary of Birmingham achieving City Status.  It opened in 1991 to a carpet brick design by the artist Tess Jaray. It looked like a Persian rug. This was changed from 2010 to 2013 when the Library of Birmingham was built, but still had a grassed area. But the Council had a bright idea to rip this all up and it was redeveloped between 2017 and 2019. This included a reflective pool with fountains / water jets. The old London Plain trees were cut down in 2017, but new trees were planted by 2019.

Centenary SquareCentenary Square (April 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Hall of Memory

This war memorial building was built from 1922 to 1925 and designed by S. N. Cooke and W. N. Twist. It commemorates the citizens of Birmingham who died during WW1. Made of Portland stone. There is four bronze statues outside dedicated to the Air Force, Army, Navy and Women's Services. It was promoted to Grade I listed status in 2014 (from the previous Grade II). There used to be a Colonnade outside of the Hall of Memory, and a fountain as part of the Broad Street Garden of Remembrance (also opened in 1925). But the Colonnade was moved in 1990, to what is now called the Peace Garden to the grounds of St Thomas's Church which was destroyed in the Birmingham Blitz of 1940.

Hall of Memory Centenary Square

Hall of Memory in Centenary Square (April 2020). Photography by Daniel Sturley

For more on the Hall of Memory, CONNECT HERE.

 

Baskerville House 

This was previously called the Civic Centre, it was the only building built for the proposed Civic Centre from 1938. WW2 halted construction, but after the war, Roman Imperial imagery went out of fashion, and the other proposed buildings were not built. The building was renovated from 2003 to 2007. Baskerville House was built on the site where the home of John Baskerville used to be.

Baskerville House

Baskerville House from Centenary Way (April 2013). Photography by Elliott Brown

For more on Baskerville House, CONNECT HERE.

 

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham was built from 2010 to 2013, between The REP and Baskerville House. It opened in September 2013. There is nine levels above ground, plus a couple of basement floors (Children's Library). Only Level 0, MG, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 9 are accessible to the public. Levels 5, 6 and 8 are staff only. Discovery Terrace on Level 3, Secret Garden on Level 7 and the Shakespeare Memorial Room on Level 9. Brasshouse Language's moved onto Level 1 in September 2016.

Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square (September 2019). Photography by Daniel Sturley

For more on the Library of Birmingham, CONNECT HERE.

 

The Birmingham REP

The Birmingham Reperatory Theatre moved to what is now called Centenary Square in 1971. Closed during the building of the Library of Birmingham from 2010 to 2013, they reopened at the same time as the Library. Founded by Sir Barry Jackson at what is now called The Old REP on Station Street in 1913. There is a pair of blue plaques here from the Birmingham Civic Society, including the founder Sir Barry Jackson, and J. Sampson Gamgee, a surgeon, who lived on the site that The REP is now standing. His name was later used by J. R. R. Tolkien for the character of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2021, the REP is celebrating their 50th Anniversary at this site.

The REP

The REP in Centenary Square (September 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

For more on THE REP, CONNECT HERE. (note it is not yet on Birmingham Gems - need edting rights please Jonathan)

 

The ICC and The Symphony Hall 

These buildings opened in 1991, built from 1986 to 1991. Opened by the Queen in June 1991. Host venue of the G8 in 1998. The foyer of Symphony Hall was rebuilt during 2020. It is due to reopen in 2021. An empty plinth has been reserved outside for the statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch, which has been in storage since 2017.

The ICC and Symphony HallThe ICC and Symphony Hall (April 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

For more on The ICC, CONNECT HERE.

For Symphony Hall, CONNECT HERE.

 

One Centenary Square

Built as the home of HSBC UK. It was originally going to be called Two Arena Central. Built between 2017 and 2018. There is a pair of bronze lions outside the main entrance. Built on the former site of Central TV (and ATV before that). It was a former Masonic Building.

HSBC UK One Centenary SquareHSBC UK, One Centenary Square (July 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

For One Centenary Square, CONNECT HERE.

 

The Exchange (formerly Birmingham Municipal Bank)

The Birmingham Municipal Bank originally opened in 1933. A year before in 1932, Neville Chamberlain, at the time Chancellor of the Exchequer, laid the foundation stone of the building. It was his idea to have a municipal bank. In the decades that followed, it later became a part of the TSB, and was a Lloyds TSB when it closed for good in 2006. However in 2017, the University of Birmingham took it over, and it was being renovated during 2020 into 2021. It was formerly addressed as 301 Broad Street, but it is now addresed as Three Centenary Square.

The Exchange BMBThe Exchange (former Birmingham Municipal Bank) (April 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

For The Exchange (former Birmingham Municipal Bank), CONNECT HERE.

 

Library Tram Stop

In 2017, the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue was moved into storage near Arena Central, and this end of Broad Street was built as the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square from 2017 to 2019. Library Tram Stop opened to the public as the temporary terminus of the line during December 2019. The line is currently being extended down Broad Street, and should be open as far as 54 Hagley Road in Edgbaston by the end of 2021. The West Midlands Metro Urbos 3 trams are powered by battery packs from Stephenson Street (Grand Central Tram Stop) to Centenary Square (Library Tram Stop).

Library Tram StopWest Midlands Metro tram 31 at Library Tram Stop (August 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
22 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Street art across Birmingham - mapped for you

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In and around Birmingham, there is some great street art to enjoy. 

Explore this map and our feature for just a selection of the wonderful street art on offer.  Use the map to plan where to go or enjoy it with us here.

Note: Street art can get painted over and replaced and there is no guarantee that it will be there if you visit.

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Street art in Digbeth

Digbeth is renowned for its street art and has attracted a number of extremely talented artists to showcase their art and creativity. Digbeth is home to the High Viz Street Culture Festival and the City of Colours Festival.

 

Black Sabbath

Location: In the short stay car park of Birmingham Coach Station, Rea Street, Digbeth.

Artist: N4T4 and Wingy.

Description: Painted in 2019 during the 50th Anniversary of Black Sabbath, during the High Viz Street Culture Festival.

Photography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Rea St   

Co-ordinates: 52.47471036278989, -1.8885750864166637

 

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Location: The Paper Mill, Allison Street, Digbeth (inside a car park).

Artist: Unknown

Description: Depicts Dr Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, a pair of US Civil Rights leaders during the 1960s, who were both assassinated. Possibly painted in 2019 for the High Viz Street Culture Festival. This was before the Black Lives Matter movement that started in 2020, after a Police officer killed George Floyd in the USA. There is other political street art in here including former US President Donald Trump, plus former UK PM's David Cameron and Theresa May.

Martin Luther King and Malcolm XPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Allison St

Co-ordinates: 52.477078142706745, -1.8897963145198369

 

Forward in Unity

Location: Nortons beer garden on Meriden Street, Digbeth.

Artist: Gent 48.

Description: Painted during the first year of the Coronavirus Pandemic by Gent 48 in 2020. It was commissioned by Paul Cadman for Art 4 Charity. It resembles the Coronavirus being fought by the NHS, the Police, firemen, who are all real superheroes. The mural has since been turned into a book with signatures, including Gent 48 himself!

Forward in UnityPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Meriden St

Co-ordinates: 52.47710679118819, -1.88945191507358

 

Bird's Custard

Location: Side wall of Fazeley Studios, Floodgate Street, Digbeth.

Artist: Seven 9 Signs

Description: Looks like a tin of Bird's Custard Powder. Points the direction to the Custard Factory, where eggless custard was manufactured on that site until 1963, by Alfred Bird & Sons.

Bird's Custard

Photography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Floodgate St

Co-ordinates: 52.477306844642136, -1.882268268892536

 

Marvel Spider-Man

Location: Custard Factory Car Park (near Heath Mill Lane and Lower Trinity Street), Digbeth.

Artist: Jim Vision

Description: Painted in 2018 around the time that the Marvel Spider-Man game was being launched on the Sony Playstation 4. The game was later remastered in 2020 for the new Sony Playstation 5. Painted for the HiViz Festival.

Marvel Spider-Man PS4Photography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Custard Factory Car Park

Co-ordinates: 52.47540435700964, -1.881377469303182

 

Abstract Semi Circle

Location: Proof House Junction of the Grand Union Canal (Digbeth Branch) and the Digbeth Branch Canal.

Artist: Lucy McLauchlan.

Description: It is under the disused Proof House Railway Bridge. In Lucy McLauchlan's distinctive art style of grey, white and black swirls in a semi circle, opposite the canal towpath. The canal here was formerly the Warwick & Birmingham Canal, but is now part of the Grand Union Canal.

Grand Union LucyPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Proof House Junction

Co-ordinates: 52.48011990320871, -1.8839594857713575

 

Street art in Southside 

 

Bowie

Location: Dudley Street, Southside (opposite Edgbaston Street). Close to being under the Smallbrook Queensway Bridge.

Artist: Annatomix.

Description: Famed popstar David Bowie passed away in 2016. Annatomix painted her original Bowie artwork here shortly after that. But it kept getting vandalised. She repainted Bowie in a different design in 2019. More vandalism in 2020, led to her making a repair with a blindfold over Bowie's eyes.

Annatomix BowiePhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Dudley St

Co-ordinates: 52.476333395707464, -1.8966260612490133

 

Love is Love

Location: Nightingale Bar, corner of Kent Street and Lower Essex Street.

Artist: Inkie

Description: A woman with long flowing rainbow hair in the Gay Village, part of Southside. There is more street art to the right on Kent Street. Painted here in 2017.

NightingalePhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Kent St

Co-ordinates: 52.4725526555764, -1.896230195888382

 

Street art in Bordesley

 

Captain "Terminator" America 

Location: On wasteland, High Street, Bordesley.

Artist: The Forty Eights.

Description: It resembles Marvel's Captain America as a Terminator T-800 Endoskelton, or pehaps a zombie.

Captain Terminator AmericaPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - High St Bordesley

Co-ordinates: 52.473196117439805, -1.8792848641522124

 

Street art in the Jewellery Quarter

 

Christmas Reindeer

Location: On the railway wall on Vyse Street, Jewellery Quarter (to the right of Jewellery Quarter Station).

Artist: Banksy.

Description: A Christmas reindeer highlighting the issue of homelessness, some people would pose on the bench on the left, as a sleigh. Painted in December 2019. Network Rail protected the piece with perspex. Someone shortly afterwards painted red noses onto it, or splashed paint onto the perspex, but Network Rail regularly cleans it up.

Banksy reindeerPhotography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Vyse St

Co-ordinates: 52.48962435687972, -1.912765177922335

 

 

Street art in Westside

 

Pissing on Banksy

Location: Wall of Bistro Pierre at Gas Street Basin.

Artist: unknown.

Description: A small boy urinating on Banksy. It has been protected by the Canal & River Trust with a sheet of perspex. It's been here since about March 2021.

Not a Banksy

Photography by Elliott Brown

Google Maps Street View - Gas St Basin

Co-ordinates: 52.47698624880546, -1.9095415509215925

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40 passion points
Education
22 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

King Edward VI Five Ways School - from Five Ways in 1883 to Bartley Green in 1958

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In the second of our posts on the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham (that was founded in 1883). This time we take a look at King Edward VI Five Ways School. Originally located at the junction of Ladywood Road and Hagley Road at Five Ways. They moved to a site on Scotland Lane in Bartley Green in 1958, near Bartley Reservoir. Was a boys only Grammar School until girls joined in 1988.

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King Edward VI Five Ways School

Today at Five Ways Island there is little evidence other than a plaque to tell you that a Grammar School used to be located at this busy traffic island. That school was King Edward VI Five Ways School, and it still exists today, although they have spent the last 63 years based in Bartley Green, on a site on Scotland Lane (next to Bartley Reservoir). The school is about 5 to 7 miles away from where they were originally located.

 

History of King Edward VI Five Ways School

The school was founded in 1883 as part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. The school building was originally the former Edgbaston Proprietary School, at the junction of Ladywood Road and Hagley Road at Five Ways, Birmingham. The building was designed by J.A. Chatwin and opened in January 1883 by A. J. Mundella. At first the school had room for 350 boys. The first headmaster was E.H.F. MacCarthy, who remained in the post until his retirement in 1916. A building at the Bartley Green site was later named after him in his honour.

Public domain photo below dated to 1888 of the old King King Edward VI Five Ways School.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

During the Second World War, the school evacuated to Monmouth, and the boys attended Monmouth School. After the war, the school was getting a bit too overcrowded, due to the development of land around Five Ways, and there was no room to expand. So the decision was taken to relocate the school to Bartley Green. The land was formerly Bartley Farm next to Bartley Reservoir, and the Foundation purchased it. The school opened there at Scotland Lane in April 1958.

After the school moved away from Five Ways, eventually the old building was demolished, and Five Ways Island was developed during the 1960s. Ladywood Road was renamed to Ladywood Middleway. Meanwhile an underpass was built under the island from Broad Street to Hagley Road in Edgbaston. Islington Row became Islington Row Middleway, while Calthorpe Road and Harborne Road remained with the same road names.

In January 1983, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the school, this plaque (photo below below taken in 2009) was unveiled by Councillor P. Hollingworth (when Lord Mayor of Birmingham). It records King Edward VI Grammar School Five Ways from 16-1-1883 to 2-4-1958. The plaque was unveiled on 16-1-1983. It is below the Tubular Steel sculpture in the middle of Five Ways Island.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

When the Westside Metro extension to Hagley Road opens at the end of 2021, passengers will have little idea that they are travelling under the site of a former grammar school!

The site of Five Ways Island today in May 2021, as seen from the top of Calthorpe Road. The school would have been approximately where the Stainless steel sculpture is today, although I suspect part of it could have been where Metropolitan House is now (built 1972 to 1974, refurbished 2015-16).

Five Ways Island

 

King Edward VI Five Ways School today in Bartley Green

The site at Bartley Green has been developed ever since they moved from Five Ways in 1958. This includes the Eyles and Chowen Centres, the former and current home of the Sixth Form Centre. A music block and technology block have been added, as well as a Sports Hall and the MacCarthy Block. The Science Wing was also expanded. In recent years, a sports pavilion was built, as well as an astro turf playing field, a mobile classroom and an Observatory was built. The Eyles building was renovated into the Eyles-Music Block, as the old Music block had become too small.

It was one of the first schools to get computer technology in 1978. This was achieved with links to Aston University. Girls have been admitted to the school since 1988. The school today is the largest co-educational grammar schools in the West Midlands and one of the top five co-ed grammar schools nationally.

 

I took these photos (below) of King Edward VI Five Ways School, back in early March 2021, during a return visit to Bartley Reservoir. The views of the school all taken from Scotland Lane in Bartley Green.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

The view of the modern school buildings taken through the gate on Scotland Lane.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

This road is the exit from the school. The entrance road is to the left.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

This sign welcomes you to King Edward VI Five Ways School.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

An old King Edward's Royal Coat of Arms. I suspect they saved it from the old building at Five Ways in 1958. I'm not sure what else survived from the 1883 to 1958 building.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

Zooming in to a modern Royal Coat of Arms sign of the school. Probably the Royal arms of King Edward VI?

King Edward VI Five Ways School

There is plenty of signs here you let you know that this is King Edward VI Five Ways School.

King Edward VI Five Ways School

Later saw a tractor on the walk back fro Bartley Reservoir (before walking to Senneleys Park).

King Edward VI Five Ways School

Walking past the school, was my first time back since around 1993-94 when I was looking at Secondary Schools to go to. I even put it at as my number one choice for a Grammar School to go to in Birmingham (ahead of Camp Hill). Unfortunately I failed the 11+, and ended up at my local Comprehensive school (which was in walking distance). Then again King Edward VI Five Ways was too far to travel on two buses each day. And I now think I should have put Camp Hill as number one (too late now 28 years later of course). King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys was much closer to get to on the 11C (my late brother went there). The journey to Bartley Green would have taken well over an hour (including the no 18 bus). I only ever did that journey once in 2015 when I first went to Bartley Reservoir.

 

Go here for the post on King Edward VI Aston School.

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
22 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Victoria Square - places of interest mapped for you

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Here we have mapped a selection of places that we would recommend as of real cultural interest in Victoria Square.

This includes: 

Birmingham Council House, The Town Hall, Victoria Square House; The River and Youth ('Floozie in the Jacuzzi'), and the Statue of Queen Victoria.

Enjoy!.

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Victoria Square is home to Birmingham's historic Council House.

Victoria Square was originally called Council House Square, but was re-named to Victoria Square after Queen Victoria in 1901, just 12 days before she passed away.

Here we have mapped some of the highlights in Victoria Square.  Enjoy with our compliments our map of this amazing public space.

 

Historic architecture

First let's introduce you to some magificent architecture and historic builds that are on display in Victoria Square. 

The Birmingham Council House

The Council House was built between 1874 to 1879, and was designed by architect Yeoville Thomason. It is a Grade II* listed building and is home to Birmingham City Council.

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

For more on the Council House, CONNECT HERE.

 

Birmingham Town Hall

The Town Hall is the oldest building in the square was built between 1832 and 1834. It was designed by architects Joseph Hansom and Edward Welch. The Grade I listed building was refurbished between 2002 and 2007. It was the first example of the 19th Century revival of Roman Architecture in Birmingham.

Photography by Elliott Brown.

For more on the Town Hall, CONNECT HERE.

 

Victoria Square House

Victoria Square House was built from 1899 to 1901, and operated as the General Post Office until 1972 when the Royal Mail moved to larger premises. this building was saved from demolition by the Victorian Society.

Victoria Square

Photography by Elliott Brown.

For more on Victoria Square House, CONNECT HERE.

 

Public Art

There are two great examples of public art that can be enjoyed in Victoria Square.

River and Youth ('Floozie in the Jacuzzi')

River and Youth was unveiled in 1993 and was sculpted by Dhruva Mistry. It is known locally by 'Brummies' by her nickname of the "Floozie in the Jacuzzi". There is also a a pair of Sphinx Guardians.

Photography by Daniel Sturley

For more on the Floozie in the Jacuzzi, CONNECT HERE.

 

The Statue of Queen Victoria

The Queen Victoria statue was originally designed in marble by Thomas Brock in 1901, and was later cast in bronze by William Bloye in 1951.

Photography by Daniel Sturley.

For more on the statue of Queen Victoria, CONNECT HERE.

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30 passion points
History & heritage
19 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Pen Museum at The Argent Centre on Frederick Street

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The Pen Museum is in The Argent Centre at 60 Frederick Street in the Jewellery Quarter. The museum focusses on the history of the 19th Century pen trade. Including feather quills and steel pen nibs. Located in a former pen factory built in 1863. The building was recently refurbished. The museum is a charity and it needs our support. Run by a knowledgeable group of volunteers.

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The Pen Museum is located on Frederick Street in the Jewellery Quarter. The building was originally built as the Argent Works of 1862-63 by JG Pollard. It was a pen manufactory for Q E Wiley. They also installed Turkish baths here! Built of red brick with stone and gault and buff brick dressings. Now known as The Argent Centre, the building runs to Legge Lane, which had a refurbishment (completed in 2020).

The Argent Centre, seen here in early April 2021, fully restored at the Legge Lane and Frederick Street corner. The Pen Museum is a short walk away. A Grade II* listed building, it was reopened earlier in 2021. And The Pen Museum is lucky to be in such a historic building.

The Argent Centre

 

Exterior of The Pen Museum

An early view of The Pen Museum, also called The Pen Room, in this view from Frederick Street during December 2012. I wouldn't go inside until the Birmingham Heritage Week visit of September 2016.

The Pen Museum

 

In September 2016, the view of the archway of The Argent Centre. Entrance to The Pen Museum via a door to the right.

The Pen Museum

 

View of The Pen Museum during early April 2021. By now closed due to the lockdown. The gate and doors were closed. Getting closer to the 20th anniversary of the museum, which opened in late April 2001. They are not yet quite ready to reopen, that depends on the roadmap, as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased. At the time I was there to check out the restored Chamberlain Clock.

The Pen Museum

 

The middle of May 2021, and I saw a 101 NXWM Platinum bus (to Handsworth) waiting outside of The Pen Museum, as I walked up to the new Costa Coffee at 32 Frederick Street. The day before indoor dining, but they had an outdoor space at the back where I could have my coffee.

The Pen Museum

 

The Birmingham Heritage Week visit to The Pen Museum, September 2016

That day, The Pen Museum was free to visit, but normally you would have to pay an entrance fee. The museum is based in a former pen factory in the heart of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. If you wanted to, you could make a pen nib or write your name in Braille. The museum opened in 2001. They also have early typewriters.


In the main room of The Pen Museum, you could see all the cabinets with all the pen nibs, bottles of ink and machinery used to make the pen nibs.

The Pen Museum

Bottles of ink for all kinds of fountain pens.

The Pen Museum

Boxes of various different pens. Such as pencil pens, crown pen diamond brand, red ink pens, telephone pen, the swan pen and so on.

The Pen Museum

Macniven & Camerons Pens "Pickwick". They used to cost 6d & 1'-per box.

The Pen Museum

Portraits of the late Prince Albert (In Memoriam), Queen Victoria, King George V & Queen Mary. As well as King Edward VIII (later the Duke of Windsor), King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

The Pen Museum

 

Joseph Gillott's Victoria Works

There was an exhibition of Joseph Gillott, who was a pen maker to the Queen (Victoria). A display of Gillott pen nibs.

The Pen Museum

They also had a display cabinet to look at from the Victoria Works (which is opposite the museum on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street).

The Pen Museum

This was a 1001 Spring Ground Mammoth Quill Circa 1845 - The Largest Pen Made. Made by Joseph Gillott of Birmingham.

The Pen Museum

More on Joseph Gillott here, plus women working in the factory.

The Pen Museum

For more on Joseph Gillott go to this post.

 

George W. Hughes

Steel pen nibs made by George W. Hughes in this cabinet display.

The Pen Museum

They were quite cheap to buy, a sample card for 1d, or sample boxes for only 6d.

The Pen Museum

 

William and John Mitchell

Display cabinetts of pens and steel pen nibs made by William Mitchell.

The Pen Museum

In the next cabinet is the steel pen nibs made by John Mitchell.

The Pen Museum

 

Thessin & Co Magnetic Series of Pens

Cabinet displays here of pens and pencils. One of them was Thessin & Co Magnetic Series of Pens. Fountain pens made at various locations around Hockley in the 19th century (now the Jewellery Quarter).

The Pen Museum

Here we see School Slates and Quill pens. Also various printed certificates.Also a set of Royal portable quills.

The Pen Museum

 

The Boons & Blessings

The Boons & Blessings - The Pickwick - The Owl - The Waverley.

The Pen Museum

These cabinets all about the Waverley pen nib.

The Pen Museum

Another sign on The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley Pen. Also Brandauer.

The Pen Museum

 

Presses

A press in the corner. Now it can only be operated by museum staff only.

The Pen Museum

Close up to one of the presses near something about Workmen's Compensation Acts 1906 and 1923.

The Pen Museum

One of the presses near the window, looking out onto Frederick Street. Joseph Gillott's Victoria Works is opposite, it opened in 1840.

The Pen Museum

The presses are only used to make hardened nibs which are to be slit. A delicate "push" is all that is required on the handle to achieve this.

The Pen Museum

 

Childrens's Classroom

A children's classroom to the back of the museum.

The Pen Museum

Portrait of Queen Victoria and certificates on the wall.

The Pen Museum

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

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70 passion points
Classic Architecture
17 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

King Edward VI Aston School - founded in 1883

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Welcome to our first post of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. We are starting with King Edward VI Aston School. Which is between Albert Road and Frederick Road in Aston, and close to Aston Hall & Park. Founded in 1883, it is a Boys Grammar School. The Girls Grammar School moved to Handsworth in 1911. The architect was J A Chatwin. They are on the same site today,

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King Edward VI Aston School

In 1883, 5 new Grammar Schools were founded as part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. One of them was King Edward VI Aston School. Located on a site between Albert Road and Frederick Road, it also goes down Upper Thomas Street. Not far from two entrances to Aston Hall & Park. This is the only school from the 1883 creation to remain on the same site to this day. It became a boys only school in 1911, when the girls school was moved to Handsworth, forming King Edward VI Handsworth School. The school is for boys aged 11 to 18. The architect was J A Chatwin.

Another building was opened in 1963 called Douglas House (after a Victorian villa had had been on the same site). It has since been extended, and was named the Watcyn Thomas Wing, after a former Welsh Rugby International who taught at the school for 37 years. It was opened in 2008 by Bob Simpson, and Aston Old Edwardian (what former pupils are called).

I noticed some building work going on near Upper Thomas Street (May 2021).

 

The photo of King Edward VI Aston School below was taken in September 2003 by Wikimedia Commons user Mdsalih. I only ever once went into the school around 1993-94, looking at Grammar Schools. I never put Aston as a choice, but ended up at my local comprehensive school after failing the 11+.

King Edward VI Aston School

 

All photos below are mine, taken on my most recent visit to Aston Hall & Park during May 2021.

Wasn't much to see from Upper Thomas Street, what with the building works, and double fences.

These views taken from Albert Road.

King Edward VI Aston School

Suprisingly the building isn't even Grade II listed. I didn't see a sign saying King Edward VI Aston School.

King Edward VI Aston School

Car parking from the residents of the houses opposite.

King Edward VI Aston School

There is some modern houses built to the left of the school on Albert Road.

King Edward VI Aston School

Heading onto Bevington Road, a quick look at Frederick Road. I once took this entrance to Aston Park about 5 years ago, although didn't really notice the school. The building below is probably Douglas House (of 1963), near the Aston Park Play Area.

King Edward VI Aston School

The 1883 buildings by J A Chatwin seen from Frederick Road. More modern houses, and cars parked by local residents.

King Edward VI Aston School

 

Look out soon for posts on King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools (Boys and Girls) and King Edward VI Five Ways School. Both schools which are no longer on their original sites. Camp Hill moved to Kings Heath, while Five Ways moved to Bartley Green.

See also my post on King Edward's School.

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
10 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

In Memoriam by Luke Jerram at Aston Hall & Park

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After a week of rain and hail on and off. Finally some decent sunny weather on Sunday. So I travelled up by bus to Aston to see In Memoriam by Luke Jerram at Aston Hall & Park. It's a free open air tempoary art installation, in memory of those lost during the pandemic and in tribute to the NHS. On for a couple of weeks in May 2021.

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In Memoriam is a temporary artwork by artist Luke Jerram at Aston Hall & Park, for a couple of weeks in May 2021. They are made out of bed sheets, white and blue. In memory of those lost during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic, and in tribute to the NHS.

There is an NHS Covid-19 QR code to scan to check in while you are there and hand sanitiser.

Aston Hall opened at 11am, and I popped into the courtyard to have a coffee. After that a look around Lady Holte's Garden again. Nice decent spring like weather. Note that the actual hall itself is not open to the public at this time. A one way system into the courtyard (NHS Covid-19 QR codes to scan as you go in, and in the cafe).

 

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

 

Lady Holte's Garden

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

 

Bus: 65 or 67 to Lichfield Road (catch it from The Priory Queensway). Or 7 to Witton Road (catch it from Livery Street near Birmingham Snow Hill at Colmore Row).

Train to Aston or Witton station's (from Birmingham New Street).

Car parking is also available in Aston Park.

 

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

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70 passion points
Green travel
04 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

West Midlands Cycle Hire on High Street, Solihull

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Remember Boris Bikes in London (aka Santander Bikes)? Well our Metro Mayor Andy Street has brought them to the West Midlands. West Midlands Cycle Hire has bikes at various points around the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. I saw some on the Solihull High Street not far from the Masons Arms Public House. Not spotted any in Birmingham yet.

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West Midlands Cycle Hire is already available in Coventry, Stourbridge, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton. The scheme will be coming to Birmingham, Sandwell and Walsall soon. To use it, you need to download the Beryl cycle hire app from the App Store or Google Play. Use the app to unlock the bike. Ride it, later dock it, and lock it.

Use this link for the station map.

 

In Solihull Town Centre, there is 5 docking points.

  1. Station Approach (near Solihull Station)
  2. Station Road
  3. Lode Lane (near Solihull Hospital)
  4. High Street (near the Masons Arms)
  5. Malvern & Brueton Park (not far from Park Road)

 

The only location I was aware of, was at the end of High Street in Solihull. Close to New Road and St Alphege's Church. Solihull Welcomes You! Safer, Stronger Solihull.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

This docking point on the High Street is close to The Masons Arms.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

As well as Hunters. Drury Lane to the left, leads to Mell Square.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

 

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

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60 passion points
Transport
04 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Westside Metro extension from Hagley Road to Broad Street - Late April 2021 update

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With lockdown restrictions being eased, I was able to back on the bus again for the first time in around 4 months. Again got the no 1 bus to Harborne Road in Edgbaston, and walked around Highfield Road to the start of the Westside Metro extension outside of 54 Hagley Road. Pitstop at Starbucks, bit of rain, and had my coffee on the walk down Broad Street.

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A walk down Hagley Road and Broad Street on the morning of Thursday 29th April 2021. The third lockdown over the last four months meant I was unable to travel into the City Centre (other than by car). I did once pass this area in the car (as a passenger) going to and from Edgbaston Reservoir. But with lockdown restrictions being eased again, I'm able to ride trains and buses again. Got the no 1 to the Harborne Road terminus in Edgbaston, and walked down to Highfield Road (instead of taking the Morrisons shortcut). To get to the Hagley Road and walk towards Fifty4 Hagley Road.

 

Edgbaston Village

This is the site of what might be called Edgbaston Village Tram Stop, outside of Fifty4 Hagley Road (54 Hagley Rd).

Hagley Road Metro extension

There isn't much sign of a tram stop here, and they are still doing things around the tracks.

Hagley Road Metro extension

The site is just outside of Barclays Bank on the Hagley Road.

Hagley Road Metro extension

Heading to Starbucks Coffee for a drink, there is outdoor seating (not many tables and chairs).

Hagley Road Metro extension

I did initially sit at a table, but started to rain, so instead crossed over the road and continued on to Five Ways Island and Broad Street. Temporary traffic lights here.

Hagley Road Metro extension

 

Five Ways Tram Stop

Now on Broad Street, venues such as Cineworld and Pryzm have been closed since before the 2nd lockdown, and should be reopening by May 2021.

Broad St metro extension

The crossover point on Broad Street near Pryzm, towards The Bank and The Mercian.

Broad St metro extension

The other direction past Cineworld towards the Five Ways underpass, this leads to the Hagley Road in Edgbaston.

Broad St metro extension

Bishopsgate Street, between Pryzm and Cineworld, has new paving. I look forward to going back to the cinema. For me it's been all Netflix and Amazon Prime Video over the 3rd lockdown.

Broad St metro extension

The new Five Ways Tram Stop, with a view towards The Bank and The Mercian. Doesn't seem that long ago that you could get buses down here (more than 2 years ago now).

Broad St metro extension

Map showing the further extensions that are being built, including to Brierley Hill, Wolverhampton Station and the Eastside extension.

Broad St metro extension

Another look at Five Ways Tram Stop from Broad Street. In the direction of Five Ways Island.

Broad St metro extension

 

Brindleyplace Tram Stop

Continuing on along Broad Street. It was very quiet in the morning. The odd person or cyclist heading down here.

Broad St metro extension

Also the one person on a scooter. This was near The Bank and The Mercian.

Broad St metro extension

Some poles have been installed for the overhead cables on Broad Street.

Broad St metro extension

Approaching the site of Brindleyplace Tram Stop, I noticed the scaffolding on the left at Ten Brindleyplace, Willmott Dixon Interiors. Sainsbury's Local was open.

Broad St metro extension

Brindleyplace Tram Stop was outside of Nine Brindleyplace and Free Radio.

Broad St metro extension

Beyond Brindleyplace towards The Brasshouse and The Crown (Reflex The 80's Bar) and Coyote Ugly.

Broad St metro extension

Outside of The Solomon Cutler Free House was parked several Colas Rail vans. I think they were doing something near Library Tram Stop.

Broad St metro extension

Many of the Broad Street Walk of Stars were back on the pavement I noticed. Mostly the ones I've seen in the past.

 

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

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50 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
04 May 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selly Oak Junction - a decades development of the Winding Hole site of the Lapal Canal

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A new public space has recently opened near the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Selly Oak, at the Bristol Road. The site of the Winding Hole of the Lapal Canal restoration project (Dudley No. 2 Canal). When the new Selly Oak Shopping Park opened in late 2018, work started near the railway to build a new footbridge and area the public could enter. Historically the site of lime kilns.

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December 2009

A couple of days before Christmas Eve 2009, I headed to Selly Oak with my then bridge camera. Caught the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from the Bristol Road for the first time. Snow and ice on the water. To the left is the Battery Park site (later to be developed into Selly Oak Shopping Park). On the right was the former site of the Winding Hole of the Lapal Canal. This was Selly Oak Junction. Dudley No. 2 Canal used to join here, and would head to the left of this point.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The Birmingham Super Hospital (later to be named Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham) and the Selly Oak Bypass were under construction at the time. The hospital would open in 2010, and the bypass in 2011 (under the name of Aston Webb Boulevard). On the other side of the Bristol Road is Selly Oak Station.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

June 2011

Next to the Selly Oak Railway Bridge of 1931 on the Bristol Road, there also used to be this brick viaduct next to the existing Cross City Line. It was probably built in the 1870s, which resulted in two of the lime kilns that used to be on this site being levelled.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

For many years, the area to the left was overgrown with trees or shrubs. Clearance of the land began in 2012, and the unused viaduct was demolished by 2015.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

February 2013

A walk along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Selly Oak towards the Ariel Aqueduct and University of Birmingham.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

At the Bristol Road / Winding Hole site of the Lapal Canal, you could at the time see some land clearance, and the old graffitied buildings remaining. The brick viaduct was still there. This view to the Selly Oak Railway Bridge of 1931.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The original winding hole of the Lapal Canal, used to be around here. Two more years and the abandoned brick viaduct would be demolished.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Up ahead, a sign on the wall for www.lapal.org. The current website is www.lapalcanal.co.uk

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Not sure of the age of these derelict buildings, but they were all covered in graffiti and had broken windows.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Some of them had metal walls and roofs.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

These two would be demolished in the following years to come.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The Cross City Line was behind, as well as the Selly Oak Electricity Substation building (near the Bournbrook Skate Park).

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

May 2015

The brick viaduct of the 1870s was demolished by 2015, and the hole site was cleared.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

You can now see the Cross City Line viaduct from the Bristol Road in Selly Oak for the first time in years.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

All the overgrowth was cut down, the derelict buildings demolished, as well as the removal of the unused viaduct.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

June to October 2018

Construction of the new Selly Oak Shopping Park began in the autumn of 2017, and would be completed a year later in the autumn of 2018. This would include a new Sainsbury's store, as well as a Unite Students accommodation block. In June 2018, I saw this temporary builders footbridge crossing the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, from the Winding Hole site to the Shopping Park site.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Another look, but this time from the no 61 bus (top deck) on the Bristol Road, during October 2018. In a matter of weeks, the new Selly Oak Shopping Park and Sainsbury's would open to the public for the first time. A more permanent footbridge would be built at this site in 2020. And there would also be a new canal entrance built from the Bristol Road in 2019 as well.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

August to October 2019

A new entrance and footbridge being built near the Bristol Road, Sainsbury's and Unite Students accommodation. Seen here during August 2019. Before then, you had to walk the long way around to the Selly Oak Shopping Park to Aston Webb Boulevard.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The new bridge would also be above the future tunnel of the Lapal Canal that would go under the new Sainsbury's in Selly Oak.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

A visit to the Selly Oak Shopping Park during October 2019. The temporary footbridge from 2018 is gone.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The new footbridge over the entrance to the Lapal Canal was now open, and fully landscaped around the Unite Students accommodation. Winding Hole site on the far right all behind hoardings.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

One day in the future, those who built and restore the Lapal Canal will have to dig up the surface below this new footbridge.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

This is now a quick and easy route from the Bristol Road and Selly Oak Station to get to the Selly Oak Shopping Park. And more safer than the old canal entrance from Selly Oak (down The Dingle near a 2nd hand car showroom).

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

January to October 2020

First year of the pandemic. In January 2020 I went to Selly Oak to go into the new Sainsbury's. While there got these views. This area near the new footbridge at Bristol Road, next to the old bridge over the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

A West Midlands Railway Class 323 train on the Cross City Line, as work was under way at the Winding Hole site of the Lapal Canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Blue hoardings on the left, as during 2020, the new permanent footbridge would be built at the site. Seems like plenty of activity at the time on the other side of the canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

Views from the no 63 bus on the Bristol Road in Selly Oak, taken during February 2020. The footbridge over the start of the Lapal Canal near Sainsbury's at the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

This would be the last time I would pass the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Selly Oak before the first lockdown started about a month later. You can see the route of the Lapal Canal, that it will go in the future (after restoration). Part of the existing towpath would have to go, and people would have to cross over the footbridge.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

After the first lockdown, restrictions were being eased by summer 2020. During August 2020, I walked a section of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and saw the new footbridge under construction from the Selly Oak Shopping Park, to the Winding Hole site to the right.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Both sides had ramps and steps that the builders were installing here. The original pipe bridge and railway bridge were still behind.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The new ramps and steps on the Winding Hole side of the canal.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Saw a West Midlands Railway Class 170 train passing in orange and white. These trains are now in purple, before they are transferred onto East Midlands Railway.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The ramps and steps on the side of the canal near the Selly Oak Shopping Park.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

General canal view of the new footbridge as of August 2020.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

One more view of the new footbridge during October 2020, days before the 2nd lockdown began. This was from a Stirchley to Selly Oak canal walk that I did at the time. Wouldn't be back here again under after the 3rd lockdown restrictions were being eased during Spring 2021.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

 

April 2021

The third lockdown from January 2021, meant I couldn't travel back to Selly Oak on public transport until April 2021. Got the train down to Bournville and walked up via Linden Road and Oak Tree Lane on the 24th April 2021. Walked down the Bristol Road, and got this view of the area as it is now. What a transformation!

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

It was completed in either late 2020 or early 2021. The grass on the right is where the winding hole of the Lapal Canal will be (once restored). But they will have to dig that all out.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Metal fence along the Bristol Road, as I headed down to the entrance.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

There is bollards close to where the old viaduct used to end, until it was demolished more than 6 years ago.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

This is the first time I think the area has been opened up to the public. From 1842 until 2000 it was the site to Goodman's, a successful builders merchant.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The area was also known as Whitehouse's Wharf. Selly Oak Junction opened here in 1798. The canal basin on this site was filled in during the 1940s. Sign in the middle all about the history and of the lime kilns that used to be here.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Heading to the footbridge, the ramps on the right, steps on the left.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Before going onto the ramps, saw this Cross Country Voyager train heading south over the Cross City Line viaduct bridges.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

I went up half of the ramps, before going up the rest of the way up the steps.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The view from the top of the ramps. Hard to believe what a mess this site was a decade ago.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Crossing the footbridge to the Selly Oak Shopping Park. Sainsbury's on the left.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

View from the footbridge, look how nice, clean and tidy the area is now. More work of course in the future for the Lapal Canal restoration. Will take a long time to reach Dudley again.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

After a drink at Costa Coffee (sat on a bench outside of Sainsbury's). I headed back to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, to get a train back to Birmingham New Street from Selly Oak.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

View of the winding hole site. Looks nice with the grass, but that will have to go when they dig down to restore it in the future.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

One last look, before crossing Bristol Road, to get my train back to the City Centre. People with bikes can cycle all the way from here if they want to.

Worcester & Birmingham Canal

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

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60 passion points
Transport
27 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

EasyJet planes in and around Birmingham

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One of the main budget airlines to still serve Birmingham Airport to this day is EasyJet. Using Airbus A319, A320 or A321 planes. You can spot them taking off from the Sheldon Country Park airport viewing area. Also visible in the sky from Solihull, Stechford and Bordesley Green. Once also saw some EasyJet's at Lyon Airport (in France), back in 2017.

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easyJet

EasyJet is a low cost airline with headquarters at London Luton Airport. They fly to routes all over Europe. The entire fleet was grounded when the Pandemic began in March 2020, but they have been flying again since that time. You can see them at Birmingham Airport, as well as taking off and landing there over the City.

 

The first time I flew on a plane was with EasyJet. But it was from East Midlands Airport to Rome back in June 2006 (15 years ago now!). Have not flown with them since.

 

EasyJet, November 2016

A bit of plane spotting at the Sheldon Country Park during November 2016. Caught this EasyJet Airbus A319-100 landing at Birmingham Airport on runway 15.

Easyjet

I saw it exit the runway and beginning to taxi back to the terminal building.

Easyjet

Distant car park to the far left, and the spire of St Peter's Church, Bickenhill.

Easyjet

There was so many cars in the car park behind the EasyJet plane. Car Park 5 is also a good area for spotting planes.

Easyjet

 

EasyJet, March 2017

By the spring, headed to the Sheldon Country Park again for another plane spotting session, this time in the sunshine. Saw this EasyJet Airbus A320-200 taxiing as it prepared to take off over runway 15.

EasyJet

Zooming in, the plane and the area around it looked all hazy on my camera, probably going well beyond optical zoom into digital zoom.

EasyJet

The plane was now on the runway about to take off over the Sheldon Country Park. It was heading from Birmingham to Geneva in Switzerland.

EasyJet

 

EasyJet, June 2017

Arriving on a Flybe plane at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport in Lyon, France for a holiday around the historic Burgundy area, saw this EasyJet plane. It was a Airbus A319-100.

EasyJet

About a week later at the end of the holiday (around Burgundy) got this photo of this EasyJet plane. Another Airbus A319-100.

EasyJet

From the Flybe plane window I saw this EasyJet Airbus A320-200.

EasyJet

 

EasyJet, January 2018

Back in Birmingham, was waiting for a train at Stechford Station when I spotted this EasyJet Airbus A320-200 plane coming into land at Birmingham Airport. In the new livery, that I first saw at Lyon 6 months earlier.

Easyjet

 

EasyJet, February2018

One month on, was at platform 4 at Birmingham International Station, when I spotted this EasyJet Airbus A320-200 taking off from Birmingham Airport.

Easyjet

 

EasyJet, April 2018

Another EasyJet plane spotted from my walk to Catherine-de-Barnes in Solihull. This was during a Grand Union Canal walk from Solihull to Catherine-de-Barnes. Saw it from Hampton Lane. Was another Airbus A320-200.

Easyjet

 

EasyJet, July 2020

The first passenger plane that I spotted in the air, after almost 5 months of the 1st lockdown. Early on I saw a Jet2 plane from Fox Hollies Park (March 2020, days after the lockdown began). Then by July, had another walk to Langley Hall Park, and spotted this EasyJet Airbus A320-200 from Hall Green near the Fox Hollies Road. I'm not sure what kind of passengers would have been travelling with them.

EasyJet

 

EasyJet, April 2021

Not seen any passenger planes in the sky in ages. Now in the third lockdown. Spotted this EasyJet Airbus A321neo from the Sycamores Recreation Ground in the Kingfisher Country Park. International travel is currently not allowed (for holidays), so perhaps it's business people, or people flying to Northern Ireland? Hopefully with more restrictions being eased, International travel for holidays could be allowed again in the summer of 2021. Fingers crossed.

EasyJet

 

Look out in the future for posts on Jet2 and RyanAir.

 

If you are interested in more planes at Birmingham Airport posts click on the links below to view:

 

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

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50 passion points
Green travel
27 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

New blue cycle lane from Selly Oak Triangle up the Bristol Road

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The final phase of extending the Selly Oak Bypass is now complete. Harborne Lane has been bi-directional to traffic since the end of October 2020, and it seems that Chapel Lane is the same. The blue cycle lane runs past the former Sainsbury's store. Beyond that is red and white bollards past the new Sainsbury's close to Selly Oak Station and the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

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New Blue Cycle Lane from Selly Oak Triangle along the Bristol Road

The work to extend the Selly Oak Bypass to the Bristol Road was completed at the end of 2020. A new blue cycle lane has been installed that runs down the side of the former Sainsbury's store (the plans for student flats were thankfully rejected).

 

Harborne Lane at Selly Oak Triangle

From Oak Tree Lane and Bristol Road in Selly Oak, you can see that traffic now goes in both directions, where as before it was one way. The ambulance was crossing from Oak Tree Lane to Harborne Lane.

Selly Oak Triangle

The start of the new blue cycle lane at Selly Oak Triangle. Lots of new traffic lights and lampposts, no benches or trees at this point.

Selly Oak Triangle

Part of the cycle lane comes from Harborne Lane.

Selly Oak Triangle

 

Bristol Road towards Chapel Lane

There is a new bus lane that goes from Harborne Lane onto the Bristol Road. The bus stops have been moved to outside of the former Sainsbury's store.

Selly Oak Triangle

Crossing over the bus lane. It all looks nice and new. Not sure if any cyclist has used it yet.

Selly Oak Triangle

There is still trees growing in front of the former Sainsbury's store. Re-located bus stops on the right.

Selly Oak Triangle

New young trees have been planted down here. Let's hope that they last and have a chance to grow.

Selly Oak Triangle

Frankie & Benny's ahead at the Chapel Lane junction with the Bristol Road, sadly closed down in 2020 during the previous lockdowns.

Selly Oak Triangle

 

Chapel Lane at the Bristol Road junction

At the Chapel Lane junction with the Bristol Road. Before this was one way, but it is now bi-directional as well. Speed limit of 20 mph. Former Frankie & Benny's restaurant on the right.

Selly Oak Triangle

 

Bristol Road beyond Chapel Lane

No longer bus stop outside of the ex Frankie & Benny's. But there is some new cycle racks. TouchBase Pears up ahead on the right.

Selly Oak Triangle

The pop up cycle lane that is now on the Bristol Road in Selly Oak near TouchBase Pears. Up ahead is the new Sainsbury's and Unite student accommodation at the Selly Oak Shopping Park.

Selly Oak Triangle

 

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

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70 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
22 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Bartley Reservoir in Bartley Green

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In Bartley Green is located Bartley Reservoir. It is on Genners Lane at the retaining wall (dam) and Scotland Lane. Completed in 1930, the reservoir is now operated by Severn Trent Water. It receives water from the Elan Valley Reservoirs in Wales, which comes from the nearby Elan Aqueduct. The reservoir is also home to Bartley Sailing Club. And is close to King Edward VI Five Ways School.

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Bartley Reservoir

You can get to Bartley Reservoir on the no 18 bus, that goes past Newman University, and can get off near Genners Lane. On Scotland Lane there is a picnic area and some car parking spaces. But you could also park a bit further down, close to King Edward VI Five Ways School. Other nearby bus routes include the 23.

My visits during December 2015 (by bus) and March 2021 (by car).

 

Bartley Reservoir, December 2015

Getting off the no 18 bus on Genners Lane in Bartley Green, I was eager to try out my then new bridge camera (which I'm still using today over 5 years later). Could see the retaining wall (or dam) at Bartley Reservoir on the left.

Bartley Reservoir

It was very windy at the time, so the water on Bartley Reservoir was a bit choppy due to Storm Desmond.

Bartley Reservoir

The direct view of the reservoir from Genners Lane. It was like the tide was coming in.

Bartley Reservoir

Between the retaining wall on Genners Lane and the water was a fence on the left. In the distance you can see Newman University.

Bartley Reservoir

Distant fields showing you that the reservoir is close to the countryside.

Bartley Reservoir

More of the same views of the reservoir as I walked up Genners Lane.

Bartley Reservoir

A bit of a zoom in to the fields to the back of the reservoir.

Bartley Reservoir

Halfway down there is a bench where you can sit and watch the reservoir. Bird watching perhaps, or on days when members of Bartley Sailing Club are out on the water?

Bartley Reservoir

The far end of the retaining wall (or dam).

Bartley Reservoir

It was very windy that day at Bartley Reservoir, this was to the north west corner.

Bartley Reservoir

One last look at the reservoir from the end of the retaining wall.

Bartley Reservoir

 

Small Tower at Bartley Reservoir

Saw this small tower from Genners Lane, behind it was Bartley Sailing Club. The gate was locked.

Bartley Reservoir

I would guess it would have something to do with the water coming from the Elan Valley in Wales.

Bartley Reservoir

Only Severn Trent staff can go down that bridge I would think.

Bartley Reservoir

The gate was locked, and was danger signs, also No swimming allowed.

Bartley Reservoir

 

Bartley Sailing Club 

I've yet to see any of the boats out on the reservoir, that day it was too windy due to Storm Desmond!

Bartley Reservoir

There is a sailing club house on the right.

Bartley Reservoir

Steps below the sailing club, and somewhere for members to climb into their boats (but not in this weather of course).

Bartley Reservoir

There was a lot of yachts on dry land.

Bartley Reservoir

From Genners Lane there was an open gate, and I could see some of the boats nearby.

Bartley Reservoir

 

Bartley Reservoir, March 2021

More than 5 years later, back to Bartley Reservoir, but by car this time. We went around Scotland Lane, and parked just beyond King Edward VI Five Ways School. Then walked along the road towards the Picnic Area. Where there would be some nice views of the reservoir.

Bartley Reservoir

A sign warning fly tippers. Sadly I saw a lot of rubbish and fly tipping alongside Scotland Lane at this point, even with CCTV camera's they are still doing it!

Bartley Reservoir

First view of Bartley Reservoir from near the picnic area.

Bartley Reservoir

There would be a path to head down in a short while.

Bartley Reservoir

Block of flats seen on the other side of the reservoir. The retaining wall (dam) and small tower seen to the far left.

Bartley Reservoir

There was a fence at the bottom of the field near the picnic area.

Bartley Reservoir

Zooming into some buoys, with gulls in the distance, they weren't close to the banks of the reservoir, just in the middle.

Bartley Reservoir

The general direction to Frankley Reservoir. At least one of the roads in this area was having roadworks, but you can't get to close to Frankley Reservoir on foot.

Bartley Reservoir

This tree at the picnic area, had things taped to it, some memorial to someone who passed away?

Bartley Reservoir

A zoom in to the small tower at the retaining wall (dam).

Bartley Reservoir

Leaving the picnic area behind, we walked back up Scotland Lane, how heading towards Senneleys Park. Saw this view between the trees.

Bartley Reservoir

From Scotland Lane, went down Field Lane, and got to Genners Lane. Went past King Edward VI Five Ways School and Newman University. Got to Bartley Sailing Club when I saw this boat with fangs on it!

Bartley Reservoir

A quick look at Bartley Reservoir from Genners Lane near the retaining wall (dam). Before heading up Cromwell Lane towards Senneleys Park.

Bartley Reservoir

It hasn't changed much in more than 5 years, other than the water was much calmer.

Bartley Reservoir

Still fences around the north west corner of the reservoir close to the retaining wall.

Bartley Reservoir

Areas for launching yachts and boats close to Bartley Sailing Club.

Bartley Reservoir

One last look at the retaining wall and Genners Lane, before walking up Cromwell Lane towards Senneleys Park.

Bartley Reservoir

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

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
19 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Digbeth Fun Fair

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With restrictions being eased, a fun fair has opened in Digbeth. Located at Charles Henry Street and Moseley Street. Digbeth Fun Fair is also near Birchall Street (in walking distance of the Custard Factory and the Bullring). Opened on the 12th April 2021. Open daily from 1pm to 10pm. Only groups of six in social bubbles can attend. From the people behind Ice Skate Birmingham.

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Digbeth Fun Fair opened on Monday 12th April 2021. In time for more restrictions being eased in the middle of Spring 2021. Just as people can go back to bars and restaurants (at the moment eating and drinking outside). The Fun Fair in Digbeth is located on wasteland at the corner of Moseley Street and Charles Henry Street (close to Highgate and towards Southside). You can approach it from the Custard Factory by walking up Birchall Street. It is also near Alcester Street, which connects you to Sherlock Street (if coming from Southside).

Due to the lockdowns and Tiered restrictions, Ice Skate Birmingham was cancelled in 2020 (it would have taken place around November 2020 to January 2021 at Centenary Square, but it didn't happen). Ice Skate Birmingham was based at Centenary Square until 2016, then at Eastside Green for 2017 and 2018, before moving back to Centenary Square in 2019.

So Digbeth Fun Fair is about 6 months later than the last Ice Skate Birmingham could have opened (but without the ice rink). Many of the rides here have featured at the previous events.

 

The approach from Birchall Street past The Market Tavern on Saturday 17th April 2021.

Digbeth Fun Fair

Digbeth Fun Fair

Digbeth Fun Fair

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

Digbeth Fun Fair seen at the corner of Charles Henry Street and Moseley Street.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

The views below all taken from Charles Henry Street.

Wild Mouse was last seen at Ice Skate Birmingham on Eastside Green in 2017-18.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

Welcome - I recall seeing this at a previous fun fair that was near Curzon Street Station in a car park about 10 years ago (now where the HS2 station will be built).

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

The Big Wheel and Sky Flyer. They were last seen in Centenary Square around 2019-20.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

A ride called Extreme. View towards the Beetham Tower and Centre City Tower. 

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

Wild Mouse and The Big Wheel back together again.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

Wild Mouse and the Sky Flyer.

Digbeth Fun Fair

 

The Big Wheel with the Wild Mouse and Sky Flyer.

Digbeth Fun Fair

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

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
14 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A walk in the Kingfisher Country Park from Hay Mills to Bordesley Green on Easter Sunday 2021

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This was an Easter Sunday walk in the Kingfisher Country Park. Starting from the Coventry Road in Hay Mills. And walking as far as Bordesley Green (not far from Stechford). The Cole Valley Route in Hay Barn Recreation Ground, Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground, Sycamores Recreation Ground and Bordesley Green Recreation Ground. Sadly was a lot of litter to see along the River Cole.

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The Kingfisher Country Park starts in Birmingham from the Coventry Road in Hay Mills. Not far from Small Heath and Haybarnes Circus. This is part of the Cole Valley Route that walkers and cyclists alike can use. Sadly as soon as we got here on Easter Sunday 2021 (Sunday 4th April 2021) I could see litter, rubbish and fly-tipping all over the place (it was not nice to see how people treat our City and wonderful open spaces).

The walk was through four recreation grounds that follow the River Cole.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground starts at the Coventry Road in Hay Mills and ends at Hob Moor Road.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground starts at Hob Moor Road and ends at Yardley Green Road in Bordesley Green.

Sycamores Recreation Ground starts at Yardley Green Road and ends at Bordesley Green East.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground starts at Bordesley Green East and ends at Eastfield Road (you can see the West Coast Mainline to the far end with Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern Railway trains going by).

 

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Starting at the Coventry Road in Hay Mills, there is this map of the entire Kingfisher Country Park from Hay Mills towards Chelmsley Wood in Solihull. Sadly other maps like this in the country park had graffiti on them.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

A Project Kingfisher sign showing signs of past vandalism. It mentions that riding off road bikes with City Council parkland is illegal. I later saw an idiot riding a petrol powered dirt bike around Bordesley Green Recreation Ground in circles, all over the grass. Plus last Christmas was idiots riding bikes in the part in Shard End.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Earlier we first had views of the River Cole from the Berkeley Play Park.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

But was no footbridge to cross over the River Cole at this point, but later found a footbridge further up in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

From the Haymills Old Bridge dated 1903 on Coventry Road, with the River Cole below. A cyclist from Just Eat in orange stopped on the path on the left.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The correct form of bikes, a couple riding bicycles along the Cole Valley Route. This is how it should be done!

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Daffodils to the left of the main path.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

When we first got to the Kingfisher Country Park, we were near the Berkeley Play Park, and walked down to the Coventry Road. While on the Cole Valley Route in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground, spotted this footbridge over the River Cole which we later used as an exit from the park on the walk back to the car.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

View of the footbridge over the River Cole. Which we crossed at the end of the walk heading back to the starting point on Berkeley Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Further on in the Hay Barn Recreation Ground is this open field, running towards Hob Moor Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The path continues alongside the River Cole towards Hob Moor Road.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

Getting close to Hob Moor Road, the bridge is almost in view.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

The Hob Moor Road Bridge over the River Cole.

Hay Barn Recreation Ground

 

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Now at Hob Moor Road, and into the Newbridge Recreation Ground. Several wooden bollards here. Plus a fingerpost / direction sign on the Cole Valley Cycle Route along the River Cole. The name of the area comes from Newbridge Farm, which used to be located at this site near the river.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

From here, you can cycle left to the City Centre and Small Heath, or right towards Stechford. (Note the sign has an extra "t" which is incorrect).

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

The path in Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground curves to the right, already signs of litter on both sides of the path!

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

The path heads straight towards Yardley Green Road.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Some green areas, so you have plenty of space for the 2 metre social distancing rule, while on your walk (to overtake some slow people).

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Getting close to Yardley Green Road, the path curves to the left.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Bollards and another fingerpost at Yardley Green Road. Also a gate on the right where the lawn is.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

Interesting bridge on Yardley Green Road to the right of here. With a separate pedestrian footbridge. Was quiet on the Easter Sunday, but I gather in normal times there could be a lot of cars driving down here.

Newbridge Farm Recreation Ground

 

Sycamores Recreation Ground

From Yardley Green Road in Bordesley Green, we next enter the Sycamores Recreation Ground. More bollards here. Sometimes the Kingfisher Country Park is also called Project Kingfisher.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Beyond the Project Kingfisher sign (missing fingerposts?) the path curves to the right, then beyond to the left.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Heading on the path in the Sycamores Recreation Ground, it now turns to the left before turning to the right.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

A distant cyclist up ahead, the odd piece of litter on the lawn on both sides of the path.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

Bordesley Green East is now in view, as the path curves to the left.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

The River Cole is visible again on the right, as is the Bordesley Green East Bridge.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

At Bordesley Green East, more bollards. This is a busy dual carriageway road. Turned right and headed to the pelican crossing traffic lights.

Sycamores Recreation Ground

 

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Starting at Bordesley Green East, we enter the Bordesley Green Recreation Ground after crossing over at the lights. This area was the former site of Batchelors Farm.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Many families enjoying the sunshine and sitting on the lawn. Sadly the litter problem here was quite bad to see.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path curves around the Recreation Ground. While here, kept seeing an idiot riding a dirt bike around the ground in circles. Tyre tracks were visible in the grass. Other signs of burnt out former off road bikes were along the path.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path curves in an S shape as we passed these bushes to the right.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Not too visible here, but in the distance is the West Coast Mainline. Stechford Station is to the far right of here.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Bits of rubbish on both sides of the path, and sometimes on the path.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

The path is good to walk on though, was even the odd dog walker and cyclist here.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

Getting close to the end of the path, a man riding a bike in orange.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

End of the path at Eastfield Road. Litter was really bad around here, plus graffiti on the wall on the right. Turned back from here towards Hay Mills.

Bordesley Green Recreation Ground

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
13 Apr 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Chamberlain Square - places to visit mapped for you

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Here we have mapped a selection of places that we would recommend you visit in Chamberlain Square.

This includes: 

Chamberlain Memorial, The Town Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, One and Two Chamberlain Square and The Dishoom restaurant.

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Chamberlain Square

Chamberlain Square is where a modern and thriving Birmingham connects with the City's amazing history and heritage. 

Chamberlain Square is home to Birmingham's Town Hall and to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.   

Between 2010 and 2020, the square was completely redeveloped.

Chamberlain Square is at the heart of the Paradise scheme with One Chamberlain Square and Two Chamberlain Square being the two flagship builds of the Paradise development.  

Chamberlain Square. Photography by Mat Burling.

Go HERE for more about Chamberlain Square.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is situated in Chamberlain Square, and first opened in 1885. The gallery was extended in 1911, and is above the Council House. Home of Big Brum clocktower.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is located in Birmingham's Chamberlain Square.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from Chamberlain Square (July 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

Go HERE for our feature on Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery

Photography by Daniel Sturley

Birmingham Town Hall

Birmingham Town Hall is a Grade I listed building which is a concert hall and venue for popular assemblies. 

It was opened in 1834 and is situated in Victoria Square and Chamberlain Square. Birmingham Town Hall was also the first significant work of the 19th-century revival of Roman architecture. 

The Town Hall was built in 1834 by Joseph Hansom. When installed the Town Hall's 6,000-pipe William Hill concert organ was largest and most technologically advanced in the world. Between 1784 - 1912 the city hosted the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival and the Town Hall was built to cope with its popularity with greats like Felix Mendelssohn and Edward Elgar performing there.

The Town Hall closed in 1996 for refurbishment works. And renovation works were completed by 2007. It was reopened in 2008 by The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for our feature on Birmingham Town Hall.

Dishoom restaurant

Dishoom Birmingham can be found at One Chamberlain Square in Chamberlain Square. Here you can find a lovingly curated menu of Bombay comfort food and enjoy first-class drinks all day, every day.

For more on Dishoom Birmingham, reservations and delivery service, go HERE.

One Chamberlain Square 

One Chamberlain Square is a curvaceous 8-story building and a great example of how modern architecture can sit naturally alongside historic builds and complement a city's heritage. This is the first of the modern buildings to open as part of Argent's huge and transformative Paradise development. The building was designed by Eric Parry Architects and is home to international professional services firm pwc. 

For our feature on One Chamberlain Square, go HERE.

Two Chamberlain Square

Two Chamberlain Square has closely followed One Chamberlain Square in the developments to open as part of the Paradise complex. Two Chamberlain Square is a mixed use office retail development. 

Chamberlain Memorial

The Chamberlain Memorial was unveiled in 1880 in honour of Joseph Chamberlain (while he was still alive) It was sculpted by John Henry Chamberlain (no relation). Joseph Chamberlain had served as Mayor of the Town of Birmingham. Birmingham didn't gain City Status until 1889. Chamberlain was also a Town Councillor, and later served as a Birmingham Member of Parliament. The memorial is in the neo-gothic style.

Chamberlain Memorial (following a post development jet wash) courtesy Daniel Sturley

Thomas Attwood Sculpture

Thomas Attwood was the first Birmingham Member of Parliament (from 1832 to 1840). He founded the Birmingham Political Union in 1830 and in 1832 held a rally calling for Political Reform. The "sitting" statue was scupted by Sioban Coppinger and Fiona Peever.

The sitting scupture of Thomas Attwood in Chamberlain Square. Photography by Bethly Hallows. 

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