Elliott Brown

Passion Points: 148K

Art; Culture & creativity
28 Jan 2023 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Lion dance for the Lunar New Year outside of the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square

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On Thursday 26th January 2023, the lion dance from the Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham (James Wong) started their Westside Tour at 2pm outside of the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square. Elliott caught them going past The REP to The ICC. While Daniel spotted them outside his beloved Caffe Nero in Brindleyplace.

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The Lunar New Year lion dance tour in late January 2023, continued at Westside, on Thursday afternoon, on the 26th, after 2pm.

After setting up outside of the Library of Birmingham, they went past The REP, towards The ICC.

Lion dance

Lion dance

Lion dance

Lion dance

Lion dance

Lion dance

Lion dance

Lion dance

Lion dance

Lion dancePhotography by Elliott Brown

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27 Jan 2023 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

West Bromwich - Take a Tour with us!

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Head on the tram to Sandwell from Birmingham and get off in West Bromwich (Zone 2). There are some fascinating places to experience out in the neighbourhoods. Here's a look at West Bromwich. Well worth a visit. For history, there's some fascinating places to visit. There are some wonderful open spaces and some great places to relax.

Take our article.

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On your My Metro app, buy an off peak return Zone 1 - 2 ticket. Make your way to either Corporation Street or Bull Street tram stops (or any Zone 1 tram stops) in Birmingham City Centre. Catch an Urbos 3 or Urbos 100, West Midlands Metro tram towards Dudley Street Guns Village Tram Stop, where this tour will begin of West Bromwich!

 

Dudley Street Guns Village Tram Stop

This will be our stop in West Bromwich, as you can start the walk from the top of the High Street. The tram stop is at Dudley Street in West Bromwich. This is good starting point for the Farley Clock Tower. The no 74 bus also stops near here. And there is the West Bromwich Parkway.

Dudley Street Guns Village Tram StopPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

From Dudley Street,  turn right, and walk towards Carters Green and the West Bromwich High Street. Directly in front of you is the Farley Clock Tower.

 

St Andrew's Carters Green

St Andrew's Carters Green is at 18 Dudley Street, West Bromwich, B70 9LR. At the junction with Carters Green.

A church at Carters Green in West Bromwich which is shared by both The Church of England and The Methodist Church. It was built from 1915 to 1924.

St Andrew's Carters GreenPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Farley Clock Tower

This Grade II listed red brick and terracotta clock tower dates to 1897, and was named after Reuben Farley (1826 - 1899), who was the first Mayor of West Bromwich, and served four terms. Located at Carters Green. There is three reliefs, a portrait of Reuben Farley, one of Oak House and one of West Bromwich Town Hall.

Farley Clock TowerPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Old Hop Pole

The Old Hop Pole at 474 High Street, West Bromwich, B70 9LD. Corner of Guns Lane.

A traditional West Bromwich High Street pub near Guns Village called The Old Hop Pole.

The Old Hop PolePhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Wheatsheaf

The Wheatsheaf at 379 High Street, West Bromwich, B70 9QW

A Real Ale public house on the High Street in the West Bromwich called The Wheatsheaf with Pure Black Country Holder's Golden.

The WheatsheafPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Garden of Remembrance

The Memorial Gardens in West Bromwich aka the Garden of Remembrance. High Street, West Bromwich, B70 8RJ.

A place for reflection in West Bromwich for those lost in conflicts of the past. The gardens is in front of the Sandwell Register Office at Highfields House.

Memorial GardensPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Highfields House

Sandwell Register Office at Highfields, High Street, West Bromwich. B70 8RJ.

This building is the location of the Sandwell Register Office, it is called Highfields, or Highfields House. A Grade II listed building since 1985, was four houses, now offices, probably built in the 1830s.

HighfieldsPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Take a minor detour down Lodge Road, for a couple of former Sandwell College buildings, that used to be part of the West Bromwich Campus.

 

West Bromwich Grammar School

The former West Bromwich Grammar School was at Lodge Road, West Bromwich, B70 8DY

The West Bromwich Municipal Secondary School was built in 1902 as the West Bromwich Institute at Lodge Road, funded by George Kenrick. The school was expanded several times, and later became a Grammar School in 1944. The actress Madeleine Carroll was a pupil here. The school moved to new buildings in Clarkes Lane in 1964. For a period from at least the 1990s to the early 2010s, the building was part of Sandwell College as the Hair Beauty and Holistic Centre. The college moved out in 2012 to a purpose built building on the West Bromwich Ringway. The building was empty until about 2018 when Ideal Travel Services took up a unit in the building.

West Bromwich Grammar SchoolPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Ryland Memorial School of Art

What is now the British Muslim School is at Lodge Road, West Bromwich, B70 8NX

This red brick building on Lodge Road in West Bromwich, was built as an Art school in 1902 by Wood & Kendrick of Birmingham. It had been part of Sandwell College, as the Ryland Building until the early 2010s (before the college moved to a modern building on the West Bromwich Ringway). Empty for a few years, by 2017 it had become the British Muslim School and Latifiah Fultali Complex.

Ryland Memorial SchoolPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Head back to the High Street, for the Town Hall and Library next.

 

West Bromwich Town Hall

West Bromwich Town Hall is at High Street, West Bromwich, B70 8DJ. Corner with Lodge Road.

A town hall in West Bromwich from 1874 to 1875, on what was the Lodge Estate. It was the headquarters of the county borough of West Bromwich and remained the seat of local government after Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council was formed in 1974. However, the council moved to a modern facility in Oldbury in 1989. The building has been Grade II listed since 1987.

West Bromwich Town HallPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

West Bromwich Central Library

West Bromwich Central Library is at 316 High Street, West Bromwich, B70 8DZ

Originally a library was built into the town hall of West Bromwich of 1874-5. But a purpose built public library was built next door in 1907, by Stephen J Holliday, of red brick with yellow terracotta dressings. The building was a gift of Andrew Carnegie to the Borough. It has been a Grade II listed building since 1987, and is known as the Central Library, West Bromwich.

West Bromwich Central LibraryPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Kenrick & Jefferson Building

The Kenrick & Jefferson Building is at 1, Astle Park, High Street, West Bromwich, B70 8NS

Red brick and terracotta offices built on the West Bromwich High Street in 1883 for Kenrick & Jefferson. It was a Printing Works founded by John Arthur Kenrick and Frederick Jefferson. They bought the Free Press newspaper in 1878 to help promote Liberalism.

Kenrick & JeffersonPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Sandwell

The Sandwell is at 277 High Street, West Bromwich, B70 8ND. Corner with New Street.

A corner public house in West Bromwich at High Street and New Street. Now called The Sandwell. It was known as The Goose until at least 2015-16. And was associated in the past with Mitchells & Butlers. Now owned by Great UK Pubs.

The SandwellPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Billiard Hall

The Billiard Hall is at St Michael's Street, West Bromwich Ringway, West Bromwich, B70 7AB

Built as a snooker and billiard hall in 1913 in West Bromwich, since the early 21st century, the building has been used as a JD Wetherspoon Free House.

Billiard HallBilliard Hall, West Bromwich (May 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Leave the High Street, and turn left onto New Street, and walk to the New Square Shopping Centre. Perhaps stop for a coffee at Costa Coffee? On sunny blue sky days, it does get a bit bright in that Costa. There is other venues for lunch here including Nandos and a pub called the Interceptor.

 

Central St Michael's Sixth Form College

This building was originally a public arts venue called The Public, designed by Will Alsop. It was fully open by 2009, but it closed it's doors by late 2013 and was handed over to Sandwell College, where it became Central Sixth Sandwell College in 2014. By 2018 it was renamed to Central St Michael's Sixth Form College (following a merger between Sandwell College and Cadbury College). Round the back is a portrait bust of Phil Lynott (1949-86) a member of the band Thin Lizzy. It was unveiled in 2021 on what would have been his 72nd birthday.

The PublicPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Walk back along New Street, then turn left onto the High Street. You will walk past the markets and shops. Head towards Dartmouth Square where there is a memorial fountain and a clock.

 

Elizabeth Farley Memorial Fountain

This drinking fountain and canopy was originally erected in 1885 in Dartmouth Park by Alderman Farley J.P. the son of Elizabeth Farley, of whom the fountain was in memory of. In 1987, the drinking fountain and canopy was relocated to the High Street at Dartmouth Square, around the time it was granted Grade II listing status. It used to be in a dark red colour, and a canopy over it from the Farley Centre was removed between 2012 and 2014. It was renovated and repainted in blue and green in 2022.

Farley FountainPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Kenrick's Clock

This Grade II listed clock dates to 1912, and was presented to the Borough by the then Mayor, Councillor J Archibald Kenrick. The clock was relocated in 2000 from a traffic island to it's current position in Dartmouth Square. In 2022, the clock was refurbished and repainted from it's old red colours to blue and green.

Kenrick's ClockPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

From Dartmouth Square, cross over at the lights at Bull Street, and continue down the High Street. Several Indian / Asian related restaurants and bars down here. The cross over the lights at Trinity Way.

 

The Great Lion Bar & Grill

The Great Lion Bar & Grill is at 43 High Street, West Bromwich, B70 6PB

A red brick and stone building, built as the Lewisham Hotel in 1887. To the rear was the Lewisham Brewery, the architect was Arthur James Price. In recent years the building has been Desi Junction, and since 2021-22, as The Great Lion Bar & Grill, an Indian restaurant.

Great LionPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

 

Continue down the High Street, which then becomes Birmingham Road. At West Bromwich Interchange, which is M5, Junction 1, there is pavements around it. Wait for the traffic lights to stop the traffic before crossing safely. As you will go past a Georgian landmark, the only surviving building from Sandwell Hall, it's lodge!

 

The Lodge of Sandwell Hall

This remarkable survival might date to the early 18th century, it was the Lodge of Sandwell Hall. The remains of the hall are at Sandwell Valley Country Park (not far from the Sandwell Priory ruins). It is thought that William Smith designed this lodge. The M5 motorway was opened in stages between 1962 and 1972, and this lodge is a feature in West Bromwich for drivers around the Interchange. You can also see it from the top deck of the no 74 bus.

Lodge of Sandwell HallPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

From West Bromwich Interchange, walk down Birmingham Road, then cross the footbridge, as you will be approaching the home stadium of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. The Hawthorns. There is also a Starbucks Drive Thru, McDonald's and Greggs nearby.

 

The Hawthorns - home of West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion has been located at The Hawthorns since 1900, the stadium is located on Birmingham Road, on the corner with Halfords Lane. It is here that you will find the 2014 statue of Tony 'Bomber' Brown, WBA's highest goal scorer!

The HawthornsPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Hawthorns Tram Stop

Enter The Hawthorns Tram Stop from Middlemore Road in West Bromwich. There is a path called Roger Horton Way from there. Just head down the steps and wait for your tram back to Birmingham.

The HawthornsPhotography by Elliott Brown

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History & heritage
25 Jan 2023 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Eastside and Aston University to Nechells - Take a Tour with us!

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Here is our second tour around Nechells. This time we start at the University Quarter in Eastside near Birmingham City University (BCU) and Aston University before making our way into Nechells via Aston Cross.  Of course, you could take the tour the other way.

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Nechells Tour Two: Eastside via Aston University and Aston Cross to Nechells

Arrive in Birmingham City Centre, get off your bus near Moor Street Queensway, or off your train at Birmingham New Street or Birmingham Moor Street. From Moor Street Queensway, walk down Albert Street between the Clayton Hotel and HS2. Then head onto Park Street before entering the park.

 

Eastside City Park

The park opened alongside Millennium Point and Curzon Street in 2012, and was the first new City Park for a century. Part of the park in recent years hase been taken over by HS2.

Eastside City ParkPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Woodman

A public house on the corner of New Canal Street and Albert Street (now part of Eastside City Park). It was built in 1896-97 by James & Lister Lea. It was the only pub to survive the HS2 works, but it sadly closed down in the summer of 2022.

The WoodmanPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Curzon Street Station

This was the original terminus of the London & Birmingham Railway opening in 1838 at the corner of New Canal Street and Curzon Street. It's use declined when Birmingham New Street opened in 1854, and it closed for passengers in 1893. It was used for goods until 1966. And Parcelforce used the rear of the site until 2006. It is now part of the HS2 redevelopment, and the building will be fully restored, hopefully reopening by the 2030s, almost 200 years since it was first built!

Curzon Street StationPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Millennium Point

A mixed use venue, it opened in 2001 near Curzon Street in Eastside. It is home to Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, as well as Birmingham City University and Birmingham Metropolitan College. There used to be a IMAX cinema / Giant Screen Cinema here, but is now Platform, a venue hire space.

Millennium PointPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum

A paid for science museum located within Millennium Point, it opened in 2001. The main entrance used to be via the escalators to Level 2, but after the pandemic was moved to the ground floor. It replaced the Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry that used to be on Newhall Street in the Jewellery Quarter from 1951 to 1997. Most contents from that was moved here, other than those that went to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre.

Thinktank Birmingham Science MuseumPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Parkside Building

Starting from 2011, Birmingham City University started to move their main campus from Perry Barr to Eastside. The Parkside Building next to Millennium Point was the first building to be completed and opened in 2013. On the corner of Cardigan Street with Eastside City Park (and near Curzon Street).

The Parkside BuildingPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Curzon Building

The second BCU Central Campus building to be built was The Curzon Building from 2013 to 2015, on the corner of Cardigan Street and Curzon Street. It was followed by Curzon B to the back from 2016 to 2018, near Gopsal Street and the Digbeth Branch Canal (between Ashted locks 4 and 5).

The Curzon BuildingPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Now walk up to the end of Curzon Street to Curzon Circle. Then cross over at the traffic lights towards Compass.

 

Compass Birmingham 

New student accommodation at Curzon Circle, between Vauxhall Road and Lawley Middleway. It was completed in 2022, and close to the HS2 line. It replaced the Curzon Gate student accommodation that HS2 demolished in 2019. Compass Birmingham was built on the site of Professional Music Technology (who moved to the Trident Retail Park in 2019) between 2021 and 2022.

CompassPhotography by Jack Babington

 

The White Tower

The White Tower aka Moriarty's is a traditional public house at the corner of Vauxhall Road and Lawley Middleway at Curzon Circle. It is near Eastside and the HS2 development.

The White TowerPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Next walk up Lawley Middleway and cross back over to Eastside, then pass University Locks, and walk down Penn Street to Belmont Row.

 

Lock Keepers Cottage

A cottage on the Digbeth Branch Canal, near the Ashted Locks flight (close to Ashted Lock 4). It might date to 1891. The last owner moved out by 2007, after the property was compulsory purchased by the Council, ahead of the Eastside Locks redevelopment. In 2019 Lucy McLauchlan (Beats 13) painted her distinct street art in the boarded up windows and door.

Lock Keepers CottagePhotography by Jack Babington

 

Now walk along Gopsal Street, before heading up Cardigan Street.

 

Eagle & Ball by BCUSU

An Ansell's pub built in the 1840s. By the 1960s it was renamed to the Moby Dicks. Now a Grade II listed building, lovingly restored and incorpoated into Birmingham City University. It was renamed back to The Eagle & Ball. It is on the corner of Penn Street and Gopsal Street, and near The Curzon Building, as well as the Joseph Priestley Building.

Eagle & BallPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Steamhouse by Birmingham City University

The Belmont Row Works built in 1899 as the Headquarters for the Eccles Rubber and Cycle Company, and it housed rubber manufactory. By 1918 it was occupied by the Co-Operative Society, which used the premises to make underwear. In 1931 the factory was making pianos, and by 1941 bedsteads. Was destroyed by a fire in 2007. Derelict for over a decade until Birmingham City University had it restored and extended as Steamhouse from 2020 to 2022.

SteamhousePhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Cross over Jennens Road between Cardigan Street and Woodcock Street. Turn left towards the Student Accommodation, then walk past the Aston Brain Centre to the Aston University main building on Aston Street.

 

Aston University Green

If walking past Aston University Library, on the left is the University Green. When the student accommodation was rebuilt in the 2010s here, the area was re-landscaped. The Chancellor's Lake has been there for decades and the Peace sculpture dating to 1985 in the lake was by William Pye. The Students Union relocated to a new building on campus in 2019 called the Sir Adrian Cadbury Building. 

Aston University GreenPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Aston University

Aston University was founded in 1966, but it began as the College of Advanced Technology with buildings dating to 1949-55 and 1957-65. The University celebrated it's 50th birthday in 2016, and was The Guardian University of the Year 2020. The campus at Aston Triangle has been redeveloped over the 2010s.

Aston UniversityPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

If you want a drink, pop into Costa Coffee on Aston Street. Tesco Express is next door. There is a view in Costa towards the Sacks of Potatoes pub.

 

Sacks of Potatoes

A traditional public house in what was the Gosta Green area of Birmingham, it probably dates to the late 19th century. It's near Woodcock Street, on the Aston University campus.

Sacks of PotatoesPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute

The building opened as the Delicia Cinema in 1923, next to the Sacks of Potatoes pub in Gosta Green, Birmingham. After the war the cinema closed and was taken over by the BBC as television studios until they moved to Pebble Mill in 1971. Aston University took over the building, later housing the Birmingham Arts Lab in 1976. Various other uses until it was a Dillons (later Waterstones) bookstore. The building was empty from 2003, but was converted into the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI)  in the 2010s. Only the facade of the cinema survives.

EBRIPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Gosta Green

A public house in a red brick building dating to 1906, originally built as offices for Ansells, later the Holt Brewery. After the brewery closed down in the early 1970s, the building was converted into a pub called the Pot of Beer, but was later renamed to the Gosta Green. It is on the corner of Woodcock Street and Holt Street.

The Gosta GreenPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Walk down Lister Street, then turn left at Dartmouth Middleway, and walk towards Dartmouth Circus. Head down the subway, where you will find the Boulton & Watt Engine of 1817.

 

Dartmouth Circus - site of the Boulton & Watt Engine of 1817

This is a Grazebrook Engine built to the designs of James Watt in 1817 at a foundry in Soho, Birmingham, by Grazebrook & Whitehouse for their Netherton foundry in Dudley, Worcestershire (now West Midlands). It was retired in 1912, remaining on site as a standby engine. It was dismantled in 1964, and is now on display at Dartmouth Circus. Made of cast iron, it is 28 feet high, and weighs 10 long tons.

Boulton & Watt EnginePhotography by Elliott Brown
 

Leave Dartmouth Circus via a subway for Aston Road North. Follow the pavement towards Aston Cross, where you will find a clock.

 

Aston Cross Clock

A Historic landmark. The Aston Cross Clock Tower was made in 1891 of iron, and has four clock faces. It was near the Ansells Brewery (on site from 1881 to 1981) and the HP Sauce factory (late 19th century until 2007). The site today is East End Foods. The island is between Aston Road, North, Park Lane, Rocky Lane and the Lichfield Road.

Aston Cross ClockPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Aston Cross Tavern

A former public house, Aston Cross Tavern  (also called at one point The Golden Cross) was on the corner of the Lichfield Road and Rocky Lane at Aston Cross, Birmingham. It was last called O'Reillys, closed by 2012, now flats. There has been a pub on this site since the late 18th century, but this building probably dates to the late 19th century. It was built for the Holt Brewery, and later owned by the Ansells Brewery.

The Golden CrossPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Aston Cross Library

A public library built on the Lichfield Road in Aston in 1903. It was opposite the Ansells Brewery and HP Sauce factory (until they closed down). The building hasn't been a library for a long time, there is rooms to let inside. Funds to built it was provided by Andrew Carnegie, on a site gifted by William and Edward Ansell. The library closed during the 1970s.

Aston Cross LibraryPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Next walk along Rocky Lane, turn onto Chester Street, then Avenue Road, and Rupert Street.

 

Nechells Wellbeing Centre

This facility is located on Rupert Street in Nechells. It shares a building with the Nechells Community Sports Centre.

Nechells Wellbeing CentrePhotography by Jack Babington

 

St Matthew's Church

St Matthew's Church is a Grade II listed building, built 1839-40 by William Thomas of Leamington. The first of 5 churches to be built by the Birmingham Church Building Society. Near Nechells Parkway and Duddeston Manor Road.

St Matthews ChurchPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Loxton REC Play Park

Located in Nechells near Duddeston Manor Road, Wardlow Road, Howford Grove and Little Hall Road. It features a basketball court and play area.

Loxton REC Play ParkPhotography by Jack Babington

 

The Nimab Welfare Trust

A mosque and cultural centre, located in a former pub called The Winning Post. The Nimab Welfare Trust appears to have opened here around 2010, on Great Francis Street.

Nimab Welfare TrustPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Heartlands Academy

A secondary school located on Great Francis Street in Vauxhall, near Nechells, for children aged 11 to 16. Now an E-Act Academy.

Heartlands AcademyPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Erksine Street Park

A small park located between Erksine Street, Great Francis Street and Pitney Street in the Vauxhall / Nechells area of Birmingham.

Erksine St pocket parkPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Birmingham Museum Collection Centre

The Birmingham Museum Collection Centre is located on Dollman Street in Nechells near Duddeston Station. The store of the Birmingham Museum Trust's collection that is not on display. Sometimes open to the public on open days.

Birmingham Museum Collection CentrePhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Walk up Dollman Street, Duddeston Mill Road, Little Hall Road, then go onto Duddeston Manor Road, cut past High Tower to Nechells Parkway, then cross over to Bodmin Grove and into Oliver Street.

 

Masjid Quba

A mosque and Islamic Centre on Oliver Street in Nechells. It was previously home to the United Reformed Church, but has been a mosque since at least 2015.

Masjid qubaPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Nechells POD

A community centre on Oliver Street in Nechells. It is also where the Bloomsbury Library is based now.

Nechells PODPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Walk up Rupert Street, pass Cromwell J & I School (see Nechells tour 1), then Walter Street and Long Acre.

 

St Joseph's Church

St Joseph's is a Grade II listed building and a Roman Catholic church. Was built as a cemetery chapel in 1850 by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. Enlarged in 1872 by Edward Welby Pugin. Restored in 1945 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Long Acre in Nechells.

St Josephs ChurchPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Church of God of Prophecy Nechells Outreach Centre

The Nechells Outreach Centre is located in this historic church building on Long Acre in Nechells. It was formerly a Presbyterian chapel of 1888-9, now the Church of God of Prophecy.

Nechells Outreach CentrePhotography by Jack Babington

 

From here, either walk to Aston Station, or find the nearest bus stop to return to Birmingham City Centre. You should be able to catch the no 66 bus from Long Acre.

 

End of tour.

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40 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
23 Jan 2023 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Lunar New Year 2023: The Year of the Rabbit in Birmingham

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The Lunar New Year celebrations kicked off at the Bullring & Grand Central on Saturday 21st January 2023 with the Traditional Lion Dance from Choy Lee Fut Lion and Dragon Dance Team, orgainised by the Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham. There was also events in Southside at Hippodrome Square and The Arcadian on Sunday 22nd January 2023. Happy Chinese New Year!

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Saturday 21st January 2023 at Bullring & Grand Central Birmingham

Chinese Lion Procession (Beginning at 'The Bull')

The festivities began around 12pm at The Bull. Birmingham We Are's Elliott Brown popped up to Costa Coffee inside Next at the Bullring, and after buying a coffee, was able to get a table for the views. After they left Rotunda Square, and went down St Martin's Walk, it was time to leave Costa @ Next and head to the West Mall 2nd floor balcony view!

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dancePhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Traditional Lion Dance at the Bullring

The Choy Lee Fut Lion and Dragon Dance Team walking in with the their dancing lions and drums on the ground floor of the Bullring, was a great view from the 2nd floor balcony, many people were watching. After introductions from the MC and James Wong, the drummers really showed their stuff to the crowd! Would be more events during the day, but this was all that I wanted to see, and it hurts to stand on one spot for too long.

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dance

Chinese Lion dancePhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Sunday 22nd January 2023 around Southside

 

Lunar New Year Celebrations in Hippodrome Square

For the first time in 3 years (since January 2020 before the pandemic), they had a stage set up in Hippodrome Square, and it drew a large crowd of people, a little bit too crowded, and not enough room to walk out of the area. The Chinese lion dancers and drummers went on stage early on, after the procession from The Arcadian.

Southside

Southside

Southside

Southside

SouthsidePhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Ladywell Walk

There was a carousel on Ladywell Walk near Hippodrome Square, as well as a balloon arch. The procession from The Arcadian went up here to the stage.

Ladywell WalkPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Hurst Street

On Hurst Street, south of the Hippodrome was various market stalls and fun fair rides. Was a bit crowded at this end.

Hurst StreetPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

There was also a ride called Hysteria on Hurst Street, close to the Missing bar and Bromsgrove Street. On the roads that were open, was a lot of traffic around. Was also a teacup ride at this end.

Hysteria

Hysteria

Hysteria

Hysteria

HysteriaPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Arcadian

The procession of the lion dance started in the arena here, before proceeding to Ladywell Walk and Hippodrome Square.

The ArcadianPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

Lunar New YearPhotography by Jack Babington

 

MasterChef champion Dan Lee was also in Southside with his trophy.

Lunar New YearPhotography by Jack Babington

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
10 Jan 2023 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Warner Village Cinemas handprints at Star City

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Before Vue was Vue, it was Warner Village Cinemas at Star City, in Nechells, Birmingham. Around 1998, celebrities put their hands and signed in clay, created a mold. Star City opened in 2000, and these handprints can still be found around Star City. See if you can recognise any?

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These stars, handprints with celebrity signatures have probably been in and around Star City since the year 2000. It wasn't Warner Village Cinemas for long, as it's been Vue for much longer.

 

WARNER VILLAGE CINEMAS

WVC

 

Dame Edna Everage

WVC

 

Kenneth Branagh

WVC

 

Denise Van Outen

WVC

 

This one is a bit hard to read? Paul G Hensleigh 78 ?

WVC

 

Denzel Washington

WVC

 

Barbara Windsor

WVC

 

Vinnie Jones

WVC

 

Joanna Lumley

WVC

 

Helen Mirren

WVC

Photography by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
History & heritage
10 Jan 2023 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Nechells - Take a tour with us!

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Birmingham has much more to offer than its magnificent city centre. There are some fascinating places to experience out in the neighbourhoods. Here's a look at Nechells. Well worth a visit. For history, there's some fascinating places to visit. There are some wonderful open spaces and some great places to relax.

Take our article.

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Nechells tour 1: Aston Station to Star City, then towards Duddeston Station

Get the train from Birmingham New Street, on the Cross City Line towards Aston Station. If you have the West Midlands Railway app, it is easy to purchase your QR code ticket (use at the ticket gates at Birmingham New Street if closed).

 

Aston Station

Getting off your Class 323 train at Aston, head down the steps from platform 1 (or use the lift). Both routes takes you down to the Lichfield Road. The station originally opened in 1837, and has been part of the Cross City Line between Redditch and Lichfield since 1978. You can alternatively catch the no 65 or 67 bus routes to the Lichfield Road

Aston StationPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Heading down the steps you will see the former Britannia pub, and to the left of it near Holborn Hill is the now closed Swan & Mitre pub. 

 

The Britannia

This pub opposite Aston Station on the Lichfield Road was built around 1898 to 1900. It was built on the site of a previous pub called the Aston Hall Tavern, which was built in 1867, but was renamed to The Britannia in 1872. In recent years there has been cafes in the building, but it has been closed longer than it has been open.

The BritanniaPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Swan & Mitre

This public house on the corner of Lichfield Road and Holborn Hill was built in 1898 by James & Lister Lea. The pub is opposite Aston Station, but has been closed for many years, and had been for sale at one point.

Swan & MitrePhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Next walk up Holborn Hill into Nechells, crossing over the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

 

The Villa Tavern

A public house on the corner of Holborn Hill and Nechells Park Road. The pub was rebuilt from 1924 to 1925. The pub has been vacant for many years.

The Villa TavernPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Nechells Baths

The former public baths was built on the corner of Nechells Park Road and Aston Church Road in 1910. Since the baths closed, it has become The Wisdom Cultural Islamic Centre since 2017.

Nechells BathsPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Now walk up Nechells Park Road towards Eliot Street, as next you will be passing a late Victorian Primary School building.

 

Nechells Primary E-ACT Academy

Eliot Street was originally called Hutton Street. Hence the Birmingham School Board opened it as the Hutton Street Board School in 1879, to the designs of Martin and Chamberlain. Renamed in 1897 to the Nechells Board School, by the 20th century it was called Nechells Primary School. By 2015 it became the Nechells Primary E-ACT Academy.

Nechells Primary E-Act AcademyPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Continue to the end of Eliot Street, turn right up Long Acre. Then right again at Cuckoo Road. Cross over the lights and over the Grand Union Canal and arrive at Star City.

 

Mount Street Park

Before heading to Star City, perhaps pop over to the Mount Street Park. It has a childrens play area, as well as a basketball court. It is on Cuckoo Road and Mount Street, with the Grand Union Canal down the other side.

Mount Street ParkPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Star City

A leisure and entertainment complex, Star City opened to the public near Cuckoo Road, on Watson Road in the year 2000. It opened with a Warner Village Cinemas (now Vue). It also used to have a casino. There is restaurants and cafes, a bowling alley and an amusement arcade with games. The no 66 bus route has bus stops outside, there is also a car park.

Star CityPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Stop for a drink at the Costa Coffee or Subway at Star City, before walking down towards Duddeston. Leaving Star City behind, head down Watson Road, turn left at Cuckoo Road. Walk down Heartlands Parkway past the Holiday Inn Express. Next turn right onto Aston Church Road, there is an old bridge that crosses the Grand Union Canal and River Rea. Continue towards The Wisdom Cultural Islamic Centre and enter Hope Gardens.

 

Hope Gardens

A small pocket park at the corner of Aston Church Road and Nechells Park Road called Hope Gardens. There is an open basketball court, and a childrens play area. 

Hope GardensPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Now walk down Nechells Park Road. You will pass the Nechells Methodist Church, on your way towards Wing Yip.

 

Free@Last

A community centre in Nechells located at Cattells Grove and Nechells Park Road. They have been providing a wide variety of opportunities for the children, young people and adults for many years.

Free@LastPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Wing Yip

A Chinese Superstore located on the corner of Nechells Park Road and Thimble Mill Lane. The famous Chinese Arch is located here. They have genuine Chinese & Oriential groceries here.

Wing YipPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Leaving Wing Yip, walk up Walter Street, then turn onto Rupert Street. Before walking up Rocky Lane to Bloomsbury Park, there is Cromwell Junior & Infant School.

 

Cromwell Junior & Infant School

The school opened in 1889 to the designs of J A Cossins under the name of the Cromwell Street School, and was built in the Gothic and Queen Anne Revivial styles. The school is located between Rupert Street, Rocky Lane and Cromwell Street.

Cromwell Junior & Infant SchoolPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Continue up Rocky Lane, and enter Bloomsbury Park through the gates.

 

Bloomsbury Park

This parkland was formerly called Bloomsbury Village Green, but is now known as Bloomsbury Park. It is between Nechells Parkway, Rocky Lane, Cromwell Street and Oliver Street. The childrens play area is close to Oliver Street, and is not that far from the Lanchester Car Monument, which can also be found in this park.

Bloomsbury ParkPhotography by Jack Babington

 

Lanchester Car Monument

This sculpture commemorates the work of Frederick W Lanchester, who in the late 19th century, produced cars on a site nearby on Bloomsbury Street. In 1995, Tim Tolkien (a great nephew of the author J.R.R. Tolkien) created this steel sculpture of the Lancester motor car.

Lanchester Car MonumentPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Leaving the park, you can't help to notice a red brick and terracotta building with a distinctive clocktower, this is the old Bloomsbury Library. Head down Bloomsbury Street to Nechells Parkway, or down Bloomsbury Walk.

 

Old Bloomsbury Library

The Bloomsbury Branch Library was built in 1893 to the designs of Cossins & Peacock. Saltley Road used to go past here, but this section is now called Nechells Parkway. The building is also on Bloomsbury Walk. After Bloomsbury Library relocated to Nechells POD, the building has been used by Rising Stars Daycare. The play area outside is called Bloomsbury Library Gardens.

Old Bloomsbury LibraryPhotography by Jack Babington

 

From Nechells Parkway, cross over at the lights, and walk down Melvina Road towards Duddeston Station. On your left will be a concrete sculpture called Youth.

 

Youth statue  

A concrete statue that was made in the year 1958 by the sculptor Harry Seager. It is close to the brick wall of the Cross City Line. The trees, bushes and shrubs can be seen growing around it.

YouthPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Continue up Melvina Road until you get to Duddeston Mill Road, find the crossing and head down the steps into Duddeston Station.

 

Duddeston Station

There has been a railway station at this site since 1837, original name was Vauxhall Station, and was the temporary terminus in Birmingham of the Grand Junction Railway. This was before Birmingham Curzon Street opened by 1839. It was renamed to Vauxhall & Duddeston in 1889. Destroyed by a bomb in 1941 during the Second World War. Rebuilt in the 1950s. The line was electrified in 1966. Station renamed to Duddeston in 1974. The Cross City Line opened in 1978. It is the first stop out of Birmingham New Street heading north, on both the Cross City (Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield Trent Valley) and Chase Lines (Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley).

Duddeston StationPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Catch the train one stop from here to Birmingham New Street on a Class 323 train. Or walk the short distance to catch the no 14 bus back into Birmingham City Centre.

 

End of Nechells trail 1.

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40 passion points
Sport & leisure
26 Dec 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club on the Windmill Pool, Boxing Day 2022.

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A walk around the Windmill Pool, on Boxing Day 2022, when I saw the Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club out with their yachts on the lake. It was a cold morning in Earlswood. Plenty of people around walking around Earlswood Lakes here. Was nice to see the yachts out too.

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On the Bank Holiday Monday, 26th December 2022, Boxing Day, the Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club was out on the Windmill Pool at Earlswood Lakes.

Saw them before they headed out onto the lake in their wetsuits.

Walked through a very muddy and wet path, covered by trees, before getting to the far end of the lake.

By then the yachts were all coming out.

Which was nice to see as we walked up the other side of the lake (which wasn't as bad as the muddy section).

Also a blue sky and bright winter sunshine.

At least one boat capsized, but the safety boat came out to help him.

 

Gallery of 10 photos below. Enjoy!

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

Photography by Elliott Brown

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30 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
14 Dec 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Luminate at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

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Another lights trail at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston. During the Christmas 2022 season. Tickets need to be bought in advance. I went with a group on Tuesday 6th December 2022 between 7pm and 8pm in the evening. The trail was a bit different to the Magical Lantern Festival I'd previously seen here. At least it wasn't raining. But it was cold.

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LUMINATE, BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS, CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TRAIL 2022

 

Arriving at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston. We didn't park here, so we had a bit of a walk from Frederick Road via Calthorpe Road.

The main entrance of the Botanical Gardens, with Christmas trees, where we waited for other members of our group to arrive.

Luminate

There was several Christmas trees in the foyer, these ones, near the exit to the shop.

Luminate

Later on near the end of the visit was the #BBG hashtag in the foyer and one of the Christmas trees. These are more to do with the Botanical Gardens than Luminate.

Luminate

 

After the group tickets were shown, one of the first things you see is this Luminate sign.

Luminate

 

On the main lawn was these lights that kept changing colours.

Luminate

 

There was a full moon that evening over the Botanical Gardens. The Cold Moon apparently. It was still full two nights later.

Luminate

 

The rainbow ribbon suspension bridge.

Luminate

 

The enchanted fairyland.

Luminate

 

The Glitterball Solar System.

Luminate

 

The rainbow light path.

Luminate

 

The Square light tunnel.

Luminate

 

Spotlights from the Viewpoint near the Refreshments area.

Luminate

 

The Globe lights canopy above a path.

Luminate

 

Bright white reindeer trail.

Luminate

 

The warped light tunnel. This was popular.

Luminate

 

The light bulb beads, you had to walk through these.

Luminate

 

Near the end. The Alpine Yard with lit up greenhouses.

Luminate

Photography by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
12 Dec 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Ribbons: Birmingham AIDS & HIV Memorial in Hippodrome Square

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Until now, there has been no memorial sculpture to those people who lost their lives to AIDs & HIV. Garry Jones came up with it after watching It's a Sin on Channel 4, and his design was sculpted by Luke Perry. It was unveiled in Hippodrome Square on Hurst Street in Southside, outside Genting Casino on the 1st December 2022. It is two interlaced red ribbons.

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For more on The Ribbons go to the Birmingham AIDS & HIV Memorial website.

The community and city of passionate individuals worked tirelessly over 18 months to deliver a lasting and symbolic memorial in the centre of the UK, in our hometown of Birmingham. It was unveiled on World AIDS Day on the 1st December 2022.

The Red Ribbons sculpture was created by Garry Jones, and was sculpted by Luke Perry. Also involved was co-founders Phil Oldershaw and Andrew Bentley-King.

 

The plinth, October 2022

In the last couple of weeks of October 2022, work took place to install the plinth in Hippodrome Square on Hurst Street, Southside in front of the Chinese Quarter shops: Sohair, Ying Wah, Happy Lemon and Mr Egg.

BAHMPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

The Ribbons sculpture arrives wrapped, November 2022

With less than two weeks to go, The Ribbons: Birmingham AIDS & HIV Memorial is installed on the plinth, but will remain under wraps until the evening of the 1st December 2022.

BAHM

BAHM

Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Unveiling of The Ribbons, 1st December 2022

While Birmingham We Are's regular contributor Elliott Brown, was unable to attend the event that evening, Daniel Sturley and Jack Babington were able to attend.

BAHM

BAHM

BAHM

BAHMPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

The Ribbons, a few days after unveiling, December 2022

Elliott had always planned to return a couple of days after the unveiling to get The Ribbons: Birmingham AIDS & HIV Memorial in the daylight, and without anyone in the way. It is quite inspiring to see, and had flowers on the plinth below.

BAHM

BAHM

BAHM

BAHMPhotography by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
Shopping
28 Nov 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Moseley Farmers Market over the years

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Usually held on the last Saturday of each month is the Moseley Farmers Market on St Mary's Row, near Moseley Village Green. It can be seen from the following bus routes: 1, 35 or 50. Takes place in the morning until at least midday before it closes. Gallery of the farmers market, as seen mostly from the no 1 bus, top deck on St Mary's Row. But also from the 50 on Alcester Road.

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Moseley Farmers Market is usually held on the last Saturday of each month on St Mary's Row, near Moseley Village Green. There is also market stalls on Alcester Road (but on the pavement between the former Boots and Subway stores) the Moseley Arts Market. You can get the no 1, 35 or 50 bus routes to the market. But there is sometimes a lot of parked cars on the pavement on Salisbury Road, which makes it difficult for the no 1 bus to get past between Moseley and Edgbaston.

 

26th April 2014

Bottom deck views of Moseley Farmers Market in late April 2014, from the no 1 bus, heading onto St Mary's Row from Salisbury Road, in the direction of Wake Green Road. Held on the Saturday between 9am and 1pm.

Moseley Farmers Market

Moseley Farmers Market

 

27th May 2017

I next photographed the Moseley Farmers Market from the top deck of the no 1 bus, on St Mary's Row in late May 2017. This was before 10am in the morning. Plenty of fruit and vegetables, and bread for sale at the time.

Moseley Farmers Market

Moseley Farmers Market

 

29th July 2017

The next time I saw Moseley Farmers Market was at the end of July 2017. When the ex Barclays Bank was a Costa Coffee (now Wafflings). No 1 bus view again. Flowers in full bloom.

Moseley Farmers Market

 

29th June 2019

At the end of June 2019. The first view taken from the no 1 bus before 12:30pm while it was still open. Later caught the 50 back towards Kings Heath, and they were packing up before 3pm. The Moseley Farmers Market on St Mary's Row as usual, while the Moseley Arts Market would have been on the Alcester Road pavement between Boots (now closed) and Subway.

Moseley Farmers Market

Moseley Farmers Market

 

 

24th September 2022

Late September 2022 view from the top deck of the no 1 bus on St Mary's Row, just after 12pm that day. Both markets were looking busy.

Moseley Farmers Market

 

26th November 2022

The last Saturday in November 2022, also the final market before the one they will have in the middle of December before Christmas. The usual views from the top deck of the no 1 bus, as it approached the traffic lights before going down Salisbury Road towards Edgbaston and Five Ways.

Moseley Farmers Market

Moseley Farmers Market

Moseley Farmers Market

Moseley Farmers Market

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Art; Culture & creativity
21 Nov 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Penguin Parade in Birmingham from Wild in Art

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The Penguin Parade trail of 15 painted penguins started on 9th November 2022, and will run to early January 2023. Bit like the Snowman trail in late 2021 (and The Big Hoot, summer 2015 and The Big Sleuth, summer 2017 before that).

My advice is to do the trail over several days. Get as much as you can. Might be a lot of walking betwen penguins. Most outside, some inside.

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Brum's Penguin Parade

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 1.

Location: Inside Selfridges (ground floor near Click & Collect).

Title: Buddy The Elf Penguin.

Artist:  Megan H Smith Evans.

Description: Buddy is a cheeky character that everyone loves to see in the run up to Christmas. He loves helping his good friend Santa and knows there’s room for everyone on the nice list! He says 'the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 2

Location: Rotunda Square at the Bullring (behind the Bullring Bull, not far from the West Mall entrance).

Title: It's Penguining to look a lot like Christmas! 

Artist: Laura Kate Draws.

Description: The design merges the fabulous festive world of penguins and Father Christmas with a dash of folk art patterns. It takes inspiration from nesting wooden dolls, known as Matryoshka dolls.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 3.

Location: Inside Primark (2nd floor near the kids pyjamas).

Title: Percy The Party Penguin.

Artist: Reilly Creative.

Description: Percy is full of festive spirit and ready to party! Wearing his dashing winter print suit and candy cane glasses, he is dressed to impress and ready to rock around the Christmas tree.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 4.

Location: Piccadilly Arcade.

Title: In The Deep (Midwinter).

Artist: Sue Guthrie.

Description: Penguins can be comically awkward on land, but this design shows off their grace underwater. Go on an adventure as you dip and dive around Christmas baubles.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 5.

Location: The Mailbox (inside opposite BBC Birmingham).

Title: Snowy.

Artist: R P Roberts.

Description: Featuring mystical mountain tops in the warm glow of sunset, Snowy captures the feeling of being surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 6.

Location: Great Western Arcade.

Title: Kevin The Kinguin.

Artist: Caroline Daly.

Description: A rare creature with the colours and delicate feathers of a Kingfisher but the larger, strong build of a Penguin. It is an excellent diver with unbeatable fishing skills! Taking the best of both creatures, it symbolises luck, loyalty and love.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 7. 

Location: Victoria Square, at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

Title: Santa Paws.

Artist: Jessica Perrin.

Description: Santa Paws is inspired by the weird and wonderful fancy dress that owners love to dress their pets in at Christmas. From proud Santa pooches to grumpy cat elves, this playful design is sure to make you giggle

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 8.

Location: Corporation Street, outside Urban Outfitters and Santander.

Title: The Road to Giverny.

Artist: Studio Glenn.

Description: This penguin is inspired by Monet's 1885 painting of the same name. The stunning winter scene evokes memories of crunching snow and cold fingers and toes before settling down with a hot cup of tea beside an open fire.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 9.

Location: House of Fraser, outside on Corporation Street near Cherry Street.

Title: Vitamin P.

Artist: Mikesian Studio.

Description: He struggles with the cold winters but keeps warm by eating as much fruit and vegetables as he can get his flippers on. We should all be more like him - a ray of citrus sunshine.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 10

Location: Christmas in Cathedral Square (outside on Colmore Row).

Title: Helter Skelter

Artist: Amanda Quellin.

Description: This penguin is inspired by a love of nostalgic fairground rides such as a helter skelter and carousel. See how many playful animals you can spot enjoying the ride on a penguin.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 11.

Location: Church Street Square (near Edmund Street).

Title: The Forest At Christmas.

Artist: Jodie Silverman.

Description: This design is inspired by an enchanting snow-covered forest at Christmas. Animals of the forest are surrounded by a magical night-time landscape of tall trees and falling snow.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 12. 

Location: Centenary Square at Ice Skate Birmingham.

Title: Mr Easy Freezy.

Artist: Jenny Leonard.

Description: Mr Easy Freezy gives a nod to the classic 90’s penguin track race game. Snowboarding and skiing penguins race each other down the mountain in their classic ski gear.

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 13.

Location: Hippodrome Square at Hurst Street, near Ladywell Walk (The Arcadian and close to Birmingham Hippodrome).

Title: Pullover Penguin.

Artist: Donna Newman.

Description: Arriving from the Arctic, this cute penguin likes to stay cosy in her favourite Christmas jumper. The cable-knit creation features festive knitting patterns, painted with a fluffy texture. Pullover Penguin is ready for cuddles! 

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 14.

Location: Birmingham New Street Station (near the framed spades, close to Platform 7).

Title: Tiffany.

Artist: Lois Cordelia

Description: this penguin is specifically inspired by the beauty of Tiffany stained glass and evokes the magic of a winter landscape. How many details can you see?

Penguin Parade

 

Number: 15.

Location: Corner of Hill Street and Navigation Street (near Birmingham New Street Station).

Title: The Emperor.

Artist: Amanda Quellin.

Description: Our classic Emperor Penguin stands tall and majestic like the royalty she is. But she's always ready for a cuddle as she and her colony get ready for the frosty winter.

Penguin Parade

 

Birmingham Mail links: 

 

Wild in Art: Brum's Penguin Parade

Visit Birmingham map download

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
17 Nov 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selly Oak Winding Hole 2022 update

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The Winding Hole in Selly Oak, near the Bristol Road was built and completed during 2022. At the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, the restoration of the Lapal Canal (Dudley No. 2 Canal) at Selly Oak Junction, which some day in the future will be restored to Halesowen. Until then, the area where narrowboats can turn onto this to be restored canal is now finished. Boats even moor there.

Related

Previous post from May 2021: Selly Oak Winding Hole until 2021.

 

During 2022, the Lapal Canal Trust worked to have the Winding Hole built. work was well underway in spring 2022, and was open by autumn 2022. In the future, they will need to dig out the canal under Sainsbury's and next to Selly Oak Shopping Park, towards Harborne Lane and through Selly Oak Park towards Weoley Castle. But that is a long way off for now.

The area, also called Whitehouse Wharf was open on the 25th September 2022 to boats.

 

May 2021

View from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, the towpath near an entrance to Selly Oak Shopping Park, as a Cross Country Trains Class 170 passes over the railway. The future Winding Hole site is to the right of here. Seen on the 29th May 2021.

Selly Oak Winding Hole

 

August 2021

Views from the passing train on the Cross City Line. There was still grass on the Winding Hole site at the time. View towards the Unite student accommodation with Sainsbury's behind it, on the 15th August 2021.

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Selly Oak Winding Hole

 

January 2022

Early signs that they will soon be digging out the Winding Hole for the Lapal Canal Trust. Seen from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal towpath near the Unite student accommodation on the 8th January 2022.

Selly Oak Winding Hole

 

May 2022

By the spring of 2022, work was well underway to dig the grass and soil out of the Winding Hole site, as they secured the site so water didn't get in. Seen from the footbridge that will one day be the entrance to the Lapal Canal (under Sainsbury's) on the 21st May 2022.

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Selly Oak Winding Hole

 

October 2022

By the autumn of 2022, the Selly Oak Winding Hole was complete, as can be seen from the footbridge and canal towpath. There was even a boat and narrowboat moored at it on the 2nd October 2022.

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Selly Oak Winding Hole

 

A couple of weekends later, on the 16th October 2022, this time I got the Selly Oak Winding Hole from the pocket park on the other side of the canal, heading for the Selly Oak Shopping Park via the footbridge that opened in 2021. Two narrowboats moored here this time.

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Selly Oak Winding Hole

 

November 2022

I got the train one way from Birmingham New Street to Selly Oak, on the 6th November 2022. Leaving via Bristol Road, it was raining, and saw this view to the Winding Hole. Much more pleasant to see than what it used to look like in the past.

Selly Oak Winding Hole

Photography by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
14 Nov 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Faraday statue by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi at the University of Birmingham

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On the occasion of the Centenary of the University of Birmingham in the year 2000, the sculptor Sir Eduardo Paolozzi presented the University with a bronze statue called Faraday. It was placed at the West Gate of the University. Close to the School of Computer Science. It would be the first thing students, staff and visitors would see after getting off the train or bus nearby.

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Faraday by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

In the year 2000, when the University of Birmingham celebrated it's Centenary, the artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi gifted a bronze statue called Faraday. It was placed at the West Gate, on University Road West, outside of the School of Computer Science. You would see it when arriving at University Station, and walking towards University Square and Old Joe (and other parts of the campus). Even if you get off a bus, or walk from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, or Selly Oak Shopping Park (via Aston Webb Boulevard and New Fosse Way) you'd probably see it. Or it would be the last thing you see before heading into University Station, before catching a train on the Cross City Line up to Birmingham New Street.

The statue was probably inspired or named after Michael Faraday, who was an English scientist, who studied electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Various things were named after him. There is a statue of Faraday in London at Savoy Place.

 

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi CBE, RA (1924-2005) Faraday.
Bronze, 2000. West Gate, outside University Railway Station

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi said of this colossal bronze sculpture, commissioned to mark the centenary of the University of Birmingham's Royal Charter, that is was 'not of Faraday, but for him'. Faraday discovered the laws of electro-magnetic rotation and electrical induction and, among many other principles, explored the science of terrestrial magnetism. The loops of bronze between the figure's hands are a visual manifestation of natural fields of force.

Paolozzi has here articulated the achievements of all experimental scientists who unlock and transform understanding of natural phenomena, and has also created an allegorical figure representing the control of power. His figure of another great scientist, Newton (1995), stands outside the British Library (in London). Cut in the bronze around the base of the figure are lines from The Dry Salvages by T.S. Eliot. These reflect upon growth and change, and bear a valuable message for University students: 'Here between the hither and the further shore. While time is withdrawn, consider the future. And the past with an equal mind.'

 

I first photographed the Faraday statue in February 2013. There was a small bird on his head, and a tag around one of it's ankles. As a man looked on.

Faraday

 

Took Faraday again during January 2019. This time without any one or any objects on it. There appears to be a bench around the plinth.

Faraday

 

I next photographed the statue during June 2021. This time a view with 'Old Joe' the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower. At the time, the clock hands were being taken down, ahead of the clock getting repaired that year.

Faraday

In the other direction from behind Faraday, you can see part of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Faraday

I also found a bronze plaque about Faraday by Eduardo Paolozzi (1924 - 2005). A gift from the artist to mark the Centenary of the University. 2000.

Faraday

 

In late August 2022, there was still Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Game wraps on the School of Computer Science, behind Faraday, including an image of the infamous Perry the Bull (remember him?) and 'Sport is just the beginning'.

Faraday

 

By October 2022, these had been replaced by the University of Birmingham, behind Faraday with 'Proud to be a World Top 100 University' and 'Welcome Game Changers'.

Faraday

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Art; Culture & creativity
07 Nov 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Museum of the Moon at Lichfield Cathedral

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Another Luke Jerram work of public art on display. Museum of the Moon was at Lichfield Cathedral from the 21st September to 31st October 2022. Elliott got a train on the Cross City Line to Lichfield City (on the 30th October 2022), and after a Costa stop at Three Spires, walked to the cathedral. During the day the entry ticket was free (paid evening tickets were sold out).

Related

See also Gaia at Millennium Point (February 2022)

I was first aware of Museum of the Moon after Birmingham People with Passion Damien Walmsley and later Jack Babington visited and took photos at Lichfield Cathedral.

 

Museum of the Moon is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram.

Measuring seven metres in diameter, the moon features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface*.

Over its lifetime, the Museum of the Moon will be presented in a number of different ways both indoors and outdoors, so altering the experience and interpretation of the artwork. As it travels from place to place, it gathers new musical compositions and an ongoing collection of personal responses, stories and mythologies, as well as highlighting the latest moon science.

The installation is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones. Each venue also programmes their own series lunar inspired events beneath the moon.

 

It has been over six years since I last got a train from Birmingham New Street to Lichfield City. Back then I did a spire climb at St Mary's in the Market Square.

I found out that this moon exhibit in Lichfield Cathedral was ending on the 31st October, so I got the train up on Sunday the 30th October 2022. It got in around 12:30pm, and was there around 20 minutes, including a look around the inside of the Cathedral on the ground floor.

It appears that there is other moons at other venues all around the world, same with Gaia, the Earth sculpture.

Submitted one photo to the Birmingham Post & Mail Flickr group, and it got published in the Birmingham Mail readers letters page on Tuesday 1st November 2022, you can see that photo at the end of the gallery below.

Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon

Photography by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Food & drink
01 Nov 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A visit to Orelle Restaurant on the 24th floor of 103 Colmore Row

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In early October 2022, photographers, bloggers etc got a chance to go up to the 24th floor of 103 Colmore Row to go to Orelle Restaurant. I mainly went up for the views. In this post we will look at the interior of the restaurant and the stunning views from the windows (taken in the morning). A lift takes you up to the 24th floor. There is also a cafe bar on the ground floor. 

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July 2022

On the 10th July 2022, I saw a sign on the ground floor of 103 Colmore Row below the Equinox sculpture. Orelle was going to open here during the autumn of 2022, located on the 24th floor with 360° views over Birmingham.

OrellePhotography by Elliott Brown

 

Daniel noticed Orelle about a week before I did, on the 3rd July 2022.

OrellePhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

October 2022

On Saturday 8th October 2022, I went to Orelle, after getting permission a couple of days before to go up at 11am, although I arrived early, went up, and spent around 10 minutes or so getting my photos (mostly of the views).

After I left, for a photo walk around the City Centre, I got this view of 103 Colmore Row from Suffolk Street Queensway, near Holloway Circus, showing the location of the 24th floor and where Orelle Restaurant is.

Orelle

 

Reverse order here, took the exterior of Orelle Restaurant from Colmore Row after I left.

Orelle

A view of the Orelle entrance and outdoor seating area, taken on the 24th October 2022 (just over two weeks since my visit).

Orelle

 

Back to the 8th October. The ground floor bar of Orelle, after heading down the lift, and before exiting to Colmore Row.

Orelle

 

When I got to Orelle, I told staff at the entrance that I got permission to photograph on the 24th floor at Orelle, and a member of staff took me up the lift. Then I went around taking photos of the interiors, plus the amazing views. There was only one side I did not get, the view towards Victoria Square, saw a door, and thought it was a private staff area. Well at least I got three sides, plus the view towards the BT Tower and Cathedral Square.

Orelle

Orelle

Orelle

Orelle

Orelle

Orelle

Orelle

Orelle

Orelle

 

Views from the 24th floor of 103 Colmore Row

Westside

Library of Birmingham and Utilita Arena Birmingham.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

 

Ladywood

Edgbaston Reservoir.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

 

Jewellery Quarter

BT Tower.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

 

Great Hampton Street

The Gothic and King Kong in King Kong Park.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

 

Colmore BID

Birmingham Snow Hill Station to Cathedral Square.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

 

Colmore Square

West Midlands Metro tram, The Wesleyan and the Forward Together sculpture.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

 

City Core

Towards the Rotunda, Birmingham New Street Station etc.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

 

Holloway Circus

Towards the Beetham Tower, The Sentinels, Orion Building and The Mailbox.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Views from 103 Colmore Row

 

Digbeth

Chiltern Railways Class 168 trains parked on the Bordesley Viaduct. Can also see Selfridges and the Custard Factory.

Views from 103 Colmore Row

Photography by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
Civic pride
31 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The statue of Horatio Nelson at the Bullring

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Horatio Nelson visited Birmingham in August 1802. Following his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805, a statue was made in 1809, and unveiled at the Bull Ring in October 1809. This was the first public statue in the Town of Birmingham (it didn't become a City until 1889). The statue was moved during the 1960s and 2000s redevelopments, but once again faces St Martin's.

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On the 31st August 1802, Horatio Nelson stayed in Birmingham. This was in the years when he was off duty, before he returned to the Royal Navy to help fight the Napoleonic Wars. He stayed at the Styles' Hotel (later Royal Hotel), which was on a site on Temple Row (from the 1960s this was Rackhams, but has been House of Fraser since 2000). Following his death at the Battle of Trafalgar, on board HMS Victory on the 21st October 1805, a statue was erected in his memory at the Bull Ring in 1809. This blue plaque was unveiled by The Birmingham Civic Society on the Trafalgar Bi-Centenary 2005, on the wall of NatWest on Temple Row (the bank closed this branch for good in September 2022).

Horatio Nelson

 

Four years after the death of Horatio Nelson at Trafalgar onboard HMS Victory (sniper shot from a French gunman). Birmingham became the first place in the world to erect a statue in his memory. £2500 was raised by public subscription, and it was made in 1809 by Sir Richard Westmacott. It was unveiled on the 25th October 1809, on the day that was declared to be the Golden Jubilee of King George III.

Horatio Nelson

 

Painting below on a Japanned Tray by Thoma Hollins, circa 1830-40. Showing a view of the Bull Ring from the High Street in Birmingham, towards the statue of Horatio Nelson and St Martin's Church (as it looked before it was rebuilt later in the century).

Horatio Nelson1942F83 Japanned Tray - View of the Bull Ring, High Street, Birmingham, 1830-40. By: Thomas Hollins. Birmingham Museums Trust, Public Domain

 

This drawing is attributed to Thomas Allom, showing The Bull Ring and the Nelson statue in Birmingham in 1845. When the outdoor market used to be around the statue.

Horatio Nelson1940P901. Drawing - The Bull Ring & Nelson Statue, Birmingham, 1845. Attributed to: Thomas Allom (Previously attributed to David Cox). Birmingham Museums Trust, Public Domain

 

Nelson stands in a uniform with one arm resting on an anchor with the prow of a miniature ship: HMS Victory.

Horatio Nelson

Upon the ship is the Flag Staff Truck of the French ship Orient (1791), flagship of the French fleet sunk at the Battle of the Nile.

Horatio Nelson

The statue was originally erected on the site of the Old Cross, a two storey building, built in 1703 and demolished in 1784. It stood outside of the Market Hall (opened nearby in 1835, roof and interior destroyed during WW2 in 1940, exterior walls demolished in 1963).

Horatio NelsonPublic Domain image of the Nelson statue at the Bull Ring, next to the Market Hall with the original plinth, lanterns and cannons, c. 1898. Unknown photographer

 

It has been Grade II* listed since 25th April 1952.

Horatio Nelson

The statue was moved in 1961 during the first redevelopment of the Bull Ring and a carved plinth, cannon and lanterns were lost. The 2003 redevelopment returned the statue close to it's original location north of St Martin's Church.

Horatio Nelson

Nelson now again looks over St Martin in the Bullring.

Horatio Nelson

The railings were replaced in 2005 in time for the Trafalgar Bicentenary celebrations which was centred on the statue.

Horatio Nelson

In 2009 to mark the 200th anniversary of the statue's unveiling, a medal was struck by St Paul's Mint of Birmingham. This floral trail piece in St Martin's Square (below) from the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail 2009, was based on the medal Matthew Boulton had struck in 1805 after the death of Nelson, and given to all the sailors.

Trafalgar St Martin's Square

As of 2022, the statue is 213 years old, making it one of the oldest surviving statues to still be on public display in Birmingham. The plinth has gotten a bit weathered since it was restored to the location facing St Martin in the Bullring in the early 2000s.

Horatio Nelson

Photography by Elliott Brown. 19th century images courtesy of the Birmingham Museums Trust.

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80 passion points
People & community
31 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Northfield - Take a tour with us!

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Birmingham has much more to offer than its magnificent city centre. There are some fascinating places to experience out in the neighbourhoods. Here's a look at Northfield. Well worth a visit. For history, there's St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone. Victoria Common is a great open space and not far away is Manor Farm Park.

Take our article.

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How to get to Northfield?

Take the no 61 or 63 bus from Birmingham and travel along Bristol Road South to Northfield High Street; catch a train on the Cross City Line to Northfield station; or take a cycle ride which will take in some great sights along the canal.

If travelling by train, we recommend you buy a ticket in advance using the West Midlands Railway app and you will get a QR code to scan at the ticket gates at Birmingham New Street. Paper tickets are still available to buy at the automatic ticket machines or at staffed ticket desks.

The train takes a scenic route via Five Ways, Birmingham University, Selly Oak and Bournville, before arriving at Northfield. Some sections of this run alongside the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

 

Northfield Station

Welcome to Northfield Station. You get off the train at Platform 4. Head towards the exit via the subway. You can either take the exit towards Station Road, or via the subway head to the station building and exit at Copse Close via Quarry Lane.

Take the Station Road exit if you want to head to the old Northfield Village, where you will find St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn.

From Station Road, walk up to Church Hill Road. Walk under the railway bridge, until you get to St Laurence's Church.

 

St Laurence's Church

St Laurence's Church has origins going back to the 12th century, with elements dating from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The church is part of a conservation area.

The last major change to the church took place in the year 1900, when G F Bodley built the north aisle in the 14th century style.

The major 13th century feature is the chancel. The south chancel and lower stage of the west tower also dates to the 13th Century.

A 4 bay octagonal pier arcade at the south chancel dates to the 14th Century.

The upper tower was built during the 15th Century.

The roof is most likely a 15th century replacement of an earlier 13th century nave roof.

The church has Royal Arms from the Hanoverian period. The church was built of sandstone.

St Laurence's Church, Northfield

After the church, it is a short distance to the Great Stone Inn and the Village Pound, at the corner of Church Hill and Church Road.

 

The Great Stone and the Village Pound

The Great Stone Inn is an historic public house at the corner of Church Hill and Church Road.

The Inn probably dates back to the 18th century. 

It is a timber-framed building with painted brick and a tile roof.

The Inn is close to St Laurence Church in the historic old Northfield village. It is now a traditional pub with a beer garden run by Great Pubs.

The Great Stone

A few meters away on Church Road is The Village Pound, and the current location of the historic Great Stone which the Inn was named after.

Dating back to the 17th century, The Village Pound was a high walled structure used to keep livestock in, such as stray cattle, pigs and sheep.

The Village Pound is now the home of the Great Stone, moved by Birmingham City Council to this site in 1954. It is a glacial bolder formed in a volcanic eruption 450 - 460 million years ago. 

For generations The Great Stone was at the corner of Church Road and Church Hill in Northfield, where it protected the Inn wall. A glacial erratic bolder that was former in an explosive volcanic eruption during the Ordovician period, 450-460 million years ago. During the ice age, possibly up to 400,000 years ago, it was carried by an ice sheet from the Snowdon area of North Wales and deposited with many others around Northfield when the area was a frozen wasteland.

Birmingham City Council moved the boulder to this site in 1954 for road safety reasons.

Village Pound

Next, we recommend taking a short walk up Church Road towards Great Stone Road.

Cross over the road at the traffic lights, then walk towards Northfield Library.

Walk up Meeting House Lane to get into Victoria Common Recreation Ground.

 

Victoria Common

This is a great recreation ground hidden behind Northfield Shopping Centre.

You will find playgrounds and tennis courts here plus paths for walking. There's plenty of green open spaces to enjoy.

Victoria Common

After your walk round Victoria Common head to the path that leads to the Bristol Road South, and walk down Northfield High Street for a bit of retail therapy. 

You can alternatively walk down Sir Herbert Austin Way and pop into the Starbucks Coffee Drive Thru. Alternatively, there are many cafes and places to eat in Northfield.

If you fancy a meal in a traditional pub, in addition to the Great Stone Inn, there's The Black Horse located on Bristol Road South (near Frankley Beeches Road).

 

The Black Horse

The Black Horse opened on the 1st December1929  and was designed for the Davenport Brewery,by Francis Goldsbrough (from the local architectural practice of Bateman and Bateman).

The Black Horse is one of the largest and finest examples of a Brewer’s Tudor-style public house in the country.

It was registered a Grade II listed building in 1981. JD Wetherspoon refurbished the pub in May 2010. 

The Black Horse

If you are not too full, next have a walk to Ley Hill Park. Leave the Black Horse, and head past Sainsbury's via Sir Herbert Austin Way. Or if you had a toastie or panini with your coffee at Starbucks, you just have to walk up Vineyard Road, past Bellfield Junior School. The park is at the top of the hill.

 

Ley Hill Park

You can enter this park from the entrance at Merritt's Brook Lane. Take any path you want for your walk, or walk onto the grass if it's not too wet. Head up to the top of the hill for views down to the Northfield High Street.

There is a play area, plus benches to sit on.

You can exit the park at Merritt's Hill and walk down the road towards Brookside.

Now head into Merritt's Brook Greenway, and walk along the path, following the Merritt's Brook towards Bell Hill. Cross over the road at the traffic lights near Whitehill Lane and enter Manor Farm Park.

 

Manor Farm Park

This park was once the home of George and Elizabeth Cadbury, who lived at the Northfield Manor House (until their respective deaths).

The park opened to the public in 1951.

Follow the paths around the park with a 2 kilometre walking route. See our suggested trail HERE.

You will walk past a lake. The Manor House is nearby. The park also has a play area and old farm buildings. 

If you exit near the lake at New House Farm Drive, perhaps have a detour up to the Northfield Manor House? Just walk until you get to Manor House Drive.

 

Northfield Manor House

The original house was built in the early 1800s.

George Cadbury purchased the property in 1890, and he moved in with his wife Elizabeth in 1894.

They named it Manor Farm.

The lived here until his death in 1922 and her's in 1951.

The University of Birmingham took it over, and converted it into a hall of residence from 1958, but it ceased this function by 2007.

Years of dereliction lead to arsonists (teenagers) burning it down in 2014.

Partial demolition in 2015, followed by a full restoration between 2019 and 2021.

The Manor House, Northfield

Head down Manor House Drive, back onto New House Farm Drive and onto Bristol Road South.

Leave the park at Bristol Road South. A short walk away is another property once owned by George Cadbury. This is the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

 

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

A house called The Woodlands was built on this site around 1840.

It was later to become one of George Cadbury's homes, who in 1907 gave it to the then named "Cripples Children's Union".

After various mergers, what has now become known as the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, was firmly based on this site.

At one point they had an Outpatients Department on Broad Street at Islington House (this lasted until the end of the 20th century). One of the surgeons based here was Mr Naughton Dunn (from 1913 to 1939), who was a national pioneer and Birmingham's first orthopaedic specialist.

The hospital has been part of the NHS since it's founding in 1948.

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

We hope you enjoyed this tour of Northfield. 

If you have return tickets on the train, walk back to Northfield Station. Alternatively, head to a bus stop on Bristol Road South. If getting a bus, we recommend that you have a Swift card, and buy your ticket at National Express West Midlands in advance. Otherwise, you will need to pay a cash fare, or use contactless. Alternatively, you can have the NXWM app and buy your ticket on there. Bus routes include the 20, 61 and 63 from National Express West Midlands or the 144 from First Midland Red.

Photography by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
Classic Architecture
25 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Crown on Station Street, where Black Sabbath rehearsed, is due to reopen in a few years time!

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The Crown on Station Street, the corner of Hill Street, has been closed since 2014 (a Japanese developer bought the pub and car park behind). It has remained unused ever since. But in October 2022, it was announced that Birmingham Open Media will have the pub fully restored. This will take a couple of years. It will be the site of a new live music venue and digital centre. 

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The Crown on Station Street - history

The public house at the corner of Station Street and Hill Street was built in 1881 opposite Birmingham New Street Station, to the designs of Thomson Plevins (1825 - 1897). The same architect who designed the Grand Hotel in 1875. He was a Scottish architect who practised in Birmingham.

The likes of Black Sabbath was first hosted at The Crown back in 1968. The pub later hosted the likes of Status Quo, Led Zeppelin, and UB40, until at least the 1980s.

The pub was still open in 2014, but closed in the middle of the 2014 FIFA World Cup (in Brazil),  when it was bought by Japanese development company Toyoko. Unfortunately, in the years since then, nothing has happened to the pub, and it's been left to rot, and get covered in graffiti.

Jez Collins, the creator of the Birmingham Music Archive has been looking to refurbish the pub for a number of years now. He will be working with Birmingham Open Media (BOM). The work could start in 2023, and it is hoped it could be completed by the end of 2024.

More information from Thomas Cramp at Birmingham Live here: Pub venue of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath's first gig to be restored after lying derelict

 

The Crown - gallery of photos

During the early years of the rebuilding of Birmingham New Street Station, I took a series of photos of The Crown from Hill Street and Station Street. At the time it was externally painted in black and white, as can be seen during January 2011.

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

 

Another photo of The Crown during April 2011, when new bollards had been installed in the middle of Hill Street, at the Station Street junction. Behind the pub is the Centre City Tower, and is a short walk down to Smallbrook Queensway and Hurst Street in Southside.

The Crown

 

In September 2015, Birmingham New Street Station, was completely reopened to the public. This half had closed in 2013 at Half Time Switch Over. From the newly opened Southside Steps (our Spanish Steps), you can see The Crown to the left. By this point it had been closed down for more than a year.

The Crown

The Crown

 

I went into John Lewis Birmingham store for a look around during October 2015. On the upper floors there was views to The Crown, and other buildings on Station Street and Hill Street, but view was slightly obscured by the patterns in the windows. So was a bit hard to see. Sadly during the pandemic in 2020, this John Lewis store closed down, never to reopen. But the store was used for filming of the Tom Cruise movie, Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part I (during the summer of 2021). Then known as Mission: Impossible 7. It is due for release in cinemas by June 2023. But it won't feature The Crown in the movie. It was transformed into Abu  Dhabi Airport (including Grand Central).

The Crown

The Crown

 

In April 2017, I got views of The Crown for the first time from the balconies at the Southside end of Birmingham New Street Station. The lower half of the former pub had been repainted, but was looking graffiti free at this point. The pub was a short distance away from the Electric Cinema and The Old REP Theatre.

The Crown

The Crown

 

The Cricket World Cup was on in Birmingham during June 2019, as could be seen by these banners located on Station Street outside of The Crown. A no 16 NXWM Platinum bus in orange livery, was about to turn from Hill Street onto Station Street, for the journey towards Handsworth and Hamstead.

The Crown

 

In November 2019, for the festive season, the Southside BID put fairy lights up along the buildings on Station Street, including on The Crown. It looked good after dark, once the clocks had gone back.

The Crown

The Crown

 

During the pandemic, local graffiti and street artists were pasting their art on the windows and walls of The Crown, as could be seen on Station Street during August 2020. The art here was a dissected cat by Tempo 33.

The Crown

 

Even more graffiti art and vandalism on The Crown during October 2020, as I spotted a Ariel Atom car turning from Hill Street onto Station Street. Traffic gets busy around here at weekends.

The Crown

The Crown

 

By April 2021, as lockdown restrictions were beginning to ease, you could now hire Voi e-Scooter's and West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes outside the Southside entrance to Birmingham New Street Station. Meanwhile the graffiti was still all over The Crown, and wouldn't be cleaned off until before the Commonwealth Games began a year later.

The Crown

 

The Crown as it is, now in October 2022. The rainbow colours from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are still up. Signs on the former pub point to Smithfield (where beach volleyball and basketball was played) and to Edgbaston (cricket). Only graffiti now says "Ozzy woz here". These views were taken from the Southside balconies at Birmingham New Street Station. I took these photos after hearing that the pub might reopen in a few years time.

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

Photography by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
Modern Architecture
19 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Views of the BT Tower from the Library of Birmingham and 103 Colmore Row

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If you go up to the Secret Garden in the Library of Birmingham, you will get views of the BT Tower from the north eastern corner. Orelle Restaurant at 103 Colmore Row also has views of the BT Tower (from the back). But you can't see it from the front facing balcony on the 18th floor (but can from the ground floor foyer near Newhall Street).

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BT Tower from the Library of Birmingham

One of my many visits to the Secret Garden, at the Library of Birmingham on Level 7.

On the 13th August 2021. When they were putting up a new BT logo, only a T was visible. And scaffolding up to remove the crane on top of the tower. You can also see how far the BT Tower was from Three Snowhill and 103 Colmore Row.

BT Tower

BT Tower

The BT Tower seen on the 4th September 2021. This was after they had completed the new BT logo. Was a lot of scaffolding above at the time. But the crane scaffolding was coming down.

BT Tower

The BT Tower on the 13th August 2022. complete with new logo, and being crane-less. Was still some scaffolding on top.

BT Tower

 

BT Tower from 103 Colmore Row

On the 6th August 2022 the last weekend of Key the City, so a long wait in the foyer at 103 Colmore Row, to go up to the 18th floor balcony one last time. While sitting in the foyer at the back, a window out to Newhall Street had this view of the BT Tower. I only went on Saturday's, so never went to the 19th floor on a weekday, like some people did.

BT Tower

Views from Orelle Restaurant, taken on the 24th floor of 103 Colmore Row on the 8th October 2022. A north-westerly direction towards the Jewellery Quarter, looking up Newhall Street, as 103 Colmore Row shadowed below.

BT Tower

BT Tower

BT Tower

Photography by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
17 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cathedral Square from above: Views from 103 Colmore Row

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Key to the City gave you the chance to see Cathedral Square from above, from the 18th floor balcony at 103 Colmore Row, between June and August 2022. From October 2022, you can go up to the 24th floor, at Orelle Restaurant for an even higher view! Best to go during the day, and not at night. Photography by Elliott Brown.

Related

Key to the City - June to August 2022

View from the 18th floor balcony at 103 Colmore Row

11th June 2022

The first opportunity to see Birmingham Cathedral (The Cathedral Church of St Philip) and Cathedral Square, along with the Colmore BID from this vantage point.

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square

 

16th July 2022

An attempt to zoom down to Cofton Nursery's floral piece for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which won Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square

 

The House of Fraser and 43 Temple Row. Sadly, Lloyds Bank closed down in this building in September 2022. The nearby NatWest branch also closed down at the opposite corner. Horatio Nelson once stayed in a hotel on this site back in 1802, it is marked by a Birmingham Civic Society blue plaque on the former NatWest building (1 St Philip's Place).

Cathedral Square

 

6th August 2022

The last weekend of Key to the City, so one last opportunity to see Cathedral Square from the 18th floor balcony of 103 Colmore Row. The grass was a bit dry at the time, due to the summer heatwave.

Cathedral Square

 

Orelle Restaurant

Views from the 24th floor of 103 Colmore Row

8th October 2022

Much higher vantage point here, but as was inside of Orelle Restaurant, there was glass windows in the way, so sometimes a bit of glare from the lights inside and out. This is a month after the death of the late Queen Elizabeth II. And around a month befor the return of the Christmas Market here.

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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90 passion points
People & community
17 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Diwali on the Square in Victoria Square

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I've only really passed through Victoria Square while Diwali on the Square was on, just stopping to get my photos in the middle of my photo walk. These are my photos of the event from October 2018, October 2019 and October 2022. It was held by the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Indian Consulate General of Birmingham.

Related

Diwali is usually celebrated by the Indian community in Birmingham every October. In the last couple of years of the 2010s, the Indian Consulate General of Birmingham organised an event along with the West Midlands Combined Authority, and taking place in Victoria Square. Due to the Pandemic, there was no event in the square during 2020 and 2021, but it returned in 2022. There is usually a stage with music and dancing on it. Various stands with food and drink, hand and face painting etc.

 

Diwali on the Square - 20th October 2018

Diwali on the Square

Diwali on the Square

 

 

Diwali on the Square - 19th October 2019

Diwali on the Square

Diwali on the Square

Diwali on the Square

 

Diwali on the Square - 15th October 2022

Diwali on the Square

Diwali on the Square

Diwali on the Square

Diwali on the Square

Diwali on the Square

 

Photography by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
12 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Raging Bull in Centenary Square and Ladywood

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

Related

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

 

29th July 2022

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

Raging BullPhotography by Reiss Gordon-Henry

 

From above the Library of Birmingham Amphitheatre.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

30th July 2022

The first Saturday in Centenary Square.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

31st July 2022

Commonwealth Games volunteers shows visitors where to go.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

5th August 2022

Early morning view before the tourists showed up.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

6th August 2022

Super Saturday, the last weekend of the Commonwealth Games.

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

13th August 2022

View from the Library of Birmingham terraces

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

14th August 2022

View towards Paradise Birmingham.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

20th August 2022

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

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

View from the Library of Birmingham terraces.

Raging BullPhotography by Daniel Sturley

 

3rd September 2022

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

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

11th September 2022

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

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

16th September 2022

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

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

20th September 2022

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

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

24th September 2022

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

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

 

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

Raging BullPhotography by Elliott Brown

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Sport & leisure
12 Oct 2022 - Elliott Brown
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Welcome to / Thank You for Visiting Birmingham sign on the Coventry Road near Sheldon Country Park

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

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

 

Birmingham Athletics

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

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

 

 

Be Bold Be Birmingham

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

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Sheldon sign

Photos by Elliott Brown

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Transport
29 Sep 2022 - Elliott Brown
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National Express West Midlands: Birmingham Pride buses

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

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National Express West Midlands proud to support Birmingham Pride 2018

Enviro 400 - 4879 - BX61 LNZ

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

Birmingham Pride

Birmingham Pride

 

National Express West Midlands - be proud of who you are

Enviro 400 - 4905 - BX13 JWE

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

Birmingham Pride

 

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

Birmingham Pride

Birmingham Pride

Birmingham Pride

 

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

Birmingham Pride

 

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

Birmingham Pride

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Transport
13 Sep 2022 - Elliott Brown
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Birmingham Bus Bash at Birmingham Moseley Rugby - 4th September 2022

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

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

 

National Express West Midlands / National Express Coventry

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

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

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

 

Midland Red West

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

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

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

Midland Red West

Midland Red West

Midland Red West

 

Yellow Buses

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

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

 

Birmingham City Transport and coaches

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

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

 

WMPTE / NXWM / TWM

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

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

Bus Bash

 

Timesaver

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

Timesaver 900 2018

Photos by Elliott Brown

 

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