History & heritage
15 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Steelhouse Conservation Area: From Corporation Street to Steelhouse Lane

The Steelhouse Conservation Area is between Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane. Starting approximately from Old Square towards James Watt Queensway. Buildings include the Victoria Law Courts, Methodist Central Hall, the former Steelhouse Lane Police Station and Birmingham Children's Hospital. The Old Fire Station near Aston University is part of the area too!

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Steelhouse Conservation Area: From Corporation Street to Steelhouse Lane




The Steelhouse Conservation Area is between Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane. Starting approximately from Old Square towards James Watt Queensway. Buildings include the Victoria Law Courts, Methodist Central Hall, the former Steelhouse Lane Police Station and Birmingham Children's Hospital. The Old Fire Station near Aston University is part of the area too!


Corporation Street

The Victoria Law Courts on Corporation Street. Designed by Aston Webb & Ingress Bell who won a competition in 1886. It was built from 1887 to 1891. It is now the Birmingham Magistrates' Court. A Grade I listed building made of Red brick and terracotta. There is a statue of Queen Victoria by Harry Bates above the main entrance of the building. This view below seen in May 2009. You would see it if you walk between Aston University and the city centre shops. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone during her Golden Jubilee year of 1887 and it was opened in 1891 by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The County Court on Corporation Street seen with a brilliant blue sky in May 2009. On the corner of Newton Street (which leads to Steelhouse Lane). A Grade II listed building built in 1882, by James Williamson Stone. It is in Italiante palazzo style  It has a Roman Doric porch on the left.

One of Birmingham's derelict terracotta buildings is near the bottom of Corporation Street. The Methodist Central Hall runs down to Ryder Street (a pedestrianised cul-de-sac to James Watt Queensway). And the back is on Dalton Street. It is a Grade II* listed building. From 196 to 224 Corporation Street including 1, 3 and 5 Ryder Street. Built from 1903 to 1904 by E and J A Harper (Ewan Harper & James A. Harper) of Red brick and terracotta. There is many empty shop units down here, some have been let, and some of the units have been closed down by the landlord. The buildings future may include getting converted into a hotel. See this 2017 article on he Methodist Central Hall in the Birmingham Mail. This view from May 2009.

The Pitman Building also known as the Murdoch Chambers and Pitman Chambers. Was originally a Vegetarian Restaurant. There is a plaque here for James Henry Cook who opened the very first Health Food Store in the UK on this site in 1898! A Grade II* Listed Building built from 1896 to 1897 by J Crouch and E Butler, partly for A.R Dean. Purple bricks and buff terracotta; tile roof. In an Arts and Crafts style.  Today there is lawyer or solicitor offices on the upper floors and fast food take away places on the ground floor including Dixy Chicken and Pepe's Piri Piri. Previous places here include Min Zu until 2008 / 2009. Angel's Cafe from 2011, and Zaytuna'z Diner from a period from 2015 to 2016. This view from August 2017.

Today Boston Tea Party is in the Court Restaurant building at 184 Corporation Street (from at least 2014 onwards). On the corner with James Watt Street. The architect was G. H. Rayner and was built after 1882. For many years it was vacant. Was previously Yate's Wine Lodge. Made of brick and stone. Boston Tea Party are also in part of The Citadel building to the left at 190 Corporation Street. That was by W. H. Ward and built in 1891. A short lived period as a Vietnamese Restaurant called Viet An Restaurant from 2010 to 2011. This view from June 2016. Pizza Express is to the left at 4 The Citadel (not in this photo).

Steelhouse Lane

Steelhouse Lane Police Station was to the far left of the rear side of the Victoria Law Courts. This building opened in 1933 as the Central Police Station, replacing a Victorian police station that was on the same site. West Midlands Police used it until it closed down for good in 2017. This view was from November 2009 when the police station was still in use. It was built in the neo-Georgian style but is not a listed building. The only part that is Grade II listed is the corner building on Coleridge Passage which dates to the late 19th century. That was the Cell Block built of Brick and terracotta.

The Birmingham Children's Hospital opened here in 1998 in the building that was formerly the Birmingham General Hospital which had closed down in 1995. It was opened as the Diana, Princess of Wales Children's Hospital after the late Princess Diana who had died the year before in 1997. The General Hospital was built from 1894 to 1897 by William Henman. Was built in the Romanesque style of th Natural History Museum in London.  The rebuilt central entrance porch was built from 1995 to 1998. Various modern extensions have been built in the year since it became the Children's Hospitall. The building has never been listed. This view also from November 2009.

This building also seen in November 2009 is a bit more recent than the others in this post as it dates to the 1960s. Fountain Court on Steelhouse Lane, has the four badges of the Inns of Court on the front above the entrance. They represent: Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray's Inn. The Fountain Court barristers' chambers was built between 1963 and 1964 by Holland W Hobbiss & Partners. A conservative brick classical block, with a majestic Bath stone cornice. It's between Printing House Street and Whittall Street on Steelhouse Lane.

Seen on the corner of Newton Street and Steelhouse Lane is the Juvenile Court. As with photos above this view taken in November 2009. Following the Children's Court Act of 1908, it led to children's courts being established across the country. Dame Geraline Cadbury campaigned for such a court to be built in Birmingham, which her family donated to the city. This court was established by 1928 and opened in 1930. It was by Peacock & Bewlay, built of brick with stone dressings.

Next door to the Juvenile Court is The Jekyll & Hyde pub at 28 Steelhouse Lane. The building was built in the 1960s. Was the site of The Queen's Head pub, which used to be ran by Mitchells & Butlers. A plain, tall four storey building. The pub was renamed from The Queen's Head to The Jekyll & Hyde in 2009, and it remains with that name today.  Island Bar group who owns the pub also owns The Victoria on Station Street near the Alexandra Theatre. This view was from February 2010.

Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane leads to the helipad built for the Birmingham Children's Hospital. On the other side of James Watt Queensway, running between Lancaster Circus and Aston Street is The Old Fire Station. Corporation Street continues beyond Lancaster Circus and the Lancaster Flyover, but that is now considered part of the Aston Expressway. The Old Fire Station is a Grade II listed building. Originally built in 1935 by Herbert Humphries and Herbert J. Manzoni. Red Flemish bond with Portland stone and concrete dressings with a pantile roof. After the Fire Station HQ closed in the 2000s, in lay empty for a few years before being converted into student accommodation. It opened in 2015. This view from April 2014 when the crane went up.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

 

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60 passion points
Photography
14 Feb 2019 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

Birmingham Hippodrome Chinese New Year Celebrations February 2019

The Birmingham Hippodrome kindly arranged for some of our community enthusiast photographers to have press passes for the amazing Chinese New Year Celebrations, here is just a selection of the great photos taken.

Photo by Tammie Naughton

More by Barry Whitehead, Beverly Dakin and Rob Perry-Griffiths in the full post.

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Birmingham Hippodrome Chinese New Year Celebrations February 2019




The Birmingham Hippodrome kindly arranged for some of our community enthusiast photographers to have press passes for the amazing Chinese New Year Celebrations, here is just a selection of the great photos taken.

Photo by Tammie Naughton

More by Barry Whitehead, Beverly Dakin and Rob Perry-Griffiths in the full post.


Photos by Tammie Naughton

 

Photos by Rob Perry-Griffiths

 

 

Photos by Beverly Dakin

 

Photos by Barry Whitehead

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70 passion points
Civic pride
13 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Tangye Brothers: Manufacturers and benefactors of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery / Birmingham School of Art

George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye donated funds for the construction of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as well as the Birmingham School of Art. Head up the stairs from the Chamberlain Square entrance of BM & AG to see the bronze sculpture in their honour. The Tangye's were also manufacturers making engines and various machines from the mid to late 19th century.

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The Tangye Brothers: Manufacturers and benefactors of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery / Birmingham School of Art




George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye donated funds for the construction of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as well as the Birmingham School of Art. Head up the stairs from the Chamberlain Square entrance of BM & AG to see the bronze sculpture in their honour. The Tangye's were also manufacturers making engines and various machines from the mid to late 19th century.


George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye

If you are heading up the main staircase from the Chamberlain Square entrance of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, stop when you get to this bronze sculpture. It is made of bronze and marble and was unveiled in 1908. It was by William Robert Colton (1867-1921). They were engineering manufacturers and were generous patrons of the arts. They gave large sums towards the building of both the Museum & Art Gallery as well as the Birmingham School of Art. They presented their collection of fine Wedgwood ceramics to the Gallery as it's foundation.

Sir Richard Tangye was born in 1833 and died in 1906. His brother George died in 1920. Their company Tangye Ltd was founded in 1856. Where they manufactured engines and machines. Their Cornwall Works was in the Soho area of the West Midlands.

Memorial stone unveiled in 1884 by Richard Tangye at the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street. Architects William Martin and John Henry Chamberlain. The building opened in 1885. See my recent post on Edward Richard Taylor who was headmaster at the School of Art when the building opened on Margaret Street. Edward Richard Taylor and William Howson Taylor: Birmingham School of Art and Ruskin Pottery.

This Tangye vertical engine was seen at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. Seen near a wall with a Walsall exhibit. Seen on a visit to the museum in August 2011. Seen in the Exhibition Hall in the Rolfe Street Baths building.

Tangye Manual Fire Pump seen at the Birmingham History Galleries at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I first visited this (then) new gallery in November 2012. In the section called Forward for the years 1830 to 1909. Above the Tangye sign was Webster & Horsfall's. To the right was Avery.

It was previously seen at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre in the garage area. Labelled as a Fire Engine. Made by Tangye Brothers in 1880. This visit was from May 2012, so was before the Birmingham History Galleries had opened over at BM & AG.

The Titford Pumphouse seen on the Titford Canal. It is close to Langley Green Station and also near Oldbury in Sandwell, West Midlands. The Pumphouse is a Grade II listed building. It was built shortly after the Oldbury Locks opened in 1837. Blue brick with a slate roof. The beam engines was replaced in about 1930 with a Tangye gas engine. That has since been superseded by electric pumps which are used occasionally. I got the train to Langley Green in March 2017.

Going back to my August 2011 visit to the Black Country Living Museum. Sidebotham's Trap Works seen a short walk away from the Dudley Canal. It was originally in Wednesfield near Wolverhampton and was built in 1913. It has a single cylinder gas engine of 1906, built by Tangye's of Smethwick. It is also known as The Trap Shop. Not far from here you can go on boat trips with the Dudley Canal Trust.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Transport
10 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Class 150's: Diesel trains formerly on the Snow Hill lines

The Class 150 diesel multiple unit trains used to be on the Snow Hill lines until around 2011. Most have since gone to other railway franchises such as Great Western Railway. When they were in the Midlands they were used by Regional Railways until 1997, Central Trains from 1997 to 2007 then London Midland from 2007 to 2011. A least one is still owned by West Midlands Railway now.

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Class 150's: Diesel trains formerly on the Snow Hill lines




The Class 150 diesel multiple unit trains used to be on the Snow Hill lines until around 2011. Most have since gone to other railway franchises such as Great Western Railway. When they were in the Midlands they were used by Regional Railways until 1997, Central Trains from 1997 to 2007 then London Midland from 2007 to 2011. A least one is still owned by West Midlands Railway now.


Class 150

These Sprinter Diesel multiple units were built between 1984 and 1987. In the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, they were used on the Snow Hill lines from at least 1987 until they were replaced in 2011 by the then new Class 172 Turbostar DMU's. The then West Midlands franchise operator London Midland kept around 3 of the old Class 150's after 2011 (they are still in current franchise operator West Midlands Railway who took over in late 2017.

Seen at Shirley Station during late June 2010 was London Midland 150016. It was heading for Stourbridge Junction. This view was from the old Haslucks Green Road bridge. That bridge was replaced and rebuilt during 2017. The footbridge in this photo was also later replaced. The new footbridge was built at the other end of the station in 2014. Shirley Station is quite a way away from the Stratford Road in Shirley, and is reachable from there now with the no 49 bus.

My second photography trip to Stratford-upon-Avon was during September 2010. I had just got off London Midland 150013, a semi-fast train that skipped the minor stops between Whitlocks End and Stratford-upon-Avon Station. This view was from the Alcester Road bridge in the town. Now the end of the line, it used to go beyond here to Honeybourne, and it is hoped that the 9 mile stretch would one day be restored. For now, most services that start at Stratford go to at least Stourbridge Junction, or beyond towards Kidderminster or Worcester Foregate Street (via Birmingham Snow Hill).

My first time up to the bridge near Livery Street and Northwood Street (in the Jewellery Quarter) was in August 2011. From here (at the time) you could see Two Snowhill beginning construction (after delays of several years). Seen heading past St Paul's Tram Stop was London Midland 150101 heading into Birmingham Snow Hill Station. After leaving London Midland later in 2011, this train and other 150/1's transferred up to Northern Rail. Around 4 years after the franchise had transferred from Central Trains to London Midland, most of the trains on the Snow Hill lines still had (at the time) the old Central Trains lime green livery.

It was September 2011, and I was heading to Hall Green Station to get the train into Birmingham. And I was hoping to see or catch one of the (then) brand new Class 172 DMU's. But London Midland still had the Class 150's on the Shakespeare line. This was the 10:08 (which I missed). After a 20 minute wait, I caught the next train the 10:28 into Birmingham. It would be another 2 months (November 2011) before I would catch a new Class 172 for the first time to Birmingham Moor Street or Snow Hill.

The view from Kings Norton Station, on the Cross City line. I was standing at platform 4 during April 2012, waiting to go to Longbridge. While one of London Midland's Class 150 trains that they kept, 150109 was seen passing by the abandoned platform 2. Still in the old Central Trains livery. London Midland would later change it into their own green livery, and today it is still part of current franchise operator West Midlands Railways's fleet! This train was slowly heading south towards Hereford. An American man on the platform was chatting to me, and said that he had never seen a train like that before!

Getting to the more recent years and December 2017, the last month of operation under London Midland. I went up to Lye Station near Stourbridge in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley for a photo walk of the town. When I got back to the station, was suprised to see a convoy of a mixture of London Midland DMU's heading towards Stourbridge Junction (or onto Worcester). By then, London Midland's 3 Class 150 DMU's was in their green livery. Seen here behind a Class 170. This convoy had one Class 172, two Class 170's and this one Class 150 (pictured).

My most recent sighting of a Class 150 in the West Midlands was when I caught a glimpse of it passing through Stechford Station during early January 2018. Now operated by West Midlands Railway, this was either 150107 or 150109. It was probably heading down towards the Bedford line (which is now operated by London Northwestern Railway). From here you expect to see the Class 350 EMU's on the West Coast Mainline or Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino's (those don't stop here). This view was from the Station Road bridge.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Transport
07 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Birmingham to Host Transport Summit

Birmingham will play host to a transport summit in March, looking at how transport issues affect everyone in Birmingham and discuss the future of its transport network.

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Birmingham to Host Transport Summit




Birmingham will play host to a transport summit in March, looking at how transport issues affect everyone in Birmingham and discuss the future of its transport network.


The morning will begin with an immersive visit to communities in Birmingham to see the transport challenges they face, looking at how it affects daily living, particularly for the most disadvantaged people in the city.  Participants will visit community facing conversations at different venues within the city, before returning for guest speakers and panellists including Andy McDonald MP, shadow transport secretary; Nick Barton, chief executive, Birmingham Airport; and Laura Shoaf, managing director, Transport for West Midlands.

The summit takes place on Thursday 7 March, and tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/birmingham-transport-summit-tickets-54585852755 

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50 passion points
Civic pride
05 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Joseph Gillott: manufacturer of steel pens

It was not just jewellery that was made in the Jewellery Quarter. Pens were made there too! Joseph Gillott made pens at his Victoria Works factory on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street. You can see a display of some of his pens at The Pen Museum on Frederick Street. There is also a marble bust of Joseph Gillott in the Council House.

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Joseph Gillott: manufacturer of steel pens




It was not just jewellery that was made in the Jewellery Quarter. Pens were made there too! Joseph Gillott made pens at his Victoria Works factory on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street. You can see a display of some of his pens at The Pen Museum on Frederick Street. There is also a marble bust of Joseph Gillott in the Council House.


Joseph Gillott

He was born in Sheffield in 1799, and he died in Birmingham in 1872 aged 72. He moved to Birmingham in 1821. He started manufacturing steel pens with machinery from about 1830. The Victoria Works on Frederick Street was opened in 1840. His home for many years was 'The Grove' on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston.

The marble bust (below) of Joseph Gillott is seen at the Council House and was made by the artist Peter Hollins (1800 - 1886). You can see it close to the main entrance on one of the sides near a wall.

The Pen Museum is a museum in the Jewellery Quarter, at the Argent Centre located on Frederick Street. The building itself used to be a pen factory and is a Grade II* listed building. A look at the Joseph Gillott display at the museum. I visited during Birmingham Heritage Week back in September 2016.

On the wall Joseph Gillott Pen Maker to the Queen. Showing various steel pen nibs.

This table cabinet display about the Victoria Works (more on that later in this post). It had various Joseph Gillott steel pens and steel pen nibs inside. As well as photos of his marble bust, his portrait and his grave at Key Hill Cemetery.

Close up look at one of Joseph Gillott's steel pens made in about 1845. His company has been making pens since 1827 and is now part of William Mitchell Ltd.

1001 Spring Ground Mammoth Quill Circa 1845 - The Largest Pen Made.

The Victoria Works is a Grade II listed building not far from The Argent Centre on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street in the Jewellery Quarter. I saw it after my visit to The Pen Museum during Birmingham Heritage Week in September 2016. It was formerly listed as the Flagstaff building. The main building seen on the corner was built from 1838 to 1845. Made of red brick with ashlar and stucco dressings. The steel pen factory of Joseph Gillott opened up here in 1840.

On the Graham Street side is a blue plaque for Joseph Gillott from English Heritage. The plaque reads: "These were the premises of JOSEPH GILLOTT 1799-1873 Steel Pen Manufacturer". This was probably the main entrance to the Victoria Works.

This next building, part of the Victoria Works on the corner of Graham Street and Vittoria Street was built in 1887. Other parts of the former factory were built in 1850. On the Graham Street side is medallion bust of Queen Victoria, probably installed for her Golden Jubilee. This building post dates the death of Joseph Gillott.

The view of the Victoria Works from the corner of Graham Street and Vittoria Street. There is a modern roof section closer to the Vittoria Street side. This building is also of red brick. No longer a factory, there are various different small companies occupying the building.

If you stop to look at the pavement on Frederick Street (or other nearby streets in the Jewellery Quarter), look out for these that are part of the Charm Bracelet Trail. I saw this one for Joseph Gillott in December 2012. It reads: "C 1840 Hi Nibs. Joseph Gillott opened Victoria Works".

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 Feb 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - February 2019

Bank Tower Two at the Leftbank development is now structurally complete, a beautiful day for this photo update, more in the full post.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

Related

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - February 2019




Bank Tower Two at the Leftbank development is now structurally complete, a beautiful day for this photo update, more in the full post.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Civic pride
02 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

City of Birmingham 130 years a City

On the 14th January 2019 the City of Birmingham celebrated being a city for 130 years. A visual display outside the Council House after dark from 4pm to 6pm that day. Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar was a film projected onto the side of the Council House by the graffiti artist Mohammed Ali (also known as Aerosol Ali). In this post is photo gallery from that evening as I passed through!

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City of Birmingham 130 years a City




On the 14th January 2019 the City of Birmingham celebrated being a city for 130 years. A visual display outside the Council House after dark from 4pm to 6pm that day. Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar was a film projected onto the side of the Council House by the graffiti artist Mohammed Ali (also known as Aerosol Ali). In this post is photo gallery from that evening as I passed through!


The full title of this projected film was Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar .

Birmingham received City Status on the 14th January 1889. On the 14th January 2019 there was an event held in Victoria Square between 4pm and 6pm. It was still getting dark by 4.30pm to 5pm. I went to check it out briefly on the day after 5pm. The film was by Mohammed Ali also known as Aerosol Ali.

This digital billboard seen on the Council House balcony on the 13th January 2019 (a day before the anniversary).

I actually took these photos from the top of Victoria Square starting at Colmore Row, going down the steps. But it actually looks better seeing the photos in reverse!

Some bonus photos commemorating the last major anniversary of Birmingham's City Status which was back in 1989 (30 years ago).

City of Birmingham Centenary Festival 1889 1989

Saw this plaque in the Council House while I was at Birmingham We Are's event back in early November 2018. On Maundy Thursday 23rd March 1989 this plaque was unveiled to commemorate the visit of Her Majesty the Queen during the City of Birmingham's Centenary Year.

I've had this medallion souvenir for around 30 years (so have had it since sometime in 1989). It was an Official Souvenir Medallion for the City of Birmingham Centenary. On this side showing a version of Birmingham's famous Forward coat of arms.

On the reverse it says City of Birmingham Centenary Festival 1889 1989. Has anyone thought of making a souvenir for 2019? City of Birmingham 130th Birthday 1889 2019!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown in Victoria Square in mid January 2019.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
02 Feb 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham Construction, Cranes Across the City - February 2019 Update

Photos of cranes across the city between September and January 2019.

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Birmingham Construction, Cranes Across the City - February 2019 Update




Photos of cranes across the city between September and January 2019.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Architecture
28 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Cathedral: The Cathedral Church of St Philip

A group of Birmingham We Are photographers along with Jonathan Bostock visted Birmingham Cathedral on the 26th January 2019. This post will be about the history of the Cathedral. My older exterior photos taken over the years passing through the Cathedral Square. New interiors taken on the visit with the group. More details on the history in the post below.

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Birmingham Cathedral: The Cathedral Church of St Philip




A group of Birmingham We Are photographers along with Jonathan Bostock visted Birmingham Cathedral on the 26th January 2019. This post will be about the history of the Cathedral. My older exterior photos taken over the years passing through the Cathedral Square. New interiors taken on the visit with the group. More details on the history in the post below.


St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham

Originally built as a Parish Church on a plot of land in what is now the Colmore Business District (it wasn't that back in the 1700s). First built in 1715. The cathedral celebrated their 300th birthday in 2015. It was designed in the Baroque style by Thomas Archer. It was granted Cathedral Status in 1905. Around 16 years after Birmingham was granted City Status! Located between Colmore Row, Temple Row, Temple Row West and St Philip's Place. A Grade I listed building. It is the third smallest cathedral in England.

This view below from June 2009. The rear side of the cathedral. Colmore Row is to the right, Temple Row to the left.

The 2nd view also from June 2009, similar to the above view. It is easy to walk between the bus interchanges through the Cathedral Square. Some people call it the Pigeon Park (I don't). I prefer something like the St Philip's Churchyard or St Philip's Cathedral Grounds. Victoria Square is a short distance away from here. The Grand Hotel at the time was under scaffolding, and restoration had yet to begin at that time. Birmingham Snow Hill Station is over to the right of here.

This view below was taken during April 2011. With a nice blue sky. The stone looks especially nice in that light. The cathedral was designed in 1709 and consecrated in 1715. But the tower wasn't completed until 1725. It was a major monument of the English Baroque. J A Chatwin refaced the church between 1864 to 1869. Was restored after World War 2 between 1947 to 1948. A more recent refurbishment took place in 2015 ahead of it's 300th anniversary.

Another April 2011 view. If you are heading from Bull Street, then up Temple Row, you might go through the entrance and up this way towards Colmore Row / Temple Row West. Scaffolding still on the Grand Hotel. The BT Tower was also visible while it was nice and sunny that spring day! The Parish Church of St Martin was too small for the growing town in the early 18th century, and this land was found, to found a new church. As it was expected that the town would grow.

This view was taken in March 2014, on anther sunny early spring day. The main entrance to the Cathedral is through the big doors on the right. The bell tower seen above. The weather vane and orb seen high above the clock was restored later in 2014. The restoration was funded by the Calthorpe Estates. As the heirs of Sir Richard Gough, who originally asked King George I for funds to finish of the tower.

Seen in the snow of December 2017, as I walked from St Philip's Cathedral towards St Paul's Church in the Jewellery Quarter. St Philip's used to be surrounded by a Georgian square, but most of the buildings have changed over the years. Many of the buildings on Colmore Row and Temple Row West are from the Victorian era. The buildings on Temple Row are mostly from the 20th century. Really looks like a picture postcard with snow, perfect for a Christmas card style image!

My most recent exterior photo was taken in January 2019. I was heading to Victoria Square to check out the projections celebrating Birmingham's 130th birthday as a City. This is the side facing Colmore Row. It looks quite nice lit up after dark.

Some memorials seen outside of the Cathedral.

Charles Gore (1853–1932) was the First Bishop of Birmingham. He was bishop from 1905 until 1911. Previously he was also Bishop of Worcester from 1901 until he helped create the Diocse of Birmingham. He was later Bishop of Oxford from 1911 until 1919. The bronze statue seen outside of the cathedral was made by Stirling Lee in 1914 and is Grade II listed. This view from May 2009.

Also seen in May 2009 was this obelisk. The Burnaby Obelisk. Grade II listed. It was in memory of Frederick G. Burnaby (1842 - 1885). He stood as a Conservative Party candidate for Birmingham in 1880 (as an MP). He died at Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan on January 16th 1885. It was made by Robert Bridgeman of Lichfield. He also fought at Khiva in 1875, a well as Abu Klea in 1885. There is an oval portrait medallion on one side of the obelisk. It is made of Portland stone and was unveiled by Lord Charles Beresford on the 13th November 1885.

This banner was seen in the entrance hall during 2015. Welcome Come & See. December 2015 was near the end of the tri-centenary year. 1715 - 2015 (300 years since the Cathedral was built as a Church). The banner is not there now.

Interior views taken during the Birmingham We Are morning visit. This end from close to the entrance as I waited for other members of the group to arrive. The trio of Burne-Jones windows are at the far end near the High Alter.

This side, with the High Alter behind me. Looking towards the fourth Burne-Jones window below the bell tower. We only had access to the ground floor, so were unable to go upstairs or up the tower.

Now closer to the end below the bell tower, and again looking towards the High Alter end. Plenty of columns along the aisle and memorials to those who are buried in the cathedral.

Now a look at the four Edward Burne-Jones windows. They were made between 1885 and 1897. Burne-Jones designed them while William Morris made them.

This one is the stained glass window below the bell tower. A winged angel with a horn, similar to the Shofar used at Rosh Hashanah.

The main central window at the High Alter end.

High alter window on the right, a crucifixion scene.

The final window at the high alter end on the left. They look better from the inside. From the outside you can't really see the colours.

Organ. The organ dates to 1715 and has been restored and re-gilded. It's sound replicates that of an orchestra.

The Bishops Seat. This is where the Bishop of Birmingham sits during a service. Look above and see the Bishop's hat or mitre. The seat is also known as a Cathedra.

High Alter Cross. It was made in the Jewellery Quarter by a jeweller and artist called John Donald. It is a stunning cross with a piece of quartz at the centre. It is seen below the trio of Burne-Jones windows.

Birmingham Bell. It came from the HMS Birmingham and is dated 1976. Was used as a font for baptisms aboard the ship. There has been at least three Navy ships called HMS Birmingham. The first from 1913 - 1931, the second from 1936 - 1960, and the third from 1976 - 1999. The bell is rung for baptisms today.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
25 Jan 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - January 2019

Two Chamberlain Square is now structurally complete, the front collanade almost finished, work on the exterior next. Local people will be able to stop calling it the 'car park' soon. More photos in the full post.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

 

Related

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - January 2019




Two Chamberlain Square is now structurally complete, the front collanade almost finished, work on the exterior next. Local people will be able to stop calling it the 'car park' soon. More photos in the full post.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

 


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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90 passion points
Construction & regeneration
24 Jan 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - January 2019

Bank Tower Two on Broad Street is now structurally complete with the cladding chasing up behind fast.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

 

Related

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - January 2019




Bank Tower Two on Broad Street is now structurally complete with the cladding chasing up behind fast.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

 


 

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Civic pride
24 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

John Freeth: Landlord of Freeth's Coffee House

Our obsession with coffee shops / coffee houses didn't start in the early 21st century. You can go back to the late 18th century. Freeth's Coffee House was run by John Freeth, also known as the Celebrity Landlord and poet. His coffee house was on the corner of Bell Street and Lease Lane in Birmingham. A blue plaque at the Bullring marks the site near Bill's in the East Mall.

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John Freeth: Landlord of Freeth's Coffee House




Our obsession with coffee shops / coffee houses didn't start in the early 21st century. You can go back to the late 18th century. Freeth's Coffee House was run by John Freeth, also known as the Celebrity Landlord and poet. His coffee house was on the corner of Bell Street and Lease Lane in Birmingham. A blue plaque at the Bullring marks the site near Bill's in the East Mall.


John Freeth

Known as the Birmingham Poet, John Freeth was born in 1731 and died in 1808. He was also known as Poet Freeth. He was an innkeeper, poet and songwriter. He owned Freeth's Coffee House between 1768 and his death in 1808. Also known as the Celebrity Landlord, he sat for many portraits during his lifetime. This one seen at the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, was painted by an unknown artist. He was one of the major figures in Birmingham during the Midlands Enlightenment.

The next picture seen in the Freeth's Coffee House exhibit at the Birmingham History Galleries is of John Freeth and his friends. They were members of a political society called the Jacobin Club. They commissioned Johannes Eckstein to paint their picture in 1792. Included in this picture was:
James Murray (Linen draper), John Wilkes (Cheese factor), John Freeth (Brassfounder), Richard Webster (Poet and publican), Jeremiah Vaux (Surgeon), John Collard (Hatter), John Miles (Lamp manufacturer), Samuel Toy (Steel toy manufacturer), James Bisset (Artist and owner of museum), Joseph Fearon (Tin merchant), James Sketchley (Auctioneer) and Joseph Blunt (Brazier).
It is more formerly known as John Freeth and His Circle.

Freeth's Coffee House

Time for a look around Freeth's Coffee House. It was the popular name of the Leicester Arms  which was located on the corner of Bell Street and Lease Lane in Birmingham. It was first a tavern and later a coffee house, operating from 1736 until 1832. John Freeth was the landlord during the second half of the 18th century, and he would regularly entertain his customers with songs and poetry. It was one of the most celebrated meeting places in Georgian England. Small businessmen and lawyers would conduct business here. Radical groups such as the Birmingham Book Club would regularly meet here.

This window exhibit at the Birmingham History Galleries shows a view out of the window to the Statue of Horatio Nelson which would place it sometime after 1809, or later in the 19th century (after John Freeth had passed away). The statue is still there today and has survived various incarnations of the Bullring.

Also in Freeth's Coffee House was this Grandfather Clock. Is it time for coffee? It was placed close to the window in the Birmingham History Galleries.

Heading over to the Bullring there is a blue plaque near Bill's from the Birmingham Civic Society, close to the East Mall (Selfridges is not that far away). The plaque reads: "John Freeth The Birmingham Poet of Bell Street 1731 - 1808". A shop called Mango was previously in the units now occupied by Bill's. At Bill's you can have Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Open from 8am 'til late.

This modern scene of th Horatio Nelson statue at the Bullring was from the summer of 2009. The closest coffee house / coffee shop to where Freeth's Coffee House was, is probably this Starbucks Coffee (still there in 2019). The statue has been Grade II* listed since 1952. The statue was moved in 1961, and later after the recent Bullring redevelopment was moved closer to St Martin's Church. In 2005 the railings were restored.

A bonus John Freeth site coming up.

If you are ever on a bus heading round Camp Hill Circus between Camp Hill and the Stratford Road, you might notice a plaque on the dual carriageway of Bordesley Middleway. I once went to check it out, and I found a plaque about the site of the Ship Inn. A pub on this site from about 1560 to 1972. Most famous for being Prince Rupert's headquarters in 1643, before he attacked Birmingham with a Royalist army during the Civil War. Is probably where the Camp Hill name came from.

It's hard to imagine now, but a pub used to be on this site until the 1970s. When John Freeth and his friends came here in the 18th century, it was known as The Anchor. The pub was at the corner of Sandy Lane and Camp Hill. The old inn was pulled down in 1867. A new pub was built on the foundations of it's site called the Ship Hotel. But it only survived until the road's around here were realigned in the 1970s. The Camp Hill Flyover was built, but it was only a temporary solution to the traffic problems around here. Camp Hill Circus was built in the 1980s. Today it is free flowing, sometimes has a lot of traffic during rush hour. Only traffic lights are for the pelican crossings. I think they should have permanent lights at all junctions there (Stratford Road from the south, Highgate Middleway to the west, Camp Hill to the north and Bordesley Middleway to the east).

The only surviving pub near here is the Brewer & Baker at the corner of Camp Hill and Bordesley Middleway (near Old Camp Hill). But it is quite derelict, been closed for years, and was a fire there in recent years. Could do with either A: restoring, or B: demolishing. Should never have been left in that state!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Architecture
23 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

From Midland Bank to HSBC UK

HSBC UK have recently opened up their UK HQ right here in Birmingham at 1 Centenary Square at Arena Central, but did you know the bank originated as the Midland Bank founded right here in Birmingham! Former City Centre banks including one on New Street (used to later be Waterstone's is now Apple) and another one on Bennetts Hill (now the Cosy Club). HSBC bought the Midland in 1992.

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From Midland Bank to HSBC UK




HSBC UK have recently opened up their UK HQ right here in Birmingham at 1 Centenary Square at Arena Central, but did you know the bank originated as the Midland Bank founded right here in Birmingham! Former City Centre banks including one on New Street (used to later be Waterstone's is now Apple) and another one on Bennetts Hill (now the Cosy Club). HSBC bought the Midland in 1992.


The Midland Bank was founded in Birmingham in 1836 by Charles Geach, who used to have a branch on Union Street. Early international holdings included an early deal with the  The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1907 (there future owners). HSBC Holdings plc took over the bank in 1992, and phased the Midland Bank name out by 1999 in favour of HSBC Bank. Branches are now branded as HSBC UK.

For many years, this building on the corner of New Street and Stephenson Place was a Waterstone's store, it is now an Apple store. Photo below from 2009. The first Midland Metro extension was built round the back of this former bank building, finally opening in 2016. The building was built in 1868 - 69 and it was originally the Head Offices of the Midland Bank. It was designed in the classical style by Edward Holmes and an extension was built in 1875. It's now a Grade II listed building. When it was listed in 1970 it was known as the Midland Bank International Division. The rear entrance was altered when the Midland Metro extension was built, but that is now closed since Apple took over the building.

While HSBC are not in the classical building that is now used by Apple, they are still at the other corner of New Street and Stephenson Place, close to the ramp up to Grand Central (previously the Pallasades). This branch seen in 2014, is now branded HSBC UK, like other HSBC banks around the country. Above it is a former office block, the Exchange Buildings, that was owned by Aviva. There is now a Premier Inn hotel up there, so not that far from Birmingham New Street Station. "Welcome to Birmingham New Street a branch of the world's local bank".

Another former Midland Bank located in Birmingham City Centre is on the corner of Bennetts Hill and Waterloo Street in the Colmore Business District. It is now the Cosy Club. In 2009 (photo below) the building was occupied by Webb Gray & Partners Ltd (an architectural practice). This building is also a Grade II listed building and is even older than the former bank on New Street! Built in 1830 by Rickman and Eutchinson, it was altered in 1868 by H R Yeoville Thomason. Made of stone. It has giant Giant Corinthian columns. It was fully restored and the stone cleaned when it was converted into the Cosy Club in 2015.

HSBC UK recently moved into their new UK HQ in late 2018. Construction of One Centenary Square began in 2015 and was completed in late 2018. Part of the Arena Central redevelopment opposite Centenary Square and on part of what was Broad Street. Historically, the site was previously where Central TV (ATV before that) had their studios in a former Masonic Hall. The hall was demolished in 2006, and the site lay empty until the mid 2010's. It's next to the Alpha Tower and the Municipal Bank (which is soon to be taken over by the University of Birmingham). This view from near the Amphitheatre of the Library of Birmingham. The redevelopment of the square might be completed by Spring or Summer 2019 (or later?).

A view zoomed down from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham. The view is up Newhall Hill and Frederick Street towards the Chamberlain Clock Tower. On the left is the Jewellery Quarter branch of HSBC UK. The 101 bus heads left onto Warstone Lane past the bank. There is a branch of Barclays Bank at the opposite corner.

Recently been seeing other peoples photos on social media of this new painted advert for HSBC UK, so had to check it out myself. HSBC UK currently have an advertising campaign, where they are using four cities as well as a general advert. Including Birmingham, London, Manchester and Leeds. This of course is the Birmingham variant. Behind the Rose Villa Tavern on Warstone Lane, it is close to Vyse Street in what is now called Golden Square.

Not just home of the Brummie.
You're home to Heavy Metal, Mr Egg, Bostin Cobs, The Shire and the First Stamp.

You are Birmingham.

You're not an island. You're a Workshop of the World that's part of something far, far bigger. And you're our home.

HSBC UK Together we thrive

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Civic pride
20 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Herbert Austin: making cars at Longbridge and the Austin Village

While car production at Longbridge has long since gone (apart from the small remaining factory for MG Motor), the site that is now Longbridge Town Centre used to house the Austin Works (later MG Rover until 2005). Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905 (before Longbridge was in Birmingham). Also nearby is the Austin Village which was built to house workers from 1917.

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Herbert Austin: making cars at Longbridge and the Austin Village




While car production at Longbridge has long since gone (apart from the small remaining factory for MG Motor), the site that is now Longbridge Town Centre used to house the Austin Works (later MG Rover until 2005). Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905 (before Longbridge was in Birmingham). Also nearby is the Austin Village which was built to house workers from 1917.


Herbert Austin

He was born in 1866 in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire and he died in Birmingham aged 74 in 1941. He moved to Birmingham in the 1890s setting up his first motor company on Broad Street, but the Broad Street factory site was too small, so he bought bigger premises in Aston. He later took over an old print works site in Longbridge in 1905. At this time Longbridge was in Worcestershire, and didn't become part of the City of Birmingham until 1911. It was here that he set up the Austin car works becoming one of the greatest car manufacturers in the world. For a period from 1918 to 1924 he was a Conservative MP for Birmingham Kings Norton. He was knighted in 1917 and in 1936 he was created Baron Austin, of Longbridge in the City of Birmingham. Also known as Lord Austin of Longbridge.

After MG Rover collapsed in 2005, the site was developed by St Modwen over the years, including a new Town Centre, Bournville College moved there by 2012. A new park was developed and opened in 2013 called Austin Park. It runs from the Bristol Road South towards Longbridge Town Centre alongside the River Rea. A former railway line ran towards Halesowen, and the remains of the signal box and old railway station were eventually demolished. It's unlikely that this railway line will ever be restored, now that the park and town centre are here. The Town Centre includes a Sainsbury's supermarket, a Premier Inn hotel and a Marks & Spencer store. Further to the right of here, they built retirement homes and houses along the land up Lickey Road.

I first went to have a look around Longbridge in 2010. Back then many of the former factory buildings along Lickey Road had yet to be demolished. 5 years after MG Rover collapsed, they were very derelict. Once they were demolished, a retirement village was built by 2016 up the Lickey Road site. It opened in 2017. To think the motor works lasted on this site from 1905 to 2005, a period of 100 years! Now it is becoming a new town centre. There is also a business park nearby. Many plots of land yet to be built on.

While Rover ceased to exist, a Chinese company bought the rights to use the MG name. And there is a small presence on a site on Lowhill Lane in Longbridge. MG Motor is owned by SAIC Motor UK (who themselves are owned by SAIC Motor based in Shanghai, China). Not far from here is another park called Cofton Park, where Pope Benedict XVI held mass in 2010. I went to Cofton Park in 2013 trying to get to the Lickey Hills Country Park, and the MG Motor buildings were visible from up the hill in the park. It was announced in 2016 that all car production had ceased at Longbridge, and after that MG Motor cars would be imported into the UK.

Back to Herbert Austin, and a village that he built for his workers. Austin Village was built in 1917. It is built on a site between Northfield and Longbridge in Turves Green. More workers had to be taken on during the First World War and when his factory began building tanks and aircraft, he built a new estate for his workers. He imported 200 cedar-wood pre-fabricated bungalows from the Aladdin Company, Bay City, Michigan, USA. They were shipped across the Atlantic, and survived potental loss to U-boat attacks. Many trees were planted around the village. This view is of Central Avenue. At the top end is a pair of blue plaques. One for Sir Herbert Austin and the other for the Austin Village. A red post box is at this end. I visited in April 2012.

While having a look around the Austin Village during April 2012, it was possible at the time to see the remaining MG Rover / Austin motor works, before most of them were demolished. The view was from Coney Green Drive. Most of these buildings were demolished on the right of the chimney, and houses were later built on the site. The MG Motor factory that survives down to Lowhill Lane. What will the future of this site be, will the rest of the factory have to be demolished for even more housing, now that car production has stopped on the site?

Over in Northfield is the Northfield Bypass, called the Sir Herbert Austin Way. This end near Sainsbury's seen during May 2013. The road bypasses the Northfield High Street on the Bristol Road South (although all major bus routes still use it). Sainsbury's had an extension a few years later and the Sainsbury's Cafe is now on the first floor. A new Starbucks Drive Thru, the first in Birmingham, opened on the bypass in 2017 near Vineyard Road and Bellfield Infant School. The success of this Starbucks Drive Thru probably led to the one that opened in 2018 at the Maypole.

There are several vintage Austin motorcars on display at Thinktank at Millennium Point. I first visted with my camera in April 2013. In the Move It section on Level O (the ground floor) was various old cars and bikes.

As you enter, you see this old car on a rotating turntable. It's the Austin Seven Tourer built in 1923. It was economical but reliable. It was smaller and cheaper than other cars at the time, but was considered to be just as reliable and comfortable. Car ownership was no logner just for the wealthy. Watch as the car goes around and around! I assume it still does that, if it's in the same spot as it was then?

Yes this car was on the side on the glass wall! It's the Austin 10 'Lichfield' Motorcar and it was built in 1935. One of 27,000 made by the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge. You might have to tilt your head 90 degrees to the right to see it right up!

In July 2011, on a visit to the stately home that is Holkham Hall in Norfolk, saw this poster in the Stable Coach Block. The Austin Seven Garage Chart. It clearly says that the Austin Motor Co. Ltd was from Longbridge, Birmingham. Many museums all over the UK have Austin cars in their collection, and it's not just museums, stately homes sometimes have a collection of vintage cars on display!

Another museum well worth a visit in the West Midlands is the Coventry Transport Museum. This is a Austin Seven Swallow dating to about 1928. My first visit to this museum was during March 2015. This classic car was in the Jaguar Heritage Gallery. Many cars and motorbikes were built in Coventry, but they did also have a selection of Jaguar's and MG's on display here. It was probably made in Coventry.

My second visit to the Coventry Transport Museum was during April 2018. You can get the X1 bus all the way down the Coventry Road, via Birmingham Airport to the bus station in Coventry. The museum is nearby. A much shorter walk compared to getting a train from Birmingham New Street to Coventry and walking, like I've done in the past. Onto this car. It's an Austin 7 Swallow built in 1929. The chassis and engine of the car was made by the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge, Birmingham. The body built by the Swallow Coachbuilding Company of Holbrooks, Coventry, who changed their name to Jaguar. Jaguar later became known for making fast, sporty cars.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Jan 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Construction at Arena Central - January 2019

The construction of Three Arena Central, the new HQ for HMRC Midlands, is having more of the steel structure intalled. It's starting to look really dense in this part of the city. More photos in the full post.

Photo by Daniel Sturley

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Construction at Arena Central - January 2019




The construction of Three Arena Central, the new HQ for HMRC Midlands, is having more of the steel structure intalled. It's starting to look really dense in this part of the city. More photos in the full post.

Photo by Daniel Sturley


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Civic pride
11 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Lloyds Bank founded in Birmingham by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd

Did you know that one of the main banks in the UK was founded right here in Birmingham? The bankers was John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd based in Georgian Birmingham in the middle of the 18th century. There first bank was located in Dale End. Lloyd himself at one time lived in Old Square (when it was a Georgian square). A portrait of Sampson Lloyd is at the Birmingham History Galleries.

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Lloyds Bank founded in Birmingham by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd




Did you know that one of the main banks in the UK was founded right here in Birmingham? The bankers was John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd based in Georgian Birmingham in the middle of the 18th century. There first bank was located in Dale End. Lloyd himself at one time lived in Old Square (when it was a Georgian square). A portrait of Sampson Lloyd is at the Birmingham History Galleries.


Let's head to Georgian Birmingham town to about the 1760s. A bank was founded on Dale End by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd. Taylor was a cabinet maker, who set up a factory on Union Street to make "Brummagem toys", such as buttons and buckles. Lloyd was an iron manufacturer. Originally from Wales. Together they opened a bank in 1765 called Taylors & Lloyds at 7 Dale End.

The modern building on the site now has a McDonald's to the right. There used to be a Lloyds TSB at the far left side near Albert Street, but it closed down years ago. Built by the Seymour Harris Partnership in 1989-90. Dale End is not a very pleasant area of the City Centre now. There is a blue plaque there about the banks founding from the City of Birmingham (who put up blue plaques before the Birmingham Civic Society).

Heading over to Old Square. It used to be one of the grandest Georgian squares in the town centre (remember Birmingham didn't get City Status until 1889!) There is sculpture at one end of the square by Kenneth Budd, made in 1967. One section commemorates Sampson Lloyd who lived at No 13 Old Square in 1770. Calling him "Lloyd the Banker". The bank motif at the time was a beehive.

Over to the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery where we find a portrait of Sampson Lloyd. His Iron Works was on Edgbaston Street (where the Bullring is now). He was actually Sampson Lloyd II. Born in 1699, he died in 1779. He also lived at the Farm in Bordesley, now within Sparkbrook. English Heritage have a blue plaque on the house. I've not been there myself. Lloyd bought it in 1742. It's now a Grade II* listed building. It's located on Sampson Road within Farm Park.

Nearby is a map that shows John Taylor's Manufactory nearby on the High Street in Birmingham. Taylor was born in 1711 and died in 1775. He lived at Bordesley Hall, which was built for him in 1767. It was burnt down in 1791 during the Priestley Riots. It was near the Coventry Road in what is now part of Small Heath. The house was left as ruins well into the 19th century. The Union Street site of his manufactory was probably where Martineau Place is located now.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Architecture
09 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

National Trust properties in Birmingham: Back to Backs and The Roundhouse

Currently the only National Trust property to visit in Birmingham is the Back to Backs on Hurst Street and Inge Street in the Chinese Quarter (near the Birmingham Hippodrome). Soon it might be possible to visit The Roundhouse near Sheepcote Street in Westside (and near the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline). I've not been in either (yet) but have exterior photos.

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National Trust properties in Birmingham: Back to Backs and The Roundhouse




Currently the only National Trust property to visit in Birmingham is the Back to Backs on Hurst Street and Inge Street in the Chinese Quarter (near the Birmingham Hippodrome). Soon it might be possible to visit The Roundhouse near Sheepcote Street in Westside (and near the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline). I've not been in either (yet) but have exterior photos.


Birmingham Back to Backs

The Back to Backs is located at 55 to 63 Hurst Street and 50 to 54 Inge Street in what is now Southside or the Chinese Quarter. The National Trust has run it as a museum since 2004. They are the only surviving back to backs of it's kind in Birmingham. The rest was long since demolished. Modern apartment buildings with shops now surrounds this block. I've not yet myself been inside of them, but hope to do so one day in the near future.

The Back to Backs was Grade II listed in 1988. Acording to the listing, the court of housing originally dated back to 1789, with alterations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Built of red brick with a Welsh slate roof. This block was Court 15. This is the general view from Hurst Street, with Inge Street being down the side.

A look at the Back to Backs from Inge Street towards The Old Fox pub that is now part of The Arcadian complex in the Chinese Quarter. There is a Subway shop to the right in the modern apartment block. The Inge family owned the land in the late 18th century, who leased the land for the building of these blocks of houses. They owned the west side of the street. The Gooch family owned the east side of Inge Street. Over 500 families had lived in Court 15.

Another view of the Inge Street side towards The Old Fox. Most residents still lived here until 1966 when they were requested to leave, as they were declared unfit for habitation. In 1995 Birmingham City Council commissioned the City of Hereford Archaeological Unit to survey and record the houses. The Birmingham Conservation Trust in collaboration with S. T. Walker & Duckham restored the buildings and it was opened to the public in 2004. Visits are pre-booked with a guided tour. So assume that you can't just show up and go in without pre-booking.

A close up look at one of the houses on Inge Street, next to the modern building on the right. This was number 50. Also known as 1 Court 15.

Those photos above were taken in June 2009, and I haven't really taken many new photos of the Back to Backs since then. During May 2018, the National Trust had altered the sign on the Hurst Street side for Birmingham Pride into the multicoloured gay colours. This was only temporary and when Pride was over, they eventually changed it back to the normal National Trust sign (which is in blue colours).

The Roundhouse

For years, I've been wondering what was going to happen to The Roundhouse. I first saw it in 2009 from the Birmingham Canal Navigations when it was derelict. It is a horseshoe shaped building at the corner of Sheepcote Street and St Vincent Street in Ladywood / Westside area of Birmingham City Centre. The National Trust in collaboration with owners the Canal & River Trust are restoring it, and hope to open the venue to the public sometime in 2019.

It is a Grade II* listed building dating to about 1840 (according to the listing). It was built for the London and North Western Railway as a mineral and coal wharf.  Red brick with slate roofs. The National Trust's information says that it was built in 1874, designed by local architect WH Ward, who won a competition organised by the Birmingham Corporation (am not sure which information is correct i.e.1840 or 1874).

The Fiddle & Bone pub seen on Sheepcote Street when it was closed for years due to noise complaints from local residents. This view from February 2013. It later reopened in 2015, but it wasn't successful and was replaced by The Distillery in 2017.

The corner of the site from St Vincent Street. Sheepcote Street is to the left. The main gate at the corner was usually closed. This view from February 2013, when The Roundhouse was at the time For Sale / To Let. I think at one point part of the site was used by a nursery. A house to the west of here is Grade II listed. Built in 1885 of red brick with some blue trim and slate roofs. The Storage Cottage is also Grade II listed from 1885, red brick and slate roof. That's a little bit further up St Vincent Street.

A look through the gates at the courtyard of The Roundhouse. You can clearly see that it looks like a horse shoe! There is a ramp going down with the speed limit at 10 mph. This view also seen from February 2013. The National Trust is spending £2.5 million to restore the 19th century gem from the roof to the cobbles. They are also installing a beautiful 'oriel' window onto the canalside.

The Distillery seen at The Roundhouse from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline during October 2017. The Sheepcote Street bridge is to the right. The pub was the first building to be restored, many years before the National Trust became involved with the building, when the Fiddle & Bone pub as it was reopened in 2015. I was hoping that a Canal Museum could open here, similar to the London Canal Museum (I went there back in August 2015). Perhaps they could have model narrowboats inside, or show how The Roundhouse worked back in it's 19th century heyday.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Architecture
05 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Landmarks of Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich and London

A look at a small selection of landmarks I've seen in Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich and London. In the past have been on weekends to these cities. Although Norwich was during a couple of weeks holidays in April 2010 and July 2011. Liverpool was October 2013. Nottingham was November 2014. Various weekends to London between 2009 and 2016. Too much to see in one weekend.

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Landmarks of Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich and London




A look at a small selection of landmarks I've seen in Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich and London. In the past have been on weekends to these cities. Although Norwich was during a couple of weeks holidays in April 2010 and July 2011. Liverpool was October 2013. Nottingham was November 2014. Various weekends to London between 2009 and 2016. Too much to see in one weekend.


Liverpool

This is the Three Graces in Liverpool. They are near the Liverpool Waterfront at Pier Head. Seen during October 2013. From left to right: the Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and The Port of Liverpool Building. Two of them are Grade II* listed buildings while one is Grade I listed. They are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City.

The Royal Liver Building was built from 1908 to 1910 by Aubrey Thomas. Has a concrete frame with granite cladding. 8 storeys and 2 storeys of attics. Was built as the head office of the Royal Liver Assurance Company. It is a Grade I listed building. There is a pair copper sculptures on top of the liver birds.

The Cunard Building was built from 1913 to 1916 by Willink and Thicknessse. Portland stone with 6 storeys. It is a Grade II* listed building

The Port of Liverpool Building was built in 1907 by Arnold Thornely. Made of Portland stone with 5 storeys and a basement. It is a Grade II* listed building

A look at one corner of the Albert Dock in Liverpool.  Also known as The Royal Albert Dock. The dock was designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick and opened in 1846. It is on the Liverpool Waterfront and part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Was the first structure in Britain to be built of cast iron, brick and stone with no wood. It gained it's Royal status in 2018. All parts of the dock are Grade I listed buildings. The dock was used for TV's This Morning from 1988 to 1996. In this photo is Warehouse D and E. The Merseyside Maritime Museum is in Warehouse D (on the left), while the Edward Pavilion is in Warehouse E (on the right).

Nottingham

The Nottingham Council House is located in the Old Market Square in Nottingham. Seen in November 2014 while A Nottingham Winter Wonderland was on (Nottingham's equivelant of a Christmas Market and ice rink). The Nottingham Express Transit (tram system) runs up and down the South Parade to Cheapside. There is a tram stop at Old Market Square. It is a Grade II* listed building and also includes a shopping arcade to the back. Built from 1924 to 1929, the architect was T. Cecil Howitt. It was built for Nottingham City Council. Built in the Baroque Revival style. It was built on the site of Nottingham's Exchange Hall (which was built there from 1724 to 1726).

The Theatre Royal is on Upper Parliament Street in Nottingham. It is a Grade II listed building dating to 1865. The original architects was CJ Phipps for W & J Lambert. It was remodelled in 1897 to 1898 by Frank Matcham for Robert Arthur and Henry Moss. A later restoration and remodelling took place during 1976 to 1978 by the Renton Howard Wood Levin Partnership. The theatre closed in 1969 when the city council bought the theatre. It was reopened in 1978 after the restoration of the building. The theatre is near the Nottingham Express Transit, and Royal Centre tram stop is nearby. Seen below on a rainy day in November 2014.

Norwich

A look at Norwich Castle. The castle was built in the early 12th century. But a castle was founded here in 1067 by William the Conquerer in the form of a motte and bailey castle. The castle is a Grade I listed building. It was refaced in the 1830s and converted to a museum in the 1880s. Now the home of the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery. It resembles a Tower Keep. Castle Mall is also nearby to the castle and museum. Norwich Castle is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument. This visit to the castle was during April 2010.

From the bottom of Elm Hill in Norwich. Seen during July 2011. It is a historic cobbled lane. Many buildings date back to the Tudor period. It is one of Norwich's famous landmarks. Elm Hill was almost demolished in 1926, but was saved in 1927 by the Norwich Society, who did a survey of the buildings and gave recommendations to the Norwich Corporation. Renovation works started that same year in 1927.

Seen here on the left is the Elm Hill Craft Shop near The Monastery. There is a plaque here for Father Ignatius who founded an independent Benedictine monastery here in 1864. After two difficult years it was dispersed. It is Grade II listed at 12 - 16 Elm Hill. A timber-framed building. Also rendered.

London

A visit to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London during October 2012. A panoramic of the museum with both wings. The museum is on the site of the former Greenwich Royal Hospital School. It opened in 1937. The Royal Hospital School moved to Suffolk in 1933. The museum was founded in 1934. The museum was upgraded in 1999. A Grade I listed building. Built 1807 to 1816 by David Alexander. It is connected to The Queen's House. It is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site Maritime Greenwich.

A visit to the British Museum during August 2015 on a rainy day outside (nice and dry inside). Panoramic of the museum exterior. It is on the Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury, London. The London Borough is Camden. The museum is massive, so many things to see, but eventually you would get tired, and it feels like there is too much to see in one go. The building is Grade I listed and was built from 1823 to 1847. The architect was Sir Robert Smirke and it was made of Portland stone. Built in the Greek Revival style.There is a East Wing (built 1823 to 1826), a West Wing (built 1831 to 1834), a North Wing (built 1833 to 1838) and a South Range (built 1842 to 1847). Montague House the original museum was demolished in 1840. The library was detached from the museum in 1973 to form the separate British Library. The Queen Elizabeth II Great Court opened in 2000.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
Civic pride
03 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

William McGregor: Director of Aston Villa and Founder of the Football League

There has been a statue outside of Villa Park in Aston. It is of William McGregor, who in the late 19th century was a Director of Aston Villa from the late 1870s. He later became the clubs Chairman from the late 1890s. He was also the Founder of the Football League in 1888. The statue can be found near the Trinity Road Stand. This post will also look at the 4 stands of Villa Park.

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William McGregor: Director of Aston Villa and Founder of the Football League




There has been a statue outside of Villa Park in Aston. It is of William McGregor, who in the late 19th century was a Director of Aston Villa from the late 1870s. He later became the clubs Chairman from the late 1890s. He was also the Founder of the Football League in 1888. The statue can be found near the Trinity Road Stand. This post will also look at the 4 stands of Villa Park.


William McGregor

A statue was unveiled outside of Villa Park, the home ground of Aston Villa F.C. in November 2009. It was of William McGregor, one of the earliest Directors of Aston Villa, and later the Chairman of the club. It was he who proposed the forming of a league in 1888 which became the first professionally organised football league in the world! At the time I took my photos in January 2010, and a few years later in September 2012, Villa were still in the Premier League (before they were relegated to the Championship in 2016). But this post is not about Aston Villa's form in the various leagues they have been in, more about William McGregor and the stadium Villa Park.

To find the statue of William McGregor first look for these gates with a pair of bronze lions on either side. The lions were there until at least 2016. Looking on Google Maps Street View the lions were missing in 2017. Anyway look through the gates, or the railings along Trinity Road and you will see the statue near the Trinity Road reception entrance of the Trinity Road stand.

William McGregor was born in Braco, Perthshire, Scotland in 1846. He died in Birmingham in 1911 aged only 65. When he moved to Birmingham from Perth, he set up a drapery business in Aston in about 1870. Aston Villa was formed in 1874, and he first became involved with the new club in 1877, at first to become a committee member of the club. He became a member of the club's board of directors, and Villa started winning cups in the 1880s. He became Vice-Chairman of the club in 1895 and finally Chairman by 1897. He was responsible for the club adopting the lion as their symbol, based on the lion of the Royal Standard of Scotland as their crest.

In 1888 William McGregor wrote to various other big clubs at the time proposing to form the first Football League in England. 10 clubs were the first members of the league, including West Bromwich Albion. Initially clubs in the south weren't interested in the league, but eventually 12 teams kicked off the first league in September 1888. McGregor proposed the name of "The Association Football Union", but it sounded to much like the Rugby Football Union, so they instead called it The Football League. McGregor became the first Chairman of the Football League and oversaw the creation of a Football League with two divisions. He stepped down, he was elected honorary President until he stepped down by 1894. He was the first ever life member of the League in 1895.

The bronze statue was unveiled in November 2009, and it was sculpted by Sam Holland. He took references from life photos and a portrait in the McGregor Suite. The statue is on a red brick plinth. McGregor is holding a cane (walking stick) and a pamphlet.

The following information about the stands was taken from Football Grounds Guide.

A look at the Trinity Road Stand on the approach past the houses on Trinity Road in Aston. This stand was first built in 1996 in time for Euro '96 (the European Football Championships 1996 which were held in England at the time). The stand was rebuilt to three tiers by 2001 including a row of executive boxes.

A close up of the Trinity Road Stand from Trinity Road in Aston. On the side it says ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL CLUB in big letters. In the middle was the club badge with the lion and a star. This side of the stadium is close to Aston Park. There is a nearby path entrance into the park that leads up to Aston Hall. The hall is normally closed on match days, and open on all other days.

Next up a look at The Holte End. It was opened in the 1994/95 season and is a two tiered structure. It holds about 13,500 supporters. The building near the car park appears to be much older. It has Aston Villa painted on the side with the clubs badge (it might be tiled).

There is steps leading up to the stand from the car park. Not too far away from the stand, at the other end of the car park is The Holte public house, at the corner of Trinity Road and Witton Lane. The Holte End and The Holte pub were named after Sir Thomas Holte, who lived at Aston Hall during the 17th century. The stadium was originally called The Aston Lower Grounds. Was formerly part of Aston Hall's grounds, and a Kitchen Garden used to be on the site of Villa Park.

Next we head up Witton Lane in Aston. The next stand is the Doug Ellis Stand. It was originally called the Witton Lane Stand. It was rebuilt in 1993 and it replaced an older structure. There was a minor refurbishment for the European Football Championships in 1996  (Euro '96). It was named after the former Chairman Doug Ellis (1924-2018). Seen here from Witton Lane Gardens during September 2012.

Sir Doug Ellis used to own Aston Villa and was Chairman in two stints. His first stint as Chairman was from 1968 to 1975. He was a major shareholder and on the board until he was ousted in 1979. He returned as Chairman in 1982 (in his absence Villa had won the Football League title in 1981 and the European Cup in 1982). He sold the club to Randy Lerner in 2006. This stand also has ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL CLUB in big letters. It is visible from the Aston Expressway A38(M) and from the M6 (if travelling in a car or on a coach).

The final stand is the oldest stand at Villa Park. The North Stand was built in the 1970s but still looks modern. It is two tiered and about the same height as the other stands. There is a double row of executive boxes running across the middle. This stand is usually used by away fans. It is also close to Witton Lane. It is a short distance walk from here to Witton Station.

The club had planning permission to rebuild the North Stand, but it hasn't happened yet. The owners of the club has changed several times in recent years and what with Villa's relegation, it probably wasn't a priority. If it was to be rebuilt it would increase capacity of the stadium to 51,000.

A bonus building, The Holte public house at the corner of Trinity Road and Witton Lane in Aston. A Victorian building dating to 1897. It was built as The Holte Hotel. It used to have 10 bedrooms, a 400 capacity music hall, billiard rooms and two bowling greens. It has the same name as The Holte End (see further up this post). See this article from 2007 for more information Aston Villa restores Holte Hotel.

Villa fans used the pub up until the 1970s. But it was boarded up and derelict for 28 years until Villa's owner from 2006 to 2016 Randy Lerner and his team agreed to a restoration. The pub reopened in 2007. For most fans approaching from Aston Station, or from the M6 motorway, it is the first building they see when they get to Villa Park. It's also visible from the Aston Expressway A38(M) when passing over Witton Lane.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown around the outskirts of Villa Park during January 2010 and September 2012.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
26 Dec 2018 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - December 2018

Wates Group's Bank Tower Two is now completing the final floor, the top two stories being higher floors that are now clearly visible. Many photos in this update covering 16th and 22nd December.

Photo by Daniel Sturley

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The Construction of Bank Tower Two - December 2018




Wates Group's Bank Tower Two is now completing the final floor, the top two stories being higher floors that are now clearly visible. Many photos in this update covering 16th and 22nd December.

Photo by Daniel Sturley


Photos by Daniel Sturley

Check out this great map of Birmingham development and contruction projects:

Greater Birmingham Developments

Courtesy: @GtrBhamDev

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80 passion points
Construction & regeneration
24 Dec 2018 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - December 2018

The construction of PwC's new building, One Chamberlain Square at Paradise Birmingham is almost complete externally with just a few details to finish off and the eventual removal of the external lifts. 12 more photos in this update.

Photo by Daniel Sturley

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The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - December 2018




The construction of PwC's new building, One Chamberlain Square at Paradise Birmingham is almost complete externally with just a few details to finish off and the eventual removal of the external lifts. 12 more photos in this update.

Photo by Daniel Sturley


Photos by Daniel Sturley

 

Check out this great map of Birmingham development and contruction projects:

Greater Birmingham Developments

Courtesy: @GtrBhamDev

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90 passion points
History & heritage
19 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Moseley Village around St Mary's Row and Alcester Road

A look around Moseley Village. Heading down St Mary's Row on the no 1 bus route. And up / down Alcester Road on the no 50 bus route (the no 35 turns down Salisbury Road). From St Mary's Church to The Fighting Cocks (a pub on the Alcester Road). Here you would find pubs and cafes. There is also a village green and the occasional Farmers Market on the last Saturday of each month.

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Moseley Village around St Mary's Row and Alcester Road




A look around Moseley Village. Heading down St Mary's Row on the no 1 bus route. And up / down Alcester Road on the no 50 bus route (the no 35 turns down Salisbury Road). From St Mary's Church to The Fighting Cocks (a pub on the Alcester Road). Here you would find pubs and cafes. There is also a village green and the occasional Farmers Market on the last Saturday of each month.


For me I can get the no 1, 35 or 50 bus routes to or through Moseley Village. The 1 goes up and down St Mary's Row then down Salisbury Road. The 35 goes from Alcester Road down Salisbury Road. The 50 heads up and down the Alcester Road between Kings Heath and Balsall Heath. One day in the future it will be possible once again to get a train to or from Moseley (the land is next to St Mary's Church between St Mary's Row and Woodbridge Road on the site of the original station). The original station closed in the early years of WW2.

 

In something that doesn't normally happen on the 50, my bus was about to turn down Salisbury Road, while the other 50 (in the photo below) was turning from Salisbury Road onto Alcester Road towards Kings Heath. This was during April 2018 (as Moseley Road in Balsall Heath was closed at the time for a street market).

The row of shops on St Mary's Row is where on the last Saturday of each month is a Farmers Market (they also have stalls on Alcester Road up from Boots). There is a small green with benches a that triangle near the no 1 bus stop.

Seen just as my bus turned onto Salisbury Road was The Fighting Cocks pub on the corner of Alcester Road (part of it runs onto St Mary's Row). It is on the corner of King Edward Road. Shops running north from William Hill up to the Co-operative Food.

We start on St Mary's Row. It runs from Wake Green Road down the hill towards Salisbury Road (which itself goes down the hill towards Edgbaston Road in Edgbaston).

The most prominent landmark in Moseley Village is of St Mary's Church, the parish church of Moseley, located on St Mary's Row. Seen here in 2009 from the site of Moseley Station (hopefully the station will be built on the land behind the church in the 2020's). The church is a Grade II listed building and dates to the 15th century. Originally built as a chapel in the parish of Kings Norton. The body of the church was rebuilt in 1780 and altered by Thomas Rickman from 1823 to 1824. J A Chatwin added a north aisle in 1886 and his son P B Chatwin rebuilt the nave and south in 1910. War memorial cross on the left not far from the lychgate.

The shops running down St Mary's Row in Moseley Village during August 2013, while Moseley in Bloom had potted many flowers around the village centre. Priya is an Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine restaurant on this side of the road. Next up is a barber shop called Fino and a newsagent called Village News. Pottery & Pieces was open at the time, but as of late 2018 it is being refitted as something else. A bit further down is a Wetherspoon Freehouse called The Elizabeth of York.

Beyond St Mary's Church on this side of St Mary's Row used to be a Barclays Bank and a pub called the Bulls Head. This view was in 2011 when both were still open at the time. The bank eventually closed down at Costa Coffee opened there in 2017. While the Bulls Head is now a Cuban bar called The Cuban Embassy (opened in 2015).

On the last Saturday of every month there is Farmers Market on St Mary's Row (the strip of road that leaves the main line and heads to Alcester Road). Normally when the road is open to traffic, vehicles can only leave Alcester Road for it and head onto St Mary's Row and not the other way round. If i'm on the no 1 bus on Saturday morning's I occasionally see the market. Seen here next to Sapori di Sole, Italian Food Specialists.

Another view from the no 1 bus on St Mary's Row of the Farmers Market. They also have a bunch of stalls on the pavement on Alcester Road heading north from Boots.

In July 2017, I saw this green bus on the village green from the no 1 bus on St Mary's Row. Off the Scale. It looks like they were selling clothes on the bus and also outside of it. Was a Leyland Leopard vintage bus. Being that it was summer, there was a nice display of flowers from Moseley in Bloom around the village centre.

A general look at the village green from the no 1 bus on St Mary's Row in Moseley Village. Various shops on that side of St Mary's Row leading to the Alcester Road. Atlantis Fish Bar is now Flakes Fish & Chips. That changed over in 2014. In the middle is shop called Lewis's. Further to the left near The Fighting Cocks is Zen.

We will next move onto Alcester Road. From St Mary's Row heading north towards Woodbridge Road. Or south towards Kings Heath. Mainly the shops, pubs and café's closest to the centre of the village. This is the A435, the main route up from the Maypole and Kings Heath towards Balsall Heath and Highgate.

We start with The Village at 179 Alcester Road in Moseley Village. A pub and restaurant in a house built in 1896. A red brick building, it's to the right of a Telephone Exchange. Parlour & Dining.

Next up is Moseley's Post Office building. Part of the building is also used by The Moseley Exchange (a community centre). The building probably dates to the early decades of the 20th century.

Seen just before the traffic lights on the no 50 bus is Damascena Coffee House. They recently had a new door installed on the former coach house entrance. There is many café's around Moseley Village up the Alcester Road, mostly independent. Although there is now a Costa Coffee in the former Barclays Bank on St Mary's Row (that I've been to a few times). There is also now a Damascena in Harborne on the High Street and in the City Centre on Temple Row West. This one is at 133 Alcester Road.

The most prominent pub landmark in Moseley Village has got to be The Fighting Cocks, on the corner of Alcester Road and King Edward Road, with part of the building going down St Mary's Row. It is a Grade II listed building. Built in 1903 by the architects T W F Newton and Cheatle. Made of ashlar and red brick. It has Arts and Crafts details and looks a bit like a Jacobean building. On the corner is a big compass showing the wind direction and a barometer showing whether it's going to be dry or wet! Is also a clock tower at the top.

From the no 50 bus on the Alcester Road, looking down St Mary's Row. Was a banner up for the Mostly Jazz Funk Soul Festival during April 2015. This was promoting the event in Moseley Park which took place during July 2015. This part of St Mary's Row is usually where the Farmers Market goes. Festivals and other events in the park usually have entrance on Salisbury Road and Alcester Road (the park is usually private for local residents and only open to the public on open days). The artists entrance I think is on Salisbury Road.

An Irish themed bar on the Alcester Road called O'Neills. Part of a chain that you would find other O'Neills around the West Midlands. This view was in February 2011. They were there until 2014 or 2015 when they were replaced by the One Trick Pony Club. Halfords autocentre used to be to the right until about 2014. At one point it was thought that Boston Tea Party would move into the former garage, but Prezzo did instead in 2016. They lasted there until 2017, and was replaced by Sorrento Lounge in 2018. To the left was Thistle Estates and Consol until 2015. Pizza Express moved in there in 2016.

Further up the Alcester Road is the Prince of Wales pub. It dates to the Victorian era. They are located at 118 Alcester Road. The Moseley Emporium is to the left. Was a derelict building site to the right for many years until Moseley Central was built there from 2017 to 2018.

The Moseley Emporium is an antiques shop to the left of the Prince of Wales pub on the Alcester Road in Moseley. They have three floors of antiques and quality reproduction furniture. It looks like they share the building with the Prince of Wales! They are at 116 Alcester Road. There website describes their building as a beautiful Victorian villa.

Photos by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Civic pride
17 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Sir Josiah Mason: Founder of Mason Science College

Before the University of Birmingham was founded in 1900, there was a college in Chamberlain Square that was founded by Sir Josiah Mason in 1875. It was called Mason Science College. There is a bronze bust in Erdington that was a cast of a now destroyed statue that used to be outside of the college. The college was demolished in 1964 making way for Birmingham Central Library.

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Sir Josiah Mason: Founder of Mason Science College




Before the University of Birmingham was founded in 1900, there was a college in Chamberlain Square that was founded by Sir Josiah Mason in 1875. It was called Mason Science College. There is a bronze bust in Erdington that was a cast of a now destroyed statue that used to be outside of the college. The college was demolished in 1964 making way for Birmingham Central Library.


Josiah Mason

Sir Josiah Mason was born in 1795 and died in 1881. He founded the Mason Science College in 1875 which later became part of the University of Birmingham (when it was founded in 1900). He was born in Kidderminster and moved to Birmingham in 1816. In 1824 he set up his own business as a manufacturer of split-rings by machinery, which later made steel pens. His business became a limited liability company in 1874. He set up an orphanage in Erdington around 1860. Mason College opened in 1880.

There used to be a marble statue outside of Mason College on Edmund Street (now part of Chamberlain Square) of Sir Josiah Mason. Made in 1885 Francis John Williamson. The statue was later destroyed, but not before William Bloye made a bronze cast of it in 1951. The bust is usually dressed for special occasions and seasonal holidays.

Below the bust seen in 2014 when the bronze was looking quite green. At the time there was a football scarf on the bust, probably of Manchester City (who won the Premier League in the 2013/14 season). This was seen in May 2014.

Full on front view of the Sir Josiah Mason bronze bust, during May 2014. It is located on a roundabout at the junction of Chester Road and Orphanage Road in Erdington. This view from the crossing in the middle of the Chester Road. The letters on the scarf seem to suggest that it was a Manchester City FC scarf!

This view of the bust towards some houses that have now been demolished and replaced by a care home. The view from the corner of Chester Road and Orphanage Road if you are heading to the Erdington High Street.

It is now December 2018 and I was expecting maybe a Christmas hat on the bust. Seen after the end of the walk up Orphanage Road and at the Chester Road junction. Nothing Christmas related here, just some England flag bunting. Asprey Court Care Home now stands on the site of those houses. Was built between 2016 and 2017.

The colour of the bust has changed in the 4 and a half years since I last saw it. This view from the Chester Road crossing between both sides of the Orphanage Road. Looks like the plinth has been cleaned of some recent graffiti.

Heading around to Chester Road, this side view you can see that they have cleaned the graffiti off the plinth, although it has left a bit of discolouration on it. Have to wonder why the original statue was destroyed, and why make a bust only to put it on a roundabout in Erdington? The only link would have been the orphanage that Josiah Mason had founded.

On what is now Orphanage Road in Erdington used to be Mason's Orphanage. Construction started near Bell Lane (now Orphanage Road) in 1860 and lasted until 1868. It was designed by J.R. Botham. Mason had a previous orphanage on Station Road, Erdington in 1858. Following a decline in the number of residents, the orphanage was demolished in 1964 to make way for a housing estate.

Walking up Orphanage Road I spotted Mason Cottages. They were first built in 1938. I assume they were near to the orphanage. The site is run by the Sir Josiah Mason Trust and it is private grounds, so no access to members of the public who aren't residents here. There are gates that lead to Mason Cottages. You probably need a pass to enter.

The sign I spotted on Orphanage Road on the walk up to Chester Road in Erdington. Private Grounds. No unauthorised access.

This red post box with the GR moniker is a short distance away from Mason Cottages on Orphanage Road in Erdington. It dates to the period of George V (1910 - 36).

We will next move to Chamberlain Square, where Mason College used to be until it was demolished in 1964. Birmingham Central Library was built between 1969 and 1974. It closed in 2013 and was demolished itself in 2016. I think the new building One Chamberlain Square stands on the site of what was Mason College.

Seen in late December 2010 near the start of Congreve Passage was a part of Birmingham Central Library called Art in a Window Gallery. There wasn't much to see in there apart from some plaques about Sir Josiah Mason and Mason College.

The plaques were from the Birmingham Civic Society, and even back in 2010 it seemed like they were in a temporary position, as at the time the new Library of Birmingham was under construction in Centenary Square (it would open in 2013). So these plaques were not in a permenant position. Hopefully Birmingham Civic Society will put these plaques on the side of One Chamberlain Square, so passers by on Centenary Way can see them (if any of them stop to look at them that is!).

Details of the bottom plaque with a picture showing what Mason College used to look like. In the 1960s this type of Victorian architecture had fell out of favour, especially in the years after the Second World War had ended. Although now we quite like this kind of architecture. I wonder if this building and the old Victorian Central Library could have been listed? But they never were as the sight was levelled for the 1970s Central Library. The plaque tells you that even after the founding of the University of Birmingham, the former Mason College building continued to be used until the 1960s as the Faculty of Arts and Law. Would assume that moved to the Edgbaston campus before the demolition.

Until the 1960s, Edmund Street stretched next to Chamberlain Square. After Mason College was knocked down, Birmingham Central Library was built from 1969 to 1974, while the previous Central Library remained alongside it. Once complete and opened, the 2nd Victorian library was itself demolished (and Adrian Boult Hall and the Birmingham Conseravatoire built on it's site, but that's another story). Seen below in 2010, this was the entrance to the library. Paradise Forum was to the left which led to Centenary Square. It was demolished in 2016. You can see Art in a Window Gallery to the far right on the corner with Congreve Passage.

One Chamberlain Square now stands on the site of what was Mason College from 1875 until it was demolished in 1964. Construction of this building started in 2017 and should be completed in 2019 by BAM. Earlier in 2018 Carillion went bust stalling construction for a few months until BAM took over. Centenary Way now runs alongside the new building all the way from Chamberlain Square to Centenary Square (a pedestrian walkway).

Photos by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Architecture
15 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

More Harborne Village architecture (Part 2)

Part 2 of my look around the architecture in Harborne. As with part 1 around the High Street and surrounding roads. Mostly built up here from the Victorian period onwards as Harborne became an affluent suburb next to Edgbaston. This time starting with a look at Harborne Library and some alternate views of buildings I posted in part 1 (or later on in the post).

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More Harborne Village architecture (Part 2)




Part 2 of my look around the architecture in Harborne. As with part 1 around the High Street and surrounding roads. Mostly built up here from the Victorian period onwards as Harborne became an affluent suburb next to Edgbaston. This time starting with a look at Harborne Library and some alternate views of buildings I posted in part 1 (or later on in the post).


Follow this link for Harborne Village architecture part 1. Well it seemed like my first post on Harborne was popular so lets continue shall we!

We first start with a pub that has had a few name changes over the years. Looking on Google Maps Street View, this pub was called Varsity from at least 2009 (or before) until 2011. From 2011 to 2015 it was called The Proverbial (seen below in 2014). From 2015 to present it has been a Slug & Lettuce. 186 - 196 High Street, Harborne. At the time of the photo Lloyds Pharmacy was opposite, but that is now Jhoots Pharmacy.

 

Rumours is a hair salon at the corner of North Road and the High Street in Harborne at 51 High Street. It has a distinctive corner turret.

Some views of Harborne Library. The following history was taken from this link Harborne Library history. The building was built as a Masonic Hall in 1879 by the architect A. E. Phipson (who lived in Harborne and designed several buildings around Harborne during the same period). It had originally housed the Harborne Lodge, Tudor 1792 of the Province of Staffordshire. The council as the Corporation of Birmingham bought the building in 1892 and some changes had to be made before it was opened as a Public Library. It also includes part of the next building to the right.

The close up view of the library. You can see that is still says "Masonic Hall" above the middle first floor windows. The public couldn't browse the shelves for books until 1925. Before that time they had to request books from the counter. There was major alterations to the library during the 1960s. It was during that time when the library expanded into the next building. The last major refurbishment took place from 2005 until 2006.

This is the better view of The Junction pub (built 1903) at the junction of Vivian Road (near Waitrose) and the Harborne High Street (on the right). There is a pedestrian crossing in the middle with a zebra crossing. 212 High Street. There website describes it as Victorian but with a 1903 date it is from the Edwardian period. It has distinctive red brick terracotta and stone detailing.

This pub is called the Harborne Stores and is a Traditional Free House. 109 High Street. It's now part of the Stonegate Pub Company. Near the corner of Station Road on the High Street in Harborne.

Near the end of the High Street is no's 20 to 26 High Street in Harborne. No's 20, 22 and 24 used to be for many years Fishers Surveyors and Property Managers (established in 1913), but it looks like they have moved out. Cafe Boutique & Cake Shop is at no 26. Looks very much like a Victorian set of terraced houses.

Harborne Market used to be in this building betwen the High Street and Vivian Road. It was open until around 2011, and was closed / derelict from 2012 until 2015 when Paradice Gelateria opened. Webster & Co Solicitors used to be on the floors above, but seems like it hasn't been there for years, I'm not sure if they were open in the later years of the market being open on the ground floor.

This view of Paradice Gelateria from Vivian Road in Harborne, was the rear side of the now former Harborne Market. The Harborne Market Cafe used to occupy the units on the left. From Google Maps Street View, the exterior of the cafe wasn't much to look at. Temporary wooden doors that looked like hoardings. But they had signs outside until 2011 saying that they were open. By 2012 it looks like they had closed down.

If you get off the 11C on Harborne Park Road you might see the modern spire of this church on Vivian Road. It's St Mary's Church, Harborne and was built between 1875 and 1877 (the Victorian church building not including the later 20th century buildings).  It was founded by the Passionists in 1875 and is currently served by the Augustinians.

Another look at The New Inn. In part 1 I posted a view of it from Greenfield Road, so I popped back to Harborne and took this new photo of the view of it on Vivian Road. A pub has been on this site since at least 1845 (or earlier). The pub has been refurbished in recent years and has had new pub signs installed.

The next pub is The White Horse on York Street in Harborne. Seen below in 2015. Ansells ran the pub back in the 1960s. By 2015 it was a Festival Ale House.

The second photo of The White Horse shows it during November 2018. By then it was under new ownership. Ostler's took over in 2017.

There is many ghost signs around Birmingham, and Harborne is no exception. This one can be found on War Lane for A.W. Reynolds & Son who did Building Repairs. They were based 262 High Street (assume on the Harborne High Street). It was on the side of a house. It's possible that they were based there at War Lane and at High Street as well.

Seen on Park Hill Road in Harborne is Elizabeth Bretherton. In a building on the corner called Acorn House. I'm not sure if it is an office or an art gallery, but is part of a set of terraced houses. One of which in the middle says Kingscote Place 1883. Close to Nursery Road.

Over on the corner of North Road and Park Hill Road used to be Sue Howells Art. This view was in 2016, but after being there for at least a decade or more (Google Maps Street View only goes to 2008), it was replaced in 2017 by Barberology. I saw this shop in March 2016 and by September 2016 it looks like Barberology were being fitted out in this shop.
Next door to Sue Howells on Park Hill Road was ToTo Hair until 2012. Comida took over in 2015 until 2017. Caffiened took over in 2018.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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