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Architecture
21 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Central Square, Brindleyplace: Westside's central hub for events

Development of Central Square in Brindleyplace took place in the 1990s. In the centre is the Brindleyplace Cafe which is a Costa Coffee. One building looks like it escaped from Venice and that's Three Brindleyplace. Four Brindleyplace is now home to Caffe Nero and BANK (a restaurant not a bank). Opposite is Two Brindleyplace. Five Brindleyplace finishes off the square.

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Central Square, Brindleyplace: Westside's central hub for events





Development of Central Square in Brindleyplace took place in the 1990s. In the centre is the Brindleyplace Cafe which is a Costa Coffee. One building looks like it escaped from Venice and that's Three Brindleyplace. Four Brindleyplace is now home to Caffe Nero and BANK (a restaurant not a bank). Opposite is Two Brindleyplace. Five Brindleyplace finishes off the square.


Lets have a look around Central Square, Brindleyplace. First with my earliest photos from May 2009.

Costa Coffee based in the Brindleyplace Cafe or Central Cafe. I have been here several times over the years. Although it's more convenient now to go to the Costa at Arena Birmingham (it's bigger). This view looking towards Six Brindleyplace (to the left) and Five Brindleyplace (to the right).

Looking towards Two Brindleyplace. Near there is the water fountain jets. There is a path in the middle that goes down the steps. The building was completed in 1997. At one point it was the offices of Lloyds TSB (now just Lloyds Bank).

Now Birmingham's very own escaped from Venice buildings. Three Brindleyplace, which was completed in 1998. It faces the canalside and is to the right of the National Sealife Centre. In recent years restaurant space has been opened up on the ground floor.

Five Brindleyplace is seen to the right of Six Brindleyplace and the Costa Coffee Cafe. It was completed in 1996. It was offices of BT. But in recent years has been refurbished into offices for Deutsche Bank (who used to be in One Brindleyplace (that has been taken over by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games).

View of the Aqueduct sculpture by Miles Davies seen in November 2009. It was unveiled in 1995. Four Brindleyplace seen behind was completed in 1999. BANK the restaurant was in Central Square 10 years ago like it is now. I think an estate agents was where Caffe Nero is now (on the left). I regularly go to that Caffe Nero (as with others around the City and Solihull).

The water fountain jets. Walk down the path in the middle for safety reasons. Kids may want to play in the water. Sometimes it is turned off. Between Two and Three Brindleyplace. Seen in May 2009.

Now a look at some of the events held here over the years.

4 Squares Weekender

Held over the weekend of the 6th to 8th September 2013. Co-inciding with the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. They also used Victoria Square, Chamberlain Square and Centenary Square. I saw it on the 7th September 2013.

This is Pif Paf.
The thrilling new aerial sculpture by Pif Paf, within a transforming mechanical world of action, metal and rope, presented by mac Birmingham.

Some musicians including a man with a guitar. Was still an estate agent at Four Brindleyplace at this time (no Caffe Nero until sometime in 2014).

One of the pink and white banners for 4 Squares Weekender.

Another view of Pif Paf.

Fine and Local Food Market

This was on the 30th May 2014. These market stalls near Two Brindleyplace.

These market stalls between the Costa Coffee Cafe and Three Brindleyplace. Looking towards Two Brindleyplace (on the left).

Brindleyplace Film Festival

This was held from the 7th to 13th July 2014. On Saturday the 12th July 2014 they were showing Toy Story 2 in Central Square.

The crowd of people enjoying the movie in the summer sunshine, as I headed for a coffee at Caffe Nero in Four Brindleyplace. They could be in Venice but Three Brindleyplace is in Birmingham. The Waters Edge on the right leads towards the canal and The ICC.

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

It was an art trail of painted owls across the city. Was a pair in Central Square from July 2015 for a 10 week period over the summer. (the old The Big Hoot website is no longer online).

This one was called You Can Call Me Owl by the artist Stephen McKay and the sponsor was Brindleyplace. Seen in July 2015. It looked like a red phone box. Seen close to Two Brindleyplace.

This owl that resembled the IKON Gallery was outside of Five Brindleyplace. The Oozells Owl by the artist Jodie Silverman and the sponsor was Deutsche Bank (outside of their new home from 2014). See also my IKON Gallery post.

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

Another public art trail around Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell and Dudley. But this time painted bears. A 10 week trail over the summer from July 2017. Their website has unfortunately been taken over by something that is nothing to do with the trail.

Bearlock was by the artist Lee O'Brien and the sponsor was Deustche Bank. Seen outside of Five Brindleyplace. Based upon Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Seen in July 2017.

Bear'indleyplace was by the artist Jennifer Shufflebottom and the sponsor was Brindleyplace. Was close to Two Brindleyplace.

Christmas 2016

Seen in December 2016 was Santa's Christmas Boot. A bit like one of those Magical Lantern things that was at the Botanical Gardens at the time.

Seems to me like Brindleyplace only put's up teir Christmas tree in early December, like his one in December 2016. looking towards Caffe Nero and Four Brindleyplace. You wont find a Christmas tree here in November (unlike other parts of the City Centre).

Amazon Treasure Truck

This was seen in February 2018. Seen parked close to Three Brindleyplace. Over 2018 I kept seeing it return to the City Centre multiple times. Sometimes in Victoria Square, sometimes at the Bullring.

The front side of the Amazon Treasure Truck near Costa Coffee and Five Brindleyplace.

This view towards Four Brindleyplace and Caffe Nero. The occasion for this visit was Valentines Day.

Forget me not

This was during April 2018. Got these views from the Brindleyplace Car Park. There for the second year from the 2nd to 8th April 2018.

2000 wrought iron flowers symbolises a special person who is no longer with us. Views from the car park were a bit awkward to get.

Bit harder to get a decent view from the square itself. I'm not sure if it returned here for a third year in 2019 or not. Didn't hear anything about it this time around.

Fast & Furious

This was seen in Central Square during April 2018. Promoting Fast & Furious Live which was going to be at Arena Birmingham on the 20th, 21st and 22nd April 2018 (last year).

Various revved up and modded cars were parked in the square. We now have Fast & Furious 9 to await in cinemas in 2020 (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw came out in August 2019).

The Fast & Furious Live lorry parked near BANK at Four Brindleyplace.

Brindley The Place

This was a temporary renaming of Brindleyplace as Brindley The Place during April 2019 (these signs have gone now). This was on Three Brindleyplace or Three Brindley The Place.

This was at Four Brindleyplace. Or Four Brindley The Place.

Welcome to Brindley The Place. This large banner was down Six Brindleyplace or Six Brindley The Place.

More Central Square photos here Brindleyplace, Central Square, Birmingham. Including some small dinosaurs and Oompa loompas.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
19 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham over the years

The world famous Coca Cola Christmas Truck used to make an annual visit to Birmingham (and other places across the UK). It will not be returning to Birmingham in December 2019 (instead to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre near Dudley). Instead enjoy this gallery of photos from the Bullring (2014 and 2016) and Eastside City Park (2017 and 2018).

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Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham over the years





The world famous Coca Cola Christmas Truck used to make an annual visit to Birmingham (and other places across the UK). It will not be returning to Birmingham in December 2019 (instead to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre near Dudley). Instead enjoy this gallery of photos from the Bullring (2014 and 2016) and Eastside City Park (2017 and 2018).


St Martin's Square, Bullring, December 2014

I was first able to get photos of the world famous Coca Cola Christmas Truck at the Bullring in St Martin's Square on the early evening on the 11th December 2014.

Was a crowd of people in the queue to get a free can of Coca Cola, or pose with the truck. Was near Selfridges, St Martin's Church and a Christmas tree.

Views from the upper level balcony at the Bullring are best to see the Coca Cola Truck (and other things that park here).

The Coca Cola Truck always drew a crowd of people.

You know the "holidays are coming" when Santa brings his Coca Cola Truck to town!

St Martin's Square, Bullring, December 2016

Thanks to Birmingham Updates for using one my 2016 photos on their Social Media posts, I now know that it wont be returning to Birmingham in December 2019.

I next saw the Coca Cola Truck when it returned to the Bullring on the 17th December 2016. This time got my photos in the daylight hours.

Similar views as before, but you can see the Coca Cola Truck properly now. A Coke man takes a families photo with the truck.

The Bullring's 2016 Christmas tree look rather artificial that year. This is the photo that Birmingham Updates used. Coca Cola Truck Bham Updates.

Getting different views, but more of the same.

Going round the side of Selfridges for this view of the Coca Cola Truck at the Bullring.

Ice Skate Birmingham, Eastside City Park, December 2017

The next time I saw the Coca Cola Truck was when it visited Ice Skate Birmingham in Eastside City Park. This was on the 9th December 2017. This was the day before it snowed. I was coming back on the train from a day out in Bedworth. Not much of a view from the train, so I headed to Eastside after I arrived at Birmingham New Street Station.

Close up view of the world famous Coca Cola Truck. New views with it included The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station.

This view with the Birmingham Big Wheel and the other rides that were at Ice Skate Birmingham. They found this site in 2017 due to the then redevelopment of Centenary Square (which took two years in the end).

Slightly further back with the Birmingham Big Wheel. It would be nice to get something like this again in Westside, but the Coca Cola Truck isn't coming to Birmingham this year.

Last 2017 view as the light faded. Masshouse residential blocks to the right. Rotunda in the middle and the Birmingham Big Wheel to the left.

Ice Skate Birmingham, Eastside City Park, December 2018

Spending a section festive season in Eastside City Park, Ice Skate Birmingham once again hosted the return of the Coca Cola Christmas Truck. I saw it on the early evening of the 15th December 2018, in rainy sleety cold and freezing weather!

Despite the weather conditions, the resulting photos looking quite Christmasy, even thought it wasn't snowing. The Birmingham Big Wheel to the right. With The Woodman pub seen behind.

For 2018, they parked the Coca Cola Truck in a slightly different position. Also Ice Skate Birmingham were further to the right, as the land they used previously was now HS2 land.

Probably due to the weather, there wasn't many people around.

Still the sleety rain added to the effect of a Coca Cola Christmas!

I hope people at Merry Hill enjoy it. Never been there myself. Although I know that you can get a bus from Cradley Heath Station (which is on the Snow Hill lines). According to the Birmingham Mail, it will be in Merry Hill on the 6th and 7th December 2019. Coca-Cola Christmas truck 2019 heads to intu Merry Hill.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
19 Nov 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - November 2019

Here's the latest construction photo update for 103 Colmore Row with the steel structure rising fast.

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The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - November 2019





Here's the latest construction photo update for 103 Colmore Row with the steel structure rising fast.


Crane sections are massive when you see one up close!

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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50 passion points
Open spaces
18 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Highbury Park through the seasons and the years between Kings Heath and Moseley

I first started getting photos of Highbury Park near Kings Heath and Moseley 10 years ago in December 2009. First proper venture into the park when it was all covered in snow to see Highbury Hall. The park was originally the grounds of the home of Joseph Chamberlain. He gave the park to the city before his death in 1914 and the park opened to the public in 1930.

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Highbury Park through the seasons and the years between Kings Heath and Moseley





I first started getting photos of Highbury Park near Kings Heath and Moseley 10 years ago in December 2009. First proper venture into the park when it was all covered in snow to see Highbury Hall. The park was originally the grounds of the home of Joseph Chamberlain. He gave the park to the city before his death in 1914 and the park opened to the public in 1930.


Highbury Park on Wikipedia. The park is the estate of Highbury Hall which was the former home of Joseph Chamberlain. Once the Mayor of Birmingham in the late 19th Century. He was later an MP. The hall is near the north east corner of the park on Yew Tree Road in Moseley (in the Moor Green area). Before he died he bequeathed the park to the people of Birmingham. The park finally opened to the public in 1930.

The Camp Hill Line is to the south of the park. Hopefully in a few years, Kings Heath Station will be rebuilt close to where The Gym and Homebase are now at the Findlay Road Retail Park.

The main entrance of the park is on the High Street in Kings Heath, close to Queensbridge Road. If you are coming from Kings Heath Park, you can also enter Highbury Park from Dad's Lane, in an entrance on Shutlock Lane. The other entrances and exits are on Moor Green Lane, and near the gatehouse lodge close to Yew Tree Road.

From here you can then walk towards Cannon Hill Park, either down Russell Road or head down Moor Green Lane and enter on Brockley Grove onto the Holders Lane Woods.

 

OK back to Highbury Park.

 

December 2009

The first time I got photos of Highbury Park was from early December 2009 from the High Street in Kings Heath, but I did not enter the park at this time as I wasn't ready. I probably headed up Queensbridge Road at the time.

The path down into the park. I would return a few weeks later after it had snowed.

About 4 days before Xmas Day I headed to the park, this time for an actual walk around. Back to the High Street, Kings Heath entrance (at this point hadn't used the other entrances). A bike near the caution sign.

The old brick wall. It would later be fully repaired years later.

One of the ponds in the park. Totally frozen and iced over.

The paths near Moor Green Lane and Shutlock Lane had a thin layer of snow over them. Evergreen trees behind trees that had shed their leaves.

I think the snow was completely frozen over the paths despite all the footprints and tyre marks from bikes. This path leads back to the old wall. The gardens of Highbury Hall are to the left of here.

Near the entrance / exit to Moor Green Lane, close to Yew Tree Road is this gatehouse / lodge. Now a private residence. Built around 1880 as part of the original approach to Highbury Hall. Part of the drive is still present. But most of the route is now covered by trees. Now the only main entrance to Highbury Hall is on Yew Tree Road.

January 2015

The next major time I visited Highbury Park with my camera was when there was these outdoor musical instruments that people could play with (especially young kids). This one looked like a harp.

A carved wooden bench.

Another wooden bench. Notice that they both have flowers carved into them.

Can you play? Can you play loud or quiet? - Dynamics. Can you play long or short notes? Duration. This is what it says on each one of these musical instruments.

A bit closer up. Not really sure how they work.

A wooden circle. Birmingham's very on "Stone Henge" or more like "Wood Henge" in Highbury Park.

Stone hall in a triangular piece of stone. Again not fully sure what you are supposed to do with this, maybe say something through the hole and another person may hear you?

August 2018

Heading down Dad's Lane towards the Shutlock Lane entrane of the park. Saw this National Express West Midlands single decker bus on the 27 bus route. It would also pass Kings Heath Park.

Saw a Land Rover Series II in the car park.

Mocha Moo Cafe was at The Great Big Pet Picnic. Here people could get food and drink while with their pets in this field.

The leaves were lush and green in the middle of August 2018. And the ponds made some nice reflections and ripples.

The pond is also known as the Fish Pond. Many birds are to be seen around here.

Saw this heron pirched on a branches of a tree that was over the pond.

Trees in a wood and early signs of the autumn to come.

Almost the middle of August, and leaves were already falling off trees, and it wasn't yet September!

Yet the leaves on the trees were still green. Apart from the leaves that had already fallen.

August 2019

Heading round the back of the old brick wall. Now fully restored, after part of it was damaged. Signs of graffiti, but faint.

Getting closer to the wall. Trees all full of green leaves at this point. This was near the end of August 2019.

Here you can see evidence of the brick wall repairs. Looking as good as new.

A grass path amongst the trees. I didn't head up this one.

Reflections in the pond. Leaves still lush and green before autumn came.

A Common moorhen seen in the Fish Pond. The odd leaf had fallen into the pond. And the fishes are just about visible close to the surface. At least I think they are fishes!

Several flower beds with roses. Close to the Shutlock Lane and Moor Green Lane exit.

After this I headed down Moor Green Lane and went into Cannon Hill Park via the Holders Lane Woods. In late summer, there is usually a fun fair on the fairground in Cannon Hill Park, which I saw on my walk towards Edgbaston Road. You can even start your three parks walk in Kings Heath Park and walk through Highbury Park and then into Cannon Hill Park. Ending up near the Cricket Ground.

 

For more of my Highbury Park photos, please check out my Flickr album here Highbury Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Photography
15 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The 2009 Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market (10 years ago this November)

I took my very first photos of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market 10 years ago on the 14th November 2009. Can't believe that 10 years already has passed since then. I have over the years taken more photos from the market, but not as full as my initial photos (subsequent years mostly the market going up or down). Back then was a helter skelter, giant polar bear and Santa heads!

Related

The 2009 Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market (10 years ago this November)





I took my very first photos of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market 10 years ago on the 14th November 2009. Can't believe that 10 years already has passed since then. I have over the years taken more photos from the market, but not as full as my initial photos (subsequent years mostly the market going up or down). Back then was a helter skelter, giant polar bear and Santa heads!


These photos were taken on the 14th November 2009. 10 years ago this week. In the years since I have taken more photos at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, but not with all the crowds that I experienced 10 years ago!

Victoria Square, November 2009

Now this is the route of the new Westside Metro extension, but back in 2009 Anthony Gormley's Iron:Man was still here, and they had a helter skelter ride near Victoria Square House! Was also a nest in this tree (now cut down).

Anthony Gormley's Iron:Man statue enjoying the first weekend of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market. 10 years on it's still in storage.

Another man with a camera heading around the market.

Can you see the giant polar bear with a Christmas hat?

Close up of the polar bear. I think this was a Polar Beer Bear Bar (or something like that?).

Also a giant Santa Claus head. Whatever happened to that?

Bob Wilson's Carousel returns like clockwork every year, so expect to see it in Victoria Square now, like 10 years ago. The Floozie in the Jacuzzi, when the River was dry (after a leak).

New Street, November 2009

This was the view heading down Christchurch Passage towards New Street.

Already looking too crowded on New Street, yet I headed down to try and get my first photos of the market.

Somehow caught a beggar with his hands out near the Halifax (now a Nando's).

More people as I headed down New Street. This is from Ethel Street.

This piece is at the Frankfurt Christmas Market every year. Red candles with figures of Santa, Nutcrackers etc. Always just before Bennetts Hill.

Carrying on past the Tesco Metro. There is never any market stalls between Bennetts Hill and Temple Street. A pedestrianised road to allow vehicles through.

Getting closer to Corporation Street. Near Slater Menswear and Urban Outfitters

Near an Oasis shop. Which is still there now. Close to what was a Waterstone's book shop (now an Apple store). Would be a few years later before the market stretched as far as Rotunda Square.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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