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BirminghamWeAre

A City for All

BirminghamWeAre is a community devoted to social value, providing a shared space for people who make a difference and together have a positive social impact across the City.

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Architecture
14 hours ago - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, St Martin's Square in the Bullring - December 2019

St Martin's Square is at the heart of the Bullring shopping centre hosting St Martin in the Bullring (St Martin's Church), the Selfridges Building, many restaurants, the south entrance to the Bullring shopping centre, and the gateway to the Birmingham Markets and Digbeth. Also there are the 'Copper Tree' and the Birmingham Blitz Memorial.

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Birmingham, St Martin's Square in the Bullring - December 2019





St Martin's Square is at the heart of the Bullring shopping centre hosting St Martin in the Bullring (St Martin's Church), the Selfridges Building, many restaurants, the south entrance to the Bullring shopping centre, and the gateway to the Birmingham Markets and Digbeth. Also there are the 'Copper Tree' and the Birmingham Blitz Memorial.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
06 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Christmas at the Bullring down St Martin's Walk to St Martin's Square over the years

Every year like clockwork, the Bullring puts up their Christmas lights and Christmas tree between October and November every year. The gallery here from 2015 to 2019. Better to walk down St Martin's Walk, find it quite steep going up hill. The Christmas tree is usually in St Martin's Square outside of St Martin's Church (usually artificial).

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Christmas at the Bullring down St Martin's Walk to St Martin's Square over the years





Every year like clockwork, the Bullring puts up their Christmas lights and Christmas tree between October and November every year. The gallery here from 2015 to 2019. Better to walk down St Martin's Walk, find it quite steep going up hill. The Christmas tree is usually in St Martin's Square outside of St Martin's Church (usually artificial).


2015

This was during November 2015. The Christmas tree in St Martin's Square lit up after dark with Selfridges in the background.

Looking at the Christmas lights up St Martin's Walk between both the West and East Mall. This is towards Rotunda Square.

2016

This was during November 2016. The artificial Christmas tree seen in St Martin's Square.

This Bar was near all these Christmas trees in December 2016. Around the time that the Cola Cola Christmas truck returned to Birmingham. Post here Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham over the years.

2017

There was a Lurpak Christmas tree in Rotunda Square during November 2017. Was the first weekend of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, but it was unrelated to that.

The Christmas tree and carousel (merry-go-round) that was in St Martin's Square during December 2017.

The carousel was only at the Bullring during the Christmas / winter 2017 / 2018 season. Seen close to Selfridges, lit up in blue after dark.

Looking up at the Christmas lights from the statue of Nelson above St Martin's Walk towards the Rotunda.

2018

Now December 2018 and the Christmas lights up St Martin's Walk had changed. There was also now a small Christmas market at the bottom of the hill.

First look at the Snow House in the direction of the West Mall.

The Salvation Army band were performing near the Christmas tree in St Martin's Square. Visitors could pose with the reindeer in front of the tree.

They had changed the Christmas tree for 2018. Looking more green than the previous white one.

Heavy sleety cold rain as I walked down St Martin's Walk towards the Snow House. Was heading to Eastside City Park, where Ice Skate Birmingham was (at the time).

While it looks Christmasy, the weather didn't feel like it! The resulting photos from that weather came out quite good though, like the Christmas lights with Christmas trees and reindeer with some stars.

The Snow House. People under cover were probably dry. Outside everyone else was getting wet!

2019

The Snow House returned in October 2019, around 10 months later. In time for Halloween. So initially there was pumpkins and cobwebs etc around and a Haunted House.

The Haunted House. It would get replaced in November 2019 by the Christmas market again.

It is now November 2019 and the Christmas lights on the East Mall. "Walk in strut out". This is near Rotunda Square.

Better weather this time heading down St Martin's Walk. It looks like they reused the 2018 Christmas lights. The spire of St Martin's Church on the walk down to the Snow House. By then the small Christmas market at the bottom of the hill was back again.

Not quite as dark enough as I would have wanted it. But zooming into these Christmas lights made it a bit more dark looking. Snow House at the bottom.

The 2019 Christmas tree in St Martin's Square appears to be the same one as in 2018. Complete with the reindeer bench.

Looking up St Martin's Walk. The Christmas lights from the statue of Nelson up to Rotunda Square. You can compare this shot with the equivalent I took in 2017.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Dec 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - December 2019

This build is going up so fast! These photos from the 30th November seem out of date already but it was a nice sunny day!

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The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - December 2019





This build is going up so fast! These photos from the 30th November seem out of date already but it was a nice sunny day!


Bonus bird in this one!

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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50 passion points
Open spaces
04 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

City Centre Gardens a hidden gem behind The REP and Library of Birmingham

You can find the City Centre Gardens on Cambridge Street behind The REP and Library of Birmingham. Part of the Civic Centre estate, the gardens were opened in May 1993 close to the four residential tower blocks. Peaceful and relaxing, you would hardly know that it is there. You can go in during any season. Also nice views from the Library of Birmingham. Brindley Drive is on the right side.

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City Centre Gardens a hidden gem behind The REP and Library of Birmingham





You can find the City Centre Gardens on Cambridge Street behind The REP and Library of Birmingham. Part of the Civic Centre estate, the gardens were opened in May 1993 close to the four residential tower blocks. Peaceful and relaxing, you would hardly know that it is there. You can go in during any season. Also nice views from the Library of Birmingham. Brindley Drive is on the right side.


City Centre Gardens

Part of the Civic Centre Estate, there was various proposed schemes from 1918 onwards. Land was cleared in the 1920s near the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal towards the former Baskerville Wharf. The Hall of Memory was completed in 1925 and later Baskerville House by 1940 (just as WW2 broke out). The earlier schemes were abandoned, and by 1958 a new proposal for a line or residential towers was proposed. These were built by 1968 from the City Architect, Alan Maudsley. Including Galton Tower, Norton Tower, Crescent Tower and Cambridge Tower.

On the land where the gardens would one day be built was old factories and a warehouse. Apparently they were very derelict and run down. When Bingley Hall still stood (until the fire of 1984 - now the site of The ICC), you could park down this way. The City Centre Gardens was opened on the 18th May 1993 by two Councillors of Birmingham City Council. It later won an award from the Local Government News, Urban Green Space in 1995 for Street Design, winning the First Prize.

I have popped in here many times over the years in different weather conditions. When the Library of Birmingham opened in September 2013, there was decent views from the back of the Discovery Terrace (on Level 3) and from the Secret Garden (on Level 7).

 

February 2010

First visit into City Centre Gardens was during February 2010. One of the entrance signs on Cambridge Street with childrens artwork.

Main path to the central gazebo. There was some plaques on here, including one dated 18th May 1993 when the gardens was first opened to the public.

The second plaque on the gazebo (at the top) was in memory of Donald Octavius Smith (1949 - 2007), who was the founder of the Organisation for Sickle Cell Research (OSCAR).

The view towards Baskerville House and the Alpha Tower. Construction of the Library of Birmingham hadn't really begun at this point. The Orion Building and Hall of Memory were also visible from here.

View towards The ICC Birmingham. The REP was to the left and Brindleyplace over to the right. Tower of Three Brindleyplace visible from here.

This view towards Brindley Drive Car Park (since renamed Paradise Circus Car Park by Birmingham City Council). Baskerville House on the right.

Exit gate to Cambridge Street. The BT Tower is visible from the gardens.

August 2013

My next major visit to City Centre Gardens was in August 2013, a month before the Library of Birmingham was opened to the public.

A colourful flower tower seen from the far left Cambridge Street entrance (near the roundabout).

Flower beds lining the side of the gardens near Cambridge Street.

The Library of Birmingham seen for the first time completed next to Baskerville House. It would open a month after this. You can see the Discovery Terrace on the left, I would get to go up there when it opened in September 2013.

Hanging flower pot with the BT Tower.

The sun shining on these ball shaped hedges.

Lots of green with pinks and reds on this border.

The mixture of plants and flowers on the border close to Brindley Drive.

September 2013

The view from the Library of Birmingham. This was my first visit inside. I actually went 18 days after it first opened. Back then the library was so busy in the early weeks so I waited a bit. The view from the Discovery Terrace, Below is City Centre Gardens with the view of the four Civic Centre Estate towers (Galton Tower, Norton Tower, Crescent Tower and Cambridge Tower).

People relaxing or playing in the gardens. To be honest I'm not sure what they were doing!

April 2015

My next visit was during April 2015. The groundsmen has planted lots of colourful flowers all round the gardens. And they looked wonderful!

The gazebo seemed to have lost the wooden beams on top by then. Not sure why though.

You can't really go in here, as there is always flowers or plants in the middle. Lots of red,s pinks and yellows seen here during the spring.

A bench and one of the corner flower beds nearby the gazebo.

During 2017

Views during January 2017 from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham as a pair of City Gardeners are seen hard at work.

Probably replanting the borders during a cold winter. There is usually not that much planted here in the witner. So mostly looks green, until spring comes and they plant flowers of a variety of colours. The wooden planks on the gazebo had been reattached by this point.

Panoramic taken in February 2017. From left to right: Baskerville House, Library of Birmingham, The REP and The ICC.

It is now August 2017 and the City Centre Gardens was looking lush and green during the height of the summer. Was several people sitting on the lawn. The usual view from the Discovery Terrace. With Norton Tower, Crescent Tower and Cambridge Tower visible from here.

January 2018

Winter again and it is now January 2018. Some rain and a light dusting of snow.

There was a lot of coaches on Cambridge Street at the time for the Strictly Come Dancing Tour at Arena Birmingham. It was probably really cold!

You can see the Civic Centre Towers from which ever angle you approach them. These are probably Galton Tower, Norton Tower and Crescent Tower.

If you can tell from these photos it was raining at the time, hence rain droplets on my lens. Not usually many people walking in here during winter. maybe the odd one or two.

Autumn 2019

Passing City Centre Gardens during October 2019 on Cambridge Street. This is the corner near Brindley Drive. This is the view from the service road between the Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House.

I'd previously got views from the Discovery Terrace. But I think this was my first view of City Centre Gardens in it's entirety from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham (on Level 7). Very autumnal all over with leaves on the ground during November 2019. The towers seen here are Norton, Crescent and Cambridge towers.

After collecting my Birmingham We Are 2020 Gems calendars, I popped into City Centre Gardens before heading towards St Paul's Square. Late autumn at the end of November 2019. Looking towards the Library of Birmingham.

Hedgerow archway hides the brick walls near those benches. With the BT Tower to the right. Someone will have to go up and install the new BT logos in 2020!

Far corner close to Brindley Drive. The REP and The ICC to the left. With the Civic Centre towers on the right. Leaves all over the place.

Which ever way you look the Civic Centre towers are there. Hedges and bushes of different sizes to the left of the brick wall.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Transport
03 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Metro trams 34 and 35 on a test run between Grand Central and Town Hall (November 2019)

West Midlands Metro had trams 34 and 35 out at lunchtime on the 20th November 2019. When I saw them go between Grand Central Tram Stop on Stephenson Street to Town Hall Tram Stop on Paradise Street (I didn't have time to go to Centenary Square). They kept going up and down Pinfold Street, using the stop at Grand Central that has been out of service for a few years.

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West Midlands Metro trams 34 and 35 on a test run between Grand Central and Town Hall (November 2019)





West Midlands Metro had trams 34 and 35 out at lunchtime on the 20th November 2019. When I saw them go between Grand Central Tram Stop on Stephenson Street to Town Hall Tram Stop on Paradise Street (I didn't have time to go to Centenary Square). They kept going up and down Pinfold Street, using the stop at Grand Central that has been out of service for a few years.


This observation of the trams on a test run was on the lunchtime of Wednesday 20th November 2019. Involving trams 34 and 35. On this day I popped up towards Victoria Square, then back down to Stephenson Street. I saw tram 23 on a test run between the Town Hall and Centenary Square on Friday 22nd November 2019 (link to that post near the bottom of this post).

I had just missed Tram 34 heading down Stephenson Street. Seen leaving Grand Central Tram Stop. While tram 33 was in service to Wolverhampton.

I popped up to Victoria Square via Pinfold Street and found West Midlands Metro Tram 35 at Town Hall Tram Stop.

This was the tram formerly called Angus Adams (not sure why it was denamed). Also the tram the Queen got on board 4 years ago in 2015 (at Bull Street Tram Stop).

Tram 35 seen heading past Victoria Square and the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, making it's way under battery power down Pinfold Street.

Tram 35 heading down Pinfold Street before turning left onto Stephenson Street. Birmingham New Street Station is directly ahead.

Tram 35 comes to a stop at Grand Central Tram Stop. Trams in service were still using the platform next to Birmingham New Street Station.

The view from Caffe Nero as Tram 34 departs from Grand Central Tram Stop. As it was out of service, passengers could not board this tram.

As I sat in Caffe Nero, saw both trams 34 and 35 returning both ways on a test up and down the Westside Metro extension. Bit of an awkward view from the table I sat at. Later in the day I did pop back to Victoria Square (after dark) but did not see any trams on the new extension, but was an opening to Town Hall Tram Stop.

 

Bonus photos.

Tram 30 heading down Stephenson Place towards the current Grand Central terminus.

Tram 36 seen at the end of October 2019. Now with the full blue livery and the My Metro app adverts still on it (passing Martineau Place and Poundland). The other advert trams are also now fully blue. Although tram 19 (1999 - 2019 - 20 Years) is unchanged.

On the 22nd November 2019 I observed tram 23 on a test between Town Hall and Centenary Square. Watch this space as that will be in a separate post to this one.

See that post here West Midlands Metro tram 23 on a test run between Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop (November 2019).

 

Update on the 28th November 2019. It's been a few weeks since Jasper Carrott himself had a ride on a tram for the first time in 70 years (towards Centenary Square). And they had a naming ceremony on tram 28 near the Town Hall in Victoria Square. Been waiting and waiting to see this tram with his name! Finally saw it at Grand Central Tram Stop as it departed for Wolverhampton.

I have heard / read that Town Hall Tram Stop might be called Birmingham Town Hall Tram Stop. And Centenary Square Tram Stop maybe given the name Birmingham Library Tram Stop. Will have to wait and see when the stops actually opens in December 2019.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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