Popular
Posts
1143
Points
45K
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.

Launch date: August 2018
Combined FreeTimePays following: 101K


Community sponsors:

Art, culture & creativity
01 Dec 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, the Star Flyer in Centenary Square - December 2019

The Star Flyer ride in Centenary Square seems popular as part of Ice Skate Birmingham, the screams can be heard from some distance, I'm sure some of them really, really wish they hadn't gone on it! More photos in the full post.

Related

Birmingham, the Star Flyer in Centenary Square - December 2019





The Star Flyer ride in Centenary Square seems popular as part of Ice Skate Birmingham, the screams can be heard from some distance, I'm sure some of them really, really wish they hadn't gone on it! More photos in the full post.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Open spaces
28 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Tudor Grange Park: former estate of the Bird family, now near Solihull College

Tudor Grange Park is the other main park near Solihull Town Centre. With entrances on Blossomfield Road and Homer Road. Also near Monkspath Hall Road. Originally the estate of the Bird family (of Bird's Custard fame). Solihull Council bought the park in 1946. The Alder Brook, a stream flows into a lake with many geese, ducks and swans etc. Good for walks. Also a cycling track.

Related

Tudor Grange Park: former estate of the Bird family, now near Solihull College





Tudor Grange Park is the other main park near Solihull Town Centre. With entrances on Blossomfield Road and Homer Road. Also near Monkspath Hall Road. Originally the estate of the Bird family (of Bird's Custard fame). Solihull Council bought the park in 1946. The Alder Brook, a stream flows into a lake with many geese, ducks and swans etc. Good for walks. Also a cycling track.


Previous related post on Alfred Bird here: Alfred Bird & Sons: the inventor of eggless custard.

Tudor Grange Park

The park was originally the estate of the Bird family, famed for their Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham. They lived in the nearby Tudor Grange House. Solihull Council bought the former farmland in 1946 and turned it into a park. Solihull College is quite close to the park on Blossomfield Road. Solihull Station is also in close walking distance from the park.

The park is quite close to my bus route, and you can walk in and out of the park from Solihull Town Centre. There is a path that goes under a railway bridge that carries the Chiltern Mainline between Birmingham Snow Hill / Moor Street and London Marylebone. Another bridge carries Prince's Way. The other major path for me is the one near Solihull College leading to the bus stop on Blossomfield Road. To the back is Monkspath Hall Road (near a car park).

I've been to this park several times over the years in different seasons so a gallery from different years.

May 2011

Starting from the Blossomfield Road in Solihull Town Centre. One of the paths close to Solihull Station (other side of the road) leads to Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.

A look at the modern Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.

Trees lush and green in the spring to the side of the leisure centre.

One of the paths in the park. Not far from the Alder Brook and the lake.

The skate park covered in graffiti. It is also close to the speedway or cycleway figure of eight. The skate park was built in 2003.

This sign welcomes you to Tudor Grange Park and shows a map of the Cycle and Wheeled Sports Track.

Another path. Feel it is best to stick to the path. The grass isn't too bad in the spring. In the colder months the grass gets a bit wet and muddy.

The lake is where you would find various birds such as ducks, geese, swans and gulls etc.

Another Welcome to Tudor Grange Park sign with a history of the park.

Central area with benches. The park improvements were done in 2008.

February 2014

The next visit in the late winter of 2014 at the beginning of February. Fingerpost pointing to the Town Centre, Play Area, Sports Area. Also to the Leisure Centre & Cafe.

Swings on the playground.

Slide in the playground.

Another view of the skate park. Interesting street art there at the time.

The path to Homer Road and the Town Centre. First bridge is the railway bridge that carries the Chiltern Mainline. The nearby railway station is Solihull Station which is to the left of here. Widney Manor and Dorridge are the next two local stations to the right. The next bridge down carries the road Prince's Way.

Now just before the road bridge for Prince's Way. Halfway to Homer Road. In the distance is the John Lewis Car Park (also near the Touchwood Shopping Centre).

For some reason I turned around and got another view of the railway bridge then turned back around and headed up the path to Homer Road. Probably wanted the bridges from both sides. In the distance is the playground.

A man (I think) carries his shopping bags down the path under the Prince's Way road bridge, before heading under the railway bridge. It is possible to see trains from the park, but trees are usually in the way for good views.

December 2015

It was Christmas Eve in December 2015 when I made this visit to Tudor Grange Park. Some of the birds in the lake. A coot.

A gull.

More gulls in the lake.

A moorhen on the lawn near the leaves.

January 2016

About a month later, but only had my then mobile camera on me. On this sunny lunchtime walk in the park. Close to the lake towards the leisure centre.

Rays of the sunshine on the lake full of birds.

December 2017

Snow in Tudor Grange Park near the end of December 2017. Mostly covering the grass. This was the snow from Boxing Day evening, the next day I headed to the park. But wasn't like the snow from 2 weeks earlier.

Snow on the grass either side of the Alder Brook.

End of the Alder Brook towards the lake. Wasn't cold enough to be iced over.

Gulls flying around the lake as a the sun catches on the surface of the lake.

Snow around the skate park.

Towards the playground on the left. Interesting lighting effects with the sun and clouds.

This is the athletics track at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre seen through the fence. A lot of snow here. Can hardly tell that it's an athletics track like this! There is a football field in the middle hence the goalpost.

Ducks behind the fence having their lunch. As well as the usual Mallards, was several Domestic ducks here.

More ducks and some swans as well.

December 2018

Another walk into Tudor Grange Park (a quick one). Got on this time from the path on Blossomfield Road (near Solihull College) and headed towards Monkspath Hall Road before going into the town centre.

The fingerpost and welcome sign again. Sometimes of later visits can't recall if I've previously taken something until I later check out my previous photos.

This is the railway bridge on Monkspath Hall Road, just outside of Tudor Grange Park. From here you can walk to Prince's Way and around to Homer Road. Either entering the shopping area at Touchwood or heading up Church Hill Road to the end of the Solihull High Street.

November 2019

An autumnal walk around Tudor Grange Park. This time starting from the path from Homer Road (I had been to the Town Centre again). Heading under the railway bridge into the park with lots of leaves on the ground.

Trees looking autumnal in browns and yellow colours. But still some green to be seen here.

The Alder Brook in the direction of the footbridge and lake. A caution sign here "No access to unauthorised persons". Went on the grass for this photo.

Leaving the park briefly at Monkspath Hall Road, this path takes you back into the park. Under this canopy of trees. Leaves completely covered the path.

Back in the park, now walking straight down the cycle way path or speedway path. Trees with brown leaves everywhere.

The path went round in a circle when I got to the far end, but did not see a connecting path to the path I wanted to take. Also a path to Solihull College had no access.

Cyclists can go round in a figure of eight. Here the path curving to the right. Trees in leaf fall, leaves on the ground.

Eventually cut past the skate park and playground, and made it to the path towards Blossomfield Road. Almost took the wrong path to Solihull College, before I found the familar path out of the park.

Looking on Google Maps, there is another park in Solihull called Hillfield Park. It is near Monkspath and Widney Manor. It might be possible to walk there from Solihull Town Centre, or just get the no 5 bus there instead. The weather has not been to great recently for park walks. It needs to be dry. I have been on the 5 past here a few times in the past, but not recently.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Transport
27 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Return of the Polar Express at Birmingham Moor Street Station (22nd November to 22nd December 2019)

It's back! The Polar Express from Vintage Trains. On at weekends from the 22nd November to 22nd December 2019. I saw it at Birmingham Moor Street Station on Sunday 24th November 2019. This was the 14:40 service. I went to get the Chiltern Railways 14:55 service (as far as Solihull).

Related

Return of the Polar Express at Birmingham Moor Street Station (22nd November to 22nd December 2019)





It's back! The Polar Express from Vintage Trains. On at weekends from the 22nd November to 22nd December 2019. I saw it at Birmingham Moor Street Station on Sunday 24th November 2019. This was the 14:40 service. I went to get the Chiltern Railways 14:55 service (as far as Solihull).


Last year's Post here Shakespeare and Polar Express.

Chiltern Railways 168002 (the train I would ride one stop to Solihull) and 45305 Alderman A. E. Draper seen at platform 3 and 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station respectfully. The Polar Express is back for the festive season for the 2nd year. I saw families and kids arrive through an open gate (I used the ticket barrier).

This steam locomotive is from the Great Central Railway. 45305 Alderman A. E. Draper. Built in 1936. Originally numbered 5305 for the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMSR). After nationalisation in 1948, British Railways renumbered it as 45305. Withdrawn in 1968. Saved by Albert Drapers and Sons Ltd. Named Alderman A E Draper in 1984. From 1996 was with the Great Central Railway.

Carriages further down platform 4.

20 189 was at the end.

Close up of 20 189, I last saw her at the Tyseley Locomotive Works at the open day 2 months earlier.

Lined up the shot with the Birmingham Moor Street sign.

Looking towards Primark. My train 168002 on the right at platform 3 (looks so small).

Selfridges to the left.

I got on my train sometime after 14:30 and got these close up shots of the steam locomotive. This showing the number 45305.

First saw the nameplate Alderman A. E. Draper here.

With all the steam, the windows on my train were steaming up. Was another 10 minutes before the Polar Express left, and I had to wait 25 minutes before my train departed.

Red lights above the buffer in front of 45305. Way Out and Refreshment signs in the background.

Nameplate about the dedication to the memory of Albert E. Draper. Who was the former Alderman and Mayor of the Borough of Hedon, East Yorkshire.

Just after 14:40 as scheduled, the Polar Express slowly reversed out of Platform 3. While I waited another 15 minutes, another Chiltern Railways Class 168 train arrived from London Marylebone.

My train later passed the Polar Express while it was a red light at Small Heath Station. Didn't take photos from the train as wasn't expected it there. Instead watch this video on Youtube Vintage Trains The Polar Express 24/11/2019. Video by TNXRail.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Open spaces
26 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cannon Hill Park through the seasons and over the years

I've taken hundreds and hundreds of photos of Cannon Hill Park over the years, so here will cut down to a selection of them. Of course I've been going to this park since I was little. But started taking photos of it in 2009. In winter, spring, summer or autumn always changing. Sometimes the same. Good for a walk. Many memorials here as well. Playgrounds and fun fairs. The MAC etc.

Related

Cannon Hill Park through the seasons and over the years





I've taken hundreds and hundreds of photos of Cannon Hill Park over the years, so here will cut down to a selection of them. Of course I've been going to this park since I was little. But started taking photos of it in 2009. In winter, spring, summer or autumn always changing. Sometimes the same. Good for a walk. Many memorials here as well. Playgrounds and fun fairs. The MAC etc.


Have a look at my Flickr album on Cannon Hill Park. If I take more photos, I will add them to that album.

2009

This was during May 2009. One of the earlier road trains that goes around the park.

The playground that is near the boating lake (if you went past the Midlands Art Centre / MAC).

This playground used to have a big ramp for kids to run along on.

This was during November 2009. Flower red with a circular pyramid of pots. Still some flowers even at that time of year.

Looking over the boating lake towards the playground. The cricket towers had yet to get refurbished / redcladded (Wickets Tower and Century Tower). They were given a white look in 2012.

Looking over the field in the park  towards the playground and boating lake.

Bridge over the lake. It exits towards the car park over another bridge (that crossed the River Rea). Over here you find many geese and gulls.

2010

This was during early December 2010 when Cannon Hill Park was covered in snow and all the lakes were frozen over.

Hardly anyone around as the boating lake was covered in a complete layer of ice.

Canada geese and gulls were able to stand on it. Was a section of open water near the start of the boating lake.

Just look at these Canada geese on the ice!

This is the second lake in the park. Also iced over. Known as the Canoe Pool according to Google Map.s

Seagulls flying around near this lake in early winter.

2011

Skipping ahead to April 2011. And was many spring flowers to see in the flower beds. Reds, yellows, purples etc.

A yellow flower bed.

Around this stone base or plinth was yellow, red, orange and pink coloured flowers.

Pink tulips and yellow flowers in this flower bed around a lamppost.

Palm trees in one area of the park. Maybe the wrong time of year to see them.

Many of the tulips were to be seen near the Russell Road entrance of the park. Pink ones here.

Red tulips. Making the park look colourful.

Another view of the pink tulips with yellow flowers.

2013

This was in July 2013. Don't think I got anything in 2012. Any way this time of the year was a lot of colourful summer flowrs. Yellows and reds in the flower beds.

Probably the same flower beds I took in the Spring 2011 photo. Just different flowers. Yellow flowers around the lamppost. Pinks in the flower beds behind.

A lot of red in these flower beds, plus several flower towers and a bit of yellow.

White and pinks I think in this flower bed.

These ones in the direction of the Boer War Memorial. Yellows, purples and pinks here.

2016

Ice cream van seen in March 2016. From the car park that runs along Queen's Ride. The footbridge over the River Rea is to the left and you head into the park from there. Verrecchia freshly whipped Italian ice cream.

Macro of a red tulip seen during May 2016.

And of a yellow tulip. Wonderful to see in April or May of every year.

Also this orangey yellow tulip.

2017

Wonderful display of Spring flowers and tulips during April 2017. Yellows, oranges and reds (I think).

Pink and purple tulips.

Flower towers and more of the pink and yellow tulips all over this large flower bed.

Close up of the purple and pink tulips. Red and yellow coloured flowers below.

They do a good job every year with these flower displays, especially over the spring and summer periods. A lot of reds here.

2018

Tourist road train seen during July 2018. That summer I'd been to Tuscany in Italy. So I saw road trains like this in Pisa. But I've seen similar over the years elsewhere on holiday as well.

That summer the grass was quite yellow after a long heatwave in July of that year.

Get some Italian ice cream. I was probably still uploading my Tuscany and Florence photos to Flickr at that time. Hopefully will go back to Italy again next year?

Now it was during October 2018. The palm trees were looking OK. The garden that is supposed to be a bit like Ancient Rome or Greece?

More palm trees and columns. This area is on the left as you enter the park from Edgbaston Road.

2019

A visit during February 2019. The sky was blue and the grass was green. Yet it was still winter. No leaves on the trees. View towards the boating lake.

Nice shadows from the trees on the field as families enjoy the sunshine in the winter. View towards The MAC.

Passing through the park in August 2019. A water jet fountain at the crazy golf course had gone sky blue.

A cyclist going past the wonderful flower beds. This was close to the Edgbaston Road entrance that I was heading to. A walk that started from Highbury Park and went in the back entrance via the Holders Lane Woods and the Rea Valley Route.

I'll probably do more Cannon Hill Park posts in the future. Got more material, such as the war memorials.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Photography
26 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Birmingham Big Wheel and (later) Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square (2009 - 2016, 2019 - present)

Here we will look at the Birmingham Big Wheel and other rides that have been in Centenary Square over the years. Eventually Ice Skate Birmingham took it over. My earliest photos from 2009. Ice Skate Birmingham was held in Centenary Square until 2016 (moving to Eastside for 2017 and 2018) before returning now in 2019.

Related

Birmingham Big Wheel and (later) Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square (2009 - 2016, 2019 - present)





Here we will look at the Birmingham Big Wheel and other rides that have been in Centenary Square over the years. Eventually Ice Skate Birmingham took it over. My earliest photos from 2009. Ice Skate Birmingham was held in Centenary Square until 2016 (moving to Eastside for 2017 and 2018) before returning now in 2019.


Ice Skate Birmingham has been running the Big Wheel and ice rink since at least 2016 in Centenary Square (also in Eastside City Park). Known as Winter Skate between 2013 and 2015. Before then it was just the Birmingham Big Wheel (and sometimes a few other rides).

Of course the Birmingham Big Wheel had been in Centenary Square before 2009 (10 years ago). But I only started taking photos of Brum back in 2009. So first got the Big Wheel in November and December 2009.

2009

Seen here in November 2009 in Centenary Square. The Birmingham Big Wheel sponsored by the Birmingham Mail. With Symphony Hall and The ICC Birmingham behind. Raining and gale force winds at the time.

It was now December 2009, and getting another view of the Birmingham Big Wheel at sunset. On my walk back into town after seeing Avatar at the cinema. The Christmas Craft Market was also in Centenary Square at the time.

I didn't get photos of the Birmingham Big Wheel in 2010 or 2011. Instead by December 2011 I only took photos of a Chair-o-Planes ride in Centenary Square.

2011

Close to The REP side of Centenary Square was a ride I called the Chair-o-Planes ride. Was other fun fair likes stalls around here.

Similar to what is in Centenary Square now, but much closer to the ground.

By 2012 you could already see the Library of Birmingham, around a year before it was due to open in Centenary Square.

2012

The Chair-o-Planes ride seen with the new (then still under construction) Library of Birmingham behind. Seen in November 2012.

For the first time you could see the Birmingham Big Wheel with the Library of Birmingham. The gold cladding around the Shakespeare Memorial Room wasn't quite finished (the Skyline Viewpoint would also be up there). Chair-o-Planes ride to the right now.

Now in December 2012 in the evening. The Birmingham Big Wheel and Chair-o-Planes rides lit up after dark. Couldn't see the Library of Birmingham as they hadn't turned on the lights (still a construction site until September 2013).

This view from Broad Street towards The REP. The same fun fair style stalls that they had there a year before.

The ice rink returned to Centenary Square in 2013 after the new Library of Birmingham opened. At this time they called it Winter Skate.

2013

The new Library of Birmingham opened to the public in September 2013. By November 2013, the Birmingham Big Wheel was back, and for the first time an ice rink called (at the time) Winter Skate. This was from the Discovery Terrace. This ice rink was not covered.

Another Discovery Terrace view towards Symphony Hall. The beginnings of Ice Skate Birmingham as Winter Skate. They would return here every year until 2016.

The Birmingham Big Wheel and Winter Skate seen during December 2013 in the evening. This view towards the Hall of Memory. I was heading to the Library of Birmingham.

For the first time you could get the Big Wheel with the Library of Birmingham after dark. They even had a Christmas tree in the Amphitheatre below.

Just a few arty shots in 2014.

2014

Reflection of the Birmingham Big Wheel on Christmas Eve 2014 in the Library of Birmingham. December 2014.

Reflection of the Big Wheel from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham.

View from Gas Street Basin with the Library of Birmingham seen behind. A few days before the end of December 2014.

I'm not sure if they were calling it Ice Skate Birmingham in 2015, but they had the ice rink there. Just more shots of the Big Wheel and a few details. Or it may have still been called Winter Skate Birmingham.

2015

A few nightshots. I noticed that the Birmingham Big Wheel kept changing colours every few seconds. This view towards Symphony Hall and The REP from Broad Street. November 2015.

There was still bus stops at this end of Broad Street, so around 4 years before the Westside Metro extension is due to open (and was 2 years before construction even began).

View from the Library of Birmingham of customers getting onto the Big Wheel. Looked like they had slightly changed the ice rink behind. Buses still using that end of Broad Street at the time.

Now December 2015 on Boxing Day. Ice Bar at what was Winter Skate Birmingham (now Ice Skate Birmingham). The ICC was closed on that day.

It finally got the Ice Skate Birmingham name in 2016. This would be the last year in Centenary Square before a temporary two year move to Eastside City Park (due to the impending redevelopment of the square). After a delay they returned for the 2019 Christmas season.

2016

This view of Ice Skate Birmingham from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham during December 2016. The last time it was in the 1991 style Centenary Square. It was open here until January 2017.

The major difference with the ice rink this time was an artificial Christmas tree in the centre. But still not covered, to protect you from the rain and snow (that would change in future years).

Closer look at the artificial Christmas tree in the middle.

A couple of Ice Skate Birmingham workers scrape the ice after people had skated over it.

Centenary Square would be mostly closed for redevelopment in 2017 and in 2018. And it didn't fully reopen until July 2019. That meant Ice Skate Birmingham had to find somewhere else. They were on Eastside Green in Eastside City Park for the two Christmas seasons they couldn't be in Westside (I will do a separate post of those years on Ice Skate Birmingham in Eastside).

2019

Being set up during the middle of October 2019. Ice Skate Birmingham is back in Centenary Square for the first time in 3 years and is bigger than ever. At this time the covered ice rink was awaiting a few more panels. And the Big Wheel yet to get the spindles for passengers to ride in. The view from near the Hall of Memory.

The view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. When Centenary Square looked like a constructions site again. Only months after fully reopening. Then again the Westside Metro extension is due to open to Centenary Square by December 2019. And the Symphony Hall redevelopment will be finished sometime in 2020.

By the end of October 2019, the Star Flyer had been installed. Fences here for the Symphony Hall redevelopment and the Westside Metro extension. There was a path straight ahead to walk up towards Centenary Way and Paradise Birmingham. Library of Birmingham seen to the left.

Hoping to get Ice Skate Birmingham after dark in the middle of November 2019. I went to Cineworld and saw the film Le Mans '66. After leaving it was raining heavily but still got my photos. The Star Flyer flying after dark and the Big Wheel lit up.

I walked along the path alongside Arena Central going past the former Municipal Bank (being redeveloped for the University of Birmingham) and HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square. Here before heading down the steps you can also see the complete tracks for the Westside Metro extension. I have yet to see a tram in test on them (yet).

The ice rink is now covered and lit inside. So rain (or snow) outside would not effect the inside of the ice rink at Ice Skate Birmingham. It was also covered when they were at Eastside City Park in the two previous winter seasons.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Share  Connect with us
40 passion points

Top Contributors

Daniel Sturley
BirminghamWeAre points: 19K
Combined FreeTimePays points: 39K
Elliott Brown
BirminghamWeAre points: 9967
Combined FreeTimePays points: 28K
FreeTimePays
BirminghamWeAre points: 9141
Combined FreeTimePays points: 20K
Karl Newton
BirminghamWeAre points: 1470
Combined FreeTimePays points: 2910
Stephen Giles
BirminghamWeAre points: 1425
Combined FreeTimePays points: 6185

Show more