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BirminghamWeAre

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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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Environment & green action
26 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

From the Birmingham Nature Centre to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Located on the Pershore Road in Edgbaston near Cannon Hill Park is the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. This was a rebrand from the former Birmingham Nature Centre in 2014. A name it had since about 1974. Before that it was Birmingham Zoo from 1964 until it closed in 1973. The building used to be the Birmingham Natural History Museum from 1953, until the zoo opened a decade later.

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From the Birmingham Nature Centre to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park





Located on the Pershore Road in Edgbaston near Cannon Hill Park is the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. This was a rebrand from the former Birmingham Nature Centre in 2014. A name it had since about 1974. Before that it was Birmingham Zoo from 1964 until it closed in 1973. The building used to be the Birmingham Natural History Museum from 1953, until the zoo opened a decade later.


Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

On the Pershore Road in Edgbaston, is part of Cannon Hill Park that has either been a natural history museum or a zoo. What is now called the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park has had many different names in the past.

The Birmingham Natural History Museum opened in what is now the entrance building (ticket office and shop) in 1953. This was established by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery whose natural history department established a museum on the site. But it didn't last too long. In 1964 the building and the land nearby was turned into the Birmingham Zoo by the Dudley Zoological Society. The zoo suddenly closed in 1973. Only for Birmingham City Council to reopen it as the Birmingham Nature Centre in 1974. It kept this name for 40 years until it was rebranded as the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park in 2014. Which it is still called today.

Some of the information above taken from Birmingham Nature Centre - mapping museums.

The building itself dates back to the 1920s or 1930s when it was originally built as the Birmingham Branch Art Gallery and Museum, at Cannon Hill Park. The building was designed by A Edgerton Leeson. It must have still been open until the early 1950s, when the Natural History Museum replaced it.

It was built on the site of Pebble Mill Farm. Before the farm this was the site of Pebble Mill, which was once a fulling mill. It was a water powered mill that existed from the 16th century. It gave it's name to the Pebble Mill land where the BBC used to be (now developed with new hospitals and a care home). The mill became a blade mill in the 17th century. It was converted to grinding corn in 1842. A dairy farm opened in 1890, with cow fields near the River Rea. The Bourn Brook was diverted at the beginning of the 20th century. The farm was demolished in 1921.

Information above taken from A Brummie's Guide to Birmingham on the Nature Centre.

 

I first took photos of the Birmingham Nature Centre building during the snow of December 2010, from the Pershore Road in Edgbaston.

At the time the Nature Centre might have been closed, although the doors were open.

It still had a sign above the door saying Museum. Probably dating from it's time as a Natural History Museum or before that as an Art Gallery and Museum.

Some close up details of the inter war years museum building, which is now the entrance to what was then the Nature Centre.

There is a set of doric columns at the entrance to the Nature Centre (formerly a museum).

Also a ramp with railings to help people with wheelchairs or pushchairs, or hard of walking get in.

An earlier view of the Nature Centre with a Christmas Tree out front.

A Nature Centre sign / sculpture with all the months of the years.

It also had animals in it's design. The name in the middle has since been covered over with a Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park sign (from 2014 onwards).

The back of the museum building. There is a door here, but it was not open. I would think that there would be a door to the side into the then Nature Centre.

The Queens Ride leads from Cannon Hill Park to the Nature Centre. With the Boy Scouts War Memorial on the left. The fence to the left runs along the site of the Nature Centre. For more on the war memorials of Cannon Hill Park, go to this post: Memorials in Cannon Hill Park . Tyre tracks in the snow from cyclists heading to and from the Pershore Road and the park.

After a look at the entrance building to the Nature Centre, I headed into Cannon Hill Park for a look around the park while it was covered in snow. In the years since, I never got around to paying for a visit around the Nature Centre, but have been back around this area outside many times over the years.

 

In July 2013, I only really got photos of these colourful flower beds outside of the Nature Centre. This one pointing towards Pershore Road and over to Pebble Mill Road (to the far left of here).

This colourful flower bed pointing in the direction of the railings of the Nature Centre with those printed photos of animals.

A pair of flower pots surrounded by logs. On the drive in front of the Nature Centre. The Pershore Road to Selly Park to the left.

Another set of flower pots surrounded by logs close to the roadside. The Pershore Road into Edgbaston and the City Centre to the right of here.

From the Pershore Road, I got this photo through the railings of these emu's (or ostriches). It would be nice one day after lockdown ends, to pay for a visit, or go with a group of other photographers. Anyone up for it when things go back to normal?

Well overgrown as I saw this view of a bridge that crosses the Bourn Brook. It joins up to the River Rea beyond the Nature Centre.

Got some new photos of the Birmingham Nature in August 2014 when it had by this point been renamed to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. Admission Charges to the left and Opening Times to the right. (To date I still haven't paid for a visit around the park).

All of these new signs went up outside in the car park for the re-named Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.

These signs for the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park points the direction to the car park & main entrance. At the time someone had put put a poster about a Missing Dog. I hope they found their dog at the time (6 years ago now).

But have different photos of animals on them. Probably to get young children excited about their visit.

Another one for the Entrance to the Car Park. The gate closes at dusk.

My only night time photo was from January 2018, as I got off the bus early on the Pershore Road and took this Christmas Tree, while their was Christmas fairy lights on the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Centre. This was just after 5pm in the evening, before a walk up the Pershore Road.

Another view of the bridge over the Bourn Brook from the bridge on the Pershore Road during April 2018. For many years there was flood defence works on this side and on the Pebble Mill side which took years to complete. And one of the paths into Cannon Hill Park, only just reopened.

During the summer drought in July 2018, grass lawns all over the City had gone from the normal green to a yellow colour. Here the flower beds were looking quite pink at the time. The car park to the park is in the distance to the right. The Pershore Road to the left.

The other pink flower bed closest to the railings of the Wildlife Conservation Park. By now they had loads of large printed photos of animals for visitors to see before going into the park. The grass was so dry at the time.

Finally in January 2019, I saw this Land Rover Defender parked outside of the entrance of the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. It was from the Park Ranger Service. Could see it from Pebble Mill Road before I walked onto the Pershore Road.

Maybe one day when things are back to normal, someone could organise a group photo visit around the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. Maybe someone at Birmingham We Are, or one of those Facebook groups such as Brumtography. I have no childhood memories of going to the Birmingham Nature when I was little. Could have gone in the 1980s and I remember nothing about it.

But in recent years, I been to London Zoo with my then camera (in 2010) and even went to a Zoo in Lyon, France (2017). I've seen the birds in cages at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Did go to the Birmingham Sealife Centre a couple of times after it opened in the mid 1990s, but didn't have a camera at the time. And only have exterior views from the late 2000s and into the 2010s.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
24 May 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, Cranes Across the City - May Update

Sometimes it's just easier to put the crane on the top of the concrete core, here one atop 103 Colmore Row, see more if this and many other crane photos in this update covering April and May 2020.

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Birmingham, Cranes Across the City - May Update





Sometimes it's just easier to put the crane on the top of the concrete core, here one atop 103 Colmore Row, see more if this and many other crane photos in this update covering April and May 2020.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
History & heritage
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Staffordshire Hoard Gallery at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

The Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in a field in Staffordshire in 2009 by a metal detector. It is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork to be found. Likely to have been buried in the 7th century, with pieces made in the 6th and 7th centuries. The hoard was purchased by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (Stoke-on-Trent).

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The Staffordshire Hoard Gallery at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery





The Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in a field in Staffordshire in 2009 by a metal detector. It is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork to be found. Likely to have been buried in the 7th century, with pieces made in the 6th and 7th centuries. The hoard was purchased by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (Stoke-on-Trent).


Staffordshire Hoard

In July 2009, Terry Herbert using a metal detector, while searching the area, discovered a hoard of Gold artefacts. Over 5 days he discovered over 244 items. He then contacted the authorities. The landowner Fred Johnson gave permission for excavations to take place on his land to find more.

The first Staffordshire Hoard Gallery opened up at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2009. When it first opened, there was long queues outside of BM & AG going around Chamberlain Square. The first excavation took place at the field on farmland near Hammerwich, Staffordshire in September 2009 by the Birmingham Archaeology and funded by English Heritage. The gallery at BM & AG opened in October 2009 attracting 40,000 people.

The hoard was first displayed at BM & AG from September to October 2009. Parts of it went on display at other galleries including the British Museum (November 2009 to April 2010).  But items were still being displayed in a temporary gallery at BM & AG until they opened permenant gallery from October 2014 onwards.

2012

I was only able to get two photos of the original Staffordshire Hoard Gallery in November 2012. At the time photos in the gallery were not allowed so only got this cardboard cut out of an Anglo-Saxon warrior.

Also of this replica Anglo-Saxon warriors helmet. But was told you couldn't take photos in there, so I moved on. Not that I wanted to take the individual items in there at the time.

2014

A new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery opened in October 2014, in the gallery that formerly housed the Ancient Greek and Roman collection (below the Ancient Egypt gallery).

Sign on Great Charles Street Queensway advertising the new gallery.

Unearth the story of the Staffordshire Hoard

Heading inside BM & AG, I saw another sign pointing the way to the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery.

This one welcoming you to the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery.

Also this one on the wall saying that the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery was on Level 2.

Another sign telling you that you can get a lift to the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery, which is on Level 2.

I got the rest of the views of the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery from the Ancient Egypt gallery above. Surrounding the balcony of the gallery is the Frieze of the Mausoleum (it was there long before the Staffordshire Hoard moved in here).

In the middle was this tall red object, probably representing an Ancient Anglo-Saxon item.

Close up view of that red rectangle sculpture with gold detailing.

Questions:

Why did they bury it? Who buried the hoard? When did they bury it? Why did they bury it there?

In this area was Sources and techniques.

The top of another sectioned off area with pieces of the hoard.

Below you can see visitors having a close up look at the Staffordshire Hoard.

2018

In November 2018, a Staffordshire Hoard golden helmet replica was unveiled at BM & AG in the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery. I took this photo in zoom in while BBC Midlands Today was making a piece about it, so didn't stick about for long. The original pieces were too fragile to reassemble into a helmet, so two replicas were made (the other one is at the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent). It's the kind of thing that the King of Mercia could have worn before the Kingdom of Mercia was conquered. And they could have been hurriedly broken up into pieces and buried, where they remained until they were found in 2009!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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50 passion points
Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport

We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.

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From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport





We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.


TUI Airways

In 2007 Thomsonfly merged with First Choice Airways and was rebranded to Thomson Airways in 2008. This followed the merger of the travel divisions of TUI Group and First Choice Holidays in September 2007. By 2015 it was announced that TUI would be rebranding all operations to TUI. Thomson Airways changed their legal name to TUI Airways from October 2017.

Thomson / TUI has destinations all over Europe, to the Caribbean and India from Birmingham Airport.

 

In October 2010, while in Park Street Gardens in Eastside, I saw this Thomson Airways plane flying overhead. Back in July 2010, we flew to Verona in Italy for the Lake Garda holiday. But at the time, I didn't take any exteriors of the plane (only photos out of the plane window above the clouds).

In June 2012 at the Terminal at Birmingham Airport, heading to get our flight to Naples in Italy.  There was still First Choice branding on the airbridge at the time.

Our Thomson plane would be a Boeing 757-200. On both this and the July 2010 flight 2 years earlier, we had an on board meal heated up in the plane. We came back the week later from Naples at night.

In June 2014 at the Terminal building in Birmingham Airport, saw this Thomson Airways plane, as we waited to catch our flight to Malaga in Spain with Monarch. I think this was a Boeing 737-800

During the August 2014 visit to Blakesley Hall, I saw this plane fly overhead. I think it was Thomson Airways, with their distinctive sky blue livery. (I don't think it was Flybe or KLM).

Seen in March 2015 was this Thomson Airways plane (below). Seen from a train as it departed from Birmingham International Station.

This Thomson Airways plane was also visible from the train back in October 2016. I had just caught a train from Birmingham International. The airport buses that takes you from the terminal to the steps of the plane (or vice versa) were seen nearby as well.

In January 2017, TUI planes were still branded as Thomson at the time. This might have been a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It was seen from a the 966 NXWM Platinum bus.

Now onto February 2017 with this Thomson plane. The view from Car Park 5, but a tree was in the way.

I first saw a TUI branded plane in June 2017. Was at the Airport while waiting to catch our Flybe flight to Lyon in France.

In June 2018, I saw this TUI plane close to the Terminal building, as we headed to catch our flight to Pisa in Italy with Jet2. The airbridge was now being advertised by MG. Birmingham the home of MG

The first time I saw a TUI branded plane in flight was in August 2018. This was from the viewing area near the A45 Coventry Road.

Get off the bus near the Holiday Inn, then cross at the lights, then walk around the semi circle path until you are in view of the runway.

I've only been to this viewing area once, but saw several other planes taking off over the A45. I have loads of memories of coming into land over this end.

Now onto November 2018 with this view of a TUI plane, from the the X1 NXWM Platinum bus. The buses have their own semi circle road close to the A45 that leads to the Airport and NEC.

My last view from an X1 NXWM Platinum bus was of this pair of TUI planes during August 2019.

BONUS THOMSON TUI PHOTOS

At Malaga Airport in Spain during June 2014, I saw this Thomson Airways plane, a Boeing 737-800 at the airport.

We were waiting to catch our delayed Monarch flight back to Birmingham (we waited around for hours as was a French Air Traffic Control strike that day).

By this point we had got on board our Monarch plane and I got some more views of the Thomson plane.

One more view of Thomson as a British Airways plane went behind at Malaga.

In June 2017, while waiting to fly back to Birmingham with Flybe, saw this TUI related plane from Jetairfly at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport. They were founded in 2003, but started operations in 2005. They were rebranded to TUI fly Belgium in 2016. Although the plane I saw in 2017 was still branded as Jetairfly.

I think this would have been a view from the terminal building at Lyon Airport of Jetairfly. It has the same tail fin logo as Thomson and TUI.

This view from the Flybe plane as we had just boarded it as Jetairfly was connected to the airbridge. My seat on Flybe was near the wing on the left.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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50 passion points
Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)

Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.

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Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)





Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.


During a day out to Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, during August 2013, I noticed on my map that there was a Miniature Railway in the gardens to see. So while there I popped over to have a look at it. I didn't pay to go on it myself, but there was a charge of £2 per person (not sure if kids were free or not).

People get to ride up and down on the Miniature Train to and from Boathouse Station.

The Trentham Estate was originally home to Trentham Hall. There had been a house here since the 16th or 17th centuries. But the last house to be built here was by Charles Barry in the 1830s. It would have been fully demolished in the early 20th century, but part of it was demolished, but most of the shell remains. The gardens were designed by Capability Brown in the 1750s. The house and gardens were derelict when St. Modwen Properties purchased the site in 1996. But they restored the gardens and opened them by 2008. There is also a shopping village here.

Now back to the miniature railway.

It would have been open at Easter 2020 holidays (04/04/2020 - 19/04/2020), but assume that the gardens were completely closed during the lockdown / pandemic. Trentham Fern Train Trips this Easter. Tickets would have been: for a Return trip: £2 per person. Return trip with Annual Ticket Holder discount: £1.50 per person. Single trip: £1 person.

 

The photos below were taken during the 11th August 2013.

The tracks are of a narrow gauge. This way to the station.

Welcome to Boathouse Station. The Railway is open. The fare is £2. Way in to the right.

Passengers sit on the open carriages as the miniature train goes around the rails.

The train arriving at Boathouse Station.

The engine the driver sits on was called Fern. This is also called the Trentham Railway.

Everybody had got off including the train driver, while it waits at Boathouse Station.

Near the station the train can only got at a very slow 2 MPH.

A look further down the line to Boathouse Station.

Waiting for the next passengers.

There was also some wooden sheds to the left, maybe they store the train in there?

Later saw another passenger load having a ride on the Trentham Railway.

The train just goes around the track in circles. I think there was only one station.

The last I saw of it, the train was going around and on to complete the loop with a handful of passengers.

For another post about another light railway in a park. Have a look at Evesham Vale Light Railway in the Evesham Country Park (August 2014).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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