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Art, culture & creativity
30 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Whatever happened to Antony Gormley's Iron:Man in Victoria Square?

Iron:Man by Anthony Gormley was originally located in Victoria Square from 1993 until it was moved to storage in 2017. Originally named Untitled but nicknamed as Iron:Man. The TSB used to be in Victoria Square House and it was their gift to the City (until their HQ moved to Bristol). When will it return and where will it go?

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Whatever happened to Antony Gormley's Iron:Man in Victoria Square?





Iron:Man by Anthony Gormley was originally located in Victoria Square from 1993 until it was moved to storage in 2017. Originally named Untitled but nicknamed as Iron:Man. The TSB used to be in Victoria Square House and it was their gift to the City (until their HQ moved to Bristol). When will it return and where will it go?


Iron:Man by Antony Gormley

The statue of the Iron:Man used to be located in Victoria Square from March 1993 until it was removed to storage in September 2017, to make way for the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square. While this extension opened in December 2019, Antony Gormley's Iron:Man has yet to return. As new paving was being laid in Victoria Square. And as far as I am aware, it is not yet finished (I've not been back to the City Centre in 3 months of lockdown, but have seen other peoples recent photos of the square).

It was originally a gift to the city from the TSB whose headquarters used to be in Victoria Square House. Unveiled in 1993. It was originally named Untitled but gained the nickname Iron:Man from locals. It is made of iron. The TSB moved out of Victoria Square House when they merged with Lloyds Bank in 1995.

The statue was cast at the Firth Rixon Castings in Willenhall. It represented the traditional skills of Birmingham and the Black Country.

The statue remained in place for many years, it was suggested that it be relocate to Bristol which was the new headquarters location of Lloyds TSB. But as it was a gift to the City of Birmingham it remained here. But it was removed to storage in September 2017 ahead of the building of the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square (Grand Central Tram Stop to Library Tram Stop).

I would assume that it could return to Victoria Square later in 2020 if the paving is finished.

 

Iron:Man maquette at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre

During my September 2018 visit to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre, while I did not find the full sized Iron:Man, I did find this maquette.

This was Antony Gormley's preliminary model made out of painted plaster.

It apparently used to be located at the the Public Art Commissions Agency in the Jewellery Quarter, but for whatever reason, it ended up in storage here in the warehouse.

Iron:Man in Victoria Square until 2017

My first photo of the Iron:Man was taken during April 2009, when I started going around Birmingham with my camera. Here backed with the Town Hall.

The next view of the Iron:Man was taken during May 2009 facing Victoria Square House.

The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was on during November 2009, with this Iron:Man view. You can also see the old 103 Colmore Row AKA National Westminster House by the late John Madin.

The Iron:Man seen during May 2011. Union Jack bunting was up around Victoria Square near the Town Hall during the early May Bank Holiday weekend that followed the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Aston Villa fan Prince William and Catherine Middleton).

It was Armed Forces Day in Victoria Square during June 2011. There was members of the British Armed Forces in uniform near the Iron:Man.

Including members of the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British Army. The Iron:Man had been in this slanted position since being installed back in 1993.

The snow of January 2013 as I headed past the Iron:Man towards Broad Street. Probably the only timed I've caught the Iron:Man covered in snow!

Back to Spring like weather in April 2013. And the Iron:Man was witness to the English Market at the St George's Day Celebrations that year.

The Iron:Man in September 2013 with a British Red Cross tent during the 4 Squares Weekender.

Caught a glimpse of the Iron:Man in Victoria Square during June 2014 when the Lord Mayors Show 2014 was being held. At the time there was some men doing bike tricks near the Council litter pickers!

Some of my last views of the Iron:Man. The view below taken in August 2017. A month before being removed to storage.

Last views in September 2017. A seagull was standing on Iron:Man's head. And left bird mess on top of it.

Pink Midland Metro Alliance barriers and fences had gone around the statue, as workmen were preparing to remove the statue and take it to storage. About a week after this it was gone.

Iron:Man had been in storage now for almost 3 years. When will he return? Where exactly in Victoria Square will he be placed? Perhaps in front of the Town Hall? Could he come back near the end of 2020?

 

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
29 Jun 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Construction of Symphony Hall - June 2020

A new milestone has been achieved at Symphony Hall with the installation of glass. For a full June update with pictures from Stephen, Daniel and new updated proposals from Page/Park Architects, click the full post below.

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Construction of Symphony Hall - June 2020





A new milestone has been achieved at Symphony Hall with the installation of glass. For a full June update with pictures from Stephen, Daniel and new updated proposals from Page/Park Architects, click the full post below.


LATEST IMAGES

26th/27th June:

Photos by Stephen Giles

June 14th:

Photos by Daniel Sturley

AND HOW THE FRONTAGE WILL LOOK

A new application has surfaced showcasing revised plans for the metal gates/ decorated screens incorporating signage. These can be seen below:

The latest proposed artists impressions from Page/Park Architects.


PROJECT TEAM: 
DEVELOPER: Birmingham Performances Ltd
ARCHITECTS: Page\Park Architects 
CONTRACTOR: Galliford Try Construction
PROJECT MANAGER: David Stanley Consulting
COST CONSULTANT: PMP Consultants
MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL: Max Fordham
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: ARUP
WEBSITE: https://making-an-entrance.thsh.co.uk/
 
Words by Stephen Giles. Photos by Daniel Sturley & Stephen.

We're also on Instagram: Follow us at @Itsyourbirmingham

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30 passion points
Classic Architecture
29 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The ruins of Dudley Priory in Priory Park, Dudley

Did you know that there is ruins of a Priory in Dudley in what is now Priory Park? It was founded in circa 1160. And closed in the 1530s during the English Reformation. It fell into disrepair and ruins after the 1540s. In the 18th century part of the ruins were used as a tanner. Dudley Borough Council bought the ruins in 1926 and the land around it to develop Priory Park.

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The ruins of Dudley Priory in Priory Park, Dudley





Did you know that there is ruins of a Priory in Dudley in what is now Priory Park? It was founded in circa 1160. And closed in the 1530s during the English Reformation. It fell into disrepair and ruins after the 1540s. In the 18th century part of the ruins were used as a tanner. Dudley Borough Council bought the ruins in 1926 and the land around it to develop Priory Park.


Dudley Priory Ruins in Priory Park, Dudley

My first visit to Priory Park in Dudley was in January 2011, when there was snow on the ground. The park opened in 1932, covering a site of 19 acres. The park is the historic site of the Dudley Priory. The park was restored in 2013.

 

Historic details from Wikipedia (below).

The Dudley Priory is a former priory in Dudley, West Midlands (used to be in Worcestershire). The ruins is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is Grade I listed. The priory was founded in 1160 by Gervase Paganel, Lord of Dudley. It was dedicated to Saint James. It was built of local limestone, quarried from Wren's Nest. The priory was enlarged many times, including the addition of a Lady Chapel in the 14th century. The priory was closed down int he 1530s during the national Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was granted to Sir John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1540, but after his execution it fell into disrepair and fell into ruins.

In the 18th century, part of the ruins were used by a tanner. The area around it became industrialised. Pools nearby were drained and Priory Hall was built nearby in 1825. In 1926 the Dudley County Borough bought Dudley Priory and the land around it, to create Priory Park and the Priory Estate. The ruins were brought into their current state in the 1930s, during clearance and restoration works, when Dudley Council took over the running of the parkland and ruins.

 

Now some details from the Grade I listing at British Listed Buildings. Priory Ruins.

It was founded in about 1160 as a dependant of Cluniac Priory of Much Wenlock. Was made of Limestone rubble. There are some remains of the church left, with tiled pavements exposed.

 

Now onto my visit from January 2011. There was snow in Dudley at the time, but more grass to see here. The approach to the ruins from the park entrance on The Broadway. It was the 4th January 2011.

There was signs on fences around part of the ruins saying No Ball Games in and around the Priory Ruins. To the right was Paganel Drive. The houses up there were built after 1929 in the Priory Estate.

Snow rests on the limestone blocks that have survived the centuries.

This might be the ruins of where the Church was.

There must have been a large stained glass window here at one point in time.

The ruins to the north looking up Paganet Drive.

A bit like a castle here. It's amazing that these walls have survived the 500 years since the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

This was the West Front of Dudley Priory.

The ruins here are just about exposed above ground level. Archaeologists led by Rayleigh Radford dug here in 1939 (before WW2). Exposing the walls and tiles.

There would have been Cluniac monks based here. The Dormitory could have been around here.

Unlike other abbeys or monasteries, Dudley Priory wasn't fully demolished. It just fell into ruins. And wasn't rebuilt in the centuries after the 1530s to 1540s.

The view of the ruins towards Paganel Drive. Everything exposed above the ground would have been buried until the 1930s.

One last look at the snow covered ruins, before I checked out the rest of the park.

I'll do another Priory Park, Dudley post soon, covering the rest of the park, as well as my second visit during October 2016.

 

For another Dudley related ruins post go to: The remains of a fortified manor house at Weoley Castle.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
29 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park

Another part of the Millstream Way in the Shire Country Park is the Greet Mill Meadow. It goes from Green Road to the Stratford Road in Hall Green (leading to Springfield / Sparkhill). Running alongside the River Cole. At certain points there is stepping stones with waterfalls. Named after the lost Greet Mill of the 13th century, of which no traces remain above ground. Near Sarehole Road.

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The Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park





Another part of the Millstream Way in the Shire Country Park is the Greet Mill Meadow. It goes from Green Road to the Stratford Road in Hall Green (leading to Springfield / Sparkhill). Running alongside the River Cole. At certain points there is stepping stones with waterfalls. Named after the lost Greet Mill of the 13th century, of which no traces remain above ground. Near Sarehole Road.


Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park

Beyond the ford on Green Road is the Greet Mill Meadow. The path in here runs towards the Stratford Road in Hall Green alongside the River Cole. Sarehole Road is to the east (where Druckers Vienna Patisserie used to be before they went out of business). Tenby Road is to the west. An exit / entrance halfway goes onto Bankside which leads to Tenby Road. Near the Stratford Road you will be able to see Mughal & Azam (had a recent fire so the roof was damaged). That is also near Colgreave Avenue. It was formerly the Sparkhill United Church. Was built as a Congregational church 1932-3 by W H Bidlake. It is Grade II listed.

The Greet Mill Meadow is part of the Millstream Way, which is part of the Cole Valley Walk. It was the site of a 13th century mill called Greet Mill, where the walkway here got it's name from, but it has vanished like it was never even here. The first reference to Greet Mill by name was in 1275. That date might not be when it was founded as that was when Roger Fullard was drowned near Greet Mill. The mill was the property of Greet Manor, which was near the Warwick Road, about three quarters of a mile away downstream. The first miller to be recorded was Henry Heath in 1587. The mill was sold to Matthew Boulton in 1762, who seems like he rebuilt both Sarehole Mill and Greet Mill. Greet Mill went out of use by 1843. It's last years was used for steel rolling. The last miller was John Biscoe, and the mill might have been demolished in the 1850s.

The River Cole was diverted in about 1860. The old bridge on the Stratford Road was replaced by a new stone bridge which opened in 1914. By then Birmingham City Council had taken over the running of the area from the former Yardley Rural District Council in 1911. Greet Mill used to be in the news whenever someone was drowned there a few times in the 1790s.

2009

I first popped into the Greet Mill Meadow in April 2009. The mosiac of a fish seen at the Green Road entrance. In the years since, I've noticed that it is missing a lot of tiles, and could do with repairing (either by the Canal & River Trust or Birmingham City Council).

A damaged tree from the path. I didn't go too far as wanted to avoid the youths, so turned back and walked up Sarehole Road.

Before I turned back I saw the first stepping stones for the first time. Too risky to cross at this time as the river level was quite high.

I re-entered the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, and saw this heart shaped mosaic. I think this one has faired better over the years since I first saw it.

The fingerpost in the Greet Mill Meadow near the Stratford Road Bridge. To the left is the Burbury Brickworks (via the Blackberry Way). Sarehole Mill is to the right.

The waterfall seen from the Stratford Road bridge which opened in 1914. The water in the River Cole was fast flowing that day.

Another look at the waterfall. Would be years before I would return to the Greet Mill Meadow for a walk. After this I probably got a no 1 bus to Moseley Village, then a 50 up to Moseley Road Baths (for my first photos of the building).

2015

In August 2015, I did a complete walk through of the Greet Mill Meadow, I think starting at the Stratford Road and ending at Green Road. Only got photos of the stepping stones at the time. The first stepping stones with a waterfall. I did not cross it. But much calmer than 6 years earlier.

It is possible to cross over the stepping stones if you want to, just be careful, and don't slip into the River Cole! I think there must be paths in the woodland near Sarehole Road.

Another look at the second set of stepping stones. Much calmer this time around. I wouldn't return to the Greet Mill Meadow until during the 2020 lockdown.

2020

The lockdown daily walk in the Greet Mill Meadow was during May 2020, towards the Blackberry Way and Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve and back. Got more photos in here than ever before! The path was lined on the side by cow parsley and long grass. The route was so busy with families going on their daily walks.

Part of the River Cole was quite shallow, and it looks like cyclists could ride their bikes through to the other side.

Partway along the path was a path to the left. This leads to Bankside and Tenby Road.

Another look at the stepping stones. While we didn't cross the stepping stones, I did see various families crossing them.

May 2020 was without rain and the River Cole was quite shallow. So it would have been safe to cross the stepping stones, if you wanted to.

The path continues towards the Stratford Road, as it's lined with all that cow parsley.

An open field. The path to the left leads to Colgreave Avenue and the car park for Mughal & Azam. The building had a fire months ago, so the roof was covered in a material. They must be devestated by the fire. As it must cost a lot to repair the venue. And they would have to be closed for the duration of the lockdown. Sadly I don't think they will be ready to reopen in July 2020, at least not until the restaurant (ex church) is fully repaired.

View of the Stratford Road Bridge. Opened in 1914, it allows traffic to go towards the College Arms up Shaftmoor Lane or the Stratford Road in Hall Green. Sparkhill is in the other direction. We were about to cross the road into the Blackberry Way. I even saw a rat here, so litter is a bit of an issue around here.

Later on the walk back from the Burbury Brickworks and Blackberry Way. Back in the Greet Mill Meadow. View to one of the stepping stones with some ducks in the River Cole.

One of the stepping stones had people on it earlier, so was able to get a new photo of it on the way back. The River Cole looks so calm and peaceful here. It's hard to tell that there even used to be a mill around here, what with all the trees all over the place. Was also a lost mill pool, that must now be part of the Cole here.

Another view looking down the River Cole, before heading down the path and back into the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground.

I will cover the Blackberry Way and Burbury Brickworks in a separate post.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
29 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Summerfield Park at the end of the Harborne Walkway

The only time (so far) that I've been to Summerfield Park was back in February 2016, after completing the second half of my Harborne Walkway walk. The park opened in 1876 by the then Mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain (in his last year of office before becoming an MP). The park goes up to the Dudley Road. There is remains of an outdoor theatre or bandstand dating to 1907.

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Summerfield Park at the end of the Harborne Walkway





The only time (so far) that I've been to Summerfield Park was back in February 2016, after completing the second half of my Harborne Walkway walk. The park opened in 1876 by the then Mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain (in his last year of office before becoming an MP). The park goes up to the Dudley Road. There is remains of an outdoor theatre or bandstand dating to 1907.


Summerfield Park

Welcome to Summerfield Park. It is one of the oldest parks in Birmingham having opened in 1876. Opened by the Mayor of Birmingham, Mr Joseph Chamberlain (in his last year of office before becoming an MP). The park was formerly the estate of the late Mr Joseph Chance, where he lived at Summerfield House (which was demolished in 1889). The Council purchased more land in 1892, reaching the current park size of 34 acres. The park features a magnificent brick bandstand (or outdoor theatre), built in 1907. The park lies at the end of the Harborne Walkway, which means that the former Harborne Walkway used to pass by from the south west to the north east corner of the park.

It is possible that the largest public gathering took place here in Summerfield Park back in 1906 to celebrate Joseph Chamberlain's 70th birthday. When 15,000 people turned out to greet him.

Surrounded by Dudley Road, City Road, Selwyn Road, Gillott Road and Icknield Port Road. The park is also close by to Edgbaston Reservoir.

 

Onto my visit from February 2016.

Entering Summerfield Park from the end of the Harborne Walkway. Although technically the Harborne Walkway continues a little bit further into the park. Tall trees and the path.

View of the play area near City Road. While gulls were on the lawn.

Nice shadows from the trees as the path from the Harborne Walkway joins into the park.

Houses on City Road behind the trees.

The path goes straight towards the Dudley Road, but will bend to the left before reaching Icknield Port Road.

This gate is the exit to West Gate before Gillott Road.

Continuing on the path further into Summerfield Park.

Rugby goal post.

The next gate leads to East Gate and Gillott Road.

The back of the brick bandstand (or outdoor theatre). It was built in 1907.

There is an entrance for performers at the back. Just go up the steps. Perhaps there used to be a door there now, but not now.

The bandstand was looking very derelict in 2016. I'm not sure if it's the same state now.

The Council could do with investing in the restoration of this bandstand. And when things go back to "normal" have performances take place here in the future?

The second playground / play area was close to Dudley Road.

Now onto one of The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015 owls I missed seeing in 2015.  This one was called Papa Winson. The artist was Colin Gabbidon working with Ladywood Arts Forum. It was funded by Birmingham City Council and the Big Lottery Fund. Seen from the back. It was located not too far from Winson Green.

Side viewof Papa Winson with a shadow to the right.

The front view of Papa Winson wasn't too great in the sunshine at this time of the day (just before 1pm on 25/02/2016).

Near the Dudley Road entrance was this Welcome to Summerfield Park sign and map, with some history.

The reverse side has a modern map of the park.

Next to the welcome sign was the former Dudley Road Police Station. Also known as Summerfield Police Station. It has been derelict since the West Midlands Police moved to a new police station on Icknield Port Road. This building has been threatened with demolition. But hopefully the Victorian Society can save it?

See this Tweet here on Summerfield Police Station by the Victorian Society. According to Birmingham City Council in the same thread it is not threatened with demolition.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points

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