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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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Construction & regeneration
30 Sep 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of The Mercian, Broad Street - September 2019

Here's the latest photo gallery for the construction of The Mercian on Broad Street, a lot of the lower structure is well on the way now.

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The Construction of The Mercian, Broad Street - September 2019





Here's the latest photo gallery for the construction of The Mercian on Broad Street, a lot of the lower structure is well on the way now.


Photos from 22nd September 2019

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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50 passion points
Transport
26 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

All OLA again! This time West Midlands Metro tram 24 has gone blue!

This is the third tram I've seen in blue with lime green OLA adverts. West Midlands Metro tram 24 seen stationary at Grand Central Tram Stop near Birmingham New Street Station on Stephenson Street. Reckon another 3 months before I can see trams at Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop (if the next extension opens on time). But battery-less trams will not be able to go up!

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All OLA again! This time West Midlands Metro tram 24 has gone blue!





This is the third tram I've seen in blue with lime green OLA adverts. West Midlands Metro tram 24 seen stationary at Grand Central Tram Stop near Birmingham New Street Station on Stephenson Street. Reckon another 3 months before I can see trams at Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop (if the next extension opens on time). But battery-less trams will not be able to go up!


A bit of déjà vu when walking through Birmingham New Street Station towards the Stephenson Street exit. Saw the lime green adverts on a blue tram. Coming out I noticed that it was tram 24 at Grand Central Tram Stop.

The same exact OLA adverts, as on tram's 27 and 32.

And it has no batteries like those trams.

Still the situation on Corporation Street, where the waiting tram can't go down to Grand Central until the tram there starts heading up towards Wolverhampton. I did see two passing blue trams on Corporation Street, but wasn't close enough to get a shot of the pair.

 

Also new in blue: tram 26, 30 and 35. In fact not seen any pink trams recently! 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Architecture
25 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Oratory: a guided tour on the last day of Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2019)

I've been meaning to visit the inside of the Birmingham Oratory on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston for quite some time now. And I noticed that the last 3 days had free open days there. I only had time to visit on the Sunday 22nd September 2019. Got there after 2pm for the 2:15pm guided tour. It lasted about an hour. Most of it was built in the first half of the 20th century.

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Birmingham Oratory: a guided tour on the last day of Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2019)





I've been meaning to visit the inside of the Birmingham Oratory on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston for quite some time now. And I noticed that the last 3 days had free open days there. I only had time to visit on the Sunday 22nd September 2019. Got there after 2pm for the 2:15pm guided tour. It lasted about an hour. Most of it was built in the first half of the 20th century.


In the middle of October 2019, Blessed John Henry Newman is to be created a Saint by Pope Francis I at the Vatican in Rome. His predecessor Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham in September 2010, beautifying Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park, and later visiting the Birmingham Oratory, unveiling a new blue plaque in Newman's honour.

During Birmingham Heritage Week, there was Heritage Open Days, free to visit at the Oratory during the last three days, in the afternoon. You could go on free guided tours of the Oratory Church.

Small bit of history first. The Oratory of St Philip Neri was established in 1849 by Cardinal Newman. At first based at the Church of St Anne on Alcester Street, they later found a more suitable site on the Hagley Road, the community relocated there in 1852. The current church began between 1907 and 1910 in the Baroque style to replace the original structure as a memorial to Newman. It was designed by Edward Doran Webb.

It is a Grade II* listed building, being listed as The Church of the Immaculate Conception (The Oratory), the Oratory Priests' House and the Former Oratory School Buildings.

Additions by G B Cox in 1927, including earlier work by John Hungerford Pollen of 1858, Henry Clutton of 1872-3. Also including the presbytery building by Terence Flanagan in 1851, plus the former Oratory School buildings designed by Henry Clutton in 1861-2 and 1872-3.

My full album on my Flickr including my earlier exterior photos is here Birmingham Oratory.

 

First up photos I took of the Oratory before and after the guided tour.

Exterior from the Private Oratory Car Park

The red brick building leads to the Cloisters and the main entrance. Used to be a school in this building known as the Oratory School. It was built betwen the 1860s and 1870s, designed by Henry Clutton.

This building is the main church part of the Oratory. Now also known as the Cardinal Newman Memorial Church. This was mostly built from 1903 to 1909, designed by E Doran Webb.

This small corner turreted building is the Shrine of St Philip Neri. During the guided tour, it was quite cramped being inside of it. It was built in 1927 and designed by G B Cox at the north west corner of the church.

Looking at the brickwork outside, it doesn't quite match with the earlier church. Behind the Shrine you can see red brick filling in the two walls of the church.

A close up look at the Shrine of St Philip Neri from the outside. It has a copper dome on top.

Cloisters

I saw the cloisters before going on the guided tour. Slightly reminds me of cloisters I've seen in France or Spain (although those are centuries older).

After heading in the main entrance from Hagley Road, a first proper look at the Cloisters. There is a shop to the left (also tea room I think). The main church is to the right. The cloisters was formerly the Oratory School. Newman founed it in 1852. It later moved to Reading in 1922. St Philip's Grammar School was later here from 1887 until it closed in 1995.

Facing the main church. Now known as the Cardinal Newman Memorial Church. Built from 1907 to 1910.

On this side of the cloisters was loads of memorial stones, including one for Cardinal Newman. It was around here, that those who went on the first guided tour of the afternoon waited.

This way towards the car park. We didn't have access to these buildings (I mean going up to the first floor), as it wasn't part of the tour.

I think that's a fountain in the middle, but it wasn't flowing water. This side towards the shop / tea room (I didn't go in). Heading back to the left to wait for the start of the guided tour.

Cardinal Newman Memorial Church

The guided tour started in here. I went on the 2:15pm tour, an it lasted around an hour, as the guide explained from her notepad facts about the church and it's history. She would take us all the way around, including into the Shrine of St Philip Neri.

The marble columns came from Italy, and they were shipped by a steamer ship 2 at a time. Then they headed up the canal network once in the UK, being unloaded at Monument Road. The same steamer headed back to Italy to collect more columns, again 2 at a time.

The Organ Gallery is above the main entrance door to the church. Towards the south end.

The main dome near the front of the church. Is close to the High Altar. It's close to the second organ in the church and the Our Lady’s altar. You expect something like this in Italy, not here in Birmingham!

At the front is the High Altar. At the top is painting with a rainbow above it. It was designed in 1899 by Dunstan Powell and was for the old church. There is a raised step just before this area.

The Our Lady’s altar seen to the left. It is second hand. It came from the Church of S Andrea della Valle in Rome in 1911. The pair of columns were originally meant for Westminster Cathedral in London, but they broke, so instead they came to the Birmingham Oratory instead!

Shrines to St Philip Neri and Cardinal Newman

Side rooms in the Oratory. One dedicated to the founder of the Oratory movement, St Philip Neri. The other to Cardinal Newman, who was made Blessed in 2010, and soon to be a Saint.

Was a tight squeeze getting members of the tour group into the Shrine of St Philip Neri. A look up to the dome. The portrait of Philip Neri is a replica. The shrine was designed by G B Cox and built in 1927, added to the north west corner (see exteriors further up this post).

The body is a wax facsimile, but resembles St Philip Neri. There might be some relics inside. Took this as the group started to come out of the Shrine, as wasn't possible while it was crowded in there. He was born in Florence in 1515 and died in Rome in 1579. Philip Neri was beatified by Paul V in 1615 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

I think (although not sure) that this (below) might be the St Anne's Altar. Just quick look, I didn't go inside of this one. I thought the guide would take us in here. The nearby Shrine to Blessed Newman was closed for refurbishment ahead of his Sainthood being declared in October 2019. A temporary shine (it says on the door of Newman's Shrine) could be found at St Anne's Altar.

This used to be the St Philip’s Chapel, but is now the Shrine of Blessed John Henry Newman. It was closed for refurbishment, so took these photos through the windows in the doors.

Newman is due to be created a Saint after being Blessed since September 2010. It was probably part of the original church. It was last restored 9 years ago after Newman was beautified by Pope Benedict XVI. The canonisation is due to take place on the 13th October 2019 by Pope Francis I at the Vatican in Rome. The Prince of Wales will be travelling there, representing the Queen (as she no longer travels abroad).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Photography
23 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Floozie in the Jacuzzi in Victoria Square over the years

The Floozie in the Jacuzzi is a bronze statue / fountain in Victoria Square, in front of the Council House. River and Youth by Dhruva Mistry was made in 1993 for the refurbished Victoria Square as opened by the late Princess Diana. The fountain used to flow, but for many years there has been a leak. Now plants.

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Floozie in the Jacuzzi in Victoria Square over the years





The Floozie in the Jacuzzi is a bronze statue / fountain in Victoria Square, in front of the Council House. River and Youth by Dhruva Mistry was made in 1993 for the refurbished Victoria Square as opened by the late Princess Diana. The fountain used to flow, but for many years there has been a leak. Now plants.


Floozie in the Jacuzzi - it's official name is The River. The bronze statue at the top of Victoria Square. Youth is the pair of statues at the bottom of the square. Here we are looking at the statue at the top. The River is a 1.75-tonne bronze statue of a woman. Unveiled in 1993, the water fountain was working until the first leak was discovered in 2008. This was repaired in 2010 and it was turned on again, but another leak was found in 2013, and turned off again. In 2015 soil and bedding plants were filled in. But it is now possible that the Council has found funds to repair the leak and get the water flowing again, probably in 2020 (10 years after the last repair).

 

One of my first photos of the Floozie was taken during April 2009 (when I started taking photos around Birmingham). The pool was dry due to the leak the year before (2008 see above). A big screen was also in Victoria Square at the time (I think it survived until 2012, but was removed for good in 2013).

May 2009 and still dry, only wet patches from the rain. Looking towards the Town Hall and Alpha Tower, with the statue of Queen Victoria to the right. At the time was a temporary display behind about "How much labelling do we need?". Looked like giant chicken packets.

By November 2009, the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was being set up in the square. The Council was getting ready for Christmas, at the same time was around the Remembrance commemorations that are annual every November. The Floozie was still dry.

The leak was repaired in 2010, and the fountain switched back on! So the water jets sprouting out of the bronze Floozie statue. Behind is the Town Hall, Alpha Tower and Council House. Birmingham Central Library in Chamberlain Square was still open (until the new library opened in 2013). Hopefully the Floozie will look like this again in 2020? Except 1 and 2 Chamberlain Square will be behind to the right.

Lit up at night during late December 2010 (a day before New Years Eve). The colourful lights had been added along with the 2010 leak repairs. A Christmas tree at the bottom of the square close to the top of New Street. Also the big screen was showing the London 2012 logo.

Was trying to do one shot from different months, but this view below from the same evening as the previous photo. The view towards the Town Hall and Alpha Tower. The colourful lights kept changing. I think the fountain had been turned off again.

A few years later and it is now January 2013. And during a heavy snowfall. The fountain was on at this time, but the Floozie was freezing and covered in snow and ice! The next leak was discovered in 2013 and the Council once again switched the fountain off here. This would be the last time that I saw the Floozie with the fountain working (until they fix it in 2020?).

The Floozie wearing a pink bra. For Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer. Seen during November 2014. The Birmingham Central Library behind was now closed, and would be demolished from December 2015.

Since the Council couldn't get funds to fix the fountain, they put soil and plants in. Seen here with the Floozie in July 2015. It's been like this now for over 4 years.

Victoria Square was dressed up for the closing ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. The Floozie had an outfit on during April 2018. And they would broadcast live from Birmingham to the Gold Coast. This was before that went out on TV, a few days before when I saw her like this.

About a week later (still April 2018) was the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 home coming. Team England celebrated winning their medals in Victoria Sqauare. The Floozie had the same colourful wig on. While the event also looked forward to Birmingham 2022. She also had a gold medal around her neck and brush on her. The view between the Town Hall and Council House was now the Library of Birmingham and One Chamberlain Square (since then Two Chamberlain Square has blocked the view of the new Library).

Another pink bra seen during October 2018 on the Floozie. Had to take it much further back due to the plants being in the way. As before was the Ladies Breast Cancer awareness campaign.

The Floozie reading a book in March 2019. Once upon a time in Birmingham Women who dared to Dream. Was installed near the Floozie in the Flower Bed for International Women's Day. (The book has long since gone from Victoria Square).

The Floozie seen with the Knife Angel (by Alfie Bradley) when it was in Victoria Square, Birmingham during May 2019. Backed by the Town Hall. Previously in Coventry, I believe as of September 2019 it is now in Middlesborough. See my post Knife Angel in Coventry and Birmingham for more photo on the Knife Angel.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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30 passion points
Transport
23 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

West Midlands Metro tram 32 gone blue with OLA adverts too!

As with tram 27, tram 32 also has no batteries, has gone blue and also has the lime green OLA adverts. I've seen it on Corporation Street. Photos taken while it was stationary at Corporation Street Tram Stop (another tram probably at Grand Central). The Gym appears to be replacing Easy Gym.

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West Midlands Metro tram 32 gone blue with OLA adverts too!





As with tram 27, tram 32 also has no batteries, has gone blue and also has the lime green OLA adverts. I've seen it on Corporation Street. Photos taken while it was stationary at Corporation Street Tram Stop (another tram probably at Grand Central). The Gym appears to be replacing Easy Gym.


Just a small quick post this time. West Midlands Metro tram 32 has gone fully blue, and like tram 27 has OLA lime green adverts. Easy Gym to the left on Corporation Street is being replaced by The Gym. While New Look is still there, and Mothercare gone. Stationary at Corporation Street Tram Stop, probably as another tram was down at Grand Central (and it had to wait).

No batteries on this tram either. So it won't be able to go up Pinfold Street from December 2019, unless West Midlands Metro engineers installs some before the opening of the next extension. Where Mothercare was is still vacant.

Thanks for a great year Birmingham We Are. Special thanks to Jonathan, Deb and Daniel.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points

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