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Elliott Brown History & heritage
16 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in the former Smith & Pepper jewellery manufactory

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is at 75-80 Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter (Hockley). It opened in 1992 in the former Smith & Pepper jewellery manufactory. When the factory closed for good in 1981, it left a time capsule, that the last owners would be unaware that it would be left for future generations to enjoy. Now part of the Birmingham Museums Trust.

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The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in the former Smith & Pepper jewellery manufactory





The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is at 75-80 Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter (Hockley). It opened in 1992 in the former Smith & Pepper jewellery manufactory. When the factory closed for good in 1981, it left a time capsule, that the last owners would be unaware that it would be left for future generations to enjoy. Now part of the Birmingham Museums Trust.


Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Not far from Jewellery Quarter Station is the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter on Vyse Street. I think one of my schools took me there once, in the mid 1990s, and I've not been inside since, but have walked past it many times over the years. It's at 75 to 80 Vyse Street. No 76 on the corner of Branston Street is now The Whisky Club, but was previously used as an Events Space.

 

History of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

The museum occupies the former Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firms premises which closed for good in 1981. They ceased trading, leaving the premises as a time capsule unaware that they would be leaving it for future generations. The museum opened here in 1992 and is a branch of the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Smith & Pepper was founded by Charles Smith and his uncle Edwin Pepper in 1899 and specialised in gold bracelets and other jewellery until it closed down in 1981. When the company closed, all the tools, machinery and papers were left behind. Also the former butterfly wing jewellery specialists T.L. Mott Ltd, along with all it's contents, was added to the museum when it opened in 1992.

It is a Grade II listed building (from 2004). No 75 Vyse Street was built in 1909 by George E. Pepper for F. Moore.No 77 Vyse Street was built in 1914, also by Pepper. No 79 Vyse Street was rebuilt in 1990. The building had alterations during the 20th Century. Built of red brick and ashlar stone dressings. No's 77 and 78 was the former Smith and Pepper Works. The museum to the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter is located in two late 19th Century manufactories. The Birmingham Museums Trust took over the running of the museum from Birmingham City Council in 2012.

 

December 2012

My first views of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter on Vyse Street, surrounded by all the other jewellery manufacturing workshops on that side of the road. The buildings from 75 to 80 Vyse Street are now part of the museum.

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Dec 2012) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

This is the main entrance to the museum. There is a gift shop at the front (and probably the ticket office).

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Dec 2012) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Information Centre

There used to be an Information Centre at the end of Vyse Street near The Big Peg. It was demolished in 2014 to make way for The Golden Square. It was also seen near the end of 2012.

dndimg alt="Jewellery Quarter Information" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/JQ Information (Dec 2012) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

At the time, there was a sign here for The Jewellery Quarter Birmingham's Gem. Here it made reference to the Award winning Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. As well as The Pen Museum, Historic Buildings and Pavement Trails. Plus St Paul's Square, (Birmingham's last remaining Georgian Square). And the Historic Cemeteries of Key Hill and Warstone Lane.

dndimg alt="Jewellery Quarter Information" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/JQ Information (Dec 2012) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

January 2013

A few days later, on New Years Day 2013, another walk past the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter on Vyse Street. The green painted doors at 76 Vyse Street. By 2015, this was used as Event Space at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. By 2019 it was The Whisky Club.

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Jan 2013) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There is this green letter box, marked as H. Aston Ltd. It is at 76 Vyse Street, what is now The Whisky Club. It is at the corner of Vyse Street with Branston Street.

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/JQ letterbox Vyse St (Jan 2013).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There is a plaque at the entrance to the museum, part of the Jewellery Quarter Discovery Trail. It was sponsored by the Birmingham City Action Team. It mentions Smith & Pepper jewellery works at this site. Plus the former premises of butterfly wing jewellery specialists T.L. Mott Ltd. Both of which were turned into the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Jan 2013) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

This sign with the opening times, Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30am to 4pm. Close on Sunday's and Monday's except for Bank Holiday Monday's. Wheelchair access available on Branston Street.

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Jan 2013) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The museum received an Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2010. And were a Gold Winner. Congratulations for winning it 11 years ago!

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Jan 2013) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

December 2019

My most recent photos taken a couple of years ago on Vyse Street. Saw the sign for the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, next to a Christmas light of an anchor. Which is the symbol used by the Assay Office.

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Dec 2019) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The main entrance door to the museum. Dogs on a lead were now allowed to enter the museum with their owners.

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Dec 2019) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Took the plaque again, that I previously took years earlier (sometimes I forget what I've taken previously). Except I got it much closer up here, so you can read it.

dndimg alt="Museum of the Jewellery Quarter" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Museum JQ (Dec 2019) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

During the lockdowns the museum is temporarily closed. Hopefully they will be allowed to reopen later in the spring and summer of 2021.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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80 passion points
Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
08 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Akamba Heritage Centre the Metal Zoo in Solihull!

There is a hidden gem in Solihull, not far from Whitlocks End Station. On Tythe Barn Lane in Dickens Heath is the Akamba Heritage Centre. A garden centre, plus a Metal Zoo with sculptures of zoo animals that you can see from the pavement opposite (without actually entering the site). A small piece of the African jungle in Solihull.

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Akamba Heritage Centre the Metal Zoo in Solihull!





There is a hidden gem in Solihull, not far from Whitlocks End Station. On Tythe Barn Lane in Dickens Heath is the Akamba Heritage Centre. A garden centre, plus a Metal Zoo with sculptures of zoo animals that you can see from the pavement opposite (without actually entering the site). A small piece of the African jungle in Solihull.


Akamba Heritage Centre is in Solihull. In an area more known for farmland and grass roots football clubs, the least likely place to find a centre like this is near Dickens Heath. It is on Tythe Barn Lane, a short walk away from Whitlocks End Station.

 

As their signs say: "The home of: Tribe Bar & Eatery (Caribbean Take Away), Uhuru Art Gallery, Juakali Metal Zoo. Specialise in African Art & Culture - Rare & Exotic Plants from all over the World. The Midlands Best Kept Secret. A Garden Centre like no other."

 

March 2018

The first walk past the Akamba Heritage Centre during a walk around Dickens Heath in Solihull. Was walking to Whitlocks End Station to get a train home.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Sign on the right with details of the facilities here and contact details.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Could already see some of the metal zoo sculptures from the pavement opposite.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

They have Tribe Bar & Eatery here. Caribbean Take Away.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Juakali Metal Zoo. Hot food and drinks. Plus a Gift Shop.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Also some palm trees in the area outside, the UK weather must be a bit cold for what they have in Africa and the West Indies.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

An elephant and crocodile metal sculpture near the "We're open" sign.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Close up zoom in of the metal elephant.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Was also a metal hippo behind the "We're open" sign.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Mar 2018) (9).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

February 2021

A walk from Shirley down Haslucks Green Road. Into Major's Green (Worcestershire). Then towards Whitlocks End Station, and up Tythe Barn Lane for another look at Akamba Heritage Centre. Closed of course as we are still on lockdown.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Feb 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This time, first thing I spot was the palm trees. At least there was a bit of blue sky with the clouds!

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Feb 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A metal horse. Unless it's meant to be a zebra?

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Feb 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A metal bird with a long beak and tall legs. Possibly an African openbill. Or a stork.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Feb 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Barbed wires above the gates. Metal elephant behind. Palm trees look nice, they survived the British winter.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Feb 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A metal giraffe.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Feb 2021) (6).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Despite the sign saying "We are open", I think they have been closed while we are still in lockdown. They probably reopened in 2020 from July to October, before the 2nd and 3rd lockdowns and the Tier 3 and 4 restrictions.

dndimg alt="Akamba Heritage Centre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Akamba HC (Feb 2021) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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60 passion points
Daniel Sturley Construction & regeneration
04 Mar 2021 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Construction of One Centenary Way - March 2021 Update

One Centenary Way's black steel is now rising above the surrounding hordings. The huge space that is this corner of Paradise is rapidly filling up and the building will become a dominant sight from Centenary Square. Loads of photos in this early March construction photo update.

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The Construction of One Centenary Way - March 2021 Update





One Centenary Way's black steel is now rising above the surrounding hordings. The huge space that is this corner of Paradise is rapidly filling up and the building will become a dominant sight from Centenary Square. Loads of photos in this early March construction photo update.


2nd March 2021

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1st March 2021

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25th February 2021

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14th February 2021

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31st January 2020

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24th January 2020

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10th January 2020

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28th December 2020

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Elliott Brown Modern Architecture
04 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selfridges the most photographed building of Birmingham!

I've been taking photos of the Selfridges Building at the Bullring in Birmingham for well over a decade. It was completed in 2003. I started capturing it back in 2009, and continued to do so until late 2020. I only went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park from late 2017 onwards. In recent years many of the discs have gone missing. And now a pink hoarding is going up with scaffolding.

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Selfridges the most photographed building of Birmingham!





I've been taking photos of the Selfridges Building at the Bullring in Birmingham for well over a decade. It was completed in 2003. I started capturing it back in 2009, and continued to do so until late 2020. I only went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park from late 2017 onwards. In recent years many of the discs have gone missing. And now a pink hoarding is going up with scaffolding.


The Selfridges Building at the Birmingham Bullring

On Park Street and Moor Street in Birmingham City Centre is the Selfridges Building. Completed in September 2003. It is home to Birmingham's Selfridges Department Store. The architecture firm was Future Systems. It contained over 15,000 anodised aluminium discs on a blue background.

After dark, lights around Park Street and Moor Street light it up in different colours, from blue to orange, to green, to red to white. It is joined to Moor Street Car Park by the Parametric Bridge, which customers can cross over. With buses, coaches, taxis and cars going below. It is an iconic landmark, that runners of the Great Birmingham Run could sometimes run past. It also goes green each year for St Patrick's Day.

You might regularly see men abseiling down the side of the building cleaning discs, or replacing them. But many of the discs started to go missing by 2018 and 2019. So by late 2020, scaffolding started to go up. With a pink hoarding artwork that is continuing to go up during 2021. Osman Yousefzada has designed what he has called the 'Dogtooth Flower'. This started to go up in December 2020.

Being on lockdown again since January 2021, I will have to wait until restrictions are eased again before travelling back into the City Centre to see what it is like now.

 

Below is a gallery of photos I've taken from 2009 to 2020. Not all of them, please go to the gallery in the Selfridges feature for more.

 

21st April 2009

One of my first photos of the exterior of Selfridges, taken from Moor Street Queensway, looking down Moor Street.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Selfridges 21042009 (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

15th May 2009

Getting some early shots of the Parametric Bridge from the pavement below.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Selfridges 15052009 (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

22nd August 2009

By the summer that year, had my first bridge camera, and in late August there was a brilliant blue sky. And took some classic Selfridges shots, that everyone would get for the decade that would follow.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Selfridges 22082009 (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

30th October 2009

A mobile shot taken from Platform 1 at Birmingham Moor Street Station, going home that evening from work. My first time capturing it in blue after dark in the early evening.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Blue Selfridges 30102009 (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

6th January 2010

Snow at the start of the 2010s. This view from near the surface car park between Park Street and Moor Street Queensway. Looking towards Selfridges and Birmingham Moor Street Station.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Snow Selfridges 06012010.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

30th December 2010

Close to the end of the year, got Selfridges lit up in blue light from Moor Street Queensway looking left down Moor Street. Was also Christmas lights on the lampposts.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Blue Selfridges 30122010 (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

18th October 2011

Selfridges used to get special flashing Christmas lights in the windows around the outside of the building where the famous flashing yellow Selfridges signs are. They used to put them in at the beginning of the decade, then replace them with SALE signs after Christmas.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Blue Selfridges 18102011 (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

2nd December 2011

Selfridges had been lit up in orange lights. This view from Moor Street Queensway with the main entrance to Birmingham Moor Street Station.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Orange Selfridges 02120211 (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

7th December 2012

About a year later, lit up in orange lights again. This view from Park Street, with the Christmas lights in the middle.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Orange Selfridges 07122012 (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

16th March 2013

Selfridges was lit up in green for St Patrick's Day, I had travelled up that evening just to get it in green. This photo ended up in Flickr Explore, and at the time got a lot of views, likes and comments.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Patricks - Selfridges 100318.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

20th December 2013

A blue view of Selfridges after dark from Moor Street Queensway with Birmingham Moor Street Station. A old and new contrast. With a building originally opened in 1909, to one that opened in 2003. The rebuilding of the Bullring led to the restoration of the Edwardian railway station between 2003 to 2006, with platforms 3 and 4 opening by late 2010.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Blue Selfridges 20122013.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

15th March 2014

Went to have a coffee at Starbucks Coffee, and got a table near the window at the time, and took this view of Selfridges. Rarely go to this Selfridges in the years since, as it was always busy (back when you could sit inside of a coffee shop and eat and drink in them, instead of just having a take away).

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Sbucks Selfridges 15032014.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

18th July 2014

On the bus heading home, passing Selfridges, when I captured this sunburst from Park Street, on my then smartphone camera.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Sburst Selfridges 18072014.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

31st May 2015

One of my earliest photos taken inside of Selfridges was of this model of the Bullring Bull made entirely out of sweets!

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Sweetbull Selfridges 31052015.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

27th June 2015

They put a SALE sign on the outside windows (where the flashing yellow Selfridges signs are behind). SMILE BIRMINGHAM SALE IS HERE.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Sale Selfridges 27062015.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

31st July 2015

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015  (a trail of painted owls) was on from July, for a period of 10 weeks before being sold at an auction for charity. One morning I saw Selfie, by the artist Martin Band. It was sponsored LDC. And yes I did take a selfie with it at the time! It resembled the exterior of Selfridges with all the discs.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Hoot St Martins Sq (Jul 2015) (6).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

9th February 2016

A pair of Johnsons Coaches buses parked on Park Street outside of Selfridges. Usually the 150 goes to Redditch, and the X20 on The Bard's Bus to Stratford-upon-Avon. Although in recent years the X20 route no longer goes from the Bullring to Stratford-upon-Avon any more (replaced by the X50 on Sunday's).

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Jsons Selfridges 09022016.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

10th November 2016

A view of Selfridges from Birmingham Moor Street Station. This was at platforms 3 and 4, usually used by Chiltern Railways, and Vintage Trains (for the Shakespeare Express or Polar Express). Platform 5 has yet to be reconnected, but for many years there used to be a steam locomotive at the end, before it returned to the Tyseley Locomotive Works.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BMSS Selfridges 10112016.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

24th January 2017

Diamond also used to park their buses on Park Street. One of my bus stops is opposite. Got a reflection on that passing car.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Diamond Selfridges 24012017.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

4th February 2017

Near Valentines Day, and on the Selfridges staff doors it said "I love you", "I love me".

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/IHU Selfridges 04022017.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

13th July 2017

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017 (a trail of painted bears) was on from July, for a period of 10 weeks before being sold at an auction for charity. Inside of Selfridges was Brummie Bear, it was by the artist Slobodan Topolović. The sponsor was Selfridges Birmingham.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Sleuth St Martins Sq (July 2017) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

29th October 2017

Inside of the East Mall at the Bullring, saw this giant robin sculpture, next to a dummy with a tall French style army hat.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Robin Selfridges 29102017.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

6th December 2017

Went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park, to see the Santa Christmas Train. While there got my first photos from the top of the car park, and shortly afterwards, crossed through the Parametric Bridge to get inside of Selfridges and the Bullring.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Selfridges 06122017 (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

11th February 2018

The West Midlands Police, at the time had this pair of Police cars parked in the middle of Park Street, checking passing vehicles. I took this from a bus I was on looking towards Selfridges.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WMP Selfridges 11022018.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

10th April 2018

A pair of National Express coaches were heading around Park Street onto Moor Street at the time, near Selfridges. Your LONDON tour starts here. Or catch at train from the nearby Birmingham Moor Street Station with Chiltern Railways (your choice).

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/NX Selfridges 10042018.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

13th June 2018

This T-Rex was inside of Selfridges as part of the Dippy on Tour in the City trail. Was in the children's department. Hence the toys behind.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Dippy on Tour - T-Rex at Selfridges Birmingham (June 2018).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

30th August 2018

The Big Brum Buz was replaced with this lime green open top Sightseeing bus, that I captured passing Selfridges, from the top deck of a bus I was on at the time.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Sightseeing Selfridges 30082018.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

 

15th December 2018

Heading down the escalators inside of Selfridges, saw this giant plump Santa on the floor below!

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Xmas Selfridges 15122018 (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

4th January 2019

Early signs of the missing discs that were on Selfridges. Metal bits sticking out of the centre.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Discworld Selfridges 04012019 (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

9th February 2019

Red lights on Selfridges for Chinese New Year, but not quite dark enough from Birmingham Moor Street Station.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BMS Selfridges 09022019.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

18th March 2019

Over the years I've seen many workers abseil down Selfridges to clean the discs. Now they were removing or replacing them. But this wasn't really working as it would take ages to replace them like this.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Abseiling Selfridges 18032019 (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

19th August 2019

Still taking down the damaged discs in the summer. Another disc dangles below the man on the ropes in front of Selfridges, with a head for heights.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Abseiling Selfridges 19082019 (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

5th October 2019

Crossing over the Parametric Bridge from Moor Street Car Park to Selfridges, I noticed that the gaps at both ends had been covered over. Probably to stop people jumping or leaning over the side. But makes it hard to get a photo now from the sides of the bridge.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Selfridges 05102019 (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

31st December 2019

My last photo of Selfridges of the 2010s taken from Moor Street Car Park, looking towards the Parametric Bridge and Birmingham Moor Street Station behind. The buses and cars look tiny below!

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26th January 2020

HAPPY NEW DECADE screamed the sign at Selfridges. Saw it while I was at the Bullring that evening for the Festival of Light. Little could Selfridges predict the coming lockdowns and the pandemic. Plus the long term closures of non essential retailers.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Selfridges 26012020.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

3rd March 2020

My last photo of Selfridges that I took about 20 days before the 1st lockdown began. From Park Street in Eastside next to the HS2 hoardings. Park Street would later be permanently closed in the middle by HS2.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/HS2 Selfridges 03032020.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

31st July 2020

Lockdown restrictions were eased by July, so was able to renew my travel pass and go back to the City Centre and work. Still missing discs, in this view towards Digbeth and the Bordesley viaduct. Can see the Custard Factory as well.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Selfridges 31072020 (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

4th October 2020

HS2 had blocked off my many walking routes from Digbeth to Eastside, so took a diversion via Great Barr Street and Lawley Middleway. Got this view of Selfridges from Curzon Street. The Grade I listed Curzon Street Station was on the right. On the left is the site of the future HS2 station at Curzon Street.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Eastside Selfridges 04102020 (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

16th November 2020

Back to work again halfway into the second lockdown. By then scaffolding was going up around Park Street and Moor Street in front of Selfridges. The hoardings would start going up a month later.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Scaf Selfridges 16112020 (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

24th December 2020

We were in Tier 3 restrictions at the time. I headed into the City Centre to see the Westside Metro extension. Then walked to Park Street to get the beginnings of the pink hoardings in front of Selfridges. This is the 'Dogtooth Flower' design by Osman Yousefzada. The 3rd lockdown started early in January 2021, and I've been unable to travel back into the City Centre to get an update of the progress. When restrictions get eased again, hopefully I will be able to get a bus or train to see it.

dndimg alt="Selfridges" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Pink Selfridges (Dec 2020) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

 

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Elliott Brown History & heritage
01 Mar 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Newman Brothers Coffin Works

Did you know that when Newman Brothers Coffin Furniture Factory closed down for good in 1998, they left all the tools and equipment as it was. The building now called the Coffin Works was opened as a museum in 2014 after a period of restoration work under taken by the Birmingham Conservation Trust. In the years since it opened, I've yet to pay a visit to go inside. Fleet Street in JQ.

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Newman Brothers Coffin Works





Did you know that when Newman Brothers Coffin Furniture Factory closed down for good in 1998, they left all the tools and equipment as it was. The building now called the Coffin Works was opened as a museum in 2014 after a period of restoration work under taken by the Birmingham Conservation Trust. In the years since it opened, I've yet to pay a visit to go inside. Fleet Street in JQ.


The Coffin Works

Located on Fleet Street in the Jewellery Quarter is this hiden gem. The Coffin Works is at 13-15 Fleet Street. Between Summer Row (at Parade) and Hotel ibis Styles (which is between Fleet Street and Lionel Street). Also near the head office of Mitchells & Butlers.

The Newman Brothers Coffin Furniture Factory is a part of the Jewellery Quarter conservation area. Founded by the brothers Alfred and Edwin Newman. They moved to this site in 1894 (the building was built from 1892 to 1894 and designed by Roger Harley in 1892). Their company began life as a brass foundry company, before they changed to making coffin furniture (the handles, nameplates etc, all which would get buried with the deceased in the coffin underground).

Edwin ceased to be involved in the company during 1895, leaving his brother Alfred as the sole trader of the business until his death in 1933. He was succeeded by his two sons George and Horace. They ran the company until George Newman passed away in 1944, and his brother Horace Newman passed away in 1952. After that there was a variety of owners of the company. Although their sister Nina continued to hold shares until 1980.

The business passed to the Doggart and Whittington families. The last owner was Joyce Green, who acquired the company following the death of the companies two managing directors in 1976. Green first joined the company as a secretary in 1949. She moved up through the ranks until she bought the company in 1989, and was the sole trader until the business closed for good in 1998.

 

Restoration

During the 1990s, Joyce Green fought for the building to be restored. The factory received a Grade II* listed status in the year 2000 by English Heritage. In 2001 the Birmingham Conservation Trust carried out a study on the building about the threat of redevelopment and the loss of the building. The factory was one of three candidates in the first series of the BBC's Restoration programme in 2003, although it didn't receive enough votes to reach the final.

But it got enough interest for restoration in the future. In 2006 / 2007 the Birmingham Conservation Trust got a grant of £1.5 million. The credit crunch in 2009 caused a minor setback when Advantage West Midlands collapsed. But Birmingham City Council was able to buy the building from AWM in 2010. Restoration finally took place during 2013 to 2014. The museum opened in October 2014. Joyce Green was involved in the project throughout until her death in 2009.

 

Fleet Street, 2014

In June 2014, I was walking up Fleet Street, when I took my first photo of the building. Viet Moon was a restaurant at 5-11 Fleet Street. While the Coffin Works next door was coming to it's conclusion in terms of it's restoration.

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Jun 2014).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

By September 2014, the Coffin Works restoration project was complete. Heading down some steps between Lionel Street and Fleet Street in the Jewellery Quarter, saw these painted signs on the wall to the left "to the Coffin Works Visit Newman Bros.".

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Sep 2014) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The side of the Coffin Works with at least three chimneys.

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Sep 2014) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There was another painted sign further down the steps closer to Fleet Street.

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Sep 2014) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Now a first proper look at Newman Brothers aka The Coffin Works. It would open as a museum in the following month.

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Sep 2014) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

A zoom in to the painted Newman Brothers sign looking as good as new!

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Sep 2014) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

This view below from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. This view towards Fleet Street from near the Cable-Stay Footbridge and Farmers Bridge Lock No 6. Behind me was the Newhall Square development.

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works BF Canal (Sep 2014).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Fleet Street, 2018

By April 2018, I saw this plaque on the Coffin Works. From The Birmingham Civic Society, who presented the Renaiisance Award to the Birmingham Conservation Trust for the Newman Brothers Coffin Works in 2014.

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Apr 2018) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A full look at the building with the plaque. In all the years since it opened as a museum, I never once thought of buying tickets in advance to pop in and take photos.

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Apr 2018) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Fleet Street, 2020

This was on the evening in December 2020, when I was walking towards Jewellery Quarter Station, to see the Christmas lights at St Paul's Square and The Golden Square, as well as surrounding streets. After passing the Library of Birmingham, via Parade, got onto Fleet Street, and saw the Newman Brothers sign lit up after dark! Bit hard to see in this photo.

dndimg alt="Coffin Works" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Coffin Works (Dec 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Maybe once museums can open again, I may think of buying a ticket on their website and pay them a visit. But this will be when I can travel on buses and trains again. After lockdown restrictions get eased again (hopefully for good this time).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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