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Classic Architecture
11 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Old Joe at the University of Birmingham from 2018 to 2020

While during the lockdown / pandemic you are not allowed to go onto the University of Birmingham campus in Edgbaston you can see Old Joe for miles around the campus. Views here taken between 2018 and 2020. Up until early March 2020 I could still go onto the campus (now it's not possible without an ID). Named after Joseph Chamberlain who was the First Chancellor of the University.

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Old Joe at the University of Birmingham from 2018 to 2020





While during the lockdown / pandemic you are not allowed to go onto the University of Birmingham campus in Edgbaston you can see Old Joe for miles around the campus. Views here taken between 2018 and 2020. Up until early March 2020 I could still go onto the campus (now it's not possible without an ID). Named after Joseph Chamberlain who was the First Chancellor of the University.


OLD JOE:

JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN MEMORIAL CLOCK TOWER

 

Find my old post comparing the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower here to the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy.

Old Joe on Twitter.

Some history about the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower aka Old Joe. Built from 1900 until 1908, it was the tallest building in Birmingham until 1965, when the BT Tower opened. Designed by Aston Webb and Ingress Bell who were responsible for the initial phase of building the University in the Edwardian period. The tower was based on the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy (see the link above to my old comparison post).

The tower commemorated Joseph Chamberlain who was the First Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. It is the tallest free standing clock tower in the world. It is over 100 metres tall (possibly as high as 110 metres). The tower is Grade II listed and it can be seen for miles around the campus. As far away as the Lickey Hills and Waseley Hills (for instance). Even from nearby parks and suburbs. It is thought that Old Joe was the inspiration for the Eye of Sauron in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

2018

January 2018 from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park. Old Joe on the City Skyline

March 2018: From Vincent Drive overlooking the Cross City Line. The new University of Birmingham Library with Old Joe.

May 2018: Seen from the Bristol Road in Edgbaston, when they got the clock working again!

June 2018: View from Winnie Road in Selly Oak around the time that Old Joe won the World Cup of Birmingham's Best Buildings! on Twitter (held by I Choose Birmingham).

July 2018: Visible from the Bourn Brook Way not far from Harborne Lane in Selly Oak.

November 2018: A close up view from the Chancellors Court at the University of Birmingham.

2019

January 2019: From the Green Heart at the University of Birmingham (before it was completed later that year).

February 2019: In this view from the Bristol Road, Selly Oak, before the Selly Oak Railway Bridge of 1931.

April 2019: Heading down Cartland Road in Stirchley, could see Old Joe between the roofs of houses.

August 2019: Not far from the Bramall Music Building. The clock was once again stuck at 12 on all sides.

October 2019: The view from Bournbrook Road in Selly Park, heading towards Selly Oak.

December 2019: Old Joe was visible on the skyline from Sir Herbert Austin Way in Northfield.

2020

January 2020: Heading towards the Poynting Building from the Guild of Students over a footbridge with this view.

March 2020: One of my last shots of Old Joe before the lockdown began earlier in the month. Clocks stuck at 12 again.

May 2020: The first time I'd seen Old Joe in two months due to the lockdown. This view from Cannon Hill Park.

May 2020: Also saw Old Joe from Highbury Park, not far from Joseph Chamberlain's former home Highbury Hall.

May 2020: Walking back from Weoley Castle past Selly Oak Park down Gibbins Road saw this view of Old Joe.

June 2020: Saw this view of Old Joe from the Waseley Hills Country Park, before I zoomed in on the skyline.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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90 passion points
Green open spaces
10 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selly Oak Park: the gem of a park off the Selly Oak Bypass

Selly Oak Park is located on Harborne Lane in Selly Oak. Sections of the Lapal Canal goes through the north east corner of the park (still to be fully restored). The Selly Oak Bypass (Aston Webb Boulevard) opened in 2011 and the Selly Oak Shopping Park in 2018. They are now building a new section of the bypass near the former Sainsbury's site at Selly Oak Triangle. Also on Gibbins Rd.

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Selly Oak Park: the gem of a park off the Selly Oak Bypass





Selly Oak Park is located on Harborne Lane in Selly Oak. Sections of the Lapal Canal goes through the north east corner of the park (still to be fully restored). The Selly Oak Bypass (Aston Webb Boulevard) opened in 2011 and the Selly Oak Shopping Park in 2018. They are now building a new section of the bypass near the former Sainsbury's site at Selly Oak Triangle. Also on Gibbins Rd.


Selly Oak Park

This park is located on Harborne Lane and Gibbins Road in Selly Oak. It was developed under the Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council. Land was donated in February 1899 by members of the Gibbins family. The park was opened in April 1899 on Easter Monday. In 1911 the park was taken over by Birmingham City Council when Selly Oak became part of the city. More land was donated over the years. In 1913 and 1919 by the owners of the Birmingham Battery and Metal Company (also Gibbins family members), in 1935 to give access to the Weoley Park Farm Estate. More land in 1950 by the Birmingham Battery & Metal Company (again). In 1958 some land was transferred to the City’s Public Works Committee. More recent land donations in 1980 and 1982.

The shelter built in 1899, the bandstand built in 1908 and the Daughters of Rest Pavilion built in 1953 have all since been demolished.

The park is now maintained by The Friends of Selly Oak Park. That includes all the wooden sculptures found around the park.

2012

My first walk around Selly Oak Park was during June 2012, testing out my then new camera (which I had until about December 2015). I probably entered from Harborne Lane and headed up the main path.

One of the main squirrels in the park, with a nut.

Saw this red wind funnel thing. There is similar funnels in other nearby parks.

A council lawnmower going around the park cutting the grass.

The trees were so lush and green in the summer, the path curving round to the right.

Another squirrel behind a tree.

Two paths amongst the trees.

Distant view of the red funnel.

2017

The next visit to Selly Oak Park was during January 2017. The Friends of Selly Oak Park had commissioned all of these new wooden sculptures which were worth checking out. On this side it says Lapal.

To the side Welcome. So probably "Welcome to Selly Oak Park". This is near Gibbins Road.

A carved wooden bench. In memory of Geoff Bartlett, Founder of Friends of Selly Oak Park.

Part of the playground. A climbing frame, and a ride along a rope with a tyre (I think).

Another wooden sculpture. Of deer or a kangeroo (probably a deer and it's cub).

A new Welcome to Selly Oak Park sign. It's near the car park off Harborne Lane and close to the corner with Gibbins Road.

2018

This visit during March 2018. View of the new outdoor gym.

Daffodils alongside a path.

Selly Oak Park Play Area. One of the many Birmingham City Council elephant signs that you would find in this and other City parks. Behind was a slide.

Daffodils around a tree.

Daffodils and crocuses. From here I headed up Gibbins Road towards Lodge Hill Cemetery. Weoley Castle is also nearby.

Happy New Year 2020. More park posts to come during 2020.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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100 passion points
Environment & green action
10 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Handsworth Park the park near where Boulton and Watt are buried

Went to Handsworth to check out St Mary's Church and Handsworth Park. The church was closed for renovation works so couldn't go inside. The park has a boating lake and an arts trail. Found two of The Big Sleuth 2017 bears in one half of the park. I got the tram but no 16 bus route is nearby if I go again! 

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Handsworth Park the park near where Boulton and Watt are buried





Went to Handsworth to check out St Mary's Church and Handsworth Park. The church was closed for renovation works so couldn't go inside. The park has a boating lake and an arts trail. Found two of The Big Sleuth 2017 bears in one half of the park. I got the tram but no 16 bus route is nearby if I go again! 


See also my Handsworth heritage buildings post. Find all my my Handsworth Park photos over on my Flickr.

The main entrance gates to Handsworth Park from Hamstead Road. I continued on to get close to St Mary's Church, until I noticed that their was renovation works. I then crossed over the road for some more views of the church, before heading into the park. The gate on the right was open on my visit.

Before I got to St Mary's Church on Hamstead Road in Handsworth, I had a look at the lodge house in Handsworth Park. Dated 1897. Not listed.

I had a walk around the boating lake, walking anti-clockwise. The lodge / gate house of 1897 with it's distinctive clock tower and turreted roof.

The Victorian Drinking Fountain Canopy, now part of the Handsworth Park Arts Trail. Probably dating to the late 19th century. Originally called The Austin Lines Fountain. The drinking fountain itself has long since been removed. This view from the Hamstead Road, through the metal fence above the brick wall (on the walk to St Mary's Church, noticed a part of the wall that is broken and in urgent need of repair).

The boating lake from the Hamstead Road end of Handsworth Park. Plenty of Canada geese and gulls in this lake. Saw some boats at the other end of the lake.

Several boats near the island in the middle of the lake. They were up-side-down!

A relatively new sculpture unveiled in 2017, called SS Journey, made by the sculptor Luke Perry. Seen from the path I took on the walk around the lake.

It is dedicated to the brave individuals who have left their homes around the world and made the journey to Handsworth and other parts of the UK, seeking a new life for themselves and their families. The sculpture is cast in bronze. I think the ship part looks like it was made of steel. It faces one corner of the boating lake.

Saw this squirrel on top of a bench. As per usual, when you get close to a squirrel they run away! It's already looking autumnal in his park with leaves on the lawn.

What looks like an old drinking fountain. It's called Umbrello and it is Grade II listed. It was presented to the park in 1888 by Austin B Lines. Octagonal in plan. Had two shields with inscriptions on them. One of them had a pelican on it.

I eventually headed back to the Hamstead Road entrance / exit. And then headed down Holly Road. I was aware of the Soho railway line running through the park, but missed using any of the footbridges here. I re-entered the other half of the park when I saw one of The Big Sleuth bears from summer 2017.

In the summer of 2017, I didn't get around to travelling to Handsworth, so missed seeing The Big Sleuth bears. Although around late July 2017 came back on the bus through Handsworth after doing Bearwood, Dudley and West Bromwich. These bears are now part of the Handsworth Park Arts Trail, and were installed in October 2017.

This is Sun Guardian created by Goosensi working with Friends of Handsworth Park and the Handsworth Community.

 

Seen outside of the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre (Handsworth Leisure Centre) was Well Active Bear. Created by Mark Copplestone and Jennie Saunders working with Birmingham Wellbeing Service.

Seen on this cylinder outside of the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre was this piece of graffiti street art, part of the Arts Trail in the park. Handsworth Revolution - Steel Pulse.

The Handsworth Playcentre is to the left of the Steel Pulse piece. Mostly painted in sky blue paint, with a variety of other colours. Part of the Handsworth Leisure / Wellbeing Centre.

After this, I left the park via Grove Lane and then headed towards Winson Green Outer Circle Tram Stop. Which was about a 20 minute walk away. Maybe one day a new railway station could be built in the middle of the park. Apparently Handsworth Wood Station was here from 1896 to 1941. Passengers found the no 16 bus to be more convenient. Maybe a new staton could be built there on the line from Birmingham New Street towards Walsall on the Chase Line. Similiar to the proposals to rebuild the stations on the Camp Hill Line (Hazelwell, Kings Heath and Moseley).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
09 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Kings Norton Park down the Pershore Road South

While I've been to Kings Norton many times over the years, I've only had one proper walk into Kings Norton Park way back in 2011. Back in 2009 I passed it on the way down the Pershore Road South to Kings Norton Village. And only skimmed it from Westhill Road in 2016. The park is down the hill from Kings Norton Station and Cotteridge. There is a Recreation Ground opposite.

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Kings Norton Park down the Pershore Road South





While I've been to Kings Norton many times over the years, I've only had one proper walk into Kings Norton Park way back in 2011. Back in 2009 I passed it on the way down the Pershore Road South to Kings Norton Village. And only skimmed it from Westhill Road in 2016. The park is down the hill from Kings Norton Station and Cotteridge. There is a Recreation Ground opposite.


Kings Norton Park

This park is located down on the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton, between Kings Norton Station and Cotteridge to the north and the old Kings Norton village to the south. Westhill Road is to the west while Camp Lane is to the north. You can also approach the park from Wychall Lane, and is on the no 45 and 47 bus routes.

There is a group called the Friends of Kings Norton Park. A group of local volunteers who come together to improve and protect the park and neighbour playing fields. (There blog has not been updated since 2014).

There is a 2 kilometre walking route in the park, as well as a skatepark and a playground. The River Rea flows to the northern edge of the park. National Cycle Network route number 5 passes through the park, and it is also part of the Rea Valley Route.

 

2009

My first indirect photos of Kings Norton Park were taken on a walk down the Pershore Road South. Starting in Bournville, then passing Cotteridge and going down to the old Kings Norton village. This was when I started taking photos around Birmingham during April 2009.

Some views of the River Rea. There is at least two bridges on the Pershore Road South, so the first bigger one is definitely the River Rea. The other smaller bridge crosses an unnamed stream.

Another view of the River Rea or an unnamed stream. This was 11 years ago, so I can't remember which bridge I took them from.

The main path into Kings Norton Park with a pair of long paths, with flower beds on the grass in the middle.

2011

My walk near the end of June 2011 through Kings Norton Park was my first proper walk around the park. Starting on Westhill Road. This is probably the River Rea (I used to think it was an unnamed stream).

The main entrance on Westhill Road is similar to that on the Pershore Road South, they look identical. A pair of paths with flower beds in the middle of the lawn.

The playground near the Westhill Road entrance to the park is also near a car park. (obviously during our current situation the playground is now closed). This was some kind of curved climbing frame for kids.

Still in the playground, not sure what this is, with a pair of steps. Can't see if it has a slide. The view was towards the spire of St Nicholas's Church.

Two pairs of swings in the playground.

This was the slide in the playground here.

Now over the the skatepark area of Kings Norton Park.

The skatepark had many ramps for skateboarders and BMX bike riders to do crazy tricks on.

It had graffiti all over it.

Was loads of different sections of the skatepark with barriers at the higher levels.

This was the lower section of the skatepark.

Now onto a path with the trees mostly to the left.

More trees as I got closer to the Pershore Road South.

An old stone bench, which was off one of the paths from the main Pershore Road South entrance.

Saw this wooden post. Sponsored by Birmingham City Council. Would assume it was installed by the Friends of Kings Norton Park. Possibly from some kind of floral trail?

There was this dirt path through a pair of brick and stone gate posts, not far from the Pershore Road South entrance. I have never walked up here (I don't think).

No path behind these brick and stone gateposts, just overgrown bushes (at the time).

2016

Passed nearby again briefly back in February 2016. Again from Westhill Road, but this time I found some steps near the south west corner of the park. You can see the playground in the distance to the left. I started a walk from Kings Norton village from The Green and ended up going up Westhill Road.

A look at the steps from Westhill Road. I did not go up these steps, or go into the park this time around.

A cycling sign seen from Westhill Road outside of the park. The pavement is only on the left, not pavement on the right (if you are heading up to Camp Lane).

Yellow and purple crocuses seen on the grass just outside of Kings Norton Park.

The crocuses were on the roadside of the lawn, separated by the park barrier.

Another look at the River Rea from Westhill Road, before I walked up Camp Lane to the Pershore Road South.

I keep thinking I already had the photos in past years, so find it hard to find something new to take in Kings Norton. I wont be able to return again until the lockdown ends. It's been well over a year since I last got several buses to Kings Norton. Including when I last walked up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal to Kings Norton Junction. And even on those visits, never thought about going into Kings Norton Park again (the canal walk ended at the Kings Norton Recreation Ground and it was raining at the time).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
09 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Todo es Posible by Lucy McLauchlan aka Beat 13 around Birmingham Central Library (2010-16)

Before doing a Lucy McLauchlan Birmingham street art trail, lets have a look at a lost piece that she did. Also known as Beat 13. Todo es Posible was painted by Lucy in July 2010. You could see it on Birmingham Central Library from Chamberlain Square and down Congreve Passage. There was also bits at the other end of Centenary Way near Paradise Forum. Last visible during February 2016.

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Todo es Posible by Lucy McLauchlan aka Beat 13 around Birmingham Central Library (2010-16)





Before doing a Lucy McLauchlan Birmingham street art trail, lets have a look at a lost piece that she did. Also known as Beat 13. Todo es Posible was painted by Lucy in July 2010. You could see it on Birmingham Central Library from Chamberlain Square and down Congreve Passage. There was also bits at the other end of Centenary Way near Paradise Forum. Last visible during February 2016.


TODO ES POSIBLE BY LUCY MCLAUCHLAN

From about July 2010 to February 2016, it was possible to see Lucy McLauchlan's Todo es Posible street art all the way around Birmingham Central Library (not covering all of it). It gave you something to look at other than the dated John Madin concrete of the 1960s and 1970s. The library would close in 2013 when the Library of Birmingham opened. And demolished during 2015 to 2016. Including the removal of Paradise Forum.

 

Location: at the time Birmingham Central Library. What is now PwC, One Chamberlain Square, B3 3AX. Note if you go to Chamberlain Square now, you will not find Todo es Posible as it was destroyed during the demolition of Birmingham Central Library in 2016.

 

July 2010

My first look at Todo es Posible down Congreve Passage from Chamberlain Square.

 

August 2010

A small section of Todo es Posible on the concrete of Birmingham Central Library. Like a bird face. It was to the left of McDonald's at Paradise Forum.

 

April 2011

Another look at the right half section of Todo es Posible on Congreve Passage. Around what used to be the Art in the Window Gallery. Lucy had painted more of the piece over the windows after this gallery had closed.

 

November 2012

Cherry pickers in front of Lucy's Todo es Posible street art on Congreve Passage. This view looking left towards Chamberlain Square and the Town Hall.

 

April 2014

Found some more of Lucy's art near Paradise Forum from Centenary Way. Leaves and berries.

Another look at the distinctive bird face near McDonald's at the Chamberlain Square end of Paradise Forum.

Some of the leaves and berries to the left of McDonald's (it closed down in late 2015).

 

February 2015

The right hand side of Birmingham Central Library was behind Paradise Birmingham hoardings, but it was still possible to see Todo es Posible down Congreve Passage. Paradise Forum would close at the end of 2015.

 

February 2016

Demolition of Birmingham Central Library was well underway by then, and this was the last time to see Todo es Posible before it went to dust.

From Centenary Way at the former entrance of Paradise Forum was another of Lucy's leaves and berries art.

Centenary Way now goes all the way from Centenary Square to Chamberlain Square in the open air. But at the time was the gutted Paradise Forum and rubble everywhere. One last look at Lucy's artwork on the right through the hoardings window.

 

Street art by Lucy McLauchlan 2010. Click the link on the left to visit her website.

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

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