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Photography
10 Jul 2020 - Stephen Calcutt
News & Updates

Lockdown Life

This tryptic of images sum up three aspects of lockdown life and self isolation for me. I was stuck for what I could present that was original and reflected the positive side of lockdown for me. I'd started growing veg in containers and using an exercise trampoline as part of my keeping active regime. I made a scarecrow out of a bamboo cne with a tin pie container and some balloons

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Lockdown Life





This tryptic of images sum up three aspects of lockdown life and self isolation for me. I was stuck for what I could present that was original and reflected the positive side of lockdown for me. I'd started growing veg in containers and using an exercise trampoline as part of my keeping active regime. I made a scarecrow out of a bamboo cne with a tin pie container and some balloons


I decided on a very windy day to capture the scarecrow being blown around on a slow shutter speed. These are the three I loved the most as stated capturing my veg growing and exercise equipment and the artistic side of me being captured in the bold abstract colours of the balloons.

I'm in a sanctuary during Covid 19, as an introvert it has an odd reasurance not to have to engage in the outside world. I'm fortunate not to be suffering health or activity wise,  I know it's a dire time for some.

 

My images capture the spark that keeps me going Covid 19 or not. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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50 passion points
Travel & tourism
08 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Go to space in the Future at Thinktank

On Level 3 of Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is The Future. All about space and the Thinktank Planetarium is up here! This visit was during April 2014. See an astronaut, an alien, robots and more! Get the lift up there, or go up the stairs. An idea for a Planetarium goes back to when one was proposed for what is now Centenary Square (1941 model). This one in Eastside opened in 2001.

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Go to space in the Future at Thinktank





On Level 3 of Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is The Future. All about space and the Thinktank Planetarium is up here! This visit was during April 2014. See an astronaut, an alien, robots and more! Get the lift up there, or go up the stairs. An idea for a Planetarium goes back to when one was proposed for what is now Centenary Square (1941 model). This one in Eastside opened in 2001.


THE FUTURE AT THINKTANK

Space, the Final Frontier, these are the voyages of the Starship Birmingham, it's continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no one has gone before!

Located on Level 3 at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum in Millennium Point is an area called The Future. I went up there during the April 2014 visit to Thinktank. Using our free Thinktank vouchers, took advantage during 2014 while it was still valid. But you have to wear a wristband. I didn't get around to going up to The Future the year before in April 2013.

 

The area is now called Find the Future. But expect that it is the same exhibits as 6 years earlier. And many of it would have been placed here back in 2001 when the museum opened.

Below is the description on the Thinktank website:

Explore the outer reaches of space, get to grips with innovative inventions and marvel at how medical advancements are saving lives. Head to Talking Point to consider scientists’ predictions for the future – and have your say!

The Futures gallery brings to life how science, technology and medicine have a huge impact on the way we live - now and in the future.

With interactive exhibits such as Create an Alien and RoboThespian, the Futures gallery aims to stimulate debate, explore scientific issues and question our place in the Universe.

 

The Planetarium now has a 4K system, but at the time of our visit in 2014 they still had the old 2001 version (it was voiced I think by former BBC Midlands Today presenter Sue Beardsmore).

This is the description for the Planeterium on the Thinktank website:

Step inside Thinktank’s Planetarium and explore the outer reaches of space, get up close to constellations, journey through the night-sky and adventure through the solar system!

In addition to astronomy, there will be shows that allow you to travel through the human body; dive under the ocean; shrink to the size of an atom or allow yourself to be immersed completely in music and light.

 

There could have been an even earlier Planetarium built in what is now Centenary Square. As seen in this model made in 1941. It would have been located close to Broad Street approximately where Symphony Hall is now. But due to World War 2, this plan was abandoned, and only Baskerville House (completed in 1938) and the Hall of Memory (opened in 1925) were built in the end. Birmingham wouldn't get a Planeterium until Thinktank opened in Millennium Point in 2001! Saw the model at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre during an open day in May 2012.

After the war, Roman Imperial imagery went out of fashion, so this plan for a civic square never came to be. The proposed planetarium would have been to the far left of the Broad Street site.

Birds-eye view of the model where the proposed Planetarium would have been located. The model was made by William Haywood, who was Secretary of The Birmingham Civic Society. In the end, it would another 60 years before a Planetarium would open at Thinktank in Millennium Point.

 

Now for a tour of The Future from my visit during April 2014.

First view of The Future after heading up the stairs to Level 3. Saw these yellow tubes in the centre of the room. They might be just below the Planetarium.

The outside of the Planetarium. When inside, it's a bit like sitting in a cinema, but looking up at the ceiling with all the changing images of the solar system and the planets and beyond!

This part was called the Future of Space. With an image of the planet Earth on it.

They had a full astronaut suit on display. Probably from the European Space Agency if not from NASA.

The front of the astronaut's suit. Could do with a helmet right now! That would protect you from the glare from the sun.

A look at RoboThespian. It was an anamatronic.

Close up look at the top half of RoboThespian.

Saw this Mars Rover on a recreation of the surface of the Martian planet. A bit like what NASA would send there.

An alien with 9 eyes! This was an animation that kept changing. Imagining what aliens could look like?

They had a couple of Gyroscopes on display. They look like remote controlled helicopters. Before drones was invented.

A moving robot arm. This is a screenshot from the video I took, as the only photo I got of it, showed it in motion while it was moving. It looks like the robot arm was drumming on a drum kit.

Futher displays in The Future. All sections here was interactive with a touchscreen. And behind the objects was screens explaining what the object was all about.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Transport
07 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Classic Car Collection in the garage at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre

The last area of your visit to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre is in the large garage. Where they store many classic cars from various different eras. Many made all over the West Midlands. From Rover's to Austin's to the earliest cars from the beginning of the 20th century. Some of these cars might be in Thinktank now. I first saw them on an open day I went to in May 2012.

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Classic Car Collection in the garage at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre





The last area of your visit to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre is in the large garage. Where they store many classic cars from various different eras. Many made all over the West Midlands. From Rover's to Austin's to the earliest cars from the beginning of the 20th century. Some of these cars might be in Thinktank now. I first saw them on an open day I went to in May 2012.


Here we will look at the classic cars in the collection of the Birmingham Museums Trust (originally Birmingham City Council). The following photos were taken during a May 2012 open day I went to. So when I went again 6 years later in September 2018, I didn't take these cars again (apart from if I saw them at Thinktank in 2013 or 2014). These cars were seen in the large garage at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre on Dollman Street in Nechells.

The following vehicles below date from about 1900 until 1985.

Carriage

I had no details about this carriage. But assume it dates to before the 20th century, and probably needed horses to pull it.

Benz Voiturette

This Dogcart was built in 1900 to Karl Benz's system. It took part in the inaugural 'Brighton Run' and also again in 2003 despite the appalling weather. Benz first made a motorcar in 1883. He retired in 1903, but remained on the board, even after the company merged with DMG in 1926. He was still on the board at the time of his death in 1929 by which time the company was now called the Daimler-Benz corporation.

Clement Panhard

This Clément-Panhard automobile was built in 1901 or 1902, it was registered in 1904. This light car was marketed in England as the 'Stirling Dog Cart'. The automobile manufacturer started in 1898. The owner of the company was Adolphe Clément. Was probably made in France.

Jackson Motor Car

This car was built in 1909 by Jackson / De Dion. It was a single cylinder wagonette. The Jackson Automobile Company was an American Brass Era automobile manufacturer located and named for Jackson, Michigan, USA. They produced the Jackson from 1903 until 1923. The De Dion-Bouton was a French automobile manufacturer making cars from 1883 until 1953. It was founded by Jules-Albert de Dion, Georges Bouton and Charles Trépardoux. It was probably a Jackson automobile with a De Dion engine.

B.S.A. Open Tourer

This was a 4 seater car built by B.S.A. in 1912 at the Sparkbrook Works. The car had the legendary Knight Double Sleeve Valve engine. It was one of the earliest uses steel panels in motor cars. The Birmingham Small Arms Company started out in 1861 making machine guns in the Gun Quarter. By 1880 they started to make bicycles. They moved to Sparkbrook in 1906 and started making motorcycles in 1910. They started making cars from 1907. The company went out of business in 1973.

Castle Runabout (Prototype)

This prototype was made in 1919 and was the 4 wheeled version. It never reached full production. The Castle Motor Company of Kidderminster made about 350 3 wheeled 'Runabout' light cars known as the Castle Three from 1919 until 1922.

Singer 10 H.P. Coupe

Made in 1920 by Singer Motors. It was Model C. 1124cc. The company under George Singer originally made bicycles, before they started making motorcycles. They became the 3rd largest car builder behind Austin and Morris.

Ariel Convertible Car

Made in 1924 with an Ariel 4 cylinder engine. The Ariel works was based in Selly Oak and they built over 1000 cars from 1923 until 1925. When they switched to making motorcycles as they were priced out of the market by the Austin Seven. Ariel existed from 1902 until they were sold to BSA in 1970. They were based in the Bournbrook area. Today the name is remembered in Selly Oak with the Ariel Aqueduct, which was built in 2011 near the former site of the Battery works.

Bean 14HP Coupe

This car was built in Tipton in 1927. It was a 4 Cylinder, 2385cc, Coupe. The Beans Foundry survived to make engine blocks for other car manufacturers (but production ceased in 2005 and was closed in 6 months by the administrators). Bean made cars from 1919 until 1931 by A Harper Sons & Bean, Ltd at factories in Dudley and Coseley.

Ford Model A Saloon

The Ford Model A was probably made in Manchester in 1928. It had a 1626cc 4 cylinder engine. Most of it's 'working' life was spent in the London area. It was also known as a Tudor sedan (in the US) or a Tudor saloon (in the UK).

Daimler 20 Saloon

Was built in Coventry in 1931. It had a 20 HP engine, with a six cylinder sleeve valve engine, pre-selector gearbox and a fluid flywheel. At the time it would have cost more than £750.

M.G. Midget (J Series)

M.G. built this J2 sports car in 1933. It had an 847cc Engine. It was developed from the Morris Minor. It was restored to working order my museum staff and has been seen on the roads. I saw it a year later in April 2013 at Thinktank in the Move It section. M.G. began producing cars in 1924 by William Morris in Oxford. It has had many owners over the years. Including: British Leyland, Austin Rover, Rover Group, MG Rover Group and more recently the Nanjing Automobile Group until 2011. The current company MG Motor had been producing cars at Longbridge since 2012 and is owned by SAIC Motor UK.

Armstrong Siddeley - 'Foursome'

The chassis of this car was made in Coventry in 1935 but the car was finished in Birmingham. It had a 17HP, 6 cylinder engine.

Rover 12 Sports

It was built in Coventry in 1936 and was a 12HP Sports Saloon typical of later designs available with three different engine capacity engines, the 10, 12 and 14HP.

Austin A90 Atlantic

The A90 'Atlantic' Coupe was made in 1949 by Austin at Longbridge. It drove continuously for 7 days and nights, taking 63 American stock car records. It was the first British car to attempt the American National Stock Car Record at the Indianapolis Speedway. It was owned by the Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry. So probably been in storage at BMCC since 1997 (as no room at Thinktank).

Heinkel 'Cabin Cruiser'

Also called Heinkel Kabine. This was a 3 Wheeled Bubble Car built in 1958. The door of the vehicle opens at the front. It owes much to aircraft technology. The company started in Germany making aircraft. After the war they were prohibited from making planes, so had to make cars. It is possible that this one was made in Ireland under licence to the Dundalk Engineering Company.

Riley 'Elf' (sectioned)

Similar to a Mini. It dates to 1961. The boot in the Riley 'Elf' was slightly larger than a Mini. It had a walnut veneered fascia. It was sectioned by Austin Apprentices. Saw it again displayed at Thinktank in the area called We Made It during April 2013.

Rover 2000

Built in Solihull in 1964. It has a 2 Litre engine and was a Manual car. It was one of the new style 'Rovers'. Triumph almost built a similar model to this one.

Rover P5B Automatic

This car was built by Rover in Solihull in 1971. It has a 3.5 Litre engine. It was restored to it's concours by it's former owner.  The P5B has a 3528cc V8 engine (which was in production from 1967 until 1973). The mileage at the time it was donated to the museum's collection was at 45,462.

Rover SD1 Automatic

Built in Solihull during 1981. It has a 3.5 litre engine. It was returned to concours condition by it's former owner.

It was the last model made by Rover before they linked up with Honda. I later saw it again a year later at Thinktank in an area called Move It, during April 2013.

Sinclair C5 Tricycle

Technically not a car. The Sinclair C5 was built in 1985 by Hoover Washing Machines, in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. It was a 12 volt electric vehicle and was considered a novelty and unsafe by the majority of other motorists. It could be bought from Woolworths for £399 with a £29 delivery fee. It was capable of 15 miles per hour, the maximum speed allowed without a licence. Designed by Sir Clive Sinclair, he was known for the ZX Spectrum computer. He was ahead of time with an electric vehicle. Sadly it wasn't very successful and only being available by mail order was a mistake. As customers couldn't inspect it in shops before purchasing it.

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
07 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The "new" Austin Park at Longbridge Town Centre

This plot of land at Longbridge Town Centre was opened in 2013. Austin Park was where the Austin later MG Rover works used to be until 2005. There was also a former Halesowen Railway. The park is boarded by Bournville College, and the Town Centre buildings with Premier Inn and The Cambridge pub. Entrance on Bristol Road South. You can also see the River Rea here.

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The "new" Austin Park at Longbridge Town Centre





This plot of land at Longbridge Town Centre was opened in 2013. Austin Park was where the Austin later MG Rover works used to be until 2005. There was also a former Halesowen Railway. The park is boarded by Bournville College, and the Town Centre buildings with Premier Inn and The Cambridge pub. Entrance on Bristol Road South. You can also see the River Rea here.


Austin Park

at Longbridge Town Centre

Austin Park is at Longbridge Birmingham. Located between College Street and High Street. St Modwen started the development of the new Austin Park in the winter of 2012/13. On one of my visits to Longbridge in February 2013, they were already digging up the land and preparing it. On a later visit in August 2013, the park was looking more or less complete, but it was not yet open to the public. The decking had been laid out, as well as the landscaping around the River Rea. It was only by November 2013 that I was able to have a short walk around Austin Park. Getting in from the Longbridge High Street and walking to the Bristol Road South entrance / exit. I first went to the then new Costa Coffee  (my first visit, I've been a few times in the years since then) at Longbridge Town Centre before going around the park.

The park is served by many bus routes on the Bristol Road South and Longbridge Lane, such as the 63, 45, 47 and the 49. More recently the X20, X21 and the X22 go nearby. The park is also in walking distance of Longbridge Station (which had a new station building built in 2019).

2013

First views of the almost complete new Austin Park back in August 2013. I've been travelling down to Longbridge since 2010 getting many updates of the developments here. The new decking seen from the Bristol Road South, with the River Rea in the middle.

To the left is Bournville College, and where College Street would eventually be. It opened there in September 2011.

The site to the right has yet to be developed on, even 7 years on.

But to the far left a new Marks & Spencer store would be built, as well as other retail units (as well as a car park). Also a retirement village would be built a little bit up the Lickey Road.

Straight ahead is the new Sainsbury's on the High Street. Also built was a Premier Inn. A pub called The Cambridge, and there is also a Costa Coffee on the High Street. These all opened later in 2013.

Between Bournville College and the park would be built a car park for the college.

On another visit in November 2013, I was able to walk around Austin Park. After my first visit to the Costa Coffee at Longbridge Town Centre (on the High Street), I finally got to go around the new park.

A path curves around the River Rea. Trees were quite new at this point.

The River Rea curving towards Bournville College (seen on the left).

Below the Premier Inn at the time was a Beefeater, next to The Cambridge pub (run by Hungry Horse).

A metal footbridge crosses over the River Rea. Bournville College on the right of this view (below).

A close up look at the metal footbridge in the direction of Bournville College.

The bridge over the Bristol Road South is a reminder of the former Halesowen Railway which used to link Halesowen to Longbridge. There used to be another Longbridge Station on the other side of the bridge (it was demolished by 2013). There was also a signal box on this side of the former railway that I saw in 2010 (but demolished by 2011 or 2012.

A lot of new trees planted by the path in the view towards Bournville College.

There was another footbridge at the Bristol Road South end of the park. There is now also another entrance / exit close to Bournville College.

There is an open gate to the pavement onto Bristol Road South. Not far from the roundabout. Lickey Road to the left leads to Cofton Hacket and Cofton Park.

2016

Just the odd photo of Austin Park in the years since it opened. This one from January 2016. A view of the River Rea towards the construction site of the Extra Care Retirement Village, in the bright sunshine. To the far left, the new Marks & Spencer had just opened, along with the other retail units (the then purpose of this particular visit).

On another visit to Longbridge Town Centre in November 2016 I saw this sign (a reminder of the Austin / MG Rover past and it's former workers):

IT WASN'T ABOUT CARS

IT WAS ABOUT PEOPLE

2017

On my first visit to the inside of Marks & Spencer in Longbridge during October 2017, I popped into M & S Cafe for a coffee and toastie. I sat at a table near the window. There was a balcony outside, but think it was closed at the time. Saw this view towards Austin Park.

Also visible was the Royal Centre of Defence Medicine Accommodation, which was completed at the time. The car park here was mainly for M & S and for the new retail units to the left of here.

2018

In January 2018, I returned to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park, and while there got a zoom in of Longbridge Town Centre. Austin Park is a bit hard to see from here, but you can see Bournville College, Premier Inn and M & S from up here. Birmingham is clearly a city of trees! And beyond into Worcestershire.

Some views in April 2018 of the daffodils in Austin Park.

These yellow flowers were growing at the time on both sides of the River Rea. Possibly Marsh Marigold if Google Lens is to be believed.

Some more daffodils near some dry grass near one of the new trees.

2020

Views of Longbridge Town Centre seen from the Waseley Hills Country Park near the end of June 2020. While Austin Park isn't visible from up here, you can see the buildings that surrounds it, such as the Royal Centre of Defence Medicine Accommodation, Premier Inn, Sainsbury's and M & S.

Also got Bournville College in this next view from the Waseley Hills. So many trees up here, and beyond into Birmingham. The trees in Austin Park would have been there for around 7 years now.

For a similar post relating to Sir Herbert Austin, go to this post: Herbert Austin: making cars at Longbridge and the Austin Village.

If you want to check out my Cofton Park post it is here: Cofton Park in Rednal and near Longbridge.

If you want to see my views of Beacon Hill, go to this post: Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park.

I plan on doing a post soon on my recent visit to the Waseley Hills Country Park so watch this space!

 

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
07 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Olton Jubilee Park, a Recreation Ground opened in the Silver Jubilee year of George V

This was another park that I spotted on Google Maps, and wanted to check out a short walk around during May 2020. Olton Jubilee Park is located in Olton, Solihull. It was opened in 1935 during the Silver Jubilee year of George V. Two years later in 1937 the gates on Lyndon Road were unveiled in time for the Coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The Hatchford Brook also flows here.

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Olton Jubilee Park, a Recreation Ground opened in the Silver Jubilee year of George V





This was another park that I spotted on Google Maps, and wanted to check out a short walk around during May 2020. Olton Jubilee Park is located in Olton, Solihull. It was opened in 1935 during the Silver Jubilee year of George V. Two years later in 1937 the gates on Lyndon Road were unveiled in time for the Coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The Hatchford Brook also flows here.


Olton Jubilee Park

Welcome to Olton Jubilee Park. This park is surrounds the Hatchford Brook which flows through the park in Olton, Solihull. The main entrance gates is on Lyndon Road. There is also entrances and exits from Ulleries Road, Brackleys Way and Dene Court Road. Originally called Olton Recreation Ground, it was opened to the public on the 6th May 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V by the then Solihull Urban District Council. It was also called the Olton Jubilee Recreation Ground originally.

Two years later the gates on Lyndon Road were opened to celebrate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on the 12th May 1937 (the date originally reserved for King Edward VIII before he abdicated in December 1936). Today you can call the park either Olton Park or Olton Jubilee Park.

The park also features the Solihull BMX Pump Track, a Play Area, football pitch, basketball area and a wet woodland.

My visit was during May 2020. During the lockdown the play area and basketball area were closed. Although there were people on BMX bikes at the time of my visit.

The gates seen from Lyndon Road. This view was after we exited via Ulleries Road and walked back to the car.

First view of the gates as we headed into the park from Lyndon Road. There is a pair of plaques. One details the opening of the park in 1935 (Silver Jubilee of George V) and the other from 1937 when the gates were unveiled (Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth).

On entering the park saw this Olton Jubilee Park noticeboard near the main path.

The BMX Track is on the right. And there was a group on BMX bikes there to do tricks. I'm not sure if that was supposed to be open at that part of May 2020 (was on the 5th).

First look at the playground / play area which was closed off to the public due to the pandemic / lockdown.

Inside saw this metal wheel thing.

Of course the outdoor gym equipment and the basketball court was out of use.

Another look at the playground on the way out. Swings and slides out of use.

The park is a Green Flag Park as can be seen by the Green Flag flying near the play area.

A footbridge that goes over the Hatchford Brook.

Lots of trees surrounding the Hatchford Brook, near the footbridge.

Heading into the wet woodland area. People walking their dogs, and mothers pushing pushchairs.

This part of the park is near Brackleys Way.

Saw a path that leads to Dene Court Road.

Now on a path in the wet woodland area that goes around the Hatchford Brook.

Now for a proper look at the Hatchford Brook.

Beyond the Hatchford Brook were people keeping a social distance, other than those in their household.

Looking back at the path alongside the Hatchford Brook.

Kept seeing these yellow flowers around this area of the park. They might be Gorse. Running alongside the Hatchford Brook.

Taking the path to exit the park to Ulleries Road, for the walk back to the starting point on Lyndon Road.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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