Popular
Posts
1446
Points
63K
BirminghamWeAre – A FreeTimePays community

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.

Launch date: August 2018
Combined FreeTimePays following: 101K


Community sponsors:

History & heritage
06 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Southside Theatres: Birmingham Hippodrome

The Birmingham Hippodrome is located on Hurst Street in Southside (part of the Chinese Quarter). It is also up Inge Street and near the Back to Backs. The theatre is home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet. There has been a theatre on this site since 1895. There has been several redevelopments since. The last one in 2001. The Birmingham Christmas Pantomine usually takes place here.

Related View community

Southside Theatres: Birmingham Hippodrome





The Birmingham Hippodrome is located on Hurst Street in Southside (part of the Chinese Quarter). It is also up Inge Street and near the Back to Backs. The theatre is home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet. There has been a theatre on this site since 1895. There has been several redevelopments since. The last one in 2001. The Birmingham Christmas Pantomine usually takes place here.


BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME

Lets support Birmingham's theatres during this troubling time of closure. In Southside there is the Birmingham Hippodrome (on Hurst Street), The Alexandra Theatre (on Suffolk Street Queensway and John Bright Street) and The Old REP Theatre (on Station Street).

Here though we will take a look at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Home of the world famous Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Assembly rooms was the first venue to be built on the site of the Hippodrome in 1895. It was redesigned in 1899 by local architect F. W. Lloyd. A stage and a circus was added with a Moorish tower (removed in 1963). It had the name the "Tower of Varieties". After this failed, it was rebuilt as a normal variety theatre in 1900 as the "Tivoli".  It got the name "The Hippodrome" for the first time in October 1903 under the ownership of Thomas Barrasford (it has previously been named the "Tower Theatre"). The current neo-classical auditorium which was designed to seat 1,900 people, was built in 1924 by Burdwood and Mitchell. After Smallbrook Queensway was built, the entrance building and tower was demolished in 1963.

For a time it was renamed as the "Birmingham Theatre". The plain façade was refaced in the 1980s with mock-Victorian plasterwork. Central TV spent the '80s using the Hippodrome for the ITV Talent Show New Faces.

The exterior was last rebuilt in 2001 by Associated Architects with Law and Dunbar-Nasmith, with a new glass façade and accommodation for the Birmingham Royal Ballet.  There will be another redevelopment of the façade to be completed in 2021 by AHMM Architects.

The BRB has been based in Birmingham since 1990 at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Having been founded in 1946 as the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet in London. Every Christmas season, the BRB perform Swan Lake at the Hippodrome. A production of Sir Peter Wright, the Director Laurete of the BRB. Then there is the annual Christmas Pantomime, where a variety of celebrities come to Birmingham to perform them.

 

Some of my earliest photos of the Birmingham Hippodrome from Hurst Street were taken in June 2009.

Seen during April 2012 on the main entrance doors from Hurst Street was these labels for the NEW STAGE APPEAL. At the time the Hippodrome was showing Oliver!

In December 2012, I saw this pair in Angel Wings. It was when Cinderella was on (as performed by the Birmingham Royal Ballet), and they welcomed theatre goers at the time.

Direct from the West End was Disney's The Lion King. Seen during August 2013. This touring West End show would be at the Hippodrome until the 28th September 2013.

"When in Rome do what the Romans do". Also in August 2013 was the annual Summer in Southside, which used to be held outside of the Hippodrome and down Hurst Street and in The Arcadian every summer. It was a free event held by Birmingham Hippodrome Outdoors.

Christmas decorations and Christmas trees lit up after dark at the Birmingham Hippodrome during December 2013. At the time the panto being held here was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs staring Gok Wan.

Wicked was going to be at the Birmingham Hippodrome from the 9th July until the 6th September 2014. I saw this poster during July 2014. While I've not seen Wicked in Birmingham, I did once see it in London's West End at the Apollo Victoria during October 2012. It was amazing! (it was the last time I went to see a West End show).

Summer in Southside seen during August 2014. Members of the Team in the white t-shirts. With the pointy fingers and at the Info stalls.

Near the end of December 2018, saw some Chinese lantern style Christmas lights hanging from trees on Hurst Street, not far from the Hippodrome. It was nice to see. Southside always makes the area look pretty at night.

In July 2020, for my first walk around Southside since the lockdown began (4 to 5 months after I was last here). I took a few photos of the Hippodrome from Hurst Street. Obviously they have been closed since the end of March 2020. And it is not known when it will be safe for them to reopen. Social distancing in the theatre will be hard, and the theatre may have to make people redundant sadly. Meanwhile the Southside BID gives a huge THANK YOU to all keyworkers and to the NHS.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Share  Connect with us
40 passion points
Modern Architecture
05 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

From The NIA Birmingham to Utilita Arena Birmingham

The National Indoor Arena opened in Birmingham in 1991 on a site close to Old Turn Junction of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Rebuilt on the canalside from 2013-14, it was branded Barclaycard Arena from 2014-17. Then Arena Birmingham from 2017-20. It now has a new sponsor and is called Utilita Arena Birmingham. Still owned by the NEC Group.

Related View community

From The NIA Birmingham to Utilita Arena Birmingham





The National Indoor Arena opened in Birmingham in 1991 on a site close to Old Turn Junction of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Rebuilt on the canalside from 2013-14, it was branded Barclaycard Arena from 2014-17. Then Arena Birmingham from 2017-20. It now has a new sponsor and is called Utilita Arena Birmingham. Still owned by the NEC Group.


The National Indoor Arena Birmingham

The National Indoor Arena was opened in 1991. It was where Gladiators was recorded from 1992 to 1999. Located near King Edwards Road in Birmingham. It is on the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Old Turn Junction, where the Main Line meets the start of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. The arena was redeveloped during 2013 and 2014. Reopening in December 2014 at the Barclaycard Arena. This sponsorship ended at the end of August 2017. And it was then known as Arena Birmingham from September 2017. Securing a new sponsor in 2020, the arena was renamed again in April 2020 (during the lockdown while they were closed) to the current Utilita Arena Birmingham.

 

The NIA Birmingham (1991-2014)

Events that took place at the National Indoor Arena during this time include Gladiators (1992-99), the Eurovision Song Contest 1998, and the World Indoor Athletics Championships 2003.

My earliest photos of the NIA were taken during April 2009. By which time they were branding it as the nia birmingham. These views from the Brindleyplace Bridge towards The Malt House and the Brewmasters Bridge.

This view of the nia birmingham taken during June 2009, from the towpath outside of the National Sealife Centre.

NIA redevelopment (2013-14)

The redevelopment started around the summer of 2013 and was completed by the winter of 2014. The arena reopened as the Barclaycard Arena from December 2014.

Scaffolding going up around August 2013. The arena remained open throughout the works, but access to the public was limited.

More hoardings going up around September 2013. The old canalside facade was starting to be dismantled.

When the Library of Birmingham opened during September 2013 for the first time, I was able to get this photo of The NIA from the Secret Garden.

By April 2014 the steel girders had gone up and the shape of the new canalside view of the Arena was already up.

Not long to go by September 2014. The golden fins were in place, as was the glass windows and the three sky needles in the middle.

The Secret Garden view from the Library of Birmingham update taken during Sepember 2014 of the Arena. When the view is clear, you can see Edgbaston Reservoir from here.

The November 2014 update from the Brindleyplace Bridge. Within a month the arena would reopen as the Barclaycard Arena, but was more or less complete by this point.

Barclaycard Arena (2014-17)

The Arena reopened on the 2nd December 2014 as the Barclaycard Arena.

In the middle of December 2014, I took the following nightshots to see the Barclaycard Arena lit up after dark. This was around 5pm. It looked amazing. Including the digital display of the then City Skyline.

In January 2015 I took this digital display on the Barclaycard Arena. First view "lighting up Birmingham's skyline". The second view the Barclaycard Arena logo with the skyline.

In March 2015 I took this view of the Barclaycard Arena from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham.

A May 2015 view of the Barclaycard Arena with it's golden fins.

Arena Birmingham (2017-20)

Barclaycard ended there sponsorship of the arena at the end of August 2017. So from September 2017, the arena was now known simply as Arena Birmingham (but with no sponsor).

Took this view of Arena Birmingham from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham during October 2017.

The Beast from the East and Storm Emma hit Birmingham during early March 2018. Which was when Arena Birmingham was hosting the World Indoor Athletics Championships 2018. But the surrounding canals and towpaths were covered in snow and ice! Athletes and officials could run around outside, but it would have been very cold.

In April 2018, I saw the then new Arena Birmingham logo heading up the steps from the King Edwards Road entrance. Canopies were also at the time going up around The Malt House for an event linking the Arena to The ICC.

My last views of Arena Birmingham before the lockdown and the new sponsor Utilita came into force were taken during January 2020. It would be another 6 to 7 months before I would see the arena again (due to the pandemic / lockdown).

Utilita Arena Birmingham (2020-?)

During the lockdown, the arena had to close (like other venues all around the world).  The name change took place during April 2020. And would now be called Utilita Arena Birmingham. That meant the signs had to be changed, and the old ones taken down.

My first photo of Utilita Arena Birmingham taken in the middle of July 2020 from the Brindleyplace Bridge. The rest near the end of the month.

Hopefully it will one day be safe to reopen indoor arenas like this one. Even for sporting events without crowds. And they could be televised.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

 

Share  Connect with us
80 passion points
Classic Architecture
05 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers: Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower

Welcome to another Ladywood related post. This time looking at The Two Towers that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. Both are located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood, Birmingham. And are close to Edgbaston Reservoir. In the area that used to be called Rotton Park. Edgbaston Waterworks is managed by Severn Trent.

Related View community

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers: Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower





Welcome to another Ladywood related post. This time looking at The Two Towers that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. Both are located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood, Birmingham. And are close to Edgbaston Reservoir. In the area that used to be called Rotton Park. Edgbaston Waterworks is managed by Severn Trent.


Previous Tolkien posts here:

The Two Towers

Lets take a walk down Waterworks Road in Ladywood. If you leave Hagley Road, head up Plough & Harrow Road. Cross over Monument Road and you will get to Waterworks Road. One way to get back to Ladywood Middleway from Waterworks Road is via Harold Road and Noel Road, where there is some more views of the towers.

The first tower on your right will be Perrott's Folly. If you walk further down the road, you will get to the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (which is within a Severn Trent faciliity so you can only see it from the road). If you are on Reservoir Road nearby, you might be able to spot the towers down the side roads, and it is even possible to see at least one of the towers from Edgbaston Reservoir. Further out in the City, there is views of The Two Towers from the top of Brindleyplace Car Park. Both of these towers (it has been suggested) may have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien for his book The Two Towers (the middle installment of the famous The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, later adapted into a movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, of which The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released in 2002).

 

Side by side comparison of The Two Towers from my original photos taken during June 2011. For the gallery of these, have a look further down the post.

In July 2013, the models of The Two Towers was in Centenary Square, around 2 months before the Library of Birmingham was opened. With a backdrop of the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall.

Model of The Two Towers seen at Sarehole Mill during August 2015. They were moved here and is now their more permenant home (due to the Tolkien links).

View (below) of The Two Towers as seen from the car park behind the Birmingham Oratory during September 2019. Clearly Perrott's Folly (to the right) is taller than the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (to the left).

In a June 2020 walk around Edgbaston Reservoir (below) I was able to get The Two Towers in one picture. But here, Perrott's Folly (on the left) looked shorter than the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (on the right). Must be the different perspective.

Went back to Waterworks Road on the last day of July 2020 during a heatwave. Got this view of The Two Towers. Then also one from Noel Road around the corner off Harold Road.

 

Perrott's Folly

Located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood not far from Monument Road. Perrott's Folly was also known as The Monument or The Observatory. It was built in what was then Rotton Park by John Perrott in 1758. The land at the time was open countryside. He built it either to view his wife's grave from afar or to entertain guests or survery his land. He actually lived in Belbroughton. The tower was used from 1884 until 1979 as a weather recording station for the Birmingham & Midland Institute. The Perrott's Folly Company was formed in 1984 to restore the tower and open it to the public. But the company eventually closed in 2009. There was periods in the late 2000s when they opened it to the public. It is a Grade II* listed building. Built of red brick. Octagonal on a square base with a round stair turret. It was listed in 1952, and the listing was last amended in 1982.

 

My earliest series of photos of Perrott's Folly was taken back in June 2011 from Waterworks Road, which you can see below.

In July 2013, you could see the model of Perrott's Folly in the garden outside of The Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square (around 2 months before it opened to the public). But the area was fenced off until the end of August 2013.

The model of Perrott's Folly (seen below) at Sarehole Mill during August 2015. Was moved to it's now permenant home.

View of Perrott's Folly (below) seen during April 2018 from the top of Brindleyplace Car Park.

The view taken during February 2020 (below) of Perrott's Folly as seen from Reservoir Road (leaving Edgbaston Reservoir). Could see it over the chimneys up Reservoir Retreat.

On the last day of July 2020 I travelled to Ladywood, and while there headed down Waterworks Road from Plough & Harrow Road for a blue sky update!

 

Edgbaston Waterworks Tower

The Edgbaston Waterworks is located at the bottom end of Waterworks Road in Ladywood. It was also called the Edgbaston Pumping Station.  The buildings were designed by John Henry Chamberlain and William Martin during 1870. The buildings are Grade II listed. The site is run by Severn Trent Water. While it is close to Edgbaston Reservoir, there is no current or historical connection to the water here. The listing includes, the Edgbaston Pumping Station, store room, generator room and the ornamented chimney stack. The water pumping station apparently dates to about 1862. The tower was built of red brick with blue brick details. You can see how the tower influenced Tolkien for The Two Towers. Especially in the details at the top. First listed in 1979, the listing was amended in 2015.

 

My earliest series of photos of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower was taken during June 2011 from Waterworks Road, which you can see below.

In July 2013, there was a model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower in Centenary Square, in the garden in front of the Library of Birmingham (two months before it would open to the public).

By August 2015, the model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower was now at it's now permenant home of Sarehole Mill (due to it's link with Tolkien).

There was a view (below) from the top of the Brindleyplace Car Park on my visit during April 2018 of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower.

During February 2020, after leaving Edgbaston Reservoir via Reservoir Road (seen below), I spotted the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower down Mostyn Road over the chimneys.

I saw the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower from my June 2020 walk around Edgbaston Reservoir (below). I was hoping to get an individual photo of Perrott's Folly, but only got the pair of them together earlier on (see the photo further up this post). You can see how it inspired Tolkien in it's design.

Also got some last day of July 2020 photo updates of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. I noticed that one of the window shutters on the left hand side was damaged, and is in need of a repair. Also visible from Noel Road in Ladywood.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Share  Connect with us
70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Aug 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Snow Hill Wharf - July & August Update

Excellent progress is being made on the brickwork across the site, with the tower now progressing to level 14, to the point where it is beginning to make an appearance on the skyline.

Click view full post for another fabulous update from Stephen, with new visuals of The Regent - The Gun Quarters tallest residential tower.

Related View community

Snow Hill Wharf - July & August Update





Excellent progress is being made on the brickwork across the site, with the tower now progressing to level 14, to the point where it is beginning to make an appearance on the skyline.

Click view full post for another fabulous update from Stephen, with new visuals of The Regent - The Gun Quarters tallest residential tower.


The final phase of Snowhill Wharf was released this week.

The Regent, as it will be known, will be the Gun Quarters tallest residential tower - standing at 21 storeys tall (220 feet).

It currently resides on floor 14 - as the below pictures will show.

Backing up onto the canal system, The Regent will deliver a total of 108 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and even includes two top floor penthouses.

New visuals have officially been released this week, showing how the project sits within its new surroundings and the draw dropping views residents will have of the skyline.

UPDATE: August 1-4

The Colmore:

The Fazeley:

The Lancaster & The Barker:

From left to right: The Barker, The Lancaster, The Regent, The Colmore.

July 21

Words and photos by Stephen Giles, with artists impressions from Berkeley Group.

TWITTER: Buildsweare
INSTAGRAM: Itsyourbirmingham

Share  Connect with us
30 passion points
Environment & green action
03 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve in the Shire Country Park

Two sections of the Shire Country Park here. During a May 2020 lockdown walk. After leaving the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, we continued on into the Blackberry Way. Then crossed into the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve from Formans Road in Sparkhill. Both run alongside the River Cole towards the Cole Valley Business Park. A lot of history here. Also a litter issue.

Related View community

The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve in the Shire Country Park





Two sections of the Shire Country Park here. During a May 2020 lockdown walk. After leaving the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, we continued on into the Blackberry Way. Then crossed into the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve from Formans Road in Sparkhill. Both run alongside the River Cole towards the Cole Valley Business Park. A lot of history here. Also a litter issue.


Blackberry Way and the

Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve

The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve are part of the Shire Country Park and are located in Sparkhill. My first walk in these areas was during a lockdown walk in May 2020, which started from the Sarehole Mill Car Park, and went via the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground and the Greet Mill Meadow.

For related posts click the links below:

 

Blackberry Way

The Blackberry Way is located between the Stratford Road and Formans Road in Sparkhill (near the Springfield and Hall Green border). It starts from the Stratford Road Bridge (which opened in 1914) and runs alongside the River Cole. In the 14th century the area was known as Foulemoreslone or as Fole- or Fullford (foul ford). But today is called the Blackberry Way. It was named after a consultation with local residents and thought to be highly suitable as it is one of the best blackberry picking sections of the Shire Country Park. This area has a litter problem, either in the River Cole or alongside the path.

Starting from the Stratford Road entrance, just head into the gate on the right.

The sign for the Blackberry Way in the Shire Country Park from Birmingham City Council. It says "Please help us to care for your local green spaces. No Dumping of Rubbish".

Sadly the first thing I saw was rubbish down in the River Cole, and along the path.

Saw a dumped trolley hanging up-side-down on the poles of the sign near the Stratford Road. This is not the place to dump your rubbish, and the trolley should be at the supermarket it came from!

During May 2020, there was cow parsley growing alongside the path.

The trees were lush and green, having grown back fast during the second full month of lockdown.

The path continues straight on past the trees and cow parsley.

Approaching the gate at Formans Road. Beyond here was the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve.

Later coming back into the Blackberry Way. Headed down this grass path along the cow parsley.

A bit of a tree canopy here.

Getting back to the Stratford Road entrance, and soon about to go back into the Greet Mill Meadow.

Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve

The Burbury Brickworks is located between Formans Road in Sparkhill and the Cole Valley Business Park. Beyond this area you can walk around The Ackers (which is beyond Warwick Road, but I've not done The Ackers yet). It is a 13 acre site of a former brick making factory that existed here until the early 1960s. The River Cole runs alongside one part of the nature reserve. When the brickworks closed the area returned to it's natural state. It now has a marshland and young oak trees. This area also had a litter problem.

The Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve sign at the Formans Road entrance. As with the Blackberry Way this Birmingham City Council sign says "Please help us to care for your local green spaces. No Dumping of Rubbish".

There was a pair of paths in the Burbury Brickworks. We too the right path.

The trees on this path were lush and green. Some cow parsley along the path as well.

First signs of rubbish alongside the path. Why can't people dispose of their rubbish properly and use the bin?

So much takeaway rubbish around the benches that it attracted hungry crows looking for some food. The bin was also slanted a bit.

Nearing the gate close to the Cole Valley Business Park. Turned back after this. But did briefly pop out of the gate, and back in.

Beyond here is the Cole Valley Business Park. I would think you would have to walk or cycle past towards the Warwick Road to find the entrance to The Ackers, but I've not been there yet.

On the walk back in the Burbury Brickworks found part of the River Cole.

A wooden footbridge over a stream (I don't think this crosses the River Cole).

On the Wetland Walkway saw this pond surrounded by trees. It's hard to believe that a brickworks was in this area until about 60 years ago.

One of the fingerposts of the Shire Country Park was in the water. I'm not sure if it's still in there 2 and a half months on, but Council officials or park rangers needs to fish it out, and repair it.

On the way out saw this NO DUMPING sign from Birmingham City Council. Your City Your Birmingham. Can locals and visitors please not dump their waste in the Shire Country Park. Dispose of your litter properly. Care for the environment.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points

Top Contributors

Elliott Brown
BirminghamWeAre points: 22K
Combined FreeTimePays points: 72K
Daniel Sturley
BirminghamWeAre points: 21K
Combined FreeTimePays points: 54K
FreeTimePays
BirminghamWeAre points: 10K
Combined FreeTimePays points: 23K
Stephen Giles
BirminghamWeAre points: 3050
Combined FreeTimePays points: 15K
Karl Newton
BirminghamWeAre points: 1470
Combined FreeTimePays points: 2910

Show more