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Art, culture & creativity
11 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Events over the years in Centenary Square on what is now the Reflective Pool

Events held in Centenary Square over the years. Seen from the Library of Birmingham, up until before the square was redeveloped, and again after it reopened (not including Ice Skate Birmingham of course). While the water jets are now back on and kids enjoying it again, I will show what has been on this space in the past. These events usually take place a weekends.

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Events over the years in Centenary Square on what is now the Reflective Pool





Events held in Centenary Square over the years. Seen from the Library of Birmingham, up until before the square was redeveloped, and again after it reopened (not including Ice Skate Birmingham of course). While the water jets are now back on and kids enjoying it again, I will show what has been on this space in the past. These events usually take place a weekends.


There was still a stepped platform in Centenary Square back in June 2009. About 6 years after an arsonist had destroyed the Forward sculpture. Made in Birmingham was an exhibition of old photos from the 19th century. It was based on The Birmingham Exhibition in Local Manufactures and Natural History from 1886. This view towards Chamberlain House (demolished in 2018).

The O2 Guru Range was in Centenary Square outside of The REP back in June 2010. Construction of the new Library of Birmingham hadn't really started yet, but was cranes on site. Which had just gone up.

There was Table Tennis tables (Ping Pong) in Centenary Square during July 2011. There was 55 tables around Birmingham from the 8th July to the 8th August 2011 and they were free to play! They were from Ping Brum.

Back in September 2013, 4 Squares Weekender was being held, including in Centenary Square. It was to celebrate the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. Looked like a storm was coming. Banner with the Alpha Tower to the right. There was also an outdoor photo exhibition called the Reference Works. This was probably before the Library has opened, and before my first visit. Plus back then there was long queues to get in, so I waited until the end of the month before my first visit (I now pop in at least once a month).

My first visit to the Library of Birmingham near the end of September 2013 and the Reference Works was still to the right of the new lawn (that's gone now). The view from the Discovery Terrace. I waited 18 days before visiting the library for the first time. It was The Library of Birmingham Photography Project. Showing old photos of the previous Central Libraries of Birmingham, from 1865 to 1986.

Free Hugs passing through Centenary Square in November 2013. It was also Free High Fives. This was when the late Stephen Sutton and friends passed through Birmingham. Sadly he died in May 2014. Near The ICC and The REP.

The Queen's Baton Relay was in Centenary Square during June 2014. It was during the build up to the Commonwealth Games that were being held in Glasgow in August 2014. The view towards the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall. Years before Birmingham 2022 became a reality (they were probably thinking of bidding for 2026 back then).

In September 2014 the Zombie Walk was being held in Centenary Square. Looks at those trees in full bloom. They would be cut down before the regeneration of Centenary Square started. The view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. Entertainment was by Free Radio.

Back when the Library of Birmingham was open on a Sunday, I popped up when Remembrance Sunday was taking place during November 2014. This was where people would pick up the Poppy Wreaths to lay them at the temporary Cenotaph, or in the Hall of Memory. This hasn't taken place here since about 2016. They moved it to Victoria Square in 2017, and around Colmore Row / Birmingham Cathedral in 2018 and 2019. Although the Armistice Day commemorations returned to the Hall of Memory in 2019 (after the square was completed).

The St George's Day celebrations that took place in Centenary Square during April 2015. There was a fair on at the time. Was several motorbikes to the right. You could also play a 'hook a duck' game and buy some candy floss. In previous years this event had been in Victoria Square.

The WMFS Band was performing in Centenary Square outside of the Library of Birmingham back in May 2015. The Band of the West Midlands Fire Service.

During Armed Forces Day in June 2015, members of the Armed Forces were marching around Centenary Square. This view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. In recent years, military parades such as this have taken place around Birmingham Cathedral and Colmore Row. They went around the Hall of Memory and past Baskerville House. You can really see the carpet design of the old Centenary Square that has now been lost.

The Caribbean Food Festival was held in Centenary Square during August 2015. The view from the Discovery Terrace on Level 3 of the Library of Birmingham. Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were still in place, and the former House of Sport had yet to be demolished for Arena Central.

Giant Rugby Football on the lawn in Centenary Square during September 2015. This was for the Rugby World Cup 2015. The Big Hoot was also on during that summer as well.

Two years after the 4 Squares Weekender, was the Birmingham Weekender. Seen in Centenary Square during September 2015. This was Lady Godiva.

The Great Birmingham Run used to go down Broad Street long before the Metro extension works. In October 2015, they were preparing the area near the end of the run. The view from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. A Saturday view, as on Sunday the Library was closed, and no one would be able to get a view up here (as the Library opening hours had changed by then). The former Register Office / House of Sport was in the process of being demolished for the 1 Arena Central site (now 5 Centenary Square and not built on to date).

Badminton courts were set up in Centenary Square during March 2016. As the All England Championships were on at the time at the Barclaycard Arena. Behind early works for cutting down trees and for the future Metro extension to Centenary Square (that is now the site of Library Tram Stop). House of Sport had been demolished, but at the time they were calling the site 1 Arena Central (it is now called 5 Centenary Square but hasn't been built on yet).

The International Dance Festival Birmingham was being held in Centenary Square during May 2016. They set up a stage area where dancers would perform their tricks. There was also an old Ford Escort where dancers would jump on fellow dancers shoulders.

The BE Festival was held in Centenary back in June 2016. In this view from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham, you could see this painted mural by An Wei. There was also a market around here, plus drummers called Bloco Louco. They were already doing a test pit around the trees. A mature tree would end up getting cut down a year later in 2017 (all the other trees went as well). But some new trees have been planted since the square was done up (2017 - 2019).

CBBC Live was being held in Centenary Square back in July 2016. This was taken from the no 24 bus I  got toward Harborne. Was part of CBBC's Awesome Authors event. Since I only got it from the bus, that meant I didn't head up the Library to see it from above.

About a week later, but still during July 2016, I saw this from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham. Rogue Play was part of the Tilt Festival - Snakes and Ladders. The next Tilt Festival will be in July 2020. Summer 2016 was one of the last times that you could see the old 1991 design of Centenary Square by Tess Jaray. The bricks would be lifted during 2017 and 2018 for the redevelopment of the square that opened in the summer of 2019.

One of the last things to take place in Centenary Square was Britain's Got Talent during October 2016. Rather that the auditions were probably inside of The ICC at the time. They had set up a screen like this on the back of a lorry one year before this back in October 2015. While the Birmingham auditions do return, they have yet to return to Centenary Square.

This post isn't really about Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square, but during December 2016, saw these Morris Dancers on the paved section between the grass (which had only opened to the public in September 2013). Seen from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham while it was raining. They were from Earlsdon Morris Coventry. The grass and paving here was lifted in 2017 and 2018. The new paving here opened to the public in July 2019. After this when 2017 started, they fenced off the square, and no other events would take place here until the summer of 2019.

For my Ice Skate Birmingham post when in Centenary Square, follow this link: Birmingham Big Wheel and (later) Ice Skate Birmingham in Centenary Square (2009 - 2016, 2019 - present).

This was the first event to be held in Centenary Square since it reopened in July 2019. Birmingham 2022, 3 years to go. Celebrating that it would (at the time) be 3 years to go until the Commonwealth Games would be held in Birmingham in 2022. As you can see they put the logo on the new Reflective Pool. But the fountains were turned off. They were still working around the clock to finish the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square, which was finally completed and opened by December 2019.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Feb 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - February 2020

Progress at 103 Colmore Row is in a cruise state, with steel up to the 12th floor and some cladding and windows installed on the Colmore Row and Newhall Street corner, lots of great photos in this gallery from Stephen, Reiss and Daniel.

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The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - February 2020





Progress at 103 Colmore Row is in a cruise state, with steel up to the 12th floor and some cladding and windows installed on the Colmore Row and Newhall Street corner, lots of great photos in this gallery from Stephen, Reiss and Daniel.


 

Photos by Daniel Sturley

 

Photos by Stephen Giles

 

Photos by Reiss Gordon-Henry

Artist's Impression of the finished building.

 

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30 passion points
Green open spaces
10 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The only time I went around Moseley Park was during a free open day in 2016

Normally to get into Moseley Park you need a key, so as I'm not a Moseley resident (at least not since I turned 5 years old), the only time I've been round the park (with my camera) was back in September 2016 during Birmingham Heritage Week. It is a private park not a public park. Would be nice for it to be open up to the public more regularly. Entrances on three roads.

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The only time I went around Moseley Park was during a free open day in 2016





Normally to get into Moseley Park you need a key, so as I'm not a Moseley resident (at least not since I turned 5 years old), the only time I've been round the park (with my camera) was back in September 2016 during Birmingham Heritage Week. It is a private park not a public park. Would be nice for it to be open up to the public more regularly. Entrances on three roads.


If you want to check out my previous related post, please click this link to the post: Moseley Hall Hospital and Moseley Park: Birmingham Heritage Week, September 2016.

 

Moseley Park

First up some history from the Wikipedia page.

It is an 11 acre private park maintained by the Moseley Trust, located close to the A435 Alcester Road in Moseley Village. The park was originally part of the estate of Moseley Hall, which were designed by the estate landscape gardener Humphry Repton. By the end of the 19th century, most of the surrounding land was sold for house building. Businessmen bought the parkland so to prevent any further development. The park was opened by local East Worcestershire MP Austen Chamberlain on 29 September 1899.

Since 1983 the park has been part of the wider Moseley Conservation Area. There is regular music festivals held in the park. A Grade II listed ice house dating from the 18th century is located in the park.

Access to the park is with a key for local residents, or you can purchase one with a deposit. The park has gated entrances on Salisbury Road, Alcester Road and from Chantry Road.

 

My only visit was during Birmingham Heritage Week during September 2016 (for details of that visit check the link at the top of this post which includes Moseley Hall Hospital). Which was free to enter, the gates were unlocked (I think there was guides at each gate that I recall from over 3 years ago now).

Probably my only way in now is with Karl Newton (who lives in Moseley and has a key).

 

August 2013

The entrance to Moseley Park & Pool from the Alcester Road. Just the sign between the buildings. Just seen in passing, without a key I couldn't go in. Decades before this, may have entered once, when someone I knew used to live nearby in Moseley.

April 2015

The Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival was on in Moseley Park from the 10th to 12th July 2015. This banner was on St Mary's Row near Alcester Road, and seen from the no 50 bus during April 2015. That year they got Gregory Porter and Craig Charles to come and perform in Moseley Park.

Birmingham Heritage Week, September 2016

Heritage Open Days balloons seen at the unlocked gate on Salisbury Road. The open day had begun. This was after I had had a look around Moseley Hall (including the Dovecote and Cow Shed buildings).

The notice board at the Salisbury Road entrance. You can buy a key from Moseley Travel. I'm not a Moseley resident, so am not really planning or thinking of buying a key.

The path into the park from Salisbury Road.

The path continues amongst the trees.

First look inside of Moseley Park. During the Heritage Open Day there was bunting near the Ice House.

Unusual looking wooden benches / chairs and a table.

A directors chair from The Moseley Society/ This was near the Ice House (which you could enter on the open day at the time).

Now for a look around the pool. A pink H for Heritage Open Days was on the left.

Might have been September, but it was still quite summery in the park.

Such a lovely lake / pool to see that only Moseley locals get to see regularly.

Hard to believe that this is there, as if you are in a car or bus on the Alcester Road (50) or Salisbury Road (1, 1A or 35) you wouldn't even know that this pool was there (other than seeing the gates from the bus).

Trees leaning into the pool from the far end.

You could be in the countryside, not in Moseley, but remember this used to be part of the Moseley Hall estate. Just go to one of the many National Trust properties in the UK to get from the hall to the lake.

What looks like some rocks and a net at this corner of the pool.

These photos previously posted in my Birmingham Heritage Week post on Moseley Hall & Park. If you want to see a public outdoor pool (lake or pond), head to Swanshurst Park, for what is called the Moseley New Pool. Swanshurst Park through the seasons through the years.

Three trees with the pool. For another Moseley post, check out my Moseley Bog post here: Moseley Bog from my December 2012 and September 2016 visits.

A boat house and a big shed.

The path towards the pool, you can head either direction around it. Somewhere on this lawn would be where they set up those various music festivals. Is always a lot of traffic on the roads outside (and cars park half on the road and pavement). I think the Salisbury Road entrance is used for the VIP guests. Somehow they got the Jacksons to come to Moseley Park last year (one of the brothers is a Wolves fan now!).

The Ice House. Previously posted in my last post from here. Only a limited number of people can fit inside.

Before the fridge freezer was invented, this was where you stored your ice. Climb down the ladder. This was the view from the top (obviously I didn't climb down). You can find other similar Ice Houses at National Trust properties.

Heading to the Alcester Road exit. That green hut belongs to the Chantry Tennis Club. The tennis courts are behind the netted fences nearby to here.

The path to the Alcester Road exit / entrance. Volunteers out that day for the Heritage Open Day probably from the Moseley Trust that runs the park.

Turning around, there was two paths. The path on the left was near the tennis courts.

Saw this six wheeled vehicle before I left. John Deere - Cator. TH 6x4. Some kind of park maintenance vehicle I think. Wasn't too far from the Alcester Road gate.

October 2019

My most recent photos of Moseley Park were taken from outside the locked gate on Chantry Road. Somehow I missed this entrance during the September 2016 open day, as I entered via Salisbury Road and exited at the time at Alcester Road.

Looks like steps go down from the Chantry Road gate next to the sign.

Once again the noticeboard mentions that you need a key to enter the park (which I don't have). In the autumn the parks opening hours was 6am to 8pm. A Free Day Key is for a £10 refundable deposit.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
07 Feb 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Upper Trinity Street, Digbeth: Plans revealed!

Huge plans have today surfaced for Upper Trinity Street in Digbeth

Click 'View full post' below for all the images for this new vibrant, creative, commercial and residential neighbourhood, which will play a vital part of Digbeth's wider regeneration.

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Upper Trinity Street, Digbeth: Plans revealed!





Huge plans have today surfaced for Upper Trinity Street in Digbeth

Click 'View full post' below for all the images for this new vibrant, creative, commercial and residential neighbourhood, which will play a vital part of Digbeth's wider regeneration.


Developer Cole Waterhouse and Corstorphine+Wright Architects have today released their vision for a new cultural, commercial and residential neighbourhood at Upper Trinity Street in Digbeth.

This vision is in direct response to Birmingham City Council's Curzon HS2 Masterplan - which can be viewed here - and the emerging Digbeth Masterplan, which sets out to work closely with the Council to compliment other changes coming to the area.

THE VISION

900 new homes in heights of up to 31 storeys, new creative, cultural and commercial spaces will be formed alongside a new public park, with artwork. Ambitious stuff!

ENRICHING DIGBETH

With Digbeth already a unique place to work, attention turns to turning it into an established place to live AND work. With its edginess, creative community, eclectic venues all within close proximity, this is what makes Digbeth cool!

Importantly, Cole Waterhouse and co have sought to capture all of this in their plans, and uncover the many historical layers that this area has to offer. 

To their almighty credit, the developer plans to bring these layers to the surface, with these long forgotten historical buildings now set to become the main focal point of this new development.

"Our vision for Upper Trinity Street taps into the uniqueness of Digbeth, creating a 24/7 community that harnesses the characteristics of ‘Digbethness’ and creates an attractive cultural-led neighbourhood to live, work and visit.

We want Upper Trinity Street to once again play its part in a vibrant Digbeth, delivering spaces for people to live, work, create and enjoy whilst respecting the existing built heritage of such as the Lock Keeper’s Cottage, Bowyer Street Pumping Station, Upper Trinity Street Supply Station, Dead Wax and the Clements Arms." - Cole Waterhouse.

PLANS

ADDERLEY YARD

This new dynamic, pedestrian friendly new urban space will provide a venue for leisure, events, eating and drinking. 

MAKERS YARD & PUMP HOUSE PASSAGE

The Makers Yard will become a place for working surrounded by flexible employment spaces.

Pump House Passage will provide a fluid pedestrian link connecting Adderley Yard and Pump House Park which itself will connect through to the canal network and connectivity from Liverpool Street to Bowyer Street.

PUMP HOUSE PARK

Not only is the Lock Keeper's Cottage and Pump House being retained, it has been meticulously planned to make it a prominent focal point of the new development.

Steeped in history, the area is to become a new urban public park and will deliver circa. 4,000 square metres of public realm.

SKYPARK

A forward thinking one this.

Running along Upper Trinity Street, the Skypark will naturally form a southern anchor for 'The Brummie Highline', a proposal being brought forward and led by the City Council in the years to come, with the aim of transforming Digbeth and of course, Birmingham.

Plans will include a connection between the site and the canal network, with vital pedestrian and cycle routes into the City Centre.

WHAT NEXT?

The developer, architects and Planning Officers at Birmingham City Council will discuss the plans, a few tweaks will inevitably take place, before a Full Planning application is submitted in the very near future.

As ever, we'll be sure to keep you in the loop every step of the way.


Words by Stephen Giles. Artists Impressions from Corstorphine+Wright Architects

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
07 Feb 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

IN FOCUS: 211 Broad Street

It's a big week for planning applications in the city this week. We'll be looking closely at the developments set to be decided on Thursday February 13th.

First up is the 36 storey, '211 Broad Street'. 

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IN FOCUS: 211 Broad Street





It's a big week for planning applications in the city this week. We'll be looking closely at the developments set to be decided on Thursday February 13th.

First up is the 36 storey, '211 Broad Street'. 


PLANNING RECOMMENDATION: Approval subject to safeguarding measures.

Taylor Grange Developments, a Birmingham based property developer, plan to construct a ‘super slender’ 36-storey block of 264 serviced apartments with hotel facilities, on land at 211 Broad Street.

The project goes to Planning Committee on the 13th of February.

It has been designed by Birmingham-based architectural practice, Glancy Nicholls Architects, with Court Collaboration as development manager.

The building will be 9.5m in width, 50.5m long, and whilst the building stands at 36 storeys tall, lift overruns and parapet level/crown feature will see the project reach 116.5m.

The project will see 33 storeys of serviced apartments with three floors of podium space intended for public retail, food and drink outlets, along with a residents' lounge and gym.

Artists Impressions by Glancy Nicholls Architects

FIRST UP: DEMOLITION

Today, the site is occupied by the unlisted Transport House and 117-118 Tennant Street at the rear. Both have been vacant since 2015 and will be not be retained.

Both have been fully assessed, with both concluded as having low importance of evidential value, and not holding any significance worthy of preservation.

Pictures by Graham Young; Birmingham Mail

'SUPER-SLENDER'

The proposal has, over time, evolved from 32 to 36 storeys, with Planning Officers welcoming the design, glass, and of course, the height, with a real belief that the proposal brings out the best out of the site.

And this certainly rings true. The narrow width of the site necessitates an efficient use of the land and represents a unique opportunity for a high density ‘super-slender’ tower to not only maximise the site, but to further enhance the Birmingham skyline.

Artist Impressions from Glancy Nicholls Architects

No parking provision is allocated; deemed acceptable by Planning Officers, due to the Midland Metro Westside Phase 2 tram extension arriving in 2021.

Whilst the potential hotel operator has no requirement for cycle parking, a guest could store one within the luggage area in their apartment, if needed. There will also be space within the back of house areas for the storage of a small number of bikes for staff.

THE FACADE 

A unitised facade system will take pride of place and give the building a glass box effect, thus maximising the views out of the window. It'll ooze simpleness.

No openable windows are proposed, so the architects have once again incorporated a slot vent system into their proposal.

The system allows fresh air in, and fresh air to go out. It will be incorporated into the spandrel panels on the glazing, which has been meticulously designed to minimise the impact on the facade.

EXTERNAL LIGHTING & SIGNAGE

The building will feature an two extra storeys of plant level, featuring potential integrated hotel signage and a crown feature - arguably the most visible element of the entire building.

The glazed middle, however, will not be externally lit but will instead rely on internal lighting from within the apartments. The crown will naturally hide the BMU unit (Building Maintenance Unit) and lift overruns.

This also has the potential to be visually permeable at night. Precedents include 610 Lexington Avenue, in New York City.

Artists Impression by Foster and Partners

ISSUES 

MODA and Cumberland House have expressed some issues to the project. Whilst there are no objections to the principle of development, they are concerned with a number of things:  

LIGHT: MODA & Cumberland House have objected on the basis that residents will suffer from a lack of it; a residents 'right to light'.

Cumberland consider that the unobstructed daylight enjoyed by Cumberland House for over 55 years is material to the hotel guest experience and constitutes a prescriptive right for their hoteliers.

Analysis provided indicates that 95% of The Mercian rooms with windows facing 211 pass the Average Daylight Factor test, with only 20 combined living rooms and kitchens falling short, but these have been assessed as kitchens.

PODIUM OVERSHADOWING:

"With the development of the 211 site, a large area of the podium does not receive more than 2 hours sunlight on the assessment date of 21 March. The additional effect of the current application proposal is a small area in the north eastern corner of the podium. Whilst there would be a loss of direct sunlight to the podium this would be mitigated by the improved wind microclimate as a result of 211 Broad Street. On balance, therefore I consider that there would be no significant adverse impact on the outdoor podium amenity area." - Planning Officer.

WIND:

A wind study has been meticulously conducted, with the conclusion that without 211, or the recently approved, 61-storey, 100 Broad Street, the Mercian podium is suitable for short periods of standing/sitting or strolling only. The introduction of 211 to the Mercian podium, would improve the wind environment, with only the introduction of 100 Broad Street having a minor impact.

"Furthermore the impact of 211 Broad Street building on the wind microclimate in its vicinity is low and pedestrian wind comfort should not be an issue. No mitigation measures are therefore needed." - Planning Officer.

BUILDABILITY:

Both Moda and Cumberland House have also objected on grounds that the confined size of the site would generate significant challenges to build. Solicitors acting for Moda and Cumberland House have since confirmed that they will not allow any cranes, equipment or materials to oversail their land, and as such the proposed development is not deliverable.

The applicants argue that buildability is not a material planning consideration for the purpose of determining this application. Nevertheless they have suggested that it would be possible for the crane to be located within the core, which will raise itself up as the core is constructed.

CONCLUSION

"The location of the development is suitable for a tall building and the proposed super slender tower would contribute to a cluster of building of well-designed tall buildings that would enhance the Westside quarter of the city centre and raise the quality of this section of Broad Street.

Moreover, the public benefits of the scheme outweigh any “less than substantial harm” to heritage assets. Whilst concerns of Moda and Cumberland House have been noted, the Planning Officer considers that the supporting technical studies are robust and that the proposed development would not have such significant adverse impacts to justify refusal.

Therefore, the development is acceptable subject to safeguarding conditions."

Recommendation: Approve subject to safeguarding conditions

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