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BirminghamWeAre

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
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Construction & regeneration
18 Dec 2019 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

The Construction of Three Arena Central - December 2019 Update

Take our gallery for an amazing December update from Birmingham's People with Passion of the amazingThree Arena Central in Birmingham.  

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The Construction of Three Arena Central - December 2019 Update





Take our gallery for an amazing December update from Birmingham's People with Passion of the amazingThree Arena Central in Birmingham.  


Photos by Stephen Giles

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30 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
18 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Morris Dancers and other events in the grounds of St Philip's Cathedral over the last few years

Over the years you may have seen Morris Dancers performing outside of St Philip's Cathedral (in what is now called Cathedral Square). I prefer Grounds of St Philip's Cathedral. After all it was an old churchyard with burials going back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Morris Dancers for St George's Day. One event for 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral. Also a Christmas Market.

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Morris Dancers and other events in the grounds of St Philip's Cathedral over the last few years





Over the years you may have seen Morris Dancers performing outside of St Philip's Cathedral (in what is now called Cathedral Square). I prefer Grounds of St Philip's Cathedral. After all it was an old churchyard with burials going back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Morris Dancers for St George's Day. One event for 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral. Also a Christmas Market.


Morris Dancers

These Morris Dancers were performing to the back of Birmingham Cathedral in April 2015 for St George's Day. This was on the 25th April 2015.

Colourful costumes. This bunch had white outfits on, while the ladies had blue and green dresses on. And they had England flags.

The man in the beard was playing an accordion.

Dancing both ways with their wooden sticks.

And back the other way tapping the sticks.

Also some folk playing drums to the right.

Temple Row was a bit different back then. Where Gino d'Acampo is now was Allied Irish Bank. Where The Ivy is now was Austin Reed and Louis Vuitton.

This was during October 2017 when the City was experiencing Storm Brian, so it was wet. Not sure what the occasion was, it was on the 21st October 2017, so maybe around Trafalgar Day?

Didn't really catch this bunch dancing, so they were between performances I would assume.

Something Good Nomad

This was during the 300th Anniversary year of Birmingham Cathedral (1715 - 2015).  Something Good Nomad was seen during October 2015. Live painting by Mohammed Ali as he journeys through Birmingham, inspired by communities of many faiths and backgrounds, and their reflections of light and dark in their neighbourhoods.

There was canopies here with bunting. People could make their own Soul Boat's here. They would have formed part of a flotilla of Golden Boats by Artist Jake Lever, supended in the Cathedral during the winter period between December 2015 to March 2016.

These canvases looks like pink towels suspended on scaffold poles.

But at the back you can see the art they were trying to show.

Aerosol Ali himself, Mohammed Ali stands in front of his art in Cathedral Square.

You could see the art from different paths.

This was the area where visitors could stop and design their own Soul Boat. Hope they had fun (4 years ago).

Birmingham Christmas Markets

The Birmingham Christmas Markets was on for one Christmas period in Cathedral Square from November to December 2018. They had to first cover over the lawns to protect the graves below. This was when the huts were being installed on the 12th November 2018, so not open at this point.

The gate from Temple Row was fenced off as they were installing this Christmas Market in Cathedral Square.

Banner seen on Temple Row for Birmingham's Christmas Markets with an arrow to the way in.

As you can see visitors would have to walk past the stone tombs when visiting the huts.

The archway near St Philip's Place and the eventual exit to Colmore Row.

They started installing the market as soon as the Remembrance Sunday commemorations ended the day before on the 11th November 2018. So most of the huts were in place on the 12th November 2018.

Several Santa's and sleighs with reindeers. I think this was supposed to be a mini rail ride in a loop.

Tracks laid with artificial Christmas trees in the middle.

The Christmas Tree Bar. They first did it here in Cathedral Square before doing the same thing a year later in Victoria Square at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market.

Reindeer on top of the huts.

It is now December 2018. Had another look once it was open on the 5th December 2018. A hat stall close to the sparkly reindeer. Due to the rain they had to cover over some parts.

Not very busy on the 7th December 2018. This gravestone surrounded by barriers. You could get a Giant Yorkshire Pudding Wraps or Hog Roast. This was in the morning.

All Aboard the Santa Train. A throne for Santa to sit on. Also a red post box to post kids Christmas wish lists to the Big Red Man.

This trailer you could get Bailey's Cadbury Hot Chocolate.

Perhaps people weren't too bothered by this Christmas Market. And due to bad weather / rain. After it was gone, the grass was found to be quite muddy. But it eventually grew back over the next year. The market has not returned here for a second year.

In years gone by, the Christmas Craft Market used to be in Chamberlain Square and in Centenary Square, but that's not happened for years now due to the Paradise Birmingham works and the redevelopment of Centenary Square. Maybe they could return somewhere suitable in 2020?

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
17 Dec 2019 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

Construction of Snow Hill Wharf - December 2019 update

Take a look at how the development at Snow Hill Wharf has taken shape during 2019.  Great gallery of photography from the It's Your Build Community and people with passion for Birmingham. 

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Construction of Snow Hill Wharf - December 2019 update





Take a look at how the development at Snow Hill Wharf has taken shape during 2019.  Great gallery of photography from the It's Your Build Community and people with passion for Birmingham. 


PROGRESS SHOTS:

How it looked in April 2019.

How things were shaping up in October.

Photos by Tom Grunt

And now how it looks in December.

AND HOW THE DEVELOPMENT WILL LOOK ONCE FULLY COMPLETE IN 2022

OVERVIEW:

DEVELOPER: Berkeley Homes

ARCHITECTS: GRID Architects/ Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher/ Fira Landscape

CONTRACTOR: Foundation Developments

Erection of a residential-led project comprising 420 one, two and three bed apartments.

There will be three landscaped podium gardens, concierge service, gymnasium and cinema room alongside parking for 139 cars, including five charging points for electric vehicles, plus space for 408 bikes.

Photos by Stephen Giles

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30 passion points
Transport
17 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

The Westside Metro extension now open to Centenary Square and some trams with reindeer names

With no announcement, the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square was open to the public on Wednesday 11th December 2019. I wasn't able to get down to ride the newly opened extension until Saturday 14th December 2019. For the Christmas season, West Midlands Metro has name some of their trams with Christmas reindeer names such as Rudolph, Comet and Dasher.

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The Westside Metro extension now open to Centenary Square and some trams with reindeer names





With no announcement, the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square was open to the public on Wednesday 11th December 2019. I wasn't able to get down to ride the newly opened extension until Saturday 14th December 2019. For the Christmas season, West Midlands Metro has name some of their trams with Christmas reindeer names such as Rudolph, Comet and Dasher.


Tram 22 Dasher

Sunday 8th December 2019, and on this day we did not know when the extension to Centenary Square would open. I walked along Arena Central, passing HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square and the Municipal Bank redevelopment. Fencing was still up, while a rainbow was behind the Library of Birmingham and the Birmingham Big Wheel.

Before services started, from the 1st December 2019 onwards, trams were leaving Grand Central and heading to Library Tram Stop without passengers. Close up of tram 22 Dasher

The Dasher name is temporary. Will probably be removed in January 2020.

The end of the line (for now) was looking like a mess. The extension to Hagley Road will open in 2 years time in 2021, only they have to build it first along Broad Street.

Tram 36 Rudolph

On Saturday 14th December 2019, it was my first day back in Birmingham City Centre for several days. And when I got to Birmingham New Street Station, I purchased an Adult off peak day ticket in the My Metro app. And rode tram 36 from Grand Central to the newly opened Library Tram Stop in Centenary Square.

For the Christmas period tram 36 is called Rudolph. Seen behind was the Library of Birmingham, Star Flyer and Birmingham Big Wheel.

Zoom in of the temporary Rudolph name.

The trams for now can use both platforms, and there is crossing tracks just in front of the tram stop. Beyond here is hoardings as they still need to build the second Westside extension which will take another two years to complete. Reflection of HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square in the Hyatt Regency Birmingham hotel.

Tram 36 seem heading back to Wolverhampton, as I made the short walk into the Library of Birmingham for views of the trams from above. Not too long to wait this time around as only every 6 minutes Monday's to Saturday's (every 15 minutes on Sunday's but the Library is closed on that day).

Tram 25

First up views from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. Tram 25 seen at platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. The Birmingham Big Wheel was in the way of this view.

One of the trams with lime green OLA adverts. It now has batteries on top. But currently in white not yet blue outside.

No temporary reindeer name on this tram.

Tram 25 is now seen leaving platform 2 at Library Tram Stop on it's way to Wolverhampton. It is passing the Municipal Bank site for the University of Birmingham. On the right is 5 Centenary Square (formerly 1 Arena Central). But that hasn't started yet. Was the site of the Register Office. The tram shelter on platform 1 is close to the site of where the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue was from 1956 to 2017.

Tram 25 seen heading round Paradise Circus. Cones on the road. Only the southbound lanes are open at the moment.

A taxi waits at the traffic light as tram 25 heads to Paradise Street and Town Hall Tram Stop.

Tram 23 Comet

Last saw this tram here on a test in November 2019. I headed up to the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham when I saw this tram again. In this view heading up Paradise Street towards Paradise Circus.

Heading around Paradise Circus. Easy Row Subway below is still closed to pedestrians, but the bridge has been reinforced and rebuilt before they even laid tracks here.

Coming into Centenary Square, in what until a few years ago was part of Broad Street.

Crossing tracks and heading to platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. Behind is HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square. They have also built new roads which in future will be used by buses.

As it headed into the tram stop, passing the Municipal Bank, some scaffolding on the left appears to have been removed.

Pavements on both sides of the road are now free of temporary barriers. Apart from in front of 1 Centenary Square and the Municipal Bank to the left.

Had to wait for some passengers to get off before I could get this zoom in of th Comet name.

Doors open, passengers heading into Centenary Square. They have also installed new bus stops.

Tram 30

It was getting dark as early as between 3pm and 3:30pm and it was time to get my next tram towards Jewellery Quarter. Tram 30 seen coming from Paradise Circus into Centenary Square.

It was about to cross tracks and head towards platform 2. Behind is a new view of Two Chamberlain Square and the Library of Birmingham.

Tram 30 now at platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. On the right is the Arena Central development with HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square and 3 Arena Central (for HMRC I think).

Between Library and Grand Central the tram was nice and quiet. One of the monitors on board showing Library Centenary Square.

The view from my seat. The tram was about to depart. After Grand Central the tram got quite full, of Christmas shoppers etc, and I got off at Jewellery Quarter to check out the Banksy and see what all the fuss was about.

Jewellery Quarter

After riding the tram all the way from Library Tram Stop I got off the busy tram 30 at Jewellery Quarter Tram Stop. On the opposite platform was tram 34.

St Paul's

After checking out the Banksy on Vyse Street, I walked down Great Hampton Street and Constitution Hill. I saw the bridge down on Livery Street to popped there first which is actually on Northwood Street. Tram 28 was leaving St Chad's Tram Stop.

Birmingham Snow Hill Station behind, tram 28 Jasper Carrott slowly head's to St Paul's from St Chad's, while West Midlands Railway 172 342 heads towards Jewellery Quarter after leaving platform 1.

A Chiltern Railways Class 168 was in it's usual spot at platform 2, as the tortoise vs hare race was clearly being won by West Midlands Railway!

Tram 28 about to arrive at St Paul's Tram Stop as the train headed into the Jewellery Quarter tunnels towards Jewellery Quarter Station. A Matter of Opinion on the right as well as a train not in service.

Jasper Carrot tram 28 coming to a stop to pick up passengers towards Wolverhampton. It was time to walk down to St Paul's Tram Stop with the entrance to the left on Constitution Hill.

I only just got to the tram stop when I saw the tram arriving. Tram 32 is one of those lime green OLA advert trams now with batteries. Seen coming through the Jewellery Quarter tunnels.

I got tram 32 towards Bull Street. Standing room only. All stops after this one on the extensions. St Paul's is the last tram stop to open in 1999 that is closest to the City Centre after the original Snow Hill Tram Stop closed in 2015.

Bull Street

Standing room only on tram 32, I got off at Bull Street Tram Stop instead of Corporation Street. Although both are in walking distance of my usual bus stop on Carrs Lane. The Lewis Building to the right.

As Tram 32 was about to turn onto Corporation Street, I saw tram 17 about to turn onto Bull Street. It was getting dark now, so was time to head to my bus home.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
17 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Eastside City Park as it was in 2012 onwards after it opened

The land that was used to build Eastside City Park was hoarded off during 2011. And the park was complete and open by the end of 2012. Here we will look at the park when it was brand new and when it was opened. Taking land that was formerly a car park in front of Millennium Point, and part of which was Albert Street. It also runs alongside Curzon Street. Near the BCU Eastside Campus.

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Eastside City Park as it was in 2012 onwards after it opened





The land that was used to build Eastside City Park was hoarded off during 2011. And the park was complete and open by the end of 2012. Here we will look at the park when it was brand new and when it was opened. Taking land that was formerly a car park in front of Millennium Point, and part of which was Albert Street. It also runs alongside Curzon Street. Near the BCU Eastside Campus.


Eastside City Park

Development of the park took place during 2011 and 2012, and was partially opened in late 2012. It was fully opened by the spring of 2013. The park is near Millennium Point, which included the Thinktank Science Garden and a Kids Park. Access to the Science Garden is usually with youtr entrance ticket to Thinktank.

December 2012

This was during December 2012 when the hoardings had come down. My first look around Eastside City Park. Getting on from Park Street, and walking up the footpath around which used to be Albert Street. In the distance is The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station. The park was partially opened by the then Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore on the evening Wednesday 5th December 2012.

Looking towards Millennium Point. The tall sculptures near the steps ahead. While new trees had been planted here on the newly laid lawns.

The steps when new, with benches to sit on. Looking towards Millennium Point and the Thinktank Science Garden. This was before the skateboarders started to regularly do their tricks here (well where the water fountain jets are to the right of here). Grosvenor Street West is to the left of here (near BOA (Birmingham Ormiston Academy) which leads to Jennens Road.

Close up look at the four metal sculptures on the steps. The view to the left is of the former Christopher Wray building and the McLaren Building.

Towards Masshouse. The residential block at the front is called Hive.

Masshouse without the sculpture columns in the way. To the left is what was called Hotel La Tour (now the Clayton Hotel).

Heading along the footpath near Curzon Street with Millennium Point and the Parkside Building on the left. The first building of the Birmingham City University Eastside Campus was complete by the summer of 2013.

Now looking back towards Millennium Point. As you could see, the Parkside Building wasn't yet complete.

The lawns as they were at the end of 2012. A brand new park, the first one in the City Centre for over a 100 years. Highgate Park was probably the last one to open within what is now the Middle Ring Road (Middleway's).

This covered canopy seen on the path from Curzon Street.

These early evening photos taken in the middle of December 2012. The Eastside City Park sign with crazy lights near what is now the site of The Emporium Building.

I had heard that the park looked good lit up after dark, so checked it out on the way back to my bus from work. This view towards Millennium Point.

Rush hour traffic to the left on Curzon Street. Before the University Campus opened here, the park wasn't full of students like it is now. Although Birmingham Metropolitan College has always been based in Millennium Point. And BCU had a presence in there even from the UCE days. At this point BCU were still at their old campus in Perry Barr (to be the site of the Commonwealth Games 2022 village).

Some of these shots came out a bit blurry. But you can see the spot lights all over.

The white lights lighting up the new trees.

Getting close to the area with steps and those four metal sculptures.

It was so perfect in December 2012. The paving hadn't got worn like it did in later years.

I'm sure many Birmingham photographers have taken these over the years. But I got it early on in December 2012.

March 2013

By the middle of March 2013, the park was fully complete. So I had another look around, a few days before it was officially opened in full. This is the curvy benches area under the canopy near the park entrance on Park Street.

Benches line this area with plants and new trees. Towards Curzon Street Station and New Canal Street.

Towards the Christopher Wray Building and Jennens Court. This is what it looked like 5 years before the Emporium Buillding was built here.

A few days later it was the day that Eastside City Park was officially opened on the 16th March 2013. Saw this banner.

Over there on the area where the water jet fountains are, was the official opening ceremony. Councillor Sir Albert Bore (then Leader of Birmingham City Council) was talking about how he envisioned a park when they started the Eastside development back in 1999.

This view from the steps near the metal sculptures towards the official event formally opening the park in full. The railway line behind with a London Midland train heading in or out of Birmingham New Street Station.

Water fountain jets

The water fountain jets seen in Eastside City Park during June 2013. Kids used to play in these like the ones in Centenary Square (that opened in summer 2019). And in later years, skateboarders would do tricks here.

This view from April 2014. The water jets would get quite high. In recent years though, these have not been turned on. Especially since Ice Skate Birmingham had their Big Wheel and Ice Rink here in the winter period of 2018 / 19 (they were on HS2 land on Eastside Green in the winter of 2017 / 18).

The Canal

Near Millennium Point and the Parkside Building was this canal. There is bridges that crossed it. In April 2013 it looked quite new and in good condition.

But by June 2014, the walls where the water jets came out of looked quite rusted around the holes. And hard marks down the side. This night shot was from December 2014. In the last several times that I've been past here, this has not even been turned on or even full of water. Unless rain water filled it up. Hopefully it can be cleaned and turned back on.

In late July 2019 the state of the canal near the Farmhouse Dairy Ice Cream block. Hardly much water in it. There must be a reason why the Council hasn't turned it on in a while?

More recent views to date

This view of Millenniumt Point taken from Eastside City Park during December 2016. On a lovely blue sky day. This was sometime after 11am on Boxing Day 2016 so hardly anyone around!

Snow on the side border during February 2017. Wasn't much other snow around here.

Snow in Eastside City Park during March 2018. Well here it was quite slushy and icy. The Emporium Building seen under construction.

More snow on the grass than on the paving. No one around at midday on the 18th March 2018.

This was after dark in January 2019. the Emporium Building was complete by then. Heading into the park, this would be the last time you could see Ice Skate Birmingham at the other end of the park. As they were starting to dismantle the ice rink.

What had happened to the grass in Eastside City Park in March 2019? It looked like this. All patchy. They had to replace the grass during the spring of 2019. I may have applied a filter on this phone shot that I took.

By May 2019, just soil where the ice rink had been of Ice Skate Birmingham from November 2018 to January 2019. It was raining in the park. As you can see the water jet fountains were still off. And the only water you could see was rain water. HS2 land all hoarded off to the far left. Trees all lush and green though.

What a transformation to the grass by July 2019! They had laid new grass. The trees all full of green leaves.

Hopefully the grass can stay like this into 2020. These days the park is full of students from Birmingham City University. This view towards Millennium Point.

The Woodman pub has been reopen for several years now. Various people walking through the park as I saw this cyclist go past. I think I headed down New Canal Street into Digbeth from here. The tower of Exchange Square Phase I was getting bricked up.

These days struggle to find something to take photos of in Eastside City Park. In August 2019, saw this unusual bike outside of The Woodman. Babboe City. A cargo bike.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points

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