Architecture
27 Apr 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Aston Hall - April 2019

Here's a small gallery from Aston Hall including some interiors.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Aston Hall - April 2019




Here's a small gallery from Aston Hall including some interiors.

Photos by Daniel Sturley


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Transport
27 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

4651 a National Express West Midlands bus in classic Birmingham City Transport colours

Recently I've kept seeing a National Express West Midlands bus in classic Birmingham City Transport livery colours. 4651 based at Acocks Green usually goes on the 1, 1A, 4 or 4A bus routes. I had a ride of this bus finally in late April 2019 from Carrs Lane, near M & S in Birmingham City Centre to Warwick Road in Acocks Green Village. I've also seen it in Solihull!

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4651 a National Express West Midlands bus in classic Birmingham City Transport colours




Recently I've kept seeing a National Express West Midlands bus in classic Birmingham City Transport livery colours. 4651 based at Acocks Green usually goes on the 1, 1A, 4 or 4A bus routes. I had a ride of this bus finally in late April 2019 from Carrs Lane, near M & S in Birmingham City Centre to Warwick Road in Acocks Green Village. I've also seen it in Solihull!


I first saw this National Express West Midlands bus 4651 in the classic Birmingham City Transport livery during March 2019. It was coming off the 1A bus route from the QE Hospital. I had gotten off the 4A bus and headed to the 11C bus stop on the Westley Road outside of Acocks Green Bowl. I quickly took this photo on my smartphone camera! I've been seeing it again ever since, usually as the 4 or 4A. Sometimes it's on the 1 or 1A bus routes as well. Based at Acocks Green Bus Garage.

I was able to get another photo of 4651 in Solihull. This is the roundabout between Prince's Way, Blossomfield Road, Streetsbrook Road, Lode Lane and Station Road. This was in the middle of April 2019. I think they may have done this livery to celebrate the end of Birmingham City Transport which ended 50 years ago in 1969 when it was taken over by the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive.

Late April 2019, and I saw 4651 as the 4 at the bus stop on Carrs Lane in Birmingham City Centre, and I caught it towards Acocks Green Village. Didn't take a photo before getting on the bus, but took this from the other side of the Warwick Road, before it resumed it's journey to Solihull Town Centre! The bus stop is close to Wilko and a zebra crossing that I use when I get off the 4 or 4A (was the 37 until July 2018).

I went up to the top deck of 4651 when the bus was at Carrs Lane. I only get photos like this when the top deck is empty (would rather not take it if full of passengers behind me). Sat at the front. Just the standard NXWM interior. Although the seat coverings may have been changed. But they haven't made the interiors look like a classic BCT bus.

Sitting at the front of the bus while on Carrs Lane, above me was the number 4651. The bus windows were more or less dry on the journey to Acocks Green, apart from the odd rain drops, due to the strong winds and light rain outside the bus!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
Transport
27 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Air Rail Link: from Birmingham Airport to Birmingham International Station and vice versa!

Between Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Station is the Air Rail Link, a free mono rail style car that gets passengers between the airport and railway station, or the other way around! It also means you have a convenient link from the Airport to the NEC as well! There is two cars that goes along the raised tracks. The airport end is on the first floor.

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Air Rail Link: from Birmingham Airport to Birmingham International Station and vice versa!




Between Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Station is the Air Rail Link, a free mono rail style car that gets passengers between the airport and railway station, or the other way around! It also means you have a convenient link from the Airport to the NEC as well! There is two cars that goes along the raised tracks. The airport end is on the first floor.


The first photo I took of the Air Rail Link was from outside of Birmingham Airport during November 2015. At this point I had yet to have a ride of it between Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Station, or in the other direction. I wasn't even sure where the station at the Birmingham Airport end was at that point!

Some clearer views from January 2017. Seen from Bickenhill Lane on my walk towards Birmingham International Station. The 966 bus from Solihull (now the X12) normally heads towards Birmingham International Station first before Birmingham Airport, so I got off the bus a stop or two before the station. The X1 bus (formerly the 900) always goes towards Birmingham Airport, before Birmingham International Station first.

Passing the car park at Birmingham International Station. The only windows that you can see out of are front and back. On the sides were Fly Emirates adverts for holidayds to Australia (not good for taking photos out of the windows, so can only do that at the front or back!).

I had a close up look at one of the Air Rail Link vehicles at Birmingham International Interchange Station during January 2017. At this point, wasn't sure if the Air Rail Link was free or if you had to pay. But I later found out that it is free to ride. So that time I ended up going down the escalators and catching an X1 bus back to Birmingham instead!

On to February 2017, and I was back at Birmingham Airport. I still wasn't sure where the Birmingham Airport Station was at this point (later found out that it was on the first floor above the departures check in area). This view was close to the local bus stops. You can catch the X1 to Birmingham or Coventry. The X12 to Solihull or Birmingham. The occasional National Express coach also stops down here.

The Air Rail Link heading past one of the multi-storey car parks at Birmingham Airport. This view was taken from the X1 bus back to Birmingham. I would later try and ride the Air Rail Link during July 2017 for the first time from Birmingham International Station towards Birmingham Airport, to see what it's like.

In July 2017, I finally got a chance to ride the Air Rail Link, while the Big Sleuth trail was on. After getting the bears at Resorts World, I was aware of several little bears at the airport. This vehicle seen from Birmingham International Interchange Station.

I somehow missed the little sleuth bears, as I went down the escalators , thinking that they were in departures near the various check in desks (they weren't). The trail of small bears across Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country was officially called "The Big Sleuth presents the Little Bears Detective Club". They were not that far from Birmingham Airport Station near one of the bars. Eventually time to get the Air Rail Link back to Birmingham International, so I could catch a train to Birmingham New Street!

The Air Rail Link car on the right heading from Birmingham Airport Station to Birmingham International Station. I was waiting for the one on the left to arrive!

And here's the one that I caught to Birmingham International Station back in July 2017. There is two compartments, and the doors have to line up with the glass doors in the station. A bit like the Jubilee Line on the London Underground. The doors must line up so that people can get off, and people can get in!

The seats at the window ends, means if you want to look out, you have to turn around, or stand up. Taking photos out of the sides were obscured by the advertisments, so out of the front window was best. I was on the car heading back to Birmingham International Interchange Station. While the other car was heading back to Birmingham Airport Station!

After arriving at Birmingham International Interchange, I took this photo after the other passengers got off, and before I got off! It's usually full of passengers, and I wouldn't want to take it with them in there! So just a quick photo, before the next load of passengers boarded for Birmingham Airport! As you can see there is only benches at the front or back ends, or standing and holding onto the poles. Even inside was an advert for Emirates to Australia!

For more photos see my album on Flickr, including the photos of the tracks. Birmingham Air-Rail Link, Flickr.

My first YouTube video that I made in August 2018 is here Birmingham Air Rail Link, YouTube. That's mostly a slideshow with the video clip at the end!

My second YouTube video is here from November 2018. Air-Rail Link from Birmingham International Interchange to Birmingham Airport, YouTube. That's the full ride towards the Airport!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
26 Apr 2019 - Tom Grunt
News & Updates

Play, Relaxation and Recreation at Connaught Square - a huge regeneration scheme in Digbeth, Birmingham

Connaught Square is one of the largest and most important regeneration schemes Birmingham has seen in decades. 

Take the full article produced by Tomas Grunt, one of Birmingham's People with Passion for construction and find out more about this amazing development. Artist's impressions by K4 Architects.

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Play, Relaxation and Recreation at Connaught Square - a huge regeneration scheme in Digbeth, Birmingham




Connaught Square is one of the largest and most important regeneration schemes Birmingham has seen in decades. 

Take the full article produced by Tomas Grunt, one of Birmingham's People with Passion for construction and find out more about this amazing development. Artist's impressions by K4 Architects.


Connaught Square lies opposite Birmingham Coach Station and stretches all the way to the Irish Centre, which was originally part of the scheme. However the scheme now stops just short of it, although we may see a proposal to develop that land in the future.

Artist's Impression by K4 Architects

This residential-led scheme comprises 770 apartments with retail and commercial space at just over 4,000 sq. m. There will be a total of 105 car park spaces and 656 secure cycle parking spaces. The most eye-catching aspect of this proposal is a plan to bring river Rea up to the surface. In this area, the river currently runs underground.

The site was originally going to be developed in the late 2000s with planning permission for a large mixed-use scheme granted in 2007. That scheme had consisted of 700 residential units, similarly to the current proposal, and had also included a 4* hotel and a skybar. Because of the financial crisis the developer went bankrupt, and the scheme failed to materialize alongside a number of other projects across the city.

The current scheme first saw the light of day in November 2015 when the Birmingham based developer Seven Capital began pre-application discussions with Birmingham City Council and eventually lodged a planning application in September 2016.

Seven Capital’s initial proposal consisted of 940 residential units spread across 5 buildings ranging from 5 to 18 storeys and almost 6,000 sq.m of retail and commercial space.

In the period between the lodging of application in September 2016 and the application being finally approved early 2019 there was an extensive liaison between Seven Capital, Birmingham City Council and several agencies such as the Environment Agency and Lead Local Flood Authority.

Some of the major concerns included massing, layout, mix of residential units and concerns of ecological and environmental nature in respect of the River Rea.

The Council didn’t like the mix of residential units which favoured 1-bedroom apartments, so to make it family friendly, a higher amount of 2 and 3 bedroom apartments was demanded.

Another thing the Council was adamant about was pedestrian permeability and the quality of public space.

The footprint of buildings 3 and 4 was significantly reduced which created a new public route between the river and Stone Yard, in addition the scheme now had just 4 instead of the original 5 buildings, which aided pedestrian permeability.

To make the scheme more in line with the urban landscape around it, the height of the houses was reduced by 1 storey, while the height of the tower was increased from 18 to 28 storeys to make it appear slender, and portland stone was chosen as a cladding material to make the tower stand out, as according to the council, the initial design was grey and dull.  

The Council also asked if the John F. Kennedy mosaic mural could be moved from its current location on Floodgate Street and make it part of the scheme to which the applicant agreed.

One of the scheme’s great family-oriented features is the inclusion of major roof gardens on 3 out of 4 buildings and 6 minor gardens on all 4 buildings. Each major garden is split into 3 zones; the zones being ‘Play’, ‘Recreation’ and ‘Relaxation’. The Play Area is designed for children of all ages and supports healthy child development, the Recreation Area is for sports and exercise while the Relaxation Area is a quieter and sheltered space. The zones are connected by a network of footpaths.

Artist's Impression by K4 Architects

What makes this scheme unique is the River Rea and the green and public space around it. The river will be brought up to surface and its banks widened, creating ‘floodable terraces’ for increased flood protection. The floodable terracing will make the scheme look and feel much greener, natural and wider. The applicant is looking to plant native trees and shrubs which will form green habitats. It is the applicant’s ambition that the widened river channel will become a protected habitat zone.

Artist's impression by K4 Architects

The scheme has been designed by Digbeth based K4 Architects. After the extensive liaison between the applicant, Birmingham City Council and the various agencies, the scheme was finally approved in January 2019 and the construction is scheduled to start in the summer 2019. The development will be delivered in two phases and Phase 1 including the tower is expected to be completed in March 2022 and Phase 2 in August 2023.

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
26 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Snow Hill Wharf - construction work now underway

A new canalside apartment complex reaching up to 21 storeys and providing five new buildings in the Gun Quarter has officially begun.

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Snow Hill Wharf - construction work now underway




A new canalside apartment complex reaching up to 21 storeys and providing five new buildings in the Gun Quarter has officially begun.


Construction has started at Snow Hill Wharf with the first of the cranes moving in. 

Photography by Tom Grunt

Located on Shadwell Street, on a tranquil canal-side stretch of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, Snow Hill Wharf offers 406 one, two and three bedroom apartments with three landscaped podium gardens.

St Joseph Homes (a subsidary of UK giant Berkeley Homes) are behind the plans, as it make a beeline into Birmingham. It has been designed by London-based Grid Architects.

Berkeley have traditionally focused on the London and southeast property market, but are now looking to Birmingham for growth in their plans to exploit housing demand, on the back of HS2, with many more developments in the offing.  

Residents of Snow Hill Wharf will benefit from exclusive facilities, including a residents’ only cinema, gym, steam room, sauna, meeting rooms and 24-hour concierge service.

There will be parking for 139 cars, including five charging points for electric vehicles, and space for 408 bikes.

The scheme is widely expected to trigger wider regeneration in this under-utilised part of the city centre in the years to come.

Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley said: “In partnership with Birmingham City Council, we will transform these long vacant sites into thriving communities with the new homes, jobs and amenities local people need. The council has real commitment and vision to create homes and communities for its people. It’s a fantastic city and a great place to do business.

“We have ambitious, long term plans for Birmingham and these sites will be followed by many others in the years to come.”

Artist Impressions by GRID Architects

Artist Impressions by GRID Architects

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40 passion points
Photography
25 Apr 2019 - Mac McCreery
Gallery

Here's '10 of the best' from Mac! - a Birmingham photographer and one of our 'People with Passion'

Here we have selected 10 photos from the great photography taken by the very talented Mac McCreery, a photographer and one of Birmingham's 'People with Passion' showcased at BirminghamWeAre. 

Open the full post to view Mac's wonderful photography taken in and around Birmingham.

Enjoy!

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Here's '10 of the best' from Mac! - a Birmingham photographer and one of our 'People with Passion'




Here we have selected 10 photos from the great photography taken by the very talented Mac McCreery, a photographer and one of Birmingham's 'People with Passion' showcased at BirminghamWeAre. 

Open the full post to view Mac's wonderful photography taken in and around Birmingham.

Enjoy!


Birmingham Sunset, Well Lane, Digbeth 

 

 To Digbeth and Beyond, Birmingham Skyline

 

Gas Street Basin, Birmingham

 

Typhoo Basin, Digbeth, Birmingham

 

Architectures in Birmingham

 

The canal, snow and monochrome photography

 

St Martin's, Birmingham 

 

'Warp Speed' at Selfridges, Birmingham 

 

 Ever changing Eastside, Birmingham

Photography by Mac McCreery

 

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40 passion points
Transport
24 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Vintage buses seen around the West Midlands

I first started to spot vintage buses around Birmingham and the West Midlands around 2011, and have kept seeing them ever since. Including the buses going between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garage during the October 2013 open days. Sometimes the bus just randomly goes past me when I was least expecting it!

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Vintage buses seen around the West Midlands




I first started to spot vintage buses around Birmingham and the West Midlands around 2011, and have kept seeing them ever since. Including the buses going between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garage during the October 2013 open days. Sometimes the bus just randomly goes past me when I was least expecting it!


Starting with this bus on Edmund Street in Birmingham, I saw it during May 2011, and I think it's the first old bus that I took a photo of in Birmingham! Now owned by what was the Aston Manor Transport Museum (now based in Aldridge). This bus celebrated 100 years of public transport in Walsall. Reg no: JOV 714P, WMPTE 4714, Bristol VRT/SL2/6LX with Metro-Cammell H43/33F body. Dates from 1976.

During my first train trip to Bromsgrove in April 2013, on my walk back from Bromsgrove Town Centre to the old Bromsgrove Station, saw this bus at the lights on the A38. I was crossing over New Road. Reg no: XDH 516G, 116, Walsall Corporation, Daimler Fleetline. Built in 1968, was taken over by WMPTE in 1969.

Sarah's Diner spotted near Amber Way in Halesowen during January 2019. Reg no: TVP 875S, 6875, MCW bodied Leyland Fleetline, WM Travel. Formerly used on the 11 Outer Circle in Birmingham.

Now a look at the former Birmingham City Transport buses used during the October 2013 open days between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garages.

There was at least 3 vintage buses that you could catch a free ride between both bus garages on Saturday 5th October 2013. One of them was this former Birmingham City Transport bus, 3225, MOF 225. Seen at the Summer Road bus stop close to Acocks Green Bus Garage in the Fox Hollies area of Birmingham.

I was going to catch a free bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood. I think the bus in front with 90 Pheasey Estate via Kingstanding on it, was getting full, so I got on the blue Timesaver bus behind. See this post for more of that Timesaver 900 - vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages, October 2013.

A bit more close up to both buses on Summer Road, Acocks Green.

One last look before I got on the old Timesaver blue bus behind. This car was parked near the road, so the bus had to park awkwardly next to it, to pick up passengers heading to Yardley Wood Bus Garage.

Later after I had visited my first Yardley Wood Bus Garage open day, I left via School Road in Yardley Wood and saw 3225 heading past me! Still taking bus passengers between both garages.

Seen continuing on it's way towards Yardley Wood Bus Garage on School Road, Yardley Wood. Shortly after this, I would get a no 3 bus back towards Swanshurst Park.

Here 3225 had just arrived on Yardley Wood Road outside of Yardley Wood Bus Garage. I myself had got off the blue Timesaver bus behind (before I went into the bus garage for the first time). The bus was already full.

Sometimes 3225 goes past you unexpectedly like when I was walking up the Warwick Road in Acocks Green, around about the time when National Express West Midlands was going to renumber the 37 as the 4 and 4A, so seeing this old Birmingham City Transport bus going up here was not expected during July 2018!

Forgive the quality of this photo, as it was a mobile phone photo taken on James Watt Queensway during November 2017 (I have also cropped it). 3225, MOF 225 seen passing Aston University and the Law Courts. Another random unexpected sight of this particular heritage bus!

This bus is used every year at the St Patrick's Day Parade in Digbeth. 3225, MOF 225 (I think) seen at the 2015 parade. As the 50 from West Midlands Travel. One of National Express West Midlands green electric hybrid buses was behind (then on the 23 and 24, now on the 61 and 63, repainted red outside).

Saw 3225, MOF 225 again at the 2018 St Patrick's Day Parade in Digbeth. Seen passing the Bull Ring Tavern, from this Moor Street Car Park view, zoomed in. Heading round Digbeth onto St Martin's Lane (one of the shortest roads in the city centre) and then going round onto Moat Lane. This is the reverse of the way buses normally go around Digbeth to the Bullring!

Getting back to the October 2013 open day, another vintage bus was taking passengers between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garages. While I didn't see it at either bus garage, I did see it on the School Road in Yardley Wood. 3472, BON 472C, as the 4 to Pool Farm and Cotteridge, Birmingham City Transport.

Here it would pass over a bridge near the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. I think this was the only single decker bus that they were using that day!

In November 2018, I saw this old Birmingham City Transport bus heading off Highfield Road and onto Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green. Seen here crossing over the Stratford Road. Reg no: JOJ 548, 2548, Birmingham City Transport, built in 1950. It was a few days before the Yardley Wood Bus Garage open day that would be held on Saturday 10th November 2018, and I was wondering if it was heading towards Acocks Green Bus Garage?

Seen on the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green. It's route number was the 9 to Quinton.

One last look at this bus passing me on the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green. Advert at the back: "Avoid the race for car park space Take a Bus to any place".

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
23 Apr 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - April 2019

The externally finished building is becoming an attraction for architecture photographers, lots of great photos in this gallery.

Photo by Tom Grunt

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - April 2019




The externally finished building is becoming an attraction for architecture photographers, lots of great photos in this gallery.

Photo by Tom Grunt

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Tom Grunt

 

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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100 passion points
Environment & green action
23 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Kings Heath Park over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend 2019

It's been a hot four days over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend in late April 2019. I popped along to Kings Heath Park on Easter Monday, the 22nd April 2019 to check out the bluebells, the pond and flowers around the park! A walk down Vicarage Road into the park, then when I left, headed up Cartland Road towards Pershore Road, Stirchley (instead of Avenue Road).

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Kings Heath Park over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend 2019




It's been a hot four days over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend in late April 2019. I popped along to Kings Heath Park on Easter Monday, the 22nd April 2019 to check out the bluebells, the pond and flowers around the park! A walk down Vicarage Road into the park, then when I left, headed up Cartland Road towards Pershore Road, Stirchley (instead of Avenue Road).


Entering from the Vicrage Road entrance near the corner of Avenue Road, saw this yellow flower near the gatehouse.

Heading up the path parallel to Avenue Road, having a look at the bluebells growing in the grass, with a few zoom ins.

You don't have to go far to see bluebells it seems! Just catch the 11A or 11C to Kings Heath (or the 35 or 50). The High Street is in walking distance of the park.

Not as far zoomed in with this group of bluebells. Was also buttercups growing in the grass near the Avenue Road side.

Thought about leaving at Avenue Road, near one of the car park exits, but decided to check out the ponds instead! The trees around the pond was looking lush and green.

Even more lush and green around the pond here. Noticed some barriers to the left of here (not in the photo). The water jets were not turned on.

Lots of colour with the yellow and red flowers around the four pots and the flagpole.

A zoom into the four pots in the middle.

On the other side of the path heading back to the other Vicrage Road entrance / exit, saw these flowers planted on the left.

More yellow and red flowers around this small tree on the right.

My usual 10 minute walk in and out of the park. Headed past King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools (closed for the Easter holidays). Wasn't going to wait 20 minutes for another 11C, so walked up Cartland Road towards the Pershore Road in Stirchley. And the wait for the no 45 bus was 10 minutes.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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60 passion points
History & heritage
23 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Objects that used to be at Centenary Square

Here we will look at some sculptures that used to be in Centenary Square, and also a strucuture that was removed before it opened in 1991! The Colonnade was moved to the Peace Garden in 1990. The Flame of Hope and the Spirit of Enterprise fountain were removed in 2009 before the Library of Birmingham was built. The Forward sculpture burnt in an arson attack during 2003.

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Objects that used to be at Centenary Square




Here we will look at some sculptures that used to be in Centenary Square, and also a strucuture that was removed before it opened in 1991! The Colonnade was moved to the Peace Garden in 1990. The Flame of Hope and the Spirit of Enterprise fountain were removed in 2009 before the Library of Birmingham was built. The Forward sculpture burnt in an arson attack during 2003.


The Colonnade at the Peace Garden

Seen at the Peace Garden in 2009, it is now near Ridley Street and Washington Street. Originally built near Broad Street in 1925, it was a Doric Loggia designed by S.N. Cooke and W.N. Twist. It was originally part of the Hall of Memory scheme. It was moved stone by stone to the site of the ruined St Thomas's Church in 1990. The Peace Garden opened in 1992. Work to layout the original Centenary Square started in 1989 and was completed by 1991.

Inside the Colonnade a plaques with messages from peace from different communities and faiths from around the world.

The leaders of the G8 came here during 1998, and a plaque commemorating them planting 8 trees to represent each of the 8 nations. The Birmingham Summit was held between the 15th to 17th May 1998.

The Peace Garden is somewhere to sit for a bit of peace and relaxation, to get away from the stresses of life. Is also flowers planted around.

This plaque on the ground recalls when it was built in Broad Street in 1925, and moved here in 1990.

The Forward statue

This maquette of Raymond Mason's lost Forward statue was seen during a September 2018 open day at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre. The original statue was installed around 1991, but was destroyed by a arson attack in 2003 (it's remains were removed).

The maquette is probably the only survival of the statue also known as the Lurpac statue. The full sized statue was made of fibreglass. I don't really recall seeing it myself.

Centenary Square in April 2009, with the Symphony Hall, The ICC and The REP. At this point the raised area of the square was still there, where once the Forward statue stood. But by 2010 the area in the middle was hoarded off for the construction of the Library of Birmingham. And when that opened, the paving was flattened, with grass around the new library amphitheatre (that grass is now gone with the new 2019 Centenary Square, still to be finished).

The Flame of Hope

Around the start of the new Millennium in 2000, Cliff Richard turned on the Flame of Hope. It was lit for about 2 years before it was turned off. It was still there in April 2009, before the Library of Birmingham was built. I would assume it went to storage where it probably remains today.

The Spirit of Enterprise Fountain

This was by the artist Tom Lomax, made in 1991. Seen here in April 2009. I went all the way around having a look at the Spirit of Enterprise fountain. What a sight to see!

There was three different sides with water coming out of the mouths. This side towards Symphony Hall. There used to be benches around this area too!

The fountain was removed to storage later in 2009, before construction started on the new Library of Birmingham, which opened in 2013. It remains in storage to this day!

The first time I saw it again, was during a May 2012 free open day at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre and this was the condition that it was in!

The only water in it now was rain water! Looking a bit unloved left outside near the shipping containers and old statue plinths with graffiti nearby.

Doesn't seem likely that it will be returning to Centenary Square any time soon. While Industry & Genius and A Real Birmingham Family recently returned, it's doesn't look like this fountain will be coming back! Even the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue should be coming back soon!

Lighting grille

Seen in February 2018 was one of the lighting grilles installed in 1991. This one was outside of The REP. It was on of the items designed by Tess Jaray, with the City Architects Design Team and Tom Lomax. Similar items such as benches and railings have all now been removed. This Centenary Square lasted just over 25 years before the City Council decided to change it all over again!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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62 passion points
Construction & regeneration
21 Apr 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - April 2019

Bank Tower Two is getting close to external completion, lots of the cladding is now visable on all sides, reflecting the spring sunlight.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

Related

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - April 2019




Bank Tower Two is getting close to external completion, lots of the cladding is now visable on all sides, reflecting the spring sunlight.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
20 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Centenary Square we never got in the 1940s

Long before the 1991 Centenary Square, or the 2019 version coming to completion now, the City Council previously had plans for another Civic Square! During World War 2, William Haywood made a model of a proposed Civic Centre that was never to be. Only Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory were built, but the War intervened! The model is now at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre.

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The Centenary Square we never got in the 1940s




Long before the 1991 Centenary Square, or the 2019 version coming to completion now, the City Council previously had plans for another Civic Square! During World War 2, William Haywood made a model of a proposed Civic Centre that was never to be. Only Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory were built, but the War intervened! The model is now at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre.


During my first visit to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre on Dollman Street in Nechells, Birmingham, in May 2012, I saw this model of the Proposed Civic Centre in what I called the garage area of the collection (full of vintage cars, fire engines etc). Official website here Birmingham Museum Collection Centre. I've been on two free open days so far, mostly the same collection, from what I saw on both visits.

This is what Centenary Square could have looked like, had the design of this model have been built after the end of the War, but it was eventually shelved due to cost and other reasons.

It was made by William Haywood, at the Baker Studios in Erdington in 1941 (while World War 2 was on). The scale is 1" to 12ft. He was a special lecturer in town planning at the University of Birmingham, and it took him 12 months to complete. The model represents a variety of public buildings including a Planetarium, Natural History Museum, and City Hall, as well as extensive gardens and car parks.

According to Pevsner Architectural Guides Birmingham, William Haywood was involved in schemes for the site since at least 1918!

On the left on what is now the site of Symphony Hall and The ICC (completed 1991), it was proposed to have the West Wing of a City Hall, but only Baskerville House on the East Wing was completed in 1938. The circular building in front of it would have been the Planetarium. We only ended up getting one of those in Millennium Point in Eastside by 2001, within Thinktank. The Birmingham Repertory Theatre (aka The REP) was built in 1971, on the left hand side of this model, probably where those formal laid gardens could have been.

At the centre would have been a 'Municipal Tower'. It would have had a nude male statue representing the Spirit of Birmingham. The Council approved the scheme in 1944 (for the City Council offices), and William Bloye made a maquette of the statue in 1948. But the project was abandoned in 1949 for being too expensive.

Formal gardens were proposed for the site that is now the Library of Birmingham, while the wings of the Council offices behind (that never got built), later became City Centre Gardens, and the Civic Centre Estate with the 1960s tower blocks of Cambridge Tower, Crescent Tower, Norton Tower and Galton Tower. Crescent Wharf blocks north of Cambridge Street. They were by the City Architect, Alan Maudsley in 1968. Baskerville House was the only part of this scheme to be built, along with the Hall of Memory. Before the Library of Birmingham was built between 2010 to 2013, the site was used as a car park.

Everything to the left of the Hall of Memory and Baskerville House was never built, due to the War, or for being too expensive. There was another proposal in 1958 by A.G. Sheppard Fidler, with a less formal layout, with water features with municpal office podium on the north side, but that too didn't get built.

A close up look at the Planetarium and the west wing of the City Council offices. It would have looked identical to Baskerville House. There was a Colonnade in the square for many years, which later got moved to the Peace Garden, and there used to be a fountain in the middle too (before my time).

Another view of the west side of the unbuilt City Council Offices. Had it been built, somewhere in this building could have been a Natural History Museum, War Museum and an Opera House. This is the site of The ICC and Symphony Hall. Until 1984, it was the site of Bingley Hall, a bit like an exhibition hall, but it burnt down in a fire.

One last look at the model at the Museum Collection Centre. The classical look may have been favoured in Victorian times, and in the Inter War period, but after the War architectural styles changed, and by the 1960s and '70s we got brutalist concrete buildings like Birmingham Central Library (1974-2013, demolished 2016). And now we have a mix of classical and modern buildings. The Municipal Bank was built on Broad Street in 1933, and that is now being converted for use by the Library of Birmingham. While HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square, stands on the site of Central TV / ATV, which was formerly a Masonic Hall in classical style (also now demolished).

In 2015, for a time the model was on display at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, a long with drawings on the walls of proposed Birmingham buildings, and those that got built. It was about Birmingham's past redevelopments. This was the last time I saw the model in the museum, but I think I may have seen it in there once before. So the last time I saw it again was at the Museum Collection Centre in 2018.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Transport
18 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Timesaver 900 - vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages, October 2013

We continue our look back to the bus garage open days of October 2013 with this vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages on Saturday 5th October 2013. Starting at Summer Lane in Acocks Green ending at Yardley Wood Road outside the other bus garage! Timesaver 900 in blue livery. I would supect that the bus used to be used on the Coventry Road (the modern X1 bus route).

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Timesaver 900 - vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages, October 2013




We continue our look back to the bus garage open days of October 2013 with this vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages on Saturday 5th October 2013. Starting at Summer Lane in Acocks Green ending at Yardley Wood Road outside the other bus garage! Timesaver 900 in blue livery. I would supect that the bus used to be used on the Coventry Road (the modern X1 bus route).


This West Midlands Travel blue bus was one of three buses that was used to transport passengers (for free) between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood Bus Garages on Saturday 5th October 2013. On the occasions of both bus garages then 75th birthday. Open days were being held at the same time at both garages, and these bus rides was a convenient way of getting between both open days!

West Midlands Travel Timesaver was used on the former 900 route between Coventry and Birmingham, via Meriden, The NEC & Birmingham Airport and then up the Coventry Road via Sheldon, South Yardley, Hay Mills and Small Heath. The bus identification number was 2957. Licence plate number: D957 NDA.

 

Starting at the bus stop on Summer Lane (not too far from Acocks Green Bus Garage). This bus stop is sometimes used by the no 1 bus route (NXWM keeps changing the route). It was used recently for the 1 and 1A, but is now not in use again (since they changed the route back).

I sat somewhere near the back of the bus on the bottom deck. This is the interior of an 1980s bus!

Some of the old WM Travel adverts on the wall near the ceiling of the bottom deck. This one showing a map of the West Midlands with the locations of the WM Travelshop's across the county!

This one "Get Around for Less". About the Travelcard and Clubcard. The dates on it 1993, make it as it was in the 1990s!

I remember seeing these ones on the buses in the 1990s! "Something interesting to read on the journey. Your bus ticket.". I'm not sure anyone actually bothered to read it by the way! Garage code, bus number, service number, time, date, ticket serial number, stage number, fare and class of ticket. "Know Your Ticket". By the time people had bus passes or smartcards or apps, I don't think you'd be spending time staring at your pass (apart from when the inspector comes on board of course).

It's rare now for buses to have adverts about "new" cars but in the late 1980s, they had this for for the Ford Escort Cabriolet! A convertible "ideal for the British summer".

About 15 minutes later we were in Yardley Wood! The bus standing outside of Yardley Wood Bus Garage on the Yardley Wood Road. Many passengers getting off to start their visit to the bus garage open day in Yardley Wood.

One of the older vintage buses was also parked outside of the garage. Both buses ready to take passengers back to Acocks Green. That bus (on the left) had the route number  90 and destination Pheasey Estate via Kingstanding. That was MOF 225 / 3225.

I later saw the Timesaver 900 bus heading over this canal bridge on School Road in Yardley Wood.

Another view of the bus on the School Road in Yardley Wood.

Bonus photos of the Timesaver bus at the Yardley Wood Bus Garage open day in November 2018, for the garages 80th birthday! This open day was held on Saturday 10th November 2018, was a bit of a wet day outside!

Timesaver seen from within Yardley Wood Bus Garage.

Seen from outside the garage, as I started my walk to see other heritage buses towards the Maypole!

They had cleared the route number and destination board at the front, but only had 2957 on the side where the route number would usually be!

Later saw the Timesaver bus from the no 50 bus on Alcester Road South! Doing the loop around Kings Heath, Maypole, Yardley Wood and Billesley!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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40 passion points
Green travel
17 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A look at the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham to Leamington Spa

The Grand Union Canal links Birmingham to London, but here we will just look at the areas from Birmingham towards Leamington Spa. Made up of smaller canals bought by the Regents Canal Company in the 1920s. Many locks were widened for double sized barges, although they ended up being used by pairs of narrowboats instead! Through Acocks Green, Olton, Hatton, Warwick and Leamington Spa.

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A look at the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham to Leamington Spa




The Grand Union Canal links Birmingham to London, but here we will just look at the areas from Birmingham towards Leamington Spa. Made up of smaller canals bought by the Regents Canal Company in the 1920s. Many locks were widened for double sized barges, although they ended up being used by pairs of narrowboats instead! Through Acocks Green, Olton, Hatton, Warwick and Leamington Spa.


Starting at Spaghetti Junction, below the M6 motorway is Salford Junction. This is where the Grand Union Canal starts in north Birmingham (unless you count Bordesley Junction as the start). At Salford Junction is the Salford Junction Bridge. The canals going left and right is the Tame Valley Canal and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. Above is the concrete and graffiti carrying the M6 motorway at the Gravelley Hill Interchange aka Spaghetti Junction. The canal was formerly called the Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal until it was bought in 1929 by the Regent's Canal company to form the Grand Union Canal. It goes down to Bordesley linking up with the Digbeth Branch of the Grand Union Canal.

This April 2018 view of the Grand Union Canal from near the Bordesley Village. Near the Garrison Lane Bridge. Towards The Village Bridge. Graffiti street art for the Canal & River Trust and Phoenix Hall below Bordesley Village. Not far from here is St Andrew's home of Birmingham City FC.

Near Bordesley Middleway the canal locks that leads onto the Grand Union Canal. The railway bridge of the Snow Hill lines and to the right was the Holy Trinity Church in this view from October 2009. The canal lock is labelled "Bordesley Middle Way no 1". This direction towards Small Heath. Digbeth is back around the loop to the right of here. Time to head off to the suburbs!

Seen near the Westley Vale Millennium Green in Acocks Green. A look at the Grand Union Canal during May 2015. So lush and green at this time of year! The canal down here was the Warwick & Birmingham Canal before becoming part of the Grand Union Canal. Seen from bridge no 86, dating to the late 18th century. Also known as the Woodcock Lane Bridge. This area is not that far from Acocks Green Station.

Now the canal heads through Solihull. First a look at the canal in Olton, not far from Olton Station. Seen from the Richmond Road Bridge during January 2013. There had been a bit of snow at this point of the year, but mostly melted. The towpaths can get quite muddy in Solihull!

An April 2018 walk from Solihull to Catherine-de-Barnes started at the Damson Parkway Bridge and ended at the Hampton Lane Bridge in Catherine-de-Barnes, a village in Solihull Borough. The towpath was very muddy! Mud on my jeans and shoes! Later took a path back via some fields back to Solihull. A pair of narrowboats seen near the Hampton Lane Bridge, where I got off the muddy towpath to have a look at the village! Yes, it's possible to walk from Solihull Town Centre to Catherine-de-Barnes via the Grand Union Canal!

Down to Warwickshire now, and the Hatton Locks. This was from a visit to Hatton during March 2017, getting the train from Solihull to Hatton. After exploring the area, I made it eventually to Hatton Locks, what a sight to see from the top! This photo was from around lock 42. The locks are known as the "Stairway to Heaven". This was close to the Hatton Wharf.  St Mary's Church in Warwick was visible from this point. I returned to the Hatton Locks two years later during April 2019 (during my Warwick Station to Warwick Parkway Station walk). That ended near the Hatton Bottom Lock. The canal here was still formerly part of the Warwick & Birmingham Canal, only ending at Budbrooke Junction, near the Saltisford Arm.

In Warwick from the Coventry Road Bridge. This view of the Grand Union Canal, Kate Boats in Warwick is on the right. Many narrowboats were moored here. My April 2019 walk along the Grand Union Canal in Warwick started from the Coventry Road Bridge, but first a look at the side that I didn't walk up. Got the train to Warwick Station with the intention of walking towards Warwick Parkway Station. The walk takes you past many bridges. The canal here was formerly the Warwick & Napton Canal. It leads to Budbrooke Junction. I got off the canal at the Birmingham Road Bridge and saw the Saltisford Arm, but had to get back on the other side, towards the Hatton Bottom Lock, before getting off again near Warwick Parkway Station!

The Grand Union Canal was looking lush and green during May 2016 in Leamington Spa. Train down from Solihull to Leamington Spa. I got onto the towpath at Old Warwick Road and got off at Tachbrook Road. I think at the time I was thinking of getting on at the road I got off, but plans never go to plan when you get to a location to take photos! Here a narrowboat was going at a leisurely pace along the canal, while a man was jogging along the towpath. The canal here is not that far from Leamington Spa Station. Both the canal and the Chiltern Mainline run quite close to each other in Warwickshire!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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70 passion points
Photography
17 Apr 2019 - Damien Walmsley
Gallery

Here's '10 of the best' from Damien! - a Birmingham photographer and one of our 'People with Passion'

Here we have selected 10 photos from the great photography taken by the very talented Damien Walmsley, a photographer and one of Birmingham's 'People with Passion' showcased at BirminghamWeAre. 

Open the full post to view Damien's wonderful photography taken in and around Birmingham.

Enjoy!

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Here's '10 of the best' from Damien! - a Birmingham photographer and one of our 'People with Passion'




Here we have selected 10 photos from the great photography taken by the very talented Damien Walmsley, a photographer and one of Birmingham's 'People with Passion' showcased at BirminghamWeAre. 

Open the full post to view Damien's wonderful photography taken in and around Birmingham.

Enjoy!


Mailbox, Birmingham

 A touch of atmosphere, Birmingham 

Pebble Mill, Birmingham 

Selfridges, Birmingham 

Gas Street Canal in Birmingham 

Oozells Square, Brindley Place, Birmingham 

Gas Street Canal, Birmingham

Beautiful Sunset, Birmingham 

St Mary's Church, Moseley, Birmingham 

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46 passion points
Green travel
16 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

New blue cycleway open up the A34 towards Perry Barr

Starting from James Watt Queensway, opposite Aston University, this new blue cycleway has opened during April 2019. Going past Lancaster Circus, it then goes up Lancaster Street, then up New Town Row. Continuing on towards Perry Barr on the Birchfield Road. My most recent photos of the route are only the sections close to the city centre, so James Watt Queensway to New Town Row!

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New blue cycleway open up the A34 towards Perry Barr




Starting from James Watt Queensway, opposite Aston University, this new blue cycleway has opened during April 2019. Going past Lancaster Circus, it then goes up Lancaster Street, then up New Town Row. Continuing on towards Perry Barr on the Birchfield Road. My most recent photos of the route are only the sections close to the city centre, so James Watt Queensway to New Town Row!


Seen during August 2018, on James Watt Queensway, this was my first glimpse of the new blue cycling surface, close to Birmingham Children's Hospital and opposite Aston University. The helipad used by the Midlands Air Ambulance is to the left. Quite close to the Steelhouse Conservation Area (where Dalton Street, Ryder Street and Corporation Street meet at the end of the Methodist Central Hall).The route continues down the ramps to the subways of Lancaster Circus, as a no 51 bus was waiting to turn left. This is one of the buses that you can catch up to Perry Barr or Walsall.

I heard via Twitter from Birmingham Cycle Revolution that the A34 Cycle Route had opened the week starting 9th April 2019. They were posting various photos on their Twitter feed, so I wanted to take some myself. I'm just a walker, not a cyclist, but like to see cycle routes around the city! The last time I walked down to Lancaster Circus, I did notice that the cycle route down to the subways hasn't been painted blue (just the old white lines painted on the pavement).

For a lunchtime walk, I left the Aston University Campus and headed over towards Lancaster Circus, and got onto Lancaster Street to see a section of the newly opened blue cycleway on the A34. This section is opposite the student accommodation blocks of Staniforth House, Bagot Street 1 and Bagot Street 2. The only cyclist I saw was from Uber Eats. I headed up towards the Shazam! billboard where I would get off the road at the Lancaster Street Bridge, so I could get onto the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal (where most cyclists would currently ride their bikes!).

The bus stop is placed on the right and the blue cycleway curves around it. Bagot Street 1 and 2 opposite. You would see many National Express West Midlands Platinum buses along the A34 corridor towards Perry Barr and Walsall.

The blue cycleway continues to curve around up New Town Row towards the Birchfield Road. Just about enough room here for a bus lane! Beyond here, the route would head up the Newtown High Street, then past Six Ways Aston, and up the Birchfield Road.

I have yet to check out the section beyond Newtown Middleway / New John Street since the full route was completed! Reckon that I'll need to catch a bus up to Perry Barr, and get photos out of the window at the front of the top deck (on the left), as long as it doesn't rain, and is dry. Previous attempts from a bus window, weren't too great when the window of the bus was covered in condensation from the rain, so best to go up on a dry, sunny spring day!

Check out this video on Facebook, posted by George Everett! The A34 route to Perry Barr is finally open!. A time lapse of the entire route.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me here or on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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80 passion points
People & community
16 Apr 2019 - FreeTimePays
Inspiration

No limits to 'what you can achieve' at the Benson Community

It all started for Paul, when he and his life-long friend Errol were watching a kick-about in the local park in Winson Green. With a vision that involved 'giving back to society', Paul and his team have gone on to grow a truly inspirational community project, now known as The Benson Community.  

Take a look at what they have achieved.

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No limits to 'what you can achieve' at the Benson Community




It all started for Paul, when he and his life-long friend Errol were watching a kick-about in the local park in Winson Green. With a vision that involved 'giving back to society', Paul and his team have gone on to grow a truly inspirational community project, now known as The Benson Community.  

Take a look at what they have achieved.


When you first meet Paul Landucci and his team at Benson Community, you are immediately struck by three things: 

First of all, the passion they have for what they do; second, the energy and determination they have to succeed; and third the enjoyment and pleasure they and others get from what they do within the Community.

Paul says that for him it's all about 'giving back to society'.

You just have to watch and see his face light up when a young person who has never ridden a bike before, let alone ever owned a bike, manages to master the skill of cycling for the first time.

Just see what it means to Paul to see the reaction of the child. For Paul and the team, their message to all those who take part is that there are 'no limits to what you can achieve'.

The Benson Community should be proud of what they have achieved in such a short period of time.

In addition to cycling classes and tuition, the Benson Community offers football, basketball and other activities within the Community. Hundreds of people, of all ages, have enjoyed taking part and being involved.  

Over the years, Paul and Errol have not only given countless hours of their time for free, they have also dipped into their own pockets to buy equipment. 

Much of what is delivered is provided at the Hadley Stadium in Smethwick.  

In addition, equipment needed for their activities is often transported by van to parks and open spaces so more people can take part and enjoy the value of coming together as one community.   

For Paul and the team, it's all about creating a better society for all as the project has no boundaries.  For more details on the Community, to donate what you can and to support them in what ever way you can, contact Paul Landucci on 07882 079454.

Photography courtesy Benson Community.

For more on The Benson Community, click here

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50 passion points
Architecture
15 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A Tale of Two Hampton Courts (don't confuse them!)

You've all heard of the world famous Hampton Court Palace in London, but have you heard of the other Hampton Court in Herefordshire! Hampton Court Castle is in the West Midlands Region, and is closer to Birmingham, than the former home of Henry VIII in the capital! Some people may even get sent to the wrong one on their SatNav! Both are well worth a visit. I visited both in 2016.

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A Tale of Two Hampton Courts (don't confuse them!)




You've all heard of the world famous Hampton Court Palace in London, but have you heard of the other Hampton Court in Herefordshire! Hampton Court Castle is in the West Midlands Region, and is closer to Birmingham, than the former home of Henry VIII in the capital! Some people may even get sent to the wrong one on their SatNav! Both are well worth a visit. I visited both in 2016.


Hampton Court Castle

A visit on the August Bank Holiday Weekend of 2016 to Hampton Court Castle in Herefordshire. This was only a month or so after my visit to the other more famous Hampton Court down in London! It is located in Hope under Dinmore, south of Leominster and is a Grade I listed building. It dates to 1427 and was built by Sir Rowland Lenthall, on land that was a gift of King Henry IV. It's been beside the River Lugg for 600 years. The Lenthall's stayed here for 300 years. In the 19th century it was bought by Richard Arkwright. His descendants lived here until 1912. In the 20th century it went through various owners until the American millionaire Robert Van Kampen bought it in the 1990s. It was sold again after his death. The postcode for your SatNav is . Distance from Birmingham around 58 to 61 miles, via the M5.

 

First up a look at the Gatehouse, this would be the first and last thing you would see if arriving by car (or coach if one would be able to fit through the archway). The gatehouse is a Grade I listed building, and it listed with the main castle building. Hampton Court, Hope under Dinmore. It dates to the 15th century, with 19th century remodelling. There is two small towers either side of the entranceway.

First view of the castle itself at the end of the drive. This Hampton Court is a castellated country house built between 1427 and 1436. It was altered in the early 18th century by Colen Campbell for Lord Coningsby and remodelled and restored in the early 19th century by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville for Richard Arkwright.

On this side was the Orangery Tearoom, where we had some lunch. Some picnic tables outside.

The view of the castle from the lawn. It was from near here that you could watch the falconry display on the Bank Holiday Weekend in late August 2016. The grounds are also used for various other special events, such as outdoor theatre productions, small concerts and family days out.

A look at the castle round to the right side from the lawn. The Orangery Tearoom was to the far left. The building itself is much smaller than the other Hampton Court. There has been many owners of the building over the centuries. It was owned by the noble Coningsby family from 1510 until 1781. John Arkwright grandson of Richard Arkwright purchased it in 1810. John Stanhope Arkwright sold it in 1910. It was the seat of the Viscount Hereford from 1924 and 1972. American businessman Robert Van Kampen bought it in 1994, but he died in 1999. The Van Kampen family sold the castle and grounds in 2008. The house was last for sale in January 2016.

Now a look inside. There was not a problem with taking photos inside of the castle (as long as you don't use flash).

In this corridor was suits of armour and deer heads. Saw lots of suits of armour on the ground floor over various corridors / rooms.

Suits of armour and a chandelier in this room. Also on the wall was an armoured horse with a suit of armour (on the left). And half a deer on the right side!

Another corridor with more suits of armour (on the left) and deer heads (on the right). A tapestry at the far end.

Shields and more suits of armour around this staircase. Also heraldic flags. A chandelier hanging on the ceiling.

This dining room with a long dining table and chairs, looks like to be from the 19th century. Was a dress on a dummy to the far left. Paintings of flowers on the wall either side of the mirror.

For more photos, please check out my album on Flickr: Hampton Court Castle - the castle.

Hampton Court Palace

This was a group visit during July 2016 (went on a mini coach). A nice day out, where you could see the Tudor palace of King Henry VIII and the late 17th century palace of King William III & Mary II. As well as watch jousting displays and explore the vast gardens. It's next to the River Thames, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Postcode for your SatNav is . Distance from Birmingham approximately 130 miles, if you go via the M40 and M25.

The palace is a Grade I listed building Hampton Court Palace. This view from the main entrance looking up to the Tudor Palace. Built from 1514 onwards, originally by Cardinal Wolsey. King Henry VIII  took it over from the Cardinal, and became one of his main palaces. He made alterations from 1529 to 1540 including the building of the Great Hall. Lots of tourists about in a busy hot summer!

Entering into the next courtyard. This is The Base Court. It's the entrance to Henry VIII's Apartments. The palace is now managed by Historic Royal Palaces. No Monarch has lived here since George II. From here you can visit Henry VIII's Kitchens. There was busts of Roman Emperor's around this court.

The Baroque palace was built from 1689 until about 1694 for King William III by the architect Sir Christopher Wren. This are is the Fountain Court. From here you can access The Georgian Story and William III's Apartments. But I think that you couldn't take photos inside of those galleries unfortunately. I think there was a tea room around here somewhere!

Heading out to the palace's gardens. This view was taken from The Wilderness (near the Rose Garden) and is a view of the Great Hall. That was rebuilt from 1532 and the Chapel was remodelled in 1536, including the building of the Chapel Court. We were heading to the River Thames.

View of the palace from the River Thames. There is a park on the other side of the Thames called Cigarette Island Park, and it has nice views of the palace, the further you go down the path! The boat was called Connaught and was at Hampton Court Landing Stage, Pier No 3. Tudor Palace seen on the left. Baroque Palace to the right!

Kitchen's - seving place. There wasn't many interiors where you could take photos, but it was ok in the Henry VIII's Kitchens

The Queen's Staircase.  Decorated in 1734 for Queen Caroline by the architect and designer William Kent. Nice looking Royal ceiling! Taking photos in the King William III apartments was not allowed, so I had to respect that, so was not much that I could take up here! That led to the The Georgian Story, but wasn't much to take photo wise when I got there (at the time).

The Great Hall - stained glass window - Henry VIII. Not as much restrictions in King Henry VIII's Apartments though (for taking photos). This stained glass window has the Royal Tudor Coat of Arms, with an image of King Henry VIII in the middle of it.

Henry VIII and Katherine Parr married in her Privy Closet at Hampton Court on the morning of 12th July 1543. This was seen in a room off a corridor. Nearby was a portrait of Henry VIII on the wall.

The Clock Court. Part of the Tudor Palace. Some benches here for people to sit down. At this point we were on our way to have a quick look at the Young Henry VIII's Story exhibition. The entrance to the Henry VIII Apartments was further to the left. This was just after exiting those apartments (probably from the door behind me).

For more photos, please check out my album on Flickr: Hampton Court Palace.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
14 Apr 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of 2one2 Broad Street - April 2019

Construction has commenced at MODA Living's 2one2 Broad Street with the piling drills starting preparations for the foundations.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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The Construction of 2one2 Broad Street - April 2019




Construction has commenced at MODA Living's 2one2 Broad Street with the piling drills starting preparations for the foundations.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Apr 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - April 2019

Lots of exterior progress at Two Chamberlain Square with all the first tier columns installed around the building and lots more of the windows.

Photo by Reiss Gordon Henry

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

Related

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - April 2019




Lots of exterior progress at Two Chamberlain Square with all the first tier columns installed around the building and lots more of the windows.

Photo by Reiss Gordon Henry

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

 

Photo by Stephen Giles

 

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Environment & green action
12 Apr 2019 - FreeTimePays
News & Updates

Robert the Cat "gets the cream" at Walsall Road Allotments, Birmingham

New images have been released of how Perry Park and areas around the Alexander Stadium including Walsall Road Allotments will look both during and after the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Take the full post to read this great example of how Community can connect and can influence decision making. Great to see the Council listening to Community.

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Robert the Cat "gets the cream" at Walsall Road Allotments, Birmingham




New images have been released of how Perry Park and areas around the Alexander Stadium including Walsall Road Allotments will look both during and after the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Take the full post to read this great example of how Community can connect and can influence decision making. Great to see the Council listening to Community.


Following a well-run campaign led by Betty Farruggia, site manager at the Walsall Road Allotments, Birmingham City Council has announced that the allotments will play a key part in the legacy of Perry Park as a result of holding the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The decision has been taken that relocation of the Allotments will not be necessary, much to the delight of one of the Allotments residents, Robert the cat.

In fact, the focus is on protecting the heritage of the allotments and it will form part of a public space that promotes and supports wellbeing and leisure in and across Birmingham.  

Birmingham City Council Leader, Cllr Ian Ward, said:

 "I'm delighted to reassure Robert the cat and his friends that the Walsall Road Allotments will be protected.

"The residents, businesses and community groups of Perry Barr should be at the very heart of Birmingham 2022 and we want to ensure that they feel the benefits of the Commonwealth Games.

“So, before making any final decisions about the wider Alexander Stadium site, we’ve spent a number of weeks listening to the plotholders and other interested parties about the current and future use of the allotments and the surrounding area.

"They are clearly passionately committed to Walsall Road allotments and that's the type of community spirit that we'd like to see replicated right across the city in 2022 and beyond."

Betty Farruggia, Site Manager of the Walsall Road Allotments said:

“I am elated to hear that the allotment site will be retained.

“We will work closely with the council in the months and years ahead to facilitate the smooth running of the Games and further develop the strong feeling of community that we have here and in the wider area.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support and the council who have listened to our comments and concerns.”

The Masterplan for the Games and for how Alexander Stadium fits into the plan for redefining green space in Perry Barr will be put to the City Council’s Cabinet later in the year. Early ideas and thoughts, however, including a naturescape, promenade and running trails.

Council Leader, Cllr Ian Ward, has added:

“Engaging local communities and improving the health and wellbeing of our citizens, as well as attracting multi-million-pound investment and improvements in housing, transport infrastructure, and community facilities, are key drivers to us hosting the Commonwealth Games and shaping the legacy beyond.

“We are very excited by these early plans and drawings showing us what could be possible to make this area one that is focused on not just a sport but also wellbeing and health living. It truly will be a destination venue that I hope the citizens of Perry Barr will be benefit from and be proud of for many years to come.”

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70 passion points
Photography
11 Apr 2019 - Kevin Maslin
Gallery

Here's '10 of the best' from Kevin! - a Birmingham photographer and one of our 'People with Passion'

Here we have selected 10 photos from the great photography taken by the very talented Kevin Maslin, a photographer and one of Birmingham's 'People with Passion' showcased at BirminghamWeAre. 

Open the full post to view Kevin's wonderful photography taken in and around Birmingham.

Enjoy!

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Here's '10 of the best' from Kevin! - a Birmingham photographer and one of our 'People with Passion'




Here we have selected 10 photos from the great photography taken by the very talented Kevin Maslin, a photographer and one of Birmingham's 'People with Passion' showcased at BirminghamWeAre. 

Open the full post to view Kevin's wonderful photography taken in and around Birmingham.

Enjoy!


Pink blossom, Oozells Sq, Birmingham

 

John Bright Street, Birmingham

 

Picadilly Arcade, Birmingham

 

Selfridges Walkway, Birmngham

 

Blue skies, Birmingham

 

St Paul's Church, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham 

 

The Canal House, Birmingham

 

St Martins, Birmingham

 

Bullring, Birmingham

Photography taken by Kevin Maslin

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47 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Update on Lancaster Street, Birmingham, UK

The buzz around the city shows no sign of ending if this ‘Gun Quarter’ student development is anything to go by.

Stephen Giles, one of Birmingham's 'people with passion' and follower of all things construction brings you another construction update.

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Update on Lancaster Street, Birmingham, UK




The buzz around the city shows no sign of ending if this ‘Gun Quarter’ student development is anything to go by.

Stephen Giles, one of Birmingham's 'people with passion' and follower of all things construction brings you another construction update.


Birmingham is set to get another tall building.

Developer Reuben & Morgan has teamed up with Mayfair Land and Estates to bring this exciting student development to an area actively undergoing major regeneration.

Artist Impression by DCSK Architects

Standing at 24 storeys, on the corner of Lancaster Street and Lawson Street, near the ‘Learning Quarter’ of Eastside, this development will provide a total of 556 student bedrooms, comprising a total of 115 studios and 441 multi-bed apartments.

Artist Impression by DCSK Architects

With an eight-storey shoulder, the building will naturally integrate with the surrounding areas and provide active ground floor frontages where facilities will include a ground floor café, fitness studio, student hub areas, study spaces, outside terrace space, plus cycle storage for 82 cycles.

Future Generaton will be the student housing occupier, whilst DCSK are the architects behind the scheme.

They have designed a structural skin so that we will see an alternating pattern of solid pre-cast concrete panels and glazed openings wrap entirely around the building. These panels will incorporate a light warm hue to contrast to the darkness of nearby developments.

Artist Impression by DCSK Architects

Sitting on the corner plot, the building will go a very long way to defining the area with this gateway entrance, and in the process, create a nice rhythm of mid-size buildings as you enter the city centre.

WHAT NEXT?

Plans were approved in the first week of January 2019 by the Planning Committee at Birmingham City Council.

The next phase of works will see the eventual demolition of buildings on site, before construction can commence.

Watch this space!

For posts, a gallery and links on this build, connect here.  

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50 passion points
Transport
10 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A selection of vintage buses at the Acocks Green Bus Garage Open Day, October 2013

I missed the last open day at Acocks Green Bus Garage for their 80th birthday in June 2018, but I did go to the previous open day, 5 years earlier in October 2013. A selection of some of the historic buses on show at the time. Was the 75th anniversary of the bus garage. They also had vintage bus rides to Yardley Wood bus garage (but will leave that to another post!)

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A selection of vintage buses at the Acocks Green Bus Garage Open Day, October 2013




I missed the last open day at Acocks Green Bus Garage for their 80th birthday in June 2018, but I did go to the previous open day, 5 years earlier in October 2013. A selection of some of the historic buses on show at the time. Was the 75th anniversary of the bus garage. They also had vintage bus rides to Yardley Wood bus garage (but will leave that to another post!)


Acocks Green Bus Garage - Open Day - Saturday 5th October 2013

The bus garage is home of the World Famous Outer Circle (the 11A and 11C bus routes). Also known now as National Express West Midlands Acocks Green. This open day was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of this bus garage on the Fox Hollies Road in Acocks Green. That day there was also an open day over at Yardley Wood Bus Garage, and you could catch a free ride on a selection of vintage buses between both bus garages.

This post will just look at some of the vintage buses that were inside of the bus garage that day!

_______________________________________________________________________

Towing - Sandy Lane Garage
105
722 DU
XVC 290

Coventry Corporation Transport

Dated to 1959.

Corley - City Pool Meadow
334
334 CRW

Coventry Corporation Transport

Dated to 1963.

Circular 28
FEA 156
156

West Bromwich Corporation

Dated to 1952.
Daimler CVG5
Metro-Cammell B38R

32 - Gospel Lane Loop via Lakey Lane
LOG 302
3002

Birmingham City Transport

Dated to 1954.

Daimler CLG5LW

MCCW H30/25R

79 - West Bromwich via Bilston
XON 41J
4041

WM Travel

Dated to 1971.
Daimler Fleetline

159 - Coventry via Airport N.E.C. and Meriden
NOA 462X
2462
WM Travel
MCW (Metrobus)

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
09 Apr 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - April 2019

The building is finished externally and can now be seen in better context from various viewpoints.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - April 2019




The building is finished externally and can now be seen in better context from various viewpoints.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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