History & heritage
Displaying until 26 Aug 2019 - FreeTimePays
Featuring

HistoryAndUs - a FreeTimePays Community of Passion and digital portal for people who want to make a difference!

With a combined reach of 100,000, FreeTimePays launches a unique digital space and portal for people to promote and share their passion for history and heritage.

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and help promote the passion that is history and heritage!

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HistoryAndUs - a FreeTimePays Community of Passion and digital portal for people who want to make a difference!




With a combined reach of 100,000, FreeTimePays launches a unique digital space and portal for people to promote and share their passion for history and heritage.

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and help promote the passion that is history and heritage!


HistoryAndUs is a Community of Passion that utilises FreeTimePays digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

HistoryAndUs is a digital space for people who are passionate about history and want to do whatever they can to help promote their great heritage. 

At HistoryAndUs, we help connect people where passions are shared; we give people FREE access to their very own digital space where they can promote their passion; and we recognise people for the contributions they make through the allocation of Passion Points. Interested? Connect with us HERE.

The reach of FreeTimePays is huge and is growing with Communities of Passion being rolled out across the UK. 

Companies and organisations keen to support People with Passion play an essential role and we have a range of partnership, sponsorship and advertising packages available.

We can even go as far as to set groups and networks up with their own portal so they can grow their own branded Community of Passion linked to their own website or social media account.

View our Partnership arrangements or connect with us HERE.

Now let's show you what you get with FreeTimePays. 

FreeTimePays

FreeTimePays is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

FreeTimePays is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With FreeTimePays, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

There are three components to FreeTimePays.

There’s Community Passport, Community Workspace and Community Matchmaker. Operating right across the platform in recognition of the valuable contribution being made by users is FreeTimePays gamification. This takes the form of points and rewards for passions shared.

FreeTimePays is here for people who really want to become involved in their community or with their particular passion and for those people who are really serious about making a difference. It’s our job at FreeTimePays to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the great ideas with those who have the potential to turn an idea into something that really does make a difference.

Community Passport

Passport is a personal space which registered members can make their own. With a passport, members can choose to get involved with their passion and participate in many different ways.

They can view regular content and posts; sort and save this content by type or by passion; they can collect points for giving their views through polls and surveys, attend events or even join a discussion.

With a FreeTimePays Community Passport, members can follow inspiring people and they can learn more about their community and their passion by following regular ‘Did you Know’ features. And the more they decide to do and the more they get involved, the more points they collect and the greater the opportunity to take up offers and win prizes.

Community Workspace

With their unique Community Workspace, FreeTimePays is able to help those who are inspired and serious about taking things to the next level. FreeTimePays will give these people their own access rights environment where they can work on their idea or project.

In this digital space they can work alone, or bring in others to share in building evidence, acquiring knowledge and developing plans. This is the ideal space for working on the business; working on the idea; working on the initiative.

A range of facilities and tools can be found in workspace and users can effectively utilise this space for collating documents, photos, videos and web links, for opening up discussion and chat with others, or for running surveys and analysing results.

Community Matchmaker

The whole focus and rationale for FreeTimePays is MAKING A DIFFERENCE. It’s our job at FreeTimePays to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the GREAT IDEAS with those who have the potential to turn an IDEA into something that really does MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Matchmaker is where the dreamers can join with the dream makers – with those who are more than happy to put their support, their resources, their connections, and their wealth of experience behind the idea and behind the passionate people responsible for coming up with the idea.

These are the community drivers, the investors, the philanthropists, the funders of great initiatives, the Lottery, and those from local government and the public sector who are responsible for the provision of public services.

These are the people and the organisations who are in positions of making things happen for those who are passionate and inspired to want to make a difference.

For more detail on what is provided by FreeTimePays connect HERE.

HistoryAndUs

HistoryAndUs will grow as a shared space for the many individuals, communities and businesses that will want to connect and share in their passion for history and heritage.

Their work, their ideas and their proposals can be pulled together in the one collaborative space giving them access to a huge resource bank for sharing images, documents and web links. 

In this space people can chat in a secure environment if they wish; they can set up and promote events; or they can communicate with any of the FreeTimePays Communities through creating and submitting posts. 

We would be delighted to tell you more.

Contact Jonathan Bostock at jonathan.bostock@freetimepays.com or connect HERE with FreeTimePays for more information on sharing your passion for history.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
Displaying until 25 Aug 2019 - FreeTimePays
Featuring

Are you passionate about History & Heritage? Join Us!

HistoryAndUs is a FreeTimePays Community of Passion that utilises digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

‘People with Passion’ are given the digital space and the digital tools so they can promote their passion for history & heritage and connect with people who share their passion.

Related

Are you passionate about History & Heritage? Join Us!




HistoryAndUs is a FreeTimePays Community of Passion that utilises digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

‘People with Passion’ are given the digital space and the digital tools so they can promote their passion for history & heritage and connect with people who share their passion.


HistoryAndUs is all about engaging people in the promotion of history and the recognition that our historical gems are there for us all to enjoy and protect.

HistoryAndUs is a Community of Passion that utilises FreeTimePays digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

FreeTimePays is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

FreeTimePays is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With FreeTimePays, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

With Passion Points and with the support of our FreeTimePays partners, we recognise people for the difference and contribution they make and the positive impact they collectively deliver. 

Connect with us HERE and take your passion to the next level.

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60 passion points
Transport
16 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Class 153 single carriage Sprinters

You might sometimes see the Class 153 single carriage Sprinter's around the West Midlands railway network attached to the back of the Class 170 Turbostar trains. Sometimes on the Birmingham to Hereford line or the Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley line. On there own they were also on the branch lines out of Coventry (to Nuneaton or Leamington Spa). Also been on the Snow Hill lines.

Related

The Class 153 single carriage Sprinters




You might sometimes see the Class 153 single carriage Sprinter's around the West Midlands railway network attached to the back of the Class 170 Turbostar trains. Sometimes on the Birmingham to Hereford line or the Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley line. On there own they were also on the branch lines out of Coventry (to Nuneaton or Leamington Spa). Also been on the Snow Hill lines.


Class 153

The Class 153 also known as the Super Sprinter are a single carriage diesel multiple unit train. They were built to be used on branch lines or rural lines were the number of passengers was not expected to be very high. They were built in 1987-88 and were converted in 1991-92. They have been used on many branch lines across the Midlands. These units could be attached to other DMU's such as the Class 150, and later with the Class 170. There is currently 10 Class 153's with West Midlands Railway (previously with London Midland and before that Central Trains).

 

Starting off with the Class 153's I saw attached to Class 170's. Some I even travelled on (although I may have got on board the Class 170 instead!).

 

I was at Shirley Station in April 2017 to check out the newly completed road bridge on Haslucks Green Road. When London Midland 153371 and 170633 arrived (was expecting the usual Class 172). There was about another 8 months before the old London Midland franchise would end and West Midlands Railway would start (around December 2017). This train was heading towards Worcester Foregate Street. I got on board the back carriage of 170633 and rode the train to Birmingham Moor Street.

I saw Arriva Trains Wales 153323 at Wolverhampton Station during October 2013 (I was on a train from Birmingham New Street to Liverpool Lime Street for a weekend). Arriva had the Wales franchise from 2003 to 2018. They used to run trains between Birmingham International and Holyhead in Wales via Wrexham Central. Transport for Wales took over the Wales franchise from October 2018.

At Aston Station I expected to see / catch the usual Class 323 trains from this station. Heading to Perry Barr in August 2012, I got off my Cross City line train here, and waited for a train on the Chase Line. 153366 arrived with a Class 170 at the back. London Midland (and now West Midlands Railway) regularly have combinations of Class 153's with Class 170's. In the north of Birmingham, usually on the Chase Line to Walsall and beyond to Rugeley Trent Valley. The line was only electrified as far as Walsall. But for many years Network Rail has been electrifying the line towards Rugeley. So it meant that only diesel trains could go beyond Walsall. It's possible that electric trains could run on the line to Rugeley from about May 2019.

In April 2018 I headed up on the train to Staffordshire, and got off at Hednesford. I walked down to Cannock. Later when I went back to Cannock Station I got this train back to Birmingham New Street. West Midlands Railway 153364 and 170513 arrived from Rugeley Trent Valley. It took the normal route via Perry Barr and Aston. My earlier train that day went the alternate route on the line that goes from Winson Green via Handsworth to rejoin the line at Perry Barr. Electrification of the Chase line was well under way at the time.

The 11th December 2017 was the launch day of the new West Midlands Railway, and the city was full of snow! After a walk up to the Jewellery Quarter through the white stuff, I went to Jewellery Quarter Station to catch a train home. But West Midlands Railway 170634 and 153334 was only going as far as Birmingham Snow Hill Station due to various delays due to the weather! I had only seen 153334 a few days early at Bedworth Station (which was my last journey under London Midland). That day was dry, but it had snowed on the 10th December 2017! Chiltern Railways 168106 was seen at platform 2.

 

Now to the branch lines. Starting with the Nuneaton to Coventry Branch line that goes via Bedworth. And second the branch line from Coventry to Leamington Spa via Kenilworth (that opened in 2018 after a few delays).

I visited Nuneaton during May 2015, having arrived there on the Cross Country line that goes through the town from Birmingham New Street and onto the likes of Leicester etc. Coming back to Birmingham, I thought I'd try a ride on the Nuneaton to Coventry branch line. At Nuneaton Station was London Midland 153354. The train would pass the new stations under construction (at the time) as well as Bedworth (I would go there in late 2017 when the London Midland franchise ended).

On the last ever day that London Midland operated their franchise in the West Midlands, on the 9th December 2017, I headed to Bedworth. I got London Midland 153334 and 153354 from Coventry to Bedworth Station. Later after I explored the town centre, I got the same train back on the opposite platform. Here (in the below photo), I had just got off the train from Coventry, and it was heading onto Nuneaton. By then all the new stations on the line including Coventry Arena were open. I was thinking ahead to the opening of Kenilworth Station, which should have opened the next day, but was delayed until May 2018!

I had previously got a Class 153 from Nuneaton to Coventry Station back in May 2015. I saw another Class 153 at Coventry during October 2017, when I headed to the city to walk to the Coventry Canal Basin. London Midland 153375 was waiting at one of the platforms waiting to return to Nuneaton. That day I did observe Cross Country Voyager's heading on the branch line to Leamington Spa. In fact I tried the branch line early in March 2018, to see a glimpse of the new Kenilworth Station. The Cross Country Super Voyager I travelled on was packed, but I got a window seat, and I caught glimpses of the new Kenilworth Station. I would have to wait until May 2018 before travelling to Kenilworth by train!

The new Kenilworth Station opened at the end of April 2018. I visited the station and the town on the 3rd May 2018. I caught West Midlands Railway 153364 from Leamington Spa (having earlier got a train from Solihull to Leamington Spa with Chiltern Railways). The station should have opened on the 10th December 2017 (the first day of operation for West Midlands Railway), but a series of delays meant it didn't open until the spring. There is only one platform at the new station. I later got the same train back towards Leamington Spa from the same platform. You can use this station if you want to visit Kenilworth Castle.

Having got off my Chiltern Railways train from Solihull at Leamington Spa Station platform 3, I only had to walk a short distance to platform 4, to await a train on the Leamington Spa to Coventry branch line that had opened to the public for service days earlier. My visit was on the 3rd May 2018. West Midlands Railway 153364 would take me to Kenilworth. And I would later get it back to Leamington Spa on the way back to the West Midlands. The only difference between getting a train from Coventry to Leamington Spa with Cross Country, and West Midlands Railway, is that Cross Country would stop at platform 3 (and continue on south), while West Midlands Railway would terminate at platform 4. On both occasions, I had to walk down the steps to the subway, and head to the platform to get my Chiltern Railways train back to Solihull.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
History & heritage
15 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Steelhouse Conservation Area: From Corporation Street to Steelhouse Lane

The Steelhouse Conservation Area is between Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane. Starting approximately from Old Square towards James Watt Queensway. Buildings include the Victoria Law Courts, Methodist Central Hall, the former Steelhouse Lane Police Station and Birmingham Children's Hospital. The Old Fire Station near Aston University is part of the area too!

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Steelhouse Conservation Area: From Corporation Street to Steelhouse Lane




The Steelhouse Conservation Area is between Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane. Starting approximately from Old Square towards James Watt Queensway. Buildings include the Victoria Law Courts, Methodist Central Hall, the former Steelhouse Lane Police Station and Birmingham Children's Hospital. The Old Fire Station near Aston University is part of the area too!


Corporation Street

The Victoria Law Courts on Corporation Street. Designed by Aston Webb & Ingress Bell who won a competition in 1886. It was built from 1887 to 1891. It is now the Birmingham Magistrates' Court. A Grade I listed building made of Red brick and terracotta. There is a statue of Queen Victoria by Harry Bates above the main entrance of the building. This view below seen in May 2009. You would see it if you walk between Aston University and the city centre shops. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone during her Golden Jubilee year of 1887 and it was opened in 1891 by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The County Court on Corporation Street seen with a brilliant blue sky in May 2009. On the corner of Newton Street (which leads to Steelhouse Lane). A Grade II listed building built in 1882, by James Williamson Stone. It is in Italiante palazzo style  It has a Roman Doric porch on the left.

One of Birmingham's derelict terracotta buildings is near the bottom of Corporation Street. The Methodist Central Hall runs down to Ryder Street (a pedestrianised cul-de-sac to James Watt Queensway). And the back is on Dalton Street. It is a Grade II* listed building. From 196 to 224 Corporation Street including 1, 3 and 5 Ryder Street. Built from 1903 to 1904 by E and J A Harper (Ewan Harper & James A. Harper) of Red brick and terracotta. There is many empty shop units down here, some have been let, and some of the units have been closed down by the landlord. The buildings future may include getting converted into a hotel. See this 2017 article on he Methodist Central Hall in the Birmingham Mail. This view from May 2009.

The Pitman Building also known as the Murdoch Chambers and Pitman Chambers. Was originally a Vegetarian Restaurant. There is a plaque here for James Henry Cook who opened the very first Health Food Store in the UK on this site in 1898! A Grade II* Listed Building built from 1896 to 1897 by J Crouch and E Butler, partly for A.R Dean. Purple bricks and buff terracotta; tile roof. In an Arts and Crafts style.  Today there is lawyer or solicitor offices on the upper floors and fast food take away places on the ground floor including Dixy Chicken and Pepe's Piri Piri. Previous places here include Min Zu until 2008 / 2009. Angel's Cafe from 2011, and Zaytuna'z Diner from a period from 2015 to 2016. This view from August 2017.

Today Boston Tea Party is in the Court Restaurant building at 184 Corporation Street (from at least 2014 onwards). On the corner with James Watt Street. The architect was G. H. Rayner and was built after 1882. For many years it was vacant. Was previously Yate's Wine Lodge. Made of brick and stone. Boston Tea Party are also in part of The Citadel building to the left at 190 Corporation Street. That was by W. H. Ward and built in 1891. A short lived period as a Vietnamese Restaurant called Viet An Restaurant from 2010 to 2011. This view from June 2016. Pizza Express is to the left at 4 The Citadel (not in this photo).

Steelhouse Lane

Steelhouse Lane Police Station was to the far left of the rear side of the Victoria Law Courts. This building opened in 1933 as the Central Police Station, replacing a Victorian police station that was on the same site. West Midlands Police used it until it closed down for good in 2017. This view was from November 2009 when the police station was still in use. It was built in the neo-Georgian style but is not a listed building. The only part that is Grade II listed is the corner building on Coleridge Passage which dates to the late 19th century. That was the Cell Block built of Brick and terracotta.

The Birmingham Children's Hospital opened here in 1998 in the building that was formerly the Birmingham General Hospital which had closed down in 1995. It was opened as the Diana, Princess of Wales Children's Hospital after the late Princess Diana who had died the year before in 1997. The General Hospital was built from 1894 to 1897 by William Henman. Was built in the Romanesque style of th Natural History Museum in London.  The rebuilt central entrance porch was built from 1995 to 1998. Various modern extensions have been built in the year since it became the Children's Hospitall. The building has never been listed. This view also from November 2009.

This building also seen in November 2009 is a bit more recent than the others in this post as it dates to the 1960s. Fountain Court on Steelhouse Lane, has the four badges of the Inns of Court on the front above the entrance. They represent: Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray's Inn. The Fountain Court barristers' chambers was built between 1963 and 1964 by Holland W Hobbiss & Partners. A conservative brick classical block, with a majestic Bath stone cornice. It's between Printing House Street and Whittall Street on Steelhouse Lane.

Seen on the corner of Newton Street and Steelhouse Lane is the Juvenile Court. As with photos above this view taken in November 2009. Following the Children's Court Act of 1908, it led to children's courts being established across the country. Dame Geraline Cadbury campaigned for such a court to be built in Birmingham, which her family donated to the city. This court was established by 1928 and opened in 1930. It was by Peacock & Bewlay, built of brick with stone dressings.

Next door to the Juvenile Court is The Jekyll & Hyde pub at 28 Steelhouse Lane. The building was built in the 1960s. Was the site of The Queen's Head pub, which used to be ran by Mitchells & Butlers. A plain, tall four storey building. The pub was renamed from The Queen's Head to The Jekyll & Hyde in 2009, and it remains with that name today.  Island Bar group who owns the pub also owns The Victoria on Station Street near the Alexandra Theatre. This view was from February 2010.

Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane leads to the helipad built for the Birmingham Children's Hospital. On the other side of James Watt Queensway, running between Lancaster Circus and Aston Street is The Old Fire Station. Corporation Street continues beyond Lancaster Circus and the Lancaster Flyover, but that is now considered part of the Aston Expressway. The Old Fire Station is a Grade II listed building. Originally built in 1935 by Herbert Humphries and Herbert J. Manzoni. Red Flemish bond with Portland stone and concrete dressings with a pantile roof. After the Fire Station HQ closed in the 2000s, in lay empty for a few years before being converted into student accommodation. It opened in 2015. This view from April 2014 when the crane went up.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

 

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60 passion points
Civic pride
13 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Tangye Brothers: Manufacturers and benefactors of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery / Birmingham School of Art

George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye donated funds for the construction of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as well as the Birmingham School of Art. Head up the stairs from the Chamberlain Square entrance of BM & AG to see the bronze sculpture in their honour. The Tangye's were also manufacturers making engines and various machines from the mid to late 19th century.

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The Tangye Brothers: Manufacturers and benefactors of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery / Birmingham School of Art




George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye donated funds for the construction of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as well as the Birmingham School of Art. Head up the stairs from the Chamberlain Square entrance of BM & AG to see the bronze sculpture in their honour. The Tangye's were also manufacturers making engines and various machines from the mid to late 19th century.


George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye

If you are heading up the main staircase from the Chamberlain Square entrance of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, stop when you get to this bronze sculpture. It is made of bronze and marble and was unveiled in 1908. It was by William Robert Colton (1867-1921). They were engineering manufacturers and were generous patrons of the arts. They gave large sums towards the building of both the Museum & Art Gallery as well as the Birmingham School of Art. They presented their collection of fine Wedgwood ceramics to the Gallery as it's foundation.

Sir Richard Tangye was born in 1833 and died in 1906. His brother George died in 1920. Their company Tangye Ltd was founded in 1856. Where they manufactured engines and machines. Their Cornwall Works was in the Soho area of the West Midlands.

Memorial stone unveiled in 1884 by Richard Tangye at the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street. Architects William Martin and John Henry Chamberlain. The building opened in 1885. See my recent post on Edward Richard Taylor who was headmaster at the School of Art when the building opened on Margaret Street. Edward Richard Taylor and William Howson Taylor: Birmingham School of Art and Ruskin Pottery.

This Tangye vertical engine was seen at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. Seen near a wall with a Walsall exhibit. Seen on a visit to the museum in August 2011. Seen in the Exhibition Hall in the Rolfe Street Baths building.

Tangye Manual Fire Pump seen at the Birmingham History Galleries at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I first visited this (then) new gallery in November 2012. In the section called Forward for the years 1830 to 1909. Above the Tangye sign was Webster & Horsfall's. To the right was Avery.

It was previously seen at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre in the garage area. Labelled as a Fire Engine. Made by Tangye Brothers in 1880. This visit was from May 2012, so was before the Birmingham History Galleries had opened over at BM & AG.

The Titford Pumphouse seen on the Titford Canal. It is close to Langley Green Station and also near Oldbury in Sandwell, West Midlands. The Pumphouse is a Grade II listed building. It was built shortly after the Oldbury Locks opened in 1837. Blue brick with a slate roof. The beam engines was replaced in about 1930 with a Tangye gas engine. That has since been superseded by electric pumps which are used occasionally. I got the train to Langley Green in March 2017.

Going back to my August 2011 visit to the Black Country Living Museum. Sidebotham's Trap Works seen a short walk away from the Dudley Canal. It was originally in Wednesfield near Wolverhampton and was built in 1913. It has a single cylinder gas engine of 1906, built by Tangye's of Smethwick. It is also known as The Trap Shop. Not far from here you can go on boat trips with the Dudley Canal Trust.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Civic pride
12 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Edward Richard Taylor and William Howson Taylor: Birmingham School of Art and Ruskin Pottery

A pair of artists that lived on Highfield Road in Edgbaston, also had their hand in Ruskin Pottery in Smethwick. Edward Richard Taylor also helped to found the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street and was it's first headmaster. A collection of Ruskin Pottery is in the Industrial Galery at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I also recently found a portrait of E. R. Taylor.

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Edward Richard Taylor and William Howson Taylor: Birmingham School of Art and Ruskin Pottery




A pair of artists that lived on Highfield Road in Edgbaston, also had their hand in Ruskin Pottery in Smethwick. Edward Richard Taylor also helped to found the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street and was it's first headmaster. A collection of Ruskin Pottery is in the Industrial Galery at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I also recently found a portrait of E. R. Taylor.


Edward Richard Taylor was a potter and a painter. He was born in 1838 and died in 1912. He was the first headmaster of the Birmingham Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, from 1877 until about 1903. He also oversaw the opening of the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street in 1885. I saw this portrait of him in the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The painting is dated 1905, but the artist is unknown. Although their is a possibility that the artist was Taylor himself!

If you head up the stairs in the Industrial Gallery at BM & AG, be sure to make a look out for this Ruskin Pottery sign. These Ceramic letters were made at the Ruskin Pottery factory in about 1905. The factory was at 173 and 174 Oldbury Road in West Smethwick (at the time in Staffordshire, now in Sandwell, West Midlands). It was founded in 1898 by Edward Richard Taylor and his younger son William Howson Taylor. The company was named after the artist John Ruskin. The business was set up as the Birmingham Tile and Pottery Works before being renamed after Ruskin. Production ceased near the end of 1933, but firing and glazing of existing stock continued until 1935 (the year that Howson Taylor died).

The Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street. It is between Cornwall Street and Edmund Street in what is now the Colmore Business District. See my post on the Red brick Victorian buildings at the Colmore Estate. Edward Richard Taylor who from 1877 was the first headmaster of the Birmingham Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, oversaw the construction of the new School of Art which opened in 1885. The architects was William Martin and his partner J H Chamberlain. The building was completed after Chamberain's death by William Martin and his son Frederick Martin. The school helped lead the Arts and Crafts Movement. It is now part of the Birmingham City University as part of the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. The building was taken over by the Birmingham Polytechnic in 1971, becoming it's Faculty of Art and Design. The Polytechnic gained University status in 1992 as the University of Central England. It was renamed to the Birmingham City University in 2007.

Edward Richard Taylor (1838 - 1912) and his son William Howson Taylor (1876 - 1935) lived at this house at 26 Highfield Road in Edgbaston. There is a blue plaque there from the Birmingham Civic Society and the Calthorpe Residents Society. See my first Calthorpe Estates post in Edgbaston here Calthorpe Estates: Edgbaston - a selection of Georgian / Regency / Victorian villas / town houses. E R Taylor is mentioned on the plaque as being an art teacher, while W H Taylor is mentioned as being a potter.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

 

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50 passion points
Transport
10 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Class 150's: Diesel trains formerly on the Snow Hill lines

The Class 150 diesel multiple unit trains used to be on the Snow Hill lines until around 2011. Most have since gone to other railway franchises such as Great Western Railway. When they were in the Midlands they were used by Regional Railways until 1997, Central Trains from 1997 to 2007 then London Midland from 2007 to 2011. A least one is still owned by West Midlands Railway now.

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Class 150's: Diesel trains formerly on the Snow Hill lines




The Class 150 diesel multiple unit trains used to be on the Snow Hill lines until around 2011. Most have since gone to other railway franchises such as Great Western Railway. When they were in the Midlands they were used by Regional Railways until 1997, Central Trains from 1997 to 2007 then London Midland from 2007 to 2011. A least one is still owned by West Midlands Railway now.


Class 150

These Sprinter Diesel multiple units were built between 1984 and 1987. In the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, they were used on the Snow Hill lines from at least 1987 until they were replaced in 2011 by the then new Class 172 Turbostar DMU's. The then West Midlands franchise operator London Midland kept around 3 of the old Class 150's after 2011 (they are still in current franchise operator West Midlands Railway who took over in late 2017.

Seen at Shirley Station during late June 2010 was London Midland 150016. It was heading for Stourbridge Junction. This view was from the old Haslucks Green Road bridge. That bridge was replaced and rebuilt during 2017. The footbridge in this photo was also later replaced. The new footbridge was built at the other end of the station in 2014. Shirley Station is quite a way away from the Stratford Road in Shirley, and is reachable from there now with the no 49 bus.

My second photography trip to Stratford-upon-Avon was during September 2010. I had just got off London Midland 150013, a semi-fast train that skipped the minor stops between Whitlocks End and Stratford-upon-Avon Station. This view was from the Alcester Road bridge in the town. Now the end of the line, it used to go beyond here to Honeybourne, and it is hoped that the 9 mile stretch would one day be restored. For now, most services that start at Stratford go to at least Stourbridge Junction, or beyond towards Kidderminster or Worcester Foregate Street (via Birmingham Snow Hill).

My first time up to the bridge near Livery Street and Northwood Street (in the Jewellery Quarter) was in August 2011. From here (at the time) you could see Two Snowhill beginning construction (after delays of several years). Seen heading past St Paul's Tram Stop was London Midland 150101 heading into Birmingham Snow Hill Station. After leaving London Midland later in 2011, this train and other 150/1's transferred up to Northern Rail. Around 4 years after the franchise had transferred from Central Trains to London Midland, most of the trains on the Snow Hill lines still had (at the time) the old Central Trains lime green livery.

It was September 2011, and I was heading to Hall Green Station to get the train into Birmingham. And I was hoping to see or catch one of the (then) brand new Class 172 DMU's. But London Midland still had the Class 150's on the Shakespeare line. This was the 10:08 (which I missed). After a 20 minute wait, I caught the next train the 10:28 into Birmingham. It would be another 2 months (November 2011) before I would catch a new Class 172 for the first time to Birmingham Moor Street or Snow Hill.

The view from Kings Norton Station, on the Cross City line. I was standing at platform 4 during April 2012, waiting to go to Longbridge. While one of London Midland's Class 150 trains that they kept, 150109 was seen passing by the abandoned platform 2. Still in the old Central Trains livery. London Midland would later change it into their own green livery, and today it is still part of current franchise operator West Midlands Railways's fleet! This train was slowly heading south towards Hereford. An American man on the platform was chatting to me, and said that he had never seen a train like that before!

Getting to the more recent years and December 2017, the last month of operation under London Midland. I went up to Lye Station near Stourbridge in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley for a photo walk of the town. When I got back to the station, was suprised to see a convoy of a mixture of London Midland DMU's heading towards Stourbridge Junction (or onto Worcester). By then, London Midland's 3 Class 150 DMU's was in their green livery. Seen here behind a Class 170. This convoy had one Class 172, two Class 170's and this one Class 150 (pictured).

My most recent sighting of a Class 150 in the West Midlands was when I caught a glimpse of it passing through Stechford Station during early January 2018. Now operated by West Midlands Railway, this was either 150107 or 150109. It was probably heading down towards the Bedford line (which is now operated by London Northwestern Railway). From here you expect to see the Class 350 EMU's on the West Coast Mainline or Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino's (those don't stop here). This view was from the Station Road bridge.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Civic pride
05 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Joseph Gillott: manufacturer of steel pens

It was not just jewellery that was made in the Jewellery Quarter. Pens were made there too! Joseph Gillott made pens at his Victoria Works factory on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street. You can see a display of some of his pens at The Pen Museum on Frederick Street. There is also a marble bust of Joseph Gillott in the Council House.

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Joseph Gillott: manufacturer of steel pens




It was not just jewellery that was made in the Jewellery Quarter. Pens were made there too! Joseph Gillott made pens at his Victoria Works factory on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street. You can see a display of some of his pens at The Pen Museum on Frederick Street. There is also a marble bust of Joseph Gillott in the Council House.


Joseph Gillott

He was born in Sheffield in 1799, and he died in Birmingham in 1872 aged 72. He moved to Birmingham in 1821. He started manufacturing steel pens with machinery from about 1830. The Victoria Works on Frederick Street was opened in 1840. His home for many years was 'The Grove' on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston.

The marble bust (below) of Joseph Gillott is seen at the Council House and was made by the artist Peter Hollins (1800 - 1886). You can see it close to the main entrance on one of the sides near a wall.

The Pen Museum is a museum in the Jewellery Quarter, at the Argent Centre located on Frederick Street. The building itself used to be a pen factory and is a Grade II* listed building. A look at the Joseph Gillott display at the museum. I visited during Birmingham Heritage Week back in September 2016.

On the wall Joseph Gillott Pen Maker to the Queen. Showing various steel pen nibs.

This table cabinet display about the Victoria Works (more on that later in this post). It had various Joseph Gillott steel pens and steel pen nibs inside. As well as photos of his marble bust, his portrait and his grave at Key Hill Cemetery.

Close up look at one of Joseph Gillott's steel pens made in about 1845. His company has been making pens since 1827 and is now part of William Mitchell Ltd.

1001 Spring Ground Mammoth Quill Circa 1845 - The Largest Pen Made.

The Victoria Works is a Grade II listed building not far from The Argent Centre on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street in the Jewellery Quarter. I saw it after my visit to The Pen Museum during Birmingham Heritage Week in September 2016. It was formerly listed as the Flagstaff building. The main building seen on the corner was built from 1838 to 1845. Made of red brick with ashlar and stucco dressings. The steel pen factory of Joseph Gillott opened up here in 1840.

On the Graham Street side is a blue plaque for Joseph Gillott from English Heritage. The plaque reads: "These were the premises of JOSEPH GILLOTT 1799-1873 Steel Pen Manufacturer". This was probably the main entrance to the Victoria Works.

This next building, part of the Victoria Works on the corner of Graham Street and Vittoria Street was built in 1887. Other parts of the former factory were built in 1850. On the Graham Street side is medallion bust of Queen Victoria, probably installed for her Golden Jubilee. This building post dates the death of Joseph Gillott.

The view of the Victoria Works from the corner of Graham Street and Vittoria Street. There is a modern roof section closer to the Vittoria Street side. This building is also of red brick. No longer a factory, there are various different small companies occupying the building.

If you stop to look at the pavement on Frederick Street (or other nearby streets in the Jewellery Quarter), look out for these that are part of the Charm Bracelet Trail. I saw this one for Joseph Gillott in December 2012. It reads: "C 1840 Hi Nibs. Joseph Gillott opened Victoria Works".

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Civic pride
02 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

City of Birmingham 130 years a City

On the 14th January 2019 the City of Birmingham celebrated being a city for 130 years. A visual display outside the Council House after dark from 4pm to 6pm that day. Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar was a film projected onto the side of the Council House by the graffiti artist Mohammed Ali (also known as Aerosol Ali). In this post is photo gallery from that evening as I passed through!

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City of Birmingham 130 years a City




On the 14th January 2019 the City of Birmingham celebrated being a city for 130 years. A visual display outside the Council House after dark from 4pm to 6pm that day. Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar was a film projected onto the side of the Council House by the graffiti artist Mohammed Ali (also known as Aerosol Ali). In this post is photo gallery from that evening as I passed through!


The full title of this projected film was Brum 130 Beyond Bricks and Mortar .

Birmingham received City Status on the 14th January 1889. On the 14th January 2019 there was an event held in Victoria Square between 4pm and 6pm. It was still getting dark by 4.30pm to 5pm. I went to check it out briefly on the day after 5pm. The film was by Mohammed Ali also known as Aerosol Ali.

This digital billboard seen on the Council House balcony on the 13th January 2019 (a day before the anniversary).

I actually took these photos from the top of Victoria Square starting at Colmore Row, going down the steps. But it actually looks better seeing the photos in reverse!

Some bonus photos commemorating the last major anniversary of Birmingham's City Status which was back in 1989 (30 years ago).

City of Birmingham Centenary Festival 1889 1989

Saw this plaque in the Council House while I was at Birmingham We Are's event back in early November 2018. On Maundy Thursday 23rd March 1989 this plaque was unveiled to commemorate the visit of Her Majesty the Queen during the City of Birmingham's Centenary Year.

I've had this medallion souvenir for around 30 years (so have had it since sometime in 1989). It was an Official Souvenir Medallion for the City of Birmingham Centenary. On this side showing a version of Birmingham's famous Forward coat of arms.

On the reverse it says City of Birmingham Centenary Festival 1889 1989. Has anyone thought of making a souvenir for 2019? City of Birmingham 130th Birthday 1889 2019!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown in Victoria Square in mid January 2019.

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60 passion points
History & heritage
30 Jan 2019 - Pete Davies
Gallery

A collection of photography taken during a guided tour of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham

A  lovely collection of photography taken by Pete Davies 'people with passion', during his guided tour of  St. Philips's Cathedral, Birmingham.

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A collection of photography taken during a guided tour of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham




A  lovely collection of photography taken by Pete Davies 'people with passion', during his guided tour of  St. Philips's Cathedral, Birmingham.


 

 

 

 

 

Photography taken by Pete Davies

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50 passion points
History & heritage
28 Jan 2019 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

Wonderful collection of photography taken during a guided tour of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham

We hope you enjoy our gallery of 50 superb photographs taken during a guided tour of St Philip's Cathedral with Birmingham's People with Passion in January 2019. 

 

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Wonderful collection of photography taken during a guided tour of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham




We hope you enjoy our gallery of 50 superb photographs taken during a guided tour of St Philip's Cathedral with Birmingham's People with Passion in January 2019. 

 


Our guide Andrew. Photography courtesy Christine Wright

 

Photography courtesy Elliott Brown

 

Photography courtesy Stephen Cooper

 

Photography courtesy Mac McCreery 

 

Photography courtesy Rob Perry-Griffiths

 

Photography courtesy Kevin Maslin

 

Photography courtesy Beverly Dakin

 

Photography courtesy Elliott Brown 

 

Photography courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Photography courtesy Kev Maslin

 

Photography courtesy Jay Mason-Burns 

 

Photography courtesy Christine Wright

 

Photography courtesy Elliott Brown

 

Photography courtesy Stephen Cooper

 

Photography courtesy Rob Perry-Griffiths

 

Photography courtesy Mac McCreery 

 

Photography courtesy Kev Maslin 

 

Photography courtesy Jay Mason-Burns 

 

Photography courtesy Christine Wright 

 

Photography courtesy Elliott Brown

 

Photography courtesy Beverly Dakin 

 

Photography courtesy Stephen Cooper

 

Photography courtesy Rob Perry-Griffiths 

 

Photography courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Photography courtesy Christine Wright

 

Photography courtesy Elliott Brown

 

Photography courtesy Jay Mason-Burns

 

Photography courtesy Rob Perry-Griffiths 

 

Photography courtesy Kay Emblen-Perry

 

Photography courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Photography courtesy Stephen Cooper

 

Photography courtesy Jay Mason-Burns

 

Photography courtesy Christine Wright

 

Photography courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Photography courtesy Kay Emblen-Perry

 

Photography courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Photography courtesy Christine Wright

 

Photography courtesy Elliott Brown

 

Photography courtesy Kev Maslin

 

Photography courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Photography courtesy Christine Wright


Photography courtesy Jay Mason-Burns

 

Photography courtesy Rob Perry-Griffiths

 

Photography courtesy Elliott Brown

 

Photography courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Photography courtesy Kev Maslin

 

Photography courtesy Damien Walmsley

 

Photography courtesy Rob Perry-Griffiths

 

Photography courtesy Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
Architecture
28 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Cathedral: The Cathedral Church of St Philip

A group of Birmingham We Are photographers along with Jonathan Bostock visted Birmingham Cathedral on the 26th January 2019. This post will be about the history of the Cathedral. My older exterior photos taken over the years passing through the Cathedral Square. New interiors taken on the visit with the group. More details on the history in the post below.

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Birmingham Cathedral: The Cathedral Church of St Philip




A group of Birmingham We Are photographers along with Jonathan Bostock visted Birmingham Cathedral on the 26th January 2019. This post will be about the history of the Cathedral. My older exterior photos taken over the years passing through the Cathedral Square. New interiors taken on the visit with the group. More details on the history in the post below.


St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham

Originally built as a Parish Church on a plot of land in what is now the Colmore Business District (it wasn't that back in the 1700s). First built in 1715. The cathedral celebrated their 300th birthday in 2015. It was designed in the Baroque style by Thomas Archer. It was granted Cathedral Status in 1905. Around 16 years after Birmingham was granted City Status! Located between Colmore Row, Temple Row, Temple Row West and St Philip's Place. A Grade I listed building. It is the third smallest cathedral in England.

This view below from June 2009. The rear side of the cathedral. Colmore Row is to the right, Temple Row to the left.

The 2nd view also from June 2009, similar to the above view. It is easy to walk between the bus interchanges through the Cathedral Square. Some people call it the Pigeon Park (I don't). I prefer something like the St Philip's Churchyard or St Philip's Cathedral Grounds. Victoria Square is a short distance away from here. The Grand Hotel at the time was under scaffolding, and restoration had yet to begin at that time. Birmingham Snow Hill Station is over to the right of here.

This view below was taken during April 2011. With a nice blue sky. The stone looks especially nice in that light. The cathedral was designed in 1709 and consecrated in 1715. But the tower wasn't completed until 1725. It was a major monument of the English Baroque. J A Chatwin refaced the church between 1864 to 1869. Was restored after World War 2 between 1947 to 1948. A more recent refurbishment took place in 2015 ahead of it's 300th anniversary.

Another April 2011 view. If you are heading from Bull Street, then up Temple Row, you might go through the entrance and up this way towards Colmore Row / Temple Row West. Scaffolding still on the Grand Hotel. The BT Tower was also visible while it was nice and sunny that spring day! The Parish Church of St Martin was too small for the growing town in the early 18th century, and this land was found, to found a new church. As it was expected that the town would grow.

This view was taken in March 2014, on anther sunny early spring day. The main entrance to the Cathedral is through the big doors on the right. The bell tower seen above. The weather vane and orb seen high above the clock was restored later in 2014. The restoration was funded by the Calthorpe Estates. As the heirs of Sir Richard Gough, who originally asked King George I for funds to finish of the tower.

Seen in the snow of December 2017, as I walked from St Philip's Cathedral towards St Paul's Church in the Jewellery Quarter. St Philip's used to be surrounded by a Georgian square, but most of the buildings have changed over the years. Many of the buildings on Colmore Row and Temple Row West are from the Victorian era. The buildings on Temple Row are mostly from the 20th century. Really looks like a picture postcard with snow, perfect for a Christmas card style image!

My most recent exterior photo was taken in January 2019. I was heading to Victoria Square to check out the projections celebrating Birmingham's 130th birthday as a City. This is the side facing Colmore Row. It looks quite nice lit up after dark.

Some memorials seen outside of the Cathedral.

Charles Gore (1853–1932) was the First Bishop of Birmingham. He was bishop from 1905 until 1911. Previously he was also Bishop of Worcester from 1901 until he helped create the Diocse of Birmingham. He was later Bishop of Oxford from 1911 until 1919. The bronze statue seen outside of the cathedral was made by Stirling Lee in 1914 and is Grade II listed. This view from May 2009.

Also seen in May 2009 was this obelisk. The Burnaby Obelisk. Grade II listed. It was in memory of Frederick G. Burnaby (1842 - 1885). He stood as a Conservative Party candidate for Birmingham in 1880 (as an MP). He died at Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan on January 16th 1885. It was made by Robert Bridgeman of Lichfield. He also fought at Khiva in 1875, a well as Abu Klea in 1885. There is an oval portrait medallion on one side of the obelisk. It is made of Portland stone and was unveiled by Lord Charles Beresford on the 13th November 1885.

This banner was seen in the entrance hall during 2015. Welcome Come & See. December 2015 was near the end of the tri-centenary year. 1715 - 2015 (300 years since the Cathedral was built as a Church). The banner is not there now.

Interior views taken during the Birmingham We Are morning visit. This end from close to the entrance as I waited for other members of the group to arrive. The trio of Burne-Jones windows are at the far end near the High Alter.

This side, with the High Alter behind me. Looking towards the fourth Burne-Jones window below the bell tower. We only had access to the ground floor, so were unable to go upstairs or up the tower.

Now closer to the end below the bell tower, and again looking towards the High Alter end. Plenty of columns along the aisle and memorials to those who are buried in the cathedral.

Now a look at the four Edward Burne-Jones windows. They were made between 1885 and 1897. Burne-Jones designed them while William Morris made them.

This one is the stained glass window below the bell tower. A winged angel with a horn, similar to the Shofar used at Rosh Hashanah.

The main central window at the High Alter end.

High alter window on the right, a crucifixion scene.

The final window at the high alter end on the left. They look better from the inside. From the outside you can't really see the colours.

Organ. The organ dates to 1715 and has been restored and re-gilded. It's sound replicates that of an orchestra.

The Bishops Seat. This is where the Bishop of Birmingham sits during a service. Look above and see the Bishop's hat or mitre. The seat is also known as a Cathedra.

High Alter Cross. It was made in the Jewellery Quarter by a jeweller and artist called John Donald. It is a stunning cross with a piece of quartz at the centre. It is seen below the trio of Burne-Jones windows.

Birmingham Bell. It came from the HMS Birmingham and is dated 1976. Was used as a font for baptisms aboard the ship. There has been at least three Navy ships called HMS Birmingham. The first from 1913 - 1931, the second from 1936 - 1960, and the third from 1976 - 1999. The bell is rung for baptisms today.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Civic pride
24 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

John Freeth: Landlord of Freeth's Coffee House

Our obsession with coffee shops / coffee houses didn't start in the early 21st century. You can go back to the late 18th century. Freeth's Coffee House was run by John Freeth, also known as the Celebrity Landlord and poet. His coffee house was on the corner of Bell Street and Lease Lane in Birmingham. A blue plaque at the Bullring marks the site near Bill's in the East Mall.

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John Freeth: Landlord of Freeth's Coffee House




Our obsession with coffee shops / coffee houses didn't start in the early 21st century. You can go back to the late 18th century. Freeth's Coffee House was run by John Freeth, also known as the Celebrity Landlord and poet. His coffee house was on the corner of Bell Street and Lease Lane in Birmingham. A blue plaque at the Bullring marks the site near Bill's in the East Mall.


John Freeth

Known as the Birmingham Poet, John Freeth was born in 1731 and died in 1808. He was also known as Poet Freeth. He was an innkeeper, poet and songwriter. He owned Freeth's Coffee House between 1768 and his death in 1808. Also known as the Celebrity Landlord, he sat for many portraits during his lifetime. This one seen at the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, was painted by an unknown artist. He was one of the major figures in Birmingham during the Midlands Enlightenment.

The next picture seen in the Freeth's Coffee House exhibit at the Birmingham History Galleries is of John Freeth and his friends. They were members of a political society called the Jacobin Club. They commissioned Johannes Eckstein to paint their picture in 1792. Included in this picture was:
James Murray (Linen draper), John Wilkes (Cheese factor), John Freeth (Brassfounder), Richard Webster (Poet and publican), Jeremiah Vaux (Surgeon), John Collard (Hatter), John Miles (Lamp manufacturer), Samuel Toy (Steel toy manufacturer), James Bisset (Artist and owner of museum), Joseph Fearon (Tin merchant), James Sketchley (Auctioneer) and Joseph Blunt (Brazier).
It is more formerly known as John Freeth and His Circle.

Freeth's Coffee House

Time for a look around Freeth's Coffee House. It was the popular name of the Leicester Arms  which was located on the corner of Bell Street and Lease Lane in Birmingham. It was first a tavern and later a coffee house, operating from 1736 until 1832. John Freeth was the landlord during the second half of the 18th century, and he would regularly entertain his customers with songs and poetry. It was one of the most celebrated meeting places in Georgian England. Small businessmen and lawyers would conduct business here. Radical groups such as the Birmingham Book Club would regularly meet here.

This window exhibit at the Birmingham History Galleries shows a view out of the window to the Statue of Horatio Nelson which would place it sometime after 1809, or later in the 19th century (after John Freeth had passed away). The statue is still there today and has survived various incarnations of the Bullring.

Also in Freeth's Coffee House was this Grandfather Clock. Is it time for coffee? It was placed close to the window in the Birmingham History Galleries.

Heading over to the Bullring there is a blue plaque near Bill's from the Birmingham Civic Society, close to the East Mall (Selfridges is not that far away). The plaque reads: "John Freeth The Birmingham Poet of Bell Street 1731 - 1808". A shop called Mango was previously in the units now occupied by Bill's. At Bill's you can have Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Open from 8am 'til late.

This modern scene of th Horatio Nelson statue at the Bullring was from the summer of 2009. The closest coffee house / coffee shop to where Freeth's Coffee House was, is probably this Starbucks Coffee (still there in 2019). The statue has been Grade II* listed since 1952. The statue was moved in 1961, and later after the recent Bullring redevelopment was moved closer to St Martin's Church. In 2005 the railings were restored.

A bonus John Freeth site coming up.

If you are ever on a bus heading round Camp Hill Circus between Camp Hill and the Stratford Road, you might notice a plaque on the dual carriageway of Bordesley Middleway. I once went to check it out, and I found a plaque about the site of the Ship Inn. A pub on this site from about 1560 to 1972. Most famous for being Prince Rupert's headquarters in 1643, before he attacked Birmingham with a Royalist army during the Civil War. Is probably where the Camp Hill name came from.

It's hard to imagine now, but a pub used to be on this site until the 1970s. When John Freeth and his friends came here in the 18th century, it was known as The Anchor. The pub was at the corner of Sandy Lane and Camp Hill. The old inn was pulled down in 1867. A new pub was built on the foundations of it's site called the Ship Hotel. But it only survived until the road's around here were realigned in the 1970s. The Camp Hill Flyover was built, but it was only a temporary solution to the traffic problems around here. Camp Hill Circus was built in the 1980s. Today it is free flowing, sometimes has a lot of traffic during rush hour. Only traffic lights are for the pelican crossings. I think they should have permanent lights at all junctions there (Stratford Road from the south, Highgate Middleway to the west, Camp Hill to the north and Bordesley Middleway to the east).

The only surviving pub near here is the Brewer & Baker at the corner of Camp Hill and Bordesley Middleway (near Old Camp Hill). But it is quite derelict, been closed for years, and was a fire there in recent years. Could do with either A: restoring, or B: demolishing. Should never have been left in that state!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Architecture
23 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

From Midland Bank to HSBC UK

HSBC UK have recently opened up their UK HQ right here in Birmingham at 1 Centenary Square at Arena Central, but did you know the bank originated as the Midland Bank founded right here in Birmingham! Former City Centre banks including one on New Street (used to later be Waterstone's is now Apple) and another one on Bennetts Hill (now the Cosy Club). HSBC bought the Midland in 1992.

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From Midland Bank to HSBC UK




HSBC UK have recently opened up their UK HQ right here in Birmingham at 1 Centenary Square at Arena Central, but did you know the bank originated as the Midland Bank founded right here in Birmingham! Former City Centre banks including one on New Street (used to later be Waterstone's is now Apple) and another one on Bennetts Hill (now the Cosy Club). HSBC bought the Midland in 1992.


The Midland Bank was founded in Birmingham in 1836 by Charles Geach, who used to have a branch on Union Street. Early international holdings included an early deal with the  The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1907 (there future owners). HSBC Holdings plc took over the bank in 1992, and phased the Midland Bank name out by 1999 in favour of HSBC Bank. Branches are now branded as HSBC UK.

For many years, this building on the corner of New Street and Stephenson Place was a Waterstone's store, it is now an Apple store. Photo below from 2009. The first Midland Metro extension was built round the back of this former bank building, finally opening in 2016. The building was built in 1868 - 69 and it was originally the Head Offices of the Midland Bank. It was designed in the classical style by Edward Holmes and an extension was built in 1875. It's now a Grade II listed building. When it was listed in 1970 it was known as the Midland Bank International Division. The rear entrance was altered when the Midland Metro extension was built, but that is now closed since Apple took over the building.

While HSBC are not in the classical building that is now used by Apple, they are still at the other corner of New Street and Stephenson Place, close to the ramp up to Grand Central (previously the Pallasades). This branch seen in 2014, is now branded HSBC UK, like other HSBC banks around the country. Above it is a former office block, the Exchange Buildings, that was owned by Aviva. There is now a Premier Inn hotel up there, so not that far from Birmingham New Street Station. "Welcome to Birmingham New Street a branch of the world's local bank".

Another former Midland Bank located in Birmingham City Centre is on the corner of Bennetts Hill and Waterloo Street in the Colmore Business District. It is now the Cosy Club. In 2009 (photo below) the building was occupied by Webb Gray & Partners Ltd (an architectural practice). This building is also a Grade II listed building and is even older than the former bank on New Street! Built in 1830 by Rickman and Eutchinson, it was altered in 1868 by H R Yeoville Thomason. Made of stone. It has giant Giant Corinthian columns. It was fully restored and the stone cleaned when it was converted into the Cosy Club in 2015.

HSBC UK recently moved into their new UK HQ in late 2018. Construction of One Centenary Square began in 2015 and was completed in late 2018. Part of the Arena Central redevelopment opposite Centenary Square and on part of what was Broad Street. Historically, the site was previously where Central TV (ATV before that) had their studios in a former Masonic Hall. The hall was demolished in 2006, and the site lay empty until the mid 2010's. It's next to the Alpha Tower and the Municipal Bank (which is soon to be taken over by the University of Birmingham). This view from near the Amphitheatre of the Library of Birmingham. The redevelopment of the square might be completed by Spring or Summer 2019 (or later?).

A view zoomed down from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham. The view is up Newhall Hill and Frederick Street towards the Chamberlain Clock Tower. On the left is the Jewellery Quarter branch of HSBC UK. The 101 bus heads left onto Warstone Lane past the bank. There is a branch of Barclays Bank at the opposite corner.

Recently been seeing other peoples photos on social media of this new painted advert for HSBC UK, so had to check it out myself. HSBC UK currently have an advertising campaign, where they are using four cities as well as a general advert. Including Birmingham, London, Manchester and Leeds. This of course is the Birmingham variant. Behind the Rose Villa Tavern on Warstone Lane, it is close to Vyse Street in what is now called Golden Square.

Not just home of the Brummie.
You're home to Heavy Metal, Mr Egg, Bostin Cobs, The Shire and the First Stamp.

You are Birmingham.

You're not an island. You're a Workshop of the World that's part of something far, far bigger. And you're our home.

HSBC UK Together we thrive

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Transport
22 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Not something you see every day: a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry!

I only popped to Tyseley to check out some trains heading past Tyseley Station. When I walked back down to the Warwick Road on the 13th December 2018, saw a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry. Sir Keith Park 34053 was probably getting near to the Tyseley Locomotive Works. The walk to Acocks Green, but Amey had barriers out for new lampposts!

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Not something you see every day: a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry!




I only popped to Tyseley to check out some trains heading past Tyseley Station. When I walked back down to the Warwick Road on the 13th December 2018, saw a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry. Sir Keith Park 34053 was probably getting near to the Tyseley Locomotive Works. The walk to Acocks Green, but Amey had barriers out for new lampposts!


Sir Keith Park 34053

Not something you expect to see on the road in Birmingham! A lorry with a steam locomotive on the back of it. Although I have in the past seen a Cross Country train on the back of a lorry once. It was the 13th December 2018, and this small convoy was approaching the Tyseley Locomotive Works on the Warwick Road in Tyseley. Seen here passing the Cousins furniture store (mostly selling sofas etc).

The locomotive is currently operated by the Swanage Railway. So it was probably coming to Tyseley for repairs or maintenance?

A little bit of history of the locomotive. It was built in 1947 at the Brighton Works. It's original number ID was 21C153. It was a SR Battle of Britain class (Southern Railway Battle of Britain class 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive). It gained the number 34053 in 1948 when British Railways was formed. In 1960 it was transfered to the Bournemouth Depot where it was on the Pines Express on the Somerset & Dorset Line. She remained in Bournemouth until being withdrawn from service in 1965.

After being withdrawn from service in 1965, she was towed to the Barry scrapyard in South Wales. But the locomotive wasn't scrapped. She was eventually towed to Barry Island where she remained for 18 years. A new owner bought her for preservation in 1979, but she didn't depart Barry Island until 1984. She was moved to Hull, but little was done to her. In 1992 she was sold to another owner and moved to Crewe. Again litte was done to her. By 1997 she was moved to the West Somerset Railway and was later purchased by Southern Locomotives Ltd in 2000. Restoration finally began in 2008. Returned to steam by 2012 not at the Swanage Railway as intended, but at the Severn Valley Railway. Naming ceremony took place in 2013 as Sir Keith Park at Bridgnorth. She can only run on heritage railways, but is not certified to run on National Rail railway lines. Probably why it was transferred by lorry!

Photos by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
Civic pride
20 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Herbert Austin: making cars at Longbridge and the Austin Village

While car production at Longbridge has long since gone (apart from the small remaining factory for MG Motor), the site that is now Longbridge Town Centre used to house the Austin Works (later MG Rover until 2005). Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905 (before Longbridge was in Birmingham). Also nearby is the Austin Village which was built to house workers from 1917.

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Herbert Austin: making cars at Longbridge and the Austin Village




While car production at Longbridge has long since gone (apart from the small remaining factory for MG Motor), the site that is now Longbridge Town Centre used to house the Austin Works (later MG Rover until 2005). Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905 (before Longbridge was in Birmingham). Also nearby is the Austin Village which was built to house workers from 1917.


Herbert Austin

He was born in 1866 in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire and he died in Birmingham aged 74 in 1941. He moved to Birmingham in the 1890s setting up his first motor company on Broad Street, but the Broad Street factory site was too small, so he bought bigger premises in Aston. He later took over an old print works site in Longbridge in 1905. At this time Longbridge was in Worcestershire, and didn't become part of the City of Birmingham until 1911. It was here that he set up the Austin car works becoming one of the greatest car manufacturers in the world. For a period from 1918 to 1924 he was a Conservative MP for Birmingham Kings Norton. He was knighted in 1917 and in 1936 he was created Baron Austin, of Longbridge in the City of Birmingham. Also known as Lord Austin of Longbridge.

After MG Rover collapsed in 2005, the site was developed by St Modwen over the years, including a new Town Centre, Bournville College moved there by 2012. A new park was developed and opened in 2013 called Austin Park. It runs from the Bristol Road South towards Longbridge Town Centre alongside the River Rea. A former railway line ran towards Halesowen, and the remains of the signal box and old railway station were eventually demolished. It's unlikely that this railway line will ever be restored, now that the park and town centre are here. The Town Centre includes a Sainsbury's supermarket, a Premier Inn hotel and a Marks & Spencer store. Further to the right of here, they built retirement homes and houses along the land up Lickey Road.

I first went to have a look around Longbridge in 2010. Back then many of the former factory buildings along Lickey Road had yet to be demolished. 5 years after MG Rover collapsed, they were very derelict. Once they were demolished, a retirement village was built by 2016 up the Lickey Road site. It opened in 2017. To think the motor works lasted on this site from 1905 to 2005, a period of 100 years! Now it is becoming a new town centre. There is also a business park nearby. Many plots of land yet to be built on.

While Rover ceased to exist, a Chinese company bought the rights to use the MG name. And there is a small presence on a site on Lowhill Lane in Longbridge. MG Motor is owned by SAIC Motor UK (who themselves are owned by SAIC Motor based in Shanghai, China). Not far from here is another park called Cofton Park, where Pope Benedict XVI held mass in 2010. I went to Cofton Park in 2013 trying to get to the Lickey Hills Country Park, and the MG Motor buildings were visible from up the hill in the park. It was announced in 2016 that all car production had ceased at Longbridge, and after that MG Motor cars would be imported into the UK.

Back to Herbert Austin, and a village that he built for his workers. Austin Village was built in 1917. It is built on a site between Northfield and Longbridge in Turves Green. More workers had to be taken on during the First World War and when his factory began building tanks and aircraft, he built a new estate for his workers. He imported 200 cedar-wood pre-fabricated bungalows from the Aladdin Company, Bay City, Michigan, USA. They were shipped across the Atlantic, and survived potental loss to U-boat attacks. Many trees were planted around the village. This view is of Central Avenue. At the top end is a pair of blue plaques. One for Sir Herbert Austin and the other for the Austin Village. A red post box is at this end. I visited in April 2012.

While having a look around the Austin Village during April 2012, it was possible at the time to see the remaining MG Rover / Austin motor works, before most of them were demolished. The view was from Coney Green Drive. Most of these buildings were demolished on the right of the chimney, and houses were later built on the site. The MG Motor factory that survives down to Lowhill Lane. What will the future of this site be, will the rest of the factory have to be demolished for even more housing, now that car production has stopped on the site?

Over in Northfield is the Northfield Bypass, called the Sir Herbert Austin Way. This end near Sainsbury's seen during May 2013. The road bypasses the Northfield High Street on the Bristol Road South (although all major bus routes still use it). Sainsbury's had an extension a few years later and the Sainsbury's Cafe is now on the first floor. A new Starbucks Drive Thru, the first in Birmingham, opened on the bypass in 2017 near Vineyard Road and Bellfield Infant School. The success of this Starbucks Drive Thru probably led to the one that opened in 2018 at the Maypole.

There are several vintage Austin motorcars on display at Thinktank at Millennium Point. I first visted with my camera in April 2013. In the Move It section on Level O (the ground floor) was various old cars and bikes.

As you enter, you see this old car on a rotating turntable. It's the Austin Seven Tourer built in 1923. It was economical but reliable. It was smaller and cheaper than other cars at the time, but was considered to be just as reliable and comfortable. Car ownership was no logner just for the wealthy. Watch as the car goes around and around! I assume it still does that, if it's in the same spot as it was then?

Yes this car was on the side on the glass wall! It's the Austin 10 'Lichfield' Motorcar and it was built in 1935. One of 27,000 made by the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge. You might have to tilt your head 90 degrees to the right to see it right up!

In July 2011, on a visit to the stately home that is Holkham Hall in Norfolk, saw this poster in the Stable Coach Block. The Austin Seven Garage Chart. It clearly says that the Austin Motor Co. Ltd was from Longbridge, Birmingham. Many museums all over the UK have Austin cars in their collection, and it's not just museums, stately homes sometimes have a collection of vintage cars on display!

Another museum well worth a visit in the West Midlands is the Coventry Transport Museum. This is a Austin Seven Swallow dating to about 1928. My first visit to this museum was during March 2015. This classic car was in the Jaguar Heritage Gallery. Many cars and motorbikes were built in Coventry, but they did also have a selection of Jaguar's and MG's on display here. It was probably made in Coventry.

My second visit to the Coventry Transport Museum was during April 2018. You can get the X1 bus all the way down the Coventry Road, via Birmingham Airport to the bus station in Coventry. The museum is nearby. A much shorter walk compared to getting a train from Birmingham New Street to Coventry and walking, like I've done in the past. Onto this car. It's an Austin 7 Swallow built in 1929. The chassis and engine of the car was made by the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge, Birmingham. The body built by the Swallow Coachbuilding Company of Holbrooks, Coventry, who changed their name to Jaguar. Jaguar later became known for making fast, sporty cars.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
History & heritage
16 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Old Northfield Village around St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn

Another set of historic buildings, this time in Northfield. The old village centre is a short walk away from the Great Stone Road, heading down Church Road to St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn, around Church Hill. The Great Stone can be found here as well as a former Village Pound (a small 17th century jail).

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Old Northfield Village around St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn




Another set of historic buildings, this time in Northfield. The old village centre is a short walk away from the Great Stone Road, heading down Church Road to St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn, around Church Hill. The Great Stone can be found here as well as a former Village Pound (a small 17th century jail).


Northfield

I first headed down to this part of Northfield in June 2010. So most of my photos of the church and the pub were taken back then. More recently, I returned in May 2018 when I was told about a pair of blue plaques for The Great Stone and the Village Pound.

 

St Laurence's Church, Northfield

This is the parish church of Northfield. Located around Church Hill, and near Church Road. The heart of the old village centre of Northfield. The church dates to the 12th century, and is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham. It is a Grade I listed building. If you don't know where this is, if getting off the bus in Northfield Town Centre, or off the train at Northfield Station, then it is close to the Great Stone Road. You can either get there by walking down Church Road or Rectory Road. From Northfield Station, Church Hill is nearby, and you could walk up there.

The tower of St Laurence's Church. It also dates to the 12th century. Most of the church dates from the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The north aisle was built in 1900 by G F Bodley in the 14th century style.

There is a churchyard around the Church of St Laurence with many gravestones. There was a War Grave extension, containing the graves of service personnel from World War I and World War II.

This view is from close to Rectory Road with the tower behind close to Church Hill. There is a public footpath that starts from Rectory Road where you can see this view over the churchyard.

A more recent view of St Laurence's Church from May 2018, when I was heading to check out the Village Pound. This is the view from round the bend on Church Hill. The Lych gate is seen on the left. And the Village Pound itself is to be found nearby on Church Road (look out for an old gate, more on that below).

The Great Stone Inn

The pub seen in the old Northfield Village that is opposite of St Laurence's Church is The Great Stone Inn. A Grade II listed building dating to the 18th century. It is on the corner of Church Hill and Church Road in Northfield. The white paint stood out on this blue sky day back in June 2010.

Full on view of The Great Stone public house. Takes you back 200 years if it wasn't for the car! At the time I wasn't aware of the Village Pound being so nearby (on Church Road to the right). The pub is at 158 Church Road and is now owned by the Stonegate Pub Company. They won an award in 2010 for the 'best managed house' and in 2011 for the 'best community pub in the East and West Midlands', in the Great British Pub Awards.

Village Pound and the Great Stone

I was looking for a pair of blue plaques I was made aware of in Northfield. The Village Pound and the Great Stone. Thought I almost missed them when I saw this gate and looked in, during May 2018. It is on Church Road, and is to the right of the Great Stone Inn. Beyond are houses. Stop here to look inside of the gate. A pink sandstone wall near the road.

The Village Pound is a Grade II listed building and dates to the 17th century. A pound was for keeping stray animals, although I thought it was like a small jail. But just for animals if not people then! At the back is a wall to an outhouse of the Great Stone public house.

In the middle of small courtyard is the Great Stone. The listing describes it as a "central monolithic stone". The boulder was moved by Birmingham City Council to this site in 1954 for road safety reasons. A glacial erratic boulder formed in an explosive volcanic eruption during the Ordovician period, 450-460 million years ago. During the ice age possibly up to 400,000 years ago, it was carried by an ice sheet from the Snowdon area of North Wales and deposited with many others around Northfield when the area was a frozen wasteland. For generations it lay at the corner of Church Road and Church Hill where it protected the Inn wall.

In May 2018 and heading up Church Hill in Northfield. That day I got the train to Northfield Station, for the short walk up the hill to find the Village Pound, and it's pair of blue plaques. This is no 3 to 13 Church Hill. Not sure of the details, or how old these buildings are, but they look Victorian. A salon called Headways was on the right.

Off Church Hill in Northfield for this building on Norton Close. It was St Laurence Church of England Infant School. A Grade II listed building. Built in 1837, with 1870 exteriors. Red brick with a slate roof. This was the original school, it also had a Master's house. The school is now on a different site in Northfield, now near Heath Road South. The former school building has been converted into flats.

This is the back alley or path behind St Laurence's Church in Northfield. At the time in June 2010, I only went half way before turning back towards Rectory Road as I didn't want to get lost! Near the top of this path is that view of the church from near Rectory Road (see further up the post for that photo).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
History & heritage
14 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
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Kings Norton around The Green including Saint Nicholas Place

A look around the old village centre of Kings Norton. Including The Green and Saint Nicholas Place (which includes St Nicholas Church, the Tudor Merchants House and the Old Grammar School). This collection of buildings won TV's Restoration programme back in 2004 and are now fully restored. There is also occasionally a Farmers Market on the green.

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Kings Norton around The Green including Saint Nicholas Place




A look around the old village centre of Kings Norton. Including The Green and Saint Nicholas Place (which includes St Nicholas Church, the Tudor Merchants House and the Old Grammar School). This collection of buildings won TV's Restoration programme back in 2004 and are now fully restored. There is also occasionally a Farmers Market on the green.


Kings Norton

First off, a look at the buildings at Saint Nicholas Place.

This is St Nicholas Church in Kings Norton. It is the Anglican Parish Church of Kings Norton. There has been a church on this site since at least the 11th century, although most of the current building dates to the early 13th century. The spire was built between 1446 and 1475. The church was restored in 1863 by Ewan Christian and again in 1871 by W J Hopkins. It is a Grade I listed building. This view from April 2009, with a bit of blossom on some of the trees.

The spire of St Nicholas seen during April 2009. In this view is a Monument with an urn that is Grade II listed. Made of stone it dates to about 1770. The only inscriptions that are readable are that of Ann Middlemore (died in 1873) and Martha Middlemore (died in 1876). It is close to the entrance of the churchyard from The Green.

I've been back to Kings Norton several times over the years. Got some more photos of the church during March 2012. This one of the spire. Kings Norton has railway links with the Rev W. V. Awdry who was the author of the Thomas the Tank Engine series. He was a curate here from 1940 to 1946. Kings Norton Station is up the hill in Cotteridge on the Pershore Road South (now part of the modern Cross City line).

One more view of St Nicholas Church from March 2012. There is a churchyard all around the church that you can walk through on the paths, and it leads to the Old Grammar School. The Saracen's Head is nearby on The Green, and when it was restored was given the name of Saint Nicholas Place, probably after the church.

I previously posted my photos of the Old Grammar School in Kings Norton in this post. The Old Grammar Schools of Kings Norton and Yardley.

I will add a bit more detail here, compared to my earlier post. Along with the Saracen's Head (the Tudor Merchants House), it won the BBC TV programme Restoration in 2004, and it was fully restored in the years that followed. A Grade II* listed building, it was probably built as a priest's house to St Nicholas Church. This view from April 2009. The spire of St Nicholas can be seen from behind.

You can see the Old Grammar School from the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton. It looks pretty with blossom on the trees and daffodils on the lawn during spring. Seen here on St George's Day 2009. It became a school by the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Birmingham Civic Society unveiled a rectangular green plaque here in 1982. It was for Thomas Hall B.D. Who was a Schoolmaster, Preacher and Biblophile. He taught here from 1629 to 1662. It was last used as a school in the early 1950s. Until the restoration was complete, it was on the Buildings at Risk Register. This view was from March 2012.

There was an amendment to the listing text in 2018 during the Centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. Two women (suffragettes) in 1913, who were members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), entered the school while it was empty. They forced opened a pair of windows in April 1913, but no fires was set. A message on the blackboard read ‘Two Suffragists have entered here, but charmed with this old-world room, have refrained from their design of destruction.’

Next up is the Saracen's Head. Also known as the Tudor Merchant's House. Along with the Old Grammar School (see above) it won the 2004 BBC Restoration programme. It is now where the Saint Nicholas Place offices are located. It is at 81 and 83 The Green, and is close to the churchyard of St Nicholas Church. A Grade II* listed building. It has been a pub, a grocer's shop and a community meeting place. Dates to the late 15th century. These views from April 2009 unless stated.

Side view of the Tudor Merchant's House / The Saracen's Head. Both this building and the Old Grammar School re-opened to the public in June 2008. It was built in 1492 by a wealthy merchant called Humphrey Rotsey and is now known as the north range. The building was expanded in the early 16th century and that is now known as the east range.

In 1643 Queen Henrietta Maria of France stopped in Kings Norton with an army. It is assumed that she spent the night here in the house. But there is no evidence for this. She was on her way to rejoin King Charles I at his headquarters in York. During the English Civil War. There is a green plaque on the green that mentions her stay in Kings Norton. Saint Nicholas Place is also spelled Saint Nicolas Place. I assume either spelling is correct.

This view of the Saracen's Head / Tudor Merchant's House from March 2012. Seen from the churchyard of St Nicholas Church. The building has become a pub by the 18th century. In the 19th century a further wing was added known as the south wing. By the 20th century, Mitchells & Butlers had owned the Saracen's Head public house. But in 1930 they donated it to Kings Norton Parish to used as a Parish Hall.

Now a look around at some of the buildings around The Green.

The Bull's Head public house is to the left of the Sarcen's Head / Tudor Merchant's House. The first view during April 2009. Can you spot the cherry blossom on a tree? The pub is now run by Milton Pubs.

The next view of the Bull's Head, from another angle, taken in March 2012. Back then it was run by Sizzling Pubs.

One more view of the Bull's Head seen during December 2012 from The Green. The pub is at 77 The Green.

A look at The Green in Kings Norton during April 2009. Many trees, and shops around. This is from the Saracen's Head end of The Green.

The Green plaque seen in Kings Norton during June 2011. Mentions that it has been part of the public centre of Kings Norton for over 500 years. For centuries it has been used for fairs, meetings and markets. The area around Kings Norton Parish is much smaller now than in the Middle Ages.

The Village Barbers Shop seen on The Green during April 2009. As of 2019, it is still there / open.

Molly's Cafe at the other end of The Green in April 2009. It was still open in 2017, but sadly seemed to have closed down in 2018, and is now for sale or to let.

The Farmers Market on the Kings Norton Green on 8th December 2018. I wasn't expecting to see it on this visit to Kings Norton, but there it was during the build up to Christmas.

Unexpectedly spotted an impersonator in the Co-operative Food car park as Kings Charles I! I don't think the real Charles ever visited Kings Norton during the Civil War, but as stated above, his Queen Henrietta Maria did in 1643. He was probably there for the Farmers Market.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
History & heritage
11 Jan 2019 - Luke Harris
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National Olympian Games held in Birmingham in 1867 - Did you Know?

In June 1867, Birmingham hosted the National Olympian Games, an event partially organised by Dr William Penny Brookes of Much Wenlock, a figure who inspired Pierre de Coubertin to form the International Olympic Committee. It took place over three days and featured contests in sports including athletics, swimming and cricket.

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National Olympian Games held in Birmingham in 1867 - Did you Know?




In June 1867, Birmingham hosted the National Olympian Games, an event partially organised by Dr William Penny Brookes of Much Wenlock, a figure who inspired Pierre de Coubertin to form the International Olympic Committee. It took place over three days and featured contests in sports including athletics, swimming and cricket.


In the summer of 2022, Birmingham will be at the centre of the sporting world when it hosts the 22nd Commonwealth Games. For many, this represents England’s second city finally getting its chance to join those British cities who have recently hosted a multi-sport event. Following the disappointment of losing out to Barcelona in the bidding for the 1992 Olympic Games, and then being forced to watch on enviously as Manchester then Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games and London the Olympic Games, there was a belief that Birmingham might never get such an opportunity. Those making such a claim are perhaps unaware that Birmingham had previously hosted one of the pioneering Multi-Sport festivals; the 1867 National Olympian Games (NOA).

The NOA are today accepted as one of the forefathers of the Modern Olympic Games. The Association was formed on 7 November 1865 at the Mechanics Institution, Manchester, by a group which amongst others included Dr William Penny Brookes. Brookes was throughout his life an advocate of physical exercise and founder of the Wenlock Olympian Association in 1850, was a friend and inspiration to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Brookes importance and role was acknowledged by the Frenchmen in 1890, when he wrote; ‘‘The fact that the Olympic Games, which Modern Greece has been unable to restore, are being revived today is due not to a Hellene (a Greek), but to Dr W P Brookes’.

Dr William Penny Brookes

The NOA had many comparisons to the Much Wenlock Games, and were established ‘for the encouragement and reward of skill and strength in manly exercises, by the award of Medals or other Prizes, money excepted’. Professional athletes were to be ‘excluded’ and the desire was to encourage physical activity amongst the population, a legacy which the Olympic Games continued.

Less than a year after its formation, the NOA’s first games took place at Crystal Palace in 1866, with events in athletics, boxing, fencing, gymnastics, swimming and wrestling. These Games were a considerable success, with over 10,000 spectators in attendance and more than 200 athletes competing.

Following this success, a second Games were held in Birmingham between 25 and 27 June 1867. In the middle of the nineteenth century, Birmingham was a thriving industrial city, described by Edmund Burke as ‘the city of a thousand trades’. The accuracy of this statement is debatable, but there can be no doubt that it produced a wide diversity of products and provided 230 exhibitors at the 1851 Great Exhibition. The growth of the city ensured the founding of multiple sporting and leisure organisations, one of which was the Birmingham Athletic Club (BAC). Formed in 1866, one of the first major events the club organised were the 1867 NOA Games, held upon its grounds.

The Games begun with a procession from the home of the BAC at Bingley Hall in Gib Heath in the North-West of the city, to it’s athletic facilities; the ‘Birmingham Festival grounds’ on Portland Road, Edgbaston, a middle-class suburb with picturesque open spaces.  At the beginning of the procession Penny-Brookes gave a speech in which he said he;

"rejoiced that a National Association has been formed which, by diffusing useful information on this subject, and by the encouragement it will give to practice and competition in gymnastic and athletic exercises, will confer a great benefit on the country."

He continued by complimenting the physical culture that was developing in Birmingham and pleaded for support across the social classes for further developments:

"You have set a noble example, which I hope will be followed by all the large towns of the surrounding midland counties. I trust that henceforth men shows will become as popular as cattle shows, and that a great interest will be taken in the physical development of a human being as in that of a horse, a cow, a sheep, or a pig. I trust that, ere long, you will have a gymnasium that will rival those of London and Liverpool-a building worthy of its great object, viz, the bodily training of the nobles of God’s creatures upon earth; a building, handsome and appropriate in its design spacious in its accommodation, convenient in its internal arrangements a building, too, erected not by shares, but by donations. I trust, too, that it will be well supported by all classes in this neighbourhood, since all classes will benefit by it, directly or indirectly."

Bingley Hall in the 1850s

Much can be made of such a comment by Brookes, a figure who throughout his life desired to advance physical exercise and was concerned with the impact Industrial life was having upon the general population. Birmingham, through its industrialisation was certainly the type of place that Brookes was concerned about and potentially might explain why Birmingham was chosen as the location for the Games.

Following the parade and Brookes speech, the first events were in athletics, with contests for boys in the Under 14 and Under 17 Categories. The majority of winners were listed as coming from primarily ‘Birmingham’ or from the cities distinguished public school ‘King Edward’s’, although placings were achieved by boys from as far afield as Manchester, London and Norwich.

For men, the focus of the first day’s competition was ‘Tilting of the ring’. This event had become an integral part of the Wenlock Games and is described as being where “two small rings were suspended from a cross-bar, and at these the competitors rode at full gallop with pointed lances, the reward being his who could carry one of these rings away the most time out of a given number”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was a Much Wenlock man; T.E. Jukes who won here after hitting the rings three times and took home the ‘substantial’ sum of £20.

The second day primarily featured athletic contests for men, with short and middle distance running events. The ‘Birmingham Journal’ described that the ‘sky was cloudless’ and amongst the spectators ‘there was a large attendance of ladies’. The stars of the day were M.E. Jobling of the Northumberland Cricket Club, who took the one-mile race and half-mile steeplechase, while John Duckworth of Athletic Club Haslingden, won the High Standing Leap, Hurdle race and 100-yard flat race.

Also, part of the days programme was a wrestling match between two members of the German Gymnastic Society of London. The ‘Birmingham Journal’, described it as “one of the most marvellous performances of the day”:

"For nearly twenty minutes they tugged and bent, now separating for an instant, and watching each other like cats, to close in another fruitless attempt to gain the mastery. Lansbeger was repeatedly laid on his face, but a fall was never obtained by his opponent. It was announced amid cheers that the contest was a drawn one."

The third and final day of competition featured contests in athletics, cricket, gymnastics and swimming. The gymnastics was described in the Birmingham Journal as an ‘exhibition of skill and science in gymnastic exercises’ by the members of the London German Gymnastic Society, who won every event. The cricket match featured teams from King Edwards’s Grammar School and Birmingham Gymnastic Club, with the schoolboys coming out on top by 3 runs. The final activity of the Games was swimming, held at the Kent Street Swimming Baths with races across 116, 290 and 870 yards, which were all won by members of the London German Gymnastic Society.

Kent Street Baths and Interior

The Games concluded with an “Olympian Ball”, held in the Town Hall. The ‘Birmingham Journal’s final remarks upon the games as a ‘very successful festival, which has given a new impetus to the cultivation of manly and athletic accomplishments in the town.’

Birmingham Town Hall

Following the successful completion of the Games, Manchester was chosen to host the third edition of the Games in 1868. Problems with the venue ensured that the 1868 Festival was moved to Wellington, Shropshire. Conflict with the Amateur Athletic Club prevented many top athletes from competing in these ‘Olympics’ and despite later attempts at revival, this spelled the beginning of the end for the NOA. The Birmingham Olympics are perhaps the most successful Games it hosted and the organisation should be remembered for its attempts to bring together a number of sports in organised competition, a pioneering event that have paved the way for the events organised by the IOC and Commonwealth Games Federation.

Article prepared by Luke Harris.  Connect for more of Luke's articles. 

 

 

 

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50 passion points
Civic pride
11 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Lloyds Bank founded in Birmingham by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd

Did you know that one of the main banks in the UK was founded right here in Birmingham? The bankers was John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd based in Georgian Birmingham in the middle of the 18th century. There first bank was located in Dale End. Lloyd himself at one time lived in Old Square (when it was a Georgian square). A portrait of Sampson Lloyd is at the Birmingham History Galleries.

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Lloyds Bank founded in Birmingham by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd




Did you know that one of the main banks in the UK was founded right here in Birmingham? The bankers was John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd based in Georgian Birmingham in the middle of the 18th century. There first bank was located in Dale End. Lloyd himself at one time lived in Old Square (when it was a Georgian square). A portrait of Sampson Lloyd is at the Birmingham History Galleries.


Let's head to Georgian Birmingham town to about the 1760s. A bank was founded on Dale End by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd. Taylor was a cabinet maker, who set up a factory on Union Street to make "Brummagem toys", such as buttons and buckles. Lloyd was an iron manufacturer. Originally from Wales. Together they opened a bank in 1765 called Taylors & Lloyds at 7 Dale End.

The modern building on the site now has a McDonald's to the right. There used to be a Lloyds TSB at the far left side near Albert Street, but it closed down years ago. Built by the Seymour Harris Partnership in 1989-90. Dale End is not a very pleasant area of the City Centre now. There is a blue plaque there about the banks founding from the City of Birmingham (who put up blue plaques before the Birmingham Civic Society).

Heading over to Old Square. It used to be one of the grandest Georgian squares in the town centre (remember Birmingham didn't get City Status until 1889!) There is sculpture at one end of the square by Kenneth Budd, made in 1967. One section commemorates Sampson Lloyd who lived at No 13 Old Square in 1770. Calling him "Lloyd the Banker". The bank motif at the time was a beehive.

Over to the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery where we find a portrait of Sampson Lloyd. His Iron Works was on Edgbaston Street (where the Bullring is now). He was actually Sampson Lloyd II. Born in 1699, he died in 1779. He also lived at the Farm in Bordesley, now within Sparkbrook. English Heritage have a blue plaque on the house. I've not been there myself. Lloyd bought it in 1742. It's now a Grade II* listed building. It's located on Sampson Road within Farm Park.

Nearby is a map that shows John Taylor's Manufactory nearby on the High Street in Birmingham. Taylor was born in 1711 and died in 1775. He lived at Bordesley Hall, which was built for him in 1767. It was burnt down in 1791 during the Priestley Riots. It was near the Coventry Road in what is now part of Small Heath. The house was left as ruins well into the 19th century. The Union Street site of his manufactory was probably where Martineau Place is located now.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Architecture
09 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
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National Trust properties in Birmingham: Back to Backs and The Roundhouse

Currently the only National Trust property to visit in Birmingham is the Back to Backs on Hurst Street and Inge Street in the Chinese Quarter (near the Birmingham Hippodrome). Soon it might be possible to visit The Roundhouse near Sheepcote Street in Westside (and near the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline). I've not been in either (yet) but have exterior photos.

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National Trust properties in Birmingham: Back to Backs and The Roundhouse




Currently the only National Trust property to visit in Birmingham is the Back to Backs on Hurst Street and Inge Street in the Chinese Quarter (near the Birmingham Hippodrome). Soon it might be possible to visit The Roundhouse near Sheepcote Street in Westside (and near the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline). I've not been in either (yet) but have exterior photos.


Birmingham Back to Backs

The Back to Backs is located at 55 to 63 Hurst Street and 50 to 54 Inge Street in what is now Southside or the Chinese Quarter. The National Trust has run it as a museum since 2004. They are the only surviving back to backs of it's kind in Birmingham. The rest was long since demolished. Modern apartment buildings with shops now surrounds this block. I've not yet myself been inside of them, but hope to do so one day in the near future.

The Back to Backs was Grade II listed in 1988. Acording to the listing, the court of housing originally dated back to 1789, with alterations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Built of red brick with a Welsh slate roof. This block was Court 15. This is the general view from Hurst Street, with Inge Street being down the side.

A look at the Back to Backs from Inge Street towards The Old Fox pub that is now part of The Arcadian complex in the Chinese Quarter. There is a Subway shop to the right in the modern apartment block. The Inge family owned the land in the late 18th century, who leased the land for the building of these blocks of houses. They owned the west side of the street. The Gooch family owned the east side of Inge Street. Over 500 families had lived in Court 15.

Another view of the Inge Street side towards The Old Fox. Most residents still lived here until 1966 when they were requested to leave, as they were declared unfit for habitation. In 1995 Birmingham City Council commissioned the City of Hereford Archaeological Unit to survey and record the houses. The Birmingham Conservation Trust in collaboration with S. T. Walker & Duckham restored the buildings and it was opened to the public in 2004. Visits are pre-booked with a guided tour. So assume that you can't just show up and go in without pre-booking.

A close up look at one of the houses on Inge Street, next to the modern building on the right. This was number 50. Also known as 1 Court 15.

Those photos above were taken in June 2009, and I haven't really taken many new photos of the Back to Backs since then. During May 2018, the National Trust had altered the sign on the Hurst Street side for Birmingham Pride into the multicoloured gay colours. This was only temporary and when Pride was over, they eventually changed it back to the normal National Trust sign (which is in blue colours).

The Roundhouse

For years, I've been wondering what was going to happen to The Roundhouse. I first saw it in 2009 from the Birmingham Canal Navigations when it was derelict. It is a horseshoe shaped building at the corner of Sheepcote Street and St Vincent Street in Ladywood / Westside area of Birmingham City Centre. The National Trust in collaboration with owners the Canal & River Trust are restoring it, and hope to open the venue to the public sometime in 2019.

It is a Grade II* listed building dating to about 1840 (according to the listing). It was built for the London and North Western Railway as a mineral and coal wharf.  Red brick with slate roofs. The National Trust's information says that it was built in 1874, designed by local architect WH Ward, who won a competition organised by the Birmingham Corporation (am not sure which information is correct i.e.1840 or 1874).

The Fiddle & Bone pub seen on Sheepcote Street when it was closed for years due to noise complaints from local residents. This view from February 2013. It later reopened in 2015, but it wasn't successful and was replaced by The Distillery in 2017.

The corner of the site from St Vincent Street. Sheepcote Street is to the left. The main gate at the corner was usually closed. This view from February 2013, when The Roundhouse was at the time For Sale / To Let. I think at one point part of the site was used by a nursery. A house to the west of here is Grade II listed. Built in 1885 of red brick with some blue trim and slate roofs. The Storage Cottage is also Grade II listed from 1885, red brick and slate roof. That's a little bit further up St Vincent Street.

A look through the gates at the courtyard of The Roundhouse. You can clearly see that it looks like a horse shoe! There is a ramp going down with the speed limit at 10 mph. This view also seen from February 2013. The National Trust is spending £2.5 million to restore the 19th century gem from the roof to the cobbles. They are also installing a beautiful 'oriel' window onto the canalside.

The Distillery seen at The Roundhouse from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline during October 2017. The Sheepcote Street bridge is to the right. The pub was the first building to be restored, many years before the National Trust became involved with the building, when the Fiddle & Bone pub as it was reopened in 2015. I was hoping that a Canal Museum could open here, similar to the London Canal Museum (I went there back in August 2015). Perhaps they could have model narrowboats inside, or show how The Roundhouse worked back in it's 19th century heyday.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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Architecture
05 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Landmarks of Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich and London

A look at a small selection of landmarks I've seen in Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich and London. In the past have been on weekends to these cities. Although Norwich was during a couple of weeks holidays in April 2010 and July 2011. Liverpool was October 2013. Nottingham was November 2014. Various weekends to London between 2009 and 2016. Too much to see in one weekend.

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Landmarks of Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich and London




A look at a small selection of landmarks I've seen in Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich and London. In the past have been on weekends to these cities. Although Norwich was during a couple of weeks holidays in April 2010 and July 2011. Liverpool was October 2013. Nottingham was November 2014. Various weekends to London between 2009 and 2016. Too much to see in one weekend.


Liverpool

This is the Three Graces in Liverpool. They are near the Liverpool Waterfront at Pier Head. Seen during October 2013. From left to right: the Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and The Port of Liverpool Building. Two of them are Grade II* listed buildings while one is Grade I listed. They are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City.

The Royal Liver Building was built from 1908 to 1910 by Aubrey Thomas. Has a concrete frame with granite cladding. 8 storeys and 2 storeys of attics. Was built as the head office of the Royal Liver Assurance Company. It is a Grade I listed building. There is a pair copper sculptures on top of the liver birds.

The Cunard Building was built from 1913 to 1916 by Willink and Thicknessse. Portland stone with 6 storeys. It is a Grade II* listed building

The Port of Liverpool Building was built in 1907 by Arnold Thornely. Made of Portland stone with 5 storeys and a basement. It is a Grade II* listed building

A look at one corner of the Albert Dock in Liverpool.  Also known as The Royal Albert Dock. The dock was designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick and opened in 1846. It is on the Liverpool Waterfront and part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Was the first structure in Britain to be built of cast iron, brick and stone with no wood. It gained it's Royal status in 2018. All parts of the dock are Grade I listed buildings. The dock was used for TV's This Morning from 1988 to 1996. In this photo is Warehouse D and E. The Merseyside Maritime Museum is in Warehouse D (on the left), while the Edward Pavilion is in Warehouse E (on the right).

Nottingham

The Nottingham Council House is located in the Old Market Square in Nottingham. Seen in November 2014 while A Nottingham Winter Wonderland was on (Nottingham's equivelant of a Christmas Market and ice rink). The Nottingham Express Transit (tram system) runs up and down the South Parade to Cheapside. There is a tram stop at Old Market Square. It is a Grade II* listed building and also includes a shopping arcade to the back. Built from 1924 to 1929, the architect was T. Cecil Howitt. It was built for Nottingham City Council. Built in the Baroque Revival style. It was built on the site of Nottingham's Exchange Hall (which was built there from 1724 to 1726).

The Theatre Royal is on Upper Parliament Street in Nottingham. It is a Grade II listed building dating to 1865. The original architects was CJ Phipps for W & J Lambert. It was remodelled in 1897 to 1898 by Frank Matcham for Robert Arthur and Henry Moss. A later restoration and remodelling took place during 1976 to 1978 by the Renton Howard Wood Levin Partnership. The theatre closed in 1969 when the city council bought the theatre. It was reopened in 1978 after the restoration of the building. The theatre is near the Nottingham Express Transit, and Royal Centre tram stop is nearby. Seen below on a rainy day in November 2014.

Norwich

A look at Norwich Castle. The castle was built in the early 12th century. But a castle was founded here in 1067 by William the Conquerer in the form of a motte and bailey castle. The castle is a Grade I listed building. It was refaced in the 1830s and converted to a museum in the 1880s. Now the home of the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery. It resembles a Tower Keep. Castle Mall is also nearby to the castle and museum. Norwich Castle is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument. This visit to the castle was during April 2010.

From the bottom of Elm Hill in Norwich. Seen during July 2011. It is a historic cobbled lane. Many buildings date back to the Tudor period. It is one of Norwich's famous landmarks. Elm Hill was almost demolished in 1926, but was saved in 1927 by the Norwich Society, who did a survey of the buildings and gave recommendations to the Norwich Corporation. Renovation works started that same year in 1927.

Seen here on the left is the Elm Hill Craft Shop near The Monastery. There is a plaque here for Father Ignatius who founded an independent Benedictine monastery here in 1864. After two difficult years it was dispersed. It is Grade II listed at 12 - 16 Elm Hill. A timber-framed building. Also rendered.

London

A visit to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London during October 2012. A panoramic of the museum with both wings. The museum is on the site of the former Greenwich Royal Hospital School. It opened in 1937. The Royal Hospital School moved to Suffolk in 1933. The museum was founded in 1934. The museum was upgraded in 1999. A Grade I listed building. Built 1807 to 1816 by David Alexander. It is connected to The Queen's House. It is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site Maritime Greenwich.

A visit to the British Museum during August 2015 on a rainy day outside (nice and dry inside). Panoramic of the museum exterior. It is on the Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury, London. The London Borough is Camden. The museum is massive, so many things to see, but eventually you would get tired, and it feels like there is too much to see in one go. The building is Grade I listed and was built from 1823 to 1847. The architect was Sir Robert Smirke and it was made of Portland stone. Built in the Greek Revival style.There is a East Wing (built 1823 to 1826), a West Wing (built 1831 to 1834), a North Wing (built 1833 to 1838) and a South Range (built 1842 to 1847). Montague House the original museum was demolished in 1840. The library was detached from the museum in 1973 to form the separate British Library. The Queen Elizabeth II Great Court opened in 2000.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
History & heritage
04 Jan 2019 - FreeTimePays
Activity for you

Photography tour of St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham - Sat 26th Jan 2019 - limited numbers!

This is a restricted tour with limited numbers, so please email event organiser for more details and to register.
26 Jan 2019
11am

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Civic pride
03 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

William McGregor: Director of Aston Villa and Founder of the Football League

There has been a statue outside of Villa Park in Aston. It is of William McGregor, who in the late 19th century was a Director of Aston Villa from the late 1870s. He later became the clubs Chairman from the late 1890s. He was also the Founder of the Football League in 1888. The statue can be found near the Trinity Road Stand. This post will also look at the 4 stands of Villa Park.

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William McGregor: Director of Aston Villa and Founder of the Football League




There has been a statue outside of Villa Park in Aston. It is of William McGregor, who in the late 19th century was a Director of Aston Villa from the late 1870s. He later became the clubs Chairman from the late 1890s. He was also the Founder of the Football League in 1888. The statue can be found near the Trinity Road Stand. This post will also look at the 4 stands of Villa Park.


William McGregor

A statue was unveiled outside of Villa Park, the home ground of Aston Villa F.C. in November 2009. It was of William McGregor, one of the earliest Directors of Aston Villa, and later the Chairman of the club. It was he who proposed the forming of a league in 1888 which became the first professionally organised football league in the world! At the time I took my photos in January 2010, and a few years later in September 2012, Villa were still in the Premier League (before they were relegated to the Championship in 2016). But this post is not about Aston Villa's form in the various leagues they have been in, more about William McGregor and the stadium Villa Park.

To find the statue of William McGregor first look for these gates with a pair of bronze lions on either side. The lions were there until at least 2016. Looking on Google Maps Street View the lions were missing in 2017. Anyway look through the gates, or the railings along Trinity Road and you will see the statue near the Trinity Road reception entrance of the Trinity Road stand.

William McGregor was born in Braco, Perthshire, Scotland in 1846. He died in Birmingham in 1911 aged only 65. When he moved to Birmingham from Perth, he set up a drapery business in Aston in about 1870. Aston Villa was formed in 1874, and he first became involved with the new club in 1877, at first to become a committee member of the club. He became a member of the club's board of directors, and Villa started winning cups in the 1880s. He became Vice-Chairman of the club in 1895 and finally Chairman by 1897. He was responsible for the club adopting the lion as their symbol, based on the lion of the Royal Standard of Scotland as their crest.

In 1888 William McGregor wrote to various other big clubs at the time proposing to form the first Football League in England. 10 clubs were the first members of the league, including West Bromwich Albion. Initially clubs in the south weren't interested in the league, but eventually 12 teams kicked off the first league in September 1888. McGregor proposed the name of "The Association Football Union", but it sounded to much like the Rugby Football Union, so they instead called it The Football League. McGregor became the first Chairman of the Football League and oversaw the creation of a Football League with two divisions. He stepped down, he was elected honorary President until he stepped down by 1894. He was the first ever life member of the League in 1895.

The bronze statue was unveiled in November 2009, and it was sculpted by Sam Holland. He took references from life photos and a portrait in the McGregor Suite. The statue is on a red brick plinth. McGregor is holding a cane (walking stick) and a pamphlet.

The following information about the stands was taken from Football Grounds Guide.

A look at the Trinity Road Stand on the approach past the houses on Trinity Road in Aston. This stand was first built in 1996 in time for Euro '96 (the European Football Championships 1996 which were held in England at the time). The stand was rebuilt to three tiers by 2001 including a row of executive boxes.

A close up of the Trinity Road Stand from Trinity Road in Aston. On the side it says ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL CLUB in big letters. In the middle was the club badge with the lion and a star. This side of the stadium is close to Aston Park. There is a nearby path entrance into the park that leads up to Aston Hall. The hall is normally closed on match days, and open on all other days.

Next up a look at The Holte End. It was opened in the 1994/95 season and is a two tiered structure. It holds about 13,500 supporters. The building near the car park appears to be much older. It has Aston Villa painted on the side with the clubs badge (it might be tiled).

There is steps leading up to the stand from the car park. Not too far away from the stand, at the other end of the car park is The Holte public house, at the corner of Trinity Road and Witton Lane. The Holte End and The Holte pub were named after Sir Thomas Holte, who lived at Aston Hall during the 17th century. The stadium was originally called The Aston Lower Grounds. Was formerly part of Aston Hall's grounds, and a Kitchen Garden used to be on the site of Villa Park.

Next we head up Witton Lane in Aston. The next stand is the Doug Ellis Stand. It was originally called the Witton Lane Stand. It was rebuilt in 1993 and it replaced an older structure. There was a minor refurbishment for the European Football Championships in 1996  (Euro '96). It was named after the former Chairman Doug Ellis (1924-2018). Seen here from Witton Lane Gardens during September 2012.

Sir Doug Ellis used to own Aston Villa and was Chairman in two stints. His first stint as Chairman was from 1968 to 1975. He was a major shareholder and on the board until he was ousted in 1979. He returned as Chairman in 1982 (in his absence Villa had won the Football League title in 1981 and the European Cup in 1982). He sold the club to Randy Lerner in 2006. This stand also has ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL CLUB in big letters. It is visible from the Aston Expressway A38(M) and from the M6 (if travelling in a car or on a coach).

The final stand is the oldest stand at Villa Park. The North Stand was built in the 1970s but still looks modern. It is two tiered and about the same height as the other stands. There is a double row of executive boxes running across the middle. This stand is usually used by away fans. It is also close to Witton Lane. It is a short distance walk from here to Witton Station.

The club had planning permission to rebuild the North Stand, but it hasn't happened yet. The owners of the club has changed several times in recent years and what with Villa's relegation, it probably wasn't a priority. If it was to be rebuilt it would increase capacity of the stadium to 51,000.

A bonus building, The Holte public house at the corner of Trinity Road and Witton Lane in Aston. A Victorian building dating to 1897. It was built as The Holte Hotel. It used to have 10 bedrooms, a 400 capacity music hall, billiard rooms and two bowling greens. It has the same name as The Holte End (see further up this post). See this article from 2007 for more information Aston Villa restores Holte Hotel.

Villa fans used the pub up until the 1970s. But it was boarded up and derelict for 28 years until Villa's owner from 2006 to 2016 Randy Lerner and his team agreed to a restoration. The pub reopened in 2007. For most fans approaching from Aston Station, or from the M6 motorway, it is the first building they see when they get to Villa Park. It's also visible from the Aston Expressway A38(M) when passing over Witton Lane.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown around the outskirts of Villa Park during January 2010 and September 2012.

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History & heritage
02 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall

It's not just Blakesley Hall that you can visit in Yardley. If you get the 11A or 11C to Stoney Lane, get off the bus, and take the short walk to Old Yardley Village. Here you will find St Edburgha's Church, the Parish Church of Yardley, as well as The Trust School, a timber framed building, with the school dating to medieval times. Various period houses surround the churchyard.

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Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall




It's not just Blakesley Hall that you can visit in Yardley. If you get the 11A or 11C to Stoney Lane, get off the bus, and take the short walk to Old Yardley Village. Here you will find St Edburgha's Church, the Parish Church of Yardley, as well as The Trust School, a timber framed building, with the school dating to medieval times. Various period houses surround the churchyard.


Old Yardley Village is located in the east of Birmingham. It is to the north east of South Yardley and the Coventry Road. Stechford is to the north beyond the village. The heart of the village is St Edburgha's Church. These photos were taken in the winter of 2009 / 2010, and were taken in January 2010. I have been back to the area since, popping into Old Yardley Park. Just my snowy photos back then were so perfect, didn't feel the need to retake photos of the buildings in other seasons or without the snow.

The first view of St Edburgha's Church is usually from the walk up Church Road. It is a Grade I listed building and is part of the Old Yardley conservation area. One of the oldest churches in Birmingham, it dates back to at least the 13th century. Originally part of the Diocese of Lichfield it was built by Aston Church. It was named after King Alfred's granddaughter Edburgha. The majority of the building was built during the 14th and 15th centuries.

The church was made of sandstone. It has a nave, aisles, transepts and chancel. The pulpit dates to the 17th century. The west window was made by John Hardman and Company in 1892. Various monuments from the 15th to 19th centuries.

The church did look nice surrounded by snow, but it's not like that every winter, depending on if it snows or not. Would say it last got a covering of snow in March 2018 during the Beast from the East. There is a monument to Rev Dr Henry Greswolde from after 1700 in the chancel that is apparently unusual (not seen it myself).

Trees surround the church in the churchyard. The landscaped grounds of the church are grassed, I don't think that there is any graves around the church building. In spring / summer there are flower beds. Is also a selection of benches around to sit down on.

I originally did a post about the old Grammar Schools in Yardley and Kings Norton. Link to that post is here The Old Grammar Schools of Kings Norton and Yardley. But will repost those photos here with more details below.

I will expand the part about the Old Grammar School in Old Yardley here. Seen during the snow of January 2010. There is evidence of their being a school on this site since about 1260. The building probably dates to the 15th century. Originally built as a Guild Hall. The last school master was W Sutherns. The school closed in 1908 and it's now used as parish rooms. It belongs to the Yardley Parish Church.

It is a Grade II* listed building also known as The Trust School. It was formerly listed as The Old Grammar School. It is a timber-framed building with close studding. It has two storeys. Other sections have red bricks and the building has a tiled roof. As well as the Trust School, it also included no's 422 and 424 Church Road in Yardley.

This front view of the former school with a black plaque. You can also call it the Old Trust School now. Old Yardley Park has an entrance to the right of the building. The entrance to the churchyard of St Edburgha's Church is to the left.

The side view of the Trust School / Old Grammar School. Snow was covering the roof at the time. There is at least four chimneys on the roof. This view from the snow covered churchyard of St Edburgha's Church.

Seen from the churchyard of St Edburgha's Church is no's 422 and 424 Church Road. They are part of the same building as The Trust School (The Old Grammar School). No. 422 is on the far right. It's upper floors is timber framed and that was part of the school. The ground floor is painted brick. The rest of the house is to the left and dates to the 19th century, also painted brick.

No 424 is to the far left of the building. It has red brick and a tiled roof and dates to the 19th century. Two storeys. It is not as wide as no 422 to the right of it. Both 422 and 424 were the Schoolmasters House of the late 19th century. Yardley's churchyard was cleared of upright gravestones in 1959, only one remains. That of the schoolmaster James Chell in the south-east corner. Both houses are part of the same Grade II* listing as The Trust School.

The following information is taken from the Yardley Conservation Society.

First up is 390 Church Road. It was formerly a pub called The Talbot. The building is Grade II listed and dates to the 18th century. Behind the former pub is Old Yardley Park. It has painted brick with a tiled roof. Was probably used as a pub during the 19th century. It is now a private house.Since I took this in January 2010, the house has been repainted white all over. And it appears that the current owners have changed the front door. The Yardley Conservation Society (link above) says that the Trustees of the Charity Estates visited the pub to distribute dole money.

The former General Store was at 431 Church Road in Old Yardley Village until sometime during the 1960s. It's now just a private home. A Grade II listed building dating to the 18th century. Pebbledashed with an all tile roof. It is to the left of The Cottagers Institute.

Next up is a building dated to 1882. The Cottagers Institute is at 433 Church Road. It was set up by Ebenezer Hoskins of The Grange to teach gardening and industrial skills to local people. It was a meeting hall to encourage gardening and industrial work for the villagers. It was previously the site of The Ring of Bells public house. Now I think it is just a private home. When it was available to let back in 2010 it was described as Commercial Premises.

 

Penny Cottage is at 435 Church Road. Built in 1826 by the Yardley Charity Trust for a local blacksmith, John Leake. It was restored in 1980. It is a Grade II listed building. Red brick with a tiled roof. Two storeys.

Houses from 437 to 443 Church Road. These brick built houses were built in 1895 to replace six early 19th century cottages, which themselves had replaced an earlier farmhouse. Construction of them may have begun after 1894. Church Terrace is nearby.

A pair of white painted brick houses at 445 and 447 Church Road. Just beyond Church Terrace. They began life in the late 18th century as a malthouse but was converted into cottages by the 1850s. Also Grade II listed buildings. Painted brick with a tiled roof.

This barn is to the east of 451 Church Road. A Grade II listed building from the early 19th century. A reminder that this used to be a rural village surrounded by farms. It was the third barn. Red brick with a tiled roof. No 453 Church Road is phyically attached to this barn. The windows are boarded up, so I'm not sure if it's being used in a long time. All these buildings belong to the Old Yardley Village Conservation Area, so they are protected.

 

Photos taken in January 2010 by Elliott Brown.

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