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History & heritage
16 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Up the Belfry in St Paul's in the Jewellery Quarter: Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2016)

It's now Birmingham Heritage Week again and time for another throw back post. Back in September 2016 I went to St Paul's Church in St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter and went up the Belfry (bell tower). Sometime after 2pm on the 10th September 2016. The spiral staircase is nerve wrangling going up and down. The bell tower was free to go up. More heritage posts soon.

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Up the Belfry in St Paul's in the Jewellery Quarter: Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2016)





It's now Birmingham Heritage Week again and time for another throw back post. Back in September 2016 I went to St Paul's Church in St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter and went up the Belfry (bell tower). Sometime after 2pm on the 10th September 2016. The spiral staircase is nerve wrangling going up and down. The bell tower was free to go up. More heritage posts soon.


For my St Paul's Church album on Flickr follow this link St Paul's Church for the Jewellery Quarter.

The Heritage Open Day was held during Birmingham Heritage Week on the 10th September 2016, shortly after 2pm. I arrived too early, so first went to the Pen Room for the free open day there, before coming back.

St Paul's Church was built in 1777, the tower was added around 1822 to 1823. New bells were installed in 2005 during the 250th anniversary of the St Martin's Guild.

Balloons were outside St Paul's Church in St Paul's Square.

Welcome to Saint Paul's. I was at the time hoping to get a photo of the main church hall area, but didn't, and was then later people in the way by the time I left.

Time to head up the spiral staircase. Last time I did this was at the former St Mary's Church in Lichfield, during a spire climb (with a guide). Every time I went up one of these church spiral staircases it felt so weird (this was 3 years ago).

The room with ropes which they use to ring the bells. They gave a talk and showed visitors how they pull the ropes.

One of three clock faces in the room. Only little windows, so not sure it's possible to get close to them to look out of them, or to take photos out of the windows.

The members of St Paul's Church ring the bells pulling the ropes up and down. I have videos on my Flickr if you want to see them (link to album at the top).

A bell model.

Bell ropes in the training room, I think this was on the floor below.

Another of the bell rope for training.

Back down the spiral staircase.

Keep going down.

And down until you get to the bottom.

It's been years since I've been up or down spiral staircases in churches. But have been up and down the equivelant in castles (not in Birmingham). Last year went to a couple of castles in North Wales, and that didn't feel as nervous as going up a spiral staircase in a church!

 

Sunday 15th September 2019 update: For this weekend: on Saturday 14th September 2019, I went to Selly Manor In Bournville, then walked towards the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Prince Lazar (directions via Google Maps). On Sunday afternoon, went back to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston. It was quite packed. May do a post on these visits soon?

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Photography
05 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Marvellous Machines by Rowland Emett: Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (May 2014)

This exhibition was held by the Rowland Emett Society from the 10th May to 21st September 2014 in the Gas Hall at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Entry was for a £5 ticket either on the reception desk outside the Gas Hall or online (at the time 5 years ago).

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Marvellous Machines by Rowland Emett: Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (May 2014)





This exhibition was held by the Rowland Emett Society from the 10th May to 21st September 2014 in the Gas Hall at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Entry was for a £5 ticket either on the reception desk outside the Gas Hall or online (at the time 5 years ago).


Rowland Emett's connection to Birmingham was, while he was born in London, he went to schools in Birmingham, including at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts. A blue plaque in the Jewellery Quarter unveiled in 2014, marks the site where he worked in the 1920s.

The exhibition titled "Marvellous Machines - The Wonderful World of Rowland Emett" was held at the Gas Hall at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from the 10th May to the 21st September 2014. I visited on the 11th May 2014 (the second day that it was open to the public). The ticket was only £5 to enter from the Gas Hall reception desk (or online).

For my full gallery of photos on Flickr please visit this link Marvellous Machines by Rowland Emett. I also have video clips in that gallery as well.

A quiet afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley

'A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley' is the last and biggest of Emett's works completed in 1984. It brings together many of the themes that appeared in his works over his career. Emett died only six years later.

Wm Hake Lobsters Bathing & Swimming.

Two colliding trains.

One of the two colliding trains. This one was on the left.

The other colliding train on the right.

Cows and man on a harp!

Man on a bike.

Emett's World

Featherstone Kite made in 1962.

Maud Lunacycle made in 1970.

Fairway Birdie made in 1983

Machines from the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The Husha-Bye Hot-Air Rocking Chair.

The 'Hush-A-Bye Hot Air Rocking Chair' featured in the scene where Caractacus Potts, played by Dick Van Dyke, discovered the ability of the Humbug Major to produce musical 'Toot Sweets'.

The Humbug Major Sweet Machine

The Humbug Major was the sweet making machine that accidentally produced musical 'Toot Sweets'.

Little Dragon Carpet Sweeper

The Little Dragon Carpet Sweeper was used to demonstrate the impracticality of Potts' machines. Rather than clean the carpet it tended to suck it up whole.

Clockwork Lullabye Machine.

The Clockwork Lullabye Machine featured in the bedtime scene in the film when the twins Jeremy and Jemina are drifting off to sleep to its music.

Bonus photo taken at Millennium Point in June 2014. This Rowland Emett machine was seen in the foyer. Not far from Thinktank. It was there while the exhibition was on at the Gas Hall 5 years ago.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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40 passion points
Transport
03 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Severn Valley Railway over the years: from Kidderminster Town to Bridgnorth

Ahead of my trip on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway a look back at the Severn Valley Railway between Kidderminster Town (Worcestershire) and Bridgnorth (Shropshire). I've only been on it during a day out back in August 2006. My last time to Kidderminster by train was September 2016 (but not on the SWR). More recently saw the line from Arley Arboretum.

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Severn Valley Railway over the years: from Kidderminster Town to Bridgnorth





Ahead of my trip on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway a look back at the Severn Valley Railway between Kidderminster Town (Worcestershire) and Bridgnorth (Shropshire). I've only been on it during a day out back in August 2006. My last time to Kidderminster by train was September 2016 (but not on the SWR). More recently saw the line from Arley Arboretum.


The Severn Valley Railway runs between Kidderminster in Worcestershire to Bridgnorth in Shropshire. It is a 16 mile heritage line. Part of the Beeching cut's of the late 1960s, the line closed in 1963. The Severn Valley Railway Preservation Society was formed in 1965, and they bought the line reopening it in stages between 1970 and 1984.

Kidderminster Town Station

I got a train from my local station in Birmingham to Kidderminster Station, mainly to have a look around the town centre in early September 2016, so wasn't there for the Severn Valley Railway. But got some photos of Kidderminster Town Station of the SVR while I was there. This billboard also advertising the Kidderminster Railway Museum.

Seen from Kidderminster Station while still under London Midland. A look at the carriages at Kidderminster Town Station. Was also old freight waggons in the background as well.

Can just about see a steam locomotive buffing away on ther right. Bit hard to see from the modern station on the Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster line.

The Kidderminster Railway Museum. I didn't go in there on my last visit to Kidderminster. This was after my walk around the town, and was now back at Kidderminster Station to get my train home. I do hope to go on the Severn Valley Railway again in the future, just not got around to it (not checked out how much a ticket costs).

Bewdley Station

My first and so far only journey on the Severn Valley Railway was on a day out back in August 2006 (13 years ago!). Didn't have my own camera back then, used my brothers compact camera (wasn't into photography back then). This diesel locomotive with 2D12 on it to "Banbury" (well not here).

No. 51941/50933/52064/56208/59250. Ex-British Railways. Class: 108 DMU. Owner: DMU Group (West Midlands)
Notes: based at Bewdley - undergoing repairs before further use. Details from Meet our locos.

Also saw this steam locotive with carriages behind it.

Not sure of the number as didn't get it in my old photos back in 2006 but think it was ex British Railways.

Carriage on the left numbered 52255. Not clear from here what number the steam locomotive was though.

Some more of the carriages. Must be ex LNER. Middle carriage numbered 24105.

Arley Station

On a visit to Arley Arboretum at the beginning of September 2019, could hear the whistles of nearby steam trains. Must be the Severn Valley Railway! The Severn View Point was on the walk past the trees towards the Grove Coppice at the arboretum in Arley. This diesel locomotive heading towards Arley Station is D9551, known as 'Angus'. Ex-British Railways. Built in 1965. Owned by the Severn Valley Railway Class 14 Company Ltd. Normally based at Bridgnorth. Details from Meet the locos.

Waited a few minutes for the next train, before I saw 7714 heading towards Bridgnorth having just left Arley. Ex-Great Western Railway, built in 1930, owned by the SVR Pannier Tank Fund. Details from Meet the Locos.

Later on after a walk around the arboretum, headed to the Severn View after passing The Well, just before going up the Laburnum Arch. First train I saw heading into Arley Station was 2857. Ex-Great Western Railway, built in 1918, Class 2800, owned by the 2857 Society. Details from Meet the Locos.

After that train had left Arley, then saw this train head out of Arley towards Bridgnorth. 4144, Ex-British Railways. Direction facing Kidderminster. It is on hire from Didcot Railway Centre until November 2019. Details from Meet the Locos.

Bridgnorth Station

Heading back to Bridgnorth Station during August 2006. We had gone to look at the ruins of Bridgnorth Castle in the Bridgnorth Town Park. Don't really remember much about this visit, other than we must have walked over this footbrige and around the road. Then gone into the park and then walked back to the station.

My only decent photos of the trains at Bridgnorth was from this viewpoint. Don't think I took any photos of the trains from the platforms at this station. Well not until we got to Bewdley.

In this view was too many trees in the way of the trains to see them. Didn't really take much photos of trains back then. Didn't really start taking trains photos again until 2009, after I lost my brother in late 2008 (on my own camera).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
02 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A tour (over the years) of the galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Before 2012 I wasn't sure if you could take photos inside Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery so took some but not much. But when the Birmingham Museums Trust took over from the council, photo restrictions were relaxed and it was now ok to take photos in the galleries (unless you were told not to). Some of the permenant galleries have changed over the years.

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A tour (over the years) of the galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery





Before 2012 I wasn't sure if you could take photos inside Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery so took some but not much. But when the Birmingham Museums Trust took over from the council, photo restrictions were relaxed and it was now ok to take photos in the galleries (unless you were told not to). Some of the permenant galleries have changed over the years.


Enter the museum at the Chamberlain Square entrance. And head up the stairs. You go around this ellaborate entrance hall. This view from April 2012. This quote from Pevsner "The upper landing with covered ceiling and square rooflight".

The Round Room seen in March 2012. There are paintings around the room. This view towards the Chamberlain Square exit / entrance. The shop and the Industrial Gallery are to the left. In the centre of the room is Jabob Epstein's Lucifer. This description from Pevsner "The impressive Round Room, with plain walls for hanging pictures and a low conical glass roof above a strapwork band of circles and hexagons".

We now enter the Industrial Gallery. In this view below from March 2012 looking up to the ceiling. There is steps to the floor above where you can see Ruskin pottery. The following quote from Pevsner: "The Industrial Gallery is all in exposed ironwork: seven aisled bays with columns in two tiers, semicircular arcades and cross-arches in the aisles, larger semicircular trusses supporting the roof, all of them exposed I-beams with the rivets prominent. Like a classical version of the Oxford Museum; but the immediate inspiration must be J.H. Chamberlain's Board Schools. Huge pendant  gas burners. T-plan staircase of 1893, with a different design of railings".

Another view of the Industrial Gallery but from the floor with Ruskin Pottery during April 2012. The gift shop is just beyond the archway. They also have up here: Wedgwood pottery, English pottery, English Porcelain, De Morgan Pottery, Worcester Porcelain and others. The Soho House Sphinxes are now back at Soho House.

Now above the Edwardian Tea Room. This floor has metalworks such as gates and iron objects. Also steel plates, candlesticks and cups. This view from April 2012.

A look at the Edwardian Tea Room as it was during April 2012. The room outside used to be the Buddha Gallery, but is now the Mini Museum for kids (there is a new Faith Gallery in another part of the museum now). Here's a quote from Pevsner: "The present Tea Room has a cantilevered iron gallery and impressive, slightly Romanesque, details e.g. blind arcading with paired colonnettes".

The Edwardian Tea Room was given a new look and I went up to the Metalworks Gallery during August 2014 for a look below. All new furniture, tables and chairs. It can get quite busy in here. But if you don't want to come in here, there is also a new cafe just on the other side of the link bridge.

The Link Bridge between the 1885 built museum and the Council House Extension completed in about 1911. I found it to be empty during January 2019. but there are normally pictures on the walls, but BM & AG staff rotate what they put in here quite a lot. Oh and that new cafe is at the far end of here, to the left, if you were wondering. Sit inside, or sit on the seats outside of it.

In November 2018, I found this gallery with blue walls to be completely empty. It was between temporary exhibitions. Modern British Art may have been in here before. By January 2019 they were decorating this gallery, and it opened for a short while in late January 2019 as "Too Cute! Sweet is about to get Sinister" Curated by Rachel Maclean. It opened on the 26th January and it ran until the 12th May 2019. Saw it myself during February 2019.

Now a look at some temporary exhibitions in the main galleries. This was called The Past is Now - Birmingham and the British Empire. I saw it during January 2018.

New Art West Midlands seen in one of the galleries during April 2013. This sculpture is called: Man and his Sheep 1989 by Ana Maria Pacheco. Wood, paint, teeth. The artist is from Brazil. Seven figures huddle around an almost naked man holding a sheep's head on a pole. This sculpture is now back in one of the galleries at BM & AG after coming out of storage.

In the Modern British Art gallery during January 2013. This is the Rock Drill Reconstruction made in 1974, based on the original of 1913-15. It was designed by Sir Jacob Epstein (1880 - 1959). Made of Polyester resin, metals and wood. Epstein created his original in 1913. It was a life-size plaster figure of a visored robotic man seated upon an actual rock drill. It was shown briefly in 1915 before being dismantled. This is a reconstruction made in 1974 from Epstein's studio photographs. It was presented to the museum in 1982. Epstein destroyed his original Rock Drill, but there are still photos of the original Rock Drill by Jacob Epstein.

This is the Ancient Egypt Gallery as seen during March 2012. There is a set of friezes around this room. At the time the gallery below featured artifacts from Ancient Greece & Rome, but BM & AG later turned that gallery into the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery. So I'm not quite sure where those objects have gone (if they are still in the museum, or moved to the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre). These galleries are quite close to the Great Charles Street Queensway entrance (now no longer in use).

The second Staffordshire Hoard Gallery as seen from above from the Ancient Egypt Gallery (the one with the friezes all around). Seen for the first time during October 2014. It opened on the 17th October 2014, and this photo was taken the following day on the 18th October 2014. I've not taken close up photos of the hoard pieces (not sure if you are allowed to do so). As when the old gallery was open, I don't think they allowed photos of the pieces of the hoard.

Going back to March 2012 and this gallery with historical objects relating to African History. Around the room is this  plaster cast of the Frieze of the Nereid Monument (original in the British Museum dated to 380 B.C.). Gallery 33 is below.

A look at Gallery 33 during March 2012. From the same gallery above with the African artifacts and the frieze. It was an exhibition about the way people live, beliefs, values, customs and art from around the world. In recent years this gallery has been closed off to the public. Seem to use it for storage, photo shoots and other things.

There used to be an entrance on Great Charles Street Queensway (the doors are still there), but when Paradise Birmingham started (the roadworks) that entrance was closed off. Since the roadworks were completed the entrance has remained closed (so Edmund Street or Chamberlain Square are the only other entrances still in use to this day). But I have used it in the past. One of my earliest photos of this Forward coat of arms stained glass window from the steps during July 2009.

A zoom in of the Forward coat of arms from the staircase near the Great Charles Street Queensway entrance during April 2012.

Another window seen on the same day during April 2012. This one with the Forward shield of Birmingham.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Civic pride
29 Aug 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Watt in the World: The Life and Legacy of James Watt, 1736-1819

There is an exhibition on from the 12th July to 2nd November 2019 at the Library of Birmingham in The Gallery on Level 3 about James Watt (1736-1819). He died 200 years ago so it is the bicentenary of his death. Organised by The Lunar Society. It is 10 years since a Matthew Boulton exhibition in the Gas Hall (he died in 1809).

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Watt in the World: The Life and Legacy of James Watt, 1736-1819





There is an exhibition on from the 12th July to 2nd November 2019 at the Library of Birmingham in The Gallery on Level 3 about James Watt (1736-1819). He died 200 years ago so it is the bicentenary of his death. Organised by The Lunar Society. It is 10 years since a Matthew Boulton exhibition in the Gas Hall (he died in 1809).


Watt in the World

Head up to Level 3 in the Library of Birmingham for Watt in the World: The Life and Legacy of James Watt, 1736-1819.

James Watt (1736-1819) Life and Legacy. The portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), 1812. Was commissioned by James Watt junior.

A quote by William Wordsworth on Watt: 'Considering both the magnitude and the universality of his genius .... perhaps the most extraordinary man this country has ever produced ...'

Marble bust of James Watt you would see as you walk into The Gallery. Perhaps the same one that is at Soho House? Behind the 1812 portrait of James Watt by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Model of the Soho Lap Engine by David Hulse. The Soho Lap Engine was built in 1788 to provide power to make coins at Matthew Boulton's Soho Manufactory.

The Soho Lap Engine - it was projected on the wall.

The Boulton & Watt Steam Engine. Here was some drawings of Boulton & Watts steam engine.

James Watt's Legacy. One of these pictures was a Japanese print. Also shows the statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch (which is still in storage until it eventually gets placed in the new look Centenary Square - when I don't know).

James Watt and Popular Culture. Various objects in the tables under the glass. Also History West Midlands: The Power to Change the World.

Portrait of Matthew Boulton by Sir William Beechey, 1810. Watt commissioned this version of Sir William Beechley's 1798 portrait of Boulton shortly after the death of his friend in 1809. It was originally displayed at Heathfield Hall, but after Watt's death James Watt junior moved it to Aston Hall where it was hung opposite Beechley's portrait of his father.

Portrait of James Watt by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), 1812. James Watt junior commissioned Sir Thomas Lawrence to paint this portrait of his father. Watt junior had never liked Sir William Beechley's early 1801 portrait, but in order not to offend Beechley he asked his friend George Lee to say that the new portrait was for him.

10 years ago was another exhibition but on Matthew Boulton at the Gas Hall. The exhibition was called: Matthew Boulton: Selling what all the world desires. It was in the Gas Hall at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from the 30th May to 27th September 2009. Matthew Boulton was born in 1728 and died in 1809, so 2009 was the bicentenary of his death (like 2019 is the bicentenary of Watt's death). I took this photo outside in August 2009 near Edmund Street (and under the BM & AG link bridge) from Chamberlain Square.

I took a couple of photos of this exhibition in the Gas Hall before I was told off. Was photo restrictions back then. I went in July 2009. Bust of Matthew Boulton, probably like in the window at Soho House. Even when I went to Soho House in July 2010 I had to sign a photo disclaimer (I think they no longer do this since the Birmingham Museums Trust took over in 2012 from Birmingham City Council).

A model of a Boulton & Watt steam engine. I was told off by a guard when I took this photo and took no more photos in this exhibition.

This is a Treadle Lathe dating to 1762. With 18th to 19th century blacksmith's anvil, bellows and weights, top and bottom swage, and hand tools. Took this photo before the steam engine model, so before the guard said "no photos allowed".

Since 2012 the museums photo policy has been relaxed since Birmingham Museums took over. And I've had no problems in the Gas Hall at other exhibitions in the years since.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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