Popular
HistoryAndUs
Launch date: June 2019
Combined FreeTimePays following: 101K


Community sponsors:

Construction & regeneration
08 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch and the construction of the Library of Birmingham

Between 2011 and 2013 the three famous trio on Broad Street, Boulton, Watt & Murdoch observed as the Library of Birmingham was built. They saw it from their then position outside of the House of Sport (the ex Register Office). Using James Watt's secret steam powered time machine they kept popping back until the Library was complete.

Related

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch and the construction of the Library of Birmingham





Between 2011 and 2013 the three famous trio on Broad Street, Boulton, Watt & Murdoch observed as the Library of Birmingham was built. They saw it from their then position outside of the House of Sport (the ex Register Office). Using James Watt's secret steam powered time machine they kept popping back until the Library was complete.


The Library of Birmingham was built in Centenary Square between January 2010 and September 2013. The architect was Francine Houben of Mecanoo architecten. The main contractors was Carillion and Capita Symonds (Project Managers). It opened to the public on the 3rd September 2013.

Going back in time, we will see the Library of Birmingham as it was being built and as it was being observed by Boulton Watt and Murdoch.

 

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch's view on the 19th March 2011. The pair of cores as the library started to go up.

By the 2nd August 2011, Boulton, Watt & Murdoch could see that the library was almost at full height, but missing the floor that would hold the Shakespeare Memorial Room.

On the 15th October 2011 the cladding started to go up as observed by the golden trio. The circular shapes at this point reached up to just below what would become the Discovery Terrace. The future home of the Shakespeare Memorial Room was beginning to form.

By the 18th February 2012 the golden cladding covered all of the library (apart from the top floor). And the circular shapes based on the trades in the Jewellery Quarter were continuing to go up. Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were fascinated by this.

On the 22nd May 2012, the Library of Birmingham looked almost finished. Was some golden panels missing from the Level 9 cylinder (now home of the Shakespeare Memorial Room and the Skyline Viewpoint). Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were gold and shiny that day.

On the 31st August 2013 and the Library was complete. 3 days open it would open to the public. Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were impressed by what they saw, if a bit too futuristic by their standards. The golden trio would remain in this spot until they were removed to storage 4 years later on the 23rd August 2017.

While the new Centenary Square was developed from 2017 to 2019, Boulton, Watt & Murdoch have not yet returned. There is a spot saved outside of the Symphony Hall foyer refurbishment. They could return later in 2020 (but this could be delayed by the current lockdown / pandemic we find ourselves in). I'm not sure if they will be facing the Library or facing the tram line. Either way, they will have lost the view they had until 2017.

 

On the 12th January 2020 a view of the Library of Birmingham from approximately where the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue used to be. Library Tram Stop had opened in mid December 2019. This was the last day of Ice Skate Birmingham, so before the Star Flyer and Birmingham Big Wheel were dismantled. West Midlands Metro tram 34 with the temporary Christmas reindeer name of Blitzen was waiting at the tram stop.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
03 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A virtual tour of Cadbury World from my visit from November 2015

Would you like to see what it is like inside of Cadbury World, and can't go now due to lockdown? Then have a look at my post with photos taken during a visit in early November 2015. It's like a Cadbury chocolate theme park right in the heart of Bournville. You have to get your tickets pre-booked online before you go. There is many different zones, and a few rides to go on as well.

Related

A virtual tour of Cadbury World from my visit from November 2015





Would you like to see what it is like inside of Cadbury World, and can't go now due to lockdown? Then have a look at my post with photos taken during a visit in early November 2015. It's like a Cadbury chocolate theme park right in the heart of Bournville. You have to get your tickets pre-booked online before you go. There is many different zones, and a few rides to go on as well.


Welcome to Cadbury World. It first opened in 1990. Cadbury World is located in Bournville, Birmingham within the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. There is 14 zones that tells the story of chocolate and the Cadbury business through  various static sets, animatronics, video presentations, multi-sensory cinema, interactive displays and activities, and staff demonstrations.

One of my earliest visits was probably in the early 1990s, but came back in November 2015 when some relatives from overseas wanted to go there.

When you first go in you see this Cadbury World sign.

Aztec Jungle

Take a trip back in time to Mexico where you walk through a tropical rainforest of the Mayan Indians. Discover the origins of the cocoa bean.

Bull Street

What the shops on Bull Street used to be like that Richard and George Cadbury ran. Also shows St James' London.

Manufacturing

Discover how popular Cadbury brands are made, including Creme Egg, Buttons and Roses with interactive video stations.

Cadabra

Ride around in a Beanmobile on a magical journey full of surprises. Head past Beanville, full of those little Chuckle Beans!

Advertising Avenue

Take a trip down memory lane. How many Cadbury adverts do you remember?

4D Chocolate Adventure

We had to wear 3D glasses, and the seats we sat on moved (was a bit like a rollercoaster at one point). The following photos were taken after the 4D film.

Portraits of the characters seen in the 4D "film".

The Worlds Biggest Cadbury Shop

In this shop you can buy all the usual Cadbury chocolate including Curly Wurly's, Caramel etc. Also Bassett's Liquorice allsorts. They also had the usual fridge magnets, key rings and tea towels.

The Bournville Experience

An exhibit about the Cadbury Brothers, George and Richard. About the factory in Bournville and the village. Also the shop they had established and some old Cadbury packaging and adverts.

For more of my Cadbury posts please check out the following links:

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
History & heritage
30 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

National Trust properties in the Cotswolds: Snowshill Manor and Hidcote Manor (Summer 2019)

While all National Trust properties and gardens are now closed, we look back to my visits in the Summer of 2019 to a pair of properties in the Cotswolds (Gloucestershire). In July 2019 we went to Snowshill Manor (not far from Broadway in Worcestershire) and the last National Trust property we went to was at Hidcote Manor near the end of August 2019. Both had eccentric owners in the 20th C.

Related

National Trust properties in the Cotswolds: Snowshill Manor and Hidcote Manor (Summer 2019)





While all National Trust properties and gardens are now closed, we look back to my visits in the Summer of 2019 to a pair of properties in the Cotswolds (Gloucestershire). In July 2019 we went to Snowshill Manor (not far from Broadway in Worcestershire) and the last National Trust property we went to was at Hidcote Manor near the end of August 2019. Both had eccentric owners in the 20th C.


For my last National Trust properties post in the Midlands follow this link: National Trust properties around the Midlands (Spring and Summer 2019).

 

Snowshill Manor

This visit to Snowshill Manor was during July 2019. We passed through Broadway in the car to and from the manor (we would later go back to Broadway in September 2019 on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway).

Some history taken from the Wikipedia page (linked above). Snowshill Manor is a National Trust property located in the village of Snowshill in Gloucestershire. It is best known for it's 20th century owner Charles Paget Wade. The property is a typical Cotswold manor house. It has been Grade II* listed since 1960. Wade gave the house and the contents to the National Trust in 1951.

 

When you arrive in the car park and walk to the entrance, the first thing you would see is the Visitor Reception and Shop. National Trust members can get their cards scanned inside of here.

On the walk to the manor house, you can see this model windmill with toy soldiers. Although I later took it on the way to the cafe later during the visit.

Before we left, we headed to this building to have a coffee. We sat outside. It looks like a traditional Cotswolds type of building. Not sure how old it is though.

First view of Snowshill Manor heading up the path. It is a Grade II* listed building Snowshill Manor. The manor house dates to the 17th century, with additions in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was altered in 1919-23 by Charles Paget Wade.

The house was made of Coursed squared sandstone with a stone slate roof. There was timed entrances to the house, so we didn't go in at this point. This was my first view head on of the house.

Another view from within the gate. Above the main entrance is the Sambach coat of arms.

Getting a view of Snowshill Manor behind the gate. As this was the view that Charles Paget Wade saw in a magazine called Country Life which was advertising it for sale in June 1916.

After our visit to the other buildings and a look around the gardens we eventually got to have a full look around the inside of the house, where you could see many of the objects that Charles Paget Wade had collected during his time here. In this room was one of the model ships that he owned.

A pair of large candlesticks with a bust of a man in the middle with a ruff.

This darkened room had Ancient Japanese armour. Like Samurai warriors or something.

Upstairs to the attic, and there was loads of bicycles in this space. As well as another model windmill.

Back downstairs and this room had loads of masks in open drawers. Was also some swords on the wall on the left.

This room had rifles on the wall on the right. Also some shields, a tall hat and a pair of boots. There was much more than this to see, this is just a highlight of the collection in the house. Wade probably didn't live in this house with his collection.

This was the Priest's House and Workshop. It was in this building that Charles Paget Wade actually lived. At the time I couldn't get the full exterior in one photo due to the amount of people in the way. It is a Grade II listed building Brewhouse, in Garden, Adjoining Snowshill Manor. It was built in the 16th and 17th centuries with extensions in the 19th century. Wade made changed in 1919-23. Made of Squared stone in courses with a slate roof. You could go up the stairs to see the contents inside.

What looks like to be Wade's kitchen table. With objects on shelves and on the steps.

Loads more objects on this side including a pair of chairs. Lots of swords and pikes hanging from the ceiling by the looks of it. Near a fireplace.

This was the interior of the Priest's House. A statue on the right near an alter. A desk and a chair on the left.

Outside you can see a model village in the gardens. It is of Wolf's Cove. Wade started building the village in 1907 when he lived in Hampstead. When he moved to Snowshill in 1919, he brought the models with him and by the 1920's had started to create the model Cornish fishing village of Wolf's Cove. National Trust volunteers and staff started to recreate it from 2010 onwards. The model train returned in 2018.

Located in the Well Court was this clock with doors. Latin inscriptions on both sides. I am doing this post after the clocks went forward again to British Summer Time. It is also like a Zodiac with the stars on it.

The other side of the Well Court. There was a small pond here, be careful not to fall in! The building is Grade II listed Two Gardenhouses, About 8 Metres North of Dovecote, Snowshill Manor. They were former cowhouses now Garden Houses. Dated to the late 18th century and early to mid 19th century. Probably altered from 1919 to 1923 by Charles Paget Wade. Walls made of Random rubble with a slate roof. There was a further area to look at through the door, but you have to duck down to get through and look where you are going.

Distance from Birmingham: well over an hour via the A435 and A46. Postcode is WR12 7JU. About 38 miles away. During the lockdown / pandemic period we are in it is temporarily closed. So glad we got to go last summer. National Trust website: Snowshill Manor and Garden.

Hidcote Manor

This visit to Hidcote Manor Garden was during the August Bank Holiday Weekend in late August 2019. After we went here, we went to Kiftsgate Court Gardens again in the afternoon. Was my fisit visit back to Kiftsgate in about 9 years (but that is for another post).

Some history taken from the Wikipedia page (link above). Hidcote Manor Garden is a garden located in the village of Hidcote Bartrim near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire (part of the Cotswolds). The American Lawrence Johnston and his mother settled in the UK in the early 20th century, and he immediately became a British citizen and fought in the British army during the Boer war. In 1907 his mother purchased the Hidcote Manor Estate. Johnston became interested in developing the garden which he started doing in 1910. After World War II he spent most of his time at his property in the South of France, so he entrusted Hidcote to the National Trust in 1947.

 

Just before the visitor centre, I spotted this farm. It is called Manor Farm (Righton). It was not too far from the Barn Cafe.

This view of Hidcote Manor and the Former Chapel (to the left) was from the plant sales area behind the Barn Cafe. The chapel is Grade II listed Former Chapel at Hidcote Manor. Was a former barn, later a chapel. Dated to the 18th century, converted in the 20th century to a chapel by Lawrence Johnston. Made of ashlar and limestone.

Later near the end of my visit, I popped into the chapel. Saw several stained glass windows like this one. Was also an exhibition in here that didn't really interest me.

First look at Hidcote Manor from the plant sales area just beyond the Barn Cafe and toilets. You head out of this area and into the courtyard to get to the house and chapel. The gift shop was the building to the right (just out of shot).

The first full view of Hidcote Manor from the inner courtyard. It is a Grade II listed building Hidcote Manor. Was a former farmhouse. Dates to the late 17th century, which was refronted in the 18th century. With more alterations in the early 20th century. Made of ashlar limestone with a tiled roof.

Only a few rooms on the ground floor were open to explore. This was the library with a fireplace and desk.

In the living room was some comfy chairs near a fireplace.

To the side was a cards table with chairs.

Back outside of the house. This view was from the East Court.

This view of Hidcote Manor was from the Old Garden. Almost hidden by the trees.

I later saw this view of the house, not far from Mrs Winthrop's Cafe. Didn't have a coffee here, as we later had a drink at Kiftsgate Court instead (I later had a cola).

Now for an explore around Lawrence Johnston's gardens. The White Garden in the Old Garden. Steps between the bushes.

Red Borders and the Gazebos. This area was roped off so had to fins another way to that pair of buildings near the steps. The Gazebos was Grade II listed buildings Two Gazebos and Attached Walls, Railings and Steps at Hidcote Manor Gardens. They date to the early 20th century. Made of Squared limestone. Decorated by Lawrence Johnston.

I later saw another view of the Gazebos. And you can walk through one of them. The other one had plates and a surface for making sandwiches or something, like Johnston had it set up for picnics on the lawns somewhere.

This is in the Bathing Pool Garden. It features a statue installed in 1930 of a boy and a dolphin. Was a fountain.

View of the Italian Shelter. Was built in the 1910s. Has some benches to sit on. Was also Italian style or Roman style statues in there, and wall paintings.

This was in the Central Stream Garden. All these gardens were looking nice in the later summer period.

On the way out of the gardens I saw the Alpine Terrace. It runs parallel to the Stilt Garden. There is an urn at the end.

To the back of the house was Mrs Winthrop's Cafe. As mentioned above we didn't stop to have a drink here. The cafe was to the right, while the gardens, toilet, shop and exit were to the left.

Distance from Birmingham: an hour via the M42 and M40 (SatNav takes you through Stratford-upon-Avon). About 47 miles away. Postcode is GL55 6LR. During the lockdown / pandemic period we are in it is temporarily closed. So glad we got to go last summer. National Trust website: Hidcote.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Transport
26 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Reopening the Camp Hill Line at Moseley Station, Kings Heath Station and at Hazelwell Station

Today the Camp Hill Line is Freight only and Cross Country through trains only. But hopefully new stations will be built at the sites of the old ones at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell (in Stirchley). The stations originally opened in 1867 but closed in 1941 during the Second World War and were never reopened. But now it is possible that new stations may open by 2022.

Related

Reopening the Camp Hill Line at Moseley Station, Kings Heath Station and at Hazelwell Station





Today the Camp Hill Line is Freight only and Cross Country through trains only. But hopefully new stations will be built at the sites of the old ones at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell (in Stirchley). The stations originally opened in 1867 but closed in 1941 during the Second World War and were never reopened. But now it is possible that new stations may open by 2022.


Moseley Station

Moseley Station was located at a site between Woodbridge Road and St Mary's Row in Moseley from 1867 until it closed in 1941 on the Camp Hill Line. A previous station named Moseley Station was later renamed to Kings Heath Station (it's near Highbury Park). This station is close to St Mary's Church in Moseley Village.

There has been many proposals for a new station here sine 2007, but they were revised in 2016 by the West Midlands Combined Authority. In 2019 plans for the new stations gained Government funding. Construction could start later in 2020, to open in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

 

My original photos of the old Moseley Station site were taken from the Woodbridge Road Bridge near the end of April 2009. Remains of the old platforms are visible towards the tunnel.

I only had a compact camera at the time (having started taking photos around Birmingham in April 2009), so this was as far as I was able to zoom in to the tunnel. But you can see the overgrown platforms remains.

The other side of the Woodbridge Road Bridge. This direction towards Birmingham New Street. The Camp Hill Line goes through Balsall Heath, before joining other lines at Proof House Junction. Freight trains and Cross Country Trains operate non stop trains down here.

A new March 2020 photo from the bridge on the Woodbridge Road. A zoom in to the Moseley Tunnel that goes under St Mary's Row. Recently West Midlands Railway had stopping trains at Moseley and at the other sites in Kings Heath and Hazelwell. Stopping for the first time in almost 80 years.

This is the view of the Moseley Station site from St Mary's Row during February 2018 near St Mary's Church. The view was taken from the no 1 bus. This would be an ideal site to build the new station building and car park. Although I've noticed that their's land on Woodbridge Road for a car park as well.

Kings Heath Station

Kings Heath Station on the Camp Hill Line was located near the High Street and Highbury Park. It was open from 1840 until it closed in 1941 during the Second World War. It was originally called Moseley Station, but when a new station opened in Moseley at the site between Woodbridge Road and St Mary's Row, that station was named Moseley Station, and this one renamed Kings Heath Station. The new station could be built later in 2020 to open in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

 

These views from December 2009. Now the Findlay Road Retail Park, down the bottom is Homebase. Building at the top used to have MFI and Allied Carpets. By 2009 Topp Tiles occupied some of the units. Easy Gym moved in to the upper units by 2014. That is now The Gym.

Walking towards Highbury Park is this car park, somewhere near the old Kings Heath Station site. Bit hard to see behind the trees.

There is land here to build a new station, but wonder if they will have to knock down any of the retail units to the left?

The bridge on the Kings Heath High Street is too high to look over, so got this view from the top deck of the no 50 bus during April 2015. Here you can clearly see where the old station used to be. They might have to take over some of the land in Highbury Park when they build the new station.

Another view from the no 50 bus on the Kings Heath High Street. Snow on the line. The line heads in this direction towards Moseley and onto Balsall Heath. This was during January 2018.

Hazelwell Station

Hazelwell Station opened in 1903 and closed during 1941 (World War 2). The station was located on a site between Vicarage Road and Cartland Road. Being near Kings Heath and Stirchley. Hopefully the new station will begin construction here later in 2020, to open in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

These photos taken from the Vicarage Road Bridge between Kings Heath and Stirchley during December 2009.

There was snow on the line at the time. Remains of the platforms were close to the Cartland Road Bridge.

These views were taken from the Cartland Road Bridge in Stirchley during January 2015. This was the old Hazelwell Station building. It is currently Designer Bathrooms by Michael, but this building could be demolished when the new station is built here.

There are several fenced off areas at the site, that used to lead to the platforms.

One fence next to the Cartland Road Bridge. This could have been an old pedestrian footbridge. Now overgrown and with a large pipe to the right.

Behind this gate was the old ramp down to one of the platforms. Now grassy and had a lot of litter down there at the time.

Zooming further down to a gate. Currently no access to the public, only to Network Rail staff.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

Share  Connect with us
60 passion points
Green open spaces
19 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Senneleys Park in Bartley Green

This was a visit to Senneleys Park in Bartley Green, during December 2016. Mainly to find a sculpture that I heard about. Got the no 22 bus here (the route no longer exists but there is the X22 elsewhere in Birmingham). Remains of a Pyramid by Avtarjeet Dhanjal was what I came to see. But it was missing a bronze statue or figure.

Related

Senneleys Park in Bartley Green





This was a visit to Senneleys Park in Bartley Green, during December 2016. Mainly to find a sculpture that I heard about. Got the no 22 bus here (the route no longer exists but there is the X22 elsewhere in Birmingham). Remains of a Pyramid by Avtarjeet Dhanjal was what I came to see. But it was missing a bronze statue or figure.


Senneleys Park is a large green space in south west Birmingham. There is football pitches, an outdoor gym and a BMX track. Large green areas, and a tree lined brook.

In December 2016 I got the no 22 bus to Stonehouse Lane and got into the park from Mill Lane. This is the Bartley Brook.

First look at the playground below an electricity pylon. It was not that far from the Bartley Brook.

One of the old Birmingham City Council - Senneleys Park signs from the Department of Recreation and Community Services. Looking quite worn at the time. It was near Stonehouse Lane.

View of the Bartley Brook with an electricity pylon to the left and a path to walk up on the right.

This path for some reason had these wooden frames as you pass down it. But then again it is also a road for vehicles to go down. Such as cars to the car park, or council park maintenance vehicles. There is at least two car parks in this park.

Slide seen in the Senneleys Park Play Area.

This path is part of the BMX track.

On top of the hill, the grass was a little overgrown here. There are paths that circle this hilly area.

There was another playground in the park called the Senneleys Meadow Play Area. With another slide for kids to use, and this swinging tyre ride thing.

This was what I came to Senneleys Park to see. Remains of a Pyramid by Avtarjeet Dhanjal. It was made around 1989 to 1991. It used to have a bronze statue figure with it, but it either got stolen, or went into storage due to vandalism. The broken pyramid pieces were made from Portland stone, but is quite weathered now after over 25 years. Who knows how it has fared in the years since I last saw it (4 years ago).

Another view of Remains of a Pyramid. The lost statue I think used to be somewhere in the middle between the parts of the pyramid. Wonder what happened to it?

It was a small booklet that I once bought from the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery that led me to find this sculpture. Public Art in Birmingham (priced only 50p from the BM & AG Gift Shop). There is a photo in the booklet showing the statue leaning against the right side of the pyramid. The booklet says the bronze figure was modelled from a former pupil of nearby Hillcrest School. It was cast by Frank Forster. Near where the Portland stone was discoloured a bit.

Another photo shows Eleonor McFarlane posing with the statue as it was being made. She was the model used by the sculptor Avtarjeet Dhanjal.

Scans taken from the BM & AG booklet Public Art in Birmingham produced in August 1993 by the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

I saw this dead tree in the park.

A gull on the grass.

A crow on the lawn.

One of the paths in the park. A bench to sit on.

 

A footbridge over a path. Close to Senneleys Skate Park.

Welcome to Senneleys Skate Park. The usual ramps and walls with graffiti all over.

A basketball court.

A boarded up building. Not sure what it was used for, but it has had a lot of graffiti on it over the years.

This time I was close to Senneleys Meadow Play Area and got a close up look at the slide as it curved round to the left.

The lawn with trees. A big field seen from a path.

One last look at the large field in Senneleys Park. A view like this could be in the countryside, but it is within the City of Birmingham! And if you look on Google Maps, the park is surrounded by streets of houses.

Took my exit from the park via this car park near Overfield Road. Welcome to Senneleys Park. The max height for cars was 1.95m under this gated entrance.

The park is close to Bartley Reservoir, Woodgate Valley Country Park and Lodge Hill Cemetery. Looking on Google Maps there is some other green spaces to explore (not right now though of course). One green space marked on Google Maps as Green Hill. There is also Old Quarry Park. So many green spaces around Birmingham. One day I might check them out (when everything is back to normal that is).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

Share  Connect with us
70 passion points

Top Contributors

Elliott Brown
HistoryAndUs points: 7146
Combined FreeTimePays points: 41K
FreeTimePays
HistoryAndUs points: 615
Combined FreeTimePays points: 20K
Daniel Sturley
HistoryAndUs points: 200
Combined FreeTimePays points: 44K
Stephen Giles
HistoryAndUs points: 110
Combined FreeTimePays points: 10K
Tom Grunt
HistoryAndUs points: 100
Combined FreeTimePays points: 1730

Show more