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History & heritage
16 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

HS2 unveil a Turntable at Curzon Street dating to 1837

The HS2 preporatory works continue at the Curzon Street Station site in Eastside. They have recently uncovered a turntable dating to 1837, which is thought to have been designed by Robert Stephenson. I got a train on the Cross City line one stop from Birmingham New Street to Aston just to see it. Hopefully they could preserve it in the new station somehow?

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HS2 unveil a Turntable at Curzon Street dating to 1837





The HS2 preporatory works continue at the Curzon Street Station site in Eastside. They have recently uncovered a turntable dating to 1837, which is thought to have been designed by Robert Stephenson. I got a train on the Cross City line one stop from Birmingham New Street to Aston just to see it. Hopefully they could preserve it in the new station somehow?


Information courtesty of BBC Birmingham: Birmingham HS2 work unearths 1837 railway turntable.

Excavation works by HS2 at the Curzon Street Station site have led to the discovery of a Robert Stephenson designed turntable. It is thought to date to about 1837. They were exposing the remains of the former Grand Junction Railway terminus. Robert Stephenson was a civil engineer and the son of "The Father of the Railways" George Stephenson.

The original Curzon Street Station opened in 1838 as part of the London & Birmingham Railway. At the time the journey to London took almost 5 hours.

 

I was on a Class 323 West Midlands Railway train heading just one stop from Birmingham New Street to Aston (the train was going to Lichfield Trent Valley), just to see if I could see the turntable. Initially a Avanti West Coast Pendolino was waiting in the Eastside Tunnels and I thought it would be in the way. But luckily it wasn't.

This was my first view, although the overhead wire support columns were in the way.

Slightly better view here looking to the University Locks student accommodation of Birmingham City University.

For many years this was a car park after the Parcel Force Depot closed down. This view of the turntable towards BCU's Curzon Building and University Locks.

Slightly more head on view of the turntable towards Millennium Point, BCU's Parkside Building and Curzon Building.

 

You can see a working turntable if you go to one of Tyseley Locomotive Works open days. Photos below taken from the September 2016 open day.

The engineer here presses a button to turn the turntable.

You see the turntable spinning around.

The driver of the train No 1 - 43958 slowly moves it onto the turntable, guided by the engineer.

5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe gets it's turn on the turntable.

I later saw 7029 Clun Castle going round on the turntable.

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

 

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60 passion points
History & heritage
09 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Moseley Road Baths: an Edwardian gem in Balsall Heath

The Brumtography Facebook group had a guided tour and photo meet at the Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath on Sunday 8th March 2020. Thanks to Karl Newton for organising. We each gave a £2 donation at the end. It's been more than a quarter of a century since I last swam there with school, and many things have changed. Parts have been restored, but still a lot to do.

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Moseley Road Baths: an Edwardian gem in Balsall Heath





The Brumtography Facebook group had a guided tour and photo meet at the Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath on Sunday 8th March 2020. Thanks to Karl Newton for organising. We each gave a £2 donation at the end. It's been more than a quarter of a century since I last swam there with school, and many things have changed. Parts have been restored, but still a lot to do.


A guided tour around Moseley Road Baths with the Brumtography Facebook group members. Thanks once again to Karl Newton for organising it. I was last inside here before, probably in the early to mid 1990s with my Primary School for swimming classes, which was more than a quarter of a century ago. So it's been a long time since I've been here, other than passing it on the Moseley Road on the no 50 bus in Balsall Heath.

Some history from Wikipedia (link above).

Balsall Heath Library opened in 1895, and the baths followed in 1907. Built of red brick and terracotta in the Edwardian style. Jethro A. Cossins and F. B. Peacock was the architect of the library, while William Hale and Son were architects of the baths. The baths and library has several Birmingham Forward coat of arms, as it was built as an incentive for Balsall Heath to become a part of Birmingham (which happened in 1891).

Before people had their own bathroom at home, they would come here for a bath. There was a Ladies bath room, also a Mens First Class and Second Class bath room. There is also two pools. The building is Grade II* listed Balsall Heath Library and Balsall Heath Public Baths.

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths group was formed in 2006. Over the years there has been scaffolding in the baths. At the moment only one of the swimming baths has water in it (the smaller bath). The larger one has scaffolding around it, and a new temporary exhibition in the pool (no water).

 

Some exteriors I took as I arrived in Balsall Heath. Crossed to the other side of the Moseley Road as I got there early. The Public Library is on the right with the clock tower.

From the left side with the chimney at the back. The doors for the old Men's Bath Second Class and Women's Baths have long since been closed (for a very long time). The main entrance is via the door labelled Men's Baths First Class.

The main entrance foyer and what is now the reception desk. This used to be the entrance hall to the Men's Baths First Class. In the swimming baths with water, you have to put these blue bags over your outdoor shoes.

The Deep End. The baths currently in use are to the left. While the larger pool with the exhibition was ahead and to the right. Another door beyond led to the boiler room and the pump room.

Got this view of the foyer after leaving pool 1, and before we were taken upstairs to the laundry room. The door on the right leads to the women's baths, the door to the left to the main entrance and exit. The men's baths is to the far left of here.

Men's Baths

To the right of the main entrance hall was the former men's baths. There was separate rooms in here with bath tubs. The room is now used for storage.

At the far end was a window with the Birmingham Forward coat of arms. Some panels of glass were missing (years of wear and tare).

One of the baths with a rope (probably used to pull yourself out). As you can see, boxes, papers etc are now in there. Before people had their own plumbed bathrooms, they had to come to places like this.

Women's Baths

The women's baths was to the left of the main entrance. Saw this old door with a wall blocking it behind. It reads: "Notice: No money or tickets will be exchanged after leaving this window soap tablets 1d - each".

One of the bath rooms and bath tubs. No doors on some of them that I could see. A bench to sit on and a hook to hang your clothes up.

The corridor between the women's bath rooms, leading back out to the foyer. These are no longer used either.

Boiler Rooms

We were given access by our guide to the boiler rooms to the back of Moseley Road Baths. Was very warm in there. Pipes all over with red wheels to turn (not us of course).

Was another room with a big tank inside, we were taken outside to the back for some views of the chimney. Was a stream deep under the building which could be accessed from here.

In the main room was these large tanks full of steam, more pipes and tubes all over the place.

Pool 1

This swimming pool is still in use. This was the Second Class baths. Modern looking changing rooms on both sides. Now used for kids swimming lessons, and women's swimming group sessions.

You could smell the smell of clorine in here, and my camera got quite steamed up. They let us walk all the way around the pool, as long as we had the blue bags on our shoes. Was bright sunshine coming through as well.

Steps to climb down into the pool. A warning sign behind for No Diving. I did not see any diving boards in Moseley Road Baths. Probably isn't safe, or they never had one.

Laundry Room

We were next taken up some stairs to the old Laundry Room. The drying racks was on the left. The next set of steps leads up to the header tank in the roof. This room had some good views of the City Skyline through the windows on the right.

A close up look at the drying racks.

Up those wooden steps, then up a wooden ladder for a view in the roof. Below is the header tank. Just a look up here, wasn't going to climb on the plank.

Pool 2

This pool is not currently in use, and has scaffolding all around it with no water in the swimming pool. I suspect that this was the pool I used with my primary school back in the early 1990s. Boys shared cubicles on the left, while girls in the cubicles on the right. Going past them now, they look cramped, doors missing and not lights. A new temporary exhibition has opened up in this space called Specular Reflecular. A hand painted animation for Moseley Road Baths by Juneau Projects and members of the local community.

They let us through to the balcony on the top. But it was only safe to walk around the edges near the tiled walls. This pool would have been the First Class swimming baths.

This was as far as I and others could go on this side, as I looked down at the pool with the temporary exhibition below. They installed wooden steps, and behind the screen was emergency scaffolding steps from the pool.

Be sure to follow Moseley Road Baths on Twitter: Moseley Road Baths, on Facebook: Moseley Road Baths and on Instagram: Moseley Road Baths. Their website is at Moseley Road Baths.

 

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
06 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The houses of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust around Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire

These photos mostly taken in the Warwickshire District of Stratford-on-Avon between 2009 and 2018. Most are in Stratford-upon-Avon including Shakespeare's Birthplace (on Henley Street), Nash's House & New Place (Chapel Street), and Hall's Croft (Old Town). Mary Arden's House is in Wilmcote. Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Shottery. 

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The houses of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust around Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire





These photos mostly taken in the Warwickshire District of Stratford-on-Avon between 2009 and 2018. Most are in Stratford-upon-Avon including Shakespeare's Birthplace (on Henley Street), Nash's House & New Place (Chapel Street), and Hall's Croft (Old Town). Mary Arden's House is in Wilmcote. Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Shottery. 


Let's get the train down to Shakepeare's County, Warwickshire for a tour of the houses belonging now to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Mainly just the exteriors of photos I took between 2009 and 2018. Three properties to see in Stratford-upon-Avon, which includes Shakespeare's Birthplace on Henley Street, Nash's House & New Place on Chapel Street, and Hall's Croft in Old Town. Nearby in Shottery is Anne Hathaway's Cottage. While in the village of Wilmcote is Mary Arden's House.

 

Shakespeare's Birthplace - Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare's Birthplace is a restored 16th century half timbered house located in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. It is believed that William Shakespeare was born here in 1564 and spent his childhood years. It's now a small museum, open to the public and ran and managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The ownership of the house after Shakespeare's death fell to his eldest daughter Susanna. In 1649 it passed to her only daughter Elizabeth. By 1670 to John Hart. It remained in the ownership of the Hart's until 1806, when it was sold to a butcher, Thomas Court. There was interest in the property in the middle of the 19th century, which led to the formation of the Shakespeare Birthday Committee by a private Act of Parliament.

These views were from April 2009, when I began taking photos around Stratford-upon-Avon. The entrance to the museum would be further to the left in the Shakespeare Visitor Centre which opened in 1964 on Shakespeare's 400th birthday.

The view of the house to the right. There was railings and flower pots outside at the time. There maybe plans to move these further onto Henley Street, to prevent visitors pinching tiles or bits of wood.

The best view of the house. There is also a garden round the back. You would find many of the tourists in Stratford-upon-Avon up here on Henley Street, during the busy periods of the year. When I was last on this street it was a bit quieter than usual, but was also roadworks outside of the house.

Nash's House & New Place - Chapel Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Nash's House is on Chapel Street, and was the home of Thomas Nash. The house was built around 1600. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust bought this and the site of New Place in 1876. Nash was married to Elizabeth Hall, who was the granddaughter of William Shakespeare.

This photo of Nash's House was taken in April 2009 from Chapel Street.

Next to Nash's House was New Place. It was the final residence of William Shakespeare who died here in 1616. The house no longer exists but the site is managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. There had been a house on the corner site of Chapel Street and Chapel Lane since about 1483, having been built for Sir Hugh Clopton. The Clopton family owned it throughout most of the 16th century. It was sold to Shakespeare in 1597, but he only moved in around 1610. After his death, ownership was by his daughter Susanna, then to her daughter Elizabeth who had married Thomas Nash (he owned the house next door).

This view from April 2009, the site of the lost house (on the right is now gardens).

This was the view of the New Place site during January 2013. There had been a Time Team archeological dig in the gardens here. This was shortly before the programme to renovate the gardens. This view from Chapel Street.

This view of the hedges from Chapel Lane during April 2016. This visit to Stratford-upon-Avon was during the 400th anniversary celebrations of Shakespeare's death (and his 452nd birthday on the same day). After watching the parade, I had another look around the town. The gardens were more or less complete by this point. The site was reopened in the Spring of 2016.

By the time of my next visit, in February 2018, Nash's House & New Place had been reopened for a few years. There was a new entrance to the gardens from Chapel Street. Tickets would be a bit pricey, unless you get a combo ticket for all Shakespeare properties, or an online discount.

Hall's Croft - Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon

Hall's Croft was the home of William Shakespeare's daughter Susanna Hall and her husband Dr John Hall whom she married in 1607. He was the General Practioner of the Town from 1600 until his death in 1635. The house dates from the early 16th century. John and Susanna later moved to New Place after the death of William Shakespeare (who was Susanna's father).

These views were taken during September 2010 in Old Town. First view was some people in the way of the house, probably visitors going to see the house. One lady having a look through a gap in the gate to the garden.

I waited for a bit before taking another photo, this time without anyone in the way. The house is close to the River Avon and Holy Trinity Church (where members of the Shakespeare family are buried).

A side view of the house, close to the entrance.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage - Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon

Anne Hathaway's Cottage is located in the village of Shottery, a short walk away from Stratford-upon-Avon. The farmhouse was where Anne Hathaway the wife of William Shakespeare, lived during her childhood. The earliest parts of the house dates to the 15th century, the higher part from the 17th century. The house was known as Hewlands Farm during Shakespeare's lifetime. When Anne's father passed away, the cottage was owned by her brother Bartholomew, which passed down the Hathaway family until 1846. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust acquired it in 1892. A fire badly damaged it in 1969 but it was later restored by the Trust. It is now open to the public as a museum.

At the time during my September 2010 visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, I followed signs down a path towards Shottery where I found the house.

Side view of the house with the garden to the left.

The right side of the house from Cottage Lane.

This view of the house a bit hard to see behind the trees, but you can see the thatched roof above. After this I followed the path back into Stratford-upon-Avon. The City Sightseeing bus for Stratford-upon-Avon also goes by here.

Mary Arden's House & Farm - Wilmcote

Mary Arden's Farm is located in the Warwickshire village of Wilmcote. The farmhouse was the home of Mary Shakespeare, who was the mother of William Shakespeare. The property is also known as Mary Arden's House. But there is some confusion here as there is actually two houses. This building (seen on my visit of February 2013) was actually Palmer's Farmhouse. Which was owned by Adam Palmer in the 16th century. You can get the train here on the Shakespeare line from Birmingham, getting off at Wilmcote, and the houses are a short walk away.

Another view of Palmer's House. When the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust bought it in 1930, they wrongly assumed that it was Mary Arden's House. It was restored to the Tudor style. It dates to the late 16th century. Although a timber-framed cross-wing section dates to about 1569. The house is located on what is now called Station Road. The Stratford-on-Avon Canal also passed these properties close by.

This farmhouse is the actual Mary Arden's House. Also known as Glebe Farm. It dates to the early 16th century. Seen from Aston Cantlow Road.

Mary Arden's Farm is now a "working Tudor farm". Although the property is closed over the Winter period. Many of the farm buildings date to the 18th and 19th centuries.

One more view of Palmer's Farm, as I headed back to catch the train back to Birmingham from Wilmcote.

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

 

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40 passion points
Transport
02 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Trams at the Black Country Living Museum (August 2011)

Some old tram photos of mine taken from a day out at the Black Country Living Museum during August 2011. Tram 34 and tram 49. We actually had a ride at the time on tram 49 on the top deck, which was in the open air. The museum is located in Dudley in the Black Country. The museum opened in 1975. I'm sure it's probably changed since my visit including Peaky Blinders filming.

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Trams at the Black Country Living Museum (August 2011)





Some old tram photos of mine taken from a day out at the Black Country Living Museum during August 2011. Tram 34 and tram 49. We actually had a ride at the time on tram 49 on the top deck, which was in the open air. The museum is located in Dudley in the Black Country. The museum opened in 1975. I'm sure it's probably changed since my visit including Peaky Blinders filming.


From a day out at the Black Country Living Museum, on the 14th August 2011. There was plenty to see on my first (and so far) only visit to this open air museum. So my visit precedes the filming of episodes of Peaky Blinders by a few years.

Tram 49

This is a Wolverhampton Corporation double decker tram, built in 1909. It is a typical Edwardian tramcar with a lower saloon and open upper deck. It was withdrawn in 1921. It was restored by the Black Country Living Museum and put into service in 2004.

 

I first saw tram 49 before we headed to have a look in the museum full of vintage cars and other vehicles. It was passing the war memorial. Which was passing these umbrella looking shields.

In this view the tram is seen heading to "Penn Fields" (well not really) and had an old Express and Star advert on the side.

Seen from the other direction getting close to the end of the journey. There was stairs at both ends, and they have to manually move the overhead pantograph, so that the tram can go in the other direction.

Again seen here, passengers are getting off the tram.

A lady seemed to reverse backwards down the steps.

Adverts also at the front and back. Here you see "Gray's Herbal Tablets".

The tram driver and the ticket inspector have a chat, or hand over the keys?

They only had two volunteers, we had to wait for the tram to get back before we could ride it. By then they had 3 volunteers and we went up to the top deck of the tram.

Seen here, visitors are seeing heading down the steps and getting off the tram. It was the stop close to the village, and wasn't too far from where tram 34 was. This was after my tram ride, so I took this photo after I got off.

A few hours later, saw tram 49 again. This time passing the Underground Mine. This side was an advert for the Co-op.

Tram 34

This tram was built in 1919 for operation on Wolverhampton District Tramways. It was an enclosed single decker tram that could accommodate 32 seated passengers. It was withdrawn in 1928.

 

Saw this model of tram 34 in the exhibitions rooms which were housed in the former Rolfe Street Baths building. It was the second exhibition in this room.

Now onto the real tram 34. We did not ride it, and I'm not sure if it was in use on the day of our visit. It's destination was Dudley.

It was positioned at the time next to the tram depot.

They have other trams in the collection at the Black Country Living Museum, Horse Drawn Tram 23 and Tram 5 although I didn't see them at the time (almost 9 years ago now). More details here: Tram Collection.

 

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

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60 passion points
Civic pride
26 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Frederick G. Burnaby: a candidate for a Birmingham MP in 1880 who has an obelisk in Cathedral Square

Have you seen a large obelisk in Cathedral Square near Birmingham Cathedral? It is in memory of Frederick G. Burnaby, a one time Conservative Party candidate to be an MP in Birmingham (in 1880 but he lost). Who died in 1885 at the Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan. The obelisk is close to Temple Row. One side says Khiva 1875 and the other Abu Klea 1885.

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Frederick G. Burnaby: a candidate for a Birmingham MP in 1880 who has an obelisk in Cathedral Square





Have you seen a large obelisk in Cathedral Square near Birmingham Cathedral? It is in memory of Frederick G. Burnaby, a one time Conservative Party candidate to be an MP in Birmingham (in 1880 but he lost). Who died in 1885 at the Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan. The obelisk is close to Temple Row. One side says Khiva 1875 and the other Abu Klea 1885.


Have you ever seen this obelisk in Cathedral Square near Birmingham Cathedral (with the church grounds of St Philip's Cathedral Birmingham) and wondered who it is for? For a war that no one remembers from the late 19th century.

It is in memory of Frederick Burnaby. Born in Bedford on the 3rd March 1842. He died at Abu Klea, Sudan on the 17th January 1885 (aged 42). He had various military adventures overseas including in the Khanate of Khiva during March 1875. He unsuccessfully stood as a Conservative Party candidate to be an Member of Parliament for Birmingham in 1880. His second attempt in 1885 was also unsuccessful (he died in January 1885 and the election was between November and December 1885 so he couldn't had stood, but he must have hoped to be a candidate again in 1884 before he was killed in action). In the 1880 election, the Liberal Party won three seats including John Bright and Joseph Chamberlain. It was a Liberal hold.

The obelisk was unveiled by Lord Charles Beresford on the 13th November 1885. It is a tall Portland stone obelisk, and contins the inscriptions "Khiva 1875" and "Abu Klea 1885" as well as a portrait bust.

The Burnaby obelisk is Grade II lised. It has been listed since 1970.

 

My earliest photos of the Burnaby obelisk was taken during May 2009. This view towards Birmingham Cathedral, with the dome on the left.

Close up of the portrait bust of Frederick Burnaby. Most people just pass this and wouldn't even know who this Victorian man even was!

Not taken many recent photos of the obelisk over the years since, I mostly pass through without getting new photos of it. In May 2017 the flags were at half mast after the Manchester Terror Attack at the Manchester Arena (22nd May 2017). The Burnaby obelisk is seen here between the Union Jack and England flag. This was around a week after that attack.

Seen during Early November 2019 from Temple Row. There was leaves on the lawn in Cathedral Square. The Burnaby obelisk seen to the right while the Cathedral was to the left.

Some new photos of the Burnaby obelisk taken in February 2020, as I was thinking of doing this post. This view towards Temple Row. It says Burnaby on this side. There is now plants planted at the bottom on all sides of the obelisk.

Close up of Burnaby. Could do with a clean up at the bottom of the obelisk.

Khiva 1875. You can see the new 103 Colmore Row rising on the right.

Abu Klea 1885. This was where Frederick Burnaby died. Hence he never lived to stand for a second time as a Birmingham Conservative MP. Although the Liberal's won again near the end of 1885, there was more than one Birmingham seat. This view towards St Philip's Place.

In the end the obelisk was unveiled a few weeks before the 1885 General Election. And it's been on this spot for almost 135 years.

 

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

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