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19 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

National Trust properties around the Midlands (Spring and Summer 2019)

On my National Trust membership card, been to many National Trust properties around the shire counties in the spring and summer of 2019. I was thinking about doing a post on the Cotswolds properties I went to, but here will stick to the Midlands (for now). Croome Court in Worcestershire. Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire. Farnborough Hall in Warwickshire. Berrington Hall in Herefordshire.

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National Trust properties around the Midlands (Spring and Summer 2019)





On my National Trust membership card, been to many National Trust properties around the shire counties in the spring and summer of 2019. I was thinking about doing a post on the Cotswolds properties I went to, but here will stick to the Midlands (for now). Croome Court in Worcestershire. Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire. Farnborough Hall in Warwickshire. Berrington Hall in Herefordshire.


Previous National Trust posts here: 

Croome Court

A visit to Croome Court during April 2019. This visit was near the end of the month. Located not far from Pershore in south Worcestershire at Croome D'Abitot. Croome Court is a mid-18th-century Neo-Palladian mansion. It is surrounded by parkland designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown for the 6th Earl of Coventry. Some of the rooms were designed by Robert Adam. The house was built in 1751 - 52.

A look at some of the rooms inside. This was the Long Gallery. Most of the fixtures and fittings were sold in the 1940s, so most rooms are now used for temporary exhibitions. At the time was no exhibition in this room, but one was scheduled called "Can't see the trees for the wood". The interiors were done in about 1760.

This is The Golden Box in the Dining Room at Croome Court. There was A stunning display of Croome's porcelain by artist Bouke de Vries.

Back outside, and now on the path to the Chinese Bridge. Would soon cross over the Croome River.

Lakeside view of Croome Court. National Trust deckchairs to the right where you can sit and relax near the lake. Also an urn to the left of the deckchairs.

Distance from Birmingham: about 36 miles via the M5. Journey time in a car about 54 minutes. Postcode for SatNav: WR8 9DW. Rebecca Road, High Green.

Canons Ashby

On the May Day Bank Holiday Monday in early May 2019, we went to Canons Ashby House in Northamptonshire. It is a Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house located in the village of Canons Ashby. About 11 miles south of the town of Daventry. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1981, who have since restored it and done up the gardens. The house dates to the mid 16th century. It was the home of the Dryden family for many centuries.

A look inside Canons Ashby House. Photography was fine, as long as without a tripod or flash. The book room or Library. A pair of globes sitting on tables near the desk in the middle of the room.

This room was the Servants' Hall. With a long table and chairs in the middle. One of the rooms on the landing as we headed back downstairs.

Now back outside in the gardens. From the Top Terrace. Stunning flowerbeds with a multitude of colours. Spring is the perfect time to see colourful displays like this. May have been tulips out at that time of the year.

Further out in the gardens. Now on the Mulberry Lawn. The house having originally been built around 1550, was extended in 1590. It was embelished in 1632. The south front was remodelled in 1708 to 1710. The west range to the Green Court with the entrane dates to 1840.

Distance from Birmingham: about 61 miles via the M6 in a car. Should take just over an hour to get there. Postcode for SatNav: NN11 3SD. Canons Ashby, Daventry.

 

Farnborough Hall

A private residence, could not take interior photos, so only got the exteriors. Only open on Saturday and Wednesday afternoons on Bank Holidays. This visit on the way back home from Canons Ashby, during the early May Bank Holiday Monday back in May 2019. Farnborough Hall is a country house just within the border of Warwickshire, not far from Banbury (which is in Oxfordshire). It has been owned by the National Trust since 1960. Home of the Holbech family from 1684, although they first moved in around 1692. During WW1 and WW2 the hall was used as a auxiliary hospital. The main entrance into the hall was through that open door.

View of the drive a bit further back. The Clock Court is to the right. The hall is Grade I listed, while the Clock Court is Grade II listed. The way in from the car park is near the Clock Court. It was a Stableblock dating to the 18th century. Was remodelled in 1815 - 1816 by Henry Hakewill for William Holbech.

After a look around the house (I was unable to take photos inside as it was not allowed due to being a private residence). Went around the gardens having a look around.

From the lawn a bit further back looking at this side of the hall.

Further back after a walk down a path to a garden. Another look at the hall behind this field. Got to be careful of low lying tree branches, as I didn't see it one way, and hit my head (ouch). Even with a hat on (need a hard hat). Some places have low ceilings or door frames so have to be careful where I go on my travels.

Distance from Birmingham: about 48 miles along the M40 in a car. Journey would take around 52 minutes. From Canons Ashby it was about 13 miles along the A423, a journey time in the car of 26 minutes. Postcode for SatNav: . .

 

Berrington Hall

In an August 2019 visit to Berrington Hall. It is a  country house located about 3 miles north of  Leominster in Herefordshire. There was scaffolding on part of the hall due to the on going work to restore the dome. So when you head up the main staircase inside the hall, you see the scaffolding and wraps. Some light fittings had to be taken down at the time. It is a neoclassical country house building that Henry Holland designed in 1778-81 for Thomas Harley.

Heading to the main entrance for a look around the hall, through the big door, up the steps behind the four columns. Scaffolding to the right. Berrington features Capability Brown's last landscape design. You can head down the field through gates past sheep to the Berrington Hall. Best to do that after you have had a look around the hall first. Berrington has been in possession of the Cornewall family since 1386, but was taken over by the Harley family in 1775 who lived here for 95 years. In 1901 a Manchester businessman, Frederick Cawley MP, later Baron Cawley, purchased the estate. In 1957, the 3rd Lord Cawley transferred it to the Treasury, who in turn passed it onto the National Trust. Lady Cawley was allowed to live here until her death in 1978. A Grade I listed building since 1959.

A look around the interior of the hall. This was in the Library. To the left of the fireplace was a chessboard.

This is the Drawing Room. Chairs around the wall near a fireplace with a couple of mirrors in the room.

Back outside into the Courtyard. There was a tea room to the right and I think if I recall correctly the gift shop was to the left. Through the entrance way straight ahead was a former stables. One of which where you could buy an ice cream, or get a coffee. We later went to the Old Servants' Hall tea room (in the building to the right) down the basement for a coffee and slice of cake. After that, got an ice cream from the Stables cafe.

Distance from Birmingham: about 46 miles in the car taking 1 and a half hours via the A456. Postcode for the SatNav: . Leominster.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
People & community
15 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Armistice Day at the Hall of Memory in Centenary Square (11th November 2019)

For the first time since Centenary Square reopened, it was now possible to have an Armistice Day morning service at the Hall of Memory. Also for the first time in front of Ice Skate Birmingham. Getting ready for the two minutes silence at 11am, men in uniform going around with flags. I approached from Centenary Way and left near Baskerville House.

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Armistice Day at the Hall of Memory in Centenary Square (11th November 2019)





For the first time since Centenary Square reopened, it was now possible to have an Armistice Day morning service at the Hall of Memory. Also for the first time in front of Ice Skate Birmingham. Getting ready for the two minutes silence at 11am, men in uniform going around with flags. I approached from Centenary Way and left near Baskerville House.


Heading past Paradise Birmingham onto Centenary Way, I was popping into Centenary Square near the Hall of Memory as the service on the 11th November 2019 was getting underway in the shadow of Ice Skate Birmingham (seen behind).

The first Armistice Day service to take place in Centenary Square in perhaps 3 years (the Hall of Memory was closed off while the square was being redeveloped and at the time the Book of Remembrance was moved to the Library of Birmingham).

Uniformed veterans carry flags around the Hall of Memory.

People pause as they watch the ceremony taking place.

It has changed so much around the Hall of Memory in the last 10 years. The only buildings that were there back then was the Hyatt Hotel, Symphony Hall, The ICC, The REP and Baskerville House. Now we have HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square and the Library of Birmingham. Ice Skate Birmingham is temporary and will be here until early January 2020.

A uniformed officer and a man in a suit with a trumpet.

The men with flags have now passed to the right side of the Hall of Memory.

I didn't stick around, but ended up in Birmingham New Street Station at 11am when there was a two minutes silence there.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
06 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Old Square from Tony Hancock to the Kenneth Budd mural

Old Square in Birmingham is the square / island between Corporation Street and The Priory Queensway. One way leads to the courts and Aston University. The other way to the shops. It used to be a Georgian square but the square has been redeveloped over the centuries. From the 1960s to the early 2000s there used to be subways and a sunken area here. Now known for the Tony Hancock statue.

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Old Square from Tony Hancock to the Kenneth Budd mural





Old Square in Birmingham is the square / island between Corporation Street and The Priory Queensway. One way leads to the courts and Aston University. The other way to the shops. It used to be a Georgian square but the square has been redeveloped over the centuries. From the 1960s to the early 2000s there used to be subways and a sunken area here. Now known for the Tony Hancock statue.


I don't really take photos much any more in this square, so most of my photos are from 2009 or 2010. The more recent photos from when there was a Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail sculpture there, or a Big Hoot owl or Big Sleuth bear.

 

Some history from Wikipedia: Old Square was the site of the Priory of St Thomas of Canterbury Which was here until 1536, and demolished by 1547 (during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII). The site was in ruins for 150 years until it was purchased by John Pemberton in 1697. He levelled the land to create the Priory estate.

The square dates from 1713. Various Georgian town houses were built around the square. The inventor of the English Dictionary, Dr Samuel Johnson visited his friend who lived in Old Square, a Surgeon and Doctor - Edmund Hector (who lived at No 1 Old Square), before he died in December 1784. Lloyd the Banker lived at 13 Old Square in 1770. Later Samuel Galton Jr lived at no 13 Old Square. One of the members of the Lunar Society.

 

The mural by Kenneth Budd dates to 1967 and depicts the history of Old Square. This view from May 2009. Looking in the direction of The Wesleyan up The Priory Queensway.

This view from September 2009.

Corporation Street would cause the demolition of many of Old Square's Georgian houses in 1882, as well as the construction of the Lewis's department store in 1885, built over The Minories.

Looking towards The Minories in December 2009. The Minories was refurbished and reopened as shopping arcade in October 1994. Temple Court and The Priory Court are based in this building now. The Lewis Building was refurbished in 2017 and 2018.

After WW2 The Priory Queensway was developed and that led to the creation of Priory Square. From the 1960s, the area was sunken and had subways at all four corners.

By the early 2000s the subways were demolished and the square rebuilt at surface level. Making it easier to get from the shops to the courts to Aston University. Old Square was enhanced in 1998. A plaque was unveiled in September 1998 near the Old Square mural.

 

This view of Old Square from October 2010.

Christmas tree in Old Square during December 2009. The statue of Tony Hancock is on the left.

The Christmas tree in December 2009. From this side near Corporation Street. The Minories is to the left (not in the photo). Opposite was a Post Office (on the left now Sainsbury's Local) and Tesco Express (to the right). Cannon House and Priory House on the left. With Maple House to the right.

The next time you are crossing Old Square to or from The Minories. Stop to look down on the pavement. There is this Figure of Justice. Seen in December 2009. The courts including the Victoria Law Courts (Birmingham Magistrates Courts) and the Elizabeth II Law Courts are in the other direction down Corporation Street.

The statue of Tony Hancock in Old Square seen during May 2009. In the direction of Corporation Street (towards New Street).

Hancock was born in Hall Green in 1924. The statue was made by Bruce Williams and unveiled in 1996 by Sir Harry Secombe.

Famed for his 1960s comedy show Hancocks Half Hour, he sadly committed suicide in 1968.

Seen during the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail 2012 was Paralympian Blade Runner. It was sponsored by the Colmore Business District. Based on Richard Whitehead from Nottinghamshire. It was number 20 on this trail. They were out for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Seen in August 2012.

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015 was an art sculpture trail of painted owls all around Birmingham. In July 2015, after the trail had started, I saw Dotty in Old Square. The artist was David Graham and the sponsor was Cross Country Trains (I think they have offices in Old Square).

Two years on, and another art trail, this time of bears. The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017 was around Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell and Dudley! Vincent the Bipolar Bear. Designed and created by mental health patients at St Andrew's Healthcare (Birmingham) facilitated by Marcela Stenson. Funded by St Andrew's Healthcare. This view towards Sainsbury's Local.

A backpack on the back looking towards the National Express West Midlands buses on Corporation Street. Including at least two grey Platinum buses.

Old Square has always been a good route to get from Aston University along Corporation Street. Then through The Minories towards Bull Street (now passing over Bull Street Tram Stop). And then up Temple Row passing Birmingham Cathedral. Or you could head up the Great Western Arcade towards Colmore Row and Birmingham Snow Hill Station. Or down the North Western Arcade to another part of Corporation Street. You would regularly see buses heading around the island.

 

See also my Old Square album on Flickr for more photos.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
24 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Highgate Park: inner city park where the statue of Edward VII used to be

By the time I first had a look around Highgate Park in 2010, the statue of King Edward VII had been removed for restoration (it was later installed in Centenary Square near Baskerville House). Not many people visit this inner city park, on the no 50 bus route (Moseley Road), but it has nice views of the skyline, a playground and a sports pitch. The gatehouse was burnt down and demolished.

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Highgate Park: inner city park where the statue of Edward VII used to be





By the time I first had a look around Highgate Park in 2010, the statue of King Edward VII had been removed for restoration (it was later installed in Centenary Square near Baskerville House). Not many people visit this inner city park, on the no 50 bus route (Moseley Road), but it has nice views of the skyline, a playground and a sports pitch. The gatehouse was burnt down and demolished.


Highgate Park

This was the last inner city park (within the middle ring road) to be open for over 130 years before Eastside City Park opened in 2012.

A few details from the Wikipedia page.

The park opened in 1875 on land originally owned by Elizabeth Hollier. When she died it was to be used by a charity. The Trustees of Elizabeth Hollier's Charity wanted to develop the land for industry, but the Birmingham Corporation bought it to develop it as a park. The area near Alcester Street was later asphalted to be used as a playground.

The statue of King Edward VII was in the park from 1951 after being moved from Victoria Square. Various bronze parts were stolen in the 1970s and 1980s and were never recovered. The Victorian Society was able to get Birmingham City Council to move the statue out of the park in 2009 for restoration. The statue was repaired and installed in Centenary Square in late 2010, and the missing bronze pieces recast and replaced.

 

June 2010

First up a look around Highgate Park during my first look around in June 2010. I was heading to see the Edward VII statue but it wasn't there any more!

A path and trees.

More trees and a slope. I'm not entirely sure where the statue used to be, could have been up there somewhere, but all the grass had grown back.

Quite possible that this was the site of the Edward VII statue looking at the disturbance of the grass. It had only been taken out of the park a year before sometime during 2009.

A path heading around and down to the playground.

A look at the playground close to Alcester Street.

When you head down this way, there is a good view of the Birmingham skyline. In June 2010, you could see The Cube (completed that year). The Sentinels (Cleveland Tower and Clydesdale Tower) and the Beetham Tower. The Hyatt Hotel could also be seen from here.

Interesting climbing frame on the playground for kids.

Also this S shaped snake like bench.

Statue of King Edward VII

The following photos of the statue of King Edward VII taken in Centenary Square (not Highgate Park). Seen in November 2010 in front of The Copthorne Hotel. They had just installed it here, but the new bronze parts (to replace the stolen and never recovered parts) were not yet added.

By December 2010 they had finished the restoration of the statue, and it was looking as good as new! The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was being advertised on the Birmingham Central Library (above the entrance to Paradise Forum).

Another view from about July 2011 it was looking nice and clean.

The statue stayed here for the duration of the Centenary Square renovation works (2017 to 2019). But the statue had got quite weathered over the last 9 years. Seen here during June 2019, before they had fully reopened Centenary Square. At one point was portacabins around this site. The Copthorne Hotel is still there (but expect it to go in the 2020s).

Gatehouse

OK now back to Highgate Park and sad news about a building close to the Moseley Road. The gatehouse seen during March 2011, boarded up and empty for decades (probably).

This plaque confirms that it was built in 1876. I wonder if this plaque has gone to the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre?

By April 2018, the gatehouse had been covered in graffiti and was severely damaged from a fire (arson).

The door doesn't look too good. Graffiti either side of it. And looking damaged from the fire.

Sadly the gatehouse was demolished in September 2018. And in the year since, this area has been grassed over. This is what happens when the Council abandons a park gatehouse and leaves it to rot. Hopefully the surviving gatehouses in other city parks will be protected?

April 2018

Heading towards the back of The Rowton Hotel from the Alcester Street entrance of the park. On the way to see the fire damaged gatehouse.

Just outside of the sports pitch. I'm not sure what that green and red structure is for.

New flats built at the back of a Moseley Street site near St Anne's Hostel. Park View.

The back of The Rowton Hotel. Formerly called the Paragon Hotel. A Grade II listed building. Parkview House. Built in 1903-04 as the Rowton House hostel.

August 2019

My last visit to Highgate Park was when I got off the no 50 NXWM Platinum bus on the Moseley Road. For some reason National Express West Midlands call the stop Camp Hill Middleway (it's the bus stop after Highgate Middleway). This view walking up a road called Chandos Road. It leads to Salop Street. So the view through the railings.

A homeless persons tent set up in Highgate Park. Was close to the wall on the Moseley Road.

The main path from the Salop Street entrance towards the Moseley Road entrance.

Skyline update during August 2019. As well as the Beetham Tower, you can also see from here: the Library of Birmingham, Orion Building and The Forum. Big Brum at BM & AG was also visible from here. Above the playground. The new Arena Central buildings was also visible from the park.

For more Highgate Park photos, please check out my album on Flickr Highgate Park.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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

From the Oozells Street Boarding School to the IKON Gallery

Located on Oozells Street in what is now Oozells Square in Brindleyplace,Birmingham is the IKON Gallery. It was originally built in 1877 as the Oozells Street Boarding School designed by the famed architect John Henry Chamberlain. By 1981 it was used by Birmingham City Council as Furniture Stores. Was converted into the IKON Gallery in 1997 by Levitt Bernstein.

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From the Oozells Street Boarding School to the IKON Gallery





Located on Oozells Street in what is now Oozells Square in Brindleyplace,Birmingham is the IKON Gallery. It was originally built in 1877 as the Oozells Street Boarding School designed by the famed architect John Henry Chamberlain. By 1981 it was used by Birmingham City Council as Furniture Stores. Was converted into the IKON Gallery in 1997 by Levitt Bernstein.


IKON Gallery

(Information below from Wikipedia)

The IKON Gallery was founded in 1965, but only moved to it's present location in 1997. It was founded by four artists from the Birmingham School of Art, David Prentice, Sylvani Merilion, Jesse Bruton and Robert Groves. Originally located in the 1960s Bull Ring shopping centre. By 1978 they had moved to a former carpet shop on John Bright Street near the Alexandra Theatre. The gallery moved to the former Oozells Street Board School in 1997 where they remain to this day. The refurbishment work was designed by Levitt Bernstein.

It is a Grade II listed building now listed as the The Ikon Gallery and Ikon Cafe. But when it was originally listed in 1981, it was the Furniture Stores Of City Of Birmingham Education Department. The listing was last amended in 2011. It was built in 1878 for the Birmingham School Board by Chamberlain and Martin and altered by the same practice in 1898. Paul Clarke of Levitt Bernstein converted it to it's current use in 1997.

 

The following views from Oozells Square of the IKON Gallery taken during May 2009.

These were mobile shots as I think that my then compact camera had run out of battery.

IKON sign from the side. Looking towards Jurys Inn on Broad Street.

First look at the main entrance with the IKON sign. Did not go inside at this time.

I was trying different modes out on my then phone camera, so here I did a black and white monochrome version. Could be a photo from the latre 19th century if it wasn't for the modern building behind!

By June 2009 I had a new bridge camera (after having an issue with my old compact camera in May 2009). So amongst other things got new photos of the IKON Gallery from Oozells Square.

Side or close up view with the rebuilt tower. The original tower was demolished in the 1960s, and in the late 1990s rebuilt and conversion a new tower was built to the original design. Further back it is hard to tell that it is relatively new!

Ahead of a work 25th anniversary do in November 2010, got new photos including this glass lift tower.

You can only really see it from the outside from this service path from Oozells Square to the Water's Edge.

The next time I would see the glass lift shaft would be inside during my works party (almost 9 years ago now).

Close up look at the IKON sign as I entered for the first time during late November 2010, for my works 25th party.

A look at the lift. There is two levels, Level 1 and Level 2 that have exhibitions on. If you go in the lift, it makes a noise, "na na naa naaa naaaa naaaaaa" etc (it is best if you use the lift yourself, also I've not videoed the lift sound). I most recently used the lift after visiting the Barry Flanagan exhibition. Barry Flanagan bronze sculptures at the IKON Gallery.

The Victorian interiors preserved with the late 1990s lift shaft and glass staircase.

Modern metal tubes connect to the Victorian brick and stonework.

Pretty much the same when you turn slightly to the right. This I think was from Level 2.

Some of the artworks I saw probably on Level 2 during late November 2010.

No idea who the artist's was or what this exhibition was about though.

Lots of metal circles inside of circles.

Perhaps something to do with sound and air?

Skipping ahead to July 2015 when The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015 was on. Here in Oozells Square outside of the IKON Gallery was: Midnight Moths by the artist: Alyn Smith, it was sponsored by: Harrow Green.

This owl sculpture was in Central Square, Brindleyplace outside of Five Brindleyplace. It was offices of BT, but later  Deutsche Bank. The Oozells Owl was by the artist: Jodie Silverman, and the sponsor was of course Deutsche Bank.

Back to outside of the IKON Gallery in Oozells Square during July 2017. The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017 was on with a bear trail. The Ink Detective was by the artist: Mr A Singh and the sponsor was Deloitte.

There is a Barry Flanagan bronze sculpture of a sitting hare outside in Oozells Square. Seen here during September 2019. At that time wasn't sure of going into the IKON Gallery, also had a long bus journey and walk, so left it for another week.

One of the Barry Flanagan hare sculptures seen inside of the IKON Gallery during early October 2019. For more photos, the link to the post is further up. Or see them via this search Barry Flanagan.

During my most recent visit to the IKON Gallery earlier in October 2019, after seeing the Barry Flanagan exhibition (link further up this post), went back down the glass lift (for the first time in almost 9 years). Saw this modern area with a dartboard. Somewhere to sit in the foyer, near the shop. There is a cafe to the far left of here (I have never been). It is now home to Yorks Cafe. They erroneously have the date 1847 for when the school was built (it was actually around 1877 or 1878).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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