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Modern Architecture
25 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Oratory: a guided tour on the last day of Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2019)

I've been meaning to visit the inside of the Birmingham Oratory on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston for quite some time now. And I noticed that the last 3 days had free open days there. I only had time to visit on the Sunday 22nd September 2019. Got there after 2pm for the 2:15pm guided tour. It lasted about an hour. Most of it was built in the first half of the 20th century.

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Birmingham Oratory: a guided tour on the last day of Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2019)





I've been meaning to visit the inside of the Birmingham Oratory on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston for quite some time now. And I noticed that the last 3 days had free open days there. I only had time to visit on the Sunday 22nd September 2019. Got there after 2pm for the 2:15pm guided tour. It lasted about an hour. Most of it was built in the first half of the 20th century.


In the middle of October 2019, Blessed John Henry Newman is to be created a Saint by Pope Francis I at the Vatican in Rome. His predecessor Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham in September 2010, beautifying Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park, and later visiting the Birmingham Oratory, unveiling a new blue plaque in Newman's honour.

During Birmingham Heritage Week, there was Heritage Open Days, free to visit at the Oratory during the last three days, in the afternoon. You could go on free guided tours of the Oratory Church.

Small bit of history first. The Oratory of St Philip Neri was established in 1849 by Cardinal Newman. At first based at the Church of St Anne on Alcester Street, they later found a more suitable site on the Hagley Road, the community relocated there in 1852. The current church began between 1907 and 1910 in the Baroque style to replace the original structure as a memorial to Newman. It was designed by Edward Doran Webb.

It is a Grade II* listed building, being listed as The Church of the Immaculate Conception (The Oratory), the Oratory Priests' House and the Former Oratory School Buildings.

Additions by G B Cox in 1927, including earlier work by John Hungerford Pollen of 1858, Henry Clutton of 1872-3. Also including the presbytery building by Terence Flanagan in 1851, plus the former Oratory School buildings designed by Henry Clutton in 1861-2 and 1872-3.

My full album on my Flickr including my earlier exterior photos is here Birmingham Oratory.

 

First up photos I took of the Oratory before and after the guided tour.

Exterior from the Private Oratory Car Park

The red brick building leads to the Cloisters and the main entrance. Used to be a school in this building known as the Oratory School. It was built betwen the 1860s and 1870s, designed by Henry Clutton.

This building is the main church part of the Oratory. Now also known as the Cardinal Newman Memorial Church. This was mostly built from 1903 to 1909, designed by E Doran Webb.

This small corner turreted building is the Shrine of St Philip Neri. During the guided tour, it was quite cramped being inside of it. It was built in 1927 and designed by G B Cox at the north west corner of the church.

Looking at the brickwork outside, it doesn't quite match with the earlier church. Behind the Shrine you can see red brick filling in the two walls of the church.

A close up look at the Shrine of St Philip Neri from the outside. It has a copper dome on top.

Cloisters

I saw the cloisters before going on the guided tour. Slightly reminds me of cloisters I've seen in France or Spain (although those are centuries older).

After heading in the main entrance from Hagley Road, a first proper look at the Cloisters. There is a shop to the left (also tea room I think). The main church is to the right. The cloisters was formerly the Oratory School. Newman founed it in 1852. It later moved to Reading in 1922. St Philip's Grammar School was later here from 1887 until it closed in 1995.

Facing the main church. Now known as the Cardinal Newman Memorial Church. Built from 1907 to 1910.

On this side of the cloisters was loads of memorial stones, including one for Cardinal Newman. It was around here, that those who went on the first guided tour of the afternoon waited.

This way towards the car park. We didn't have access to these buildings (I mean going up to the first floor), as it wasn't part of the tour.

I think that's a fountain in the middle, but it wasn't flowing water. This side towards the shop / tea room (I didn't go in). Heading back to the left to wait for the start of the guided tour.

Cardinal Newman Memorial Church

The guided tour started in here. I went on the 2:15pm tour, an it lasted around an hour, as the guide explained from her notepad facts about the church and it's history. She would take us all the way around, including into the Shrine of St Philip Neri.

The marble columns came from Italy, and they were shipped by a steamer ship 2 at a time. Then they headed up the canal network once in the UK, being unloaded at Monument Road. The same steamer headed back to Italy to collect more columns, again 2 at a time.

The Organ Gallery is above the main entrance door to the church. Towards the south end.

The main dome near the front of the church. Is close to the High Altar. It's close to the second organ in the church and the Our Lady’s altar. You expect something like this in Italy, not here in Birmingham!

At the front is the High Altar. At the top is painting with a rainbow above it. It was designed in 1899 by Dunstan Powell and was for the old church. There is a raised step just before this area.

The Our Lady’s altar seen to the left. It is second hand. It came from the Church of S Andrea della Valle in Rome in 1911. The pair of columns were originally meant for Westminster Cathedral in London, but they broke, so instead they came to the Birmingham Oratory instead!

Shrines to St Philip Neri and Cardinal Newman

Side rooms in the Oratory. One dedicated to the founder of the Oratory movement, St Philip Neri. The other to Cardinal Newman, who was made Blessed in 2010, and soon to be a Saint.

Was a tight squeeze getting members of the tour group into the Shrine of St Philip Neri. A look up to the dome. The portrait of Philip Neri is a replica. The shrine was designed by G B Cox and built in 1927, added to the north west corner (see exteriors further up this post).

The body is a wax facsimile, but resembles St Philip Neri. There might be some relics inside. Took this as the group started to come out of the Shrine, as wasn't possible while it was crowded in there. He was born in Florence in 1515 and died in Rome in 1579. Philip Neri was beatified by Paul V in 1615 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

I think (although not sure) that this (below) might be the St Anne's Altar. Just quick look, I didn't go inside of this one. I thought the guide would take us in here. The nearby Shrine to Blessed Newman was closed for refurbishment ahead of his Sainthood being declared in October 2019. A temporary shine (it says on the door of Newman's Shrine) could be found at St Anne's Altar.

This used to be the St Philip’s Chapel, but is now the Shrine of Blessed John Henry Newman. It was closed for refurbishment, so took these photos through the windows in the doors.

Newman is due to be created a Saint after being Blessed since September 2010. It was probably part of the original church. It was last restored 9 years ago after Newman was beautified by Pope Benedict XVI. The canonisation is due to take place on the 13th October 2019 by Pope Francis I at the Vatican in Rome. The Prince of Wales will be travelling there, representing the Queen (as she no longer travels abroad).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
19 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Heritage Week (14th to 15th September 2019): Bournville - Selly Manor and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Edgbaston - Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Three venues visited over the weekend of the 14th and 15th September 2019. Selly Manor (including Minworth Greaves) and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bournville. Then the next day to Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston (was really busy there).

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Birmingham Heritage Week (14th to 15th September 2019): Bournville - Selly Manor and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Edgbaston - Birmingham Botanical Gardens





Three venues visited over the weekend of the 14th and 15th September 2019. Selly Manor (including Minworth Greaves) and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bournville. Then the next day to Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston (was really busy there).


Selly Manor

The first of the two buildings at Selly Manor. George Cadbury, the founder of Bournville bought the building in 1907 and arranged for it to be moved from Selly Oak to where it stands today. Now at the corner of Sycamore Road and Maple Road. The heritage open day was on Saturday 14th September 2019 during Birmingham Heritage Week.

A look at the exterior.

Selly Manor was moved to this site in 1916. It is now operated as Selly Manor Museum by Bournville Village Trust. It is a Grade II listed building. The exit steps from the top floor is seen to the left. The main entrance was around to the left.

Interiors: a dining room table I think on the ground floor. The house contains the Laurence Cadbury furniture collection with objects dating from 1500 to 1900.

Costumes on a table including hats. Kids could try them on and look in the mirror. On the first floor. There is about six rooms inside to see.

The ceiling and one of the windows I think on the attic floor. So small in here I exited too quickly, as the steps near here led back outside! William Alexander Harvey the architect managed the restoration from 1909 to 1916.

Minworth Greaves

The second of two buildings at Selly Manor. Near Maple Road in Bournville. I've seen it before back in 2009, but this was my first time inside. Thought to date to the 13th century, it was moved here in 1932 by Laurence Cadbury.

Walking round the back of Minworth Greaves. This site is quite small, compared to other places I've been to (Manor House wise).

A Grade II listed building. William Alexander Harvey supervised the re-build from 1929 to 1932. The interior looking up at the roof to the trio of coat of arms. The Birmingham Watercolour Society Exhibition was on from the 3rd to 14th September 2019.

One of the three coat of arms at the back of Minworth Greaves. This one on the left.

View of the timber framed ceiling from the back looking to the middle. A curtain divides the two sections. The exhibition was below.

Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Prince Lazar

The Heritage Open Day was held in Bournville on Saturday 14th September 2019. Located on Griffins Brook Lane near Cob Lane. I had to use Google Maps directions to find it via the Merritts Brook Greenway. It's not far from the Bristol Road South.

Built in 1968, it is also known as the Lazarica Church. It was built for political refugees from Yugoslavia after World War II.

Serbs have been associate with Bournville since Dame Elizabeth Cadbury sponsored thirteen Serbian refugee children of World War I.

A look at the colourful interior. Very impressive as you head into the main entrance. Looks likes something straight out of Serbia (I've never been).

Just before the exit, the group of visitors also admiring this building.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

It was free to enter the Botanical Gardens on Sunday 15th September 2019, the Heritage Open Day during Birmingham Heritage Week. And loads of people showed up, families with kids. Was a really busy day in Edgbaston! Located on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, the gardens was designed in 1829 by J. C. Loudon and opened to the public in 1832. Near the entance is various tropical houses. Also on the site is bird houses and a bandstand.

The Subtropical House

It simulates climatic conditions found between the warm temperate and tropical regions of the world.

Mediterranean House

The plants in this house grow in parts of the world that typically have hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters so the main growing season is late winter and spring.

The Bird Houses

Various birds in the four giant cages here. On the open day I saw the peacocks on the roof! When I got close to the cages, was able to get some decent photos through the cages of the birds.

The Bandstand

A band was there for the day performing songs during the afternoon. It is Grade II listed and was built in 1873.

Near the entrance and exit was these pink and blue Heritage Open Days balloons on the spiral staircase. Was loads more people coming in as we exited. And also lots of cars coming around Westbourne Road (clogging up the traffic). We walked a distance away from the Botanical Gardens to get here. You could also get the no 23 or 24 buses (but they were also stuck in traffic). Also the no 1 bus was nearby.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
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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