Featuring

People & community
Displaying until 24 Aug 2019 - FreeTimePays

BirminghamWeAre - a FreeTimePays Community of Passion and digital portal for people who want to make a difference!

With a combined reach of 100,000, FreeTimePays is delighted to welcome Birmingham as a Community of Passion. Together with our People with Passion, this digital space will be used to showcase all that's great about the City.

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and promote the passion that is Birmingham!

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BirminghamWeAre - a FreeTimePays Community of Passion and digital portal for people who want to make a difference!




With a combined reach of 100,000, FreeTimePays is delighted to welcome Birmingham as a Community of Passion. Together with our People with Passion, this digital space will be used to showcase all that's great about the City.

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and promote the passion that is Birmingham!


BirminghamWeAre is a Community of Passion that utilises FreeTimePays digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

BirminghamWeAre delivers a digital space for people who are passionate about Birmingham and want to do whatever they can to help their community.

At BirminghamWeAre, we help connect people where passions are shared; we give people FREE access to their very own digital space where they can promote their passion; and we recognise people for the contributions they make through the allocation of Passion Points. Interested? Connect with us HERE.

The reach of FreeTimePays is huge and is growing with Communities of Passion being rolled out across the UK. 

Companies and organisations keen to support People with Passion play an essential role and we have a range of partnership, sponsorship and advertising packages available.

We can even go as far as to set groups and networks up with their own portal so they can grow their own branded Community of Passion linked to their own website or social media account.

View our Partnership arrangements or connect with us HERE.

Now let's show you what you get with FreeTimePays. 

FreeTimePays

FreeTimePays is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

FreeTimePays is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With FreeTimePays, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

There are three components to FreeTimePays.

There’s Community Passport, Community Workspace and Community Matchmaker. Operating right across the platform in recognition of the valuable contribution being made by users is FreeTimePays gamification. This takes the form of points and rewards for passions shared.

FreeTimePays is here for people who really want to become involved in their community or with their particular passion and for those people who are really serious about making a difference. It’s our job at FreeTimePays to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the great ideas with those who have the potential to turn an idea into something that really does make a difference.

Community Passport

Passport is a personal space which registered members can make their own. With a passport, members can choose to get involved with their passion and participate in many different ways.

They can view regular content and posts; sort and save this content by type or by passion; they can collect points for giving their views through polls and surveys, attend events or even join a discussion.

With a FreeTimePays Community Passport, members can follow inspiring people and they can learn more about their community and their passion by following regular ‘Did you Know’ features. And the more they decide to do and the more they get involved, the more points they collect and the greater the opportunity to take up offers and win prizes.

Community Workspace

With their unique Community Workspace, FreeTimePays is able to help those who are inspired and serious about taking things to the next level. FreeTimePays will give these people their own access rights environment where they can work on their idea or project.

In this digital space they can work alone, or bring in others to share in building evidence, acquiring knowledge and developing plans. This is the ideal space for working on the business; working on the idea; working on the initiative.

A range of facilities and tools can be found in workspace and users can effectively utilise this space for collating documents, photos, videos and web links, for opening up discussion and chat with others, or for running surveys and analysing results.

Community Matchmaker

The whole focus and rationale for FreeTimePays is MAKING A DIFFERENCE. It’s our job at FreeTimePays to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the GREAT IDEAS with those who have the potential to turn an IDEA into something that really does MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Matchmaker is where the dreamers can join with the dream makers – with those who are more than happy to put their support, their resources, their connections, and their wealth of experience behind the idea and behind the passionate people responsible for coming up with the idea.

These are the community drivers, the investors, the philanthropists, the funders of great initiatives, the Lottery, and those from local government and the public sector who are responsible for the provision of public services.

These are the people and the organisations who are in positions of making things happen for those who are passionate and inspired to want to make a difference.

For more detail on what is provided by FreeTimePays connect HERE.

BirminghamWeAre

BirminghamWeAre will grow as a shared space for the many individuals, communities and businesses that will want to connect and share in their passion for their community.

Their work, their ideas and their proposals can be pulled together in the one collaborative space giving them access to a huge resource bank for sharing images, documents and web links. 

In this space people can chat in a secure environment if they wish; they can set up and promote events; or they can communicate with any of the FreeTimePays Communities through creating and submitting posts.

We would be delighted to tell you more.

Contact Jonathan Bostock at jonathan.bostock@freetimepays.com or connect HERE with FreeTimePays for more information on sharing your passion for Birmingham.

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60 passion points

Featuring

People & community
Displaying until 23 Aug 2019 - FreeTimePays

Are you passionate about promoting your passion and your City? Join Us!

BirminghamWeAre is a FreeTimePays Community of Passion that utilises digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact for Birmingham.

‘People with Passion’ are given the digital space and the digital tools so they can promote their passion for Birmingham and connect with people who share their passion.

View more

Are you passionate about promoting your passion and your City? Join Us!




BirminghamWeAre is a FreeTimePays Community of Passion that utilises digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact for Birmingham.

‘People with Passion’ are given the digital space and the digital tools so they can promote their passion for Birmingham and connect with people who share their passion.


BirminghamWeAre is all about engaging people in the passion that is Birmingham.  To help promote your passion, your City and, of course yourself, connect HERE

BirminghamWeAre is a Community of Passion that utilises FreeTimePays digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

FreeTimePays is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

FreeTimePays is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With FreeTimePays, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

With Passion Points and with the support of our FreeTimePays partners, we recognise people for the difference and contribution they make and the positive impact they collectively deliver. 

Connect with us HERE and take your passion to the next level.

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Gallery

Transport
5 hours ago - Elliott Brown

Not something you see every day: a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry!

I only popped to Tyseley to check out some trains heading past Tyseley Station. When I walked back down to the Warwick Road on the 13th December 2018, saw a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry. Sir Keith Park 34053 was probably getting near to the Tyseley Locomotive Works. The walk to Acocks Green, but Amey had barriers out for new lampposts!

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Not something you see every day: a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry!




I only popped to Tyseley to check out some trains heading past Tyseley Station. When I walked back down to the Warwick Road on the 13th December 2018, saw a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry. Sir Keith Park 34053 was probably getting near to the Tyseley Locomotive Works. The walk to Acocks Green, but Amey had barriers out for new lampposts!


Sir Keith Park 34053

Not something you expect to see on the road in Birmingham! A lorry with a steam locomotive on the back of it. Although I have in the past seen a Cross Country train on the back of a lorry once. It was the 13th December 2018, and this small convoy was approaching the Tyseley Locomotive Works on the Warwick Road in Tyseley. Seen here passing the Cousins furniture store (mostly selling sofas etc).

The locomotive is currently operated by the Swanage Railway. So it was probably coming to Tyseley for repairs or maintenance?

A little bit of history of the locomotive. It was built in 1947 at the Brighton Works. It's original number ID was 21C153. It was a SR Battle of Britain class (Southern Railway Battle of Britain class 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive). It gained the number 34053 in 1948 when British Railways was formed. In 1960 it was transfered to the Bournemouth Depot where it was on the Pines Express on the Somerset & Dorset Line. She remained in Bournemouth until being withdrawn from service in 1965.

After being withdrawn from service in 1965, she was towed to the Barry scrapyard in South Wales. But the locomotive wasn't scrapped. She was eventually towed to Barry Island where she remained for 18 years. A new owner bought her for preservation in 1979, but she didn't depart Barry Island until 1984. She was moved to Hull, but little was done to her. In 1992 she was sold to another owner and moved to Crewe. Again litte was done to her. By 1997 she was moved to the West Somerset Railway and was later purchased by Southern Locomotives Ltd in 2000. Restoration finally began in 2008. Returned to steam by 2012 not at the Swanage Railway as intended, but at the Severn Valley Railway. Naming ceremony took place in 2013 as Sir Keith Park at Bridgnorth. She can only run on heritage railways, but is not certified to run on National Rail railway lines. Probably why it was transferred by lorry!

Photos by Elliott Brown

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Construction & regeneration
16 hours ago - Daniel Sturley

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - January 2019

A super dull day for this update but interesting how metalic the building can look in certain light, some of the massive windows at street level have been installed. More photos in the full post.

Photo by Daniel Sturley

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The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - January 2019




A super dull day for this update but interesting how metalic the building can look in certain light, some of the massive windows at street level have been installed. More photos in the full post.

Photo by Daniel Sturley


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Environment & green action
21 Jan 2019 - FreeTimePays

Birmingham Trees For Life - planting in Kings Heath Park

Birmingham Trees For Life brought 500 saplings to be planted in Kings Heath Park, in liaison with the Park Rangers. Around 80 people attended the tree planting event (January 19th January 2019) including - Councillor Mike Leddy, & Councillor Mohammed Azim who also participated in the tree planting.

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Birmingham Trees For Life - planting in Kings Heath Park




Birmingham Trees For Life brought 500 saplings to be planted in Kings Heath Park, in liaison with the Park Rangers. Around 80 people attended the tree planting event (January 19th January 2019) including - Councillor Mike Leddy, & Councillor Mohammed Azim who also participated in the tree planting.


Friends of Kings Heath Park publicised the event

Let the tree planting begin............

Photo by Christine Wright 

Great support from the community

Photo by Christine Wright 

Photo by Christine Wright 

Working as a team

Photo by Christine Wright 

Photo by Christine Wright 

The new trees will extend the existing wood in the corner of Kings Heath Park

Photo by Christine Wright 

We can all enjoy seeing these saplings mature in decades to come!

Photo by Christine Wright 

Photo by Christine Wright 

Great education for our future generations

Photo by Christine Wright 

Photo by Christine Wright 

All ages enjoying the tree planting

Photo by Christine Wright 

Photo by Christine Wright 

Great job done all!!

Photo by Christine Wright 

 

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Did you know?

Civic pride
20 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown

Herbert Austin: making cars at Longbridge and the Austin Village

While car production at Longbridge has long since gone (apart from the small remaining factory for MG Motor), the site that is now Longbridge Town Centre used to house the Austin Works (later MG Rover until 2005). Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905 (before Longbridge was in Birmingham). Also nearby is the Austin Village which was built to house workers from 1917.

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Herbert Austin: making cars at Longbridge and the Austin Village




While car production at Longbridge has long since gone (apart from the small remaining factory for MG Motor), the site that is now Longbridge Town Centre used to house the Austin Works (later MG Rover until 2005). Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905 (before Longbridge was in Birmingham). Also nearby is the Austin Village which was built to house workers from 1917.


Herbert Austin

He was born in 1866 in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire and he died in Birmingham aged 74 in 1941. He moved to Birmingham in the 1890s setting up his first motor company on Broad Street, but the Broad Street factory site was too small, so he bought bigger premises in Aston. He later took over an old print works site in Longbridge in 1905. At this time Longbridge was in Worcestershire, and didn't become part of the City of Birmingham until 1911. It was here that he set up the Austin car works becoming one of the greatest car manufacturers in the world. For a period from 1918 to 1924 he was a Conservative MP for Birmingham Kings Norton. He was knighted in 1917 and in 1936 he was created Baron Austin, of Longbridge in the City of Birmingham. Also known as Lord Austin of Longbridge.

After MG Rover collapsed in 2005, the site was developed by St Modwen over the years, including a new Town Centre, Bournville College moved there by 2012. A new park was developed and opened in 2013 called Austin Park. It runs from the Bristol Road South towards Longbridge Town Centre alongside the River Rea. A former railway line ran towards Halesowen, and the remains of the signal box and old railway station were eventually demolished. It's unlikely that this railway line will ever be restored, now that the park and town centre are here. The Town Centre includes a Sainsbury's supermarket, a Premier Inn hotel and a Marks & Spencer store. Further to the right of here, they built retirement homes and houses along the land up Lickey Road.

I first went to have a look around Longbridge in 2010. Back then many of the former factory buildings along Lickey Road had yet to be demolished. 5 years after MG Rover collapsed, they were very derelict. Once they were demolished, a retirement village was built by 2016 up the Lickey Road site. It opened in 2017. To think the motor works lasted on this site from 1905 to 2005, a period of 100 years! Now it is becoming a new town centre. There is also a business park nearby. Many plots of land yet to be built on.

While Rover ceased to exist, a Chinese company bought the rights to use the MG name. And there is a small presence on a site on Lowhill Lane in Longbridge. MG Motor is owned by SAIC Motor UK (who themselves are owned by SAIC Motor based in Shanghai, China). Not far from here is another park called Cofton Park, where Pope Benedict XVI held mass in 2010. I went to Cofton Park in 2013 trying to get to the Lickey Hills Country Park, and the MG Motor buildings were visible from up the hill in the park. It was announced in 2016 that all car production had ceased at Longbridge, and after that MG Motor cars would be imported into the UK.

Back to Herbert Austin, and a village that he built for his workers. Austin Village was built in 1917. It is built on a site between Northfield and Longbridge in Turves Green. More workers had to be taken on during the First World War and when his factory began building tanks and aircraft, he built a new estate for his workers. He imported 200 cedar-wood pre-fabricated bungalows from the Aladdin Company, Bay City, Michigan, USA. They were shipped across the Atlantic, and survived potental loss to U-boat attacks. Many trees were planted around the village. This view is of Central Avenue. At the top end is a pair of blue plaques. One for Sir Herbert Austin and the other for the Austin Village. A red post box is at this end. I visited in April 2012.

While having a look around the Austin Village during April 2012, it was possible at the time to see the remaining MG Rover / Austin motor works, before most of them were demolished. The view was from Coney Green Drive. Most of these buildings were demolished on the right of the chimney, and houses were later built on the site. The MG Motor factory that survives down to Lowhill Lane. What will the future of this site be, will the rest of the factory have to be demolished for even more housing, now that car production has stopped on the site?

Over in Northfield is the Northfield Bypass, called the Sir Herbert Austin Way. This end near Sainsbury's seen during May 2013. The road bypasses the Northfield High Street on the Bristol Road South (although all major bus routes still use it). Sainsbury's had an extension a few years later and the Sainsbury's Cafe is now on the first floor. A new Starbucks Drive Thru, the first in Birmingham, opened on the bypass in 2017 near Vineyard Road and Bellfield Infant School. The success of this Starbucks Drive Thru probably led to the one that opened in 2018 at the Maypole.

There are several vintage Austin motorcars on display at Thinktank at Millennium Point. I first visted with my camera in April 2013. In the Move It section on Level O (the ground floor) was various old cars and bikes.

As you enter, you see this old car on a rotating turntable. It's the Austin Seven Tourer built in 1923. It was economical but reliable. It was smaller and cheaper than other cars at the time, but was considered to be just as reliable and comfortable. Car ownership was no logner just for the wealthy. Watch as the car goes around and around! I assume it still does that, if it's in the same spot as it was then?

Yes this car was on the side on the glass wall! It's the Austin 10 'Lichfield' Motorcar and it was built in 1935. One of 27,000 made by the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge. You might have to tilt your head 90 degrees to the right to see it right up!

In July 2011, on a visit to the stately home that is Holkham Hall in Norfolk, saw this poster in the Stable Coach Block. The Austin Seven Garage Chart. It clearly says that the Austin Motor Co. Ltd was from Longbridge, Birmingham. Many museums all over the UK have Austin cars in their collection, and it's not just museums, stately homes sometimes have a collection of vintage cars on display!

Another museum well worth a visit in the West Midlands is the Coventry Transport Museum. This is a Austin Seven Swallow dating to about 1928. My first visit to this museum was during March 2015. This classic car was in the Jaguar Heritage Gallery. Many cars and motorbikes were built in Coventry, but they did also have a selection of Jaguar's and MG's on display here. It was probably made in Coventry.

My second visit to the Coventry Transport Museum was during April 2018. You can get the X1 bus all the way down the Coventry Road, via Birmingham Airport to the bus station in Coventry. The museum is nearby. A much shorter walk compared to getting a train from Birmingham New Street to Coventry and walking, like I've done in the past. Onto this car. It's an Austin 7 Swallow built in 1929. The chassis and engine of the car was made by the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge, Birmingham. The body built by the Swallow Coachbuilding Company of Holbrooks, Coventry, who changed their name to Jaguar. Jaguar later became known for making fast, sporty cars.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points

Gallery

Photography
18 Jan 2019 - FreeTimePays

'Digbeth Community 50' - Photography from Birmingham's People with Passion

Take the post for a great selection of 50 photographs from 'People with Passion'. The photography takes you on a non stop tour through the streets of Digbeth, sharing the fantastic street art, the historic buildings, thriving businesses, Custard Factory, art venues & a neighbourhood that has been named the 'coolest' of Birmingham's neighbourhoods! Enjoy!

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'Digbeth Community 50' - Photography from Birmingham's People with Passion




Take the post for a great selection of 50 photographs from 'People with Passion'. The photography takes you on a non stop tour through the streets of Digbeth, sharing the fantastic street art, the historic buildings, thriving businesses, Custard Factory, art venues & a neighbourhood that has been named the 'coolest' of Birmingham's neighbourhoods! Enjoy!


Shaw's Passage - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Bordesley Street - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

A  letterbox view of Digbeth

Photo by Jay Mason-Burns

The Old Crown Pub

Photo by Elliott Brown

Allison Street - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Digbeth Street Art

Photo by Chris Fletcher

Winter in Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

December in Digbeth

Photo by Tammie Naughton

St Patricks Day Parade

Photo by Barry Whitehead

Street Art in Digbeth

Photo by Elliott Brown

Well Lane - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Warwick Bar - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

St Patricks Day Parade

Photo by Barry Whitehead

Street Art in Digbeth

Photo by Chris Fletcher

Fazeley Street - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Curzon Street Station - Digbeth

Photo by Daniel Sturley

Peaky Blinders Eatery - Digbeth

Photo by Elliott Brown

Digbeth bike shop

Photo by Garry Morris

New Bartholomew Street - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Deretend - Digbeth

Photo by Chris Fletcher

Street Art in Digbeth

Photo by Damien Walmsley

Custard Factory - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Devonshire House, now Zellig - Digbeth

Photo by Elliott Brown

Custard Factory - Digbeth

Photo by Barry Whitehead

New Bartholomew Street - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

December in Digbeth

Photo by Chris Fletcher

Custard Factory - Digbeth

Photo by Mac MCreery

The Old Typhoo Building - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Digbeth

Photo by Jay Mason-Burns

Street Art in Digbeth

Photo by Barry Whitehead

Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Digbeth

Photo by Jay Mason-Burns

St Patricks Day Parade

Photo by Barry Whitehead

Street Art in Digbeth

Photo by Elliott Brown

Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

St Patricks Day Parade

Photo by Elliott Brown

Digbeth Catacombs

Photo by Mac McCreery

The Cut in Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

The Custard Factory - Digbeth

Photo by Jay Mason-Burns

Street Art in Digbeth

Photo by Barry Whitehead

Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

St Patricks Day Parade

Photo by Barry Whitehead

Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

The Institutue - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Bordesley Street - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

Street Art in Digbeth

Photo by Chris Fletcher

Digbeth

Photo by Andy Pilkington

Victorian Toilets - Digbeth

Photo by Mac McCreery

 

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History & heritage
16 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown

Old Northfield Village around St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn

Another set of historic buildings, this time in Northfield. The old village centre is a short walk away from the Great Stone Road, heading down Church Road to St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn, around Church Hill. The Great Stone can be found here as well as a former Village Pound (a small 17th century jail).

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Old Northfield Village around St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn




Another set of historic buildings, this time in Northfield. The old village centre is a short walk away from the Great Stone Road, heading down Church Road to St Laurence's Church and the Great Stone Inn, around Church Hill. The Great Stone can be found here as well as a former Village Pound (a small 17th century jail).


Northfield

I first headed down to this part of Northfield in June 2010. So most of my photos of the church and the pub were taken back then. More recently, I returned in May 2018 when I was told about a pair of blue plaques for The Great Stone and the Village Pound.

 

St Laurence's Church, Northfield

This is the parish church of Northfield. Located around Church Hill, and near Church Road. The heart of the old village centre of Northfield. The church dates to the 12th century, and is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham. It is a Grade I listed building. If you don't know where this is, if getting off the bus in Northfield Town Centre, or off the train at Northfield Station, then it is close to the Great Stone Road. You can either get there by walking down Church Road or Rectory Road. From Northfield Station, Church Hill is nearby, and you could walk up there.

The tower of St Laurence's Church. It also dates to the 12th century. Most of the church dates from the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The north aisle was built in 1900 by G F Bodley in the 14th century style.

There is a churchyard around the Church of St Laurence with many gravestones. There was a War Grave extension, containing the graves of service personnel from World War I and World War II.

This view is from close to Rectory Road with the tower behind close to Church Hill. There is a public footpath that starts from Rectory Road where you can see this view over the churchyard.

A more recent view of St Laurence's Church from May 2018, when I was heading to check out the Village Pound. This is the view from round the bend on Church Hill. The Lych gate is seen on the left. And the Village Pound itself is to be found nearby on Church Road (look out for an old gate, more on that below).

The Great Stone Inn

The pub seen in the old Northfield Village that is opposite of St Laurence's Church is The Great Stone Inn. A Grade II listed building dating to the 18th century. It is on the corner of Church Hill and Church Road in Northfield. The white paint stood out on this blue sky day back in June 2010.

Full on view of The Great Stone public house. Takes you back 200 years if it wasn't for the car! At the time I wasn't aware of the Village Pound being so nearby (on Church Road to the right). The pub is at 158 Church Road and is now owned by the Stonegate Pub Company. They won an award in 2010 for the 'best managed house' and in 2011 for the 'best community pub in the East and West Midlands', in the Great British Pub Awards.

Village Pound and the Great Stone

I was looking for a pair of blue plaques I was made aware of in Northfield. The Village Pound and the Great Stone. Thought I almost missed them when I saw this gate and looked in, during May 2018. It is on Church Road, and is to the right of the Great Stone Inn. Beyond are houses. Stop here to look inside of the gate. A pink sandstone wall near the road.

The Village Pound is a Grade II listed building and dates to the 17th century. A pound was for keeping stray animals, although I thought it was like a small jail. But just for animals if not people then! At the back is a wall to an outhouse of the Great Stone public house.

In the middle of small courtyard is the Great Stone. The listing describes it as a "central monolithic stone". The boulder was moved by Birmingham City Council to this site in 1954 for road safety reasons. A glacial erratic boulder formed in an explosive volcanic eruption during the Ordovician period, 450-460 million years ago. During the ice age possibly up to 400,000 years ago, it was carried by an ice sheet from the Snowdon area of North Wales and deposited with many others around Northfield when the area was a frozen wasteland. For generations it lay at the corner of Church Road and Church Hill where it protected the Inn wall.

In May 2018 and heading up Church Hill in Northfield. That day I got the train to Northfield Station, for the short walk up the hill to find the Village Pound, and it's pair of blue plaques. This is no 3 to 13 Church Hill. Not sure of the details, or how old these buildings are, but they look Victorian. A salon called Headways was on the right.

Off Church Hill in Northfield for this building on Norton Close. It was St Laurence Church of England Infant School. A Grade II listed building. Built in 1837, with 1870 exteriors. Red brick with a slate roof. This was the original school, it also had a Master's house. The school is now on a different site in Northfield, now near Heath Road South. The former school building has been converted into flats.

This is the back alley or path behind St Laurence's Church in Northfield. At the time in June 2010, I only went half way before turning back towards Rectory Road as I didn't want to get lost! Near the top of this path is that view of the church from near Rectory Road (see further up the post for that photo).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Construction & regeneration
15 Jan 2019 - Daniel Sturley

Construction at Arena Central - January 2019

The construction of Three Arena Central, the new HQ for HMRC Midlands, is having more of the steel structure intalled. It's starting to look really dense in this part of the city. More photos in the full post.

Photo by Daniel Sturley

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Construction at Arena Central - January 2019




The construction of Three Arena Central, the new HQ for HMRC Midlands, is having more of the steel structure intalled. It's starting to look really dense in this part of the city. More photos in the full post.

Photo by Daniel Sturley


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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Did you know?

History & heritage
14 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown

Kings Norton around The Green including Saint Nicholas Place

A look around the old village centre of Kings Norton. Including The Green and Saint Nicholas Place (which includes St Nicholas Church, the Tudor Merchants House and the Old Grammar School). This collection of buildings won TV's Restoration programme back in 2004 and are now fully restored. There is also occasionally a Farmers Market on the green.

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Kings Norton around The Green including Saint Nicholas Place




A look around the old village centre of Kings Norton. Including The Green and Saint Nicholas Place (which includes St Nicholas Church, the Tudor Merchants House and the Old Grammar School). This collection of buildings won TV's Restoration programme back in 2004 and are now fully restored. There is also occasionally a Farmers Market on the green.


Kings Norton

First off, a look at the buildings at Saint Nicholas Place.

This is St Nicholas Church in Kings Norton. It is the Anglican Parish Church of Kings Norton. There has been a church on this site since at least the 11th century, although most of the current building dates to the early 13th century. The spire was built between 1446 and 1475. The church was restored in 1863 by Ewan Christian and again in 1871 by W J Hopkins. It is a Grade I listed building. This view from April 2009, with a bit of blossom on some of the trees.

The spire of St Nicholas seen during April 2009. In this view is a Monument with an urn that is Grade II listed. Made of stone it dates to about 1770. The only inscriptions that are readable are that of Ann Middlemore (died in 1873) and Martha Middlemore (died in 1876). It is close to the entrance of the churchyard from The Green.

I've been back to Kings Norton several times over the years. Got some more photos of the church during March 2012. This one of the spire. Kings Norton has railway links with the Rev W. V. Awdry who was the author of the Thomas the Tank Engine series. He was a curate here from 1940 to 1946. Kings Norton Station is up the hill in Cotteridge on the Pershore Road South (now part of the modern Cross City line).

One more view of St Nicholas Church from March 2012. There is a churchyard all around the church that you can walk through on the paths, and it leads to the Old Grammar School. The Saracen's Head is nearby on The Green, and when it was restored was given the name of Saint Nicholas Place, probably after the church.

I previously posted my photos of the Old Grammar School in Kings Norton in this post. The Old Grammar Schools of Kings Norton and Yardley.

I will add a bit more detail here, compared to my earlier post. Along with the Saracen's Head (the Tudor Merchants House), it won the BBC TV programme Restoration in 2004, and it was fully restored in the years that followed. A Grade II* listed building, it was probably built as a priest's house to St Nicholas Church. This view from April 2009. The spire of St Nicholas can be seen from behind.

You can see the Old Grammar School from the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton. It looks pretty with blossom on the trees and daffodils on the lawn during spring. Seen here on St George's Day 2009. It became a school by the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Birmingham Civic Society unveiled a rectangular green plaque here in 1982. It was for Thomas Hall B.D. Who was a Schoolmaster, Preacher and Biblophile. He taught here from 1629 to 1662. It was last used as a school in the early 1950s. Until the restoration was complete, it was on the Buildings at Risk Register. This view was from March 2012.

There was an amendment to the listing text in 2018 during the Centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. Two women (suffragettes) in 1913, who were members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), entered the school while it was empty. They forced opened a pair of windows in April 1913, but no fires was set. A message on the blackboard read ‘Two Suffragists have entered here, but charmed with this old-world room, have refrained from their design of destruction.’

Next up is the Saracen's Head. Also known as the Tudor Merchant's House. Along with the Old Grammar School (see above) it won the 2004 BBC Restoration programme. It is now where the Saint Nicholas Place offices are located. It is at 81 and 83 The Green, and is close to the churchyard of St Nicholas Church. A Grade II* listed building. It has been a pub, a grocer's shop and a community meeting place. Dates to the late 15th century. These views from April 2009 unless stated.

Side view of the Tudor Merchant's House / The Saracen's Head. Both this building and the Old Grammar School re-opened to the public in June 2008. It was built in 1492 by a wealthy merchant called Humphrey Rotsey and is now known as the north range. The building was expanded in the early 16th century and that is now known as the east range.

In 1643 Queen Henrietta Maria of France stopped in Kings Norton with an army. It is assumed that she spent the night here in the house. But there is no evidence for this. She was on her way to rejoin King Charles I at his headquarters in York. During the English Civil War. There is a green plaque on the green that mentions her stay in Kings Norton. Saint Nicholas Place is also spelled Saint Nicolas Place. I assume either spelling is correct.

This view of the Saracen's Head / Tudor Merchant's House from March 2012. Seen from the churchyard of St Nicholas Church. The building has become a pub by the 18th century. In the 19th century a further wing was added known as the south wing. By the 20th century, Mitchells & Butlers had owned the Saracen's Head public house. But in 1930 they donated it to Kings Norton Parish to used as a Parish Hall.

Now a look around at some of the buildings around The Green.

The Bull's Head public house is to the left of the Sarcen's Head / Tudor Merchant's House. The first view during April 2009. Can you spot the cherry blossom on a tree? The pub is now run by Milton Pubs.

The next view of the Bull's Head, from another angle, taken in March 2012. Back then it was run by Sizzling Pubs.

One more view of the Bull's Head seen during December 2012 from The Green. The pub is at 77 The Green.

A look at The Green in Kings Norton during April 2009. Many trees, and shops around. This is from the Saracen's Head end of The Green.

The Green plaque seen in Kings Norton during June 2011. Mentions that it has been part of the public centre of Kings Norton for over 500 years. For centuries it has been used for fairs, meetings and markets. The area around Kings Norton Parish is much smaller now than in the Middle Ages.

The Village Barbers Shop seen on The Green during April 2009. As of 2019, it is still there / open.

Molly's Cafe at the other end of The Green in April 2009. It was still open in 2017, but sadly seemed to have closed down in 2018, and is now for sale or to let.

The Farmers Market on the Kings Norton Green on 8th December 2018. I wasn't expecting to see it on this visit to Kings Norton, but there it was during the build up to Christmas.

Unexpectedly spotted an impersonator in the Co-operative Food car park as Kings Charles I! I don't think the real Charles ever visited Kings Norton during the Civil War, but as stated above, his Queen Henrietta Maria did in 1643. He was probably there for the Farmers Market.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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11 Jan 2019 - Luke Harris

National Olympian Games held in Birmingham in 1867 - Did you Know?

In June 1867, Birmingham hosted the National Olympian Games, an event partially organised by Dr William Penny Brookes of Much Wenlock, a figure who inspired Pierre de Coubertin to form the International Olympic Committee. It took place over three days and featured contests in sports including athletics, swimming and cricket.

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National Olympian Games held in Birmingham in 1867 - Did you Know?




In June 1867, Birmingham hosted the National Olympian Games, an event partially organised by Dr William Penny Brookes of Much Wenlock, a figure who inspired Pierre de Coubertin to form the International Olympic Committee. It took place over three days and featured contests in sports including athletics, swimming and cricket.


In the summer of 2022, Birmingham will be at the centre of the sporting world when it hosts the 22nd Commonwealth Games. For many, this represents England’s second city finally getting its chance to join those British cities who have recently hosted a multi-sport event. Following the disappointment of losing out to Barcelona in the bidding for the 1992 Olympic Games, and then being forced to watch on enviously as Manchester then Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games and London the Olympic Games, there was a belief that Birmingham might never get such an opportunity. Those making such a claim are perhaps unaware that Birmingham had previously hosted one of the pioneering Multi-Sport festivals; the 1867 National Olympian Games (NOA).

The NOA are today accepted as one of the forefathers of the Modern Olympic Games. The Association was formed on 7 November 1865 at the Mechanics Institution, Manchester, by a group which amongst others included Dr William Penny Brookes. Brookes was throughout his life an advocate of physical exercise and founder of the Wenlock Olympian Association in 1850, was a friend and inspiration to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Brookes importance and role was acknowledged by the Frenchmen in 1890, when he wrote; ‘‘The fact that the Olympic Games, which Modern Greece has been unable to restore, are being revived today is due not to a Hellene (a Greek), but to Dr W P Brookes’.

Dr William Penny Brookes

The NOA had many comparisons to the Much Wenlock Games, and were established ‘for the encouragement and reward of skill and strength in manly exercises, by the award of Medals or other Prizes, money excepted’. Professional athletes were to be ‘excluded’ and the desire was to encourage physical activity amongst the population, a legacy which the Olympic Games continued.

Less than a year after its formation, the NOA’s first games took place at Crystal Palace in 1866, with events in athletics, boxing, fencing, gymnastics, swimming and wrestling. These Games were a considerable success, with over 10,000 spectators in attendance and more than 200 athletes competing.

Following this success, a second Games were held in Birmingham between 25 and 27 June 1867. In the middle of the nineteenth century, Birmingham was a thriving industrial city, described by Edmund Burke as ‘the city of a thousand trades’. The accuracy of this statement is debatable, but there can be no doubt that it produced a wide diversity of products and provided 230 exhibitors at the 1851 Great Exhibition. The growth of the city ensured the founding of multiple sporting and leisure organisations, one of which was the Birmingham Athletic Club (BAC). Formed in 1866, one of the first major events the club organised were the 1867 NOA Games, held upon its grounds.

The Games begun with a procession from the home of the BAC at Bingley Hall in Gib Heath in the North-West of the city, to it’s athletic facilities; the ‘Birmingham Festival grounds’ on Portland Road, Edgbaston, a middle-class suburb with picturesque open spaces.  At the beginning of the procession Penny-Brookes gave a speech in which he said he;

"rejoiced that a National Association has been formed which, by diffusing useful information on this subject, and by the encouragement it will give to practice and competition in gymnastic and athletic exercises, will confer a great benefit on the country."

He continued by complimenting the physical culture that was developing in Birmingham and pleaded for support across the social classes for further developments:

"You have set a noble example, which I hope will be followed by all the large towns of the surrounding midland counties. I trust that henceforth men shows will become as popular as cattle shows, and that a great interest will be taken in the physical development of a human being as in that of a horse, a cow, a sheep, or a pig. I trust that, ere long, you will have a gymnasium that will rival those of London and Liverpool-a building worthy of its great object, viz, the bodily training of the nobles of God’s creatures upon earth; a building, handsome and appropriate in its design spacious in its accommodation, convenient in its internal arrangements a building, too, erected not by shares, but by donations. I trust, too, that it will be well supported by all classes in this neighbourhood, since all classes will benefit by it, directly or indirectly."

Bingley Hall in the 1850s

Much can be made of such a comment by Brookes, a figure who throughout his life desired to advance physical exercise and was concerned with the impact Industrial life was having upon the general population. Birmingham, through its industrialisation was certainly the type of place that Brookes was concerned about and potentially might explain why Birmingham was chosen as the location for the Games.

Following the parade and Brookes speech, the first events were in athletics, with contests for boys in the Under 14 and Under 17 Categories. The majority of winners were listed as coming from primarily ‘Birmingham’ or from the cities distinguished public school ‘King Edward’s’, although placings were achieved by boys from as far afield as Manchester, London and Norwich.

For men, the focus of the first day’s competition was ‘Tilting of the ring’. This event had become an integral part of the Wenlock Games and is described as being where “two small rings were suspended from a cross-bar, and at these the competitors rode at full gallop with pointed lances, the reward being his who could carry one of these rings away the most time out of a given number”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was a Much Wenlock man; T.E. Jukes who won here after hitting the rings three times and took home the ‘substantial’ sum of £20.

The second day primarily featured athletic contests for men, with short and middle distance running events. The ‘Birmingham Journal’ described that the ‘sky was cloudless’ and amongst the spectators ‘there was a large attendance of ladies’. The stars of the day were M.E. Jobling of the Northumberland Cricket Club, who took the one-mile race and half-mile steeplechase, while John Duckworth of Athletic Club Haslingden, won the High Standing Leap, Hurdle race and 100-yard flat race.

Also, part of the days programme was a wrestling match between two members of the German Gymnastic Society of London. The ‘Birmingham Journal’, described it as “one of the most marvellous performances of the day”:

"For nearly twenty minutes they tugged and bent, now separating for an instant, and watching each other like cats, to close in another fruitless attempt to gain the mastery. Lansbeger was repeatedly laid on his face, but a fall was never obtained by his opponent. It was announced amid cheers that the contest was a drawn one."

The third and final day of competition featured contests in athletics, cricket, gymnastics and swimming. The gymnastics was described in the Birmingham Journal as an ‘exhibition of skill and science in gymnastic exercises’ by the members of the London German Gymnastic Society, who won every event. The cricket match featured teams from King Edwards’s Grammar School and Birmingham Gymnastic Club, with the schoolboys coming out on top by 3 runs. The final activity of the Games was swimming, held at the Kent Street Swimming Baths with races across 116, 290 and 870 yards, which were all won by members of the London German Gymnastic Society.

Kent Street Baths and Interior

The Games concluded with an “Olympian Ball”, held in the Town Hall. The ‘Birmingham Journal’s final remarks upon the games as a ‘very successful festival, which has given a new impetus to the cultivation of manly and athletic accomplishments in the town.’

Birmingham Town Hall

Following the successful completion of the Games, Manchester was chosen to host the third edition of the Games in 1868. Problems with the venue ensured that the 1868 Festival was moved to Wellington, Shropshire. Conflict with the Amateur Athletic Club prevented many top athletes from competing in these ‘Olympics’ and despite later attempts at revival, this spelled the beginning of the end for the NOA. The Birmingham Olympics are perhaps the most successful Games it hosted and the organisation should be remembered for its attempts to bring together a number of sports in organised competition, a pioneering event that have paved the way for the events organised by the IOC and Commonwealth Games Federation.

Article prepared by Luke Harris.  Connect for more of Luke's articles. 

 

 

 

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11 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown

Lloyds Bank founded in Birmingham by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd

Did you know that one of the main banks in the UK was founded right here in Birmingham? The bankers was John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd based in Georgian Birmingham in the middle of the 18th century. There first bank was located in Dale End. Lloyd himself at one time lived in Old Square (when it was a Georgian square). A portrait of Sampson Lloyd is at the Birmingham History Galleries.

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Lloyds Bank founded in Birmingham by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd




Did you know that one of the main banks in the UK was founded right here in Birmingham? The bankers was John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd based in Georgian Birmingham in the middle of the 18th century. There first bank was located in Dale End. Lloyd himself at one time lived in Old Square (when it was a Georgian square). A portrait of Sampson Lloyd is at the Birmingham History Galleries.


Let's head to Georgian Birmingham town to about the 1760s. A bank was founded on Dale End by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd. Taylor was a cabinet maker, who set up a factory on Union Street to make "Brummagem toys", such as buttons and buckles. Lloyd was an iron manufacturer. Originally from Wales. Together they opened a bank in 1765 called Taylors & Lloyds at 7 Dale End.

The modern building on the site now has a McDonald's to the right. There used to be a Lloyds TSB at the far left side near Albert Street, but it closed down years ago. Built by the Seymour Harris Partnership in 1989-90. Dale End is not a very pleasant area of the City Centre now. There is a blue plaque there about the banks founding from the City of Birmingham (who put up blue plaques before the Birmingham Civic Society).

Heading over to Old Square. It used to be one of the grandest Georgian squares in the town centre (remember Birmingham didn't get City Status until 1889!) There is sculpture at one end of the square by Kenneth Budd, made in 1967. One section commemorates Sampson Lloyd who lived at No 13 Old Square in 1770. Calling him "Lloyd the Banker". The bank motif at the time was a beehive.

Over to the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery where we find a portrait of Sampson Lloyd. His Iron Works was on Edgbaston Street (where the Bullring is now). He was actually Sampson Lloyd II. Born in 1699, he died in 1779. He also lived at the Farm in Bordesley, now within Sparkbrook. English Heritage have a blue plaque on the house. I've not been there myself. Lloyd bought it in 1742. It's now a Grade II* listed building. It's located on Sampson Road within Farm Park.

Nearby is a map that shows John Taylor's Manufactory nearby on the High Street in Birmingham. Taylor was born in 1711 and died in 1775. He lived at Bordesley Hall, which was built for him in 1767. It was burnt down in 1791 during the Priestley Riots. It was near the Coventry Road in what is now part of Small Heath. The house was left as ruins well into the 19th century. The Union Street site of his manufactory was probably where Martineau Place is located now.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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09 Jan 2019 - The Friends of Kings Heath Park

Park Woodland Days in Kings Heath Park

Go and join the Rangers and The Fiends of Kings Heath Park in enhancing the park using traditional methods to improve and maintain the woodland.
16 Feb 2019 to 16 Feb 2019
10.30am - 12.30pm
Kings Heath Park - Birmingham

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09 Jan 2019 - FreeTimePays

Great green spaces around Birmingham - this at Warley Woods

Warley Woods amongst Birmingham's great green spaces - Elliott's been out hunting for Big Sleuth bears.

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09 Jan 2019 - FreeTimePays

Birmingham 'city of trees' in West Midlands great green spaces feature

Birmingham, the City of Trees in photography from Elliott and others covering great green spaces across the West Midlands - here Highbury Park near Moseley & Kings Heath. 

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09 Jan 2019 - Daniel Sturley

City of Trees in green spaces feature

Daniel with his City of Trees pic taken from Dudley Castle a couple of years back - we feature great green spaces across the West Midlands.

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09 Jan 2019 - The Friends of Kings Heath Park

Tree Planting Event - Kings Heath Park

Join Birmingham Trees for Life and The Friends of Kings Heath Park to plant trees in Kings Heath Park. People need to bring/wear suitable warm outdoor clothing, boots/wellies and gloves for planting trees. Generally, stuff they don't mind getting muddy. Spades and trees supplied! Children are welcome - accompanied by a responsible adult. Meet outside the cafe in Kings Heath Park.
19 Jan 2019 to 19 Jan 2019
10.30am to 12.00noon
Kings Heath Park - Birmingham

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Architecture
09 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown

National Trust properties in Birmingham: Back to Backs and The Roundhouse

Currently the only National Trust property to visit in Birmingham is the Back to Backs on Hurst Street and Inge Street in the Chinese Quarter (near the Birmingham Hippodrome). Soon it might be possible to visit The Roundhouse near Sheepcote Street in Westside (and near the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline). I've not been in either (yet) but have exterior photos.

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National Trust properties in Birmingham: Back to Backs and The Roundhouse




Currently the only National Trust property to visit in Birmingham is the Back to Backs on Hurst Street and Inge Street in the Chinese Quarter (near the Birmingham Hippodrome). Soon it might be possible to visit The Roundhouse near Sheepcote Street in Westside (and near the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline). I've not been in either (yet) but have exterior photos.


Birmingham Back to Backs

The Back to Backs is located at 55 to 63 Hurst Street and 50 to 54 Inge Street in what is now Southside or the Chinese Quarter. The National Trust has run it as a museum since 2004. They are the only surviving back to backs of it's kind in Birmingham. The rest was long since demolished. Modern apartment buildings with shops now surrounds this block. I've not yet myself been inside of them, but hope to do so one day in the near future.

The Back to Backs was Grade II listed in 1988. Acording to the listing, the court of housing originally dated back to 1789, with alterations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Built of red brick with a Welsh slate roof. This block was Court 15. This is the general view from Hurst Street, with Inge Street being down the side.

A look at the Back to Backs from Inge Street towards The Old Fox pub that is now part of The Arcadian complex in the Chinese Quarter. There is a Subway shop to the right in the modern apartment block. The Inge family owned the land in the late 18th century, who leased the land for the building of these blocks of houses. They owned the west side of the street. The Gooch family owned the east side of Inge Street. Over 500 families had lived in Court 15.

Another view of the Inge Street side towards The Old Fox. Most residents still lived here until 1966 when they were requested to leave, as they were declared unfit for habitation. In 1995 Birmingham City Council commissioned the City of Hereford Archaeological Unit to survey and record the houses. The Birmingham Conservation Trust in collaboration with S. T. Walker & Duckham restored the buildings and it was opened to the public in 2004. Visits are pre-booked with a guided tour. So assume that you can't just show up and go in without pre-booking.

A close up look at one of the houses on Inge Street, next to the modern building on the right. This was number 50. Also known as 1 Court 15.

Those photos above were taken in June 2009, and I haven't really taken many new photos of the Back to Backs since then. During May 2018, the National Trust had altered the sign on the Hurst Street side for Birmingham Pride into the multicoloured gay colours. This was only temporary and when Pride was over, they eventually changed it back to the normal National Trust sign (which is in blue colours).

The Roundhouse

For years, I've been wondering what was going to happen to The Roundhouse. I first saw it in 2009 from the Birmingham Canal Navigations when it was derelict. It is a horseshoe shaped building at the corner of Sheepcote Street and St Vincent Street in Ladywood / Westside area of Birmingham City Centre. The National Trust in collaboration with owners the Canal & River Trust are restoring it, and hope to open the venue to the public sometime in 2019.

It is a Grade II* listed building dating to about 1840 (according to the listing). It was built for the London and North Western Railway as a mineral and coal wharf.  Red brick with slate roofs. The National Trust's information says that it was built in 1874, designed by local architect WH Ward, who won a competition organised by the Birmingham Corporation (am not sure which information is correct i.e.1840 or 1874).

The Fiddle & Bone pub seen on Sheepcote Street when it was closed for years due to noise complaints from local residents. This view from February 2013. It later reopened in 2015, but it wasn't successful and was replaced by The Distillery in 2017.

The corner of the site from St Vincent Street. Sheepcote Street is to the left. The main gate at the corner was usually closed. This view from February 2013, when The Roundhouse was at the time For Sale / To Let. I think at one point part of the site was used by a nursery. A house to the west of here is Grade II listed. Built in 1885 of red brick with some blue trim and slate roofs. The Storage Cottage is also Grade II listed from 1885, red brick and slate roof. That's a little bit further up St Vincent Street.

A look through the gates at the courtyard of The Roundhouse. You can clearly see that it looks like a horse shoe! There is a ramp going down with the speed limit at 10 mph. This view also seen from February 2013. The National Trust is spending £2.5 million to restore the 19th century gem from the roof to the cobbles. They are also installing a beautiful 'oriel' window onto the canalside.

The Distillery seen at The Roundhouse from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline during October 2017. The Sheepcote Street bridge is to the right. The pub was the first building to be restored, many years before the National Trust became involved with the building, when the Fiddle & Bone pub as it was reopened in 2015. I was hoping that a Canal Museum could open here, similar to the London Canal Museum (I went there back in August 2015). Perhaps they could have model narrowboats inside, or show how The Roundhouse worked back in it's 19th century heyday.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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08 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown

Kings Heath Park blast from the past: Free Radio Walk for Kids Birmingham, Sunday 19th May 2013

A small gallery of photos of Kings Heath Park taken on the Vicarage Road, while the Free Radio Walk for Kids Birmingham took place on Sunday 19th May 2013. Free Radio used to have a Walkathon all the way around the Outer Circle (11A / 11C bus route). Included here is some photos from the top of Vicrage Road down to the park. Also some from Hall Green on the Fox Hollies Road.

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Kings Heath Park blast from the past: Free Radio Walk for Kids Birmingham, Sunday 19th May 2013




A small gallery of photos of Kings Heath Park taken on the Vicarage Road, while the Free Radio Walk for Kids Birmingham took place on Sunday 19th May 2013. Free Radio used to have a Walkathon all the way around the Outer Circle (11A / 11C bus route). Included here is some photos from the top of Vicrage Road down to the park. Also some from Hall Green on the Fox Hollies Road.


The Free Radio Walk for Kids Birmingham that took place on Sunday 19th May 2013. A charity walk that went all the way around the Outer Circle (11A / 11C bus routes). At Kings Heath Park it may have been a start or end, so many walkers ended up here, or started here. There used to be a Walkathon every year in the spring, once a year, but I don't think that there has been one for many years! It used to be the BRMB Walkathon in the past.

Welcome to the Free Radio Walk for Kids. Seen from the Vicarage Road at Kings Heath Park. Left to right.

Various banners on the Kings Heath Park railings on Vicarage Road, advertisting the tea room and plant sales etc.

Big Free Radio banner.

Was a lot of canopies and portacabins there at the time (temporary).

Lots of volunteers on site. I think this was at the end of the walkathon.

Spot the photographer! Energy Savers was the sponsor at the time.

Park entrance near the gatehouse on the Vicarage Road.

Birmingham City Council sign being used to advertise the Free Radio walkathon. It used to be the BRMB Walkathon in past years.

Walkers heading down Vicarage Road in Kings Heath. Seen here passing the 11A bus stop close to Kings Heath Village Square.

Volunteers in green and officials in yellow jackets close to Park View Gallery on the Vicarage Road. Near the Avenue Road junction in Kings Heath near Kings Heath Park.

These walkers seen beyond Kings Heath Park. Walking past King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. Many of them had green t-shirts on for the day.

On the day, the Big Brum Buz (Birmingham's then sightseeing tour bus) was parked on Vicarage Road opposite Kings Heath Park. It used to do sightseeing tours of the city starting from Colmore Row near Victoria Square.

Would assume that people doing the walk could get a ride on the bus, as there was people in green outfits on the day.

Probably also there to support all the walkers at whatever pace that they were able to do the course.

Bonus photos from the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green. Walkers in green t-shirts, holding water bottles.

Some of them also had green wigs! The buses were still running that day on the 11A and 11C, as the walkers were on the pavements.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown on Sunday 19th May 2013.

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07 Jan 2019 - FreeTimePays

The wonderful litter picker volunteers from Kings Heath & Moseley Parks

The Friends of Kings Heath Park working together with Moseley Litter Busters. Great communities working together to keep our neighbourhoods litter free! Whatever the weather, these great volunteers are out there keeping our parks and open spaces litter free, Great work by great volunteers!!

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The wonderful litter picker volunteers from Kings Heath & Moseley Parks




The Friends of Kings Heath Park working together with Moseley Litter Busters. Great communities working together to keep our neighbourhoods litter free! Whatever the weather, these great volunteers are out there keeping our parks and open spaces litter free, Great work by great volunteers!!


Newest and youngest volunteer helping at the park with litter-picking. Only 4 years of age and he did a sterling job. 

Friends of Kings Heath Park working with neighbours Moseley Litter Busters.

 

The wonderful volunteers who came and helped with the litter pick in Kings Heath Park.

All photos courtesy @kingsheathpark 

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History & heritage
04 Jan 2019 - FreeTimePays

Photography tour of St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham - Sat 26th Jan 2019 - limited numbers!

This is a restricted tour with limited numbers, so please email event organiser for more details and to register.
26 Jan 2019
11am

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Civic pride
03 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown

William McGregor: Director of Aston Villa and Founder of the Football League

There has been a statue outside of Villa Park in Aston. It is of William McGregor, who in the late 19th century was a Director of Aston Villa from the late 1870s. He later became the clubs Chairman from the late 1890s. He was also the Founder of the Football League in 1888. The statue can be found near the Trinity Road Stand. This post will also look at the 4 stands of Villa Park.

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William McGregor: Director of Aston Villa and Founder of the Football League




There has been a statue outside of Villa Park in Aston. It is of William McGregor, who in the late 19th century was a Director of Aston Villa from the late 1870s. He later became the clubs Chairman from the late 1890s. He was also the Founder of the Football League in 1888. The statue can be found near the Trinity Road Stand. This post will also look at the 4 stands of Villa Park.


William McGregor

A statue was unveiled outside of Villa Park, the home ground of Aston Villa F.C. in November 2009. It was of William McGregor, one of the earliest Directors of Aston Villa, and later the Chairman of the club. It was he who proposed the forming of a league in 1888 which became the first professionally organised football league in the world! At the time I took my photos in January 2010, and a few years later in September 2012, Villa were still in the Premier League (before they were relegated to the Championship in 2016). But this post is not about Aston Villa's form in the various leagues they have been in, more about William McGregor and the stadium Villa Park.

To find the statue of William McGregor first look for these gates with a pair of bronze lions on either side. The lions were there until at least 2016. Looking on Google Maps Street View the lions were missing in 2017. Anyway look through the gates, or the railings along Trinity Road and you will see the statue near the Trinity Road reception entrance of the Trinity Road stand.

William McGregor was born in Braco, Perthshire, Scotland in 1846. He died in Birmingham in 1911 aged only 65. When he moved to Birmingham from Perth, he set up a drapery business in Aston in about 1870. Aston Villa was formed in 1874, and he first became involved with the new club in 1877, at first to become a committee member of the club. He became a member of the club's board of directors, and Villa started winning cups in the 1880s. He became Vice-Chairman of the club in 1895 and finally Chairman by 1897. He was responsible for the club adopting the lion as their symbol, based on the lion of the Royal Standard of Scotland as their crest.

In 1888 William McGregor wrote to various other big clubs at the time proposing to form the first Football League in England. 10 clubs were the first members of the league, including West Bromwich Albion. Initially clubs in the south weren't interested in the league, but eventually 12 teams kicked off the first league in September 1888. McGregor proposed the name of "The Association Football Union", but it sounded to much like the Rugby Football Union, so they instead called it The Football League. McGregor became the first Chairman of the Football League and oversaw the creation of a Football League with two divisions. He stepped down, he was elected honorary President until he stepped down by 1894. He was the first ever life member of the League in 1895.

The bronze statue was unveiled in November 2009, and it was sculpted by Sam Holland. He took references from life photos and a portrait in the McGregor Suite. The statue is on a red brick plinth. McGregor is holding a cane (walking stick) and a pamphlet.

The following information about the stands was taken from Football Grounds Guide.

A look at the Trinity Road Stand on the approach past the houses on Trinity Road in Aston. This stand was first built in 1996 in time for Euro '96 (the European Football Championships 1996 which were held in England at the time). The stand was rebuilt to three tiers by 2001 including a row of executive boxes.

A close up of the Trinity Road Stand from Trinity Road in Aston. On the side it says ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL CLUB in big letters. In the middle was the club badge with the lion and a star. This side of the stadium is close to Aston Park. There is a nearby path entrance into the park that leads up to Aston Hall. The hall is normally closed on match days, and open on all other days.

Next up a look at The Holte End. It was opened in the 1994/95 season and is a two tiered structure. It holds about 13,500 supporters. The building near the car park appears to be much older. It has Aston Villa painted on the side with the clubs badge (it might be tiled).

There is steps leading up to the stand from the car park. Not too far away from the stand, at the other end of the car park is The Holte public house, at the corner of Trinity Road and Witton Lane. The Holte End and The Holte pub were named after Sir Thomas Holte, who lived at Aston Hall during the 17th century. The stadium was originally called The Aston Lower Grounds. Was formerly part of Aston Hall's grounds, and a Kitchen Garden used to be on the site of Villa Park.

Next we head up Witton Lane in Aston. The next stand is the Doug Ellis Stand. It was originally called the Witton Lane Stand. It was rebuilt in 1993 and it replaced an older structure. There was a minor refurbishment for the European Football Championships in 1996  (Euro '96). It was named after the former Chairman Doug Ellis (1924-2018). Seen here from Witton Lane Gardens during September 2012.

Sir Doug Ellis used to own Aston Villa and was Chairman in two stints. His first stint as Chairman was from 1968 to 1975. He was a major shareholder and on the board until he was ousted in 1979. He returned as Chairman in 1982 (in his absence Villa had won the Football League title in 1981 and the European Cup in 1982). He sold the club to Randy Lerner in 2006. This stand also has ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL CLUB in big letters. It is visible from the Aston Expressway A38(M) and from the M6 (if travelling in a car or on a coach).

The final stand is the oldest stand at Villa Park. The North Stand was built in the 1970s but still looks modern. It is two tiered and about the same height as the other stands. There is a double row of executive boxes running across the middle. This stand is usually used by away fans. It is also close to Witton Lane. It is a short distance walk from here to Witton Station.

The club had planning permission to rebuild the North Stand, but it hasn't happened yet. The owners of the club has changed several times in recent years and what with Villa's relegation, it probably wasn't a priority. If it was to be rebuilt it would increase capacity of the stadium to 51,000.

A bonus building, The Holte public house at the corner of Trinity Road and Witton Lane in Aston. A Victorian building dating to 1897. It was built as The Holte Hotel. It used to have 10 bedrooms, a 400 capacity music hall, billiard rooms and two bowling greens. It has the same name as The Holte End (see further up this post). See this article from 2007 for more information Aston Villa restores Holte Hotel.

Villa fans used the pub up until the 1970s. But it was boarded up and derelict for 28 years until Villa's owner from 2006 to 2016 Randy Lerner and his team agreed to a restoration. The pub reopened in 2007. For most fans approaching from Aston Station, or from the M6 motorway, it is the first building they see when they get to Villa Park. It's also visible from the Aston Expressway A38(M) when passing over Witton Lane.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown around the outskirts of Villa Park during January 2010 and September 2012.

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02 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown

Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall

It's not just Blakesley Hall that you can visit in Yardley. If you get the 11A or 11C to Stoney Lane, get off the bus, and take the short walk to Old Yardley Village. Here you will find St Edburgha's Church, the Parish Church of Yardley, as well as The Trust School, a timber framed building, with the school dating to medieval times. Various period houses surround the churchyard.

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Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall




It's not just Blakesley Hall that you can visit in Yardley. If you get the 11A or 11C to Stoney Lane, get off the bus, and take the short walk to Old Yardley Village. Here you will find St Edburgha's Church, the Parish Church of Yardley, as well as The Trust School, a timber framed building, with the school dating to medieval times. Various period houses surround the churchyard.


Old Yardley Village is located in the east of Birmingham. It is to the north east of South Yardley and the Coventry Road. Stechford is to the north beyond the village. The heart of the village is St Edburgha's Church. These photos were taken in the winter of 2009 / 2010, and were taken in January 2010. I have been back to the area since, popping into Old Yardley Park. Just my snowy photos back then were so perfect, didn't feel the need to retake photos of the buildings in other seasons or without the snow.

The first view of St Edburgha's Church is usually from the walk up Church Road. It is a Grade I listed building and is part of the Old Yardley conservation area. One of the oldest churches in Birmingham, it dates back to at least the 13th century. Originally part of the Diocese of Lichfield it was built by Aston Church. It was named after King Alfred's granddaughter Edburgha. The majority of the building was built during the 14th and 15th centuries.

The church was made of sandstone. It has a nave, aisles, transepts and chancel. The pulpit dates to the 17th century. The west window was made by John Hardman and Company in 1892. Various monuments from the 15th to 19th centuries.

The church did look nice surrounded by snow, but it's not like that every winter, depending on if it snows or not. Would say it last got a covering of snow in March 2018 during the Beast from the East. There is a monument to Rev Dr Henry Greswolde from after 1700 in the chancel that is apparently unusual (not seen it myself).

Trees surround the church in the churchyard. The landscaped grounds of the church are grassed, I don't think that there is any graves around the church building. In spring / summer there are flower beds. Is also a selection of benches around to sit down on.

I originally did a post about the old Grammar Schools in Yardley and Kings Norton. Link to that post is here The Old Grammar Schools of Kings Norton and Yardley. But will repost those photos here with more details below.

I will expand the part about the Old Grammar School in Old Yardley here. Seen during the snow of January 2010. There is evidence of their being a school on this site since about 1260. The building probably dates to the 15th century. Originally built as a Guild Hall. The last school master was W Sutherns. The school closed in 1908 and it's now used as parish rooms. It belongs to the Yardley Parish Church.

It is a Grade II* listed building also known as The Trust School. It was formerly listed as The Old Grammar School. It is a timber-framed building with close studding. It has two storeys. Other sections have red bricks and the building has a tiled roof. As well as the Trust School, it also included no's 422 and 424 Church Road in Yardley.

This front view of the former school with a black plaque. You can also call it the Old Trust School now. Old Yardley Park has an entrance to the right of the building. The entrance to the churchyard of St Edburgha's Church is to the left.

The side view of the Trust School / Old Grammar School. Snow was covering the roof at the time. There is at least four chimneys on the roof. This view from the snow covered churchyard of St Edburgha's Church.

Seen from the churchyard of St Edburgha's Church is no's 422 and 424 Church Road. They are part of the same building as The Trust School (The Old Grammar School). No. 422 is on the far right. It's upper floors is timber framed and that was part of the school. The ground floor is painted brick. The rest of the house is to the left and dates to the 19th century, also painted brick.

No 424 is to the far left of the building. It has red brick and a tiled roof and dates to the 19th century. Two storeys. It is not as wide as no 422 to the right of it. Both 422 and 424 were the Schoolmasters House of the late 19th century. Yardley's churchyard was cleared of upright gravestones in 1959, only one remains. That of the schoolmaster James Chell in the south-east corner. Both houses are part of the same Grade II* listing as The Trust School.

The following information is taken from the Yardley Conservation Society.

First up is 390 Church Road. It was formerly a pub called The Talbot. The building is Grade II listed and dates to the 18th century. Behind the former pub is Old Yardley Park. It has painted brick with a tiled roof. Was probably used as a pub during the 19th century. It is now a private house.Since I took this in January 2010, the house has been repainted white all over. And it appears that the current owners have changed the front door. The Yardley Conservation Society (link above) says that the Trustees of the Charity Estates visited the pub to distribute dole money.

The former General Store was at 431 Church Road in Old Yardley Village until sometime during the 1960s. It's now just a private home. A Grade II listed building dating to the 18th century. Pebbledashed with an all tile roof. It is to the left of The Cottagers Institute.

Next up is a building dated to 1882. The Cottagers Institute is at 433 Church Road. It was set up by Ebenezer Hoskins of The Grange to teach gardening and industrial skills to local people. It was a meeting hall to encourage gardening and industrial work for the villagers. It was previously the site of The Ring of Bells public house. Now I think it is just a private home. When it was available to let back in 2010 it was described as Commercial Premises.

 

Penny Cottage is at 435 Church Road. Built in 1826 by the Yardley Charity Trust for a local blacksmith, John Leake. It was restored in 1980. It is a Grade II listed building. Red brick with a tiled roof. Two storeys.

Houses from 437 to 443 Church Road. These brick built houses were built in 1895 to replace six early 19th century cottages, which themselves had replaced an earlier farmhouse. Construction of them may have begun after 1894. Church Terrace is nearby.

A pair of white painted brick houses at 445 and 447 Church Road. Just beyond Church Terrace. They began life in the late 18th century as a malthouse but was converted into cottages by the 1850s. Also Grade II listed buildings. Painted brick with a tiled roof.

This barn is to the east of 451 Church Road. A Grade II listed building from the early 19th century. A reminder that this used to be a rural village surrounded by farms. It was the third barn. Red brick with a tiled roof. No 453 Church Road is phyically attached to this barn. The windows are boarded up, so I'm not sure if it's being used in a long time. All these buildings belong to the Old Yardley Village Conservation Area, so they are protected.

 

Photos taken in January 2010 by Elliott Brown.

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29 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

Alfred Bird & Sons: the inventor of eggless custard

You've all seen the Custard Factory building in Digbeth. It was the Devonshire Works and it was here that Alfred Bird the inventor of egg free custard made eggless custard in Birmingham. He invented it in 1837. He soon set up a company Alfred Bird & Sons Ltd which became Bird's Custard. The Bird's had a home in Solihull called Tudor Grange (now near Solihull College).

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Alfred Bird & Sons: the inventor of eggless custard




You've all seen the Custard Factory building in Digbeth. It was the Devonshire Works and it was here that Alfred Bird the inventor of egg free custard made eggless custard in Birmingham. He invented it in 1837. He soon set up a company Alfred Bird & Sons Ltd which became Bird's Custard. The Bird's had a home in Solihull called Tudor Grange (now near Solihull College).


Alfred Bird

He was born in Nympsfield, Gloucestershire in 1811 and died in 1878 in Kings Norton, Worcestershire. He was a pupil at King Edward's School, Birmingham. Alfred invented egg-free custard in 1837 at his chemist shop. It wasn't long before he set up his own company Alfred Bird & Sons Ltd to make the custard. The Custard Factory building we know today was actually built in 1902 by his son Sir Alfred Frederick Bird. The original factory (of the 19th century) no longer exists. Custard was made at the Custard Factory until 1963, when production was moved to Banbury.

Devonshire House seen in 2010 near the end of a renovation that turned the building into Zellig. It was built in 1902 and is a Grade II listed building. Red brick and terracotta with some stone dressings. There is an inscription in the middle that says 'Alfred Bird and Sons Limited', 'Devonshire Works', '1837' and '1902'. 1837 was when the first Alfred Bird invented eggless custard and 1902 when his son opened the Devonshire Works. It is on High Street Deritend, with one side down Floodgate Street. Gibb Street runs through the complex, and Heath Mill Lane is nearby.

To the top of the middle of the building from High Street Deritend is this sculpted part of the building with ships painted onto it. Sailing ships. At the time a gull was sitting on top!

A look down Gibb Street in Digbeth. A Birmingham Civic Society blue plaque for Alfred Bird is on the left. Zellig now occupy the buildings and they have continually been restoring the buildings during the Digbeth 2.0 or "Only in Digbeth" phase. Various different independent shops have occupied the retail units here. As of late 2018, 7 Sins is in the unit on the left. Building on the right used to be a bank. Now it is the Clean Kilo, previously was a hair salon, and before that a music shop. There is also a former library to the rear of the building.

There is an open gate on Floodgate Street under the Bordesley Viaduct that leads to the Custard Factory. A footbridge crosses the River Rea where you can see this view of the Custard Factory. There is a lot of graffiti street art around, this changes quite regularly.

This post is turning into more about the son of the original Alfred Bird. Also called Alfred Bird. Lets head over to Solihull where Alfred Bird Junior lived. Sir Alfred Frederick Bird was born in 1847 in Birmingham and died in 1922 (he was run over by a car in Piccadilly, London). He was also MP for Wolverhampton West. He was elected in 1910 and held the seat until his death. He took over control of his fathers company in 1878 on the death of the first Alfred Bird. He retired as chairman and managing director of the company in 1905.

There is a big manor house off Blossomfield Road in Solihull near Solihull College. It is Tudor Grange House and is a Grade II* listed building. Alfred Bird bought the property in 1901 and lived there until his death in 1922. His widow lived there until her death in 1943. It was being used as Red Cross auxiliary hospital both during and after the Second World War. Warwickshire County Council bought the house in 1946 and became a school for children with special needs until 1976 when it became part of the then Solihull Technical College (now the Solihull College and University Centre). The house was built in 1887 in the Jacobean style by Thomas Henry Mansell of Birmingham for the industrialist Alfred Lovekin. The Lovekin's lived there until Alfred Lovekin's wife died in 1900, and Alfred Bird bought it in 1901. Solihull College put the building up for sale in 2016, and their are plans to convert it into a care home (to secure it's future).

There is a gatehouse near the entrance to the Blossomfield Campus of Solihull College & University Centre. I'm not sure how old it is, but it probably dates to the late 19th century. Would assume it was once part of the Tudor Grange estate that the Bird family owned from 1901 to 1946. At the time I went past it, there was Christmas decorations in front, but were hard to see due to the brick wall, trees and the barrier on the road entrance to the college being in the way. It is a short walk from here to the Blossomfield Road entrance to Tudor Grange Park (also once part of the Bird's Tudor Grange estate).

Solihull College had a modern building built between around 2008 and 2009 turning it into a University Centre (apart from this there isn't an actual University in Solihull Borough). The Headquarters of the Solihull Chamber of Commerce is now based at the college. The car park, normally full of cars during term time was empty during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. They had one of the Big Sleuth bears outside of the college during the Summer of 2017. Called The Gas Street Bearsin (based on the Gas Street Basin).

A look at Tudor Grange Park in Solihull. It has pedestrian entrances via paths on Blossomfield Road, Homer Road (via a path that goes under the Chiltern Railways mainline) and Monkspath Hall Road. The park was formed after Solihull Council purchased the land from the Bird family in 1946. It was formerly farmland. The lands were formerly part of Garret's Green Farm.  Alfred Lovekin bought the farm and built Tudor Grange Hall in 1886. After his death in 1900, the hall and farmland was sold by auction to Alfred Frederick Bird (the then owner of the Bird's Custard company) in 1901. The park opened to the public in the early 1950s.

The land also included what would later become Tudor Grange School (now Tudor Grange Academy) and Alderbrook School. The Bird family gave the land to Solihull on the condition that a school was established on the site. A look at the centre of Tudor Grange Park. Solihull Council has landscaped it around 2008 with new paths, benches and lampposts. There is also a cycle track.

The lake at Tudor Grange Park. Looking towards Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, which was rebuilt in 2008. The original swimming baths in the park opened in 1965, replacing a lido in Malvern Park. There is also an athletics track, that is fenced off from the park, but is I think part of the leisure centre. You would find various geese and ducks in this pond. A stream called the Alder Brook also flows through the park, and the Chiltern Mainline railway passes the park on the east side. Solihull Station is not that far away, as is Solihull Town Centre.

The grounds of Tudor Grange Hall also contained a number of statues which were sold at auction following the death of Mrs Bird (the late wife of the late Alfred Frederick Bird) in 1944. 'The Horse Tamer Group" which was made in 1874 by Joseph Boehm was bought and donated to Solihull Council by Captain Oliver Bird in 1944. The statue was moved to Malvern Park in 1953 where it still stands and is known as 'The Prancing Horse' and is Grade II listed. This view of the statue in early 2010, when the bronze was looking quite green.

In early 2012 metal thieves vandalised the statue and cut off the feet. It was later restored later in 2012, and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has security marked the statue in an effort to protect it from future vandalism. After I read about the 2012 vandalism, I returned to Malvern Park in late 2012 to see the statue fully restored. The bronze was looking more black by then.

A winter wonderland scene in Malvern Park during the snow of December 2017. Looked very Christmasy back then. There has been no snow at Christmas 2018, and we haven't had snow since the Beast from the East during March 2018 (which meant we were more likely to have a White Easter than a White Christmas). Mr Horace Brueton had bought the land in 1916 including Malvern Hall. Warwickshire County Council bought Malvern Park from him in 1926, and he gave his remaining land to Solihull in 1944, in the same year that Captain Oliver Bird donated the statue to Solihull.

For more on Malvern Hall see my post on the Manor Houses of the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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29 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown

Acocks Green Village on the Warwick Road, Shirley Road and Westley Road

Another village centre. This time Acocks Green Village. With the junction of the Warwick Road, Shirley Road and Westley Road. On the bus routes 11A and 11C. Also on the 1, 1A, 4 and 4A (the 4 used to be the 37). Acocks Green has a church called St Mary the Virgin. There is also Acocks Green Primary School, Acocks Green Bowl and Acocks Green Library.

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Acocks Green Village on the Warwick Road, Shirley Road and Westley Road




Another village centre. This time Acocks Green Village. With the junction of the Warwick Road, Shirley Road and Westley Road. On the bus routes 11A and 11C. Also on the 1, 1A, 4 and 4A (the 4 used to be the 37). Acocks Green has a church called St Mary the Virgin. There is also Acocks Green Primary School, Acocks Green Bowl and Acocks Green Library.


Starting with the Westley Road in Acocks Green. One one side is the Acocks Green Bowl next to the 11C bus stop. Opposite is Acocks Green Primary School (it is also on the Warwick Road).

A look at Acocks Green Bowl on the Westley Road. Now a bowling alley with a laser quest called Quasar Elite. Originally built as a cinema, it opened in 1929 as the Warwick Cinema, also known as the Warwick Super Cinema. It was operated by the Victoria Playhouse Group . The Warwick Cinema was closed in 1962 and it was converted into a 10-pin bowling alley, although the cinema remained and it reopened in 1964 as the Warwick Cinema. The cinema part closed in 1991 and was converted into a laser tag centre.

For many years they had Qusar Elite upstairs above the bowling alley, at least until 2017. As of 2018 it is now Laserquest. Laser Game & Escape Rooms. I spotted this while waiting on the 11C bus on the Westley Road (the driver usually has a 5 to 10 minute break here). Laserquest is "ultimtate sci-fi action adventure for all". It is suitable for children or adults of all ages. They have birthday packages. I think in my life I've only tried laserquest once or twice, but it was a very long time ago and I wasn't any good at it (was better at bowling - but I've not been bowling in years either!). In fact I've not bowled at Acocks Green since the late 1990s.

Acocks Green Primary School seen on the Westley Road in Acocks Green. I think this side was originally the Infants School.

The school was created in 2004 by the merger of Acocks Green Junior School with Acocks Green Infant School. The buildings date back to 1908 by the architect A.B. Rowe. It is locally listed Grade B.  Was opened in 1909 by Worcestershire County Council, transferring to Birmingham City Council in 1911. The school consisted of Boys, Girls and Infants departments, but in 1932 it was reorganised into Senior Mixed and Junior Mixed departments. The Senior Mixed department became a separate school in 1945 and the Junior Mixed department became a primary school at the same time. It currently has approximately 480 pupils.

The side of Acocks Green Primary School seen on the Warwick Road in Acocks Green. I believe that this part was probably the Junior School. This view from Dudley Park Road. The no 37 bus route used to be on the Warwick Road before it was renumbered by National Express West Midlands in 2018 to the 4 (the new 4A route also follows the same route apart from starting in Gospel Oak).

St Mary the Virgin Acocks Green is the Parish Church of Acocks Green and is on the Warwick Road opposite the primary school. It's been a Grade II listed building since 2009. It's an Anglican parish church designed by J G Bland dating to 1864-1882 in the 13th century style. Later extensions by J A Chatwin date to 1891-4. The church was made from local sandstone apart from red brick walls to the exterior of the transept arches marking the impact of WWII bombing. There is a churchyard around with gravestones and memorials.

It was originally built as a chapel of ease to St Edburgha's in Yardley, when Acocks Green was part of the same parish as Yardley. A stained glass window by Morris and Co to designs by Burne-Jones was added in 1895, in memory of Reverend Frederick Thomas Swinburn, late Vicar of Acock's Green. This view as you walk close up past the churchyard on the Warwick Road. Quite of a lot of crosses in the churchyard. Also the odd statue above graves as well.

Acocks Green Library is on the Shirley Road in Acocks Green. Locally listed Grade A, it was built in 1932. Architects Messrs. J.P. Osborne and Sons, builder Mr. J. Emlyn Williams of Aston, masonry work by Wragg Bros of Kings Heath, terrazzo by Lyne and Sons of Birmingham, and hand-made facing bricks by J.W.D. Pratt of Oldbury. Refurbished in 1994-95. On the left is a small war memorial garden (Garden of Remembrance), where each Remembrance Sunday, they hold a wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial. Above the main entrance is Birmingham's coat of arms, also known as Forward.

This Subway is at 1101 Warwick Road in Acocks Green. The building was formerly a Midland Bank. HSBC was probably there until they moved to the other side of the road. HSBC vacated their last Acocks Green premises between 2014 and 2015. A former Woolwich Bank used to be at 1105 Warwick Road (to the left of here). It is has been Exchange 4 Pounds for many years, but the shutter is always down for some reason?

The Inn on the Green is a pub at the corner of Shirley Road and Westley Road in Acocks Green. It is locally listed Grade B. Built in 1930 for Mitchells and Butlers by James and Lister Lea. Art Deco style. On the Shirley Road side is Birmingham Route 44 - The Road Inn. Birmingham's Premier Rock Venue. James and Lister Lea were known for doing Birmingham pubs at the turn of the century (19th to the 20th). The company existed from 1846 to 2001 when they merged with Bruton Knowles.

Christmas lights seen on Jeffries Hardware on the Shirley Road in Acocks Green. Seen during December 2012. I think they use the same Christmas lights above the store each year. The one in the middle says "Merry Christmas".

Christmas lights seen down Westley Road towards the village green in Acocks Green Village from the 11C bus stop outside of Acocks Green Bowl. The bus stop for the 11A is on the other side of the road. This view was seen in late November 2015. The Christmas lights here are usually green and yellow.

This more recent view of Christmas lights in Acocks Green Village was seen on the Warwick Road near Wilko looking towards Burton. This was during early December 2018. To the right of Burton used to be a Woolworths store until they went bust in 2009. The store was empty during 2010, until it was turned into a Furniture & Electrical  charity shop for the British Heart Foundation.

Bouncy castles and other stalls on the Warwick Road in Acocks Green, seen during Acocks Green Village Fun Day. It was held on Saturday 12th April 2014, and was held by the Acocks Green Village BID (one of many events they have had in the village). There was an entertainer there that day (a clown), who would blow up balloons and fold them into shapes / objects for families. The Post Office used to be on that side of the Warwick Road (next to Lloyds Bank), until 2014 or 2015. When the later moved into WH Smith Local which opened in 2015 (where Bon Marché used to be until about 2012) on the other side of the road (to the right of Iceland).

The new Acocks Green Village in Bloom sculpture was unveiled on the village green during 2017. It was unveiled on Thursday 4th May 2017. The designer was Veronica Treadwell. Made by the manufacturer Collins. Installed with the help of Fran Lee and the Bloom volunteers. The design was based on a tree as it was thought that the Acocks Green area has more trees than any other area in Birmingham. It's design is based on the transport links to and from the village. A canal built in the 18th century (what is now the Grand Union Canal). A railway built in the 19th century (later becoming part of the Chiltern Mainline) which was later surrounded by Victorian and Edwardian properties. The sculpture shows a horse-drawn narrowboat and a Great Western Railway locomotive. It is basically a "Welcome to Acocks Green" sign on the island. The shop seen behind was the Card Factory.

During the spring and summer each year, the Acocks Green Village in Bloom team plant colourful flowers on the green. Seen from near the Warwick Road zebra crossing during April 2014. At the time there was also daffodils in bloom. Shops seen behind going up the Shirley Road including Consol Walk-in-Spa, Shaw's Amusements, Kingman House (Cantonese & Chinese takeaway) and Cash Fall Amusements.

Seen in May 2015 was this wonderful flower display of yellow coloured flowers (I'm not very good on flower names so is easier for me to say what colour they are). This view to the Westley Road / Warwick Road corner. At the time there was also tulips on the village green. There is a Barclays Bank on that corner (to the right of a solicitors office).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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