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Green open spaces
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Love our parks - get involved!

As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.

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Love our parks - get involved!





As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.


Over the next month and for the remainder of 2020, we will be growing our reach and pull together information and details on all the great work being carried out across communities as they collectively protect their parks.  

This will grow into a massive 'community-led' resource for people with a shared interest and passion for their local parks and green spaces.  

Here's just a few of the ideas and initiatives we will be telling you more about so we can share and get more people actively involved.

Litter picking groups - they do a fantastic job.  We'll connect you with your local group.

Art & Culture Trail.  We'll help you set up your trail and showcase your parks.

Walking clubs. We'll connect you and bring in more friends.

Park angels.  Volunteering with a difference.  We'll tell you more.

Creativity and green spaces collide.  Let's look at how art, music, photography and creativity in all its forms can help promote and protect our parks. 

Parks and mental health.  A walk, ride or jog in the park can do so much for your mental health.

There's something for everyone.

Connect with us and help us protect our parks. 

 

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60 passion points
Classic Architecture
1 hour ago - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A tour of Highbury Hall, the home of Joseph Chamberlain from 1880 until 1914

While Highbury Hall is closed now during the pandemic, you can still go for walks around Highbury Park, and get up and close to the back of the hall from the gardens. I last went inside during the September 2018 open day, and then went around Chamberlain's Gardens before leaving the park. Designed by J H Chamberlain (now relation to Joe) and built in 1879. The hall is on Yew Tree Road.

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A tour of Highbury Hall, the home of Joseph Chamberlain from 1880 until 1914





While Highbury Hall is closed now during the pandemic, you can still go for walks around Highbury Park, and get up and close to the back of the hall from the gardens. I last went inside during the September 2018 open day, and then went around Chamberlain's Gardens before leaving the park. Designed by J H Chamberlain (now relation to Joe) and built in 1879. The hall is on Yew Tree Road.


Highbury Hall

Highbury Hall is located on Yew Tree Road in Moseley (the Moor Green area), and was built as the home of Joseph Chamberlain between 1878 and 1879. Old Joe moved in during 1880 and lived here until his death in 1914. It took it's name from the Highbury area of London where he lived as a child. The architect was John Henry Chamberlain (who was of no relation). The house is a Grade II* listed building, and now run by the Chamberlain Highbury Trust (who took over from Birmingham City Council).

While Highbury Hall is closed during the lockdown / pandemic, they are restoring the house, and there is scaffolding inside, and I saw some to the right from the back of the house.

 

Previous Highbury Hall and Chamberlain family posts here:

Various views of Highbury Hall over the years.

My first full visit to Highbury Park was during December 2009 when the park was covered with snow. I was given advice on Flickr of where to find Highbury Hall from the back.

For some reason I only took the photos from the bottom of the hill, so got these big bushes in the way.

I also can't remember if there was a path leading all the way up to the hall or not like there is now.

The snow was in patches on the hill up to Highbury Hall. Was quite impressive, but didn't see this view in person again for another 9 years (from the back).

 

View of Highbury Hall from Yew Tree Road during April 2011. At the time it was still being managed by Birmingham City Council. This is the left hand side view of the house. The main entrance is to the right of here.

There is a gate on this side of Highbury Hall but it does not lead to the car park. Usually used for service vehicles and vans.

This is the main gated entrance to Highbury Hall. On this visit the gate was locked.

At the time the Council ran the hall so all the signs here had Birmingham City Council on them.

 

About a month before the Open Day at Highbury Hall in August 2018, had a walk around Highbury Park, then checked out the hall from Yew Tree Road. The gate was open, so I walked up for some views from the car park.

View of Highbury Hall from the car park, about a month before the Open Day. There is a blue plaque on he left hand side of the house.

The blue plaque unveiled in 1990 by the Birmingham Civic Society reads:

HIGHBURY

Home of

Joseph Chamberlain

Distinguished Statesman and 
Civic Leader

That day in August 2018, it was a bit cloudy, but it does look impressive from the car park side.

This view of Highbury Hall from Yew Tree Road, as a green City Council van was parked outside to the left.

 

From the back of Highbury Hall during the September 2018 open day. There was a small tent up relating to the Open Day to the right.

 

Views of Highbury Hall during May 2020. Chamberlain's Gardens are still open to the public, as is the paths to the back of the hall. At the time was some men sunbathing on the lawn.

This is probably the best photo I have taken of Highbury Hall from the garden, with a blue sky and not obscured by any other object.

Got a nice shadow on the side of Highbury Hall.

This view and the light and shadows hitting the hall looked especially nice from the car park. The gate was closed on Yew Tree Road.

Also zoomed up to this date stone with the year 1879, the year the building was completed.

 

Now for a look around the inside of the hall. These views were during the September 2018 open day.

The Main entrance doors. Volunteers inside to welcome you on your visit to the open day.

You can tell immediately that this is a late Victorian house with all the details around the double doors as you head in. Highbury Hall was also used for Weddings.

This room had been set up for a presentation by History West Midlands. You could exit the house through the French Windows into the garden at the back. Weddings would also take place in this room (not on the open day of course).

The main staircase leading up from the main hall area up to the first floor landing.

The first floor landing area

View of the chandellier from the ground floor hall, looking up to the first floor landing.

On the first floor landing, which leads to all the bedrooms. On the Open Day, the Trench Choir was preparing for a performance later (that I missed as I left early and headed on to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre that day).

On the left was The Remembrance Altar Cloth. Portraits of the male members of the Chamberlain family around the landing. Open doors leads to the bedrooms.

On the left hand side of the wall (to the right) was a portrait of Joseph Chamberlain MP by Nestor Cambier.

To the right was a portrait of Neville Chamberlain MP as Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1933 (he later served as Prime Minister from 1937 to 1940).

The West Room

This room had good views over the formal garden. Was later used as a ward for ten beds and then as a bedroom of the Superintendent in charge of the home for the elderly.

There was a pair of chairs and a table in the West Room near the window. Somewhere to sit, or a good spot for looking out of the window at the garden and park.

Mr Joe's Room

This room was Joseph Chamberlain's bedroom after he married his second wife Mary. Known as Mr Joe's Room, it was connected to Miss Hilda's Room. It later became a sitting room for Beatrice, the daughter of Joseph.

Miss Hilda's Room

This was initially Joseph Chamberlain's bedroom but following his marriage to Mary Endicott, it became the bedroom of Beatrice Chamberlain, Joseph's eldest daughter. It was connected to Mr Joe's room, which became Beatrice's sitting room.

I had earlier seen ladies in period WW1 costumes, preparing. They were probably playing Suffragettes. 100 years since women got the vote. World War 1 ended in November 1918 and women got to vote for the first time in a General Election (during December 1918 after the Armistice the month before).

The Carnegie Room

This room was designed as the principal master bedroom at Highbury, and was initially occupied by Beatrice Chamberlain, Joseph Chamberlain's eldest daughter. When Joseph Chamberlain married his second wife in 1888, Mary Endicott, this room became Mary's bedroom.

At this end was a table and chairs, the room was refurbished in 1984, so not necessarily the original furniture.

When Highbury was used as a hospital, The Carnegie Room was used as a ward with ten beds, and later became a committee room for the managers of the home for the elderly.

A typical Carnegie style bed to the far left hand side of the bedroom. But this was part of the furniture purchased by the Council in 1984 for this room.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of Highbury Hall. Next time we could have a look around Chamberlain's Gardens.

 

For more views from Highbury Park in late May 2020, go to this post here: A sunny day in May at Highbury Park and Highbury Hall.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
4 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A sunny May afternoon at Kings Heath Park on lockdown

This was my first time back to Kings Heath since lockdown came into effect in late March 2020. Since restrictions were eased, we headed for a walk round Highbury Park, before walking to Kings Heath Park. Was so many people out and about enjoying the weather. Sporting activities were going on there. Playground still closed though.

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A sunny May afternoon at Kings Heath Park on lockdown





This was my first time back to Kings Heath since lockdown came into effect in late March 2020. Since restrictions were eased, we headed for a walk round Highbury Park, before walking to Kings Heath Park. Was so many people out and about enjoying the weather. Sporting activities were going on there. Playground still closed though.


Back to Kings Heath for the first time in over 2 months since lockdown came into effect. On Thursday 21st May 2020. Lockdown restrictions have been eased, so you can travel a bit further, but can still not use public transport (so went we in the car).

During the Highbury Park walk, we left Highbury Park heading up Dads Lane, going under the Camp Hill line railway bridge and crossing onto Avenue Road. Just a short walk before reaching the Avenue Road entrance to Kings Heath Park.

My May post at Highbury Park is here: A sunny day in May at Highbury Park and Highbury Hall.

The playground near Avenue Road - the Kings Heath Park Play Area was obviously closed due to the pandemic / lockdown. And remains closed even when lockdown restrictions were eased.

Families sitting on the grass, and in front of them I think a family was playing a game of croquet (or something, hard to tell with the trees in the way).

In the pond, saw a moorhen.

The trees around the pond were lush and green and fully grown back after the last winter. The fountains weren't on though.

Saw a Bowling Green on a walk around, and saw some men playing a game of bowls (not sure if they were of the same family or not). What was concerning was the group of men playing football, surely they are not all related and live in the same household? I did not see any security or Police in the park.

More people relaxing on the lawn to the back of the park, some sitting down on the grass. Hopefully socially distancing?

Meanwhile a walk past the TV Garden. All gates were locked, but I took photos through the bars of the gates. Got this old brick wall and gate.

A purple shed and purple flowers. Google Lens says that they are Allium aflatunese. Last went around here 6 years ago (around the TV Garden).

A close up look at the Allium aflatunese purple coloured flowers, in the TV Garden.

Before we left, I wanted to get a phone of this yarn bombing on the fence of the football pitch.

Life is tough but so are we

More Birmingham park posts coming soon, so watch this space!

Expect posts from:

  • Old Yardley Park
  • The Vale Village
  • Summerfield Park
  • Daisy Farm Park
  • Cofton Park

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
02 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A sunny day in May at Highbury Park and Highbury Hall

The first time back to Highbury Park since lockdown started (and this part of Moseley & Kings Heath). Starting from the Gatehouse near Moor Green Lane, the walk around the back during May 2020, via the gardens of Highbury Hall, before heading to the Dads Lane exit (to walk up to Kings Heath Park and back). Then taking the grass path back to the starting point.

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A sunny day in May at Highbury Park and Highbury Hall





The first time back to Highbury Park since lockdown started (and this part of Moseley & Kings Heath). Starting from the Gatehouse near Moor Green Lane, the walk around the back during May 2020, via the gardens of Highbury Hall, before heading to the Dads Lane exit (to walk up to Kings Heath Park and back). Then taking the grass path back to the starting point.


For my last Highbury Park post go to this link here: Highbury Park through the seasons and the years between Kings Heath and Moseley

Thank you Joseph Chamberlain for leaving your estate as open parkland after your death in 1914 for members of the public to enjoy. Also thanks to the Chamberlain Highbury Trust for maintaining Highbury Hall and the park, and hope they can continue to do so.

 

This visit was on Thursday 21st May 2020, in the afternoon.

Highbury Park

Starting at the Gatehouse near Moor Green Lane and Yew Tree Lane we followed the path amongst the trees into the park.

I found an old bricked pathway surrounded by trees, so took this route. Don't recall going down here before.

You can imagine this once being part of Joseph Chamberlain's gardens with colourful flowers, but it now just has green trees, shrubs and bushes.

Back onto the main path heading past the Long Pond.

Took a side path round the back of the Long Pond. Was some baby ducklings in there! How cute.

There was a lot of long grass, especially where cow parsley was growing, but most of the lawns were cut short.

Now on the path towards Dads Lane. But there was a lot of litter on the ground near the bin. Can people either take their litter home, or properly bin their waste? I also noticed that the car park near the Dads Lane entrance was in use.

At the Dads Lane exit / entrance near Shutlock Lane before the walk towards Kings Heath Park. The gate was open here as the car park was open.

After returning from Kings Heath Park, wanted to take the fastest route back to the starting point, and noticed this grass path cut amongst the long grass so took it.

Continuing along the grass path back towards the Gatehouse. The park looks lovely this time of year.

Highbury Hall

During the lockdown / pandemic, Highbury Hall has been closed. But Chamberlain's Gardens from Highbury Park was open, so we had a walk round to the back of the house. Saw some people sunbathing on the lawn!

The hall looks to be in good condition here, although the hall is being restored inside at the time. The hall was built in 1878-79 for Joseph Chamberlain.

Heading round to the left side of Highbury Hall. Got a nice shadow on this side.

The main entrance of Highbury Hall. The car park was empty and the gate locked.

Zoomed up to this stone with the 1879 date from when it was first built.

But I remembered that Highbury Hall had scaffolding and didn't see any until I zoomed towards the right side of the hall.

Some of my photos from the September 2018 Open Day are in this post: Inspirational day at Highbury Hall - well done Trustees and Volunteers of Chamberlain Highbury Trust!

Chamberlain's Gardens

Now for a look around Chamberlain's Gardens at Highbury Park & Hall. I was last around here during the September 2018 Open Day (see the Highbury Park gallery for those photos).

Head through these triangular sticks towards Highbury Hall.

Found a bog with algae on it, and a robin (before it flew away!).

The footbridge towards Highbury Hall.

After a look again at the back of Highbury Hall, taking a path back into the park. This tree had fallen over. Also got to be careful with the roots of trees sticking out of some paths.

The trees continue as there was a fence around the site of Chamberlain House.

Children were playing with their parents in these woods near Highbury Hall.

Trees lining the fence near Chamberlain House.

Got to this area with yarn bombing around trees and multicoloured bunting.

Some of these yarn bombing looked like spider webs or dartboards!

Heading back through the Vegetable Garden then back into Highbury Park.

If we can't get to stately homes in the Shire counties and their wonderful parks and gardens, then we can still get to the local parks that were formerly estates with a house (without going into the house of course).

 

More Birmingham park posts coming soon, so watch this space!

Expect posts from:

  • Old Yardley Park
  • The Vale Village
  • Summerfield Park
  • Daisy Farm Park
  • Cofton Park

 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

 

 

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80 passion points
Squares and public spaces
02 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The British Armed Forces over the years in Victoria Square

Over the years, I have seen the British Armed Forces (RAF, Royal Navy or British Army) in Victoria Square for a variety of reasons. For recruitment, for Armed Forces Day, or even for the 100th Anniversary of the forming of the RAF. Click the post below for a gallery of photos. Including various military vehicles that were in the square at the time.

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The British Armed Forces over the years in Victoria Square





Over the years, I have seen the British Armed Forces (RAF, Royal Navy or British Army) in Victoria Square for a variety of reasons. For recruitment, for Armed Forces Day, or even for the 100th Anniversary of the forming of the RAF. Click the post below for a gallery of photos. Including various military vehicles that were in the square at the time.


2011

ABF The Soldiers Charity

This was on the 9th April 2011. The Lord Mayor's Big Curry was also held in Victoria Square this day.

Army Band.

JCB

Rapier - a surface-to-air-missle for the British Army and Royal Air Force.

The Lord Mayor's Big Curry.

Armed Forces Day

This was held on the 25th June 2011 in Victoria Square.

Army ambulance.

BBC WM.

Royal Air Force simulator ride.

Iron:Man observes the RAF Reserves.

The Royal Navy.

2014

Join the Army

Army recruitment drive on the 18th January 2014 in Victoria Square.

Army excavator.

The Royal Monmouthshre Royal Engineers (Militia).

Land Rover Defender for the Army. Mobile base of operations.

Toyota Hilux with the army recruitment.

2018

RAF 100

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918 over the August Bank Holiday weekend from the 25th to the 27th August 2018. Although you could see the planes here before it opened on the 24th August 2018.

Typhoon Full Scale Replica.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk1A.

RAF Charity and the Red Arrows (sadly the weather was not good enough that weekend for a Red Arrows flypast).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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40 passion points

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