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Squares and public spaces
14 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Model of St Martin's Square at St Martin in the Bullring

I did not know that this model of St Martin's Square was inside of St Martin in the Bullring. After meeting King Charles I Return for the first time for coffee (Aka Daniel Williams) we headed into St Martin's Church for a quick look around. First thing I spotted was this model. I'd say it was made around 2000 for the Bullring that opened in 2003. Also shows Selfridges.

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Model of St Martin's Square at St Martin in the Bullring





I did not know that this model of St Martin's Square was inside of St Martin in the Bullring. After meeting King Charles I Return for the first time for coffee (Aka Daniel Williams) we headed into St Martin's Church for a quick look around. First thing I spotted was this model. I'd say it was made around 2000 for the Bullring that opened in 2003. Also shows Selfridges.


In this post, first we will look at the model that I found inside of St Martin in the Bullring. Then comparison photos I took around St Martin's Square between Spring 2009 and early 2011 (before it all changed for the Spiceal Street development).

 

This model is between the exit from St Martin in the Bullring Cafe on the corridor to an entrance inside of the Church of St Martin. Didn't know it was there. Not even from a previous photo I took of the corridor to the cafe. I met King Charles I Return (aka Daniel Williams) on Friday 7th February 2020 for coffee. After that we popped into the church for a quick look around.

This view from Digbeth towards St Martin's Church with Selfridges on the right with the East Mall. The West Mall is to the left. The square as it was from 2003 until the 2011 Spiceal Street development added several new restaurants.

It was in a glass dome, so bit hard to get views without reflections. Birds-eye view down on St Martin's Square. Used to be a stepped sitting area on the left. That is where Chaophraya Thai Restaurant is now. Hand Made Burger Co was later built to the left of Selfridges down the right hand side of the path down to the road.

The view between St Martin's Church and Selfridges towards the main entrance to the Bullring. You can see the statue of Nelson in the middle.

This is the view from the markets side of the Bullring. Which is close to where buses drop off passengers (buses do not pick up passengers from this stop).

Another view of the path into St Martin's Square. Those steps on the right is where Handmade Burger Co is now. Sadly the Birmingham based chain has closed down (including their Bullring and Brindleyplace restaurants).

 

Now to compare the model to the real St Martin's Square from 2009 to early 2011 (before the Spiceal Street development got underway).

From the spring of 2009 when I started taking photos of Birmingham, that included the Bullring area. Got this view of St Martin's Church from near the steps during May 2009. The Three Cubes fountains were still there on the left. Little did I know that this area would all change about 2 years later.

These views from Digbeth, look quite similar to the model. Taken in October 2009, on the first day that I ever took photos around Digbeth (and not the last). This view past the Bull Ring Tavern towards the crossing between St Martin's Church and Selfridges.

Digbeth ends here, then the Bullring starts on the other side of the lights. There is a really short section of road called St Martin's Lane between Moat Lane and Park Street. Usually the buses wait at the lights here.

This view from near the Bull Ring Open Markets on Moat Lane. There was bunting on the lampposts. A sign on the right pointed directions to Digbeth Temporary Coach Station, as National Express was having their old coach station rebuilt into Birmingham Coach Station (which opened at the end of 2009 by the then England Football Manager, Fabio Capello).

Some of my earliest photos of St Martin's Square from April 2009. This from the balcony not far from the statue of Horatio Nelson. This view towards Borders, the Three Cubes fountain sculpture and Gloria Jeans Coffee. Neither of those were on the model (the sculpture and coffee shop).

This view also from April 2009, looking up to the balcony with the statue of Nelson. The stepped seating area was on the left, next to that was the Three Cubes fountain sculpture. St Martin in the Bullring to the right (still there now of course).

On month on, now May 2009. The curved semi circle section of the West Mall above Borders, the Three Cubes fountain sculpture and Gloria Jeans Coffee.

At the time in May 2009, the stepped seating area was closed off. Perhaps for a deep clean. But they would be dug up 2 years later in 2011 for the Spiceal Street development. This view towards Selfridges.

Side view of Gloria Jean's Coffee. This cafe building would be open until the end of 2010 (and into January 2011). The metal panels were later recycled into the tree sculpture that is in St Martin's Square today.

Aware that the building occupied at the time by Gloria Jean's Coffee would be dismantled for the Spiceal Street development, I took these early evening shots around 5pm at the end of December 2010.

There was already some barriers around here, but people could still go up and down the steps. Oh and Forever 21 had opened up above Jamie's Italian by then (where Borders used to be until that closed down).

A few days later and a couple of days into the new year of 2011. So now January 2011 for some last daylight shots of this building before they took it down.

There was a planning application here from Birmingham City Council detailing the plans for what was going to happen at Spiceal Street.

I did not go in. I didn't really start to go to coffee shops until 2012, starting off with Costa Coffee. Before trying Caffe Nero and Starbucks in 2014. I also discovered Coffee#1 in 2015 in South Wales before they opened some stores in the West Midlands.

In August 2009 a view from the upper balcony near Selfridges towards Digbeth. At this point in time, I had yet to have a photo walk around Digbeth. I didn't start to do that until October 2009. The steps below on the left, were demolished in 2009, and this is where Handmade Burger Co was built. The model of St Martin's Square shows tables and chairs outside of Selfridges on the lower balcony. There used to be a Starbucks in Selfridges at this corner (that has now gone).

A nice sunny view heading into St Martin's Square during August 2009. I had changed camera's by this point.

This view of Selfridges from Digbeth during December 2009. They were selling (at the time) Real Christmas Trees at Selfridges. The steps were still there at the time (seen on the left).

St Martin's Square in late December 2010. Slightly blurry at about 5pm near the Christmas tree. This was a few months before the Spiceal Street development which took all of 2011 to complete adding several new restaurants, and new steps up to St Martin's Walk with a replacement water feature.

The Three Cubes fountain sculpture seen during April 2009. Behind them was the former stepped seating area. Borders Books used to have many of the units there, including a Starbucks Coffee. That later became Jamies Italian and Forever 21 (which at one point had a Costa Coffee). Sadly both have recently closed down. But there is a Starbucks in the West Mall just as you enter the doors.

As you can see by December 2010, Jamie's Italian had moved in. They would last until 2018 (going into administration and closing down). The cubes were removed in early 2011 when construction of the Spiceal Street development started.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Green open spaces
10 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The only time I went around Moseley Park was during a free open day in 2016

Normally to get into Moseley Park you need a key, so as I'm not a Moseley resident (at least not since I turned 5 years old), the only time I've been round the park (with my camera) was back in September 2016 during Birmingham Heritage Week. It is a private park not a public park. Would be nice for it to be open up to the public more regularly. Entrances on three roads.

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The only time I went around Moseley Park was during a free open day in 2016





Normally to get into Moseley Park you need a key, so as I'm not a Moseley resident (at least not since I turned 5 years old), the only time I've been round the park (with my camera) was back in September 2016 during Birmingham Heritage Week. It is a private park not a public park. Would be nice for it to be open up to the public more regularly. Entrances on three roads.


If you want to check out my previous related post, please click this link to the post: Moseley Hall Hospital and Moseley Park: Birmingham Heritage Week, September 2016.

 

Moseley Park

First up some history from the Wikipedia page.

It is an 11 acre private park maintained by the Moseley Trust, located close to the A435 Alcester Road in Moseley Village. The park was originally part of the estate of Moseley Hall, which were designed by the estate landscape gardener Humphry Repton. By the end of the 19th century, most of the surrounding land was sold for house building. Businessmen bought the parkland so to prevent any further development. The park was opened by local East Worcestershire MP Austen Chamberlain on 29 September 1899.

Since 1983 the park has been part of the wider Moseley Conservation Area. There is regular music festivals held in the park. A Grade II listed ice house dating from the 18th century is located in the park.

Access to the park is with a key for local residents, or you can purchase one with a deposit. The park has gated entrances on Salisbury Road, Alcester Road and from Chantry Road.

 

My only visit was during Birmingham Heritage Week during September 2016 (for details of that visit check the link at the top of this post which includes Moseley Hall Hospital). Which was free to enter, the gates were unlocked (I think there was guides at each gate that I recall from over 3 years ago now).

Probably my only way in now is with Karl Newton (who lives in Moseley and has a key).

 

August 2013

The entrance to Moseley Park & Pool from the Alcester Road. Just the sign between the buildings. Just seen in passing, without a key I couldn't go in. Decades before this, may have entered once, when someone I knew used to live nearby in Moseley.

April 2015

The Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival was on in Moseley Park from the 10th to 12th July 2015. This banner was on St Mary's Row near Alcester Road, and seen from the no 50 bus during April 2015. That year they got Gregory Porter and Craig Charles to come and perform in Moseley Park.

Birmingham Heritage Week, September 2016

Heritage Open Days balloons seen at the unlocked gate on Salisbury Road. The open day had begun. This was after I had had a look around Moseley Hall (including the Dovecote and Cow Shed buildings).

The notice board at the Salisbury Road entrance. You can buy a key from Moseley Travel. I'm not a Moseley resident, so am not really planning or thinking of buying a key.

The path into the park from Salisbury Road.

The path continues amongst the trees.

First look inside of Moseley Park. During the Heritage Open Day there was bunting near the Ice House.

Unusual looking wooden benches / chairs and a table.

A directors chair from The Moseley Society/ This was near the Ice House (which you could enter on the open day at the time).

Now for a look around the pool. A pink H for Heritage Open Days was on the left.

Might have been September, but it was still quite summery in the park.

Such a lovely lake / pool to see that only Moseley locals get to see regularly.

Hard to believe that this is there, as if you are in a car or bus on the Alcester Road (50) or Salisbury Road (1, 1A or 35) you wouldn't even know that this pool was there (other than seeing the gates from the bus).

Trees leaning into the pool from the far end.

You could be in the countryside, not in Moseley, but remember this used to be part of the Moseley Hall estate. Just go to one of the many National Trust properties in the UK to get from the hall to the lake.

What looks like some rocks and a net at this corner of the pool.

These photos previously posted in my Birmingham Heritage Week post on Moseley Hall & Park. If you want to see a public outdoor pool (lake or pond), head to Swanshurst Park, for what is called the Moseley New Pool. Swanshurst Park through the seasons through the years.

Three trees with the pool. For another Moseley post, check out my Moseley Bog post here: Moseley Bog from my December 2012 and September 2016 visits.

A boat house and a big shed.

The path towards the pool, you can head either direction around it. Somewhere on this lawn would be where they set up those various music festivals. Is always a lot of traffic on the roads outside (and cars park half on the road and pavement). I think the Salisbury Road entrance is used for the VIP guests. Somehow they got the Jacksons to come to Moseley Park last year (one of the brothers is a Wolves fan now!).

The Ice House. Previously posted in my last post from here. Only a limited number of people can fit inside.

Before the fridge freezer was invented, this was where you stored your ice. Climb down the ladder. This was the view from the top (obviously I didn't climb down). You can find other similar Ice Houses at National Trust properties.

Heading to the Alcester Road exit. That green hut belongs to the Chantry Tennis Club. The tennis courts are behind the netted fences nearby to here.

The path to the Alcester Road exit / entrance. Volunteers out that day for the Heritage Open Day probably from the Moseley Trust that runs the park.

Turning around, there was two paths. The path on the left was near the tennis courts.

Saw this six wheeled vehicle before I left. John Deere - Cator. TH 6x4. Some kind of park maintenance vehicle I think. Wasn't too far from the Alcester Road gate.

October 2019

My most recent photos of Moseley Park were taken from outside the locked gate on Chantry Road. Somehow I missed this entrance during the September 2016 open day, as I entered via Salisbury Road and exited at the time at Alcester Road.

Looks like steps go down from the Chantry Road gate next to the sign.

Once again the noticeboard mentions that you need a key to enter the park (which I don't have). In the autumn the parks opening hours was 6am to 8pm. A Free Day Key is for a £10 refundable deposit.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Art, culture & creativity
06 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Roxy Ballroom on Heath Mill Lane in Digbeth

The entertainment / culture venues around Digbeth continue to open. Roxy Ballroom is at 58-60 Heath Mill Lane (around the corner from the Custard Factory). Has a bowling alley, pool tables, ping pong tables and shuffleboard. There was also some basketball games and vintage arcade video game machines too. Also they do Flatbread Pizza and have a bar / cocktails. Look for the Ozzy Osbourne!

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Roxy Ballroom on Heath Mill Lane in Digbeth





The entertainment / culture venues around Digbeth continue to open. Roxy Ballroom is at 58-60 Heath Mill Lane (around the corner from the Custard Factory). Has a bowling alley, pool tables, ping pong tables and shuffleboard. There was also some basketball games and vintage arcade video game machines too. Also they do Flatbread Pizza and have a bar / cocktails. Look for the Ozzy Osbourne!


Another Brumtography meet in Digbeth. This one at the newly opened Roxy Ballroom on Heath Mill Lane. Before it was a bowling alley, this building used to be occupied by McLeman Forklift Services Ltd. Their offices were next door to the left where Birdies is now. To the right is now Drop Shot (that building was formerly occupied by B & K Fabrications Ltd). By 2015 that building had Lisk Bot art on it.

Back to Roxy Ballroom. Thanks once again to Karl Newton for organising the meet and getting permission from them. Much appreciated.

 

We were a bit early so we headed into what is now called Custard Factory Car Park (I've always called it Lower Trinity Street Car Park). The entrance is on Heath Mill Lane. Checking out the street art, saw this view of Roxy Ballroom. Behind you can see Colmore Gate and Three Snowhill.

One of the first things you see when you enter, is this mural of Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath fame (it's to the right of the bowling alley). Get well soon Ozzy (he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease). There are various pieces of street art around with the names of various bands / groups).

Bowling Alley

When we first went in, they had the normal lights on, so the lanes looked all yellow. Shortly they would turn off the normal lights with only the red and blue lights keeping the lanes lit.

This is what the Roxy Ballroom bowling alley looks like with the normal lights turned off. Hashtag at the back #DigbethBallers.

The view from the first floor balcony, up here is pool tables, but you can enjoy watching the bowling while having a drink and food.

Used one of the Creative effects filters on my camera for this photo.

Three lanes were open for us, so we of course tried bowling (for free) and at the same time attempting to take photos. Bit hard at first getting gutter balls. I later came back to the lane on the right and did a bit better (bowling skills that I've had for decades, but don't go that often any more).

Another view from the top There is 10 lanes in total. Lane One is to the far left, while Lane Ten is to the far right.

Pool

Up to the first floor mezzanine area where you will find the pool tables. They also have a couple of Shuffleboard tables and one Ping Pong Table. Customers can also watch the bowling from above while having a drink.

Initially the pool cues were laid out like this. Ozzy can't decide if he wants to play pool, or go bowling!

Later Karl lined balls 1 to 15 up in a line for some photos.

From the other side.

Karl lined up the balls for a shot, and hit the white ball with his Pool cue.

Action shot as the white ball hits all the coloured pool balls.

Shuffleboard

Also up here was a game called Shuffleboard, or Shufl.

They have two of these long tables laid out.

View of Shufl from one of the pool tables.

And close up. I didn't see the discs on here.

Ping Pong

They have two Ping Pong (table tennis) tables at Roxy Ballroom. The first one was on the ground floor, on the left side of the bowling alley, just beyond the four vintage video game arcade machines.

The second Ping Pong table was upstairs near the pool tables. To the left of the stairs (above the main entrance).

Roxy Ball Room written onto the side of the Ping Pong table. I've always known it as table tennis.

Found a Ping Pong ball on a pool table. I put the Pool cues into an X shape. X marks the spot. And placed the Ping Pong ball below. At this point I didn't know that Karl took a tray of Pool balls upstairs.

The only time I handled the Pool cue was for this shot with the white Ping Pong ball (pretending that it was a white Pool cue ball.

Photobooth and NBA Game Time

First game you see as you head in from Heath Mill Lane is NBA Game Time. A basketball game. On the left is a Photobooth which you can use to take group photos. Looks like a tight squeeze!

This view from the bowling alley towards the Photobooth and NBA Game Time. To the right is the Games Desk where you get your bowling shoes, and also Pool balls. Further to the right is the bar. You can also order your pizza from there (I would assume).

Zoom in to Photobooth and NBA Game Time when the left Basketball hoop was red and the right was blue.

This section represents the NBA team the Chicago Bulls.

This one represents the NBA team the New York Knicks.

Vintage Video Game Arcade Machines

These arcade machines are straight out of the 1980s or 1990s. They are to the left of the Bowling Alley. Four machines in total.

Left to right: Pac-Man, Leisure 2000, Hyper Sports and Burgertime.

Zoom in of the Pac-Man machine.

Hyper Sports.

Burgertime.

Games Desk and Bar

The bar where you can order your drinks including Cocktails. Also you can order Flatbread Pizza here (and I'm sure probably other snacks / food).

The bar towards the Games Desk. This end though is the empty glasses and bottles, waiting to be served.

Entrance to Roxy Ballroom to the left (from Heath Mill Lane). The stairs to the left leads up to the floor with the Pool tables, Ping Pong and Shuffleboard tables.

At the Games Desk, switch your shoes for bowling shoes. If you are playing Pool upstairs, they will give you your Pool balls. Ping Pong rackets and balls on the top shelf. Also what looks like paper cups.

The neon sign for Games Desk and the line of seven lights down the bar.

Behind the bar, staff will serve you your drink, and from this position, hand out your bowling shoes etc.

For my previous Custard Factory related post, click here for Ghetto Golf: Ghetto Golf at the Custard Factory.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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Green open spaces
04 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Bournville Park from Linden Road to Selly Oak Road

Bournville Park is a small park in the suburb of Bournville, between Linden Road and Selly Oak Road (and Oak Tree Lane). The Bourn flows through this little park. There is a playground close to Linden Road. A bowling green and tennis courts. Part of the Bournville Village Trust. Beyond here is the Merritts Brook Greenway, leading to the Valley Parkway.

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Bournville Park from Linden Road to Selly Oak Road





Bournville Park is a small park in the suburb of Bournville, between Linden Road and Selly Oak Road (and Oak Tree Lane). The Bourn flows through this little park. There is a playground close to Linden Road. A bowling green and tennis courts. Part of the Bournville Village Trust. Beyond here is the Merritts Brook Greenway, leading to the Valley Parkway.


Most of the time I see Bournville Park from either the 11C or 11A buses in passing, but I have popped into this park twice, once in 2012 and again in 2018. It's so small that you may not be in there for long, if you are walking around the Bournville area. If you are getting off the bus, or coming from the centre of the Bournville Village or Cadbury World, then you enter via Linden Road. The path takes you straight down to Oak Tree Lane and Selly Oak Road.

The playground is close to Linden Road and Bournville Village Primary School. Thorn Road and Beech Road are linked in the middle of the park by a path.

 

August 2012

Mid August 2012 and my first look around Bournville Park. This is the entrance from Thorn Road, the path going straight in the middle of the park.

Trees along the path from the Thorn Road entrance.

Footbridge over The Bourn which flows through the park. This is the stream / brook that gave it's name to Bournvile.

View of The Bourn towards the road bridge on Oak Tree Lane.

View of The Bourn into the park.

Another wooden footbridge that crosses The Bourn.

The Bourn dissects Bournville Park into two. The view towards the playground, or Play Area.

The Bourn towards the bowling green huts (which are up the path to the left).

Welcome to Bournville Park. This sign was on Linden Road and has a black and white photo portrait of George Cadbury. Bournville is in the Selly Oak Constituency.

The Bourn seen from the Linden Road end.

December 2018

I passed Bournville Park during one of my many walks around Bournville during May 2013, but didn't re-enter the park again at that time. So I didn't really go back into the park again until December 2018.

A squirrel near a tree. Squirrels always make nice park photos, if you can get them into focus.

Also saw this blackbird.

Pair of sheds from the bowling green.

The sheds from the front, bowling green to the left.

The Bourn looks quite different during the winter, or rather the trees do without the leaves on them. But the leaves were all over the grass.

This view of The Bourn from the bridge on Oak Tree Lane. Towards the footbridge I previously saw 6 years before.

Another Welcome to Bournville Park sign. This one on from the entrance near Oak Tree Lane.

Back to the playground, or Play Area. Not being used when I headed back to the Linden Road entrance.

All Birmingham parks have these yellow elephant signs in the playground and this one is no exception. Welcome to Bournville Park Play Area.

For another local park to Bournville Park, please check out my Cotteridge Park post here: Cotteridge Park: the park near the Cross City Line.

I'm hoping to do more park posts as soon as I can. I've recently visited Witton Lakes Park and Brookvale Park (December 2019). Also Hillfield Park in Solihull (January 2020). Other parks I regularly check out from time to time include the Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Civic pride
03 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Webster & Horsfall: 300 Years of Innovation at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

This exhibition is on at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Webster & Horsfall. Founded in 1720. They made wire products in Hay Mills. Including a set at the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace. And parts for BSA bicycles in Small Heath during World War 2. 

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Webster & Horsfall: 300 Years of Innovation at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery





This exhibition is on at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Webster & Horsfall. Founded in 1720. They made wire products in Hay Mills. Including a set at the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace. And parts for BSA bicycles in Small Heath during World War 2. 


An exhibition at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery started on the 30th January to 4th October 2020 called Webster & Horsfall: 300 Years of Innovation

They have been making steel wire and rope in Hay Mills, Birmingham since 1720.

Webster and Horsfall made the first transatlantic cable in 1866.

A bust of James Horsfall (1813 - 1887). He invented Patented Steel Wire in 1847. Marble bust made by George Slater Barkentin (1841 - 1906). It was exhibited at the Birmingham Society of Artists Annual Exhibition in 1860. It was from the earliest known likeness of James Horsfall at age of 47.

This is a BSA Airborne Bicycle from 1942 - 1945. Made by the Birmingham Small Arms in Small Heath during World War 2. Webster and Horsfall made the wire components and mechanisms for BSA. Sunbeam and Austin Rover were also clients of them. 

A mahogany display case containing samples of Patent Steel Wire that was exhibited by James Horsfall at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London in 1851. He was awarded a prize medal. 

This is a Pin Machine dated to 1888. 

The Webster and Horsfall heraldic crest, 2020. Made by Rupert Till. On loan from Webster and Horsfall Ltd. First thing you see as you enter the gallery. 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020. 

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