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Green open spaces
19 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Senneleys Park in Bartley Green

This was a visit to Senneleys Park in Bartley Green, during December 2016. Mainly to find a sculpture that I heard about. Got the no 22 bus here (the route no longer exists but there is the X22 elsewhere in Birmingham). Remains of a Pyramid by Avtarjeet Dhanjal was what I came to see. But it was missing a bronze statue or figure.

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Senneleys Park in Bartley Green





This was a visit to Senneleys Park in Bartley Green, during December 2016. Mainly to find a sculpture that I heard about. Got the no 22 bus here (the route no longer exists but there is the X22 elsewhere in Birmingham). Remains of a Pyramid by Avtarjeet Dhanjal was what I came to see. But it was missing a bronze statue or figure.


Senneleys Park is a large green space in south west Birmingham. There is football pitches, an outdoor gym and a BMX track. Large green areas, and a tree lined brook.

In December 2016 I got the no 22 bus to Stonehouse Lane and got into the park from Mill Lane. This is the Bartley Brook.

First look at the playground below an electricity pylon. It was not that far from the Bartley Brook.

One of the old Birmingham City Council - Senneleys Park signs from the Department of Recreation and Community Services. Looking quite worn at the time. It was near Stonehouse Lane.

View of the Bartley Brook with an electricity pylon to the left and a path to walk up on the right.

This path for some reason had these wooden frames as you pass down it. But then again it is also a road for vehicles to go down. Such as cars to the car park, or council park maintenance vehicles. There is at least two car parks in this park.

Slide seen in the Senneleys Park Play Area.

This path is part of the BMX track.

On top of the hill, the grass was a little overgrown here. There are paths that circle this hilly area.

There was another playground in the park called the Senneleys Meadow Play Area. With another slide for kids to use, and this swinging tyre ride thing.

This was what I came to Senneleys Park to see. Remains of a Pyramid by Avtarjeet Dhanjal. It was made around 1989 to 1991. It used to have a bronze statue figure with it, but it either got stolen, or went into storage due to vandalism. The broken pyramid pieces were made from Portland stone, but is quite weathered now after over 25 years. Who knows how it has fared in the years since I last saw it (4 years ago).

Another view of Remains of a Pyramid. The lost statue I think used to be somewhere in the middle between the parts of the pyramid. Wonder what happened to it?

It was a small booklet that I once bought from the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery that led me to find this sculpture. Public Art in Birmingham (priced only 50p from the BM & AG Gift Shop). There is a photo in the booklet showing the statue leaning against the right side of the pyramid. The booklet says the bronze figure was modelled from a former pupil of nearby Hillcrest School. It was cast by Frank Forster. Near where the Portland stone was discoloured a bit.

Another photo shows Eleonor McFarlane posing with the statue as it was being made. She was the model used by the sculptor Avtarjeet Dhanjal.

Scans taken from the BM & AG booklet Public Art in Birmingham produced in August 1993 by the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

I saw this dead tree in the park.

A gull on the grass.

A crow on the lawn.

One of the paths in the park. A bench to sit on.

 

A footbridge over a path. Close to Senneleys Skate Park.

Welcome to Senneleys Skate Park. The usual ramps and walls with graffiti all over.

A basketball court.

A boarded up building. Not sure what it was used for, but it has had a lot of graffiti on it over the years.

This time I was close to Senneleys Meadow Play Area and got a close up look at the slide as it curved round to the left.

The lawn with trees. A big field seen from a path.

One last look at the large field in Senneleys Park. A view like this could be in the countryside, but it is within the City of Birmingham! And if you look on Google Maps, the park is surrounded by streets of houses.

Took my exit from the park via this car park near Overfield Road. Welcome to Senneleys Park. The max height for cars was 1.95m under this gated entrance.

The park is close to Bartley Reservoir, Woodgate Valley Country Park and Lodge Hill Cemetery. Looking on Google Maps there is some other green spaces to explore (not right now though of course). One green space marked on Google Maps as Green Hill. There is also Old Quarry Park. So many green spaces around Birmingham. One day I might check them out (when everything is back to normal that is).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
Transport
18 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Class 172/0 from the London Overground to the West Midlands Railway

In 2019, West Midlands Railway inherited 8 trains from the London Overground of the Class 172/0. Initially I saw some of them at Tyseley in the old colours, before they were changed inside and out to the orange and purple of WMR. They are now used on the Leamington Spa to Nuneaton via Coventry branch line (replacing the single car Class 153's). Merging the two branch lines to Coventry.

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The Class 172/0 from the London Overground to the West Midlands Railway





In 2019, West Midlands Railway inherited 8 trains from the London Overground of the Class 172/0. Initially I saw some of them at Tyseley in the old colours, before they were changed inside and out to the orange and purple of WMR. They are now used on the Leamington Spa to Nuneaton via Coventry branch line (replacing the single car Class 153's). Merging the two branch lines to Coventry.


The Class 172 DMU trains were built between 2010 and 2011. London Midland had the Class 172/2 and 172/3 from the autumn of 2011. West Midlands Railway took over the franchise in December 2017. The 172/0 trains were on the London Overground, but only ended up with West Midlands Railway during 2019 (after the LO lines were upgraded and they got new electric trains down there).

West Midlands Railway Birmingham Tyseley

Seen at the Tyseley Diesel Multiple Unit Depot was the former London Overground train now inherited by West Midlands Railway. It was London Overground 172 002. Seen from the Wharfdale Road Bridge in Tyseley during February 2019.

The lines in London that they used to run on have been electrified and new trains have been introduced down there. 8 Class 172/0's were inherited by West Midlands Railway. Before they could go into service in the West Midlands they had to of had their liveries changed on the outside, and the seating covers and signs done on the inside.

I returned to Tyseley early in March 2019 and saw the former London Overground 172 006 train. This view was from the Warwick Road, not far from the entrance to the Tyseley Locomotive Works. Still in the old LO colours at this point.

The first train I saw in the new West Midlands Railway orang and purple livery was 172003, this was during May 2019. The view from the Warwick Road in Tyseley. Probably one of the first 172/0's that got changed inside and out.

But 172 006 was still in the old London Overground colours as of May 2019, as you can see here. The view from the Wharfdale Road Bridge. It wouldn't be long before it was transformed into the new West Midlands Railway colours.

By September 2019, I had another look from the Wharfdale Road Bridge near Tyseley Station. This was now West Midlands Railway 172002, and is used on both the Leamington Spa to Nuneaton line and on the Snow Hill lines.

Birmingham Snow Hill Station

I actually saw West Midlands Railway 172003 at Birmingham Snow Hill Station during August 2019. This was a zoom in from the Livery Street bridge (near St Paul's Tram Stop). At this point I had yet to travel on one.

Leamington Spa Station

On the 29th February 2020, I got a crowded Chiltern Railways train from Solihull down to Leamington Spa, so I could have a ride on a 172/0 for the first time to Coventry. West Midlands Railway 172003 arrives at the platform which would form the next service towards Nuneaton.

West Midlands Railway coming into the platform at Leamington Spa Station.

The weather was actually nice, got a lovely blue sky in Leamington Spa, before I got on the train towards Coventry.

This is what the interior of West Midlands Railway 172003 looks like now. The train would have one stop before Coventry, and that was Kenilworth. When I last had a ride on this line to Kenilworth, they were still using the old Class 153's. This was a much more comfortable ride to Coventry.

Coventry Station

After a journey of about 15 to 20 minutes, I was in Coventry. I got off West Midlands Railway 172003 as more passengers boarded towards Nuneaton. The next stop would have been Coventry Arena.

Here you are also seeing passengers getting off the train and heading to the exit at Coventry Station.

The train heading on it's way towards Nuneaton. From platform 4. I had later hoped to get one back to Leamington Spa, but had to go to platform 2. And the first train to Leamington Spa was a Cross Country Voyager (I stood all the way back to Leamington Spa from Coventry).

Leamington Spa Station

Later back at Leamington Spa Station. Having got off my Cross Country train and went under the subway to the platform back to Solihull, I saw West Midlands Railway 172006 arriving at the station.

Where I was sitting at Coventry, I saw a 172/0 heading towards Nuneaton, and would be a long wait. I had 30 minutes waiting to go back to Leamington Spa, when I got Cross Country. Here we see West Midlands Railway 172006 coming to a stop and the passengers getting off.

Side of the train with a Leamington Spa sign.

Train doors now closed with the next bunch of passengers ready to head towards Coventry and Nuneaton.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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50 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
18 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

From the City Centre Floral Trail to the Big Hoot & Sleuth over the years in St Paul's Square

Every summer during the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail there used to be certain floral sculptures in St Paul's Square. In the summer of 2015 there was the Big Hoot and in the summer of 2017 there was the Big Sleuth. Here we will look at what was on display from about 2009 to 2019.

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From the City Centre Floral Trail to the Big Hoot & Sleuth over the years in St Paul's Square





Every summer during the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail there used to be certain floral sculptures in St Paul's Square. In the summer of 2015 there was the Big Hoot and in the summer of 2017 there was the Big Sleuth. Here we will look at what was on display from about 2009 to 2019.


Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

I started taking photos of the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail in September 2009 when I spotted Wallace & Gromit on Great Charles Street Queensway from the footbridge. Although didn't see the piece in St Paul's Square until November 2009. Planted Silver Tureen, which seems permenant now, was part of the 2009 Floral Trail.

It represented the Jewellery Quarter, and is of a Planted Silver Tureen. Which was made by Matthew Boulton for Mrs Elizabeth Montagu, a long time friend of his. It was part of a large dinner service. Similar products are still being made in the Jewellery Quarter today. Over 2300 plants have been planted.

It was a mixture of cotton lavender, curry plant and helichcrysum korma. A Christmas tree was out, and you could see the base in the middle that was later used for future Floral Trails and the later Big Hoot and Sleuth trails.

While there was a bit of purple, they had finished flowering by the autumn of 2009.

Seen during July 2011 was Planted Silver Tureen. Which I previously saw in 2009. The middle of July is the best time to see the lavender here in bloom. Looked like the base in the middle had gone (it would be back).

Seen in St Paul's Square during August 2012 was the Paralympian Tennis Player. A wicker sculpture based on Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker. It was the summer of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. And this was obviously based on the Paralympics.

The wicker sculpture of a Paralympian Tennis Player seen from the back. It had red coloured flowers all around the base of it. Before London 2012, Birmingham hosted the American and Jamaican teams who trained at the Alexander Stadium and at the University of Birmingham respectfully.

No wicker sculptures in July 2013 but this was when Birmingham was having visitors from the judges of the Entente Florale Europe competition. Birmingham was chosen to represent the UK by the Royal Horticultural Society, due to it's recent gold wins at various RHS flower shows in recent years. The lavender of previous years was still there, if a bit overgrown. See details further up about this piece known as the Planted Silver Tureen.

Nothing much else to see at the time, so took these bushes and flowers as someone was sunbathing to the left. Note that you can see one or two of the gravestones to the right. But everything was lush and green. I hope the judges liked what they saw all over Birmingham at the time.

The last year of the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail was in 2014, before the Big Hoot trail a year later in 2015. The theme for 2014 was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One in 1914. The British Victory Medal was a wicker sculpture seen in St Paul's Square during July 2014. It was one of five campaign medals issued to individuals who saw service in the First World War.

This time there was red, pink and purple coloured flowers around The British Victory Medal. It resembled an angel with wings. People out and about enjoying the summer sunshine, sitting on benches in their shorts and t-shirts, or just walking up towards St Paul's Church.

After the years of the Big Hoot & Big Sleuth (see below) it didn't feel like there was still a Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail. Or at least not as big as in past years. There were smaller trails, such as ones with dinosaurs when Dippy was on Tour. In August 2019 I saw the Angel in St Paul's Square again. Formerly known as The British Victory Medal in 2014. It was nice to see it again. The lavender that had been there for at least 10 years was still around.

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Bejewelled Owl was by the artist Claire Scully and the sponsor was the Jewellery Quarter BID. It was near the lavender which comes up every summer. Seen during July 2015.

Slightly further back. People sitting on benches or walking past in St Paul's Square. Doesn't Bejewelled Owl look wonderful in the middle of the lavender? I once went to Provence in May 2011 but didn't see lavender there until we went to Norfolk in about July 2011.

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

Peabody by the artist Tory Allen and the sponsor was the Jewellery Quarter BID. Seen during July 2017. The lavender was there again as it is every summer.

This view of Peabody with St Paul's Church and the distinctive spire.

From the back, Peabody seems to resemble the wings of butterflys. This view looking to Ludgate Hill.

There was at the time a second bear in St Paul's Square. Harley, the Original Bear's Angel, designed by Valerie Osement, painted by Mik Richardson and the sponsor was Harley Investments. The view to the main entrance of St Paul's Church.

From the back it looks like Harley was wearing (almost typed bearing) a leather jacket, which read "Bear's Angels Motorcycle Club West Midlands".

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
17 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

St Patrick's Day at the Bullring

The St Patrick's Day Parade for 2020 may have been postponed, but that has not stopped the Bullring Bull dressing up for St Patrick's Day. This year looking like a clover leaf. He has also been dressed up for the period over the last two years (at least). Also Selfridges usually goes green. The only time I got it after dark in green was during March 2013. More positivity is needed.

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St Patrick's Day at the Bullring





The St Patrick's Day Parade for 2020 may have been postponed, but that has not stopped the Bullring Bull dressing up for St Patrick's Day. This year looking like a clover leaf. He has also been dressed up for the period over the last two years (at least). Also Selfridges usually goes green. The only time I got it after dark in green was during March 2013. More positivity is needed.


Happy St Patrick's Day, Birmingham. Time for some positivity from the Bullring.

Every year, no matter what the occasion, the Bullring Bull is dressed up, and St Patrick's Day is no exception. For 2020 they have made the Bull looks like a giant clover leaf.

A close up as people go past with their every day lives. There are people going into Birmingham City Centre, if not as busy as usual. And this was midday on a Thursday afternoon (was a bit wet).

The Bull in it's St Patrick's Day outfit from the back. I went through the West Mall up the escalators. As you can see lots of shoppers around in the City Centre.

Going back a year to March 2019, and this was the outfit the Bull wore for St Patrick's Day 2019. I think I missed seeing the hat.

This was the day after the actual St Patrick's Day, and I missed the parade in 2019 (didn't want to see it every year). By chance, I caught this man in the red t-shirt doing a wheelie on his bike.

For St Patrick's Day 2018, the Bull just wore a green hat with a clover leaf in it.

During March 2013 I headed into the City Centre to get Selfridges in green for St Patrick's Day. Here is my classic photo. At the time it ended up in Flickr Explore and I think on a Flickr blog about St Patrick's Day around the world (of landmark buildings going green). From the corner of Park Street and Moor Street. Near Moor Street Car Park.

Some more of the green Selfridges views from March 2013. This from Digbeth at the corner with Park Street.

Heading onto Park Street which heads to Eastside to the right.

Now on Park Street sometime after 8pm in the evening with Selfridges looking very green.

This was near the corner of Park Street and Moor Street. I got my iconic shot after this one. The Parametric Bridge from Moor Street Car Park is above (I didn't really start popping into the top of the car park until the end of 2017, so didn't get any shots from above).

Next up got some views from Digbeth, but my then camera wasn't too great at distant night shots. But you can see the Rotunda from here. This was from Milk Street.

Slightly better behind this fence with the Rotunda and Selfridges in green. This was also from Milk Street.

Now a look at some Irish flags that were on Edgbaston Street at the Bullring during March 2014. This one was near St Martin's Church.

Was an Irish flag and a Happy St Patrick's Day flag near the end of Edgbaston Street and close to where you get of the bus (near Moat Lane and St Martin's Lane opposite the Bull Ring Tavern).

There were market stalls not far from the World Famous Rag Market, selling Irish flags and scarves. This was the Saturday before the parade. Was also an Aston Villa flag.

Close up look at a Happy St Patrick's Day flag and an Irish flag.

March 2015 was the first time that I actually tried to get photos of the St Patrick's Day Parade. I went up to the upper balcony outside of Selfridges. I also tried to go around Digbeth but didn't take the parade close up. Instead got photos of Irish souvenir stands like this one facing Selfridges. The usual Irish flags and scarves.

This Irish flag flying close to St Martin's Church on Edgbaston Street.

This man is always (or used to be) around in colourful outfits. For St Patrick's Day he was in a snazzy Irish green outfit with his shopping.

There was also some visitors in green Irish hats, perhaps they were German? Seen on the balcony below.

In March 2018, I once again headed to the Bullring to try and get photos of the St Patrick's Day Parade. This time I got some from Moor Street Car Park, before heading down into Selfridges and out for the balcony views.

An Irish flag flying seen below the Bullring balconies below Selfridges, towards Digbeth.

On Edgbaston Street near the Bull Ring Markets and the Rag Market, was several stalls selling Irish flags and scarves for St Patricks's Day. There was also an ice cream van down there.

On Edgbaston Street near St Martin's Church was another stall selling the Irish flags, wigs and hats. Plus some people walking past including a man drinking something from a can. I would assume that they are Irish Brummies?

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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40 passion points
Squares and public spaces
16 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

From the Flame of Hope to the Countdown clock to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

On Commonwealth Day the countdown clock to the Commonwealth Games 2022 was unveiled in Birmingham's Centenary Square. I was unaware of it until I saw it on Twitter. So headed down to Centenary Square several days later. Here we will also look at the Flame of Hope which was near the Library of Birmingham site from 1999 to 2009.

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From the Flame of Hope to the Countdown clock to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games





On Commonwealth Day the countdown clock to the Commonwealth Games 2022 was unveiled in Birmingham's Centenary Square. I was unaware of it until I saw it on Twitter. So headed down to Centenary Square several days later. Here we will also look at the Flame of Hope which was near the Library of Birmingham site from 1999 to 2009.


The Flame of Hope

Seen in Centenary Square during April 2009 was The Flame of Hope. This was the first day (at the time) that I took a camera around Birmingham and that included in Centenary Square. Behind was the site of the Library of Birmingham due to open in 2013. Also there at the time was the Spirit of Enterprise fountain. Both went into storage before construction of the Library began, where they remain to this day.

In this cropped view of the Flame of Hope towards Baskerville House. By this point the flame had been turned off for a few years.

It looked impressive, with a globe and where the flame was once lit up at the top at the turn of the Millennium, sadly it wasn't to last.

After this, I never saw the Flame of Hope again, as it was removed to storage before the prepatory works for the Library of Birmingham had begun.

Countdown clock to Birmingham 2022

The countdown clock was unveiled on Commonwealth Day during March 2020. A few days later, I had free time, so travelled to Centenary Square to see it. Passing through The Mailbox, while BBC Midlands Today was on, I noticed that they were reporting at it live, so I went to have a coffee in Brindleyplace before checking it out.

By the time I got there, BBC Birmingham was gone. This view from the back towards HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square.

The countdown timer is not on this side. From here you can see HSBC UK, 3 Arena Central, the Municipal Bank and The Cube. West Midlands Metro tram 27 was at Library Tram Stop.

This side view of the countdown clock towards the Hyatt, Symphony Hall and The ICC. With tram 27 to the left.

Now for the first view with the Library of Birmingham. At the time of my visit with 867 days to go.

A more central view towards the Library of Birmingham. 867 days, 4 hours, 47 minutes and 00 seconds.

Popped over to Library Tram Stop for some views with West Midlands Metro tram 27 (OLA lime green adverts). The countdown clock to Birmingham 2022 was to the right.

Close up to the front of the tram with the countdown clock to the right. Would have gone down the path near HSBC UK but it was closed off, so headed back into Centenary Square instead.

Heading around the Hall of Memory, got this view to the corner between The ICC and The REP.

Got one more view from near the Hall of Memory towards the foyer works at Symphony Hall.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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