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Construction & regeneration
24 May 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, Cranes Across the City - May Update

Sometimes it's just easier to put the crane on the top of the concrete core, here one atop 103 Colmore Row, see more if this and many other crane photos in this update covering April and May 2020.

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Birmingham, Cranes Across the City - May Update





Sometimes it's just easier to put the crane on the top of the concrete core, here one atop 103 Colmore Row, see more if this and many other crane photos in this update covering April and May 2020.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
History & heritage
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Staffordshire Hoard Gallery at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

The Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in a field in Staffordshire in 2009 by a metal detector. It is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork to be found. Likely to have been buried in the 7th century, with pieces made in the 6th and 7th centuries. The hoard was purchased by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (Stoke-on-Trent).

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The Staffordshire Hoard Gallery at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery





The Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in a field in Staffordshire in 2009 by a metal detector. It is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork to be found. Likely to have been buried in the 7th century, with pieces made in the 6th and 7th centuries. The hoard was purchased by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (Stoke-on-Trent).


Staffordshire Hoard

In July 2009, Terry Herbert using a metal detector, while searching the area, discovered a hoard of Gold artefacts. Over 5 days he discovered over 244 items. He then contacted the authorities. The landowner Fred Johnson gave permission for excavations to take place on his land to find more.

The first Staffordshire Hoard Gallery opened up at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2009. When it first opened, there was long queues outside of BM & AG going around Chamberlain Square. The first excavation took place at the field on farmland near Hammerwich, Staffordshire in September 2009 by the Birmingham Archaeology and funded by English Heritage. The gallery at BM & AG opened in October 2009 attracting 40,000 people.

The hoard was first displayed at BM & AG from September to October 2009. Parts of it went on display at other galleries including the British Museum (November 2009 to April 2010).  But items were still being displayed in a temporary gallery at BM & AG until they opened permenant gallery from October 2014 onwards.

2012

I was only able to get two photos of the original Staffordshire Hoard Gallery in November 2012. At the time photos in the gallery were not allowed so only got this cardboard cut out of an Anglo-Saxon warrior.

Also of this replica Anglo-Saxon warriors helmet. But was told you couldn't take photos in there, so I moved on. Not that I wanted to take the individual items in there at the time.

2014

A new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery opened in October 2014, in the gallery that formerly housed the Ancient Greek and Roman collection (below the Ancient Egypt gallery).

Sign on Great Charles Street Queensway advertising the new gallery.

Unearth the story of the Staffordshire Hoard

Heading inside BM & AG, I saw another sign pointing the way to the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery.

This one welcoming you to the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery.

Also this one on the wall saying that the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery was on Level 2.

Another sign telling you that you can get a lift to the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery, which is on Level 2.

I got the rest of the views of the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery from the Ancient Egypt gallery above. Surrounding the balcony of the gallery is the Frieze of the Mausoleum (it was there long before the Staffordshire Hoard moved in here).

In the middle was this tall red object, probably representing an Ancient Anglo-Saxon item.

Close up view of that red rectangle sculpture with gold detailing.

Questions:

Why did they bury it? Who buried the hoard? When did they bury it? Why did they bury it there?

In this area was Sources and techniques.

The top of another sectioned off area with pieces of the hoard.

Below you can see visitors having a close up look at the Staffordshire Hoard.

2018

In November 2018, a Staffordshire Hoard golden helmet replica was unveiled at BM & AG in the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery. I took this photo in zoom in while BBC Midlands Today was making a piece about it, so didn't stick about for long. The original pieces were too fragile to reassemble into a helmet, so two replicas were made (the other one is at the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent). It's the kind of thing that the King of Mercia could have worn before the Kingdom of Mercia was conquered. And they could have been hurriedly broken up into pieces and buried, where they remained until they were found in 2009!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport

We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.

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From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport





We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.


TUI Airways

In 2007 Thomsonfly merged with First Choice Airways and was rebranded to Thomson Airways in 2008. This followed the merger of the travel divisions of TUI Group and First Choice Holidays in September 2007. By 2015 it was announced that TUI would be rebranding all operations to TUI. Thomson Airways changed their legal name to TUI Airways from October 2017.

Thomson / TUI has destinations all over Europe, to the Caribbean and India from Birmingham Airport.

 

In October 2010, while in Park Street Gardens in Eastside, I saw this Thomson Airways plane flying overhead. Back in July 2010, we flew to Verona in Italy for the Lake Garda holiday. But at the time, I didn't take any exteriors of the plane (only photos out of the plane window above the clouds).

In June 2012 at the Terminal at Birmingham Airport, heading to get our flight to Naples in Italy.  There was still First Choice branding on the airbridge at the time.

Our Thomson plane would be a Boeing 757-200. On both this and the July 2010 flight 2 years earlier, we had an on board meal heated up in the plane. We came back the week later from Naples at night.

In June 2014 at the Terminal building in Birmingham Airport, saw this Thomson Airways plane, as we waited to catch our flight to Malaga in Spain with Monarch. I think this was a Boeing 737-800

During the August 2014 visit to Blakesley Hall, I saw this plane fly overhead. I think it was Thomson Airways, with their distinctive sky blue livery. (I don't think it was Flybe or KLM).

Seen in March 2015 was this Thomson Airways plane (below). Seen from a train as it departed from Birmingham International Station.

This Thomson Airways plane was also visible from the train back in October 2016. I had just caught a train from Birmingham International. The airport buses that takes you from the terminal to the steps of the plane (or vice versa) were seen nearby as well.

In January 2017, TUI planes were still branded as Thomson at the time. This might have been a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It was seen from a the 966 NXWM Platinum bus.

Now onto February 2017 with this Thomson plane. The view from Car Park 5, but a tree was in the way.

I first saw a TUI branded plane in June 2017. Was at the Airport while waiting to catch our Flybe flight to Lyon in France.

In June 2018, I saw this TUI plane close to the Terminal building, as we headed to catch our flight to Pisa in Italy with Jet2. The airbridge was now being advertised by MG. Birmingham the home of MG

The first time I saw a TUI branded plane in flight was in August 2018. This was from the viewing area near the A45 Coventry Road.

Get off the bus near the Holiday Inn, then cross at the lights, then walk around the semi circle path until you are in view of the runway.

I've only been to this viewing area once, but saw several other planes taking off over the A45. I have loads of memories of coming into land over this end.

Now onto November 2018 with this view of a TUI plane, from the the X1 NXWM Platinum bus. The buses have their own semi circle road close to the A45 that leads to the Airport and NEC.

My last view from an X1 NXWM Platinum bus was of this pair of TUI planes during August 2019.

BONUS THOMSON TUI PHOTOS

At Malaga Airport in Spain during June 2014, I saw this Thomson Airways plane, a Boeing 737-800 at the airport.

We were waiting to catch our delayed Monarch flight back to Birmingham (we waited around for hours as was a French Air Traffic Control strike that day).

By this point we had got on board our Monarch plane and I got some more views of the Thomson plane.

One more view of Thomson as a British Airways plane went behind at Malaga.

In June 2017, while waiting to fly back to Birmingham with Flybe, saw this TUI related plane from Jetairfly at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport. They were founded in 2003, but started operations in 2005. They were rebranded to TUI fly Belgium in 2016. Although the plane I saw in 2017 was still branded as Jetairfly.

I think this would have been a view from the terminal building at Lyon Airport of Jetairfly. It has the same tail fin logo as Thomson and TUI.

This view from the Flybe plane as we had just boarded it as Jetairfly was connected to the airbridge. My seat on Flybe was near the wing on the left.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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50 passion points
Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)

Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.

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Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)





Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.


During a day out to Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, during August 2013, I noticed on my map that there was a Miniature Railway in the gardens to see. So while there I popped over to have a look at it. I didn't pay to go on it myself, but there was a charge of £2 per person (not sure if kids were free or not).

People get to ride up and down on the Miniature Train to and from Boathouse Station.

The Trentham Estate was originally home to Trentham Hall. There had been a house here since the 16th or 17th centuries. But the last house to be built here was by Charles Barry in the 1830s. It would have been fully demolished in the early 20th century, but part of it was demolished, but most of the shell remains. The gardens were designed by Capability Brown in the 1750s. The house and gardens were derelict when St. Modwen Properties purchased the site in 1996. But they restored the gardens and opened them by 2008. There is also a shopping village here.

Now back to the miniature railway.

It would have been open at Easter 2020 holidays (04/04/2020 - 19/04/2020), but assume that the gardens were completely closed during the lockdown / pandemic. Trentham Fern Train Trips this Easter. Tickets would have been: for a Return trip: £2 per person. Return trip with Annual Ticket Holder discount: £1.50 per person. Single trip: £1 person.

 

The photos below were taken during the 11th August 2013.

The tracks are of a narrow gauge. This way to the station.

Welcome to Boathouse Station. The Railway is open. The fare is £2. Way in to the right.

Passengers sit on the open carriages as the miniature train goes around the rails.

The train arriving at Boathouse Station.

The engine the driver sits on was called Fern. This is also called the Trentham Railway.

Everybody had got off including the train driver, while it waits at Boathouse Station.

Near the station the train can only got at a very slow 2 MPH.

A look further down the line to Boathouse Station.

Waiting for the next passengers.

There was also some wooden sheds to the left, maybe they store the train in there?

Later saw another passenger load having a ride on the Trentham Railway.

The train just goes around the track in circles. I think there was only one station.

The last I saw of it, the train was going around and on to complete the loop with a handful of passengers.

For another post about another light railway in a park. Have a look at Evesham Vale Light Railway in the Evesham Country Park (August 2014).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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80 passion points
Classic Architecture
21 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Tour of Sarehole Mill during the Open Day in October 2013

Come with me as we have a wonder around Sarehole Mill. This was during the Open Day in October 2013 during the We Are B28 Hall Green Arts Festival. The mill had been restored again to full working order in the Winter of 2012-13. The last full restoration was back in 1969! After a look outside we go inside and up the mill to see the machinery where they grind flour, using the water wheel.

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Tour of Sarehole Mill during the Open Day in October 2013





Come with me as we have a wonder around Sarehole Mill. This was during the Open Day in October 2013 during the We Are B28 Hall Green Arts Festival. The mill had been restored again to full working order in the Winter of 2012-13. The last full restoration was back in 1969! After a look outside we go inside and up the mill to see the machinery where they grind flour, using the water wheel.


My previous Sarehole Mill / JRR Tolkien posts are here:

Sarehole Mill

On Sunday 6th October 2013, there was a free Open Day at Sarehole Mill during the We Are B28 Hall Green Arts Festival. While thre I got a chance to look around the mill, including around the Mill Pool, and more importantly inside. You could head up the wooden stairs and get to the top of the mill, and see the machinery in action, or what used to be used. The mill had been restored over the Winter of 2012-13 (including the dredging of the mill pool). The last major restoration took place back in 1969.

Some history. Sarehole Mill is a Grade II listed watermill located in the Sarehole area of Birmingham (now on the Moseley / Hall Green border). You can access it now via the car park on Cole Bank Road (via the building used as the shop and ticket office now). The River Cole flows past the mill through the Shire Country Park. It is known for it's association with J. R. R. Tolkien.

There had been a mill on this site as early as 1542. It was once known as Bedell's or Biddle's mill, after a name of an early owner. By 1727 it was known as High Wheel Mill. Matthew Boulton leased the mill as early as 1755, and he converted the mill to metal working. The current mill was built in 1771 and was in used until 1919. After that it fell into disuse and was derelict until it was restored in 1969, and taken over by Birmingham City Council. The Birmingham Museums Trust took over the running of the mill from the Council in 2012 and is now a museum.

 

Map of the area that Sarehole Mill is located in. Many buildings along the Cole Valley are now lost (including Sarehole Hall), but you can walk through th Shire Country Park. Today the John Morris Jones Walkway goes from Cole Bank Road to Robin Hood Lane.

 

This map shows more of the area around Sarehole Mill including Moseley Bog. Was used to illustrate the area that J. R. R. Tolkien grew up as a child.

Maps above taken from the Sarehole Mill Guidebook published by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in 2002.

 

Painting of Sarehole Mill in Hall Green, British School. 1850-1900. View from the Mill Pool.

Painting by George Willis Pryce (d. 1949) of Sarehole Mill. View from the Cole Bank Road.

The paintings above are Public Domain Dedication images taken from the Digital Image Resource of the Birmingham Museums Trust. Free to download.

 

Now onto my own photos of Sarehole Mill from the October 2013 visit.

After heading through the shop, you pass the Bakehouse to get into the courtyard area of the mill. What to do at Sarehole Mill?

Welcome to the Mill -----> Entrance to the mill is to the right.

The outside courtyard area of Sarehole Mill. On the day of this visit was a market for the We Are B28 Hall Green Arts Festival.

You can head out to the back of the mill and go round the garden area. There is also a back gate entrance / exit to the mill this way.

View of Sarehole Mill from the back. Remember to close the gate behind you.

Deep Water sign. Close the gate as you go in and out of this area.

View of Sarehole Mill from the Viewing Platform. Was a nice mirror image in the Mill Pool at the time (other times of the year the Mill Pool is usually full of algae).

Panoramic of Sarehole Mill with the Mill Pool.

During the Open Day, the view of Sarehole Mill was quite clear from the Wake Green Road. Usually this is all overgrown. You can imagine the artists that painted this view being on Wake Green Road when there wasn't too many trees growing on this side.

It's now time to explore the inside of the mill.

A view of the waterwheel as it was spinning at speed. Waterwheels had been used at the mill for centuries until it was replaced with a steam engine in 1852. It collects water from the Coldbath Brook (which flows into the River Cole). This is the north waterwheel.

Large cogs and gear wheels. The Mill Machinery. The power generated through the waterwheel is transferred to the mills gears to work all the machinery in the mill. The north waterwheel drives the gears which turns three pairs of milestones on the first floor.

The Flour Bins. Some of the many cogs / gear wheels that turn when the waterwheel is moving. The south waterwheel moves these gears and the flour bins where flour fell through hessian chutes from the dressing machines on the floor above.

This is the Sack Hoist. The ground floor of the mill was often called the bagging floor. Where wholemeal flour and the sieved graded flour was collected and put into sacks and bags.

One of the Millstones. The hopper is at the top. Grain falls through the chutes from the storage bin above. Below that is the vat. It collects the meal as it comes off the stones. Other parts include the shoe which directs the grain into the centre or eye into the millstone. Finally the iron damsel knocked against the shoe, shaking the grain into the millstone.

The Mill Machinery here was the crown wheel. This is near the Flour Dressing area. When grain has been ground it is called meal or wholemeal. This is a mixture of flour and bran. Dressing machines were used to separate the finer flour from the bran producing white flour. White flour was preferred in Victorian times to make white bread.

Now up to the roof of the mill. Mind your head. Up here was a pulley wheel. Steps ahead on the Tolkien Hobbit trail (link at the top for a post to that). This was the attic floor or garner where grain was stored before milling.

Another view of the pulley wheel in the attic / loft of the mill. Head room is quite low up here, so you have to duck and be careful. Farmers would bring their grain to the mill and it would be stored up here in sacks hoisted up from carts.

Next up in the attic / loft area was The Lucam. The trapdoor in the Lucam only opens upwards  and is hinged with leather hinges. The sack hoist mechanism once connected to the waterwheel but is no logner in place. The grain would be stored up here until the miller was ready to grind it. It would then be released through the holes in the bottom of the bins, into the hoppers above the millstones.

Saw this wooden wheel. Appears to be a strap around it. This was inside of the lucam, the projecting structure at the front of the building. This was where grain sacks woule be hoisted through the trap door into the garner from carts below.

Heading downstairs from the first floor. It looks like that they replaced the original staircase with a new wooden one.

The steam engine. There had been a steam engine at Sarehole Mill since about 1852. It was a sizeable investment, but the waterwheel had been repaired in 1851. This is not the original Sarehole Mill steam engine. But is of a similar size. Compact steam engines were suitable for small workspaces. This engine was used for over 100 years. Owned by Smith & Co which began in London in the 18th century. This one came from the Messina factory in Italy. It closed in the 1860s and the engine came back to London where it was in use until 1948. It was displayed at the 1951 Festival of Britain and was donated to the Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry in 1952. It came to Sarehole Mill in 1975.

A Tull seed drill. Probably a Jethro Tull seed drill. Used for positioning seeds in the soil and burying them to a certain depth. It is possible that the miller or local farmer grew the grain in the surrounding fields. The land that is now the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground could have been used for that purpose.

In this room was somewhere for kids to make something with straw (by the looks of it). This would also be used as a school classroom for visiting school children and their teachers.

I later saw kids with their moms making something down there. They would learn all about the mill in here, and make things with straw, such as weaving a basket.

 

Beyond Sarehole Mill, there are walks along the Millstream Way in the Shire Country Park. Head towards Yardley Wood via the John Morris Jones Walkway, The Dingles, Trittiford Mill Pool and the Scribers Lane SINC. Or head towards Small Heath via the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground, Greet Mill Meadow, Blackberry Way and Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve. I've not been beyond the Burbury Brickworks, but you can walk or cycle as far as The Ackers Trust and Grand Union Canal. All along the River Cole.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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