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Transport
01 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Metro trams at Soho Benson Road and Winson Green Outer Circle

I headed to Handsworth for a walk towards Handsworth Park. Got off my first West Midlands Metro tram at Soho Benson Road. I later headed to Winson Green Outer Circle after leaving the park. Long walk. Trams all blue now, not seen any in pink! Tram 30 from Grand Central to Soho Benson Road. Tram 35 from Winson Green Outer Circle to Corporation Street. Also saw tram 32 again.

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West Midlands Metro trams at Soho Benson Road and Winson Green Outer Circle





I headed to Handsworth for a walk towards Handsworth Park. Got off my first West Midlands Metro tram at Soho Benson Road. I later headed to Winson Green Outer Circle after leaving the park. Long walk. Trams all blue now, not seen any in pink! Tram 30 from Grand Central to Soho Benson Road. Tram 35 from Winson Green Outer Circle to Corporation Street. Also saw tram 32 again.


Soho Benson Road Tram Stop

The next tram stop on from Jewellery Quarter, I caught West Midlands Metro tram 30 from Grand Central to Soho Benson Road. Blue with batteries on top. I think this is the tram stop to use for Soho House, as saw signs as I left.

The tram heads onto Winson Green Outer Circle on it's way towards Wolverhampton.

Railway bridges above from the Soho Loop from Birmingham New Street towards Hamstead (avoiding Perry Barr). I went on a train once up there.

Winson Green Outer Circle Tram Stop

After the walk to Handsworth Park I headed to Winson Green Outer Circle to go back to the City Centre. First up to arrive was West Midlands Metro tram 32. Seen here heading from Soho Benson Road.

The battery-less tram with lime green adverts for OLA. See my tram 32 post here West Midlands Metro tram 32 gone blue with OLA adverts too!

Island platforms here due to not being much room. Also the main railway line from Birmingham Snow Hill to Worcester runs next to it on the other side of the fence.

Tram 32 taking the steep climb up the tram bridge towards Handsworth Booth Street (the next tram stop).

Next up was tram 35. Heading down the steep tram bridge.

Getting closer on the tram bridge, all in blue.

Arriving at Winson Green Outer Circle before I got on this tram to head back into the City Centre.

Later back at Corporation Street Tram Stop after I got off. The tram has lost the Angus Adams name (assume that West Midlands Metro may reapply it soon?).

Was a Police incident at the bottom of the ramp to Grand Central, so didn't take any more tram photos, but saw a few more at Grand Central from Caffe Nero.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Environment & green action
30 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Handsworth Park the park near where Boulton and Watt are buried

Went to Handsworth to check out St Mary's Church and Handsworth Park. The church was closed for renovation works so couldn't go inside. The park has a boating lake and an arts trail. Found two of The Big Sleuth 2017 bears in one half of the park. I got the tram but no 16 bus route is nearby if I go again! 

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Handsworth Park the park near where Boulton and Watt are buried





Went to Handsworth to check out St Mary's Church and Handsworth Park. The church was closed for renovation works so couldn't go inside. The park has a boating lake and an arts trail. Found two of The Big Sleuth 2017 bears in one half of the park. I got the tram but no 16 bus route is nearby if I go again! 


See also my Handsworth heritage buildings post. Find all my my Handsworth Park photos over on my Flickr.

The main entrance gates to Handsworth Park from Hamstead Road. I continued on to get close to St Mary's Church, until I noticed that their was renovation works. I then crossed over the road for some more views of the church, before heading into the park. The gate on the right was open on my visit.

Before I got to St Mary's Church on Hamstead Road in Handsworth, I had a look at the lodge house in Handsworth Park. Dated 1897. Not listed.

I had a walk around the boating lake, walking anti-clockwise. The lodge / gate house of 1897 with it's distinctive clock tower and turreted roof.

The Victorian Drinking Fountain Canopy, now part of the Handsworth Park Arts Trail. Probably dating to the late 19th century. Originally called The Austin Lines Fountain. The drinking fountain itself has long since been removed. This view from the Hamstead Road, through the metal fence above the brick wall (on the walk to St Mary's Church, noticed a part of the wall that is broken and in urgent need of repair).

The boating lake from the Hamstead Road end of Handsworth Park. Plenty of Canada geese and gulls in this lake. Saw some boats at the other end of the lake.

Several boats near the island in the middle of the lake. They were up-side-down!

A relatively new sculpture unveiled in 2017, called SS Journey, made by the sculptor Luke Perry. Seen from the path I took on the walk around the lake.

It is dedicated to the brave individuals who have left their homes around the world and made the journey to Handsworth and other parts of the UK, seeking a new life for themselves and their families. The sculpture is cast in bronze. I think the ship part looks like it was made of steel. It faces one corner of the boating lake.

Saw this squirrel on top of a bench. As per usual, when you get close to a squirrel they run away! It's already looking autumnal in his park with leaves on the lawn.

What looks like an old drinking fountain. It's called Umbrello and it is Grade II listed. It was presented to the park in 1888 by Austin B Lines. Octagonal in plan. Had two shields with inscriptions on them. One of them had a pelican on it.

I eventually headed back to the Hamstead Road entrance / exit. And then headed down Holly Road. I was aware of the Soho railway line running through the park, but missed using any of the footbridges here. I re-entered the other half of the park when I saw one of The Big Sleuth bears from summer 2017.

In the summer of 2017, I didn't get around to travelling to Handsworth, so missed seeing The Big Sleuth bears. Although around late July 2017 came back on the bus through Handsworth after doing Bearwood, Dudley and West Bromwich. These bears are now part of the Handsworth Park Arts Trail, and were installed in October 2017.

This is Sun Guardian created by Goosensi working with Friends of Handsworth Park and the Handsworth Community.

 

Seen outside of the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre (Handsworth Leisure Centre) was Well Active Bear. Created by Mark Copplestone and Jennie Saunders working with Birmingham Wellbeing Service.

Seen on this cylinder outside of the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre was this piece of graffiti street art, part of the Arts Trail in the park. Handsworth Revolution - Steel Pulse.

The Handsworth Playcentre is to the left of the Steel Pulse piece. Mostly painted in sky blue paint, with a variety of other colours. Part of the Handsworth Leisure / Wellbeing Centre.

After this, I left the park via Grove Lane and then headed towards Winson Green Outer Circle Tram Stop. Which was about a 20 minute walk away. Maybe one day a new railway station could be built in the middle of the park. Apparently Handsworth Wood Station was here from 1896 to 1941. Passengers found the no 16 bus to be more convenient. Maybe a new staton could be built there on the line from Birmingham New Street towards Walsall on the Chase Line. Similiar to the proposals to rebuild the stations on the Camp Hill Line (Hazelwell, Kings Heath and Moseley).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
30 Sep 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of The Mercian, Broad Street - September 2019

Here's the latest photo gallery for the construction of The Mercian on Broad Street, a lot of the lower structure is well on the way now.

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The Construction of The Mercian, Broad Street - September 2019





Here's the latest photo gallery for the construction of The Mercian on Broad Street, a lot of the lower structure is well on the way now.


Photos from 22nd September 2019

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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50 passion points
Transport
26 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

All OLA again! This time West Midlands Metro tram 24 has gone blue!

This is the third tram I've seen in blue with lime green OLA adverts. West Midlands Metro tram 24 seen stationary at Grand Central Tram Stop near Birmingham New Street Station on Stephenson Street. Reckon another 3 months before I can see trams at Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop (if the next extension opens on time). But battery-less trams will not be able to go up!

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All OLA again! This time West Midlands Metro tram 24 has gone blue!





This is the third tram I've seen in blue with lime green OLA adverts. West Midlands Metro tram 24 seen stationary at Grand Central Tram Stop near Birmingham New Street Station on Stephenson Street. Reckon another 3 months before I can see trams at Town Hall Tram Stop and Centenary Square Tram Stop (if the next extension opens on time). But battery-less trams will not be able to go up!


A bit of déjà vu when walking through Birmingham New Street Station towards the Stephenson Street exit. Saw the lime green adverts on a blue tram. Coming out I noticed that it was tram 24 at Grand Central Tram Stop.

The same exact OLA adverts, as on tram's 27 and 32.

And it has no batteries like those trams.

Still the situation on Corporation Street, where the waiting tram can't go down to Grand Central until the tram there starts heading up towards Wolverhampton. I did see two passing blue trams on Corporation Street, but wasn't close enough to get a shot of the pair.

 

Also new in blue: tram 26, 30 and 35. In fact not seen any pink trams recently! 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Architecture
25 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Oratory: a guided tour on the last day of Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2019)

I've been meaning to visit the inside of the Birmingham Oratory on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston for quite some time now. And I noticed that the last 3 days had free open days there. I only had time to visit on the Sunday 22nd September 2019. Got there after 2pm for the 2:15pm guided tour. It lasted about an hour. Most of it was built in the first half of the 20th century.

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Birmingham Oratory: a guided tour on the last day of Birmingham Heritage Week (September 2019)





I've been meaning to visit the inside of the Birmingham Oratory on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston for quite some time now. And I noticed that the last 3 days had free open days there. I only had time to visit on the Sunday 22nd September 2019. Got there after 2pm for the 2:15pm guided tour. It lasted about an hour. Most of it was built in the first half of the 20th century.


In the middle of October 2019, Blessed John Henry Newman is to be created a Saint by Pope Francis I at the Vatican in Rome. His predecessor Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham in September 2010, beautifying Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park, and later visiting the Birmingham Oratory, unveiling a new blue plaque in Newman's honour.

During Birmingham Heritage Week, there was Heritage Open Days, free to visit at the Oratory during the last three days, in the afternoon. You could go on free guided tours of the Oratory Church.

Small bit of history first. The Oratory of St Philip Neri was established in 1849 by Cardinal Newman. At first based at the Church of St Anne on Alcester Street, they later found a more suitable site on the Hagley Road, the community relocated there in 1852. The current church began between 1907 and 1910 in the Baroque style to replace the original structure as a memorial to Newman. It was designed by Edward Doran Webb.

It is a Grade II* listed building, being listed as The Church of the Immaculate Conception (The Oratory), the Oratory Priests' House and the Former Oratory School Buildings.

Additions by G B Cox in 1927, including earlier work by John Hungerford Pollen of 1858, Henry Clutton of 1872-3. Also including the presbytery building by Terence Flanagan in 1851, plus the former Oratory School buildings designed by Henry Clutton in 1861-2 and 1872-3.

My full album on my Flickr including my earlier exterior photos is here Birmingham Oratory.

 

First up photos I took of the Oratory before and after the guided tour.

Exterior from the Private Oratory Car Park

The red brick building leads to the Cloisters and the main entrance. Used to be a school in this building known as the Oratory School. It was built betwen the 1860s and 1870s, designed by Henry Clutton.

This building is the main church part of the Oratory. Now also known as the Cardinal Newman Memorial Church. This was mostly built from 1903 to 1909, designed by E Doran Webb.

This small corner turreted building is the Shrine of St Philip Neri. During the guided tour, it was quite cramped being inside of it. It was built in 1927 and designed by G B Cox at the north west corner of the church.

Looking at the brickwork outside, it doesn't quite match with the earlier church. Behind the Shrine you can see red brick filling in the two walls of the church.

A close up look at the Shrine of St Philip Neri from the outside. It has a copper dome on top.

Cloisters

I saw the cloisters before going on the guided tour. Slightly reminds me of cloisters I've seen in France or Spain (although those are centuries older).

After heading in the main entrance from Hagley Road, a first proper look at the Cloisters. There is a shop to the left (also tea room I think). The main church is to the right. The cloisters was formerly the Oratory School. Newman founed it in 1852. It later moved to Reading in 1922. St Philip's Grammar School was later here from 1887 until it closed in 1995.

Facing the main church. Now known as the Cardinal Newman Memorial Church. Built from 1907 to 1910.

On this side of the cloisters was loads of memorial stones, including one for Cardinal Newman. It was around here, that those who went on the first guided tour of the afternoon waited.

This way towards the car park. We didn't have access to these buildings (I mean going up to the first floor), as it wasn't part of the tour.

I think that's a fountain in the middle, but it wasn't flowing water. This side towards the shop / tea room (I didn't go in). Heading back to the left to wait for the start of the guided tour.

Cardinal Newman Memorial Church

The guided tour started in here. I went on the 2:15pm tour, an it lasted around an hour, as the guide explained from her notepad facts about the church and it's history. She would take us all the way around, including into the Shrine of St Philip Neri.

The marble columns came from Italy, and they were shipped by a steamer ship 2 at a time. Then they headed up the canal network once in the UK, being unloaded at Monument Road. The same steamer headed back to Italy to collect more columns, again 2 at a time.

The Organ Gallery is above the main entrance door to the church. Towards the south end.

The main dome near the front of the church. Is close to the High Altar. It's close to the second organ in the church and the Our Lady’s altar. You expect something like this in Italy, not here in Birmingham!

At the front is the High Altar. At the top is painting with a rainbow above it. It was designed in 1899 by Dunstan Powell and was for the old church. There is a raised step just before this area.

The Our Lady’s altar seen to the left. It is second hand. It came from the Church of S Andrea della Valle in Rome in 1911. The pair of columns were originally meant for Westminster Cathedral in London, but they broke, so instead they came to the Birmingham Oratory instead!

Shrines to St Philip Neri and Cardinal Newman

Side rooms in the Oratory. One dedicated to the founder of the Oratory movement, St Philip Neri. The other to Cardinal Newman, who was made Blessed in 2010, and soon to be a Saint.

Was a tight squeeze getting members of the tour group into the Shrine of St Philip Neri. A look up to the dome. The portrait of Philip Neri is a replica. The shrine was designed by G B Cox and built in 1927, added to the north west corner (see exteriors further up this post).

The body is a wax facsimile, but resembles St Philip Neri. There might be some relics inside. Took this as the group started to come out of the Shrine, as wasn't possible while it was crowded in there. He was born in Florence in 1515 and died in Rome in 1579. Philip Neri was beatified by Paul V in 1615 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

I think (although not sure) that this (below) might be the St Anne's Altar. Just quick look, I didn't go inside of this one. I thought the guide would take us in here. The nearby Shrine to Blessed Newman was closed for refurbishment ahead of his Sainthood being declared in October 2019. A temporary shine (it says on the door of Newman's Shrine) could be found at St Anne's Altar.

This used to be the St Philip’s Chapel, but is now the Shrine of Blessed John Henry Newman. It was closed for refurbishment, so took these photos through the windows in the doors.

Newman is due to be created a Saint after being Blessed since September 2010. It was probably part of the original church. It was last restored 9 years ago after Newman was beautified by Pope Benedict XVI. The canonisation is due to take place on the 13th October 2019 by Pope Francis I at the Vatican in Rome. The Prince of Wales will be travelling there, representing the Queen (as she no longer travels abroad).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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