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Green open spaces
07 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Arrow Valley Country Park over in Redditch, Worcestershire

Lets head over to Redditch in Worcestershire for this park post. Arrow Valley Country Park is located near Battens Drive in Redditch. In your car from Birmingham follow your SatNav down the A441 or A435. The park is off the A4023 Coventry Highway. Back in July 2020 for a walk around the lake. The play area was open again. Not sure if the Visitor Centre was open though.

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Arrow Valley Country Park over in Redditch, Worcestershire





Lets head over to Redditch in Worcestershire for this park post. Arrow Valley Country Park is located near Battens Drive in Redditch. In your car from Birmingham follow your SatNav down the A441 or A435. The park is off the A4023 Coventry Highway. Back in July 2020 for a walk around the lake. The play area was open again. Not sure if the Visitor Centre was open though.


Arrow Valley Country Park

Before the lockdown kicked in during late March 2020, we were thinking of going to Arrow Valley Country Park in Redditch, Worcestershire. But until lockdown restrictions were eased for travel and distance, we didn't end up going until the middle of July 2020.

The park was developed in the 1970s by the Redditch Development Corporation. The park is close to the River Arrow. The lake is home to the Redditch Sailing Club. The Arrow Valley Visitor Centre was opened in 2000. There is a playground / play area in the park. The park is on the National Cycle Network route 5. Which takes cyclists between Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Redditch (in Worcestershire) and towards Studley and Stratford-upon-Avon (in Warwicshire).

 

First view of the lake at the Arrow Valley Country Park. We headed around the lake in a Anti-clockwise direction.

Lots of trees surrounding the lake.

First look at the playground / play area. Looks like coloured pencils from here.

First glimpse of the Visitor Centre from the lake. Scaffolding to the right.

Play areas up and down the UK reopened in July 2020, but to a limited number of kids and parents at one time.

A wide open field going up the hill.

Heading down the path near a Cycle lane.

In one direction was the gate of the Redditch Sailing Club. Boats / yachts not in use seen behind.

Continuing around the lake.

View of the club house of the Redditch Sailing Club.

Another view of the many boats / yachts of the Redditch Sailing Club.

A wider view of the boats and club house.

Was more views of the Visitor Centre from the other side of the lake.

There was some small ramps onto the lake. For fishing maybe?

All the usual birds in the lake, geese and ducks.

Some nice reflections of the trees and clouds in the lake.

Onto the final leg of the lake.

Another view of the boats / yachts.

And another view of the club house.

I'm not sure if the Visitor Centre had reopened. There was an ice cream kiosk nearby but we didn't walk close to it.

Kids in the summer having fun in the playground. They'd be back at school by now.

There is more to the park than the lake, maybe we'll go again and walk around other areas next time.

There was also a view of a church spire in Redditch Town Centre.

Getting close to completing one lap of the lake. Visitor Centre again.

Looked like two lines of ropes in the lake with buoys on them.

I have been to other parks around the West Midlands Shire counties over the years. I might set up more projects and post for those (although might not be as many photos). Such as parks in Bromsgrove, Stafford, Warwick or Lichfield.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
03 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Did you know?

J.R.R. Tolkien in the Library of Birmingham

On Level 4 in the Archives & Collections section of the Library of Birmingham at Centenary Square you can find material related to Tolkien.

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J.R.R. Tolkien in the Library of Birmingham





On Level 4 in the Archives & Collections section of the Library of Birmingham at Centenary Square you can find material related to Tolkien.


So popular is the novelist that J R R Tolkien’s classic fantasy tale The Hobbit was chosen as the first book to grace the showpiece Centenary Square building in a poll carried out prior to the Library opening.

At Birmingham Repertory Theatre next door to the Library, a blue plaque commemorates Dr J. Sampson Gamgee, a local surgeon and founder of the Birmingham Hospital Saturday Fund.

‘Sam Gamgee’ was the name chosen by Tolkien for Frodo’s faithful companion in The Lord of the Rings.

The surgeon’s widow lived opposite Tolkien’s aunt in Stirling Road and therefore he would have been familiar with the name.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
03 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

James Watt's Heathfield Hall in Handsworth

If you go to Handsworth and look for Heathfield Hall, the home of James Watt from 1790 until his death in 1819, you wont find it. Other than The Lodge, built in 1797. In 2019 on the bicentenary of his death, the Birmingham Civic Society placed a new blue plaque on the building. Sadly the hall was demolished in 1927, and the Heathfield Estate is now full of houses.

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James Watt's Heathfield Hall in Handsworth





If you go to Handsworth and look for Heathfield Hall, the home of James Watt from 1790 until his death in 1819, you wont find it. Other than The Lodge, built in 1797. In 2019 on the bicentenary of his death, the Birmingham Civic Society placed a new blue plaque on the building. Sadly the hall was demolished in 1927, and the Heathfield Estate is now full of houses.


Heathfield Hall, Handsworth

James Watt lived at Heathfield Hall from 1790, until his death there in 1819. The hall was erected sometime between 1787 and 1790. At the time Handsworth was located in the county of Staffordshire (it wouldn't become a part of Birmingham until 1911). The architect was Samuel Wyatt who was recommended to Watt by his business partner Matthew Boulton. He had designed Boulton's home of Soho House (still standing today and is a museum run by the Birmingham Museums Trust).

After Watt died in 1819, his workshop was sealed, and very few people saw it after that. His son James Watt Jr ended up living at Aston Hall in Aston. By 1876, the hall was eventually surrounded by semi-detached villas, such as up Radnor Road. The contents were later moved to The Science Museum in London in 1924 (to recreate the room) this included well over 8000 individual objects. The hall was later demolished in 1927.

The Heathfield Estate now contains houses around West Drive and North Drive (built during the 1930s). But The Lodge to the hall built in 1797 still survives on Radnor Road. In 2019 on the bicentenary of Watt's death, the Birmingham Civic Society unveiled a blue plaque on The Lodge.

An 1853 painting of Heathfield Hall in Handsworth by Allen Edward Everitt. From the Public Domain. Taken from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource which you can find here: 1977V43 Heathfield Hall, Handsworth.

The Lodge to Heathfield Hall

Located at 33 Radnor Road in Handsworth, this is the only building that survived the bulldozers in the late 1920s. The Lodge is said to date to 1797, so is probably the oldest building on Radnor Road (the other buildings looked Victorian to me).

Blue plaque from the Birmingham Civic Society, placed on The Lodge in 2019. The Lodge was the gatehouse to Heathfield Hall, which was the home of James Watt (1736 - 1819).

There was also a previous plaque here, about The Lodge being the Gate-keepers house to James Watt. Built 1797.

Was also this sign on the corner of Radnor Road and West Drive saying simply, The Lodge 1797.

Heathfield Estate

Before I got to The Lodge, I saw Radnor House, which is a Residential Home at 31 Radnor Road in Handsworth. This was probably a semi-detached villa built around 1876.

Beyond The Lodge, a look down West Drive. It's a bit hard to imagine Heathfield Hall being somewhere down or around here. Many of these houses were built in the 1930s.

On North Drive I saw this lion sculpture holding a shield outside of a house. I wonder if it is a survivor from the 18th century, or a more recent sculpture?

Heading back to Hamstead Road to catch the 16 back into the City Centre, I saw this building from Gibson Road. It's the Bethel United Church on the corner of Gibson Road and Beaudesert Road in Handsworth. I'm not sure if this was part of the Heathfield Estate, or just outside of it.

You can catch the no 16 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus from Birmingham City Centre, and get off on Hamstead Road in Handsworth. I decided to not go to Handsworth Park or see St Mary's Church again this time around, as I just came for the blue plaque mainly. Bus stops in town on Upper Dean Street, Moor Street Queensway, Colmore Circus Queensway and Snow Hill Queensway.

 

You can old black and white photographs of Heathfield Hall here: Birmingham Images: Library of Birmingham.

For more on the blue plaque, click here: Blue Plaque to James Watt unveiled.

 

List of previous Boulton & Watt related posts:

 

Modern photos taken by Elliott Brown at the beginning of September 2020.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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50 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
02 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Rainbow stripes and roadside outdoor seating around Southside

The Southside BID was able to make a deal with Birmingham City Council, so they could close off roads on the remaining weekends of August 2020. As well as the painted rainbow crossings, they have also had rainbow stripes put up, such as on Hurst Walk and on Kent Street. Outdoor seating to encourage social distancing outside while enjoying a drink.

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Rainbow stripes and roadside outdoor seating around Southside





The Southside BID was able to make a deal with Birmingham City Council, so they could close off roads on the remaining weekends of August 2020. As well as the painted rainbow crossings, they have also had rainbow stripes put up, such as on Hurst Walk and on Kent Street. Outdoor seating to encourage social distancing outside while enjoying a drink.


The Southside BID was able to get Birmingham City Council to agree to road closures over the last couple of weekends of August 2020. So Hurst Street, Bromsgrove Street and Kent Street were closed (no cars allowed). Tables and chairs were set up, and barriers placed at both ends. You will also find recent installations of rainbow stripes. First was on Hurst Walk at The Arcadian (above the second rainbow crossing) and more recently above Kent Street.

Hippodrome Square

Thursday 20th August 2020 (not at the weekend). A few more views of the Cross with Pride rainbow crossing, and people sitting on the picnic benches on Ladywell Walk. Between the Mapstone Building and The Arcadian.

Hurst Walk, The Arcadian

On Saturday 22nd August 2020, in The Arcadian. There is now rainbow multicoloured stripes above Hurst Walk. Between Las Iguanas and The Dragon Inn. It was raining that day.

Bromsgrove Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. Heading up Bromsgrove Street from Pershore Street. Then onto Hurst Street near the Missing Bar.

I later got these views of Bromsgrove Street, while crossing from Essex Street to Lower Essex Street to get to Kent Street. Road closed, drivers had to find an alternative route.

Safety barriers for pedestrians on Bromsgrove Street, and in the car park on the right.

Hurst Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. The Missing Bar on Hurst Street.

Looking towards the (closed) Hippodrome past The Arcadian. Tables and chairs outside.

Later after checking out Kent Street, got this view towards Tesco Express and the Missing Bar.

Then down towards the Village Inn. With these security barriers.

Saw some new rainbow banners at The Village Inn near Skinner Lane.

Kent Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. Kent Street was closed between Lower Essex Street and Hurst Street. Seen near the Nightingale Club.

Rainbow ribbons / stripes had been installed over the last week, just in time for the Bank Holiday Weekend. Looks nice.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
People & community
01 Sep 2020 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

It's your community (Kings Heath & Moseley) - an interview with Fareeda Khan - PCSO with West Midlands Police

Jonathan from Birmingham We Are caught up with Fareeda Khan, a PCSO with West Midlands Police operating in the Moseley and Kings Heath Neighbourhood. Here’s a brief insight to Fareeda’s work with community and how she feels Kings Heath and Moseley can really benefit from Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022. 

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It's your community (Kings Heath & Moseley) - an interview with Fareeda Khan - PCSO with West Midlands Police





Jonathan from Birmingham We Are caught up with Fareeda Khan, a PCSO with West Midlands Police operating in the Moseley and Kings Heath Neighbourhood. Here’s a brief insight to Fareeda’s work with community and how she feels Kings Heath and Moseley can really benefit from Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022. 


Q.  Can you tell me a little about yourself Fareeda?

“I’m a housewife and a mother and I’ve always wanted to join the police. I’ve been in this role for 13 years.

As a PCSO we are very visible in the community.  Our role is very much community based and we are the eyes and ears of the community. 

I particularly enjoy engaging with young people through schools and youth clubs.  Young people now understand our role a lot more and I like to think they have a lot more trust in us and are more forthcoming in approaching us.”

Q.  Fareeda, you cover Moseley and Kings Heath.  Can you tell me a little about your patch and the community?

“Moseley and Kings Heath are sometimes referred to as bohemian neighborhoods.  There’s a lot of culture and a lot of community get-togethers with street parties and festivals. They are very creative places to live and visit. People are always helping each other out.

It is a very friendly and inviting part of the city and a great place for people to visit.”

Photo: Welcome to Kings Heath courtesy Christine Wright

Photo: Moseley Bog courtesy Elliott Brown

Photo: Highbury Hall in Moseley courtesy Elliott Brown

Q. How can we ensure that these communities are best able to benefit from the City attracting more visitors with events coming up such as the Commonwealth Games?

“I think more awareness and more outreach work in the community. Raise awareness as some communities may feel a little isolated and that it’s not for them.  Perhaps there could be a showcase of the opportunities for younger people and parents and information on how they can get involved.

Perhaps opportunities via schools and colleges nearer the time so that young people can understand how they can get involved.”

Young people on National Citizen Service visit Art Rooms in Kings Heath 

Photo: The Orchard, Highbury Park courtesy Christine Wright

Q. Do you think the police could have a big role to play in helping the local community maximize the opportunities presented by the Commonwealth Games?

“Because we do a lot of work with the community and work with many different agencies to build trust and confidence, people know they can come to us.  Another way they can connect with us is through something like sport and different types of outreach work.  If the police can get more involved, we can help community get more involved.”

Photo: Woodworkers from the Moseley and Kings Heath Shed courtesy Christine Wright

Photo: St Mary's Church, Moseley courtesy Damien Walmsley.

Q. How important are community leaders to the work that you do?

“We have different types of leaders in the community.

We have business leaders, religious leaders, leaders in education and other community leaders such as neighborhood watch co-coordinators etc. We have done a lot work around active citizens and identifying those key people in the community that have a special role as the voice of a local group who can make a real difference. 

The Active Citizens Fund managed by the Police is there to support the work of such groups.”

Photo: Kings Heath Park courtesy Christine Wright

Photo: Moseley Farmers Market courtesy Elliott Brown

Q.  Would you be able to help our work at Birmingham We Are in introducing young people on programs such as the national citizen’s service to the culture within the local community?

“I would be delighted to help in any way I can. Moseley and Kings Heath are certainly places to experience and enjoy the culture of Birmingham.”

Thank you for your time Fareeda. 

This is one of a series of discussions taking place by Birmingham We Are as an introduction to people as influencers who can make a massive difference to the City and the community in which they live or work. 

Our interviews with PCSOs operating across the City has the full support of West Midlands Police. 

For further details on our work contact Jonathan.Bostock@PeopleMattersNetwork.com.

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