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History & heritage
16 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

HS2 unveil a Turntable at Curzon Street dating to 1837

The HS2 preporatory works continue at the Curzon Street Station site in Eastside. They have recently uncovered a turntable dating to 1837, which is thought to have been designed by Robert Stephenson. I got a train on the Cross City line one stop from Birmingham New Street to Aston just to see it. Hopefully they could preserve it in the new station somehow?

Related

HS2 unveil a Turntable at Curzon Street dating to 1837





The HS2 preporatory works continue at the Curzon Street Station site in Eastside. They have recently uncovered a turntable dating to 1837, which is thought to have been designed by Robert Stephenson. I got a train on the Cross City line one stop from Birmingham New Street to Aston just to see it. Hopefully they could preserve it in the new station somehow?


Information courtesty of BBC Birmingham: Birmingham HS2 work unearths 1837 railway turntable.

Excavation works by HS2 at the Curzon Street Station site have led to the discovery of a Robert Stephenson designed turntable. It is thought to date to about 1837. They were exposing the remains of the former Grand Junction Railway terminus. Robert Stephenson was a civil engineer and the son of "The Father of the Railways" George Stephenson.

The original Curzon Street Station opened in 1838 as part of the London & Birmingham Railway. At the time the journey to London took almost 5 hours.

 

I was on a Class 323 West Midlands Railway train heading just one stop from Birmingham New Street to Aston (the train was going to Lichfield Trent Valley), just to see if I could see the turntable. Initially a Avanti West Coast Pendolino was waiting in the Eastside Tunnels and I thought it would be in the way. But luckily it wasn't.

This was my first view, although the overhead wire support columns were in the way.

Slightly better view here looking to the University Locks student accommodation of Birmingham City University.

For many years this was a car park after the Parcel Force Depot closed down. This view of the turntable towards BCU's Curzon Building and University Locks.

Slightly more head on view of the turntable towards Millennium Point, BCU's Parkside Building and Curzon Building.

 

You can see a working turntable if you go to one of Tyseley Locomotive Works open days. Photos below taken from the September 2016 open day.

The engineer here presses a button to turn the turntable.

You see the turntable spinning around.

The driver of the train No 1 - 43958 slowly moves it onto the turntable, guided by the engineer.

5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe gets it's turn on the turntable.

I later saw 7029 Clun Castle going round on the turntable.

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
Green open spaces
16 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

New Hall Valley Country Park: From Sutton Coldfield Town Centre towards Pype Hayes Park (January 2019)

I initially became aware of New Hall Valley Country Park during the Christmas Day 2018 walk up from Pype Hayes Park along the Plants Brook. So a month later in January 2019, got a bus up to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, and made my way to the park. And walked down the path. Passing the New Hall Water Mill and Walmley Golf Club. Eventually back on the same paths I was on the month before.

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New Hall Valley Country Park: From Sutton Coldfield Town Centre towards Pype Hayes Park (January 2019)





I initially became aware of New Hall Valley Country Park during the Christmas Day 2018 walk up from Pype Hayes Park along the Plants Brook. So a month later in January 2019, got a bus up to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, and made my way to the park. And walked down the path. Passing the New Hall Water Mill and Walmley Golf Club. Eventually back on the same paths I was on the month before.


A walk through New Hall Valley Country Park during January 2019. Starting from Sutton Coldfield Town Centre and heading in the direction of Pype Hayes Park.

First up some information taken from the Wikipedia page (link above). It is a country park located in the New Hall Valley between Walmley and Wylde Green in the Sutton Coldfield. Birmingham City Council created the park in 2005. The land was formerly part of the New Hall Manor Estate. There is ancient woodland, historic wetland grazing meadows, former farmland, and part of Plants Brook within the country park. There is also a 17th Century listed watermill called New Hall Mill.

 

During a Christmas Day 2018 walk from Pype Hayes Park (link to the post is above), on a path along the Plants Brook, I got to this point where I saw a fingerpost for the New Hall Valley Country Park. Making a mental note about this park at the time. It was just beyond the railway line for the Sutton Park Line. We turned back in the direction of Pype Hayes Park from near here. I would be back a month later.

In January 2019, I ended up getting a National Express West Midlands Platinum bus all the way to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre. After a coffee stop, I started my walk to the park. These fingerposts were on the South Parade near Lower Queen Street.

Some more signs on the National Cycle Network route 534. Seen on Ebrook Road. I was only about a quarter of a mile away from the Newhall Valley Country Park (seems to be two spellings). Sutton Coldfield Town Centre was three quarters of a mile in the other direction.

I got into the park at Ebrook Road from this path near the Plants Brook.

Below the bridge on Ebrook Road was what looked like a small waterfall.

The path towards the Sutton Park Line Tunnel. The former railway line crosses over the Plants Brook at this point.

From the other side of the Sutton Park Line Tunnel. Graffiti on this side.

A look back down the path along the Plants Brook towards the tunnel.

Heading forward saw this footbridge cross the Plants Brook.

Saw an electricity pylon to the left of the path.

Checking out this wooden decking. Looked quite icy on the grass and on the decking so wasn't on here for long.

A no cycling sign. The path to the right is a bit too muddy, so cyclists should stick to the main path. But it's suitable for walking (if you want to get mud on your shoes etc).

Another footbridge over the Plants Brook.

The Plants Brook was looking quite calm from this side of the footbridge.

Back to the main path, as I followed the Plants Brook in the direction of the mill.

First glimpse of the New Hall Water Mill. Trees in the way.

Another view of the mill. Would try and get better views when I shortly after this walked up a path towards it.

The path and the Plants Brook close to Wylde Green Road.

Saw this stone house near Wylde Green Road. It is time to get a proper look at the nearby mill.

Close to the end of the path as the Wylde Green Road Bridge was straight ahead over the Plants Brook.

Bollards for New Hall Valley at Wylde Green Road. Before I continued, I turned left to check out the mill.

On the way to the road to the mill, I went past this gate for Wincelle House.

Wincelle House is a Grade II Listed Building dating from the early 15th century. It is a timber framed building, which was removed from Wishaw in 1910.

Continuing on, saw this sign for New Hall Hotel & Spa. B76 1PH. The sign was for the Emergency Access to New Hall Health Club & Spa.

Side view of Wincelle House from a nearby field as I headed to see New Hall Mill.

First proper look at New Hall Mill, without too many trees in the way.

New Hall Water Mill is a Grade II* Listed Building. It dates to the 18th century.

As it was during winter though, the mill was not open. I think it is open on open days, but it is quite a distance to travel back  there to properly explore this mill.

Fingerpost for visitors to use. You can go on the Tree Trail, go to the Cart Shed and more.

One more view of the mill. A bit hard to see behind the trees. But now it was time to resume the walk towards Pype Hayes Park.

Back to Wylde Green Road for the last leg of the walk in the New Hall Valley Country Park. Another pair of bollards.

Fingerpost near the Wylde Green Road entrance. Sutton Park and Coleshill Road to the left. Walmley to the right.

Saw this Birmingham City Council map of New Hall Valley Country Park. Was looking a bit dirty.

Another bridge crossing the Plants Brook, this one with yellow railings.

A look down the Plants Brook. Appeared to be a bricked channel of water on the left near the path.

Better view of the Plants Brook not obscured by the trees.

At the end of the New Hall Valley Country Park near near the Plants Brook walk. Another part of the old Sutton Park railway line passes by near here.

Fingerpost near the Plants Brook walk just outside of the Country Park. Sutton Coldfield was not a mile and a half away on foot and on a bike.

Passing through these gates as I exited the New Hall Valley Country Park and followed the Plants Brook back to Pype Hayes Park. On a path I had walked on the month before.

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
Construction & regeneration
15 Mar 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, Cranes Across the City - March Update

Here's the latest crane photography gallery covering February and early March.

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Birmingham, Cranes Across the City - March Update





Here's the latest crane photography gallery covering February and early March.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
13 Mar 2020 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - March 2020

The silver cladding panels on Three Arena Central (HMRC) are now on show. These have started to be fitted from the top of the building.

Workers are now in the process of installing them before peeling off their protective covers to reveal their final look. One to keep an eye on.

 

 

Related

The Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - March 2020





The silver cladding panels on Three Arena Central (HMRC) are now on show. These have started to be fitted from the top of the building.

Workers are now in the process of installing them before peeling off their protective covers to reveal their final look. One to keep an eye on.

 

 


Peeling off their protective skins to reveal shimmering, silver cladding.

Photos by Stephen Giles

8th March

Photos by Daniel Sturley

Follow IYB over on Instagram: @Itsyourbirmingham

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40 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
12 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Simulator Rides, customised lorries and buses in Rotunda Square at the Bullring

It's not just the Bullring Bull that you can see in Rotunda Square. Sometimes I see these lorries with Simulator rides, such as F1 or Top Gear, more recently Star Trek: Picard. Other times old buses that have custom liveries are parked up in the square. Mostly recently saw Sonic the Hedgehog on a Game / Sega related one. Other times there maybe cars on show in the square.

Related

Simulator Rides, customised lorries and buses in Rotunda Square at the Bullring





It's not just the Bullring Bull that you can see in Rotunda Square. Sometimes I see these lorries with Simulator rides, such as F1 or Top Gear, more recently Star Trek: Picard. Other times old buses that have custom liveries are parked up in the square. Mostly recently saw Sonic the Hedgehog on a Game / Sega related one. Other times there maybe cars on show in the square.


Rotunda Square is located at the Bullring between New Street and High Street. With the 24 Hour Route ramps linking Birmingham Moor Street Station to Birmingham New Street Station (if you want to avoid walking under the Bullring along St Martin's Queensway). There are entrances from the West Mall and East Mall leading out onto Rotunda Square.

See also my similar post on this topic from St Martin's Square.

Starting off with Heart FM. OK this first photo isn't in Rotunda Square, but on St Martin's Walk between the West and East Mall's. "Sign it to Win with Arnold Clark". Heart 100.7. This car had signatures all over it. Seen during August 2014. Possibly a Fiat 500.

I can confirm that this photo was taken in Rotunda Square. Heart Radio again. Seen during May 2015 with this red car. Heart 96-107. More Music Variety. The view towards Nationwide.

Probably the first time I saw one of these Formula 1 simulator rides in Rotunda Square during May 2015.

It was the McLaren Honda F1 simulator.

It had an image on the side of Jenson Button. Who was with McLaren at the time. He left F1 around 2016 or 2017.

The lorry filled up most of the space between Nationwide and Next. Just about space to either walk down St Martin's Walk, or head down the 24 Hour Route towards Moor Street Queensway and Birmingham Moor Street Station.

The Transformers were in Rotunda Square during August 2015 to promote the Transformers animated series: Transformers: Robots in Disguise. Although the lorry used resembled the one used in the Michael Bay Transformers movies (2007 - 2017).

The first movie Transformers came out in 2007, followed by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009, Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2011, Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014 and Transformers: The Last Knight in 2017. There was also a Bumblebee prequel released in 2018.

The back of Optimus Prime.

A lot of people took notice of Optimus Prime as they passed by.

Was also this trailer for Transformers: Robots in Disguise. I have not seen this series.

One more side view of Optimus Prime. In 2015, I did not know at the time that the 5th movie would come out in 2017.

One year on and Optimus Prime and Transformers: Robots in Disguise was back in Rotunda Square during August 2016. This view was seen from Costa Coffee at Next. By then I knew that Transformers: The Last Knight was in production for release in the summer of 2017. Which I didn't know the year before.

I saw this old van or pick up truck during September 2015. "Celebrating 400 Years of Originality". It had old cameras to the back. In the direction of Zara Man.

From the other side towards Zara. Was obviously something camera related. But more likely to be related to the drink Grolsch. 1615-2015. It was a Chevrolet.

Saw these taxis in Rotunda square near Next during October 2015. They were there for Charlotte Tilbury - Join the Make-Up Revolution.

Later in October 2015, the BBC Top Gear Experience was in Rotunda Square.

It was a bit similar to that McLaren F1 ride that was here earlier in 2015.

It had an image of The Stig on the side of the lorry.

In November 2016, I saw this vintage London Routemaster bus on tour for Logic Pro. An Electronic Cigarette company.

This was during the Logic Tour stopping in Birmingham.  The buses licence plate no was VVS 373. I had previously seen this bus used for Virgin Holidays in St Martin's Square (see link at the top of the post to see the photos).

The backside of the bus for Logic Pro. As I tried to get all the sides that I could.

This view down St Martin's Walk, busy during the Christmas shopping season. Christmas lights were up.

Another old London Routemaster bus in Rotunda Square. This one seen during March 2017. Was for the Spring Blooms Tour. Boden Bloom & Wild. The sunshine was a bit bright on this side of the bus.

Hello Birmingham. The sunlight wasn't as bad from this side.

The back view as the bus looked very green in the direction of the Rotunda.

The HSBC Mobile Studio was in this shiny big caravan during July 2017. "Get your free mobile phone case custom designed". Was near Nationwide.

In August 2017 this Oreo van was in Rotunda Square.

With the licence plate OR30. They had Choc'o Brownie flavour, Cool Mint flavour, Strawberry Cheesecake flavour and Peanut Butter flavour.

It was a co-incidence that the Oreo van was here, as around the same time (5 days earlier), Google had announced their (then) new operating system on Android. Android 8 also known as Android Oreo. Google used to name their OS's after sweets. Android is now on version 10 (no sweet related name this time). Android 9 was called Pie.

Another Formula 1 simulator ride was in Rotunda Square during October 2017. This time it was the Petronas Mercedes-Benz F1 simulator.

People who went on it could see what it was like for Lewis Hamilton to win the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship. He is a 6 times World Champion, having won F1 during 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

I saw the Petronas simulator ride / lorry in Rotunda Square, once again during February 2020. Tool this on my smartphone camera. This time it was AMG Petronas Motorsport. Probably the same vehicle as years before. An early morning view before work.

Game had a bus out in Rotunda Square during December 2017 for Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch.

It looked like a modern red London bus with a pair of double doors, which buses here in the West Midlands don't have. Several giant images of Super Mario on the side of the bus.

OK this one isn't in Rotunda Square, but I don't think I saw any vehicles like this in the square during 2018. During August 2018 saw this pink Land Rover on St Martin's Walk between the entrances to the East and West Mall's. Benefit BrowMobile. We Wax Brows. 

This vehicle was seen in Rotunda Square during February 2019 promoting the (then) new Starbucks Blonde Roast. Saw it on the walk from Birmingham Moor Street Station to the Odeon Cinema on New Street. But I later took this photo on the way back.

I also got this view of the Starbucks Blonde Roast. But it came out blurry, and even after attempting to fix it, it still looks a bit over processed. But then was heading back to the station and took this too quickly to realise it came out blurry.

In March 2019, I saw this lorry promoting the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, which by then was on Blu-Ray and DVD. A Biopic based on the rock band Queen (not seen it yet). I unexpectedly saw it with the Amazon Treasure Truck

An early morning walk up the Bullring during May 2019. And I saw this Republic of Gamers bus in Rotunda Square from St Martin's Walk.

Much easier to get photos of these buses sometime after 9am than at midday when it is crowded. Also many of the shops hadn't yet opened.

This bus had the licence plate no YN54 AJY and had the abbreviation Rogbus.

So much easier to get early in the morning. As I prefer it. Also said ASUS on it.

Getting close to the end now. Seen during July 2019 was this pink van. Refresh with Blossom Hill. Metro Bank behind was almost finished at the time. Also caught this couple in matching green t-shirts.

Also during July 2019, Summer in Southside had some caravans at the Bullring. This one saying Cloud with people in sleeping bags with pillows.

And down on St Martin's Walk, was this caravan for Summer in Southside saying Newbie. EE was advertising having 5G.

Another early morning at the Bullring in Rotunda Square, during October 2019. As I saw this bus that game had transformed into the Sega Mega Drive with Sonic the Hedgehog. Advertising the Sega Mega Drive Mini (the original Sega Mega Drive came out in the UK in the 1990s).

The licence plate on the bus was LF52  ZMU and it was a Volvo. Early mornings before work are the best time to get these buses (if I have my main camera on me).

From the other side before walking up New Street. I used to have a 2nd hand Mega Drive from 1995 (when I turned 13). And I loved the Sonic the Hedgehog games. The movie version came out in February 2020. Sonic 3D was the last new Sonic game on the Mega Drive I was able to get in 1996. By 1997 I was unable to get any more, but switched to PC gaming by then. I later put my Mega Drive on eBay in 2005 (after having it stored away for 10 years). But at one point I got the Sonic Mega Collection on the PC (so got to play the Sonic games again one last time around 2007 I think).

In December 2019 there was another simulator ride. This time promoting Star Trek: Picard which is being shown in the UK on Amazon Prime Video.

This was also another early morning before work when I saw this Star Trek Picard display. It started on Amazon Prime in January 2020.

Was positioned in front of the Nationwide Building Society. I thought it was strange that Picard was on Prime, when Star Trek: Discovery was on Netflix (although E4 has started showing that despite being a Netflix Original programme). Although both are on CBS All Access in the USA.

I've only started to watch Star Trek Picard on Amazon Prime Video, with 7 episodes released to date (as of March 2020). There is 3 more new episodes yet to be released. I am a (or was) a big Star Trek fan, having grown up on the Star Trek shows during the 1990s with The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Enterprise was released in the early 2000s. Then there was a big gap until Discovery came out on Netflix in 2017. There had been the Viacom / CBS split. Paramount kept the movies, CBS kept the TV shows. But it sounds like that they have re-merged into Viacom CBS.

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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