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Modern Architecture
23 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Tour of the inside of the Library of Birmingham during September 2013

Welcome to a tour of the Library of Birmingham from my visits back in September 2013. My first visits were on the 21st and 28th September 2013. It was very busy. Loads of people visiting the library for the first time. Heading up the escalators between the levels. At the time the glass lift still worked, so you could go in that if it wasn't too busy. 9 levels plus the basement levels.

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Tour of the inside of the Library of Birmingham during September 2013





Welcome to a tour of the Library of Birmingham from my visits back in September 2013. My first visits were on the 21st and 28th September 2013. It was very busy. Loads of people visiting the library for the first time. Heading up the escalators between the levels. At the time the glass lift still worked, so you could go in that if it wasn't too busy. 9 levels plus the basement levels.


For this post we are only looking at the inside of the Library of Birmingham. So not the Shakespeare Memorial Room, Discovery Terrace or the Secret Garden (I'll leave those for future posts).

 

Originally the Library had revolving doors from Centenary Square (and also to the Discovery Terrace on Level 3). There is also a disabled door you can use by the press of a button. The revolving doors were replaced years later by automatic doors, as the revolving doors kept getting stuck. Also the glass lift from Level 4 to Level 7 stopped working after a year. Meaning you have to use the other lifts, or the stairs (if you can). There are escalators from Level G (the ground floor) to Level 3. Then a travelator up to Level 4. Access to Level 7 and 9 is by the lifts or stairs. Level 5 and Level 8 is for staff only. There is also the Library Cafe on the ground floor, and you can take you coffee up to the Mezzanine floor (also called Level MZ).

 

21st September 2013

Starting on the ground floor Level G, a look towards the entrance to the REP. On the left is the Library Shop. Where you can buy Birmingham souvenirs. I got in after 4pm that day.

The escalators from Level G to Level 1 was busy that day. On the left was a temporary exhibition, called The Pavilion

When it opened, Level 1 was originally called Business Learning & Health (this was before Brasshouse Languages took it over in 2016).

There used to be desks where you could work on your laptop or tablet on. WiFi early on was weak, but years later the free WiFi got better (well at least after I kept upgrading my smartphone every couple of years).

The escalators from Level 1 up to Level 2.

Next up was Level 2, which was originally called the Knowledge Floor. Around the core of this floor and the floor above is the Book Rotunda. There is a lot of old historic books around there.

Another area for studying and using your laptop or tablet with a view out to Centenary Square.

Now it was time to leave Level 2 for Level 3. Just had to go up the escalator to the next floor.

Now a look around Level 3, which was called the Discovery Floor at the time. This area was called the Mediatheque. Where you can watch films from a library collection (I think).

The Travelator that goes from Level 3 up to Level 4. That time it was set to go up on the right. Usually you go up on the left.

On the ride up, you can see the glass lift. And there was a queue for it waiting to go up to Level 7.

Level 4 was called Archives & Heritage. You can go through glass doors when you get to the top, or at the time use the glass lift (it wouldn't remain in service for long before it broke down - in fact it's not worked for years!).

I would have gone higher that day, but it was almost 5pm and that was the time that the Library of Birmingham closed for the evening. So heading back down the escalators through the Book Rotunda. At this point heading down from Level 3 to Level 2. Next up would be the escalator down to Level 1.

Heading down the escalator from Level 1 back to Level G, where you can see The Pavilion temporary exhibition on the right.

A look at the Children's Library which is on Level LG (Lower Ground Floor).

Back on Level G, and heading from the Library of Birmingham into the foyer of the REP.

28th September 2013

One week later, I returned to the Library of Birmingham to go all the way up to the top to Level 9 for the Shakespeare Memorial Room and Skyline Viewpoint. Got in much earlier this time, just before 1pm that day. This wall welcomes you to the Library of Birmingham. Was also a screen showing information about the exhibition on at the time called Dozens & Trails. This was on Level G.

This time I was able to get the glass lift up from Level 4 to Level 7.

Now on Level 7 after going up the glass lift. Here you can see the comfy red chairs in a staff only area of the Library. On Level 7 is the Secret Garden.

Views from Level 7 near the Glass Lift down to the floors below. You can see the travelator and the escalators down to about Level 2.

If you don't like heights don't look down! On this day the travelator was operating in the correct directions. Left side to take you down from Level 7 to 4. The right side to take you up from Level 4 to 7.

The escalators on Level 2 takes you to and from Level 1 (on the left) and to and from Level 3 (on the right).

There was also some comfy red chairs on Level 7. I used to sit on some of them on Level 3 to get onto the WiFi on my then smartphone.

On Level 7 you can see a staff office through the window from the corridor from the regular lifts and stairs. So you might see this if going to or from the Secret Garden (unless they have the blinds down).

That day I used the stairs to go down. Went a bit too far down to Level LG, and saw these desks with PC's on them. So had to go back up the stairs to Level G to exit.

That's it folks for this tour of the Library of Birmingham. It's changed a lot since it first opened 7 years ago.

For the next Library of Birmingham post, I could show you around the Shakespeare Memorial Room. It's on Level 9 near the Skyline Viewpoint.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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70 passion points
Transport
23 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Thomas Cook Airlines

Another airline popular for holiday destinations was Thomas Cook Airlines. Sadly they went out of business back in September 2019, along with all of their High Street travel shops. Founded in 2007 from a merger with Thomas Cook Group and MyTravel Group. It operated services from Birmingham Airport and other UK based airports. They were known for the yellow heart symbol.

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Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Thomas Cook Airlines





Another airline popular for holiday destinations was Thomas Cook Airlines. Sadly they went out of business back in September 2019, along with all of their High Street travel shops. Founded in 2007 from a merger with Thomas Cook Group and MyTravel Group. It operated services from Birmingham Airport and other UK based airports. They were known for the yellow heart symbol.


Thomas Cook at Birmingham Airport

Thomas Cook Airlines operated flights from Birmingham Airport for many years. Founded in 2007 from a merger between Thomas Cook Group and MyTravel Group. There main bases was at Manchester Airport and Gatwick Airport . In 2013, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and Condor all merged under the name of Thomas Cook Group Airlines.

The airline collapsed in September 2019. Over 165,000 passengers were stranded overseas (more than the 65,000 of Monarch), that had to be flown back to the UK.

While I've seen Thomas Cook at Birmingham Airport, we had never flown with them.

 

One of my first Thomas Cook plane photos was taken while I was on a walk around Erdington. I was on the Chester Road during May 2014. It was probably an Airbus A321-200.

Not a great photo of a Thomas Cook plane, as it was behind trees as it came into land at Birmingham Airport, back in March 2016. But this was on the day of the first Emirates Airbus A380 landing. And I went to the Sheldon Country Park to see it. After I left I went to Marston Green Station, and got this view from the second footbridge before I got to the platform.

The first up and close photo I got of a Thomas Cook plane was at the departures at Birmingham Airport during June 2016. The windows to the gates can be a bit fuzzy to look through. A Shell tanker was near the Airbus A321-200 plane. We were on the way to get a Flybe flight to Milan for the Lake Como holiday.

In December 2016, I saw this Thomas Cook plane taking off from Birmingham Airport, while I was in Car Park 5. There is a plane spotting area there, but if you go further back, you won't have the perimeter fence in the way.

Back in August 2017 I was in Sutton Coldfield on the Big Sleuth bear hunt. While in Boldmere (after leaving Sutton Park) I saw this Thomas Cook Airbus A321-200 plane.

Later back at Sutton Coldfield Station (August 2017), I saw this Thomas Cook plane coming into land at Birmingham Airport. Sutton Coldfield is on the flight path into the airport. Was also an Airbus A321-200.

A close up view of this Thomas Cook plane during June 2018 at Birmingham Airport. In departures, heading to the gate to get a Jet2 flight to Pisa in Italy, for the Florence and Tuscany holiday. Another Airbus A321-200. Behind was several Flybe planes.

Another good station for seeing planes taking off or landing from Birmingham Airport was Stechford Station. I saw this Thomas Cook plane from Stechford during October 2018. Also an Airbus A321-200. This one was taking off.

Also in October 2018 was the visit to Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, where I saw several planes coming into land at Birmingham Airport. This one was an Airbus A320-200.

It may have also been with Condor at the time. It left the UK Thomas Cook fleet during 2018 (the Airbus A320-200's).

Back in August 2019 was when I last saw Thomas Cook planes at Birmingham Airport. This view was from the X1 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus I'd caught from South Yardley to the airport. At the time there was also a pair of TUI planes to the left.

I popped into Car Park 5 where I saw this Thomas Cook Airbus A321-200. The last time I would see it there before the airline went bust in the following month.

Now for a bonus photo.

In May 2011 having just landed at Nice Airport in Frane with BMI Baby, I saw this pair of Thomas Cook Belgium planes (before I got off the BMI Baby plane). This airline was founded in 2001, started operating from 2002 and ceased operating in 2017. These were Airbus A320-200's. The planes were later transferred to other airlines, including one to the UK based Thomas Cook Airlines.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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50 passion points
Environment & green action
22 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The John Morris Jones Walkway in the Shire Country Park

In the Shire Country Park, there is a walk from Cole Bank Road (opposite Sarehole Mill) towards Robin Hood Lane in Hall Green called the John Morris Jones Walkway. The path runs alongside the River Cole. There is also a large open field, that gets used during Tolkien weekends. John Morris Jones was the headmaster of George Dixon Junior School from 1960-80. He wrote about the area.

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The John Morris Jones Walkway in the Shire Country Park





In the Shire Country Park, there is a walk from Cole Bank Road (opposite Sarehole Mill) towards Robin Hood Lane in Hall Green called the John Morris Jones Walkway. The path runs alongside the River Cole. There is also a large open field, that gets used during Tolkien weekends. John Morris Jones was the headmaster of George Dixon Junior School from 1960-80. He wrote about the area.


JOHN MORRIS JONES WALKWAY

In our next walking post in the Shire Country Park we will be entering the John Morris Jones Walkway. There is entrances on Cole Bank Road in the Sarehole area (the modern Moseley / Hall Green border). This entrance is opposite of Sarehole Mill. There is traffic lights near the Sarehole Mill Car Park that you can cross at. The walk takes you along the Millstream Way, following the route of the River Cole towards Robin Hood Lane (near Brook Lane). So you won't be too far from Billesley. After the John Morris Jones Walkway is The Dingles.

The John Morris Jones Walkway was named after John Morris Jones, who was the headmaster of George Dixon Junior School from 1960 until 1980. He wrote many books about South Birmingham, including about the areas such as Sarehole, Hall Green and Yardley Wood.

The field close to Cole Bank Road was originally called the Cotterills Meadow. But has been known for the last century as the Colebank Playing Field. There had also been a ford at Robin Hood Lane, but there is now a road bridge at this site.

2011

I first walked up a bit of the John Morris Jones Walkway during January 2011. Starting at the Robin Hood Lane end, a look at the River Cole from the bridge. This would have been the site of a ford. While it is bridged now, you can see remaining fords at Slade Lane, Scribers Lane and Green Road. There was some snow on the ground at the time.

Entering the John Morris Jones Walkway from Robin Hood Lane. Brook Lane is to the left of here.

The Shire Country Park post, missing the directions to the other areas of the country park.

Now onto the path heading to Cole Bank Road.

The path was a bit of a dirt path at the time, so had not yet been resurfaced.

I got to a puddle and mud halfway, and decided to turn back.

Instead I left the John Morris Jones Walkway at Robin Hood Lane and walked up Wake Green Road instead. Would be another 5 years before I would do a full walk of this walkway.

2012

In March 2012, I was heading into The Dingles for the first time, when I saw the new wooden fence and gateway entrance to the John Morris Jones Walkway. I was walking from Billesley to Yardley Wood at the time, on a nice warm Spring afternoon.

2016

A May Day Bank Holiday walk in the Shire Country Park. Starting at the Sarehole Mill Car Park. Going through the John Morris Jones Walkway to get to The Dingles, Trittiford Mill Pool, Scribers Lane SINC and back. Saw some bluebells on the way.

Near the River Cole, not far from the Cole Bank Road end, was this back garden with a fence and gate to the river. I would see it again 4 years later on one of my lockdown walks up here.

A lock at the Colebank Playing Field. You don't just have to stick your walk to the main path, but you can walk through here, if the grass is dry. In the distance you can see the chimney of Sarehole Mill.

I also saw growing at the time, Dandelions.

2020

At least three walks through the John Morris Jones Walkway on lockdown, during March, April and May 2020. Changes every month.

The first lockdown walk was on the 26th March 2020, several days into it. I had come from the Trittiford Mill Pool and The Dingles, just had to go through the John Morris Jones Walkway. Getting in from Robin Hood Lane.

The path was now more suitable for walking on. The trees had yet to grow their leaves back.

All the plants along the path were quite low down at the time.

First lockdown look at the River Cole, just off the John Morris Jones Walkway.

A look in the Colebank Playing Field, as a dog runs after it's owner. View of the chimney of Sarehole Mill.

Back onto the path as I got closer to Cole Bank Road.

Houses on Sarehole Road have gardens that end a bit short of the river. But some have gates at the back. Maybe they have access to the other side of the river?

Getting near Cole Bank Road and the end of this Shire Country Park walk.

On month on in April 2020. Now the 25th April 2020. And what a change in a month on lockdown! Leaves had grown back on the trees, and the growth on both sides of the path was a bit higher up.

Bright sunshine on the walk through the Colebank Playing Field.

At the far end of the Colebank Playing Field, before returning to the main path. Sarehole Mill is in the distance.

Another look at the River Cole.

Back on the path to Robin Hood Lane.

The canopy of trees do make the wooden gated entrance look nice at Robin Hood Lane.

Bluebells were growing on the left side.

A look at the River Cole from the bridge on Robin Hood Lane. Saw a heron, but it flew away before I could zoom into it.

The third and most recent lockdown walk in here was during May 2020. Was on the 22nd May 2020. By now the River Cole was looking quite shallow, due to a month long drought. The walk started at the Sarehole Mill Car Park, and headed to The Dingles and back.

The fence along the path. There was now cow parsley growing along the walkway.

There's that garden with the wooden fence and gate on the riverside. I hope they don't get flooded.

Back at the Robin Hood Lane end of the walkway before going into The Dingles again. The entrance to that part is up Coleside Avenue.

Later coming back from The Dingles, and re-entering the John Morris Jones Walkway from Robin Hood Lane.

This time walked back through the field. Part of the grass had been mown for social distancing.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
22 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A variety of objects in the Warehouse at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre

I've been to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre twice in the past. During an open day in May 2012 and another open day during Birmingham Heritage Week back in September 2018. Here we will look at some of the objects stored in the warehouse. It reminds you of the big warehouse in the Indiana Jones movies (the 1st and 4th ones). But no swinging on Indy's whip in here!

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A variety of objects in the Warehouse at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre





I've been to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre twice in the past. During an open day in May 2012 and another open day during Birmingham Heritage Week back in September 2018. Here we will look at some of the objects stored in the warehouse. It reminds you of the big warehouse in the Indiana Jones movies (the 1st and 4th ones). But no swinging on Indy's whip in here!


Remember the scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the Ark of the Covenant was placed in a warehouse in Area 51? (later revisited in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). Well the warehouse at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre is a bit like that. Most objects are not in crates, but on shelves all over (there are some objects in crates though).

Located at 25 Dollman Street in Nechells (near Vauxhall). It is also near Duddeston Station (on the Cross City Line and Chase Line). Formerly run by Birmingham City Council, it is now run by the Birmingham Museums Trust.

I've been to two open days over the years. One during a Sunday in May 2012. And another in September 2018 during Birmingham Heritage Week.

 

Entering the warehouse at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre on the 13th May 2012. There was a pair of volunteers in yellow jackets at the open day.

There is many rows of shelves all through the warehouse. But on your visit you can only see the items on the bottom shelf.

Some rows were closed off to visitors.

I think only staff can go up the steps in here (not members of the public visiting on an open day).

Another view of the shelves during the Birmingham Heritage Week open day on the 16th September 2018. On the second visit was hard to find objects I'd not seen 6 years previously.

Now back to the May 2012 open day visit.

An old red telephone box. I think it is type K6. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Most phone boxes are now obsolete, or not as used as much as we all have smartphones  (or mobile phones) now. Some have been converted into small coffee shops or had defibrillator machines installed.

Next up was a Boiler Feed Pump. It was built by J. Evans & Sons of Wolverhampton circa 1920 and it was made for the Round Oak Steel Works. This type of Pump is also known as a Banjo Steam Feed Pump.

This was a Weighing Machine. It was a pendulum operated weighing machine made by W & T Avery of Birmingham in 1900.

Two objects here. On the left was a Tensile Testing Machine. Made in 1950 for Loughborough College. Colleges used machines like this to stretch materials. On the right was a Small Crank Operated Power Press. It was used over 50 years ago to stamp small metal components by Edwin Lowe, Bearing Manufacturers of Perry Barr, Birmingham

A pair of Clock Machines. These two clocking-in machines dated to 1920 were made by the International Time Reading Company. I'm used to modern clocking-in machines where you put a card into a machine and it prints the time you clocked in our out, but is digital, unlike these analogue ones.

I didn't make a note of what these machines were used for. I usually take a photo of the information sign, but didn't with these machines.

This was labelled as Cycle. It was a Railway track inspection cycle used by platelayers.

Finally we have a Press. This was a power press made by Taylor & Challen, Birmingham in 1888. From the factory of Gordon & Munro Ltd., Tipton.

Six years later. Some of the objects I found in the warehouse during the September 2018 open day during Birmingham Heritage Week.

First up was a Soda Water Plant. This machine was used at Military Staff College in Camberley for making and bottling Soda Water from the mid to late 19th century. Siphons were also refilled there. This was a machine I'd previously seen on my fist visit back in 2012.

Next up we have a Hotchkiss 47mm Naval Gun. The gun was captured from the Chinese torpedo boat destroyer 'Taku' during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

This is The 'Netley' Carriage. It was made at R.A. Harding Limited in 1955. It was an aids works hand operated tricycle. It would have allowed wheelchair users greater mobility. This model was recommended for hilly districts.

Next up we have a Ariel 'Pixie' Motorcycle. It was made by Ariel Motors Ltd in Birmingham in 1965. I previously saw it here in 2012 as well. They don't seem to move the objects.

Another motorcycle. This one was a Douglas 4hp Motorcycle. Was made in 1918. The Douglas Engineering Company was formed in Bristol in 1882. They produced a large amount of motorcycles in 1914 for the war effort. Douglas Motors Limited ended production in 1957. I had also seen this one before in 2012.

Finally we have a Petrol Pump. Dating to 1932. It was a electrically operated petrol pump used by a Birmingham Company to refill delivery vehicles.

There is also bronze and marbles busts in here, but will leave thoese to a future post.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

 

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
22 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Dorridge Park in wet weather

I first got the train to Dorridge in Solihull back at the end of January 2017. At the time it was raining on my walk around the park. It was a wet and miserable afternoon. Dorridge Park is also home to Dorridge Wood. Which is a local nature reserve. The part was first set up in 1969 after a land donation. Woodland here was first documented in 1556. The park has a play area.

 

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Dorridge Park in wet weather





I first got the train to Dorridge in Solihull back at the end of January 2017. At the time it was raining on my walk around the park. It was a wet and miserable afternoon. Dorridge Park is also home to Dorridge Wood. Which is a local nature reserve. The part was first set up in 1969 after a land donation. Woodland here was first documented in 1556. The park has a play area.

 


Dorridge Park

Dorridge Park is located in Dorridge, Solihull.  Just a short walk away from Dorridge Station. Leave the station via Station Approach, then walk down Grange Road. Dorridge Park and Dorridge Wood is a local nature reserve. The park also has the Green Flag Park status. Land was donated in 1969 to form a park. It is now run by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. In the history records, there was a mention of the woods way back in 1556. The park is home to a variety of trees. Various animals might be found in the park such as a fox.

My first visit to Dorridge was at the end of January 2017. And by the time I got to the park it was raining.

 

Entering the park from near Grange Road and Beconsfield Close, I saw this Solihull M.B.C. Dorridge Park sign.

The path off of Grange Road as it was raining.

The path splits into a Y shape here.

A large tree near Beconsfield Close.

Saw a small blackbird on the grass which was covered by leaves.

The path continues as the rain kept coming down.

About to cross this footbridge over a stream.

There was a bollard on this side of the footbridge.

The stream, but I don't know it's name (if it has a name). It might be a brook.

Near the Dorridge Park Play Area.

Slide in the playground.

Some kind of climbing frame made out of ropes.

The rain wasn't stopping as I had a look at the wide open field.

The path with benches near a Green Flag.

A noticeboard with information.

Dog walkers take their dogs for walk through the woods. This path was a bit muddy and the rain didn't help that afternoon.

Bollards near a public footpath fingerpost.

New trees barely visible in this weather.

Back on the path towards Grange Road. There is a car park near here close to Arden Road. It didn't have a pavement, so I walked back to Grange Road to get back to the station.

Wooden posts with wood on the top. Perhaps somewhere for birds to land.

Another Y split in the path. The grass covered with leaves as I made my way back to Grange Road, and eventually Dorridge Station.

I ended up catching the train back to Solihull, rather than wait for one back to Acocks Green.

A few years later I got the train back to Dorridge with the intension of walking to Knowle. While there during March 2019 I popped into Knowle Park. Slightly better weather at the time, but had a hail storm on the walk back to Dorridge Station!

Knowle Park will be my next Solihull park post. Also look out for Olton Jubilee Park, Langley Hall Park and Mill Lodge Park. Coming soon. (Click these links to view the projects and view the photo galleries).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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