People & community
Displaying until 24 Aug 2019 - FreeTimePays
Featuring

BirminghamWeAre - a FreeTimePays Community of Passion and digital portal for people who want to make a difference!

With a combined reach of 100,000, FreeTimePays is delighted to welcome Birmingham as a Community of Passion. Together with our People with Passion, this digital space will be used to showcase all that's great about the City.

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and promote the passion that is Birmingham!

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BirminghamWeAre - a FreeTimePays Community of Passion and digital portal for people who want to make a difference!




With a combined reach of 100,000, FreeTimePays is delighted to welcome Birmingham as a Community of Passion. Together with our People with Passion, this digital space will be used to showcase all that's great about the City.

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and promote the passion that is Birmingham!


BirminghamWeAre is a Community of Passion that utilises FreeTimePays digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

BirminghamWeAre delivers a digital space for people who are passionate about Birmingham and want to do whatever they can to help their community.

At BirminghamWeAre, we help connect people where passions are shared; we give people FREE access to their very own digital space where they can promote their passion; and we recognise people for the contributions they make through the allocation of Passion Points. Interested? Connect with us HERE.

The reach of FreeTimePays is huge and is growing with Communities of Passion being rolled out across the UK. 

Companies and organisations keen to support People with Passion play an essential role and we have a range of partnership, sponsorship and advertising packages available.

We can even go as far as to set groups and networks up with their own portal so they can grow their own branded Community of Passion linked to their own website or social media account.

View our Partnership arrangements or connect with us HERE.

Now let's show you what you get with FreeTimePays. 

FreeTimePays

FreeTimePays is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

FreeTimePays is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With FreeTimePays, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

There are three components to FreeTimePays.

There’s Community Passport, Community Workspace and Community Matchmaker. Operating right across the platform in recognition of the valuable contribution being made by users is FreeTimePays gamification. This takes the form of points and rewards for passions shared.

FreeTimePays is here for people who really want to become involved in their community or with their particular passion and for those people who are really serious about making a difference. It’s our job at FreeTimePays to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the great ideas with those who have the potential to turn an idea into something that really does make a difference.

Community Passport

Passport is a personal space which registered members can make their own. With a passport, members can choose to get involved with their passion and participate in many different ways.

They can view regular content and posts; sort and save this content by type or by passion; they can collect points for giving their views through polls and surveys, attend events or even join a discussion.

With a FreeTimePays Community Passport, members can follow inspiring people and they can learn more about their community and their passion by following regular ‘Did you Know’ features. And the more they decide to do and the more they get involved, the more points they collect and the greater the opportunity to take up offers and win prizes.

Community Workspace

With their unique Community Workspace, FreeTimePays is able to help those who are inspired and serious about taking things to the next level. FreeTimePays will give these people their own access rights environment where they can work on their idea or project.

In this digital space they can work alone, or bring in others to share in building evidence, acquiring knowledge and developing plans. This is the ideal space for working on the business; working on the idea; working on the initiative.

A range of facilities and tools can be found in workspace and users can effectively utilise this space for collating documents, photos, videos and web links, for opening up discussion and chat with others, or for running surveys and analysing results.

Community Matchmaker

The whole focus and rationale for FreeTimePays is MAKING A DIFFERENCE. It’s our job at FreeTimePays to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the GREAT IDEAS with those who have the potential to turn an IDEA into something that really does MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Matchmaker is where the dreamers can join with the dream makers – with those who are more than happy to put their support, their resources, their connections, and their wealth of experience behind the idea and behind the passionate people responsible for coming up with the idea.

These are the community drivers, the investors, the philanthropists, the funders of great initiatives, the Lottery, and those from local government and the public sector who are responsible for the provision of public services.

These are the people and the organisations who are in positions of making things happen for those who are passionate and inspired to want to make a difference.

For more detail on what is provided by FreeTimePays connect HERE.

BirminghamWeAre

BirminghamWeAre will grow as a shared space for the many individuals, communities and businesses that will want to connect and share in their passion for their community.

Their work, their ideas and their proposals can be pulled together in the one collaborative space giving them access to a huge resource bank for sharing images, documents and web links. 

In this space people can chat in a secure environment if they wish; they can set up and promote events; or they can communicate with any of the FreeTimePays Communities through creating and submitting posts.

We would be delighted to tell you more.

Contact Jonathan Bostock at jonathan.bostock@freetimepays.com or connect HERE with FreeTimePays for more information on sharing your passion for Birmingham.

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60 passion points
People & community
Displaying until 23 Aug 2019 - FreeTimePays
Featuring

Are you passionate about promoting your passion and your City? Join Us!

BirminghamWeAre is a FreeTimePays Community of Passion that utilises digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact for Birmingham.

‘People with Passion’ are given the digital space and the digital tools so they can promote their passion for Birmingham and connect with people who share their passion.

Related

Are you passionate about promoting your passion and your City? Join Us!




BirminghamWeAre is a FreeTimePays Community of Passion that utilises digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact for Birmingham.

‘People with Passion’ are given the digital space and the digital tools so they can promote their passion for Birmingham and connect with people who share their passion.


BirminghamWeAre is all about engaging people in the passion that is Birmingham.  To help promote your passion, your City and, of course yourself, connect HERE

BirminghamWeAre is a Community of Passion that utilises FreeTimePays digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

FreeTimePays is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

FreeTimePays is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With FreeTimePays, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

With Passion Points and with the support of our FreeTimePays partners, we recognise people for the difference and contribution they make and the positive impact they collectively deliver. 

Connect with us HERE and take your passion to the next level.

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40 passion points
Reducing waste
8 hours ago - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Join the Jewellery Quarter for the Great British Spring Clean

Fancy making the Jewellery Quarter sparkle? The JQ BID team are taking part in the national Great British Spring Clean and are looking for volunteers.

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Join the Jewellery Quarter for the Great British Spring Clean




Fancy making the Jewellery Quarter sparkle? The JQ BID team are taking part in the national Great British Spring Clean and are looking for volunteers.


Meet at 1pm on 22 March on the Golden Square outside the Big Peg (postcode B18 6NF) for an introduction and safety briefing. The group will be litter picking around the Jewellery Quarter for approximately 45 minutes before returning to the square.  All equipment will be provided by the team, just turn up willing and ready to litter pick.  There will also be free refreshments available for volunteers.

The Great British Spring Clean is part of a campaign by Keep Britain Tidy. It aims to inspire 500,000 people to join forces with community organisations, businesses and the government to collect and dispose of single-use plastic from streets and parks, recycling as much as possible.

The JQ BID, or Business Improvement District (BID), is a geographically defined area where local business pool their resources to invest in projects and services that improve the business environment and experiences of people using the area - workers, shoppers, residents and visitors.  The Jewellery Quarter BID commenced in September 2012 and was renewed for a second term in 2017. 

For more information on the JQ clean up visit: https://jewelleryquarter.net/event/great-british-spring-clean/

And for more information on the Great British Spring Clean, visit: https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/great-british-spring-clean 

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 hours ago - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - February 2019

A couple of windows have been installed on Two Chamberlain Square as the exterior columns rise, some nice views of the building as it sits amongst the city's classic and modern architecture. Lots of photos in the full post.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

Related

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - February 2019




A couple of windows have been installed on Two Chamberlain Square as the exterior columns rise, some nice views of the building as it sits amongst the city's classic and modern architecture. Lots of photos in the full post.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Construction & regeneration
18 Feb 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - February 2019

Some interesting perspectives in this update showing the nearly completed building juxtaposed with the city's classic architecture and some views from the Library of Birmingham.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

Related

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - February 2019




Some interesting perspectives in this update showing the nearly completed building juxtaposed with the city's classic architecture and some views from the Library of Birmingham.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Reducing waste
18 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Recycle Crisp Packets at Boldmere Library

If you enjoy a bag or two of crisps, but wish you could recycle the packets, then a library in Sutton Coldfield might have the answer.

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Recycle Crisp Packets at Boldmere Library




If you enjoy a bag or two of crisps, but wish you could recycle the packets, then a library in Sutton Coldfield might have the answer.


Sutton Coldfield’s Boldmere Library has teamed up with TerraCycle to provide free crisp packet recycling.

Whilst crisp packets would normally be thrown in general waste, Boldmere Library are able to collect the empty packets and pass them on to be recycled - and earn more for the library for doing so.  For every kilogram of crisp packets sent to TerraCycle, the library will receive a small amount of money which they can then use to buy new items for the library, based on Boldmere high st.

This is part of the UK's first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets, where any brand of crisp packets are able to be donated, but sadly popcorn bags, crisp tubes and meat snack bags are not able to be accepted.

For more information, pop into Boldmere Library, call them on 0121 464 1048 or visit https://www.terracycle.co.uk/en-GB/brigades/crisppacket 

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50 passion points
Transport
16 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Class 153 single carriage Sprinters

You might sometimes see the Class 153 single carriage Sprinter's around the West Midlands railway network attached to the back of the Class 170 Turbostar trains. Sometimes on the Birmingham to Hereford line or the Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley line. On there own they were also on the branch lines out of Coventry (to Nuneaton or Leamington Spa). Also been on the Snow Hill lines.

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The Class 153 single carriage Sprinters




You might sometimes see the Class 153 single carriage Sprinter's around the West Midlands railway network attached to the back of the Class 170 Turbostar trains. Sometimes on the Birmingham to Hereford line or the Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley line. On there own they were also on the branch lines out of Coventry (to Nuneaton or Leamington Spa). Also been on the Snow Hill lines.


Class 153

The Class 153 also known as the Super Sprinter are a single carriage diesel multiple unit train. They were built to be used on branch lines or rural lines were the number of passengers was not expected to be very high. They were built in 1987-88 and were converted in 1991-92. They have been used on many branch lines across the Midlands. These units could be attached to other DMU's such as the Class 150, and later with the Class 170. There is currently 10 Class 153's with West Midlands Railway (previously with London Midland and before that Central Trains).

 

Starting off with the Class 153's I saw attached to Class 170's. Some I even travelled on (although I may have got on board the Class 170 instead!).

 

I was at Shirley Station in April 2017 to check out the newly completed road bridge on Haslucks Green Road. When London Midland 153371 and 170633 arrived (was expecting the usual Class 172). There was about another 8 months before the old London Midland franchise would end and West Midlands Railway would start (around December 2017). This train was heading towards Worcester Foregate Street. I got on board the back carriage of 170633 and rode the train to Birmingham Moor Street.

I saw Arriva Trains Wales 153323 at Wolverhampton Station during October 2013 (I was on a train from Birmingham New Street to Liverpool Lime Street for a weekend). Arriva had the Wales franchise from 2003 to 2018. They used to run trains between Birmingham International and Holyhead in Wales via Wrexham Central. Transport for Wales took over the Wales franchise from October 2018.

At Aston Station I expected to see / catch the usual Class 323 trains from this station. Heading to Perry Barr in August 2012, I got off my Cross City line train here, and waited for a train on the Chase Line. 153366 arrived with a Class 170 at the back. London Midland (and now West Midlands Railway) regularly have combinations of Class 153's with Class 170's. In the north of Birmingham, usually on the Chase Line to Walsall and beyond to Rugeley Trent Valley. The line was only electrified as far as Walsall. But for many years Network Rail has been electrifying the line towards Rugeley. So it meant that only diesel trains could go beyond Walsall. It's possible that electric trains could run on the line to Rugeley from about May 2019.

In April 2018 I headed up on the train to Staffordshire, and got off at Hednesford. I walked down to Cannock. Later when I went back to Cannock Station I got this train back to Birmingham New Street. West Midlands Railway 153364 and 170513 arrived from Rugeley Trent Valley. It took the normal route via Perry Barr and Aston. My earlier train that day went the alternate route on the line that goes from Winson Green via Handsworth to rejoin the line at Perry Barr. Electrification of the Chase line was well under way at the time.

The 11th December 2017 was the launch day of the new West Midlands Railway, and the city was full of snow! After a walk up to the Jewellery Quarter through the white stuff, I went to Jewellery Quarter Station to catch a train home. But West Midlands Railway 170634 and 153334 was only going as far as Birmingham Snow Hill Station due to various delays due to the weather! I had only seen 153334 a few days early at Bedworth Station (which was my last journey under London Midland). That day was dry, but it had snowed on the 10th December 2017! Chiltern Railways 168106 was seen at platform 2.

 

Now to the branch lines. Starting with the Nuneaton to Coventry Branch line that goes via Bedworth. And second the branch line from Coventry to Leamington Spa via Kenilworth (that opened in 2018 after a few delays).

I visited Nuneaton during May 2015, having arrived there on the Cross Country line that goes through the town from Birmingham New Street and onto the likes of Leicester etc. Coming back to Birmingham, I thought I'd try a ride on the Nuneaton to Coventry branch line. At Nuneaton Station was London Midland 153354. The train would pass the new stations under construction (at the time) as well as Bedworth (I would go there in late 2017 when the London Midland franchise ended).

On the last ever day that London Midland operated their franchise in the West Midlands, on the 9th December 2017, I headed to Bedworth. I got London Midland 153334 and 153354 from Coventry to Bedworth Station. Later after I explored the town centre, I got the same train back on the opposite platform. Here (in the below photo), I had just got off the train from Coventry, and it was heading onto Nuneaton. By then all the new stations on the line including Coventry Arena were open. I was thinking ahead to the opening of Kenilworth Station, which should have opened the next day, but was delayed until May 2018!

I had previously got a Class 153 from Nuneaton to Coventry Station back in May 2015. I saw another Class 153 at Coventry during October 2017, when I headed to the city to walk to the Coventry Canal Basin. London Midland 153375 was waiting at one of the platforms waiting to return to Nuneaton. That day I did observe Cross Country Voyager's heading on the branch line to Leamington Spa. In fact I tried the branch line early in March 2018, to see a glimpse of the new Kenilworth Station. The Cross Country Super Voyager I travelled on was packed, but I got a window seat, and I caught glimpses of the new Kenilworth Station. I would have to wait until May 2018 before travelling to Kenilworth by train!

The new Kenilworth Station opened at the end of April 2018. I visited the station and the town on the 3rd May 2018. I caught West Midlands Railway 153364 from Leamington Spa (having earlier got a train from Solihull to Leamington Spa with Chiltern Railways). The station should have opened on the 10th December 2017 (the first day of operation for West Midlands Railway), but a series of delays meant it didn't open until the spring. There is only one platform at the new station. I later got the same train back towards Leamington Spa from the same platform. You can use this station if you want to visit Kenilworth Castle.

Having got off my Chiltern Railways train from Solihull at Leamington Spa Station platform 3, I only had to walk a short distance to platform 4, to await a train on the Leamington Spa to Coventry branch line that had opened to the public for service days earlier. My visit was on the 3rd May 2018. West Midlands Railway 153364 would take me to Kenilworth. And I would later get it back to Leamington Spa on the way back to the West Midlands. The only difference between getting a train from Coventry to Leamington Spa with Cross Country, and West Midlands Railway, is that Cross Country would stop at platform 3 (and continue on south), while West Midlands Railway would terminate at platform 4. On both occasions, I had to walk down the steps to the subway, and head to the platform to get my Chiltern Railways train back to Solihull.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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40 passion points
History & heritage
15 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Steelhouse Conservation Area: From Corporation Street to Steelhouse Lane

The Steelhouse Conservation Area is between Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane. Starting approximately from Old Square towards James Watt Queensway. Buildings include the Victoria Law Courts, Methodist Central Hall, the former Steelhouse Lane Police Station and Birmingham Children's Hospital. The Old Fire Station near Aston University is part of the area too!

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Steelhouse Conservation Area: From Corporation Street to Steelhouse Lane




The Steelhouse Conservation Area is between Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane. Starting approximately from Old Square towards James Watt Queensway. Buildings include the Victoria Law Courts, Methodist Central Hall, the former Steelhouse Lane Police Station and Birmingham Children's Hospital. The Old Fire Station near Aston University is part of the area too!


Corporation Street

The Victoria Law Courts on Corporation Street. Designed by Aston Webb & Ingress Bell who won a competition in 1886. It was built from 1887 to 1891. It is now the Birmingham Magistrates' Court. A Grade I listed building made of Red brick and terracotta. There is a statue of Queen Victoria by Harry Bates above the main entrance of the building. This view below seen in May 2009. You would see it if you walk between Aston University and the city centre shops. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone during her Golden Jubilee year of 1887 and it was opened in 1891 by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The County Court on Corporation Street seen with a brilliant blue sky in May 2009. On the corner of Newton Street (which leads to Steelhouse Lane). A Grade II listed building built in 1882, by James Williamson Stone. It is in Italiante palazzo style  It has a Roman Doric porch on the left.

One of Birmingham's derelict terracotta buildings is near the bottom of Corporation Street. The Methodist Central Hall runs down to Ryder Street (a pedestrianised cul-de-sac to James Watt Queensway). And the back is on Dalton Street. It is a Grade II* listed building. From 196 to 224 Corporation Street including 1, 3 and 5 Ryder Street. Built from 1903 to 1904 by E and J A Harper (Ewan Harper & James A. Harper) of Red brick and terracotta. There is many empty shop units down here, some have been let, and some of the units have been closed down by the landlord. The buildings future may include getting converted into a hotel. See this 2017 article on he Methodist Central Hall in the Birmingham Mail. This view from May 2009.

The Pitman Building also known as the Murdoch Chambers and Pitman Chambers. Was originally a Vegetarian Restaurant. There is a plaque here for James Henry Cook who opened the very first Health Food Store in the UK on this site in 1898! A Grade II* Listed Building built from 1896 to 1897 by J Crouch and E Butler, partly for A.R Dean. Purple bricks and buff terracotta; tile roof. In an Arts and Crafts style.  Today there is lawyer or solicitor offices on the upper floors and fast food take away places on the ground floor including Dixy Chicken and Pepe's Piri Piri. Previous places here include Min Zu until 2008 / 2009. Angel's Cafe from 2011, and Zaytuna'z Diner from a period from 2015 to 2016. This view from August 2017.

Today Boston Tea Party is in the Court Restaurant building at 184 Corporation Street (from at least 2014 onwards). On the corner with James Watt Street. The architect was G. H. Rayner and was built after 1882. For many years it was vacant. Was previously Yate's Wine Lodge. Made of brick and stone. Boston Tea Party are also in part of The Citadel building to the left at 190 Corporation Street. That was by W. H. Ward and built in 1891. A short lived period as a Vietnamese Restaurant called Viet An Restaurant from 2010 to 2011. This view from June 2016. Pizza Express is to the left at 4 The Citadel (not in this photo).

Steelhouse Lane

Steelhouse Lane Police Station was to the far left of the rear side of the Victoria Law Courts. This building opened in 1933 as the Central Police Station, replacing a Victorian police station that was on the same site. West Midlands Police used it until it closed down for good in 2017. This view was from November 2009 when the police station was still in use. It was built in the neo-Georgian style but is not a listed building. The only part that is Grade II listed is the corner building on Coleridge Passage which dates to the late 19th century. That was the Cell Block built of Brick and terracotta.

The Birmingham Children's Hospital opened here in 1998 in the building that was formerly the Birmingham General Hospital which had closed down in 1995. It was opened as the Diana, Princess of Wales Children's Hospital after the late Princess Diana who had died the year before in 1997. The General Hospital was built from 1894 to 1897 by William Henman. Was built in the Romanesque style of th Natural History Museum in London.  The rebuilt central entrance porch was built from 1995 to 1998. Various modern extensions have been built in the year since it became the Children's Hospitall. The building has never been listed. This view also from November 2009.

This building also seen in November 2009 is a bit more recent than the others in this post as it dates to the 1960s. Fountain Court on Steelhouse Lane, has the four badges of the Inns of Court on the front above the entrance. They represent: Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray's Inn. The Fountain Court barristers' chambers was built between 1963 and 1964 by Holland W Hobbiss & Partners. A conservative brick classical block, with a majestic Bath stone cornice. It's between Printing House Street and Whittall Street on Steelhouse Lane.

Seen on the corner of Newton Street and Steelhouse Lane is the Juvenile Court. As with photos above this view taken in November 2009. Following the Children's Court Act of 1908, it led to children's courts being established across the country. Dame Geraline Cadbury campaigned for such a court to be built in Birmingham, which her family donated to the city. This court was established by 1928 and opened in 1930. It was by Peacock & Bewlay, built of brick with stone dressings.

Next door to the Juvenile Court is The Jekyll & Hyde pub at 28 Steelhouse Lane. The building was built in the 1960s. Was the site of The Queen's Head pub, which used to be ran by Mitchells & Butlers. A plain, tall four storey building. The pub was renamed from The Queen's Head to The Jekyll & Hyde in 2009, and it remains with that name today.  Island Bar group who owns the pub also owns The Victoria on Station Street near the Alexandra Theatre. This view was from February 2010.

Corporation Street and Steelhouse Lane leads to the helipad built for the Birmingham Children's Hospital. On the other side of James Watt Queensway, running between Lancaster Circus and Aston Street is The Old Fire Station. Corporation Street continues beyond Lancaster Circus and the Lancaster Flyover, but that is now considered part of the Aston Expressway. The Old Fire Station is a Grade II listed building. Originally built in 1935 by Herbert Humphries and Herbert J. Manzoni. Red Flemish bond with Portland stone and concrete dressings with a pantile roof. After the Fire Station HQ closed in the 2000s, in lay empty for a few years before being converted into student accommodation. It opened in 2015. This view from April 2014 when the crane went up.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

 

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60 passion points
Photography
14 Feb 2019 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

Birmingham Hippodrome Chinese New Year Celebrations February 2019

The Birmingham Hippodrome kindly arranged for some of our community enthusiast photographers to have press passes for the amazing Chinese New Year Celebrations, here is just a selection of the great photos taken.

Photo by Tammie Naughton

More by Barry Whitehead, Beverly Dakin and Rob Perry-Griffiths in the full post.

Related

Birmingham Hippodrome Chinese New Year Celebrations February 2019




The Birmingham Hippodrome kindly arranged for some of our community enthusiast photographers to have press passes for the amazing Chinese New Year Celebrations, here is just a selection of the great photos taken.

Photo by Tammie Naughton

More by Barry Whitehead, Beverly Dakin and Rob Perry-Griffiths in the full post.


Photos by Tammie Naughton

 

Photos by Rob Perry-Griffiths

 

 

Photos by Beverly Dakin

 

Photos by Barry Whitehead

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70 passion points
Open spaces
13 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal open weekend

The Canal and River Trust are hosting an open weekend on 23 - 24 February 2019, to celebrate the importance of the canal network to the people or Birmingham and see restoration in action.

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Birmingham & Fazeley Canal open weekend




The Canal and River Trust are hosting an open weekend on 23 - 24 February 2019, to celebrate the importance of the canal network to the people or Birmingham and see restoration in action.


The open weekend will take place at Cambrian Wharf, on 23 - 24 February 2019  10:00am - 4:00pm, near Kings Edwards Rd and the Flapper Pub.  Visitors will get to see restoration in action, as well as see what life was like living on the waterways, enjoy some walks along the canal and hear more about the Canal and Rive Trust's (CRT) partnerships with location organisations.

The gates at Locks 1 and 2, located a short walk from Brindley Place at the back of the Library, are being replaced.  Repairs are being made to the masonry in and around the lock too, as part of the CRT's winter maintenance programme. Over two days, visitors will be able to see the brand new hand crafted gates, made at the CRT's local Bradley workshop, as well as the inspect the old gates. 

A heritage working boat will be moored close by for visitors to learn how life was for families who lived on board canal boats, and there will be old photographs of the lock, as well as activities for children.  Visitors will also be able to hear how the CRT are working with in partnership with the National Trust. And of course, enjoy some towpath walks along the canals in central Birmingham. 

Each year the Canal and River Trust hold a number of free open days for the public. They are an exciting opportunity to see behind the scenes, see how they work with local communities and what improvements are taking place.

For more information, visit the Canal And River Trust website.

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50 passion points
Civic pride
13 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Tangye Brothers: Manufacturers and benefactors of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery / Birmingham School of Art

George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye donated funds for the construction of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as well as the Birmingham School of Art. Head up the stairs from the Chamberlain Square entrance of BM & AG to see the bronze sculpture in their honour. The Tangye's were also manufacturers making engines and various machines from the mid to late 19th century.

Related

The Tangye Brothers: Manufacturers and benefactors of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery / Birmingham School of Art




George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye donated funds for the construction of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as well as the Birmingham School of Art. Head up the stairs from the Chamberlain Square entrance of BM & AG to see the bronze sculpture in their honour. The Tangye's were also manufacturers making engines and various machines from the mid to late 19th century.


George Tangye and Sir Richard Tangye

If you are heading up the main staircase from the Chamberlain Square entrance of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, stop when you get to this bronze sculpture. It is made of bronze and marble and was unveiled in 1908. It was by William Robert Colton (1867-1921). They were engineering manufacturers and were generous patrons of the arts. They gave large sums towards the building of both the Museum & Art Gallery as well as the Birmingham School of Art. They presented their collection of fine Wedgwood ceramics to the Gallery as it's foundation.

Sir Richard Tangye was born in 1833 and died in 1906. His brother George died in 1920. Their company Tangye Ltd was founded in 1856. Where they manufactured engines and machines. Their Cornwall Works was in the Soho area of the West Midlands.

Memorial stone unveiled in 1884 by Richard Tangye at the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street. Architects William Martin and John Henry Chamberlain. The building opened in 1885. See my recent post on Edward Richard Taylor who was headmaster at the School of Art when the building opened on Margaret Street. Edward Richard Taylor and William Howson Taylor: Birmingham School of Art and Ruskin Pottery.

This Tangye vertical engine was seen at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. Seen near a wall with a Walsall exhibit. Seen on a visit to the museum in August 2011. Seen in the Exhibition Hall in the Rolfe Street Baths building.

Tangye Manual Fire Pump seen at the Birmingham History Galleries at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I first visited this (then) new gallery in November 2012. In the section called Forward for the years 1830 to 1909. Above the Tangye sign was Webster & Horsfall's. To the right was Avery.

It was previously seen at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre in the garage area. Labelled as a Fire Engine. Made by Tangye Brothers in 1880. This visit was from May 2012, so was before the Birmingham History Galleries had opened over at BM & AG.

The Titford Pumphouse seen on the Titford Canal. It is close to Langley Green Station and also near Oldbury in Sandwell, West Midlands. The Pumphouse is a Grade II listed building. It was built shortly after the Oldbury Locks opened in 1837. Blue brick with a slate roof. The beam engines was replaced in about 1930 with a Tangye gas engine. That has since been superseded by electric pumps which are used occasionally. I got the train to Langley Green in March 2017.

Going back to my August 2011 visit to the Black Country Living Museum. Sidebotham's Trap Works seen a short walk away from the Dudley Canal. It was originally in Wednesfield near Wolverhampton and was built in 1913. It has a single cylinder gas engine of 1906, built by Tangye's of Smethwick. It is also known as The Trap Shop. Not far from here you can go on boat trips with the Dudley Canal Trust.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Civic pride
11 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Edward Richard Taylor and William Howson Taylor: Birmingham School of Art and Ruskin Pottery

A pair of artists that lived on Highfield Road in Edgbaston, also had their hand in Ruskin Pottery in Smethwick. Edward Richard Taylor also helped to found the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street and was it's first headmaster. A collection of Ruskin Pottery is in the Industrial Galery at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I also recently found a portrait of E. R. Taylor.

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Edward Richard Taylor and William Howson Taylor: Birmingham School of Art and Ruskin Pottery




A pair of artists that lived on Highfield Road in Edgbaston, also had their hand in Ruskin Pottery in Smethwick. Edward Richard Taylor also helped to found the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street and was it's first headmaster. A collection of Ruskin Pottery is in the Industrial Galery at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I also recently found a portrait of E. R. Taylor.


Edward Richard Taylor was a potter and a painter. He was born in 1838 and died in 1912. He was the first headmaster of the Birmingham Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, from 1877 until about 1903. He also oversaw the opening of the Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street in 1885. I saw this portrait of him in the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The painting is dated 1905, but the artist is unknown. Although their is a possibility that the artist was Taylor himself!

If you head up the stairs in the Industrial Gallery at BM & AG, be sure to make a look out for this Ruskin Pottery sign. These Ceramic letters were made at the Ruskin Pottery factory in about 1905. The factory was at 173 and 174 Oldbury Road in West Smethwick (at the time in Staffordshire, now in Sandwell, West Midlands). It was founded in 1898 by Edward Richard Taylor and his younger son William Howson Taylor. The company was named after the artist John Ruskin. The business was set up as the Birmingham Tile and Pottery Works before being renamed after Ruskin. Production ceased near the end of 1933, but firing and glazing of existing stock continued until 1935 (the year that Howson Taylor died).

The Birmingham School of Art on Margaret Street. It is between Cornwall Street and Edmund Street in what is now the Colmore Business District. See my post on the Red brick Victorian buildings at the Colmore Estate. Edward Richard Taylor who from 1877 was the first headmaster of the Birmingham Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, oversaw the construction of the new School of Art which opened in 1885. The architects was William Martin and his partner J H Chamberlain. The building was completed after Chamberain's death by William Martin and his son Frederick Martin. The school helped lead the Arts and Crafts Movement. It is now part of the Birmingham City University as part of the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. The building was taken over by the Birmingham Polytechnic in 1971, becoming it's Faculty of Art and Design. The Polytechnic gained University status in 1992 as the University of Central England. It was renamed to the Birmingham City University in 2007.

Edward Richard Taylor (1838 - 1912) and his son William Howson Taylor (1876 - 1935) lived at this house at 26 Highfield Road in Edgbaston. There is a blue plaque there from the Birmingham Civic Society and the Calthorpe Residents Society. See my first Calthorpe Estates post in Edgbaston here Calthorpe Estates: Edgbaston - a selection of Georgian / Regency / Victorian villas / town houses. E R Taylor is mentioned on the plaque as being an art teacher, while W H Taylor is mentioned as being a potter.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

 

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Feb 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Construction at Arena Central - February 2019

The construction focus at Arena Central is now on Three Arena Central (HMRC Midlands) but the finished One Centenary Square (HSBC UK) offers some nice architectural detail photos, lots in this update covering 6th and 10th February.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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Construction at Arena Central - February 2019




The construction focus at Arena Central is now on Three Arena Central (HMRC Midlands) but the finished One Centenary Square (HSBC UK) offers some nice architectural detail photos, lots in this update covering 6th and 10th February.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Green travel
11 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

West Midlands co-ordinated cycling strategy launched

Transport for West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority announce ambitious plans to increase investment in cycling and walking in the region.

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West Midlands co-ordinated cycling strategy launched




Transport for West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority announce ambitious plans to increase investment in cycling and walking in the region.


West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) announced an ambitious plans to increase investment in cycling in the region, and improve infrastructure and funding.  The report, entitled A Common Approach to Cycling and Walking in the West Midlands, lays out a number of plans drawn up by Transport for West Midlands; these include the appointment of a Cycling and Walking Ambassador by March, new branding and goals to raise cycling investment to at least £10 a head each year.

The report, endorsed by the WMCA board at its meeting in Birmingham, reaffirms commitment to see more people making the switch to pedal power.  It aims to do this by putting forward 26 priority corridors for investment covering nearly 200km through Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry and Solihull. 

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Cycling can reduce traffic congestion, improve health and wellbeing and reduce pollution. It is good for the cyclist and good for the wider travelling public so we have set out ambitious targets to increase the number of journeys made by bike in the region. 

“This shows the scale of our ambitions for cycling but we also know that one of the biggest barriers to cycling is safety, so we are planning to focus investment on 26 key routes that link communities across the West Midlands and offer people a genuine alternative to their cars.”

Jesse Norman MP, Minister of State for the Department for Transport, who visited Birmingham recently, said: “Getting people cycling and walking is key to improving air quality, encouraging healthy exercise, and boosting our high streets and economic productivity. 

“These new safe cycle routes, which the Department for Transport is supporting through the Transforming Cities Fund, will help to make cycling the natural choice for journeys across the region. 

"We are also investing around £2 billion to support cycling across the country as part of our long term Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

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50 passion points
Reducing waste
10 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Views on a plastic-free Commonwealth Games

Birmingham Friends of the Earth are asking people for their views on on plastic waste at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will take place in Birmingham.

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Views on a plastic-free Commonwealth Games




Birmingham Friends of the Earth are asking people for their views on on plastic waste at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will take place in Birmingham.


Digbeth-based Birmingham Friends of the Earth are looking for the views of people on ways in which the Commonwealth Games can minimise their use of single-use plastics and create a legacy which lasts beyond the games themselves.

They want to gather opinions from the general public, both from Brummies and non-Brummies, to help inform their campaign, which aims to have zero plastic waste from single-use food and drinks containers at the Games.

Running since 1973, Birmingham Friends of the Earth is one of the biggest groups in the Friends of the Earth network, the largest international network of environmental groups in the world, with affiliates in over 75 countries worldwide.  Based in The Warehouse in Digbeth since 1977, Birmingham Friends of the Earth have covered so many issues in and around Birmingham, as well as campaigning on national and global issues as part of the Friends of the Earth network.

To take part in the plastic free Commonwealth Games survey please click here.  Or for more information, visit the Birmingham FoE website: http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk

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40 passion points
Transport
10 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Class 150's: Diesel trains formerly on the Snow Hill lines

The Class 150 diesel multiple unit trains used to be on the Snow Hill lines until around 2011. Most have since gone to other railway franchises such as Great Western Railway. When they were in the Midlands they were used by Regional Railways until 1997, Central Trains from 1997 to 2007 then London Midland from 2007 to 2011. A least one is still owned by West Midlands Railway now.

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Class 150's: Diesel trains formerly on the Snow Hill lines




The Class 150 diesel multiple unit trains used to be on the Snow Hill lines until around 2011. Most have since gone to other railway franchises such as Great Western Railway. When they were in the Midlands they were used by Regional Railways until 1997, Central Trains from 1997 to 2007 then London Midland from 2007 to 2011. A least one is still owned by West Midlands Railway now.


Class 150

These Sprinter Diesel multiple units were built between 1984 and 1987. In the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, they were used on the Snow Hill lines from at least 1987 until they were replaced in 2011 by the then new Class 172 Turbostar DMU's. The then West Midlands franchise operator London Midland kept around 3 of the old Class 150's after 2011 (they are still in current franchise operator West Midlands Railway who took over in late 2017.

Seen at Shirley Station during late June 2010 was London Midland 150016. It was heading for Stourbridge Junction. This view was from the old Haslucks Green Road bridge. That bridge was replaced and rebuilt during 2017. The footbridge in this photo was also later replaced. The new footbridge was built at the other end of the station in 2014. Shirley Station is quite a way away from the Stratford Road in Shirley, and is reachable from there now with the no 49 bus.

My second photography trip to Stratford-upon-Avon was during September 2010. I had just got off London Midland 150013, a semi-fast train that skipped the minor stops between Whitlocks End and Stratford-upon-Avon Station. This view was from the Alcester Road bridge in the town. Now the end of the line, it used to go beyond here to Honeybourne, and it is hoped that the 9 mile stretch would one day be restored. For now, most services that start at Stratford go to at least Stourbridge Junction, or beyond towards Kidderminster or Worcester Foregate Street (via Birmingham Snow Hill).

My first time up to the bridge near Livery Street and Northwood Street (in the Jewellery Quarter) was in August 2011. From here (at the time) you could see Two Snowhill beginning construction (after delays of several years). Seen heading past St Paul's Tram Stop was London Midland 150101 heading into Birmingham Snow Hill Station. After leaving London Midland later in 2011, this train and other 150/1's transferred up to Northern Rail. Around 4 years after the franchise had transferred from Central Trains to London Midland, most of the trains on the Snow Hill lines still had (at the time) the old Central Trains lime green livery.

It was September 2011, and I was heading to Hall Green Station to get the train into Birmingham. And I was hoping to see or catch one of the (then) brand new Class 172 DMU's. But London Midland still had the Class 150's on the Shakespeare line. This was the 10:08 (which I missed). After a 20 minute wait, I caught the next train the 10:28 into Birmingham. It would be another 2 months (November 2011) before I would catch a new Class 172 for the first time to Birmingham Moor Street or Snow Hill.

The view from Kings Norton Station, on the Cross City line. I was standing at platform 4 during April 2012, waiting to go to Longbridge. While one of London Midland's Class 150 trains that they kept, 150109 was seen passing by the abandoned platform 2. Still in the old Central Trains livery. London Midland would later change it into their own green livery, and today it is still part of current franchise operator West Midlands Railways's fleet! This train was slowly heading south towards Hereford. An American man on the platform was chatting to me, and said that he had never seen a train like that before!

Getting to the more recent years and December 2017, the last month of operation under London Midland. I went up to Lye Station near Stourbridge in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley for a photo walk of the town. When I got back to the station, was suprised to see a convoy of a mixture of London Midland DMU's heading towards Stourbridge Junction (or onto Worcester). By then, London Midland's 3 Class 150 DMU's was in their green livery. Seen here behind a Class 170. This convoy had one Class 172, two Class 170's and this one Class 150 (pictured).

My most recent sighting of a Class 150 in the West Midlands was when I caught a glimpse of it passing through Stechford Station during early January 2018. Now operated by West Midlands Railway, this was either 150107 or 150109. It was probably heading down towards the Bedford line (which is now operated by London Northwestern Railway). From here you expect to see the Class 350 EMU's on the West Coast Mainline or Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino's (those don't stop here). This view was from the Station Road bridge.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
08 Feb 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - February 2019

Two Chamberlain Square is onto cladding installation and the front colonnade extention is almost complete. The extra columns really help to start showing the emerging architectural style of the building. More photos in the full post.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - February 2019




Two Chamberlain Square is onto cladding installation and the front colonnade extention is almost complete. The extra columns really help to start showing the emerging architectural style of the building. More photos in the full post.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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90 passion points
Transport
07 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Birmingham to Host Transport Summit

Birmingham will play host to a transport summit in March, looking at how transport issues affect everyone in Birmingham and discuss the future of its transport network.

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Birmingham to Host Transport Summit




Birmingham will play host to a transport summit in March, looking at how transport issues affect everyone in Birmingham and discuss the future of its transport network.


The morning will begin with an immersive visit to communities in Birmingham to see the transport challenges they face, looking at how it affects daily living, particularly for the most disadvantaged people in the city.  Participants will visit community facing conversations at different venues within the city, before returning for guest speakers and panellists including Andy McDonald MP, shadow transport secretary; Nick Barton, chief executive, Birmingham Airport; and Laura Shoaf, managing director, Transport for West Midlands.

The summit takes place on Thursday 7 March, and tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/birmingham-transport-summit-tickets-54585852755 

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
07 Feb 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - February 2019

One Chamberlain Square is well on the way to completion with just a few external details to finish of. In the sunlight it is actually a very reflective building, lots of photos in this update.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map

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The Construction of One Chamberlain Square - February 2019




One Chamberlain Square is well on the way to completion with just a few external details to finish of. In the sunlight it is actually a very reflective building, lots of photos in this update.

Map of the site

Birmingham developments overview map


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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90 passion points
People & community
07 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A look back at Chinese New Year 2018 the Year of the Dog

As Chinese New Year 2019 the Year of the Pig gets underway, a look back at the festivities in Birmingham a year ago in 2018. I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to get anything this year, so here's a look at my photos from last year! I mainly saw the yellow Chinese dancing dragon / lion around St Philip's Cathedral. By the weekend main event in the Chinese Quarter.

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A look back at Chinese New Year 2018 the Year of the Dog




As Chinese New Year 2019 the Year of the Pig gets underway, a look back at the festivities in Birmingham a year ago in 2018. I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to get anything this year, so here's a look at my photos from last year! I mainly saw the yellow Chinese dancing dragon / lion around St Philip's Cathedral. By the weekend main event in the Chinese Quarter.


The Bullring bull had a Chinese New Year mask in 2018 (from what I've seen online they reused the same mask for 2019).

This is the black and white filtered version with a splash of colour! Mostly the reds and yellows!

The colour versions back and front! These views were from the 15th February 2018.

One lunchtime on the 16th February 2018, saw a yellow dancing dragon or lion going around St Philip's Cathedral.

Graham Young from the Birmingham Post & Mail was there, as well as Jas Sansi!

Was also some drumming.

The festivities over in the Chinese Quarter over the weekend of the 17th and 18th February 2018.

"Happy Chinese New Year 2018 Year of the Dog". This sponsorship on a digitial billboard was seen on Ladywell Walk near Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant.

A small fun fair was set up along Ladywell Walk towards Hurst Street. Near the Mapstone building.

This side of Ladywell Walk from near Hurst Street. Another look at the fun fair and market stalls that were on the street at the time.

The stage on Hurst Street being set up. The next day it was full of people enjoying the entertainment!

A day later and performances were taking place on the stage, and there was a crowd full of people there to enjoy the entertainment!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

 

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30 passion points
People & community
06 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Birmingham Bus Survey launched

Ahead of the introduction of the Clean Air Zone, Councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment, and Birmingham City Council, are urging residents to fill in a survey to let the council know more about why people are chosing not to use the Birmingham bus network, and what they can do to improve passenger numbers.

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Birmingham Bus Survey launched




Ahead of the introduction of the Clean Air Zone, Councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment, and Birmingham City Council, are urging residents to fill in a survey to let the council know more about why people are chosing not to use the Birmingham bus network, and what they can do to improve passenger numbers.


Birmingham City Council is asking residents to tell them what’s wrong with the city’s buses.

Whilst people using the buses report good levels of satisfaction, the number of people using buses is declining year on year, particularly with people travelling into Birmingham city centre.

With the council working to create a clean air city, and a Clean Air Zone being introduced to Birmingham in 2020, they’re seeking to better understand people’s experiences of bus travel and how it can be improved.  A key part of the clean air city will be encouraging residents and visitors to use more sustainable forms of public transport, like buses, trains, walking and cycling.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “Buses are absolutely vital here in Birmingham and across the West Midlands. However, bus usage across the region has been decreasing, particularly among those who have been travelling into the city centre.

“I want to know what could be done to encourage people to make more of their journeys by bus and to ensure the bus is seen as an attractive, accessible and affordable option for every citizen of Birmingham.

“To this end, I am launching the Birmingham Bus Survey and invite anyone who travels in Birmingham to respond, whether they currently use the bus, by choice or necessity, or haven’t caught a bus in years.  In fact, if we are to get to the heart of why more people are not using the bus, it is essential that we hear from those very people who are NOT regular bus users.”

The Birmingham Bus Survey, which closes on 1 March, can be found at https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/economy/bus-survey/ 

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40 passion points
Sustainable living
05 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Zero waste supermarket wins award

The UK's largest zero waste supermarket, based in Birmingham, wins a business grant to expand internationally.

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Zero waste supermarket wins award




The UK's largest zero waste supermarket, based in Birmingham, wins a business grant to expand internationally.


The Clean Kilo in Digbeth was announced as the winner of FedEx Express’ Small Business Grant UK.

The £20,000 grand prize won by the team will help them further expand their reach on a larger, international scale.  The Clean Kilo impressed the judges by outlining plans for international growth.

The Clean Kilo is the UK’s largest zero waste supermarket, which allows customers to reduce unnecessary plastic waste by bringing along their own containers to fill up on everyday items like coffee, bread, eggs and vegetables.  The store also helps customers reduce the food miles as items come from producers and growers from in and around Birmingham, like organically grown salad leaves from Aston.

The FedEx Small Business Grant UK, has been running for three years in Europe and aims to provide small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with the support necessary to achieve their dream of growing worldwide.

“We are over the moon to have won the FedEx Small Business Grant, 2018,” said Tom Pell and Jeannette Wong, of The Clean Kilo. “The £20,000 grant will enable us to reduce plastic pollution on a far greater level and help open the door for a second plastic free supermarket. The ability to replicate our shop gives us the foundations to help realise our long-term dream. We want to offer our knowledge on environmental issues and plastic-free shopping in the world’s most polluted developing countries. With the FedEx grant we can have a greater impact to turn off the plastic pollution tap.”

The Clean Kilo is located just inside Birmingham’s iconic Custard Factory at 1 Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4AA and their website can be found at https://www.thecleankilo.co.uk/ 

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30 passion points
Reducing waste
05 Feb 2019 - Laura Creaven
News & Updates

Volunteers needed for Refill Birmingham Action Day

Refill Birmingham Action Day is looking for volunteers to help encourage businesses to offer free tap water

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Volunteers needed for Refill Birmingham Action Day




Refill Birmingham Action Day is looking for volunteers to help encourage businesses to offer free tap water


Severn Trent is looking for volunteers to help improve Brummies access to free tap water.

Refill Birmingham Action Day will take place Tuesday 19 March.  Volunteers will be provided everything they need for the day, where they will be out and about in pairs approaching local businesses to spread the word about the Refill campaign, and hopefully signing them up to the free Refill app, and putting a Refill sticker in their window.

Refill aims to reduce single-use plastic usage by making it easier to refill reusable water bottles.  With over 600 businesses already signed up in the region, the water company is hoping to encourage more venues to become Refill Stations.  These stations provide people with free access to tap water to encourage healthy hydration and a reduction in single-use plastic.

Severn Trent estimate that if customer refilled just once a week instead of buying a bottle of water, the region's plastic consumption would be reduced by 400 million bottles in just one year.  Not only are single-use plastic bottles are expensive to produce and therefore to bu, they are a large contributor of plastic pollution in our rivers, seas and natural habitats.  

If you would like to get involved please email Refill@SevernTrent.co.uk 

Find out more about Refill at www.stwater.co.uk/refill

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40 passion points
Civic pride
05 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Joseph Gillott: manufacturer of steel pens

It was not just jewellery that was made in the Jewellery Quarter. Pens were made there too! Joseph Gillott made pens at his Victoria Works factory on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street. You can see a display of some of his pens at The Pen Museum on Frederick Street. There is also a marble bust of Joseph Gillott in the Council House.

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Joseph Gillott: manufacturer of steel pens




It was not just jewellery that was made in the Jewellery Quarter. Pens were made there too! Joseph Gillott made pens at his Victoria Works factory on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street. You can see a display of some of his pens at The Pen Museum on Frederick Street. There is also a marble bust of Joseph Gillott in the Council House.


Joseph Gillott

He was born in Sheffield in 1799, and he died in Birmingham in 1872 aged 72. He moved to Birmingham in 1821. He started manufacturing steel pens with machinery from about 1830. The Victoria Works on Frederick Street was opened in 1840. His home for many years was 'The Grove' on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston.

The marble bust (below) of Joseph Gillott is seen at the Council House and was made by the artist Peter Hollins (1800 - 1886). You can see it close to the main entrance on one of the sides near a wall.

The Pen Museum is a museum in the Jewellery Quarter, at the Argent Centre located on Frederick Street. The building itself used to be a pen factory and is a Grade II* listed building. A look at the Joseph Gillott display at the museum. I visited during Birmingham Heritage Week back in September 2016.

On the wall Joseph Gillott Pen Maker to the Queen. Showing various steel pen nibs.

This table cabinet display about the Victoria Works (more on that later in this post). It had various Joseph Gillott steel pens and steel pen nibs inside. As well as photos of his marble bust, his portrait and his grave at Key Hill Cemetery.

Close up look at one of Joseph Gillott's steel pens made in about 1845. His company has been making pens since 1827 and is now part of William Mitchell Ltd.

1001 Spring Ground Mammoth Quill Circa 1845 - The Largest Pen Made.

The Victoria Works is a Grade II listed building not far from The Argent Centre on the corner of Frederick Street and Graham Street in the Jewellery Quarter. I saw it after my visit to The Pen Museum during Birmingham Heritage Week in September 2016. It was formerly listed as the Flagstaff building. The main building seen on the corner was built from 1838 to 1845. Made of red brick with ashlar and stucco dressings. The steel pen factory of Joseph Gillott opened up here in 1840.

On the Graham Street side is a blue plaque for Joseph Gillott from English Heritage. The plaque reads: "These were the premises of JOSEPH GILLOTT 1799-1873 Steel Pen Manufacturer". This was probably the main entrance to the Victoria Works.

This next building, part of the Victoria Works on the corner of Graham Street and Vittoria Street was built in 1887. Other parts of the former factory were built in 1850. On the Graham Street side is medallion bust of Queen Victoria, probably installed for her Golden Jubilee. This building post dates the death of Joseph Gillott.

The view of the Victoria Works from the corner of Graham Street and Vittoria Street. There is a modern roof section closer to the Vittoria Street side. This building is also of red brick. No longer a factory, there are various different small companies occupying the building.

If you stop to look at the pavement on Frederick Street (or other nearby streets in the Jewellery Quarter), look out for these that are part of the Charm Bracelet Trail. I saw this one for Joseph Gillott in December 2012. It reads: "C 1840 Hi Nibs. Joseph Gillott opened Victoria Works".

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Photography
04 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Snow on Birmingham statues in previous years

Well, there has been no snow in Birmingham, while the rest of the country has had a dusting of the white stuff. Somehow Birmingham stayed mostly dry with blue skies! Looking back to previous years when it did snow in Birmingham. To our wonderful statues covered in snow! For instance see Victoria Square covered in snow in January 2013!

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Snow on Birmingham statues in previous years




Well, there has been no snow in Birmingham, while the rest of the country has had a dusting of the white stuff. Somehow Birmingham stayed mostly dry with blue skies! Looking back to previous years when it did snow in Birmingham. To our wonderful statues covered in snow! For instance see Victoria Square covered in snow in January 2013!


Iron: Man by Antony Gormley (now in storage). To the right was the Town Hall and can you see the Alpha Tower? This was on the 18th January 2013. A very snowy day in the city! The statue was moved into storage in 2017 for the West Midlands Metro extension to Centenary Square. The extension from Victoria Square onto Paradise Street is far from finished! Gormley made it in 1993.

The Floozie in the Jacuzzi is looking freezing on that snowy day in January 2013. The fountain was still working at the time. The sculptures here made by Dhruva Mistry in 1993. This area is now full of plants like a landscaped garden as the council was finding it difficult to repair the fountain all the time! Victoria Square House behind.

One of the Sphinx Guardians in Victoria Square facing the Council House. Covered in snow during January 2013. Also by Dhruva Mistry in 1993.

The other Sphinx Guardian in Victoria Square facing Christ Church Passage, also seen during that same snowy day in January 2013! Also by Dhruva Mistry in 1993.

The last major snow event in Birmingham was during the Beast from the East during early March 2018. It was freezing back then! It was snowing at the Bullring and you can see a light dusting on St Martin's Church and the statue of Horatio Nelson. There was more proper snow a few days after this, and a couple weeks later during the second Beast from the East event. Statue by Richard Westmacott in 1809. Probably one of the oldest statues in Birmingham! St Martin's Church seen behind.

The bronze statue of William McGregor in the snow of January 2010 at Villa Park. Statue made in 2009 by Sam Holland. See my post on him here William McGregor: Director of Aston Villa and Founder of the Football League.

One of my earliest visits to the University of Birmingham was in December 2009 to see the statue of King George I outside the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Made in 1722 by John van Nost the Elder it was in Dublin, Ireland until it was moved to Birmingham in 1937.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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