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Squares and public spaces
23 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

A variety of events that were held in Chamberlain Square until 2015

Before Paradise Birmingham took over Chamberlain Square at the end of 2015 to demolish Birmingham Central Library, the square had over the years been used for a variety of events. Here we will take a look at what took place here. From trails of Easter Eggs to the Big Hoot. Even 4 Squares Weekender took place here. The Lord Mayor's Show and the St George's Day celebrations.

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A variety of events that were held in Chamberlain Square until 2015





Before Paradise Birmingham took over Chamberlain Square at the end of 2015 to demolish Birmingham Central Library, the square had over the years been used for a variety of events. Here we will take a look at what took place here. From trails of Easter Eggs to the Big Hoot. Even 4 Squares Weekender took place here. The Lord Mayor's Show and the St George's Day celebrations.


2009 - 2012

Back in the summer of 2009. June 2009 to be exact, the Monarch Beach was in Chamberlain Square with a fake beach. It was a hot summer. Pretend that you were getting on a Monarch plane at Birmingham Airport and jetting off to a European destination in the sun. The beach was full of sand, picnic benches with parasols and deckchairs. This view towards BM & AG and the Town Hall.

This view towards the Town Hall. At the time Monarch had destinations all over Europe from Birmingham Airport. I eventually flew with them once on a holiday to Spain in the summer of 2014 (flying to Malaga for a tour holiday of Seville and Granada and other places that were part of Moorish Spain).

Sadly Monarch, the airline no longer exists. They sadly ceased trading in October 2017. Since then we have also lost Thomas Cook and more recently Flybe. BMI Baby also ceased to exist years ago. So going back almost 11 years, this beach was nice to see. Not sure it will ever happen again.

The first time I saw the St George's Day Celebrations in Chamberlain Square was back in April 2011. It was a hot bank holiday weekend. The event also took place in Victoria Square that year, but was too crowded and couldn't see what was going on, so only got the photos here in Chamberlain Square.

Looks like there was a open air bouncy castle ride for kids, and behind a small ride. The view was towards the Town Hall. The city centre that day was packed and it was very hot, a heatwave. And I was walking back into town after seeing a film at a cinema in Five Ways at the time. So was just passing through at the time.

In August 2011 during the 6 week school summer holidays was Six Summer Saturdays. On this particular Saturday was Snow in the City. It was organised by the Birmingham Hippodrome. Event description as following:

Birmingham has woken up to a snow storm in the middle of the night and you can join in the fun and throw a snow ball or two. Yes, really! In partnership with Snow Business.

It was The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and this was celebrated in Birmingham during June 2012. There was a stage set up with deckchairs for people to sit in and enjoy. All they they had performances by a tribute act The Rat Pack, and Rock 'n' Roll music from The Bravo Boys and Skiffle. Although when I went past I didn't catch any of that. There was also Maquee Workshops set up in Victoria Square with Union Jack flags.

In August 2012 it was the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Jamaica from the UK. Jamaica in the Square was held in Chamberlain Square and in Victoria Square. There was a stage set up in Chamberlain Square next to the Town Hall. I was in fact on the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail at the time, so just got a few views of this event at the time.

2013

The Big Egg Hunt was a trail of painted Easter Eggs around Birmingham City Centre, for around a week during February 2013. Unlike the later Big Hoot or Big Sleuth trails, it was on display all over the country. Before Birmingham, the trail was around London. After Birmingham it went to Liverpool. This view towards the Chamberlain Memorial and Birmingham Central Library (which would close later in 2013 before the new Library of Birmingham opened).

Lots of eggs here, so I didn't want to take every individual one. The view near Birmingham Town Hall. Buses at the time still used Paradise Circus, and a bus stop used to be outside of the Town Hall. Fletchers Walk was behind (now demolished).

The only egg I took up close was Smiley Stop ;-) by Jack Brindley. Lot no 31. the view towards BM & AG, Chamberlain Memorial and the Town Hall.

One last view next to the Chamberlain Memorial. I believe that when this trail ended, they were all up for auction.

The St George's Day Celebrations that took place in Chamberlain Square during April 2013. With a Punch & Judy puppet show near the Chamberlain Memorial.

The entertainer here seen juggling next to the Punch & Judy tent.

Visitors on deckchairs in Chamberlain Square. A bit like a beach. There was pictures with holes to stick your heads in, get your picture taken.

The event spread over that weekend into Victoria Square as well. Plenty of things to keep families and their kids entertained.

Moving on to September 2013, 4 Squares Weekender was held in Chamberlain Square (also in Victoria Square, Centenary Square, Central Square and Oozells Square, Brindleyplace) to celebrate the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. Dancers from DanceXchange were on the stage.

The DanceXchange dancers at this point had their arms up. Some members of the audience were dancing along with them.

This moment the DanceXchange dancers were pointing their arms at the audience.

View of the stage from the side which was near the Town Hall.

2014

The last St George's Day Celebrations that I have a record of in Chamberlain Square took place during April 2014 (and in Victoria Square). This time it was a battle arena for Medieval Knights, not that I saw any them clashing swords!

The arena was set up between BM & AG and the Town Hall. So no deckchairs in the square this time. A different kind of event.

Close up it's hard to see what the people were looking at, but was shields and bows and arrows down there (I think).

Close up look at the medieval style shields. It was also during the Easter weekend. They moved the St George's Day events to Centenary Square the following year in 2015.

The Lord Mayors Show 2014 was held in Chamberlain Square during June 2014. View of deckchairs set out not far from BM & AG.

There was man climbing on this scaffolding with ladders towards the Council House Extension.

The deckchairs from the other side of the pool near the Chamberlain Memorial as a  pair of security guards look on.

One of the last events of it's kind in Chamberlain Square. The event was also taking place over in Victoria Square where you could see the then new Lord Mayor for 2014-15 Shafique Shah. This view towards the main entrance to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Where you could see the Marvellous Machines: The Wonderful World of Rowland Emett exhibition in the Gas Hall.

Held in Chamberlain Square during August 2014 was Minimum Monument WW1 by Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo. Ice sculptures on the steps. Held by the Birmingham Hippodrome. By the time I got there, most of the ice sculptures were melting. Was only aware of it that day due to seeing something on Social Media (Twitter probably). As you can see only the iced legs were left here.

There was a lot of people taking photos of them. I would think that the summer sunshine was quickly melting them.

5000 ice sculptures were placed on the steps of Chamberlain Square to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in 1914. This was by 2:30pm that day. There was also red petals on the steps.

If I knew about it sooner, I might have travelled into the City Centre much earlier that day. But there was a lot of people around even in the afternoon, so wasn't too bad in the end. There had also been rain in the morning, then the sun came out. They might have lasted longer if they were inside in cooler conditions.

2015

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Seen in Chamberlain Square during July 2015 was Our Happy Hospit-owl. The artist was Cathy Simpson and the sponsor was Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. This view towards the Paradise Birmingham hoardings around Birmingham Central Library. Demolition would not start until December 2015, Congreve Passage was still open, as was Paradise Forum.

This view of Our Happy Hospit-owl towards the main entrance of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The trail was on that summer for 10 weeks before being auctioned off.

The next time I saw Our Happy Hospit-owl on it's own was two years later in August 2017. The location was at the Little Ripley Day Nursery on Goldieslie Road, Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield. I was in Sutton Coldfield at the time on the bear hunt for The Big Sleuth, so this was a surprise to see at the time. This nursery must have won it at auction. It used to be outside of BM & AG in Chamberlain Square for 10 weeks over the summer of 2015.

Back to July 2015, and the other Big Hoot owl in Chamberlain Square was The Ship by the artist Neil Morris. The sponsor was Listers. The view towards BM & AG.

I didn't get a direct on The Ship as other people were having a look at it, at the time. This view towards the Chamberlain Memorial. There was also owls inside of BM & AG to see, including the Little Owls.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Squares and public spaces
16 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

From the Flame of Hope to the Countdown clock to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

On Commonwealth Day the countdown clock to the Commonwealth Games 2022 was unveiled in Birmingham's Centenary Square. I was unaware of it until I saw it on Twitter. So headed down to Centenary Square several days later. Here we will also look at the Flame of Hope which was near the Library of Birmingham site from 1999 to 2009.

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From the Flame of Hope to the Countdown clock to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games





On Commonwealth Day the countdown clock to the Commonwealth Games 2022 was unveiled in Birmingham's Centenary Square. I was unaware of it until I saw it on Twitter. So headed down to Centenary Square several days later. Here we will also look at the Flame of Hope which was near the Library of Birmingham site from 1999 to 2009.


The Flame of Hope

Seen in Centenary Square during April 2009 was The Flame of Hope. This was the first day (at the time) that I took a camera around Birmingham and that included in Centenary Square. Behind was the site of the Library of Birmingham due to open in 2013. Also there at the time was the Spirit of Enterprise fountain. Both went into storage before construction of the Library began, where they remain to this day.

In this cropped view of the Flame of Hope towards Baskerville House. By this point the flame had been turned off for a few years.

It looked impressive, with a globe and where the flame was once lit up at the top at the turn of the Millennium, sadly it wasn't to last.

After this, I never saw the Flame of Hope again, as it was removed to storage before the prepatory works for the Library of Birmingham had begun.

Countdown clock to Birmingham 2022

The countdown clock was unveiled on Commonwealth Day during March 2020. A few days later, I had free time, so travelled to Centenary Square to see it. Passing through The Mailbox, while BBC Midlands Today was on, I noticed that they were reporting at it live, so I went to have a coffee in Brindleyplace before checking it out.

By the time I got there, BBC Birmingham was gone. This view from the back towards HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square.

The countdown timer is not on this side. From here you can see HSBC UK, 3 Arena Central, the Municipal Bank and The Cube. West Midlands Metro tram 27 was at Library Tram Stop.

This side view of the countdown clock towards the Hyatt, Symphony Hall and The ICC. With tram 27 to the left.

Now for the first view with the Library of Birmingham. At the time of my visit with 867 days to go.

A more central view towards the Library of Birmingham. 867 days, 4 hours, 47 minutes and 00 seconds.

Popped over to Library Tram Stop for some views with West Midlands Metro tram 27 (OLA lime green adverts). The countdown clock to Birmingham 2022 was to the right.

Close up to the front of the tram with the countdown clock to the right. Would have gone down the path near HSBC UK but it was closed off, so headed back into Centenary Square instead.

Heading around the Hall of Memory, got this view to the corner between The ICC and The REP.

Got one more view from near the Hall of Memory towards the foyer works at Symphony Hall.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
Civic pride
26 Feb 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Frederick G. Burnaby: a candidate for a Birmingham MP in 1880 who has an obelisk in Cathedral Square

Have you seen a large obelisk in Cathedral Square near Birmingham Cathedral? It is in memory of Frederick G. Burnaby, a one time Conservative Party candidate to be an MP in Birmingham (in 1880 but he lost). Who died in 1885 at the Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan. The obelisk is close to Temple Row. One side says Khiva 1875 and the other Abu Klea 1885.

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Frederick G. Burnaby: a candidate for a Birmingham MP in 1880 who has an obelisk in Cathedral Square





Have you seen a large obelisk in Cathedral Square near Birmingham Cathedral? It is in memory of Frederick G. Burnaby, a one time Conservative Party candidate to be an MP in Birmingham (in 1880 but he lost). Who died in 1885 at the Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan. The obelisk is close to Temple Row. One side says Khiva 1875 and the other Abu Klea 1885.


Have you ever seen this obelisk in Cathedral Square near Birmingham Cathedral (with the church grounds of St Philip's Cathedral Birmingham) and wondered who it is for? For a war that no one remembers from the late 19th century.

It is in memory of Frederick Burnaby. Born in Bedford on the 3rd March 1842. He died at Abu Klea, Sudan on the 17th January 1885 (aged 42). He had various military adventures overseas including in the Khanate of Khiva during March 1875. He unsuccessfully stood as a Conservative Party candidate to be an Member of Parliament for Birmingham in 1880. His second attempt in 1885 was also unsuccessful (he died in January 1885 and the election was between November and December 1885 so he couldn't had stood, but he must have hoped to be a candidate again in 1884 before he was killed in action). In the 1880 election, the Liberal Party won three seats including John Bright and Joseph Chamberlain. It was a Liberal hold.

The obelisk was unveiled by Lord Charles Beresford on the 13th November 1885. It is a tall Portland stone obelisk, and contins the inscriptions "Khiva 1875" and "Abu Klea 1885" as well as a portrait bust.

The Burnaby obelisk is Grade II lised. It has been listed since 1970.

 

My earliest photos of the Burnaby obelisk was taken during May 2009. This view towards Birmingham Cathedral, with the dome on the left.

Close up of the portrait bust of Frederick Burnaby. Most people just pass this and wouldn't even know who this Victorian man even was!

Not taken many recent photos of the obelisk over the years since, I mostly pass through without getting new photos of it. In May 2017 the flags were at half mast after the Manchester Terror Attack at the Manchester Arena (22nd May 2017). The Burnaby obelisk is seen here between the Union Jack and England flag. This was around a week after that attack.

Seen during Early November 2019 from Temple Row. There was leaves on the lawn in Cathedral Square. The Burnaby obelisk seen to the right while the Cathedral was to the left.

Some new photos of the Burnaby obelisk taken in February 2020, as I was thinking of doing this post. This view towards Temple Row. It says Burnaby on this side. There is now plants planted at the bottom on all sides of the obelisk.

Close up of Burnaby. Could do with a clean up at the bottom of the obelisk.

Khiva 1875. You can see the new 103 Colmore Row rising on the right.

Abu Klea 1885. This was where Frederick Burnaby died. Hence he never lived to stand for a second time as a Birmingham Conservative MP. Although the Liberal's won again near the end of 1885, there was more than one Birmingham seat. This view towards St Philip's Place.

In the end the obelisk was unveiled a few weeks before the 1885 General Election. And it's been on this spot for almost 135 years.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
20 Feb 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Constructon of Symphony Hall - February 2020 update

The Symphony Hall extension is rapidly progressing.  It will look spectacular. 

Stephen and Dan have been watching and have documented the development every step of the way. See their February 2020 update here.

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Constructon of Symphony Hall - February 2020 update





The Symphony Hall extension is rapidly progressing.  It will look spectacular. 

Stephen and Dan have been watching and have documented the development every step of the way. See their February 2020 update here.


HOW SYMPHONY HALL WILL LOOK ONCE FINISHED

The development will provide a state-of-the-art performance space to host 
free and affordable events, improved bars, cafes, seating and hospitality experiences. 

It will also become home for Symphony Hall's Learning and Participation programme, which will include spaces for teaching, performance, and rehearsals. The Box Office and welcome desk will also be relocated to a much more prominent position.

The new look will provide Symphony Hall with a curved sweep of the façade, centred on the Hall of Memory across the square. Two new entrances will be created, both providing quick and direct access from Centenary Square.

Artists Impressions from Page/Park Architects

LATEST PROGRESS ON SITE:

February 14th:

Photos by Stephen Giles

EARLIER THIS MONTH

February 7th:

Photos by Reiss Gordon-Henry

4th February:

Photos by Stephen Giles

Photos by Daniel Sturley

January 2020:

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
17 Jan 2020 - Stephen Giles
Gallery

What's happening at 103 Colmore Row - take our January 2020 update

Take this post for a superb picture update of 103 Colmore Row from Birmingham's People with Passion Daniel, Tom & Karl. Steelwork continues its upward trajectory to the ninth floor, plus an exclusive first glimpse at the glass cladding, which was delivered a week ago. Update by our follower of construction Mr Stephen Giles.

 

 

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What's happening at 103 Colmore Row - take our January 2020 update





Take this post for a superb picture update of 103 Colmore Row from Birmingham's People with Passion Daniel, Tom & Karl. Steelwork continues its upward trajectory to the ninth floor, plus an exclusive first glimpse at the glass cladding, which was delivered a week ago. Update by our follower of construction Mr Stephen Giles.

 

 


Work has re-commenced on site soon after the well-earned Christmas and New Year break.

Steelwork is back on the rise, now reaching levels 8 & 9, but without doubt the biggest news saw the first batch delivery of glass panels delivered on Wednesday (January 15th).

Having arrived from Italy, the panels have been designed by the Italian firm, Focchi; a specialist in window and curtain walling systems. 

This latest update shows the fantastic progress being made on site, but also shows an exclusive first glimpse of the cladding.

Enjoy!

Photo by BobB1

Photos by Tom Grunt

Photo by Karl Newton

Photos by Daniel Sturley

Photo credit to Sterling Property Ventures

Words by Stephen Giles

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