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Construction & regeneration
08 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Construction of The Mercian - May and June 2020 Update

The concrete core and much of the structure is now visible from some distance, here from Lightwoods Park near Warley. This is a distance of between 3 and 4 miles away.

Photo by Elliott Brown

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The Construction of The Mercian - May and June 2020 Update





The concrete core and much of the structure is now visible from some distance, here from Lightwoods Park near Warley. This is a distance of between 3 and 4 miles away.

Photo by Elliott Brown


18th May 2020

The Mercian on the skyline from Holders Lane Woods. The Bank Tower Two is seen to the left and the Toybox to the right.

The Mercian on the skyline from Holders Lane Woods. The view was close to the Moor Green Allotments.

The Mercian on the skyline from Cannon Hill Park. The Toybox was also visible from the park, over the Hemisphere Apartments at Edgbaston Mill.

2nd June 2020

View of The Mercian from Lightwoods Park in Bearwood about 3 to 4 miles away. The Bank Tower Two seen to the left.

Photos by Elliott Brown

25th May

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Photos by Daniel Sturley

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40 passion points
History & heritage
05 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham over the Centuries from the Romans to the City Council

Did you know? A Birmingham post going over the centuries of Birmingham history and pre-history. Not just covering what is now the City Centre but areas of Birmingham's suburbs. The Romans had a fort at what is now the University of Birmingham. The town developed after the 1166 Charter for a market was granted. Timber framed houses popped up all over by the 16th and 17th centuries.

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Birmingham over the Centuries from the Romans to the City Council





Did you know? A Birmingham post going over the centuries of Birmingham history and pre-history. Not just covering what is now the City Centre but areas of Birmingham's suburbs. The Romans had a fort at what is now the University of Birmingham. The town developed after the 1166 Charter for a market was granted. Timber framed houses popped up all over by the 16th and 17th centuries.


Did you know Birmingham from the Romans to the City Council

Roman Birmingham at Metchley Roman Fort, AD 48

Although there is nothing to see above the ground, between the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston, it was discovered that the Romans had built a fort here called Metchley Fort. It was on the Roman road Icknield Street. The fort was built a few years after the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43. The fort was built in AD 48 and was made of timber. The fort was abandoned in AD 70, only to be reoccupied a few years later before being abandoned again in AD 120. The remains were first discovered in the 18th century. Further excavations took place in the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s. The most recent excavations took place in the 2000s.

For more on Metchley Roman Fort have a look at this post: Metchley Roman Fort between the University of Birmingham and the QEHB .

Beorma Ingas ham, 7th century

This sculpture is located on a bridge over the River Rea on Gooch Street in Highgate. The Beorma was the name given to a 7th century Anglo-Saxon tribe who settled in the future Birmingham area, on a site around the River Rea in what is now part of Highgate. This was before the first mention of Birmingham in the Domesday Book in 1086 by the Normans. They were an ancient Anglian tribe. Beorma Ingas ham means The home of the people of Beorma. And early origin name for what later became Birmingham. This tribe pre-dates the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia, which later had their capital at Tamworth. Throughout history there has been many different ways of spelling Birmingham (starting with Bearm, Berm, Beor, Bearma, Beorm and Breme). Think of Bromwicham, or Brumwicham. The nickname now for the people of Birmingham is Brummies! Beorma also gave their name to West Bromwich, Castle Bromwich, Bromsgrove and other local places in the Midlands. The sculpture was made in 2002 (or 2006). Beorma gives their name to the Beorma Quarter development in Digbeth.

Peter de Birmingham, Lord of the Manor of Birmingham in 1166

In 1166, the Lord of the Manor, Peter de Birmingham got a Charter to hold a market from the King (Henry II). He lived in a moated manor house (which today would be on the Smithfield site). His market would become the Bull Ring which is still trading after 850 years. The market was so successful, that it led to his town of Birmingham expanding. That meant some of the land that was the deer park could be built on.

Weoley Castle built after 1264

These ruins are of Weoley Castle. Grade II listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is thought to date to about 1264 and built for Roger de Somery who was licenced to crenellate his manor house. He was probably the Lord of the Manor of Dudley, who was given permission by the King (Henry III) to build and fortify his castle in stone. In the Middle Ages the castle was at the heart of a large deer park covering nearly 1000 acres. The estate was bought by the Birmingham Corporation in the 1930s. And is now one of the properties of the Birmingham Museums Trust.

I'll expand a post on the Weoley Castle ruins soon.

William de Birmingham, Lord of the Manor in 1300

In this Moated Manor House around the year 1300 lived the Lord of the Manor, William de Birmingham. In the years since his ancestor Peter got a Charter for a market, it had been very successful and the town was growing. Not far from the moat was St Martin's Church. As early as the year 1300, the roads Edgbaston Street, New Street and Park Street existed. But William still had deer park surrounding his town. He taxed the inhabitants of the town, but later allowed houses to be built on parts of his deer park (there used to be a ditch near Park Street separating the town from the deer park). The moat was filled in by the 19th Century to make way for the Smithfield market (later the site of the Birmingham Wholesale Market and future Smithfield redevelopment site). This model is in the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

For more of 1086 to 1300 check out this post for more details: Birmingham from the Domesday Book in 1086 to 1300 when William de Birmingham was Lord of the Manor.

The Old Crown, Digbeth 1368

This old pub in Digbeth, claims to be one of the oldest surviving buildings in Birmingham. The Old Crown claims to date to the year 1368, although most of the timber framed building today probably dates to the 16th century. It is believed that the building was built between 1450 and 1500 with some evidence suggesting 1492. It is a Grade II* listed building. It was originally built as the Guildhall and School of St. John, Deritend. It might have first gained the name 'The Crown' in the late 16th century after the failed Armada invasion. Evidence shows that it was first used as an in during the early 17th century, around 1626. It was converted into houses in the late 17th century. The pub was saved in the mid 19th century from demolition. In the late 20th century and into the 21st the pub has had several restorations by the present owners.

Tudor Merchant's House, Kings Norton 1492

Probably the oldest building in Kings Norton is the Tudor Merchant's House, later known as the Saracen's Head. A Grade II* listed building. The house was built in 1492 by a wealthy merchant, Humphrey Rotsey (it is now the north range). The house faces the Church of St Nicholas. The range of buildings were expanded by 1510. In 1643 Queen Henrietta Maria of France stopped here on the way to join King Charles I at his headquarters in York. It had become a pub by the 18th century. Another wing was added in the 19th century. In 2004 it won the BBC's Restoration programme along with The Old Grammar School and both were fully restored and reopened by 2008 under the name of St Nicolas Place.

For more on Kings Norton follow the link to this post: Kings Norton around The Green including Saint Nicholas Place.

Blakesley Hall, Yardley 1590

This tudor hall was built in 1590 for Richard Smalbroke. Blakesley Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham. At the time Yardley was in Worcestershire and the timber-framed farmhouse was built for Smalbroke's farm. Many other buildings followed over the years. After 1685 the farmhouse passed to the Greswolde family and was a tenant farm for the next 200 years. Henry Donne acquired the hall in 1899. The hall became a museum after 1935. It is now a Grade II* listed building and is run by the Birmingham Museums Trust.

For more of Old Yardley check out this post about the nearby village: Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall. I will have to do a detailed Blakesley Hall post soon.

Stratford House, Highgate 1601

Seen from the Moseley Road in Highgate (in front of the modern Highgate Middleway) is Stratford House. A Grade II* listed building. It was built in 1601 for Ambrose Rotton and his wife Bridget. It has survived over 400 years despite recent fires. There had been lead light replacements in the 18th century. Had internal alterations in the 1820s to 1830s. There was a restoration in the 1950s. In recent years it's been either offices or a night club, or just been vacant. There was a fire here in the mid 2010s, but that damage has since been restored.

Aston Hall in Aston Park 1635

Aston Hall was built between 1618 and 1635 for Sir Thomas Holte (who moved in 1631). It was a leading example of a Jacobean house. The house is a Grade I listed building. It was built within a large parkland which included the land where Villa Park, home of Aston Villa is now. The remaining park now surrounding the hall is Aston Park. The house was severely damaged in 1643 when it was attacked by Parliamentary troops during the English Civil War. The house remained in the Holte family until 1817 when it was leased to James Watt Jr.. In 1858 the house was purchased by a private company who used the hall as a museum. It was later bought by the Birmingham Corporation (later Birmingham City Council) in 1864 becoming the first historic house to pass into municipal ownership. The Birmingham Museums Trust took over the running of the hall from the Council in 2012.

For my post on Aston Hall and Aston Park follow this link: Aston Hall and Park in autumn and winter. I've prepared another Aston Hall post (coming soon), where you can see what it looks like fromt the inside.

Soho House, Handsworth 1766

The home of Matthew Boulton, one of the members of The Lunar Society and business partner to James Watt, was his home from 1766 until his death in 1809. Soho House is a Grade II* listed building and now run as a museum by the Birmingham Museums Trust. Samuel Wyatt in 1789 and James Wyatt in 1796 built extensions to the house. After Boulton's death, it was inherited by his son in 1809 and his grandson who later sold it in 1850. It then had numerous owners and uses including as a hostel for police officers. Birmingham City Council acquired in in 1990 and turned it into a museum in 1995. The Lunar Society met here when their was a full moon, and their discussions contributed to the Industrial Revolution.

Soho House is covered slightly in this post along with Stratford House and Selly Manor: A selection of Birmingham's great Manor Houses. I have prepared a Soho House post and you can see it soon.

Sarehole Mill 1771

There has been a mill on a site in the Sarehole area of what is now part of Moseley (near the Hall Green border) since about 1542. Sarehole Mill is near the River Cole, and was used to grind corn. Previously it was known as Bedell's or Biddle's Mill. By 1727 it was known as High Wheel Mill. Matthew Boulton leased the previous mill  on this site in 1755 for use for metal working. The current building was built in 1771 and was used until 1919. It is known for it's association with J. R. R. Tolkien who lived nearby in the area as a child on Wake Green Road (from 1896 to 1900). These days the mill is a museum, having been restored in 1969. Another more recent restoration was in 2012-13. The Bakehouse was restored early in 2020, and during the lockdown they have opened up a shop selling food such as bread, pastries, pasta, flour and other items. Nearby is the Shire Country Park with various satellite parks (such as Moseley Bog), good for walks.

For my recent post on J. R. R. Tolkien in Sarehole, featuring the mill, have a look at my post here: J. R. R. Tolkien in Sarehole from 1896 - 1900.

Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square 1879

The Council House was built from 1874 to 1879 from designs by Yeoville Thomason. The first stone was laid by the then Mayor of Birmingham Joseph Chamberlain. The clock tower behind is known as Big Brum. The Council House was expanded in 1881-85 again by Yeoville Thomason. Birmingham gained City Status from Queen Victoria in 1889.  The second extension was built from 1911 to 1919 (by architects Ashley & Newman). Both buildings includes the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on the upper floors. They are a Grade II* building. In 2019, Birmingham celebrated it's 130th birthday as a City, but as you can see above, our history goes much further back.

For my Council House post follow this link: Birmingham Council House - the seat of local Government in Birmingham.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at more than 1,130 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
Sport & leisure
04 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Great Birmingham 10K in 2015 and 2016

For obvious reasons the Great Birmingham 10K is cancelled in May 2020 (or postponed). So lets look back to a small gallery of photos from 2015 and 2016. I think I probably watched it on Channel 5 before getting a bus to town, then seeing a bit of the fun runners, but missing most of the race. From Victoria Square and Digbeth.

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Great Birmingham 10K in 2015 and 2016





For obvious reasons the Great Birmingham 10K is cancelled in May 2020 (or postponed). So lets look back to a small gallery of photos from 2015 and 2016. I think I probably watched it on Channel 5 before getting a bus to town, then seeing a bit of the fun runners, but missing most of the race. From Victoria Square and Digbeth.


2015

On Sunday 3rd May 2015, I had missed seeing any of the actual Great Birmingham 10K. I probably watched it on Channel 5 then caught a bus to town. Eventually got to Victoria Square and saw these fun runners who had finished the run going down the steps past the Town Hall and Alpha Tower. River and Youth at the time was dry, and this was before the Council planted flowers around the Floozi in the Jacuzzi.

2016

The next Great Birmingham 10K was on Sunday 1st May 2016 and I got to Digbeth in the morning on the bus. Usually due to the bus diversion you have to get off the bus early due to the road being closed. Around 11:15am I managed to catch these fun runners in Digbeth, passing Wolverley House.

These run runners in colourful tops passing Pause. A space to talk about life and real feelings. Caught a reflection of Selfridges in Smithfield House.

Passing Smithfield House in Digbeth then heading towards Moat Lane and Bradford Street. They were next going past South & City College Birmingham - Fusion (at the time this was Fusion 2).

I probably next walked past Selfridges but didn't see any more run runners and headed into town to get a coffee at Caffe Nero on the Bullring Link Bridge.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at more than 1,120 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
27 Apr 2020 - FreeTimePays
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - March & April (2020) update

An average of 17 glass panels a day will be fitted onto this new, 26-storey, Birmingham landmark. This update shows the progress made on site in March and April, with the structural steelwork superstructure continuing its upward rise, closely followed by the beautiful glazing facade. Already a new Birmingham Gem!

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The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - March & April (2020) update





An average of 17 glass panels a day will be fitted onto this new, 26-storey, Birmingham landmark. This update shows the progress made on site in March and April, with the structural steelwork superstructure continuing its upward rise, closely followed by the beautiful glazing facade. Already a new Birmingham Gem!


Gallery of 103 Colmore Row photography by Daniel Sturley, one of the People with Passion at It's Your Build and Birmingham We Are.

Photography taken during April 2020

Photography taken during March 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
History & heritage
27 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham from the Domesday Book in 1086 to 1300 when William de Birmingham was Lord of the Manor

There is a model in the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, showing what Birmingham might have looked like in the year 1300. The Lord of the Manor was William de Birmingham. Did you know why Moat Lane is called Moat Lane? There used to be a moat in what is now the Bull Ring area and the de Birmingham family lived in a manor house there.

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Birmingham from the Domesday Book in 1086 to 1300 when William de Birmingham was Lord of the Manor





There is a model in the Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, showing what Birmingham might have looked like in the year 1300. The Lord of the Manor was William de Birmingham. Did you know why Moat Lane is called Moat Lane? There used to be a moat in what is now the Bull Ring area and the de Birmingham family lived in a manor house there.


Birmingham has a history going back centuries, way before we gained City Status in 1889. And way before the Chamberlain's of the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries and way before Boulton and Watt in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. The Roman's had a fort in Birmingham close to the site of what is now the University of Birmingham around 48 AD.

 

The following photos below were originally taken at The Birmingham History Galleries at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in November 2012. These were in the section called Origins up to 1700.

This panel is about Medieval Birmingham. It mentions that in 1086 Birmingham was valued at just £1. It was recorded in the 'Domesday Book' by the Normans (20 years after the Norman Conquest of England). 200 years later Birmingham was one of the wealthiest trading centres in Warwickshire.

This panel about Birmingham before Birmingham. The town came into existence in the 1160s. People have lived in the area for hundreds of thousands of years. Many of Birmingham's place names are of Anglo Saxon origin. Archaeology at the Bullring from 1997 to 2001 didn't find any finds before the 12th century (or evidence of a major settlement before then).

When Birmingham got a charter to hold a market, this was in 1166 by the Lord of the Manor Peter de Bermingham. That's when Birmingham began to develop. Around the area that is today's Bullring. This is what Peter de Birmingham could have looked like.

It was the year 1166 when Peter de Birmingham as the Lord of the Manor bought a market charter from the king, Henry II, which entitled him to hold a weekly market. He made profits from the rent paid by the craftspeople who settled here and the traders who came to sell their goods.

This large model was near the entrance of the gallery and was what Birmingham could have looked like in the year 1300 when William de Birmingham was the Lord of the Manor.

At this end of the model, it shows the moat where the Lord of the Manor's house would be.

A close up look at the moat. The de Birmingham family might have decended from Norman ancestors, other sources suggest they decend from an Anglo-Saxon family. The market would have been held within the land of the moated manor house, or just outside it. Today the site of the moat is where Moat Lane Car Park is (it has been renamed to Markets Car Park) and the former site of the Birmingham Wholesale Market (demolished for the proposed Smithfield development). The moat was filled in during the 19th century. Maps from the 19th century show the moat was still there in 1816, but gone by the 1830's as by then the Smithfield Market was on the land.

Settlements to the north of the moat. There was a church in the middle. That was St Martin's Church.

This direction towards St Martin's Church and Market Place with the Manor House and Moat at the far end. Today this would be the location of the modern Bullring (built 2003). East Mall would be to the left (Selfridges) and the West Mall would be to the right (towards Debenhams). Spiceal Street would wind around up past St Martin's Church then up St Martin's Walk. The market place has changed a lot in 850 plus years.

This map in the exhibition might make things a bit clearer. To the south was the Manor House and Moat. Above that was the Market Place. A Watermill was near the moat. And most of the countryside was Deer Park. By the year 1300 around 1,500 people were living in Birmingham. New Street, Park Street and Edgbaston Street all existed by the year 1300.

This is William de Birmingham. He's the Lord of the Manor and everyone who lives in Birmingham pays him rent. He reduced the size of his deer park so that people can build houses on his land and he increased the rental income.

Another map of Birmingham in 1300. The centre of Birmingham is marked by the yellow rectangle including the Church (St Martin's), the Market and the Manor House. The Deer Park is on two sides of the town. To the north west was the Priory Hospital. New Street goes to the west. To the south west was the Parsonage. The River Rea flows from the north east to the south (passing the areas later known as Deritend and Digbeth but not marked on this map).

There is a series of four history panels located around the Bullring. I got photos of them back in 2009 and 2010. They mention that archaeological digs were carried out as part of the Bullring redevelopment. The digs uncovered evidence of Birmingham's medieval origins about 2 metres below the present ground level and it is known that by the 1300s Birmingham was a thriving medieval market and industrial town.

1. High Street.

This was located outside of the Pavilions. Seen in October 2010.

It says Birmingham by the year 1300 had a population of 1,500. It had houses, markets and industry and was thriving. The Priory or Hospital of St Thomas was located at the northern end of Dale End between Bull Street and Old Square (where the name The Priory Queensway comes from).

2 Edgbaston Street

Located on the walk towards Debenhams. Seen in May 2009.

Edgbaston Street was one of the oldest streets in Birmingham. In medieval times it linked the moated manor house with Parsonage Moat and carried traffic to and from the busy Bull Ring Market. An archaeological dig on Edgbaston Street (below the Indoor Market building) showed that a 13th century tannery was tucked in at the rear of the houses fronting the main street. Was one of the earliest tanneries now known to have existed in the Bull Ring and Deritend.

3 St Martin's Square

This was on the wall below Selfridges, but was moved in 2011 when the Spiceal Street development was built (Hand Made Burger Co was at this site until 2020). Seen in August 2009.

St Martin's, the parish church in Birmingham was built in the 12th century. The dig done in advance of the landscaping around the church as part of the Bullring development. Most of the burials found remains dating to the late 18th and throughout the 19th century. No remains from Medieval times were outside.

4 Park Street

This was on Park Street near Birmingham Moor Street Station. Seen in August 2009.

This area was the Lord of the Manor's deer park. Archaeological digs at Moor Street and Park Street (below what is now Moor Street Car Park) discovered a large ditch that was the boundary between the town and deer park in the 12th century. By the 13th century, the park's use for hunting gave way to the demands for the land close to the Bull Ring. As a result of the success of the markets, the Lord of the Manor abandoned the deer park. The ditch was infilled and Moor Street and Park Street were created to provide additional building land. 13th century pottery was made here, including metal-working, horn-working, born-working and textile production.

No wonder they called Birmingham The Workshop of the World. And this was as early as the 13th century!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at over 1,120 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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