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Green open spaces
06 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Grove Park in Harborne: near the former home of two past Birmingham MP's

Grove Park is located in Harborne on Harborne Park Road (one of the parks on the no 11 Outer Circle bus route 11A and 11C). The park was historically the grounds of The Grove, home to Thomas Attwood MP between 1823 and 1846. Later William Kenrick from the late 1870s until his death in 1919. Birmingham City Council inherited the park and house and opened the park in 1963.

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Grove Park in Harborne: near the former home of two past Birmingham MP's





Grove Park is located in Harborne on Harborne Park Road (one of the parks on the no 11 Outer Circle bus route 11A and 11C). The park was historically the grounds of The Grove, home to Thomas Attwood MP between 1823 and 1846. Later William Kenrick from the late 1870s until his death in 1919. Birmingham City Council inherited the park and house and opened the park in 1963.


Grove Park

The park was opened by Birmingham City Council in 1963 on land that was historically part of the estate of The Grove. Located on Harborne Park Road in Harborne, the park is also bordered by Mill Farm Road and Grove Lane.

Thomas Attwood lived at The Grove which was an 18th Century Georgian mansion house from 1823 until 1846. He was one of Birmingham's very first MP's. There is two statues of Attwood, the first sculpted by Peter Hollins used to be in Calthorpe Park, then later New Park, Sparkbrook, but has been in storage at the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre since 2008 (covered in graffiti and looking worse for wear). The other sitting statue used to be in Chamberlain Square, sculpted by Sioban Coppinger & Fiona Peever in 1993, until it was moved into storage in 2015 before the demolition of Birmingham Central Library for Paradise Birmingham. It is possible that it could return to Chamberlain Square later in 2020?

The second Birmingham MP to live in The Grove was William Kenrick. John Henry Chamberlain rebuilt the house for him from 1877 to 1878. Kenrick lived there until his death at the age of 88 in 1919.

There is a blue plaque near the Kenrick Centre on Mill Farm Road in Harborne that states that Alderman W. Byng Kenrick (1872 - 1962) gave the Grove Estate to the City. The park opened to the public a year after his death.

The house was demolished in 1963, and the paneled anteroom of the drawing room of The Grove was saved from destruction and acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

 

2012

By first visit to Grove Park was during May 2012.

Welcome to Grove Park sign near one of the entrances on Harborne Park Road. Claims to be A public park since 1936. That could be a mistake if it was 1963?

A tree with many branches and green leaves close to the lake.

Another tree with one long over hanging branch.

In the pond / lake was this tree with pink flower heads.

The lake is small if compared to other lakes I've seen in other Birmingham park's.

Still it attracts geese and ducks etc.

Another bush with pink flower heads.

The end of the lake close to Harborne Park Road.

A Canada Goose in the lake.

2016

Grove Park during January 2016. The lake in winter. Trees with no leaves. Only brown leaves on the ground that fell in the autumn.

Gates on one of the paths. Some trees nearby may have been cut down.

Dark green picnic bench with seats on all four sides.

The playground which is close to Harborne Park Road. Swings near a bench. The public car park for this park is to the right of here.

2018

My most recent visit to Grove Park was during the autumn of November 2018. Mainly to find the blue plaque near the Kenrick Centre. The leaves were all orange and brown looking quite autumnal.

The playground and car park from the path towards Mill Farm Road.

Trees alongside Mill Farm Road. The blue plaque was up this way.

More trees. Mill Farm Road to the right, so this was probably after I saw the blue plaque for Alderman W. Byng Kenrick.

Trees and yellow leaves, the grass was still green.

Leaves all over the ground here as I headed back to a main path.

Can't visit a Birmingham park without seeing a squirrel with a nut!

The lake again in autumn.

More trees and more leaves on the ground.

This park is well worth visiting, if you get off the 11C or 11A buses. And is in walking distance of the Harborne High Street. It's also close to a Cricket Club and two Golf Courses.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
29 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selly Oak Park: the gem of a park off the Selly Oak Bypass

Selly Oak Park is located on Harborne Lane in Selly Oak. Sections of the Lapal Canal goes through the north east corner of the park (still to be fully restored). The Selly Oak Bypass (Aston Webb Boulevard) opened in 2011 and the Selly Oak Shopping Park in 2018. They are now building a new section of the bypass near the former Sainsbury's site at Selly Oak Triangle. Also on Gibbins Rd.

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Selly Oak Park: the gem of a park off the Selly Oak Bypass





Selly Oak Park is located on Harborne Lane in Selly Oak. Sections of the Lapal Canal goes through the north east corner of the park (still to be fully restored). The Selly Oak Bypass (Aston Webb Boulevard) opened in 2011 and the Selly Oak Shopping Park in 2018. They are now building a new section of the bypass near the former Sainsbury's site at Selly Oak Triangle. Also on Gibbins Rd.


Selly Oak Park

This park is located on Harborne Lane and Gibbins Road in Selly Oak. It was developed under the Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council. Land was donated in February 1899 by members of the Gibbins family. The park was opened in April 1899 on Easter Monday. In 1911 the park was taken over by Birmingham City Council when Selly Oak became part of the city. More land was donated over the years. In 1913 and 1919 by the owners of the Birmingham Battery and Metal Company (also Gibbins family members), in 1935 to give access to the Weoley Park Farm Estate. More land in 1950 by the Birmingham Battery & Metal Company (again). In 1958 some land was transferred to the City’s Public Works Committee. More recent land donations in 1980 and 1982.

The shelter built in 1899, the bandstand built in 1908 and the Daughters of Rest Pavilion built in 1953 have all since been demolished.

The park is now maintained by The Friends of Selly Oak Park. That includes all the wooden sculptures found around the park.

2012

My first walk around Selly Oak Park was during June 2012, testing out my then new camera (which I had until about December 2015). I probably entered from Harborne Lane and headed up the main path.

One of the main squirrels in the park, with a nut.

Saw this red wind funnel thing. There is similar funnels in other nearby parks.

A council lawnmower going around the park cutting the grass.

The trees were so lush and green in the summer, the path curving round to the right.

Another squirrel behind a tree.

Two paths amongst the trees.

Distant view of the red funnel.

2017

The next visit to Selly Oak Park was during January 2017. The Friends of Selly Oak Park had commissioned all of these new wooden sculptures which were worth checking out. On this side it says Lapal.

To the side Welcome. So probably "Welcome to Selly Oak Park". This is near Gibbins Road.

A carved wooden bench. In memory of Geoff Bartlett, Founder of Friends of Selly Oak Park.

Part of the playground. A climbing frame, and a ride along a rope with a tyre (I think).

Another wooden sculpture. Of deer or a kangeroo (probably a deer and it's cub).

A new Welcome to Selly Oak Park sign. It's near the car park off Harborne Lane and close to the corner with Gibbins Road.

2018

This visit during March 2018. View of the new outdoor gym.

Daffodils alongside a path.

Selly Oak Park Play Area. One of the many Birmingham City Council elephant signs that you would find in this and other City parks. Behind was a slide.

Daffodils around a tree.

Daffodils and crocuses. From here I headed up Gibbins Road towards Lodge Hill Cemetery. Weoley Castle is also nearby.

Happy New Year 2020. More park posts to come during 2020.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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90 passion points
Green open spaces
26 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Fox Hollies Park through the years along the Westley Brook

Fox Hollies Park is located on the Shirley Road between Acocks Green and Hall Green, and stretches as far as Gospel Lane. This park is quite small and has the Westley Brook flowing through it. Playgrounds at both ends and a small lake as well. To the west end is close to Fox Hollies Leisure Centre (but is not part of the park). Paths for walks, that can also be enjoyed by dog walkers too.

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Fox Hollies Park through the years along the Westley Brook





Fox Hollies Park is located on the Shirley Road between Acocks Green and Hall Green, and stretches as far as Gospel Lane. This park is quite small and has the Westley Brook flowing through it. Playgrounds at both ends and a small lake as well. To the west end is close to Fox Hollies Leisure Centre (but is not part of the park). Paths for walks, that can also be enjoyed by dog walkers too.


Fox Hollies Park

This park is located on the Shirley Road in Acocks Green, close to Hall Green. It stretches along the Westley Brook towards Gospel Lane, which isn't too far from Gospel Oak and Olton in Solihull on the Warwick Road. Other nearby roads surrounding the park include Pool Farm Road, Oakhurst Road and Severne Road. There is two playgrounds, one close to the Shirley Road entrance, the other near Gospel Lane. There is also a small lake / pond where you will find many of the usual bird species to be found in a park like this.

Most of the time I hardly see many people walking around this park. Maybe the odd person walking a dog. Assume that cyclists may pass through here. Or occasionally families using the playground in decent weather. Then again I've only been through it in the winter.

2010

These views of Fox Hollies Park from Shirley Road during December 2010. A snowy walk up Shirley Road and a look at the park. I did not enter the park at this time.

The playground covered in snow. Three people on a morning jog through the snow covered park.

Another view of the playground.

The old Birmingham City Council - Fox Hollies Park sign. It was already looking dirty when it was covered in snow.

Entrance to the park from Shirley Road. These old railings survived until at least 2017 or 2018 when they were replaced by the Council all the way around the park.

This from close to the entrance of Fox Hollies Leisure Centre. Apparently the Yardley Constituency Office is also there. The office for the Birmingham Yardley MP is now on Yardley Road in Acocks Green (Jess Phillips MP from 2015 to present). John Hemming used be the MP from 2005 to 2015.

View of the park from the opposite side of the Shirley Road. A Council advert about visiting Santa in his Grotto.

The furthest end of the park to the right on Shirley Road.

2017

I didn't really do an actual walk through Fox Hollies Park until January 2017. Getting in on the Shirley Road I walked as far as the Gospel Lane exit. Leaves on the lawn looking like it was still autumn.

Passing the empty playground which is close to the Shirley Road entrance.

The path curving around to the left.

Straight ahead on the path. This more or less is close to Oakhurst Road (which is to the right of here on the other side of the trees and houses).

Path up to the trees.

Distant houses probably on Pool Farm Road.

Two paths in two different directions.

The path up to Gospel Lane. The second playground is to the far right of here.

A look at the pond / lake. Bit hard to get decent views of it, trees in the way.

2018

Another walk round Fox Hollies Park, this time during December 2018. Slightly different route this time. And the Council was installing new wooden railings and bollards throughout the park. This footbridge crossing the Westley Brook.

The Wesley Brook from one side.

And from the other side.

One of the new Welcome to Fox Hollies Park wooden sign and entrance with metal bars. This was on Pool Farm Road.

I wasn't quite finished with Fox Hollies Park, so I walked up to the second entrance on Pool Farm Road. Still had the old Council sign on the right.

A close up look at the slide in the playground close to Gospel Lane.

Back of the new exit / entrance to Gospel Lane.

And the front side with Welcome to Fox Hollies Park. As you can see it's near the playground at the Gospel Lane end. From here you can catch the no 4A bus to Birmingham.

2019

On Christmas Eve Eve in December 2019, I was walking up Shirley Road and remembered that they were installing the new railings here the year before. Seem to recall hoping over the old railings, but they hadn't finished the new ones. A year on and it is complete.

As well as the new Welcome to Fox Hollies Park wooden entrance sign, the Council has also installed a new sign on the left.

The new railings are slightly higher than the old ones, tries to make the park look nice and modern.

Hopefully other City parks will get new railings like these. But it would be nice for more people to use Fox Hollies Park. It's just a quiet out of the way park, that other than locals, people wouldn't really be aware of.

Merry Christmas 2019 and a Happy New Year 2020. Oh and Happy Hanukkah (will all be over when this gets published). More park posts to come in 2020. Look out for Witton Lakes Park, Brookvale Park and the Oaklands Recreation Ground.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
23 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Peace Garden, a nice peaceful place to relax and remember

The Peace Garden is located off Bath Row on the land which used to be St Thomas's Church, until it was destroyed during World War 2. First laid out in 1955, it was redesigned in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2. World leaders of the G8 came here in 1998, and they each planted a tree. You can sit and relax here, read the plaques of peace. It's not far from The Cube.

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The Peace Garden, a nice peaceful place to relax and remember





The Peace Garden is located off Bath Row on the land which used to be St Thomas's Church, until it was destroyed during World War 2. First laid out in 1955, it was redesigned in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2. World leaders of the G8 came here in 1998, and they each planted a tree. You can sit and relax here, read the plaques of peace. It's not far from The Cube.


The Peace Garden

Located on Bath Row in Birmingham, between Five Ways and Holloway Circus. This small peaceful park is also on Granville Street, Ridley Street and Washington Street. The ruins of the Church of St Thomas are on the corner of Granville Street and Bath Row.

St Thomas's Church was completed in 1829, one of the so called 'Waterloo Churches'. Built following the victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. It survived until the Birmingham Blitz in 1940 when German bombs destroyed it. It was never rebuilt.

The ground were laid out for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The Peace Garden was redesigned in 1995 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War 2. The First World War Colonnade built in 1925 in what is now Centenary Square (near the Hall of Memory), was relocated here when the first Centenary Square was being built from 1989.

World leaders of the G8 came to the Peace Garden in 1998, each planting a tree and unveiling a plaque, including Tony Blair (British PM from 1997 - 2007) and Bill Clinton (US President from 1993 - 2001).

 

Most of my photos of the Peace Garden were taken in 2009.

The Colonnade seen in March 2009 from Ridley Street. It was designed by S. N. Cooke and W. N. Twist, in 1925.

My first proper visit to the Peace Garden was in April 2009. Here I was having a close up look inside of the Colonnade. Peace plaques on the wall to the left.

The Colonnade viewed from the Peace Garden. Lots of flowers in the flower beds at the time.

First look at the ruins of St Thomas's Church. The clock tower and columns had survived. There was also plaques inside. Railings were designed by Anuradha Patel.

The paths and lawns were laid out in a cross design by the looks of it. Benches to sit on and contemplate as the world goes by.

Circle in the middle with a message of peace.

"May Peace Prevail On Earth".

Some of the Peace Garden plaques. This one about St Thomas's Church being a victim of World War 2.

This plaque on the ground for the British Nuclear Test's Veterans Assocation. It was placed here in September 1994.

Two plaques in the Colonnade (there are more). National Service for Crown and Country (1939 - 1962). And National Service Memorial  to Peace.

19g8 The Birmingham Summit. Eight trees were planted in the Peace Garden to represent each of the G8 nations taking part in the Birmingham Summit 15 - 17 May 1998. Hard to believe that this was 21 years ago now! Can we have another summit at The ICC in the 2020s?

This was in January 2011. The view of the clock tower of the ruins of St Thomas's Church and the Colonnade from Washington Street. With the Colonnade on Ridley Street.

This view of St Thomas's Church ruins from Granville Street.

A look at the Anuradha Patel railings at the Peace Garden during February 2015. It has images of doves of peace. This was from Granville Street.

The gate from Washington Street was looking closed. Some of the plaques could to with some TLC. The view towards St Thomas's Church. This is the main entrance to the gardens.

This December 2016 view of the ruins of St Thomas's Church seen from Bath Row. Looking in good condition in the winter sunshine. This is the view from the bus stop. You can now get the 80, 80A, X20, X21 and X22 on the opposite side of the road. While you can also get the 23 and 24 on the stop towards New Street Station.

Zoom in to the clock. I wonder if it is still ticking? It must be, as in my other photos the clock hands are at different times.

A few more plaques seen during November 2017. This one for the Federation of Ex-Service Associations Birmingham.

This one for the Royal Naval Engine Room Association.

Close up look at the plaque I previously saw in 2009 for the National Service for Crown and Country.

And a close up look at the National Service Memorial to Peace.

Saw this view of the Peace Garden from the no 24 bus on Bath Row during December 2019. All the gates looked closed. Or at least the one on Washington Street. Didn't see anyone in there. Couldn't see if the gates on Granville Street or Ridley Street were open or not. The Cube has dominated the skyline from here since it was completed in 2010.

Merry Christmas 2019 and a Happy New Year 2020. Oh and Happy Hanukkah (will all be over when this gets published). More posts to come in 2020. More parks and public open spaces etc.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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90 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
21 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Gas Street Basin between 2009 and 2019

There is many ways to walk around Gas Street Basin. At least two entrances from Gas Street. Or from Bridge Street. Also from the Broad Street Tunnel or The Mailbox ends. The BCN was completed in 1773 to Old Wharf, while the W & B Canal completed by 1815. Worcester Bar was between them. Used to be a gate blocking passage between both canals (long since gone). Redeveloped from the 1990s.

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Gas Street Basin between 2009 and 2019





There is many ways to walk around Gas Street Basin. At least two entrances from Gas Street. Or from Bridge Street. Also from the Broad Street Tunnel or The Mailbox ends. The BCN was completed in 1773 to Old Wharf, while the W & B Canal completed by 1815. Worcester Bar was between them. Used to be a gate blocking passage between both canals (long since gone). Redeveloped from the 1990s.


Gas Street Basin

Located near Gas Street in what is now the Westside area of Birmingham City Centre. Gas Street Basin is where the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at the Worcester Bar. The Birmingham Canal completed their canal to Old Wharf by 1773. The Worcester & Birmingham Canal reached as far as Selly Oak by 1795, not being completed as far as Worcester until 1815. The Worcester Bar was a physical barrier between the two canals, which were owned by two separate companies at the time. A gate blocked access from one canal to the other (this has long since been removed).

In the 1990s, Gas Street Basin was renovated. And is now used on both sides to moor narrowboats. You also see the likes of the Waterbus and the Sherborne Wharf narrowboat take tourists down the canal. You can visit Gas Street Basin in all seasons, in all weathers, come sunshine, rain or snow!

Things have changed quite a lot over the last decade. The once derelict James Brindley pub is now The Canal House. The view towards Arena Central is ever changing. The Hyatt Hotel has dominated the skyline there for the past 30 years. The Broad Street Tunnel has Walkabout and The O Bar above on Broad Street. Various bars and restaurants have popped up along Gas Street. The Tap & Spile has been there for a long time. Bistro Pierre opened up a few years ago in the former offices of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

2009

I started taking photos of Birmingham during April 2009. So these are my earliest views of Gas Street Basin. Narrowboats on the BCN side, while you can see The Cube under construction to the far left.

The Worcester Bar Footbridge. I think it was installed during the 1990s, as before then there wasn't a bridge at this point. Until the restoration works, the canal was quite derelict. This bridge allows access from the Gas Street side to the Bridge Street side of the basin at Old Wharf.

This view in June 2009. You can walk walk all the way along the Worcester Bar through the open gate. The blocked off bridge at Bridge Street is the site of Old Wharf. The Birmingham Canal used to terminate just beyond there. The James Brindley pub was boarded up, I don't remember ever seeing it open. At the time the view was towards the Alpha Tower and Crowne Plaza hotel. The old concrete building wouldn't be demolished until the mid 2010's for the Arena Central redevelopment (which got delayed by the 2008 recession).

The view from the Worcester Bar footbridge towards the Broad Street Tunnel. The O Bar on the left, Walkabout to the right. A red brick Grade II listed building designed by Martin & Chamberlain and built in 1875. The Tap & Spile pub also to the left. One of the Sherborne Wharf narrowboats seen heading through the Broad Street Tunnel towards Brindleyplace.

2010

Snow and ice at Gas Street Basin during December 2010. The view towards Regency Wharf and the Hyatt Hotel.

There wasn't too much ice in the canal at the time. The view towards the BT Tower, between the Hyatt Hotel and James Brindley pub (closed and derelict).

This view of the entrance to the Broad Street Tunnel during June 2010. Whenever I walk through it, on either towpath, I have to duck down a bit. Halfway down the roof height changes. The headroom and width of the tunnel varies.

2018

Seen during January 2018 was this Canal & River Trust service boat. It was raining a bit.

The last time we had decent snow and a covering of ice on the canal was during the early part of March 2018. The canal water at Gas Street Basin was completey frozen over. Nothing getting in or out. This view towards Regency Wharf.

Hard to believe that this was the beginning of Spring. It was during the Beast from the East and Storm Emma. Could make a nice Christmas postcard. At the time the World Indoor Athletics Championships was about to start at Arena Birmingham!

Going back to January 2018, saw the red Waterbus heading through the Worcester Bar from the footbridge above, while it was raining. Heading in the direction of The Mailbox. Moored to the left was several Away 2 Dine narrowboats. Leaving the Birmingham Canal Navigations for the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

2019

Heading up to March 2019. The Broad Street Tunnel was open again after being closed for three months due to the Midland Metro Alliance reinforcing it for the future second phase of the Westside Metro extension. Meanwhile, I saw the Waterbus again heading in the direction of the tunnel, having just gone under the Worcester Bar bridge.

In October 2019, traffic under the Broad Street Tunnel was back to normal. Saw this Sherborne Wharf narrowboat with tourists enjoying a ride towards Gas Street Basin and beyond. You can't really tell from down there that it was closed the previous winter for three months.

Raining during December 2019. The view from the BCN side has been completely transformed by Arena Central. 1 Centenary Square and the Holiday Inn Expres are already open. While 3 Arena Central is still under construction.

One of the Away 2 Dine narrowboats is seen heading back into it's spot on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal side of the basin, below the Hyatt Regency Birmingham. There wasn't many people about on the Canalside Walk in the wet weather.

Still reversing in, near Regency Wharf.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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