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Green open spaces
10 Dec 2020 - 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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100 passion points
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10 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Handsworth Park the park near where Boulton and Watt are buried

Went to Handsworth to check out St Mary's Church and Handsworth Park. The church was closed for renovation works so couldn't go inside. The park has a boating lake and an arts trail. Found two of The Big Sleuth 2017 bears in one half of the park. I got the tram but no 16 bus route is nearby if I go again! 

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Handsworth Park the park near where Boulton and Watt are buried





Went to Handsworth to check out St Mary's Church and Handsworth Park. The church was closed for renovation works so couldn't go inside. The park has a boating lake and an arts trail. Found two of The Big Sleuth 2017 bears in one half of the park. I got the tram but no 16 bus route is nearby if I go again! 


See also my Handsworth heritage buildings post. Find all my my Handsworth Park photos over on my Flickr.

The main entrance gates to Handsworth Park from Hamstead Road. I continued on to get close to St Mary's Church, until I noticed that their was renovation works. I then crossed over the road for some more views of the church, before heading into the park. The gate on the right was open on my visit.

Before I got to St Mary's Church on Hamstead Road in Handsworth, I had a look at the lodge house in Handsworth Park. Dated 1897. Not listed.

I had a walk around the boating lake, walking anti-clockwise. The lodge / gate house of 1897 with it's distinctive clock tower and turreted roof.

The Victorian Drinking Fountain Canopy, now part of the Handsworth Park Arts Trail. Probably dating to the late 19th century. Originally called The Austin Lines Fountain. The drinking fountain itself has long since been removed. This view from the Hamstead Road, through the metal fence above the brick wall (on the walk to St Mary's Church, noticed a part of the wall that is broken and in urgent need of repair).

The boating lake from the Hamstead Road end of Handsworth Park. Plenty of Canada geese and gulls in this lake. Saw some boats at the other end of the lake.

Several boats near the island in the middle of the lake. They were up-side-down!

A relatively new sculpture unveiled in 2017, called SS Journey, made by the sculptor Luke Perry. Seen from the path I took on the walk around the lake.

It is dedicated to the brave individuals who have left their homes around the world and made the journey to Handsworth and other parts of the UK, seeking a new life for themselves and their families. The sculpture is cast in bronze. I think the ship part looks like it was made of steel. It faces one corner of the boating lake.

Saw this squirrel on top of a bench. As per usual, when you get close to a squirrel they run away! It's already looking autumnal in his park with leaves on the lawn.

What looks like an old drinking fountain. It's called Umbrello and it is Grade II listed. It was presented to the park in 1888 by Austin B Lines. Octagonal in plan. Had two shields with inscriptions on them. One of them had a pelican on it.

I eventually headed back to the Hamstead Road entrance / exit. And then headed down Holly Road. I was aware of the Soho railway line running through the park, but missed using any of the footbridges here. I re-entered the other half of the park when I saw one of The Big Sleuth bears from summer 2017.

In the summer of 2017, I didn't get around to travelling to Handsworth, so missed seeing The Big Sleuth bears. Although around late July 2017 came back on the bus through Handsworth after doing Bearwood, Dudley and West Bromwich. These bears are now part of the Handsworth Park Arts Trail, and were installed in October 2017.

This is Sun Guardian created by Goosensi working with Friends of Handsworth Park and the Handsworth Community.

 

Seen outside of the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre (Handsworth Leisure Centre) was Well Active Bear. Created by Mark Copplestone and Jennie Saunders working with Birmingham Wellbeing Service.

Seen on this cylinder outside of the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre was this piece of graffiti street art, part of the Arts Trail in the park. Handsworth Revolution - Steel Pulse.

The Handsworth Playcentre is to the left of the Steel Pulse piece. Mostly painted in sky blue paint, with a variety of other colours. Part of the Handsworth Leisure / Wellbeing Centre.

After this, I left the park via Grove Lane and then headed towards Winson Green Outer Circle Tram Stop. Which was about a 20 minute walk away. Maybe one day a new railway station could be built in the middle of the park. Apparently Handsworth Wood Station was here from 1896 to 1941. Passengers found the no 16 bus to be more convenient. Maybe a new staton could be built there on the line from Birmingham New Street towards Walsall on the Chase Line. Similiar to the proposals to rebuild the stations on the Camp Hill Line (Hazelwell, Kings Heath and Moseley).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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Green open spaces
09 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Kings Norton Park down the Pershore Road South

While I've been to Kings Norton many times over the years, I've only had one proper walk into Kings Norton Park way back in 2011. Back in 2009 I passed it on the way down the Pershore Road South to Kings Norton Village. And only skimmed it from Westhill Road in 2016. The park is down the hill from Kings Norton Station and Cotteridge. There is a Recreation Ground opposite.

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Kings Norton Park down the Pershore Road South





While I've been to Kings Norton many times over the years, I've only had one proper walk into Kings Norton Park way back in 2011. Back in 2009 I passed it on the way down the Pershore Road South to Kings Norton Village. And only skimmed it from Westhill Road in 2016. The park is down the hill from Kings Norton Station and Cotteridge. There is a Recreation Ground opposite.


Kings Norton Park

This park is located down on the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton, between Kings Norton Station and Cotteridge to the north and the old Kings Norton village to the south. Westhill Road is to the west while Camp Lane is to the north. You can also approach the park from Wychall Lane, and is on the no 45 and 47 bus routes.

There is a group called the Friends of Kings Norton Park. A group of local volunteers who come together to improve and protect the park and neighbour playing fields. (There blog has not been updated since 2014).

There is a 2 kilometre walking route in the park, as well as a skatepark and a playground. The River Rea flows to the northern edge of the park. National Cycle Network route number 5 passes through the park, and it is also part of the Rea Valley Route.

 

2009

My first indirect photos of Kings Norton Park were taken on a walk down the Pershore Road South. Starting in Bournville, then passing Cotteridge and going down to the old Kings Norton village. This was when I started taking photos around Birmingham during April 2009.

Some views of the River Rea. There is at least two bridges on the Pershore Road South, so the first bigger one is definitely the River Rea. The other smaller bridge crosses an unnamed stream.

Another view of the River Rea or an unnamed stream. This was 11 years ago, so I can't remember which bridge I took them from.

The main path into Kings Norton Park with a pair of long paths, with flower beds on the grass in the middle.

2011

My walk near the end of June 2011 through Kings Norton Park was my first proper walk around the park. Starting on Westhill Road. This is probably the River Rea (I used to think it was an unnamed stream).

The main entrance on Westhill Road is similar to that on the Pershore Road South, they look identical. A pair of paths with flower beds in the middle of the lawn.

The playground near the Westhill Road entrance to the park is also near a car park. (obviously during our current situation the playground is now closed). This was some kind of curved climbing frame for kids.

Still in the playground, not sure what this is, with a pair of steps. Can't see if it has a slide. The view was towards the spire of St Nicholas's Church.

Two pairs of swings in the playground.

This was the slide in the playground here.

Now over the the skatepark area of Kings Norton Park.

The skatepark had many ramps for skateboarders and BMX bike riders to do crazy tricks on.

It had graffiti all over it.

Was loads of different sections of the skatepark with barriers at the higher levels.

This was the lower section of the skatepark.

Now onto a path with the trees mostly to the left.

More trees as I got closer to the Pershore Road South.

An old stone bench, which was off one of the paths from the main Pershore Road South entrance.

Saw this wooden post. Sponsored by Birmingham City Council. Would assume it was installed by the Friends of Kings Norton Park. Possibly from some kind of floral trail?

There was this dirt path through a pair of brick and stone gate posts, not far from the Pershore Road South entrance. I have never walked up here (I don't think).

No path behind these brick and stone gateposts, just overgrown bushes (at the time).

2016

Passed nearby again briefly back in February 2016. Again from Westhill Road, but this time I found some steps near the south west corner of the park. You can see the playground in the distance to the left. I started a walk from Kings Norton village from The Green and ended up going up Westhill Road.

A look at the steps from Westhill Road. I did not go up these steps, or go into the park this time around.

A cycling sign seen from Westhill Road outside of the park. The pavement is only on the left, not pavement on the right (if you are heading up to Camp Lane).

Yellow and purple crocuses seen on the grass just outside of Kings Norton Park.

The crocuses were on the roadside of the lawn, separated by the park barrier.

Another look at the River Rea from Westhill Road, before I walked up Camp Lane to the Pershore Road South.

I keep thinking I already had the photos in past years, so find it hard to find something new to take in Kings Norton. I wont be able to return again until the lockdown ends. It's been well over a year since I last got several buses to Kings Norton. Including when I last walked up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal to Kings Norton Junction. And even on those visits, never thought about going into Kings Norton Park again (the canal walk ended at the Kings Norton Recreation Ground and it was raining at the time).

 

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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Green open spaces
08 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Eastside City Park as it was in 2012 onwards after it opened

The land that was used to build Eastside City Park was hoarded off during 2011. And the park was complete and open by the end of 2012. Here we will look at the park when it was brand new and when it was opened. Taking land that was formerly a car park in front of Millennium Point, and part of which was Albert Street. It also runs alongside Curzon Street. Near the BCU Eastside Campus.

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Eastside City Park as it was in 2012 onwards after it opened





The land that was used to build Eastside City Park was hoarded off during 2011. And the park was complete and open by the end of 2012. Here we will look at the park when it was brand new and when it was opened. Taking land that was formerly a car park in front of Millennium Point, and part of which was Albert Street. It also runs alongside Curzon Street. Near the BCU Eastside Campus.


Eastside City Park

Development of the park took place during 2011 and 2012, and was partially opened in late 2012. It was fully opened by the spring of 2013. The park is near Millennium Point, which included the Thinktank Science Garden and a Kids Park. Access to the Science Garden is usually with youtr entrance ticket to Thinktank.

December 2012

This was during December 2012 when the hoardings had come down. My first look around Eastside City Park. Getting on from Park Street, and walking up the footpath around which used to be Albert Street. In the distance is The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station. The park was partially opened by the then Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore on the evening Wednesday 5th December 2012.

Looking towards Millennium Point. The tall sculptures near the steps ahead. While new trees had been planted here on the newly laid lawns.

The steps when new, with benches to sit on. Looking towards Millennium Point and the Thinktank Science Garden. This was before the skateboarders started to regularly do their tricks here (well where the water fountain jets are to the right of here). Grosvenor Street West is to the left of here (near BOA (Birmingham Ormiston Academy) which leads to Jennens Road.

Close up look at the four metal sculptures on the steps. The view to the left is of the former Christopher Wray building and the McLaren Building.

Towards Masshouse. The residential block at the front is called Hive.

Masshouse without the sculpture columns in the way. To the left is what was called Hotel La Tour (now the Clayton Hotel).

Heading along the footpath near Curzon Street with Millennium Point and the Parkside Building on the left. The first building of the Birmingham City University Eastside Campus was complete by the summer of 2013.

Now looking back towards Millennium Point. As you could see, the Parkside Building wasn't yet complete.

The lawns as they were at the end of 2012. A brand new park, the first one in the City Centre for over a 100 years. Highgate Park was probably the last one to open within what is now the Middle Ring Road (Middleway's).

This covered canopy seen on the path from Curzon Street.

These early evening photos taken in the middle of December 2012. The Eastside City Park sign with crazy lights near what is now the site of The Emporium Building.

I had heard that the park looked good lit up after dark, so checked it out on the way back to my bus from work. This view towards Millennium Point.

Rush hour traffic to the left on Curzon Street. Before the University Campus opened here, the park wasn't full of students like it is now. Although Birmingham Metropolitan College has always been based in Millennium Point. And BCU had a presence in there even from the UCE days. At this point BCU were still at their old campus in Perry Barr (to be the site of the Commonwealth Games 2022 village).

Some of these shots came out a bit blurry. But you can see the spot lights all over.

The white lights lighting up the new trees.

Getting close to the area with steps and those four metal sculptures.

It was so perfect in December 2012. The paving hadn't got worn like it did in later years.

I'm sure many Birmingham photographers have taken these over the years. But I got it early on in December 2012.

March 2013

By the middle of March 2013, the park was fully complete. So I had another look around, a few days before it was officially opened in full. This is the curvy benches area under the canopy near the park entrance on Park Street.

Benches line this area with plants and new trees. Towards Curzon Street Station and New Canal Street.

Towards the Christopher Wray Building and Jennens Court. This is what it looked like 5 years before the Emporium Buillding was built here.

A few days later it was the day that Eastside City Park was officially opened on the 16th March 2013. Saw this banner.

Over there on the area where the water jet fountains are, was the official opening ceremony. Councillor Sir Albert Bore (then Leader of Birmingham City Council) was talking about how he envisioned a park when they started the Eastside development back in 1999.

This view from the steps near the metal sculptures towards the official event formally opening the park in full. The railway line behind with a London Midland train heading in or out of Birmingham New Street Station.

Water fountain jets

The water fountain jets seen in Eastside City Park during June 2013. Kids used to play in these like the ones in Centenary Square (that opened in summer 2019). And in later years, skateboarders would do tricks here.

This view from April 2014. The water jets would get quite high. In recent years though, these have not been turned on. Especially since Ice Skate Birmingham had their Big Wheel and Ice Rink here in the winter period of 2018 / 19 (they were on HS2 land on Eastside Green in the winter of 2017 / 18).

The Canal

Near Millennium Point and the Parkside Building was this canal. There is bridges that crossed it. In April 2013 it looked quite new and in good condition.

But by June 2014, the walls where the water jets came out of looked quite rusted around the holes. And hard marks down the side. This night shot was from December 2014. In the last several times that I've been past here, this has not even been turned on or even full of water. Unless rain water filled it up. Hopefully it can be cleaned and turned back on.

In late July 2019 the state of the canal near the Farmhouse Dairy Ice Cream block. Hardly much water in it. There must be a reason why the Council hasn't turned it on in a while?

More recent views to date

This view of Millenniumt Point taken from Eastside City Park during December 2016. On a lovely blue sky day. This was sometime after 11am on Boxing Day 2016 so hardly anyone around!

Snow on the side border during February 2017. Wasn't much other snow around here.

Snow in Eastside City Park during March 2018. Well here it was quite slushy and icy. The Emporium Building seen under construction.

More snow on the grass than on the paving. No one around at midday on the 18th March 2018.

This was after dark in January 2019. the Emporium Building was complete by then. Heading into the park, this would be the last time you could see Ice Skate Birmingham at the other end of the park. As they were starting to dismantle the ice rink.

What had happened to the grass in Eastside City Park in March 2019? It looked like this. All patchy. They had to replace the grass during the spring of 2019. I may have applied a filter on this phone shot that I took.

By May 2019, just soil where the ice rink had been of Ice Skate Birmingham from November 2018 to January 2019. It was raining in the park. As you can see the water jet fountains were still off. And the only water you could see was rain water. HS2 land all hoarded off to the far left. Trees all lush and green though.

What a transformation to the grass by July 2019! They had laid new grass. The trees all full of green leaves.

Hopefully the grass can stay like this into 2020. These days the park is full of students from Birmingham City University. This view towards Millennium Point.

The Woodman pub has been reopen for several years now. Various people walking through the park as I saw this cyclist go past. I think I headed down New Canal Street into Digbeth from here. The tower of Exchange Square Phase I was getting bricked up.

These days struggle to find something to take photos of in Eastside City Park. In August 2019, saw this unusual bike outside of The Woodman. Babboe City. A cargo bike.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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80 passion points
Environment & green action
08 Dec 2020 - Christine Wright
Gallery

Kings Heath Park - a much loved green space in the Birmingham suburbs

Take the full post for a selection of photos looking at the life of Kings Heath Park throughout the seasons. 

The park is managed by Birmingham City Council, with the help of a team of local volunteers, the 'Friends of Kings Heath Park'.

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Kings Heath Park - a much loved green space in the Birmingham suburbs





Take the full post for a selection of photos looking at the life of Kings Heath Park throughout the seasons. 

The park is managed by Birmingham City Council, with the help of a team of local volunteers, the 'Friends of Kings Heath Park'.


All photography by Christine Wright.

Find out more about the 'Friends of Kings Heath Park' by connecting here.

Kings Heath Park is centered on the Park House which was built in 1832 for the MP, William Congreve Russell. In 1880, it was bought by John Cartland (ancestor of the author Barbara Cartland, lover of pinkness and author of  romantic novels!).

The land was sold to the council and opened as a public park in 1908. The building houses council offices and the Cartland Tea Rooms.

Plants are available for sale in the nursery at Kings Heath Park.

Let's take a look at the Park though the seasons :

Photography by Christine Wright.

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