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Birmingham's history & heritage - 'Did you know' facts by people with passion

A catalogue of facts and photography of the 'go and see' Historic Gems across the City of Birmingham. Take the link for more from Birmingham's People with Passion

A community-led digital project filled with contributions about the City and its must 'go and see' historic gems 

What we found out

What difference has it made

Passions

History & heritage, Modern Architecture

Project dates

22 Oct 2017 - On-going

Contact (for more details)

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ freetimepays.com

History & heritage
28 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

J. R. R. Tolkien in Sarehole from 1896 - 1900

Did you know that J. R. R. Tolkien as a small boy moved to the Sarehole area in 1896, which at the time was a small hamlet outside of Birmingham. He would live here with his mother Mabel and his younger brother Hilary until 1900. They lived in a house on the Wake Green Road, which was close to Moseley Bog and Sarehole Mill. The area would later be the basis for the Shire in The Hobbit.

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J. R. R. Tolkien in Sarehole from 1896 - 1900





Did you know that J. R. R. Tolkien as a small boy moved to the Sarehole area in 1896, which at the time was a small hamlet outside of Birmingham. He would live here with his mother Mabel and his younger brother Hilary until 1900. They lived in a house on the Wake Green Road, which was close to Moseley Bog and Sarehole Mill. The area would later be the basis for the Shire in The Hobbit.


For my original Tolkien post follow this link: J.R.R. Tolkien's Birmingham (inspiration for The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings). This Did you know post will be an expansion of J. R. R. Tolkien's time in the Sarehole area (now in Moseley, Birmingham).

264 Wake Green Road / 5 Gracewell Cottages

The Tolkien family moved from South Africa to outside of Birmingham in 1896, after his father died. They moved to a house in Sarehole, which at the time was a hamlet in Worcestershire (it is now in Moseley, Birmingham and close to Hall Green). John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, known as Ronald, lived with his mother Mabel and younger brother Hilary at 264 Wake Green Road (also known as 5 Gracewell Cottages). Ronald's mother taught the children at home. He enjoyed exploring the nearby Moseley Bog and Sarehole Mill.

The above photo taken from the BM & AG Sarehole Mill Guide Book published in 2002.

This view of the cottages on Wake Green Road during December 2012. They are now homes of retired people and are private residences.

My dentist is around the corner of Swanshurst Lane, and I usually walk around the corner to the no 5 bus stop on Wake Green Road. This view was from about April 2013. Although it's closer to 260 Wake Green Road. No 264 would be further to the left of here.

After another visit to the dentist, I got this view on my smartphone camera in early March 2020. So no 264 would be further down to the left of the no 5 bus stop. Sometimes the ladies that live here would use the bus stop to go to town.

Gracewell Homes Foster Trust

Seen on a walk down Wake Green Road on lockdown (earlier in April 2020) is what is now the Gracewell Homes Foster Trust. It is possible that these brick homes could have been there in Tolkien's time. The first two views on the walk to Moseley Bog via Thirlmere Drive and Pensby Close.

The house on the right looks a bit like a Mock Tudor house. Although I've not found any details about how old it actually is.

Three cyclists socially distancing on the ride down Wake Green Road past the Gracewell Homes Foster Trust. The entrance to the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground is a bit further down on the left. This was on the walk down from Moseley Bog (leaving it at the playing field at Windermere Road).

The Chalet

One of the oldest houses in the Sarehole area, this cottage was called The Chalet, and is on Green Road. It is possible that the Tolkien boys could have walked past it as it would have been around there at the time. Just up from the Green Road ford (where the River Cole crosses it). It is a Grade II listed building dating to the early 19th century. Seen earlier in April 2020 on the lockdown walk from the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground via the Green Road ford to Sarehole Mill and back.

Sarehole Mill

One of my Sarehole Mill photos was in this post: Birmingham's architectural gems - we go back in time!. Always room for some expansion.

From the October 2013 free open day at Sarehole Mill which was after the 2012-13 restoration (the previous major restoration was in 1969). This open day was part of the Hall Green Arts Festival. The mill is a Grade II listed water mill on the River Cole. Originally the area was called Sarehole, but it is now on the Hall Green / Moseley border near Cole Bank Road (and close to Tolkien's childhood home on Wake Green Road). It is one of two working water mills in Birmingham (the other mill is at New Hall Mill). On the Open Day was various tables selling things. The Bakehouse is to the right (but wouldn't be fully restored until early 2020).

Ronald and Hilary Tolkien would have sneaked into the mill like they always do while the miller was covered in white dust from grinding the bones for fertiliser. View of the north waterwheel mill gears, which drove three pairs of milestones on the first floor. They are only in working order on demonstration days now. Also called The Flour Bins.

The children nicknamed him 'The White Ogre' and they would run away when he shouted at them to leave. More gears that drives the waterwheel.

The back of Sarehole Mill near the Mill Pool. There is a gate from the main courtyard to the right of here that you have to close. Then there is another gate to the short walk around the mill pool that also needs to be closed behind you. Have been around here several times over the years.

The view of Sarehole Mill from the Mill Pool, while it was clear. There is decking to stand on to the right. The mill made a nice reflection in the mill pool water. In later years it kept getting full of algae. Especially in the winter.

Moseley Bog

My original Moseley Bog post is here: Moseley Bog from my December 2012 and September 2016 visits.

A walk around Moseley Bog earlier in April 2020 on lockdown. Getting in again via Thirlmere Road and Pensby Close again. Had hoped to make it to the Yardley Wood Road entrance / exit, but we ended up passing through the playing field near Windermere Road, so instead left via there and walked down Wake Green Road.

For Tolkien as a child, he treasured his memories of exploring it with his younger brother. It was the inspiration for 'the Forest' in The Lord of the Rings.

The Bog is the site of two Bronze Age 'burnt mounds' which are a Scheduled Ancient Monument. These days there is a wooden planked path that you can walk around on. But you can still see how boggy the area was. It was dry and sunny on my last walk here.

The wooden planks take you safely over the Bog. I expect the Tolkien brothers didn't have this in their day as children, so they probably got quite a bit muddy!

A body of water between the fallen tree branches. So much inspiration for the young Tolkien for his later Middle Earth novels.

And look at the trees. This would have provided inspiration as well. In the books and the movies was giant talking walking trees (that could carry the small Hobbits).

The Hungry Hobbit

There is a cafe / sandwich bar near the roundabout on Wake Green Road. It used to be called The Hungry Hobbit. Seen here in January 2011. But when the Tolkien estate found out about this name they were not happy. They were threatened with legal action.

Second view from January 2011 when it was still called the Hungry Hobbit (at the time). The sign below says Sandwich Bar. Visitors to Moseley Bog and / or Sarehole Mill can go here (although Sarehole Mill has it's own small tea room).

This view of the Hungry Hobbit Sandwich Bar during March 2011 (when it was closed).

By the time I took a photo update in March 2017, they removed two letters "it" to rename the cafe as Hungry Hobb (closed when I saw it like this). Hopefully the issues with the Tolkien estate have been settled by now.

One of the signs you would find around the island, either on Cole Bank Road, Wake Green Road or the bottom of Swanshurst Lane. For the Hungry Hobb Cafe. They have clearly changed the sign over the years (this view also from March 2017).

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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70 passion points
History & heritage
30 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

National Trust properties in the Cotswolds: Snowshill Manor and Hidcote Manor (Summer 2019)

While all National Trust properties and gardens are now closed, we look back to my visits in the Summer of 2019 to a pair of properties in the Cotswolds (Gloucestershire). In July 2019 we went to Snowshill Manor (not far from Broadway in Worcestershire) and the last National Trust property we went to was at Hidcote Manor near the end of August 2019. Both had eccentric owners in the 20th C.

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National Trust properties in the Cotswolds: Snowshill Manor and Hidcote Manor (Summer 2019)





While all National Trust properties and gardens are now closed, we look back to my visits in the Summer of 2019 to a pair of properties in the Cotswolds (Gloucestershire). In July 2019 we went to Snowshill Manor (not far from Broadway in Worcestershire) and the last National Trust property we went to was at Hidcote Manor near the end of August 2019. Both had eccentric owners in the 20th C.


For my last National Trust properties post in the Midlands follow this link: National Trust properties around the Midlands (Spring and Summer 2019).

 

Snowshill Manor

This visit to Snowshill Manor was during July 2019. We passed through Broadway in the car to and from the manor (we would later go back to Broadway in September 2019 on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway).

Some history taken from the Wikipedia page (linked above). Snowshill Manor is a National Trust property located in the village of Snowshill in Gloucestershire. It is best known for it's 20th century owner Charles Paget Wade. The property is a typical Cotswold manor house. It has been Grade II* listed since 1960. Wade gave the house and the contents to the National Trust in 1951.

 

When you arrive in the car park and walk to the entrance, the first thing you would see is the Visitor Reception and Shop. National Trust members can get their cards scanned inside of here.

On the walk to the manor house, you can see this model windmill with toy soldiers. Although I later took it on the way to the cafe later during the visit.

Before we left, we headed to this building to have a coffee. We sat outside. It looks like a traditional Cotswolds type of building. Not sure how old it is though.

First view of Snowshill Manor heading up the path. It is a Grade II* listed building Snowshill Manor. The manor house dates to the 17th century, with additions in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was altered in 1919-23 by Charles Paget Wade.

The house was made of Coursed squared sandstone with a stone slate roof. There was timed entrances to the house, so we didn't go in at this point. This was my first view head on of the house.

Another view from within the gate. Above the main entrance is the Sambach coat of arms.

Getting a view of Snowshill Manor behind the gate. As this was the view that Charles Paget Wade saw in a magazine called Country Life which was advertising it for sale in June 1916.

After our visit to the other buildings and a look around the gardens we eventually got to have a full look around the inside of the house, where you could see many of the objects that Charles Paget Wade had collected during his time here. In this room was one of the model ships that he owned.

A pair of large candlesticks with a bust of a man in the middle with a ruff.

This darkened room had Ancient Japanese armour. Like Samurai warriors or something.

Upstairs to the attic, and there was loads of bicycles in this space. As well as another model windmill.

Back downstairs and this room had loads of masks in open drawers. Was also some swords on the wall on the left.

This room had rifles on the wall on the right. Also some shields, a tall hat and a pair of boots. There was much more than this to see, this is just a highlight of the collection in the house. Wade probably didn't live in this house with his collection.

This was the Priest's House and Workshop. It was in this building that Charles Paget Wade actually lived. At the time I couldn't get the full exterior in one photo due to the amount of people in the way. It is a Grade II listed building Brewhouse, in Garden, Adjoining Snowshill Manor. It was built in the 16th and 17th centuries with extensions in the 19th century. Wade made changed in 1919-23. Made of Squared stone in courses with a slate roof. You could go up the stairs to see the contents inside.

What looks like to be Wade's kitchen table. With objects on shelves and on the steps.

Loads more objects on this side including a pair of chairs. Lots of swords and pikes hanging from the ceiling by the looks of it. Near a fireplace.

This was the interior of the Priest's House. A statue on the right near an alter. A desk and a chair on the left.

Outside you can see a model village in the gardens. It is of Wolf's Cove. Wade started building the village in 1907 when he lived in Hampstead. When he moved to Snowshill in 1919, he brought the models with him and by the 1920's had started to create the model Cornish fishing village of Wolf's Cove. National Trust volunteers and staff started to recreate it from 2010 onwards. The model train returned in 2018.

Located in the Well Court was this clock with doors. Latin inscriptions on both sides. I am doing this post after the clocks went forward again to British Summer Time. It is also like a Zodiac with the stars on it.

The other side of the Well Court. There was a small pond here, be careful not to fall in! The building is Grade II listed Two Gardenhouses, About 8 Metres North of Dovecote, Snowshill Manor. They were former cowhouses now Garden Houses. Dated to the late 18th century and early to mid 19th century. Probably altered from 1919 to 1923 by Charles Paget Wade. Walls made of Random rubble with a slate roof. There was a further area to look at through the door, but you have to duck down to get through and look where you are going.

Distance from Birmingham: well over an hour via the A435 and A46. Postcode is WR12 7JU. About 38 miles away. During the lockdown / pandemic period we are in it is temporarily closed. So glad we got to go last summer. National Trust website: Snowshill Manor and Garden.

Hidcote Manor

This visit to Hidcote Manor Garden was during the August Bank Holiday Weekend in late August 2019. After we went here, we went to Kiftsgate Court Gardens again in the afternoon. Was my fisit visit back to Kiftsgate in about 9 years (but that is for another post).

Some history taken from the Wikipedia page (link above). Hidcote Manor Garden is a garden located in the village of Hidcote Bartrim near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire (part of the Cotswolds). The American Lawrence Johnston and his mother settled in the UK in the early 20th century, and he immediately became a British citizen and fought in the British army during the Boer war. In 1907 his mother purchased the Hidcote Manor Estate. Johnston became interested in developing the garden which he started doing in 1910. After World War II he spent most of his time at his property in the South of France, so he entrusted Hidcote to the National Trust in 1947.

 

Just before the visitor centre, I spotted this farm. It is called Manor Farm (Righton). It was not too far from the Barn Cafe.

This view of Hidcote Manor and the Former Chapel (to the left) was from the plant sales area behind the Barn Cafe. The chapel is Grade II listed Former Chapel at Hidcote Manor. Was a former barn, later a chapel. Dated to the 18th century, converted in the 20th century to a chapel by Lawrence Johnston. Made of ashlar and limestone.

Later near the end of my visit, I popped into the chapel. Saw several stained glass windows like this one. Was also an exhibition in here that didn't really interest me.

First look at Hidcote Manor from the plant sales area just beyond the Barn Cafe and toilets. You head out of this area and into the courtyard to get to the house and chapel. The gift shop was the building to the right (just out of shot).

The first full view of Hidcote Manor from the inner courtyard. It is a Grade II listed building Hidcote Manor. Was a former farmhouse. Dates to the late 17th century, which was refronted in the 18th century. With more alterations in the early 20th century. Made of ashlar limestone with a tiled roof.

Only a few rooms on the ground floor were open to explore. This was the library with a fireplace and desk.

In the living room was some comfy chairs near a fireplace.

To the side was a cards table with chairs.

Back outside of the house. This view was from the East Court.

This view of Hidcote Manor was from the Old Garden. Almost hidden by the trees.

I later saw this view of the house, not far from Mrs Winthrop's Cafe. Didn't have a coffee here, as we later had a drink at Kiftsgate Court instead (I later had a cola).

Now for an explore around Lawrence Johnston's gardens. The White Garden in the Old Garden. Steps between the bushes.

Red Borders and the Gazebos. This area was roped off so had to fins another way to that pair of buildings near the steps. The Gazebos was Grade II listed buildings Two Gazebos and Attached Walls, Railings and Steps at Hidcote Manor Gardens. They date to the early 20th century. Made of Squared limestone. Decorated by Lawrence Johnston.

I later saw another view of the Gazebos. And you can walk through one of them. The other one had plates and a surface for making sandwiches or something, like Johnston had it set up for picnics on the lawns somewhere.

This is in the Bathing Pool Garden. It features a statue installed in 1930 of a boy and a dolphin. Was a fountain.

View of the Italian Shelter. Was built in the 1910s. Has some benches to sit on. Was also Italian style or Roman style statues in there, and wall paintings.

This was in the Central Stream Garden. All these gardens were looking nice in the later summer period.

On the way out of the gardens I saw the Alpine Terrace. It runs parallel to the Stilt Garden. There is an urn at the end.

To the back of the house was Mrs Winthrop's Cafe. As mentioned above we didn't stop to have a drink here. The cafe was to the right, while the gardens, toilet, shop and exit were to the left.

Distance from Birmingham: an hour via the M42 and M40 (SatNav takes you through Stratford-upon-Avon). About 47 miles away. Postcode is GL55 6LR. During the lockdown / pandemic period we are in it is temporarily closed. So glad we got to go last summer. National Trust website: Hidcote.

 

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
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19 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

National Trust properties around the Midlands (Spring and Summer 2019)

On my National Trust membership card, been to many National Trust properties around the shire counties in the spring and summer of 2019. I was thinking about doing a post on the Cotswolds properties I went to, but here will stick to the Midlands (for now). Croome Court in Worcestershire. Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire. Farnborough Hall in Warwickshire. Berrington Hall in Herefordshire.

Related

National Trust properties around the Midlands (Spring and Summer 2019)





On my National Trust membership card, been to many National Trust properties around the shire counties in the spring and summer of 2019. I was thinking about doing a post on the Cotswolds properties I went to, but here will stick to the Midlands (for now). Croome Court in Worcestershire. Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire. Farnborough Hall in Warwickshire. Berrington Hall in Herefordshire.


Previous National Trust posts here: 

Croome Court

A visit to Croome Court during April 2019. This visit was near the end of the month. Located not far from Pershore in south Worcestershire at Croome D'Abitot. Croome Court is a mid-18th-century Neo-Palladian mansion. It is surrounded by parkland designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown for the 6th Earl of Coventry. Some of the rooms were designed by Robert Adam. The house was built in 1751 - 52.

A look at some of the rooms inside. This was the Long Gallery. Most of the fixtures and fittings were sold in the 1940s, so most rooms are now used for temporary exhibitions. At the time was no exhibition in this room, but one was scheduled called "Can't see the trees for the wood". The interiors were done in about 1760.

This is The Golden Box in the Dining Room at Croome Court. There was A stunning display of Croome's porcelain by artist Bouke de Vries.

Back outside, and now on the path to the Chinese Bridge. Would soon cross over the Croome River.

Lakeside view of Croome Court. National Trust deckchairs to the right where you can sit and relax near the lake. Also an urn to the left of the deckchairs.

Distance from Birmingham: about 36 miles via the M5. Journey time in a car about 54 minutes. Postcode for SatNav: WR8 9DW. Rebecca Road, High Green.

Canons Ashby

On the May Day Bank Holiday Monday in early May 2019, we went to Canons Ashby House in Northamptonshire. It is a Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house located in the village of Canons Ashby. About 11 miles south of the town of Daventry. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1981, who have since restored it and done up the gardens. The house dates to the mid 16th century. It was the home of the Dryden family for many centuries.

A look inside Canons Ashby House. Photography was fine, as long as without a tripod or flash. The book room or Library. A pair of globes sitting on tables near the desk in the middle of the room.

This room was the Servants' Hall. With a long table and chairs in the middle. One of the rooms on the landing as we headed back downstairs.

Now back outside in the gardens. From the Top Terrace. Stunning flowerbeds with a multitude of colours. Spring is the perfect time to see colourful displays like this. May have been tulips out at that time of the year.

Further out in the gardens. Now on the Mulberry Lawn. The house having originally been built around 1550, was extended in 1590. It was embelished in 1632. The south front was remodelled in 1708 to 1710. The west range to the Green Court with the entrane dates to 1840.

Distance from Birmingham: about 61 miles via the M6 in a car. Should take just over an hour to get there. Postcode for SatNav: NN11 3SD. Canons Ashby, Daventry.

 

Farnborough Hall

A private residence, could not take interior photos, so only got the exteriors. Only open on Saturday and Wednesday afternoons on Bank Holidays. This visit on the way back home from Canons Ashby, during the early May Bank Holiday Monday back in May 2019. Farnborough Hall is a country house just within the border of Warwickshire, not far from Banbury (which is in Oxfordshire). It has been owned by the National Trust since 1960. Home of the Holbech family from 1684, although they first moved in around 1692. During WW1 and WW2 the hall was used as a auxiliary hospital. The main entrance into the hall was through that open door.

View of the drive a bit further back. The Clock Court is to the right. The hall is Grade I listed, while the Clock Court is Grade II listed. The way in from the car park is near the Clock Court. It was a Stableblock dating to the 18th century. Was remodelled in 1815 - 1816 by Henry Hakewill for William Holbech.

After a look around the house (I was unable to take photos inside as it was not allowed due to being a private residence). Went around the gardens having a look around.

From the lawn a bit further back looking at this side of the hall.

Further back after a walk down a path to a garden. Another look at the hall behind this field. Got to be careful of low lying tree branches, as I didn't see it one way, and hit my head (ouch). Even with a hat on (need a hard hat). Some places have low ceilings or door frames so have to be careful where I go on my travels.

Distance from Birmingham: about 48 miles along the M40 in a car. Journey would take around 52 minutes. From Canons Ashby it was about 13 miles along the A423, a journey time in the car of 26 minutes. Postcode for SatNav: . .

 

Berrington Hall

In an August 2019 visit to Berrington Hall. It is a  country house located about 3 miles north of  Leominster in Herefordshire. There was scaffolding on part of the hall due to the on going work to restore the dome. So when you head up the main staircase inside the hall, you see the scaffolding and wraps. Some light fittings had to be taken down at the time. It is a neoclassical country house building that Henry Holland designed in 1778-81 for Thomas Harley.

Heading to the main entrance for a look around the hall, through the big door, up the steps behind the four columns. Scaffolding to the right. Berrington features Capability Brown's last landscape design. You can head down the field through gates past sheep to the Berrington Hall. Best to do that after you have had a look around the hall first. Berrington has been in possession of the Cornewall family since 1386, but was taken over by the Harley family in 1775 who lived here for 95 years. In 1901 a Manchester businessman, Frederick Cawley MP, later Baron Cawley, purchased the estate. In 1957, the 3rd Lord Cawley transferred it to the Treasury, who in turn passed it onto the National Trust. Lady Cawley was allowed to live here until her death in 1978. A Grade I listed building since 1959.

A look around the interior of the hall. This was in the Library. To the left of the fireplace was a chessboard.

This is the Drawing Room. Chairs around the wall near a fireplace with a couple of mirrors in the room.

Back outside into the Courtyard. There was a tea room to the right and I think if I recall correctly the gift shop was to the left. Through the entrance way straight ahead was a former stables. One of which where you could buy an ice cream, or get a coffee. We later went to the Old Servants' Hall tea room (in the building to the right) down the basement for a coffee and slice of cake. After that, got an ice cream from the Stables cafe.

Distance from Birmingham: about 46 miles in the car taking 1 and a half hours via the A456. Postcode for the SatNav: . Leominster.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
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19 Sep 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham Heritage Week (14th to 15th September 2019): Bournville - Selly Manor and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Edgbaston - Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Three venues visited over the weekend of the 14th and 15th September 2019. Selly Manor (including Minworth Greaves) and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bournville. Then the next day to Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston (was really busy there).

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Birmingham Heritage Week (14th to 15th September 2019): Bournville - Selly Manor and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Edgbaston - Birmingham Botanical Gardens





Three venues visited over the weekend of the 14th and 15th September 2019. Selly Manor (including Minworth Greaves) and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bournville. Then the next day to Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston (was really busy there).


Selly Manor

The first of the two buildings at Selly Manor. George Cadbury, the founder of Bournville bought the building in 1907 and arranged for it to be moved from Selly Oak to where it stands today. Now at the corner of Sycamore Road and Maple Road. The heritage open day was on Saturday 14th September 2019 during Birmingham Heritage Week.

A look at the exterior.

Selly Manor was moved to this site in 1916. It is now operated as Selly Manor Museum by Bournville Village Trust. It is a Grade II listed building. The exit steps from the top floor is seen to the left. The main entrance was around to the left.

Interiors: a dining room table I think on the ground floor. The house contains the Laurence Cadbury furniture collection with objects dating from 1500 to 1900.

Costumes on a table including hats. Kids could try them on and look in the mirror. On the first floor. There is about six rooms inside to see.

The ceiling and one of the windows I think on the attic floor. So small in here I exited too quickly, as the steps near here led back outside! William Alexander Harvey the architect managed the restoration from 1909 to 1916.

Minworth Greaves

The second of two buildings at Selly Manor. Near Maple Road in Bournville. I've seen it before back in 2009, but this was my first time inside. Thought to date to the 13th century, it was moved here in 1932 by Laurence Cadbury.

Walking round the back of Minworth Greaves. This site is quite small, compared to other places I've been to (Manor House wise).

A Grade II listed building. William Alexander Harvey supervised the re-build from 1929 to 1932. The interior looking up at the roof to the trio of coat of arms. The Birmingham Watercolour Society Exhibition was on from the 3rd to 14th September 2019.

One of the three coat of arms at the back of Minworth Greaves. This one on the left.

View of the timber framed ceiling from the back looking to the middle. A curtain divides the two sections. The exhibition was below.

Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Prince Lazar

The Heritage Open Day was held in Bournville on Saturday 14th September 2019. Located on Griffins Brook Lane near Cob Lane. I had to use Google Maps directions to find it via the Merritts Brook Greenway. It's not far from the Bristol Road South.

Built in 1968, it is also known as the Lazarica Church. It was built for political refugees from Yugoslavia after World War II.

Serbs have been associate with Bournville since Dame Elizabeth Cadbury sponsored thirteen Serbian refugee children of World War I.

A look at the colourful interior. Very impressive as you head into the main entrance. Looks likes something straight out of Serbia (I've never been).

Just before the exit, the group of visitors also admiring this building.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

It was free to enter the Botanical Gardens on Sunday 15th September 2019, the Heritage Open Day during Birmingham Heritage Week. And loads of people showed up, families with kids. Was a really busy day in Edgbaston! Located on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, the gardens was designed in 1829 by J. C. Loudon and opened to the public in 1832. Near the entance is various tropical houses. Also on the site is bird houses and a bandstand.

The Subtropical House

It simulates climatic conditions found between the warm temperate and tropical regions of the world.

Mediterranean House

The plants in this house grow in parts of the world that typically have hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters so the main growing season is late winter and spring.

The Bird Houses

Various birds in the four giant cages here. On the open day I saw the peacocks on the roof! When I got close to the cages, was able to get some decent photos through the cages of the birds.

The Bandstand

A band was there for the day performing songs during the afternoon. It is Grade II listed and was built in 1873.

Near the entrance and exit was these pink and blue Heritage Open Days balloons on the spiral staircase. Was loads more people coming in as we exited. And also lots of cars coming around Westbourne Road (clogging up the traffic). We walked a distance away from the Botanical Gardens to get here. You could also get the no 23 or 24 buses (but they were also stuck in traffic). Also the no 1 bus was nearby.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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50 passion points
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08 Aug 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Moseley Hall Hospital and Moseley Park: Birmingham Heritage Week, September 2016

Back during the Birmingham Heritage Week of September 2016, on the 11th September 2016 I went to Moseley Hall Hospital, starting off at the Dovecote and Cow House. Then walking towards Moseley Hall Hospital. On the open day Moseley Park was open, so didn't need a key (I'm not a resident). In the park I had a look in the Ice House.

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Moseley Hall Hospital and Moseley Park: Birmingham Heritage Week, September 2016





Back during the Birmingham Heritage Week of September 2016, on the 11th September 2016 I went to Moseley Hall Hospital, starting off at the Dovecote and Cow House. Then walking towards Moseley Hall Hospital. On the open day Moseley Park was open, so didn't need a key (I'm not a resident). In the park I had a look in the Ice House.


Walking down from Kings Heath along the Alcester Road, I entered via the service road to Moseley Hall Hospital, and sat on a bench until the Dovecote and Cow House were opened, sometime after 2pm on Sunday 11th September 2016.

The estate was farmland back in the 18th century surrounding Moseley Hall. Eventually the land was sold to the City of Birmingham and housing built around the estate.

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Moseley estate ended up with the Grevis family who rebuilt the hall in the early 1600s. In 1768 it was sold to the banker John Taylor, His son John built a new house in the plain classical style. In 1889 the estate was sold to Richard Cadbury of the chocolate making family. In 1891 Cadbury presented Moseley Hall to the City of Birmingham. It is now a NHS community hospital.

The Dovecote

The Dovecote is a Grade II listed building. Made of brick, tiled roof with wooden lantern and finial. It dates to the 18th century. I had a look around outside before it opened.

You head up some wooden steps and then you can have a look inside. This was the first building I went up shortly after 2pm when they unlocked the door. A look up to the wooden ceiling.

Cow House

The next building I looked at was the Cow House, seen here before they unlocked the door. A Grade II listed building described as the Building to the North East of the Dovecote. Built in the 18th century, brick with a slate roof.

Once the door was unlocked a look at the ground floor. There was also steps up to the area above. Like all places like this, you go up the steps, but have to reverse down them, a bit like in various old mills I've been too. Was various old bits and bobs upstairs.

Moseley Hall Hospital

After the Dovecote and Cow House, I walked down to the old hall, now a hospital. Moseley Hall Hospital is a Grade II listed building. It was built in about 1790. It was Richard Cadbury's home until he gave it to the City to be Children's Home in 1890. Made of Ashlar with a slate roof. Has a porch with 4 pairs of Tuscan columns.

I previously posted the below photo in this post Cadbury Brothers: George and Richard Cadbury.

I did briefly pop inside, but decided there was nothing worth taking photos of, so I next set off for Moseley Park. Saw this side view of Moseley Hall Hospital on the way. Heading down the grass bank to the busy Salisbury Road, was tricky finding somewhere to safely cross the road, before heading through the open gate into the park.

For more photos taken at Moseley Old Hospital, check out my album on Flickr.

The Ice House in Moseley Park

First up a look a the Ice House, the main reason for going into Moseley Park. The Ice House was built in the 18th century to store blocks of ice for Moseley Hall. One of the volunteers said that even ice shipped over from America via the UK's canal system was stored here. Even now, if you put ice down here, it will stay frozen! The Ice House is a Grade II listed building. Dates to the late 18th century, built of brick.

A look inside and down the Ice House. It has a ladder there, but don't think you can go down there. Worth a look though. Subterranean structure under slight earth mound. Domed brick chamber of about 16ft deep.The chamber is, at least partly, of cavity brick construction.

Moseley Pool

At the time I also had a look around the park. One of the many paths and trees here. Leading to the Moseley Pool.

Usually only locals that live in the area with a key would get to see this pool of water. But on the Heritage Open Day, anyone could see it.

Looks so tranquil and peaceful, hard to believe that this is in Moseley! Between Salisbury Road, Alcester Road and Chantry Road.

A Boat House on the Moseley Pool. The gates are on Salisbury Road and Alcester Road. Both are normally locked. They also have music festivals in this park (I've never been).

For more photos taken at Moseley Park, check out my album on Flickr.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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60 passion points
Modern Architecture
15 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A Tale of Two Hampton Courts (don't confuse them!)

You've all heard of the world famous Hampton Court Palace in London, but have you heard of the other Hampton Court in Herefordshire! Hampton Court Castle is in the West Midlands Region, and is closer to Birmingham, than the former home of Henry VIII in the capital! Some people may even get sent to the wrong one on their SatNav! Both are well worth a visit. I visited both in 2016.

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A Tale of Two Hampton Courts (don't confuse them!)





You've all heard of the world famous Hampton Court Palace in London, but have you heard of the other Hampton Court in Herefordshire! Hampton Court Castle is in the West Midlands Region, and is closer to Birmingham, than the former home of Henry VIII in the capital! Some people may even get sent to the wrong one on their SatNav! Both are well worth a visit. I visited both in 2016.


Hampton Court Castle

A visit on the August Bank Holiday Weekend of 2016 to Hampton Court Castle in Herefordshire. This was only a month or so after my visit to the other more famous Hampton Court down in London! It is located in Hope under Dinmore, south of Leominster and is a Grade I listed building. It dates to 1427 and was built by Sir Rowland Lenthall, on land that was a gift of King Henry IV. It's been beside the River Lugg for 600 years. The Lenthall's stayed here for 300 years. In the 19th century it was bought by Richard Arkwright. His descendants lived here until 1912. In the 20th century it went through various owners until the American millionaire Robert Van Kampen bought it in the 1990s. It was sold again after his death. The postcode for your SatNav is . Distance from Birmingham around 58 to 61 miles, via the M5.

 

First up a look at the Gatehouse, this would be the first and last thing you would see if arriving by car (or coach if one would be able to fit through the archway). The gatehouse is a Grade I listed building, and it listed with the main castle building. Hampton Court, Hope under Dinmore. It dates to the 15th century, with 19th century remodelling. There is two small towers either side of the entranceway.

First view of the castle itself at the end of the drive. This Hampton Court is a castellated country house built between 1427 and 1436. It was altered in the early 18th century by Colen Campbell for Lord Coningsby and remodelled and restored in the early 19th century by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville for Richard Arkwright.

On this side was the Orangery Tearoom, where we had some lunch. Some picnic tables outside.

The view of the castle from the lawn. It was from near here that you could watch the falconry display on the Bank Holiday Weekend in late August 2016. The grounds are also used for various other special events, such as outdoor theatre productions, small concerts and family days out.

A look at the castle round to the right side from the lawn. The Orangery Tearoom was to the far left. The building itself is much smaller than the other Hampton Court. There has been many owners of the building over the centuries. It was owned by the noble Coningsby family from 1510 until 1781. John Arkwright grandson of Richard Arkwright purchased it in 1810. John Stanhope Arkwright sold it in 1910. It was the seat of the Viscount Hereford from 1924 and 1972. American businessman Robert Van Kampen bought it in 1994, but he died in 1999. The Van Kampen family sold the castle and grounds in 2008. The house was last for sale in January 2016.

Now a look inside. There was not a problem with taking photos inside of the castle (as long as you don't use flash).

In this corridor was suits of armour and deer heads. Saw lots of suits of armour on the ground floor over various corridors / rooms.

Suits of armour and a chandelier in this room. Also on the wall was an armoured horse with a suit of armour (on the left). And half a deer on the right side!

Another corridor with more suits of armour (on the left) and deer heads (on the right). A tapestry at the far end.

Shields and more suits of armour around this staircase. Also heraldic flags. A chandelier hanging on the ceiling.

This dining room with a long dining table and chairs, looks like to be from the 19th century. Was a dress on a dummy to the far left. Paintings of flowers on the wall either side of the mirror.

For more photos, please check out my album on Flickr: Hampton Court Castle - the castle.

Hampton Court Palace

This was a group visit during July 2016 (went on a mini coach). A nice day out, where you could see the Tudor palace of King Henry VIII and the late 17th century palace of King William III & Mary II. As well as watch jousting displays and explore the vast gardens. It's next to the River Thames, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Postcode for your SatNav is . Distance from Birmingham approximately 130 miles, if you go via the M40 and M25.

The palace is a Grade I listed building Hampton Court Palace. This view from the main entrance looking up to the Tudor Palace. Built from 1514 onwards, originally by Cardinal Wolsey. King Henry VIII  took it over from the Cardinal, and became one of his main palaces. He made alterations from 1529 to 1540 including the building of the Great Hall. Lots of tourists about in a busy hot summer!

Entering into the next courtyard. This is The Base Court. It's the entrance to Henry VIII's Apartments. The palace is now managed by Historic Royal Palaces. No Monarch has lived here since George II. From here you can visit Henry VIII's Kitchens. There was busts of Roman Emperor's around this court.

The Baroque palace was built from 1689 until about 1694 for King William III by the architect Sir Christopher Wren. This are is the Fountain Court. From here you can access The Georgian Story and William III's Apartments. But I think that you couldn't take photos inside of those galleries unfortunately. I think there was a tea room around here somewhere!

Heading out to the palace's gardens. This view was taken from The Wilderness (near the Rose Garden) and is a view of the Great Hall. That was rebuilt from 1532 and the Chapel was remodelled in 1536, including the building of the Chapel Court. We were heading to the River Thames.

View of the palace from the River Thames. There is a park on the other side of the Thames called Cigarette Island Park, and it has nice views of the palace, the further you go down the path! The boat was called Connaught and was at Hampton Court Landing Stage, Pier No 3. Tudor Palace seen on the left. Baroque Palace to the right!

Kitchen's - seving place. There wasn't many interiors where you could take photos, but it was ok in the Henry VIII's Kitchens

The Queen's Staircase.  Decorated in 1734 for Queen Caroline by the architect and designer William Kent. Nice looking Royal ceiling! Taking photos in the King William III apartments was not allowed, so I had to respect that, so was not much that I could take up here! That led to the The Georgian Story, but wasn't much to take photo wise when I got there (at the time).

The Great Hall - stained glass window - Henry VIII. Not as much restrictions in King Henry VIII's Apartments though (for taking photos). This stained glass window has the Royal Tudor Coat of Arms, with an image of King Henry VIII in the middle of it.

Henry VIII and Katherine Parr married in her Privy Closet at Hampton Court on the morning of 12th July 1543. This was seen in a room off a corridor. Nearby was a portrait of Henry VIII on the wall.

The Clock Court. Part of the Tudor Palace. Some benches here for people to sit down. At this point we were on our way to have a quick look at the Young Henry VIII's Story exhibition. The entrance to the Henry VIII Apartments was further to the left. This was just after exiting those apartments (probably from the door behind me).

For more photos, please check out my album on Flickr: Hampton Court Palace.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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70 passion points
History & heritage
20 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

More National Trust properties around the West Midlands Region

Here we take look at Upton House in Warwickshire, Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire, Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire and Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton.

All National Trust properties that you can visit from the spring onwards. They might be open all year around, but I think it's best to visit in the spring, summer or early autumn. Especially for the gardens and grounds.

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More National Trust properties around the West Midlands Region





Here we take look at Upton House in Warwickshire, Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire, Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire and Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton.

All National Trust properties that you can visit from the spring onwards. They might be open all year around, but I think it's best to visit in the spring, summer or early autumn. Especially for the gardens and grounds.


For my previous National Trusts posts follow these links:

National Trust properties in Birmingham: Back to Backs and The Roundhouse

National Trust properties in Warwickshire

Now on to this selection of National Trust properties!

Upton House from a visit during May 2016.

This visit to Upton House in 2016 was while the house and grounds was set up for an event called "Banking for Victory! A Country House at War". Like it could have been in the 1940s during World War II. At this time it was used as a bank.

It is a country house located northwest of Banbury in Oxfordshire in the areas of Ratley and Upton in Warwickshire. It was built in 1695 for Sir Rushout Cullen, Bt and might have been designed by one of the Smiths of Warwick. Possible alterations in 1710 and again in 1735 for William Bumstead. Remodelled in 1927 to 1929 by Percy Morley Horder for Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted. It's a Grade II* listed building. Built of Ironstone ashlar.

 

This view at Upton House during May 2016 from the rear lawn area. This was a big lawned area, and at the far right side was an outdoor swimming pool! It leads down to the gardens on the lower part of the grounds. The house has a 16 window range. From here it looks quite wide! There is a small terraced garden just in front of the back of the house. Bunting from the houses time as representing as if it was during wartime. Inside there was more examples of what the house may have looked like during the 1940s.

A look around the inside of the house. This view from a balcony on the first floor looking down at the library. In wartime most of the furniture would have been under white sheets. In 2016 they were projecting a film onto the sheet between the pair of portraits. "The pre-war heyday of the country house party never returned."

Another room, I think the lounge or living room. How it could have looked during the 1930s or 1940s. A pair of comfortable chairs with a fire in the middle. I assume that there must have been a wireless (radio) in this room? Also old books on the shelves. Was also a desk near the window, which I assume is where Lord Bearsted may have worked, or read his newspaper?

If you fancy a bite of lunch and a hot drink, then the Wartime Pavilion Restaurant is the place to come! That was temporarily renamed to "Wartime" in 2016 while Upton House was in it's 1940s wartime representation mode. Now just the Pavilion Restaurant again. Other place for tea is Iris's Tea Room and the Tea Window.

Hanbury Hall from a visit during June 2018.

During this visit in the summer of 2018, they had Falconry on display in the grounds. We got a guided tour of the house, but only on the ground floor. After I went back outside, I didn't go back in to have a look around upstairs.

It is a large stately home built around 1701 in the Queen Anne style by William Rudhall for Thomas Vernon. Red brick in Flemish bond with ashlar dressings. It is a Grade I listed building. Located in Hanbury, Worcestershire. The nearest town is Droitwich Spa. It has been a part of the National Trust since around 1953. The last baron Sir George Vernon took his own life here in 1940. And their were no further heirs and the Baronetcy which became extinct.

If you are a bit early for your guided tour of Hanbury Hall, then head towards the Long Gallery. This view from The Sunken Parterre. Inside was a small art gallery featuring the art of local artists. The building is a Grade II* listed building. Built in 1701 and had alterations in the mid 19th century. Red brick in Flemish bond; hipped plain tiled roof. In the Queen Anne style. Inside are two Jacobean overmantels and also frames a funerary hatchment with the three Vernon wheatsheaves. Prince of Wales feathers inside believed to have originally come from Tickenhill House, Bewdley.

The Orangery at Hanbury Hall. Also known now as The Orangery & Mushroom House. It is a Grade II* listed building. Built around 1750. Red brick in Flemish bond with ashlar dressings and hipped plain tiled roof behind parapet. There was orange trees outside. And a large field. Which was behing used by many families on the day of our visit. One area was roped off for a falconry display (I think we kept missing it). Although I did see the handler with a bald eagle on his special glove!

The interior of the house on the ground floor. Seen during a guided tour. This was the Great Hall. We were taken in and out of the various rooms. The main entrance to the house lets you into this room. Above the fireplace on the left was a marble bust of Thomas Vernon. Behind (not in this photo below) was the staircase with the Life of Achilles wall paintings. Unfortunately I did not go upstairs as it was not part of the tour, and I didn't later return to go back inside of the house.

The Dining Room at Hanbury Hall. Quite grand. Family portraits all round the room and a painted ceiling above. I believe that the papers on the table was representing a Suffragette meeting in 1918 (as 2018 was the 100th anniversary of Women gaining the vote).

Shugborough Hall from a visit during August 2008.

I hadn't fully taken up photography in 2008, and started using my then compact camera in 2007 - 2008 when we went to various stately homes or on holiday to various places.

The hall is located in Great Haywood, Staffordshire, not far from Cannock Chase. It was the seat of the Earls of Lichfield and the estate was in the possession of the Anson family for three centuries. When the 4th Earl of Lichfield died in 1960, the National Trust was allocated the hall and it was leased to Staffordshire County Council. Management returned to the National Trust in 2016. The hall is a Grade I listed building. Was built from about 1695. Was enlarged from 1760 to 1770. Samuel Wyatt remodelled it in the late 18th century. More specifically it is in Colwich, Stafford.

The rear view of Shugborough Hall seen in the summer of 2008. I recall that we did go inside of the house, but I only got a handful of photos from outside of the house and around the grounds. Some steps down from the French windows that Patrick Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield (1939-2005) might have enjoyed the view of his garden. Also known as Patrick Lichfield he was known as a photographer and he took official photos of the Royal Family. He lived at Shugborough Hall after his grandfather's death, but he gave the estate to the National Trust in 1960 in lieu of death duties.

The Doric Temple at Shugborough Hall. It is a Grade I listed building and was designed by "Athenian" Stuart, circa 1760. It was identical to one that he had built at Hagley. Made of stone and plastered brick. With 6 Doric columns. It has been recently restored (the listing was from 1968 so perhaps restored in the late 1960s?).

A Chinese style bridge. Grade I listed as the Garden Bridge. Probably dates to the late 18th century. It is on the River Sow. The Chinese House is next to it (not in the photo below). That was erected by Admiral Anson circa 1747 after his voyage round the world.

Outbuildings at Shugborough Hall, not far from the Vegetable patch. Which is a Grade II listed building dating to the early 19th century, although I'm not sure the building in the photo is part of the same listing. This might be the Orangery. I've not been back in over 10 and a half years now. Seems like that there is now the Mansion Tea Room somewhere around this location. Also known as the Shugborough Hall Cafe.

Wightwick Manor during a visit in April 2018.

On this visit we became members of the National Trust. Eventually received a card that can get scanned whenever you visit any National Trust property around the UK.

It is a Victorian manor house located on the Wightwick Bank, Wolverhampton. Built in 1887, the National Trust has owned it since 1937. The house was built by Edward Ould for Theodore Mander, of the Mander family. They were successful late 19th century industialists who owned the company Mander Brothers. The house was only 50 years old when the National Trust acquired it from Geoffrey Mander (a Liberal MP who was son of the original owner). A Grade I listed building. Interiors by William Morris and and C.E. Kempe. Built of brick with ashlar dressings and timber
framing. The house was built in the Aesthetic movement and Arts and Crafts movement. And the house is half-timbered, Mock Tudor style.

A look around the house at Wightwick Manor. The house is very much as the Mander family left it in 1937 and the National Trust has preserved it. A look at the library. There is a desk close to the window on the left with papers and books probably used by Mr Mander. Stained glass window is in this room and in other rooms. Some parts were done up in 2018 to represent the Suffragette movement who finally gained the vote in 1918!

View of The Great Parlour from the Gallery above. Plenty of period seating inside. A lady (a National Trust volunteer) seen playing the piano. While a man sitting on the bench takes a rest (I think he had his dog with him). A stags head seen at the far end of the room above the entrance to the room.

Some of the buildings on the estate. This is now the Malthouse Gallery. Head up the steps to see the art inside. A Grade II* listed building. It was the Old Malt House. At the time of listing was used as an Education Centre. Was built either in the late 16th or early 17th century. It was restored for Theodore Mander in the late 19th century. Brick with red brick dressings; tile roof. The De Morgan collection is inside on the first floor of the malthouse. Various ceramics and paintings around the room. Before the Mander's bought the buildings and land, it was the site of a farm. The Hinckes family owned it from 1815 but leased it to the Moore's until the 1880's. The Malthouse was originally used for malting barley and brewing.

The gift shop and plant sales are in this building (with the plants available to pick up from outside). This was the Old Manor House and it is a Grade II* listed building. Built for the Wightwick family in the late 16th or early 17th century. Theodore Mander has it restored in the late 19th century. Roughcast with brick dressings; tile roof with brick stacks. There is a coat of arms above the entrance to the gift shop. Also on one side is a sundial that resembles a black lion. The Old Manor House is a short distance away from the manor house that the Mander family had built in the late 19th century.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

 

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60 passion points
History & heritage
14 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Kings Norton around The Green including Saint Nicholas Place

A look around the old village centre of Kings Norton. Including The Green and Saint Nicholas Place (which includes St Nicholas Church, the Tudor Merchants House and the Old Grammar School). This collection of buildings won TV's Restoration programme back in 2004 and are now fully restored. There is also occasionally a Farmers Market on the green.

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Kings Norton around The Green including Saint Nicholas Place





A look around the old village centre of Kings Norton. Including The Green and Saint Nicholas Place (which includes St Nicholas Church, the Tudor Merchants House and the Old Grammar School). This collection of buildings won TV's Restoration programme back in 2004 and are now fully restored. There is also occasionally a Farmers Market on the green.


Kings Norton

First off, a look at the buildings at Saint Nicholas Place.

This is St Nicholas Church in Kings Norton. It is the Anglican Parish Church of Kings Norton. There has been a church on this site since at least the 11th century, although most of the current building dates to the early 13th century. The spire was built between 1446 and 1475. The church was restored in 1863 by Ewan Christian and again in 1871 by W J Hopkins. It is a Grade I listed building. This view from April 2009, with a bit of blossom on some of the trees.

The spire of St Nicholas seen during April 2009. In this view is a Monument with an urn that is Grade II listed. Made of stone it dates to about 1770. The only inscriptions that are readable are that of Ann Middlemore (died in 1873) and Martha Middlemore (died in 1876). It is close to the entrance of the churchyard from The Green.

I've been back to Kings Norton several times over the years. Got some more photos of the church during March 2012. This one of the spire. Kings Norton has railway links with the Rev W. V. Awdry who was the author of the Thomas the Tank Engine series. He was a curate here from 1940 to 1946. Kings Norton Station is up the hill in Cotteridge on the Pershore Road South (now part of the modern Cross City line).

One more view of St Nicholas Church from March 2012. There is a churchyard all around the church that you can walk through on the paths, and it leads to the Old Grammar School. The Saracen's Head is nearby on The Green, and when it was restored was given the name of Saint Nicholas Place, probably after the church.

I previously posted my photos of the Old Grammar School in Kings Norton in this post. The Old Grammar Schools of Kings Norton and Yardley.

I will add a bit more detail here, compared to my earlier post. Along with the Saracen's Head (the Tudor Merchants House), it won the BBC TV programme Restoration in 2004, and it was fully restored in the years that followed. A Grade II* listed building, it was probably built as a priest's house to St Nicholas Church. This view from April 2009. The spire of St Nicholas can be seen from behind.

You can see the Old Grammar School from the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton. It looks pretty with blossom on the trees and daffodils on the lawn during spring. Seen here on St George's Day 2009. It became a school by the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Birmingham Civic Society unveiled a rectangular green plaque here in 1982. It was for Thomas Hall B.D. Who was a Schoolmaster, Preacher and Biblophile. He taught here from 1629 to 1662. It was last used as a school in the early 1950s. Until the restoration was complete, it was on the Buildings at Risk Register. This view was from March 2012.

There was an amendment to the listing text in 2018 during the Centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. Two women (suffragettes) in 1913, who were members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), entered the school while it was empty. They forced opened a pair of windows in April 1913, but no fires was set. A message on the blackboard read ‘Two Suffragists have entered here, but charmed with this old-world room, have refrained from their design of destruction.’

Next up is the Saracen's Head. Also known as the Tudor Merchant's House. Along with the Old Grammar School (see above) it won the 2004 BBC Restoration programme. It is now where the Saint Nicholas Place offices are located. It is at 81 and 83 The Green, and is close to the churchyard of St Nicholas Church. A Grade II* listed building. It has been a pub, a grocer's shop and a community meeting place. Dates to the late 15th century. These views from April 2009 unless stated.

Side view of the Tudor Merchant's House / The Saracen's Head. Both this building and the Old Grammar School re-opened to the public in June 2008. It was built in 1492 by a wealthy merchant called Humphrey Rotsey and is now known as the north range. The building was expanded in the early 16th century and that is now known as the east range.

In 1643 Queen Henrietta Maria of France stopped in Kings Norton with an army. It is assumed that she spent the night here in the house. But there is no evidence for this. She was on her way to rejoin King Charles I at his headquarters in York. During the English Civil War. There is a green plaque on the green that mentions her stay in Kings Norton. Saint Nicholas Place is also spelled Saint Nicolas Place. I assume either spelling is correct.

This view of the Saracen's Head / Tudor Merchant's House from March 2012. Seen from the churchyard of St Nicholas Church. The building has become a pub by the 18th century. In the 19th century a further wing was added known as the south wing. By the 20th century, Mitchells & Butlers had owned the Saracen's Head public house. But in 1930 they donated it to Kings Norton Parish to used as a Parish Hall.

Now a look around at some of the buildings around The Green.

The Bull's Head public house is to the left of the Sarcen's Head / Tudor Merchant's House. The first view during April 2009. Can you spot the cherry blossom on a tree? The pub is now run by Milton Pubs.

The next view of the Bull's Head, from another angle, taken in March 2012. Back then it was run by Sizzling Pubs.

One more view of the Bull's Head seen during December 2012 from The Green. The pub is at 77 The Green.

A look at The Green in Kings Norton during April 2009. Many trees, and shops around. This is from the Saracen's Head end of The Green.

The Green plaque seen in Kings Norton during June 2011. Mentions that it has been part of the public centre of Kings Norton for over 500 years. For centuries it has been used for fairs, meetings and markets. The area around Kings Norton Parish is much smaller now than in the Middle Ages.

The Village Barbers Shop seen on The Green during April 2009. As of 2019, it is still there / open.

Molly's Cafe at the other end of The Green in April 2009. It was still open in 2017, but sadly seemed to have closed down in 2018, and is now for sale or to let.

The Farmers Market on the Kings Norton Green on 8th December 2018. I wasn't expecting to see it on this visit to Kings Norton, but there it was during the build up to Christmas.

Unexpectedly spotted an impersonator in the Co-operative Food car park as Kings Charles I! I don't think the real Charles ever visited Kings Norton during the Civil War, but as stated above, his Queen Henrietta Maria did in 1643. He was probably there for the Farmers Market.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
History & heritage
29 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Acocks Green Village on the Warwick Road, Shirley Road and Westley Road

Another village centre. This time Acocks Green Village. With the junction of the Warwick Road, Shirley Road and Westley Road. On the bus routes 11A and 11C. Also on the 1, 1A, 4 and 4A (the 4 used to be the 37). Acocks Green has a church called St Mary the Virgin. There is also Acocks Green Primary School, Acocks Green Bowl and Acocks Green Library.

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Acocks Green Village on the Warwick Road, Shirley Road and Westley Road





Another village centre. This time Acocks Green Village. With the junction of the Warwick Road, Shirley Road and Westley Road. On the bus routes 11A and 11C. Also on the 1, 1A, 4 and 4A (the 4 used to be the 37). Acocks Green has a church called St Mary the Virgin. There is also Acocks Green Primary School, Acocks Green Bowl and Acocks Green Library.


Starting with the Westley Road in Acocks Green. One one side is the Acocks Green Bowl next to the 11C bus stop. Opposite is Acocks Green Primary School (it is also on the Warwick Road).

A look at Acocks Green Bowl on the Westley Road. Now a bowling alley with a laser quest called Quasar Elite. Originally built as a cinema, it opened in 1929 as the Warwick Cinema, also known as the Warwick Super Cinema. It was operated by the Victoria Playhouse Group . The Warwick Cinema was closed in 1962 and it was converted into a 10-pin bowling alley, although the cinema remained and it reopened in 1964 as the Warwick Cinema. The cinema part closed in 1991 and was converted into a laser tag centre.

For many years they had Qusar Elite upstairs above the bowling alley, at least until 2017. As of 2018 it is now Laserquest. Laser Game & Escape Rooms. I spotted this while waiting on the 11C bus on the Westley Road (the driver usually has a 5 to 10 minute break here). Laserquest is "ultimtate sci-fi action adventure for all". It is suitable for children or adults of all ages. They have birthday packages. I think in my life I've only tried laserquest once or twice, but it was a very long time ago and I wasn't any good at it (was better at bowling - but I've not been bowling in years either!). In fact I've not bowled at Acocks Green since the late 1990s.

Acocks Green Primary School seen on the Westley Road in Acocks Green. I think this side was originally the Infants School.

The school was created in 2004 by the merger of Acocks Green Junior School with Acocks Green Infant School. The buildings date back to 1908 by the architect A.B. Rowe. It is locally listed Grade B.  Was opened in 1909 by Worcestershire County Council, transferring to Birmingham City Council in 1911. The school consisted of Boys, Girls and Infants departments, but in 1932 it was reorganised into Senior Mixed and Junior Mixed departments. The Senior Mixed department became a separate school in 1945 and the Junior Mixed department became a primary school at the same time. It currently has approximately 480 pupils.

The side of Acocks Green Primary School seen on the Warwick Road in Acocks Green. I believe that this part was probably the Junior School. This view from Dudley Park Road. The no 37 bus route used to be on the Warwick Road before it was renumbered by National Express West Midlands in 2018 to the 4 (the new 4A route also follows the same route apart from starting in Gospel Oak).

St Mary the Virgin Acocks Green is the Parish Church of Acocks Green and is on the Warwick Road opposite the primary school. It's been a Grade II listed building since 2009. It's an Anglican parish church designed by J G Bland dating to 1864-1882 in the 13th century style. Later extensions by J A Chatwin date to 1891-4. The church was made from local sandstone apart from red brick walls to the exterior of the transept arches marking the impact of WWII bombing. There is a churchyard around with gravestones and memorials.

It was originally built as a chapel of ease to St Edburgha's in Yardley, when Acocks Green was part of the same parish as Yardley. A stained glass window by Morris and Co to designs by Burne-Jones was added in 1895, in memory of Reverend Frederick Thomas Swinburn, late Vicar of Acock's Green. This view as you walk close up past the churchyard on the Warwick Road. Quite of a lot of crosses in the churchyard. Also the odd statue above graves as well.

Acocks Green Library is on the Shirley Road in Acocks Green. Locally listed Grade A, it was built in 1932. Architects Messrs. J.P. Osborne and Sons, builder Mr. J. Emlyn Williams of Aston, masonry work by Wragg Bros of Kings Heath, terrazzo by Lyne and Sons of Birmingham, and hand-made facing bricks by J.W.D. Pratt of Oldbury. Refurbished in 1994-95. On the left is a small war memorial garden (Garden of Remembrance), where each Remembrance Sunday, they hold a wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial. Above the main entrance is Birmingham's coat of arms, also known as Forward.

This Subway is at 1101 Warwick Road in Acocks Green. The building was formerly a Midland Bank. HSBC was probably there until they moved to the other side of the road. HSBC vacated their last Acocks Green premises between 2014 and 2015. A former Woolwich Bank used to be at 1105 Warwick Road (to the left of here). It is has been Exchange 4 Pounds for many years, but the shutter is always down for some reason?

The Inn on the Green is a pub at the corner of Shirley Road and Westley Road in Acocks Green. It is locally listed Grade B. Built in 1930 for Mitchells and Butlers by James and Lister Lea. Art Deco style. On the Shirley Road side is Birmingham Route 44 - The Road Inn. Birmingham's Premier Rock Venue. James and Lister Lea were known for doing Birmingham pubs at the turn of the century (19th to the 20th). The company existed from 1846 to 2001 when they merged with Bruton Knowles.

Christmas lights seen on Jeffries Hardware on the Shirley Road in Acocks Green. Seen during December 2012. I think they use the same Christmas lights above the store each year. The one in the middle says "Merry Christmas".

Christmas lights seen down Westley Road towards the village green in Acocks Green Village from the 11C bus stop outside of Acocks Green Bowl. The bus stop for the 11A is on the other side of the road. This view was seen in late November 2015. The Christmas lights here are usually green and yellow.

This more recent view of Christmas lights in Acocks Green Village was seen on the Warwick Road near Wilko looking towards Burton. This was during early December 2018. To the right of Burton used to be a Woolworths store until they went bust in 2009. The store was empty during 2010, until it was turned into a Furniture & Electrical  charity shop for the British Heart Foundation.

Bouncy castles and other stalls on the Warwick Road in Acocks Green, seen during Acocks Green Village Fun Day. It was held on Saturday 12th April 2014, and was held by the Acocks Green Village BID (one of many events they have had in the village). There was an entertainer there that day (a clown), who would blow up balloons and fold them into shapes / objects for families. The Post Office used to be on that side of the Warwick Road (next to Lloyds Bank), until 2014 or 2015. When the later moved into WH Smith Local which opened in 2015 (where Bon Marché used to be until about 2012) on the other side of the road (to the right of Iceland).

The new Acocks Green Village in Bloom sculpture was unveiled on the village green during 2017. It was unveiled on Thursday 4th May 2017. The designer was Veronica Treadwell. Made by the manufacturer Collins. Installed with the help of Fran Lee and the Bloom volunteers. The design was based on a tree as it was thought that the Acocks Green area has more trees than any other area in Birmingham. It's design is based on the transport links to and from the village. A canal built in the 18th century (what is now the Grand Union Canal). A railway built in the 19th century (later becoming part of the Chiltern Mainline) which was later surrounded by Victorian and Edwardian properties. The sculpture shows a horse-drawn narrowboat and a Great Western Railway locomotive. It is basically a "Welcome to Acocks Green" sign on the island. The shop seen behind was the Card Factory.

During the spring and summer each year, the Acocks Green Village in Bloom team plant colourful flowers on the green. Seen from near the Warwick Road zebra crossing during April 2014. At the time there was also daffodils in bloom. Shops seen behind going up the Shirley Road including Consol Walk-in-Spa, Shaw's Amusements, Kingman House (Cantonese & Chinese takeaway) and Cash Fall Amusements.

Seen in May 2015 was this wonderful flower display of yellow coloured flowers (I'm not very good on flower names so is easier for me to say what colour they are). This view to the Westley Road / Warwick Road corner. At the time there was also tulips on the village green. There is a Barclays Bank on that corner (to the right of a solicitors office).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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History & heritage
17 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries in the Jewellery Quarter

Did you know that there is two cemeteries within the boundaries of the Middle Ring Road? At the north east corner of the Jewellery Quarter (Hockley) is Key Hill Cemetery (Non-Conformist) and Warstone Lane Cemetery (Church of England). If you walk along Icknield Street (part of the Middle Ring Road) you can walk in and out of both.

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Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries in the Jewellery Quarter





Did you know that there is two cemeteries within the boundaries of the Middle Ring Road? At the north east corner of the Jewellery Quarter (Hockley) is Key Hill Cemetery (Non-Conformist) and Warstone Lane Cemetery (Church of England). If you walk along Icknield Street (part of the Middle Ring Road) you can walk in and out of both.


Key Hill Cemetery

The cemetery opened in 1836 and is the oldest of the two cemeteries. It's a nondenominational cemetery (nonconformist). The main entrance is on Icknield Street, while a side entrance is on Key Hill. The cemetery was laid out by the Birmingham General Cemetery Company by the architect Charles Edge. It is no longer used for burials. There is also Commonwealth war graves in the cemetery. A lot of famous names of Birmingham's past are buried here such as Joseph Chamberlain and George Dawson to name two.

Key Hill Cemetery seen in January 2018. Icknield Street entrance.

Key Hill entrance.

Key Hill Cemetery seen in November 2018. Starting again at the Icknield Street entrance towards the first WW1 war memorial.

Path past the gravestone and momuments.

Getting a little tricky to see the paths with all the leaves on the ground. This way towards the Key Hill exit / entrance.

Leaves everywhere, gravestones and monuments all over. Is some catacombs nearby too.

War memorials at Key Hill Cemetery.

This memorial is in memory of those who fell in the Great Wart 1914 - 1918 and who are buried in this cemetery. Poppy wreath from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, the Council and the people of Birmingham.

The original war memorial in the cemetery to those who fell in the Great War 1914 - 1918. It is inscribed with the fallen names.

More recently a war memorial bench to those who fell in WW1 has been placed in the cemetery.

Warstone Lane Cemetery

This cemetery dates to about 1847. There is an Entrance Lodge on Warstone Lane. It's a Church of England cemetery. In here can be found a set of catacombs. This cemetery also has Commonwealth war graves. Famous names of Birmingham's past here include John Baskerville and Harry Gem to name two. Other names for this cemetery include Brookfields Cemetery, Mint Cemetery or Church of England Cemetery. As well as Warstone Lane, other entrance's include Pitsford Street, Vyse Street and Icknield Street.

Views from November 2009.

Cemetery Lodge. Grade II listed building. Built in 1848 by J R Hamilton of Gloucester (Hamilton & Medland). It's at 161 Warstone Lane.

The War Stone. It landed here in the last Ice Age by a glacier. It was called the Hoar Stone. It is a felsite boulder.

Gravestones in Warstone Lane Cemetery seen close to the lodge and war memorial area.

December 2012 view of Warstone Lane Cemetery from Pitsford Street.

A November 2018 walk into Warstone Lane Cemetery towards the catacombs. Various gravestones on the way along the footpaths.

A look at the catacombs at Warstone Lane Cemetery. It is double layered, and has a path that goes around it to the top. This is probably the most well known part of this cemetery.

War memorial in Warstone Lane Cemetery close to the Cemetery Lodge.

November 2009 view of the war memorial cross with a few poppy wreaths below.

The names on the memorial, as seen in November 2009. Bit similar to the design at Key Hill Cemetery. They make it look nice sometimes with the flowers planted in front of the memorial.

The same war memorial seen in November 2018. This time just one poppy wreath. Was just after the Armistice 100 weekend commemorations. Cemetery lodge seen to the left. You can also see The War Stone from this vantage point.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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