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History & heritage
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.

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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.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
07 Nov 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - November 2019

Two Chamberlain Square currently offers some great reflections of the Museum and Art Gallery, the Joseph Chamberlain Monument and the Council House while we wait for the new renovated Chamberlain Square to open. All these taken from the entrance to the Museum.

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The Construction of Two Chamberlain Square - November 2019





Two Chamberlain Square currently offers some great reflections of the Museum and Art Gallery, the Joseph Chamberlain Monument and the Council House while we wait for the new renovated Chamberlain Square to open. All these taken from the entrance to the Museum.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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100 passion points
Modern Architecture
23 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

From the Oozells Street Boarding School to the IKON Gallery

Located on Oozells Street in what is now Oozells Square in Brindleyplace,Birmingham is the IKON Gallery. It was originally built in 1877 as the Oozells Street Boarding School designed by the famed architect John Henry Chamberlain. By 1981 it was used by Birmingham City Council as Furniture Stores. Was converted into the IKON Gallery in 1997 by Levitt Bernstein.

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From the Oozells Street Boarding School to the IKON Gallery





Located on Oozells Street in what is now Oozells Square in Brindleyplace,Birmingham is the IKON Gallery. It was originally built in 1877 as the Oozells Street Boarding School designed by the famed architect John Henry Chamberlain. By 1981 it was used by Birmingham City Council as Furniture Stores. Was converted into the IKON Gallery in 1997 by Levitt Bernstein.


IKON Gallery

(Information below from Wikipedia)

The IKON Gallery was founded in 1965, but only moved to it's present location in 1997. It was founded by four artists from the Birmingham School of Art, David Prentice, Sylvani Merilion, Jesse Bruton and Robert Groves. Originally located in the 1960s Bull Ring shopping centre. By 1978 they had moved to a former carpet shop on John Bright Street near the Alexandra Theatre. The gallery moved to the former Oozells Street Board School in 1997 where they remain to this day. The refurbishment work was designed by Levitt Bernstein.

It is a Grade II listed building now listed as the The Ikon Gallery and Ikon Cafe. But when it was originally listed in 1981, it was the Furniture Stores Of City Of Birmingham Education Department. The listing was last amended in 2011. It was built in 1878 for the Birmingham School Board by Chamberlain and Martin and altered by the same practice in 1898. Paul Clarke of Levitt Bernstein converted it to it's current use in 1997.

 

The following views from Oozells Square of the IKON Gallery taken during May 2009.

These were mobile shots as I think that my then compact camera had run out of battery.

IKON sign from the side. Looking towards Jurys Inn on Broad Street.

First look at the main entrance with the IKON sign. Did not go inside at this time.

I was trying different modes out on my then phone camera, so here I did a black and white monochrome version. Could be a photo from the latre 19th century if it wasn't for the modern building behind!

By June 2009 I had a new bridge camera (after having an issue with my old compact camera in May 2009). So amongst other things got new photos of the IKON Gallery from Oozells Square.

Side or close up view with the rebuilt tower. The original tower was demolished in the 1960s, and in the late 1990s rebuilt and conversion a new tower was built to the original design. Further back it is hard to tell that it is relatively new!

Ahead of a work 25th anniversary do in November 2010, got new photos including this glass lift tower.

You can only really see it from the outside from this service path from Oozells Square to the Water's Edge.

The next time I would see the glass lift shaft would be inside during my works party (almost 9 years ago now).

Close up look at the IKON sign as I entered for the first time during late November 2010, for my works 25th party.

A look at the lift. There is two levels, Level 1 and Level 2 that have exhibitions on. If you go in the lift, it makes a noise, "na na naa naaa naaaa naaaaaa" etc (it is best if you use the lift yourself, also I've not videoed the lift sound). I most recently used the lift after visiting the Barry Flanagan exhibition. Barry Flanagan bronze sculptures at the IKON Gallery.

The Victorian interiors preserved with the late 1990s lift shaft and glass staircase.

Modern metal tubes connect to the Victorian brick and stonework.

Pretty much the same when you turn slightly to the right. This I think was from Level 2.

Some of the artworks I saw probably on Level 2 during late November 2010.

No idea who the artist's was or what this exhibition was about though.

Lots of metal circles inside of circles.

Perhaps something to do with sound and air?

Skipping ahead to July 2015 when The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015 was on. Here in Oozells Square outside of the IKON Gallery was: Midnight Moths by the artist: Alyn Smith, it was sponsored by: Harrow Green.

This owl sculpture was in Central Square, Brindleyplace outside of Five Brindleyplace. It was offices of BT, but later  Deutsche Bank. The Oozells Owl was by the artist: Jodie Silverman, and the sponsor was of course Deutsche Bank.

Back to outside of the IKON Gallery in Oozells Square during July 2017. The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017 was on with a bear trail. The Ink Detective was by the artist: Mr A Singh and the sponsor was Deloitte.

There is a Barry Flanagan bronze sculpture of a sitting hare outside in Oozells Square. Seen here during September 2019. At that time wasn't sure of going into the IKON Gallery, also had a long bus journey and walk, so left it for another week.

One of the Barry Flanagan hare sculptures seen inside of the IKON Gallery during early October 2019. For more photos, the link to the post is further up. Or see them via this search Barry Flanagan.

During my most recent visit to the IKON Gallery earlier in October 2019, after seeing the Barry Flanagan exhibition (link further up this post), went back down the glass lift (for the first time in almost 9 years). Saw this modern area with a dartboard. Somewhere to sit in the foyer, near the shop. There is a cafe to the far left of here (I have never been). It is now home to Yorks Cafe. They erroneously have the date 1847 for when the school was built (it was actually around 1877 or 1878).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham New Street Station and the Pallasades to Grand Central

A look at the transformation of Birmingham New Street Station from 2010 to 2015 / 16. The Pallasades was eventually replaced by Grand Central which opened in September 2015. The concrete station and shopping centre built in the mid to late 1960s replaced by the current station and shopping mall.

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Birmingham New Street Station and the Pallasades to Grand Central





A look at the transformation of Birmingham New Street Station from 2010 to 2015 / 16. The Pallasades was eventually replaced by Grand Central which opened in September 2015. The concrete station and shopping centre built in the mid to late 1960s replaced by the current station and shopping mall.


I started taking photos of Birmingham New Street Station in 2010. And started regularly travelling from it to take photos around the network from about 2012. If you want to check out all my photos to date (other than on here) then follow my link on Flickr (over 1800 photos to date) Birmingham New Street Station.

The following information taken from Wikipedia (link at the top).

The station was originally built by the London and North Western Railway between 1846 and 1854, replacing the earlier terminus at Curzon Street which opened in 1838. LNWR shared the station with the Midland Railway until 1885, when Midland built their own extension alongside the original station. The two companies separated by a road called Queens Drive.

On Stephenson Street was built the Queens Hotel, this survived until the 1960s redevelopment.

Various lines go into New Street Station including the Stour Valley line, the Birmingham West Suburban Railway (that later formed part of the Cross City from 1978), and other lines.

In 1923 the LNWR and Midland Railway with others was grouped into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. In 1948 the railways were nationalised under British Railways. During World War II the roof suffered extensive bomb damage as a result of the air raids during the Birmingham Blitz.

After the war repairs were made but the original station was in use until the 1960s.

The station was completely rebuilt in the 1960s as part of the West Coast Main Line modernisation programme. Demolition of the old station and Queen's Hotel began in 1964 and was not complete until 1966. The rebuilt New Street Station was opened in 1967. While The Pallasades was built from 1968 and 1970 and was opened at that time.

The railway was privatised in 1997 and the train operators were franchised. Eventually the station was to be owned by Network Rail.

 

One of my earliest photos of New Street Station taken in during February 2010, not far from St Martin's Queensway.

The back of the station as seen from Navigation Street in February 2010. The rear footbridge was built in 1993 after the Kings Cross fire of 1987, as New Street is classed as an underground station, and the footbridge is also like an emergency exit. Train operators seen here included London Midland, Virgin Trains and Cross Country Trains. The Pallasades was still above and demolition work yet to begin.

It's now January 2011 and the redevelopment of New Street Station was well under way. It would take 5 years. Here was the void over platforms 12a, 11a, 10a, 9a and 8a. Come here now, and you would find a public square opposite the Bullring from St Martin's Queensway, but not 8 years ago! Just a big hole above the tracks.

Seen here in September 2012 when the Moor Street Link Bridge was under construction, below the Odeon cinema. Now a useful link from New Street to Moor Street Station. The Rotunda to the right. I now take many of the my photos from up there (mostly of Virgin Trains).

By April 2013, it was almost time for the old concourse at New Street Station to close for the last time. Saw it here on the 13th April 2013. Half of the new concourse was to open by 28th April 2013. It was called "Half Time Switchover".

By August 2013 I had my first look at the new concourse. No ticket barriers yet but this is on the B side bridge over platforms 1 to 12.

Up the ramp to what was The Pallasades in March 2014. During the transformation into Grand Central. Heading past HSBC.

The former Woolworths store was just about visible before they gutted it to transform it into new retail units for Grand Central. I think that they had already started to change the floor tiles by this point. I never really fancied taking photos of The Pallasades when it was still there, wasn't much to look at by the end. Dark and depressing. There used to be central escalators that took you down to the old New Street Station concourse, but that closed in 2013.

Skipping ahead to September 2015, and the new New Street Station was almost ready to fully reopen. Seen here below John Lewis is the Southside media eye. At the corner of Hill Street and Station Street. They were testing out the new media eyes. Also preparing for the opening of Grand Central Birmingham. The Southside Steps are below (at one point nicknamed the Spanish Steps like the ones in Rome). This end is close to the Alexandra Theatre.

Opening day late September 2015 from the newly opened public square. The media eye facing the Bullring showing a Grand Central Birmingham advert. Around this area they would later install a war memorial, which the Queen would visit when she reopened the station with the Duke of Edinburgh. The new taxi rank on what was Queens Drive is to the left (although it took some time before I saw taxis down there).

This was in October 2015. The Midland Metro extension to New Street Station wasn't quite finished (it was a bit behind). The Stephenson Street media eye at the corner of Stephenson Street and Navigation Street welcoming you to Grand Central. Above is Ladywood House (still to be redeveloped to this day). Grand Central Tram Stop would later open down here in 2016.

First look around Grand Central in October 2015 (after it opened to the public in late September 2015). Looking this way to John Lewis. Below the new airy concourse of Birmingham New Street Station. With a Pret a Manger to the left. Joe & The Juice is just in front of John Lewis (and is part of that group).

Some of the restaurants in Grand Central including Tapas Revolution.

Tortilla - was a long queue in the early days and weeks. Since then many retail or restaurant units in Grand Central have closed down, some have been replaced. Some units have remained vacant. Might be the rent is too high?

This is the view from a car park on Swallow Street (near Hill Street) of Birmingham New Street Station on the opening day in late September 2015. With Grand Central and John Lewis.

This is the view from October 2015 of the new Birmingham New Street Station looking more or less complete from the Bullring link bridge (just beyond what was later name Link Street). This is the route between Grand Central and the Bullring. On the media eye at the time was "Full London Ahead" from Virgin Trains (who are due to lose the West Coast franchise in December 2019). The demolition of the old 103 Colmore Row was well underway at the time.

Not everything was complete in 2015. In 2016 they were building a new exit to Hill Street, from the footbridge that stretches to the old Navigation Street exit. Both are now exit only. It's called the Southern Ticket Hall. Although all you can do in there is put your ticket in the ticket barrier to exit the station. This view from Lower Severn Street during October 2016.

It was open by December 2016. This exit is close to platforms 1 and 2. This photo below taken in July 2017. When I took this I wasn't exiting the station but using the footbridge to go between different platforms when I was on the look out for Big Sleuth bears. Travelling from Birmingham International to University.

Heading over the Hill Street Footbridge during October 2017. Not all trains are on time, in fact from time to time there are delays. I was travelling to Longbridge and waiting at platform 12B, but the train I ended up getting was from platform 9B so used this footbridge to change platforms. I also call this the Navigation Street Footbridge. Not many people seem to use it when I'm there (not experienced it during the rush hour / commuting period, only off peak or weekends).

I don't often get new photos of Grand Central looking down to the New Street Station concourse. This view was taken in May 2017. The paid ticketed area is to the right, while the free area is to the left of the eateries. The escalators had Bulling & Grand Central on them (as the centres now have the same owner and were merged into one).

Some new places in Grand Central, some are still here some already gone! Mowgli seen in August 2018. Cocoa seen in August 2018 (they have moved to The Mailbox). Tuckers Newsagents & Games seen in January 2019 when Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was on Netflix (it was temporary and only there for a short period of time). Kitty Cafe seen in May 2019 (it is still there).

This mural was seen in Grand Central not far from the ramp during February 2019. It shows the likes of Selfridges, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham's canal network. I don't think the mural is there now.

The first Midland Metro extension to New Street Station was opened completely to Grand Central Tram Stop in 2016. By 2019, the trams are now run under the name of West Midlands Metro. And the trams are going blue. Seen here on Stephenson Place is a pair of battery-less trams. Tram 32 heading to Wolverhampton, and tram 27 heading to the (current) Grand Central terminus. The ramp was refubished during the Grand Central redevelopment of 2015, and looks much better now. The pair of trams seen in October 2019.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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90 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Oct 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of Bank Tower Two - September/October 2019

Here's a gallery of photos from September and October so far of the construction of Bank Birmingham Tower Two, with lots of different lighting conditions.

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The Construction of Bank Tower Two - September/October 2019





Here's a gallery of photos from September and October so far of the construction of Bank Birmingham Tower Two, with lots of different lighting conditions.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points

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