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Elliott Brown Classic Architecture
05 Jul 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Old Crown in Digbeth, dating back to 1368!

The Old Crown in Digbeth claims to date back to 1368. The Grade II* listed building as it is now is more likely to have been built between 1450 and 1500, and could have been established as an inn from the 16th or 17th centuries. It has seen many changes over the centuries. Including road widening in the mid 20th century, and soon the Eastside Metro Extension (by the mid 2020s).

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The Old Crown in Digbeth, dating back to 1368!





The Old Crown in Digbeth claims to date back to 1368. The Grade II* listed building as it is now is more likely to have been built between 1450 and 1500, and could have been established as an inn from the 16th or 17th centuries. It has seen many changes over the centuries. Including road widening in the mid 20th century, and soon the Eastside Metro Extension (by the mid 2020s).


One of the oldest buildings in Birmingham, including within what is now the City Centre (as far as the middle ring road), is The Old Crown. They claim to date back to about 1368. For instance they celebrated their 649th birthday in 2017 with a ribbon on one of the doors.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Old Crown Dbeth (Sep 2017) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

So as of 2021 they are now 653 years old!

 

History of The Old Crown

The Old Crown was probably built sometime between the year 1450 and 1500 (in Medieval and early Tudor times). Some evidence dating back to 1492. A man visiting Birmingham in 1538 described the building as a "mansion house made of timber". It is thought that the building was originally built as the Guildhall and School of St. John, Deritend. In 1589 the building was bought by "John Dyckson, alias Bayleys". It remained in the Dixon family for the next 100 years. It may have began to be used as an inn from this time, especially in the years following the Spanish Armada, and gained the name "Crown".

Although later evidence suggests it was used as an inn by around 1626, and being called the Crowne by 1666. During 1643, the forces of Prince Rupert attacking Birmingham during the Civil War (on the way to fire his musket at the cockerel of the old St Martin's Church), there was some skirmishes near the inn.

The house was converted into two houses in 1684, and then into three by 1693. It remained three houses until the 19th century. Joshua Toulmin Smith saved the building in 1851, from demolition by the Corporation of Birmingham (who wanted to improve the street). The Corporation again proposed to knock it down in 1856 and 1862, but Smith saved it each time.

 

The following three Public Domain Dedication images taken from the Birmingham Museums Trust Collection.

An etching of the Old Crown Inn, Deritend, Birmingham, 1895-1900, by Samuel Henry Baker (d. 1909).

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1970V130 Old Crown Inn Deritend.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A watercolour painting by George Warren Blackham of the Old Crown Inn Deritend, Birmingham. Probably in the late 19th century.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1956V372 Old Crown Inn Deritend Birmingham.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

An etching of the Old Crown Inn, Deritend, Birmingham by J. Alfred Swatkins. Possibly late 19th or early 20th century, with the old tram tracks.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1965V8 Old Crown Inn Deritend Birmingham.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

High Street Deritend, outside of The Old Crown was widened and reopened by 1955. This included removing the old tram tracks, and the old cobbled road surface. Buildings opposite were demolished, and the Bull Ring Trading Estate was later built there (on the site of St. John's Church, Deritend, which was demolished in 1947, after suffering damage during the Second World War in 1940).

 

Two vintage photos taken by the late Phyllis Nicklin, who was a tutor in Geography in the former Department of Extramural Studies, University of Birmingham. They were originally digitised by BrumPic.

The Old Crown in Digbeth taken by Phyllis Nicklin (University of Birmingham). This was probably before the road was widened in the mid 1950s.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Old Crown P Nicklin 2.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The Old Crown in Digbeth, taken in 1960 by Phyllis Nicklin (University of Birmingham). High Street Deritend had been widened in the 1950s.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown P Nicklin.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />


The Old Crown was bought by the Brennan family in 1991. In the summer of 1994, they found an old well, while doing repairs, when they were clearing out the old sheds at the rear of the property, which at the time had been closed off for more than 100 years. The Brennan family reopened the pub in 1998.

The pub is a Grade II* listed building (since 1952) at 186, 187 and 188 High Street Deritend, and is on the corner of Heath Mill Lane. It is situated to the right of the Custard Factory.

As of the summer of 2021, roadworks are taking place down on the Digbeth High Street. This is to build the Eastside Metro Extension. Which will be starting properly from July 2021. The route will go past the HS2 Curzon Street Station. Work has also began to built a Sprint bus route towards Solihull and Coventry on the A45 (via the Small Heath Highway and Coventry Road). It could be ready in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

 

The Old Crown in the 21st Century

The following images of The Old Crown were taken during October 2009 by Elliott Brown. This was on the first day that I would take photos around the Digbeth area.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The Old Crown 1368.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (10).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (12).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (14).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The Beer Garden / car park at the back from Heath Mill Lane.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Oct 2009) (16).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Old Crown Coffee Club, seen from High Street Deritend during January 2014.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Jan 2014).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Irish flags and bunting up, at The Old Crown, during March 2014 for the St Patrick's Day Festival. The parade used to take place down the Digbeth High Street each March until 2019.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Mar 2014) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A red ribbon on The Old Crown during November 2016, getting ready for Christmas. This view taken from the bus.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Nov 2016).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Old Crown during March 2017 for St Patrick's Day. Getting ready for The Father Ted's Lampa. The St Patrick's Fundraiser.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Digbeth 110318.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Seen in March 2018, with snow on the roof, was The Old Crown. Again getting ready for St Patrick's Day. The beer garden around the back, became the Guinness Village, to show the England vs Ireland Six Nations Rugby Union match on the TV. 

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Mar 2018) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

One year on, to March 2019. St Patrick's Day again at The Old Crown. This time it had signs on it for 13 Hop House Lager.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Mar 2019) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Passing The Old Crown in Digbeth on the no 4 bus during the middle of June 2021. This was during the Euro 2020 match between England and Croatia.

dndimg alt="The Old Crown Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Crown Dbeth (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Modern 21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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80 passion points
Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
21 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021

After a delay, Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 finally began in May 2021, and will be on in the City of Coventry for the next year or so. Coventry won the bid to host it in late 2017. The City Centre is being redeveloped as arts and cultural activities get underway. Get the train down from Birmingham New Street with Avanti West Coast, a 20 minute journey. Then 10 minute walk.

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Coventry UK City of Culture 2021





After a delay, Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 finally began in May 2021, and will be on in the City of Coventry for the next year or so. Coventry won the bid to host it in late 2017. The City Centre is being redeveloped as arts and cultural activities get underway. Get the train down from Birmingham New Street with Avanti West Coast, a 20 minute journey. Then 10 minute walk.


COVENTRY UK CITY OF CULTURE 2021

 

Transport to Coventry

If you are heading to Coventry from Birmingham, the fastest route is from Birmingham New Street Station to Coventry Station with Avanti West Coast. Their Class 390 Pendolino service towards London Euston only takes about 20 minutes (with one stop at Birmingham International). If you went with London Northwestern Railway in one of their Class 350 Desiro trains, the journey might be longer.

dndimg alt="Avanti West Coast Coventry" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Avanti WC Cov (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />Avanti West Coast Pendolino 390 010 to Birmingham New Street. Welcome to Coventry. 12th June 2021.

 

If you go by bus, take the X1 on a National Express West Midlands Platinum bus. The journey would take at least an hour or more (depending on where you get on). The bus terminates at Pool Meadow Bus Station in Coventry (not far from the Coventry Transport Museum).

dndimg alt="X1 Coventry" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/X1 Pool Meadow Cov (Feb 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />The X1 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus to Birmingham at Coventry Pool Meadow Bus Station, 29th February 2020.

 

Coventry's BID for UK City of Culture 2021

In 2017, the City of Coventry bid to be the 2021 UK City of Culture. Coventry won the bid in December 2017. The other bidders were: Swansea, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland.

"We weren't sent to Coventry, we chose to come. Coventry is a city of welcome, a city of stories, a city of innovation and invention, a City of Culture".

I saw the sign below at the Friargate development, not far from Coventry Station during October 2017.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 (Oct 2017).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Thre was also this sign about Coventry's bid for UK City of Culture 2021. Seen in Broadgate, Coventry, behind the Lady Godiva statue. Was in the window of Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre. This was in March 2018, so Coventry by this point had won the bid around 3 months earlier.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 (Mar 2018).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

End of February 2020, and I saw this sign about Coventry 2021 at Friargate near Coventry Station.

"We are UK City of Culture 2021". This way to the City Centre. Several weeks before the 1st lockdown, and over a year before Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 would begin. It ended up getting delayed until May 2021 in the end. What with the 3rd lockdown, and having to wait for restrictions to be eased again.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 (Feb 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Cultural activities in Coventry City Centre, March 2018

On the 24th March 2018, over 3 months since Coventry officially won the bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, there was various street entertainment taking place at the time around Coventry City Centre.

Men in kilts with a ladder near West Orchards Shopping Centre on Smithford Way.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

"My City 2048". Also seen on Smithford Way in Coventry. Coventry (UK) is twinned with Volgograd (Russia). And this art was part of the Young Artists' Exchange. 50 young people in Coventry and in Volgograd, Russia were asked to imagine how their cities might look in the year 2084 (when Coventry and Volgograd will have been twin cities for 140 years). This is the exhibition that they came up with.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Canteen advert at West Orchards Shopping Centre, on a four wheeled slow vehicle. This was near a fountain and the Upper Precinct. There was also some people around in orange outfits at the time.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Colourful banners at the Upper Precinct. On my most recent visit to Upper Precinct on the 12th June 2021, I noticed that this footbridge above has been removed. As has the escalators behind with the glass windows.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Finally we had the Bureau of Silly Ideas, making sensible use of silly. There was a moving cone. This was at Broadgate.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Return visit to Coventry, June 2021

I got the train down to Coventry to see a bit of Coventry 2021 on the 12th June 2021. After checking out new station building, took a long walk around until I got back into the City Centre via Spon Street. Got to see the ribbons at Broadgate and the rainbow arcade on Hertford Street. I may have missed other areas I wasn't aware of. Was my first time travelling back to Coventry since the pandemic began.

This banner on the Friargate hoardings, I later saw on the walk back towards Coventry Station. There is a Coventry 2021 app apparently.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Earlier I saw this Coventry 2021 sign in the windows of a former BHS store, I was heading from the Upper Precinct to the Lower Precinct for a stop at Caffe Nero.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC BHS (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

While landscaping of the City Centre streets continues in Coventry, at the Upper Precinct is this new water jet fountains for kids to play in.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC jets (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The previous footbridge and escalators that was here has been removed, as you can see in this view towards the Lower Precinct. There is still a lot to do in regards to the new paving.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC jets (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The view from the other side, it's not just Centenary Square, Birmingham where kids can have fun in water in a public space, such as here in Coventry!

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC jets (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Hertford Street rainbow arcade

I'd previously seen photos by Damien Walmsley taken in here. You can see his post on his blog here: Coventry looking good in the sun. The rainbow arcade is on Hertford Street.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I kept looking up at the many colours on the roof.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I missed spotting the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 shop (on the left). I wasn't aware of it when I was there.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I popped up some steps that led to a car park, after some views I headed back the way I came.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

One more view of the rainbow arcade before returning to Broadgate.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Ribbons at Broadgate

Approaching Broadgate from the Upper Precinct for my first view of the ribbons.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The sun was shing as cyclist rode past, and people sitting on the benches below the ribbons.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The ribbons with messages above the infamous Lady Godiva statue.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was also Coventry 2021 sky blue banners around the square.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

View from the back of the Lady Godiva statue. The Upper and Lower Precinct were to the right.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

More shadows with a view of the ribbons towards the Upper and Lower Precinct. After this I headed to Hertford Street (see above).

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (6).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Coming back from Hertford Street, now back in Broadgate towards Primark, and retracing my steps down the Upper Precinct.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

I would have looked for more after leaving the Lower Precinct, but ended up walking back to Coventry Station to return to Birmingham. That and get a few more shots of the new red station building.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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80 passion points
Elliott Brown Classic Architecture
14 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Look no clock hands on Old Joe (at the University of Birmingham)!

The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham, known more famously by his nickname of 'Old Joe' has been stuck at 12 for ages now. On Tuesday 8th June 2021, mobile cranes / cherry pickers went up to remove the hands from the clock faces. This is the start of work to repair the clock mechanisms. Before long you'll be able to read the time again!

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Look no clock hands on Old Joe (at the University of Birmingham)!





The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at the University of Birmingham, known more famously by his nickname of 'Old Joe' has been stuck at 12 for ages now. On Tuesday 8th June 2021, mobile cranes / cherry pickers went up to remove the hands from the clock faces. This is the start of work to repair the clock mechanisms. Before long you'll be able to read the time again!


See this Twitter thread from the University of Birmingham for more.

Having noticed some posts on Twitter about the clock tower at lunchtime, Tuesday 8th June 2021, I travelled down to the University of Birmingham, catching a no 61 bus from Bristol Street to the Bristol Road in Edgbaston (getting off near Edgbaston Park Road).

I walked up to the East Gate, and headed towards the Chancellor's Court via University Road East. This is between the Guild of Students and Barber Institute of Fine Arts (and opposite King Edward's School).

dndimg alt="East Gate University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/East Gate UoB (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Heading towards University Square, I could already see the missing clock hands on one of the clock faces of Old Joe over the Watson Building (School of Mathematics).

dndimg alt="Old Joe University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe UoB (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This building is linked to the Poynting Building (Physics Department). Heading under the bridge and turning left into the Chancellor's Court.

dndimg alt="Old Joe University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe UoB (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was barriers around the lawn, but you could still walk around the paths near the Aston Webb Building (in a semi circle).

dndimg alt="Old Joe University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe UoB (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A zoom up to one of the clock faces, looks so weird without any clock hands. Also the brickwork could do with a clean, so much bird muck to wash off.

dndimg alt="Old Joe University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe UoB (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I arrived in the afternoon, so missed the mobile cranes going up. Although they were still around the clock tower.

dndimg alt="Old Joe University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe UoB (Jun 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Better lighting from this angle, two clock faces without hands!

dndimg alt="Old Joe University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe UoB (Jun 2021) (6).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Not all hands had been taken down, the hand pointing to 6.

dndimg alt="Old Joe University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe UoB (Jun 2021) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Heading out past the Law Building, then down some steps towards the West Gate. The Aston Webb Building seen to the right of here.

dndimg alt="Old Joe University of Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe UoB (Jun 2021) (8).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Now on University Road West, a look at the Faraday statue and Old Joe. The statue was a gift from the artist, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, in the Centenary Year of the University of Birmingham (2000).

dndimg alt="Old Joe Faraday" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Old Joe Faraday (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Towards the West Gate and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, I initially got this rear view of the bronze Faraday statue. The University recently celebrated their 121st birthday, since their inception by a Royal Charter issued by Queen Victoria in 1900.

dndimg alt="Faraday QEHB" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Faraday QEHB (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Heading past University Station, and crossing over New Fosse Way, followed the path towards the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, to catch my next bus, the 76. I initially waited at the next stop, but realised the 76 was extended from the QE to Northfield, and I wanted the 76 to Solihull. Other buses I saw included the 48 and 25. This was the closest I've got to the QE since the pandemic began in 2020.

dndimg alt="Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/QEHB Hospital Way (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Elliott Brown Classic Architecture
09 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The original Curzon Street Station (1838 to 1893 / 1966)

Did you know that the first railway passenger station in Birmingham was opened at Curzon Street in 1838? Built by the London & Birmingham Railway, engineered by Robert Stephenson. The building was designed by the architect Philip Hardwick. It's time as the Birmingham terminus was shortlived after New Street opened in 1854. But continued for excursions to 1893 / goods to 1966.

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The original Curzon Street Station (1838 to 1893 / 1966)





Did you know that the first railway passenger station in Birmingham was opened at Curzon Street in 1838? Built by the London & Birmingham Railway, engineered by Robert Stephenson. The building was designed by the architect Philip Hardwick. It's time as the Birmingham terminus was shortlived after New Street opened in 1854. But continued for excursions to 1893 / goods to 1966.


Curzon Street Station

(1838 - passengers 1893 / goods 1966)

The first passenger railway linking London to Birmingham was opened in 1838. From London Euston to Birmingham Curzon Street. The station was originally called simply Birmingham Station (it was renamed Birmingham Curzon Street Station in 1852 after Birmingham New Street Station was being built and opened in 1854).

It was the terminus for both the London & Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway, with lines from London, Manchester and Liverpool.

The station located at New Canal Street and Curzon Street in what we now call Eastside, was first opened in June 1838, and the first passenger train arrived from London on the 17th September 1838. The station also had platforms for parcels, but there was no through trains.

The architect of the station was Philip Hardwick, while Robert Stephenson was the engineer in charge of building the line from London to Birmingham. The building was inspired by classical Roman architecture, following Hardwick's trip to Italy in 1818-19.

 

The following image shows Curzon Street Station as it was in 1838. It was published by E C & W Osborne and printed by E Y Moody Bros.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/2002V6 Curzon Street Station Birmingham 1838.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The next sketch shows Curzon Street from New Canal Street in 1839. It was an Engraving from Topographical Views  in Wilkinson Collection Vol iii.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1996V145.12 Birmingham Station Curzon Street.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A more recent drawing of Curzon Street Station dated 1950. It was an ink drawing by John L. Baker. Topographical view of Birmingham. By then the station was only being used for goods. It closed in 1966.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/1996V86 Curzon Street Station Birmingham.jpg" style="width: 100%;" /> Images above are free to download from the Birmingham Museums Trust collection, Public Domain. Digital Image Resource. Creative Commons Zero Licence (CCO).

 

The coming of New Street Station to the closure of Curzon Street Station

The problem was that Curzon Street was not centrally located to the centre of town. So the railway companies decided to build a new station in the heard of the town centre. This would become Birmingham New Street Station, and it's first incarnation opened in 1854. Many services were transferred away from Curzon Street at the time. The station was modified at Banbury Street and New Canal Street by 1874, and was used from Easter that year for passenger excursion trips. Which it continued to do so, until it closed by Easter 1893. Such as on public bank holidays to Sutton Coldfield. The old 1838 platforms were not used as much by then.

Going into the 20th Century, the station continued to be used for goods until it closed for good in 1966. The platforms and original good sheds were demolished in the same year. The site was then used as a Parcelforce depot until that closed in 2006.

In the years before HS2 the land behind the station building was used as a public surface car park, and at one point could have been a redevelopment site called Curzone (which never happened in the end). The HS2 announcement in 2009 changed everything.

The surviving building became a Grade I listed building in 1952. At one point it was modified in 1839 to become a hotel called the Victoria. In 1841 a hotel extension was built and this was the Queen's Hotel. It was on Curzon Street. It was later renamed to The Railway Hotel, when another Queen's Hotel opened at New Street. The hotel at Curzon Street closed in 1900 and was demolished by 1980.

The council purchased the station building from British Rail in 1979 and was used by a University of Birmingham student group called 'Three Bugs Fringe Theatre'.

 

Plaques

Inside of Curzon Street Station is this plaque installed during 1947, which was the Centenary Year of the founding of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers on this site on the 27th January 1847. Photo taken in June 2014, during a visit to Birmingham's Hidden Spaces at Curzon Street Station.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The building also received a Civic Trust Award in 1983. This was probably after Curzon Street Station was restored in the late 1970s and early 1980s (after it had fell into disrepair by 1979). Also seen at Birmingham's Hidden Spaces.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

There is a plaque on the front of the building that was placed on the New Canal Street side of the building in 1988, on the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first train from London to Birmingham on Monday 17th September 1838. Photo below taken in April 2009. It is now longer possible to see this plaque while HS2 build their new station.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Apr 2009) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Curzon Street Station - exterior of the building 2009 to 2021

Now a gallery of photos of Curzon Street Station taken over the last 12 years or so.

 

View of Curzon Street Station from New Canal Street, taken April 2009. Millennium Point can be seen to the left.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Apr 2009) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A view taken during August 2009 of Curzon Street Station from a now lost road called Bartholomew Street. By then it had long since been closed off. And would disappear by 2011-12 when Eastside City Park was built.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Aug 2009) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

It is now January 2010, and Curzon Street Station can again be seen from Bartholomew Street, but in the snow. The Woodman public house seen on the left.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Jan 2010) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

By February 2011, I was having a look at Curzon Street Station from the public car park on Curzon Street. All the windows and doors were boarded up. The Rotunda and Pavilions shopping centre were visible to the left of here. Sometimes this car park had been used for the odd fun fair over the years.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Feb 2011).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The hoardings on the left have not gone up for HS2, but for the building of Eastside City Park. Curzon Street Station seen from New Canal Street during September 2011.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Sep 2011) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

As late as March 2014, the site behind the old Curzon Street Station building was still being used as a public car park. Selfridges, Beetham Tower, Centre City Tower and the Rotunda were visible on the skyline at the time.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Mar 2014).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

By March 2017, it was clear that HS2 would soon take over the building. Hoarding artwork and banners had gone up. It was planned that Curzon Street would become a new cultural hub. The art was from a HS2 / BCU competition, which was won by Sarina Kaur, called Curzon Railway 1838 - 1966.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Mar 2017) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

By March 2020, and before the first lockdown, one last walk down New Canal Street before HS2 closed it off, it was also one last chance to see the Eagle & Tun pub before it was demolished. By then the Curzon Railway BCU art banners had been taken down, but the hoardings were still there.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Mar 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A view from the train of Curzon Street Station during August 2020. After the first lockdown restrictions were being eased, I got a train from Stechford to Birmingham New Street. New Canal Street is now closed off, you can also see Millennium Point and The Woodman.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Aug 2020) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

October 2020 from Curzon Street. The road beyond was closed by HS2. Was taking a pedestrian diversion from Digbeth to Eastside the long way around (via Lawley Middleway). As HS2 had cut off my old routes. This was before the second lockdown began.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Oct 2020) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

By April 2021, the third lockdown restrictions were being eased, and got the train to Birmingham Moor Street for a walk around Eastside and Digbeth. This time via the Digbeth Branch Canal (which was faster than the route I took the autumn before). Took this view of Curzon Street Station from the canal.  The land all being prepared by HS2. The view might be lost in the future once the station is built, and it might bridge over the canal as well (not like the original brick Curzon Street Tunnel that crosses the canal towards New Street in Eastside).

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Station (Apr 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Early June 2021, and a view of Curzon Street Station taken from the Cross City Line, I caught the train at Birmingham New Street and got it to Sutton Coldfield. It looks like the turntable (to the far right of here) has been filled in. It's hard to imagine the other buildings that was here over 180 years ago. Millennium Point seen behind from the train. HS2 is a hive of activity.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curzon St Stn HS2 (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

For more photos and the feature, go here for the full gallery of Curzon Street Station in Birmingham Gems.

 

Birmingham's Hidden Spaces, June 2014

From the 21st to 29th June 2014, Birmingham's Hidden Spaces opened up Curzon Street Station to the public. It was an exhibition by Associated Architects, and in association with the Birmingham Post. I saw it on the 28th June 2014. This banner was on the outside of the building.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Inside the main foyer and a look up the staircase to the ceiling. Unfortunately it was too unsafe to go upstairs, so you could only see the ground floor and basement of the building.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Zooming up to the ceiling window.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

This sign shows A Brief History of Curzon Street Station. Similar to the information I have presented above.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Another sign about Curzon Street Station built 1838. Philip Hardwick, architect, Robert Stephenson, engineer. Plus the restoration task force in 1983.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Going down the steps to the basement, would have been an exhibition on down here.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The rear door was open, so you could have a look outside. There wasn't much to see out there.

dndimg alt="Curzon Street Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BHS Curzon St Stn (Jun 2014) (9).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Modern 21st Century photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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Elliott Brown Education
02 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
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King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools - from Camp Hill in 1883 to Kings Heath in 1956-58

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools is two Grammar schools on one site. The boys and the girls school. Founded in 1883, they were at a site at Camp Hill until they moved to Vicarage Road in Kings Heath (boys in 1956, girls in 1958). The old building survives at Camp Hill Circus near Bordesley Middleway and Stratford Road as The Bordesley Centre. The current school is next to Kings Heath Park.

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King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools - from Camp Hill in 1883 to Kings Heath in 1956-58





King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools is two Grammar schools on one site. The boys and the girls school. Founded in 1883, they were at a site at Camp Hill until they moved to Vicarage Road in Kings Heath (boys in 1956, girls in 1958). The old building survives at Camp Hill Circus near Bordesley Middleway and Stratford Road as The Bordesley Centre. The current school is next to Kings Heath Park.


King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

In this third post on the King Edward VI schools founded in 1883, we look at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls. Originally located at the top of the Stratford Road, near Sparkbrook and Bordesley. They relocated to a site at Vicarage Road and Cartland Road between 1956 and 1958. Unlike Five Ways, the old building at Camp Hill Circus still stands today, as The Bordesley Centre.

 

History of King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

Today you can see the old building at the corner of Bordesley Middleway and the Stratford Road, if you are getting the bus around Camp Hill Circus (or travelling in other forms of transport). It was designed by Martin and Chamberlain, and first opened in 1883 for the King Edward VI Foundation. The building is now a Grade II* listed building. The builder was James Moffat. There was later additions to the building during the 20th century, with more alterations in the early 21st century.

The school of 1883 was the boys school, later the girls school was built by 1890. The school was built in the Gothic style. After the school moved to Kings Heath, the buildings was first used as a Teachers Training College, then by the City of Birmingham Polytechnic (later University of Central England, now Birmingham City University). It is now The Bordesley Centre, a religious, educational and advisory centre for Birmingham's Yemeni community, and run by the Muath Trust. The building was remodelled and refurbished in 2004-06.

Photos below taken during March 2012. First photo taken from Camp Hill near Camp Hill Circus. Bordesley Middleway on the left.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Bordesley Centre (Mar 2012) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Second photo taken from Bordesley Middleway near Camp Hill Circus. At the time went to see a plaque about The Ship Inn, the site of a pub that used to stand here. Was used by Prince Rupert, before his Royalist army attacked Birmingham at Easter 1643. The Ship Inn stood here from 1560 until 1972. It was rebuilt in the late 19th Century.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Bordesley Centre (Mar 2012) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools today in Kings Heath

The boys school relocated to a site in Kings Heath at Vicarage Road and Cartland Road during 1956. This is next to Kings Heath Park. While the house of the former estate here is now within Kings Heath Park, the gatehouse is in the grounds of the school near the Vicarage Road. Formerly owned by the Cartland family from 1880 until the 1900s (ancestors of the late Romance novel author Barbara Cartland). The girls school relocated to the site in 1958, and both the boys and girls schools share buildings. They also have playing fields at Kings Heath, which they would have had no room for at Camp Hill.

 

During October 2017 from the Vicarage Road in Kings Heath. Pupils can get off the 11C, 11A or 35 bus routes down here. Main entrance to the school is on the right. Just cross at the lights.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Oct 2017) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This is the pedestrian entrance for pupils and visitors to the schools. Looked very autumnal that day.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Oct 2017) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

In April 2019, a walk past King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. Starting at Vicarage Road in Kings Heath near this sign (gatehouse behind).

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Apr 2019) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Sign seen on Cartland Road. Reception for both schools on Vicarage Road.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Apr 2019) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The sports field with rugby goalpost, modern buildings behind. Seen behind the fence on Cartland Road.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Apr 2019) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Modern buildings shared by both the boys and girls school. I think they also share the sports field. Barbed wire on the fence at Cartland Road.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Apr 2019) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A December 2019 view up the main drive to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. Looks like they built modern extensions to the 1950s buildings here. Lined by trees. At the time, the gate on Vicarage Road was open. There is ramps, so vehicles will have to drive slowly towards the schools.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Dec 2019).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A more recent view of King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools, taken from Kings Heath Park during March 2021. The Cartland family formed the Priory Trust Co Ltd to manage the grounds. They wanted to develop houses, but ended up selling the land to the local council (Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council). The council opened the land as a park. Birmingham City Council took over the park and Kings Heath in 1911. The remaining land was sold to the council in 1914. The rest of the land of what is now King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools would have been purchased by the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham in the mid 1950s.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Spring KH Park (Mar 2021) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Lodge to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools

This is the Lodge to King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools. One of the oldest buildings at the school, it dates to the early 19th Century, and is a Grade II listed building. It is rendered, and Battlemented according to the Historic England listing, at 142 Vicarage Road. The lodge was formerly part of the estate of Kings Heath House, and was separated when a fence was erected between the schools and Kings Heath Park (probably in the late 1950s).

First view (below) taken from the 11A bus on Vicarage Road in Kings Heath during April 2017.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Apr 2017).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The next view was taken from Kings Heath Park during Febraury 2018. You can see the modern fence separating the park and school grounds here.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Feb 2018).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Another bus view, this time taken from the 11C during April 2018. You can see the lodge on the left, and the vehicle entrance driveway on the right to the schools.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (Apr 2018).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

School bus

In May 2017, I was on an 11A bus, when I passed this school bus for both King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, seen on the Vicarage Road. Bus ID 112.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (May 2017) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

On this side advertising the girls school and their outstanding results! Co-education for all.

dndimg alt="King Edward VI Camp Hill Schools" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/KEVICH Kings Heath (May 2017) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

My own history with King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys. I would have done the 11+ here during 1993-94, but I didn't pass it. I recall putting King Edward VI Five Ways School as my first choice, and King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys as my second. I ended up at my local Comprehensive school (which was in walking distance). Years later got the 11C on the way to my Sixth Form College (1999 - 2001). I now think I should have put Camp Hill as my number one. My late brother later got into Camp Hill. Of course I pass it now whenever I get the 11C or 11A past the school. Or go to Kings Heath Park.

 

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Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

 

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