Posts
152
Points
12K
Go Popular Tags
Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
22 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Yellow O's at the Oaklands Recreation Ground

A lockdown walk to the Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley on the 17th February 2021 (a distance I'd usually get the bus to in normal times). Saw all these yellow O sculptures plus purple I's. I would guess they were installed by the Yardley Arts Forum sometime during 2020. Nice to see. The walk was too long, next time I'm getting a bus there (after lockdown ends).

View feature View community

Yellow O's at the Oaklands Recreation Ground





A lockdown walk to the Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley on the 17th February 2021 (a distance I'd usually get the bus to in normal times). Saw all these yellow O sculptures plus purple I's. I would guess they were installed by the Yardley Arts Forum sometime during 2020. Nice to see. The walk was too long, next time I'm getting a bus there (after lockdown ends).


A walk of over 12,000 steps and almost 6 miles (via Acocks Green). I walked on Wednesday 17th February 2021 to South Yardley. Not renewed my pass since before we entered this third lockdown (and not been on a bus in a month and half now). Mainly to see the skyline again from the Oaklands Recreation Ground.

While there found all these new yellow O sculptures and purple I sculptures. Plus they are starting to built wildlife friendly planting areas. So development of this park continues into 2021.

 

The first yellow O I saw on entering the Oaklands Recreation Ground was from the entrance on Church Road. Says I love Oaklands on all of them.

dndimg alt="Yellow O Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Yellow O Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The yellow O's were scattered all over the park.

dndimg alt="Yellow O Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Yellow O Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Some placed at different angles near the paths.

dndimg alt="Yellow O Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Yellow O Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

This yellow O with a view to the Swan Shopping Centre (with Tesco Extra), Bakeman House and Equipoint.

dndimg alt="Yellow O Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Yellow O Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Towards Church Road with this yellow O. Some people have already tagged them sadly.

dndimg alt="Yellow O Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Yellow O Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Back on the semi circle Church Road and got this view of 103 Colmore Row and the BT Tower with a yellow O. Wondered if I could have lined it up with 103 Colmore Row inside of the O?

dndimg alt="Yellow O Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/103 CR Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Also when first entering from Church Road, saw these purple I's slanted in the soil.

dndimg alt="Purple I's Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WFA Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

They are creating wildlife friendly planting areas here. Seen close to Equipoint and the Tesco Extra petrol station.

dndimg alt="Purple I's Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WFA Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Some more purple I's on the path to the other end of Church Road.

dndimg alt="Purple I's Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WFA Oaklands RG (Feb 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was about 7 purple I's here around the path, and one yellow O. View to the Birmingham skyline. The Mercian was visible to the right of it, about 6 miles distance away.

dndimg alt="Purple I's and an yellow O Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bham Skyline Oaklands (Feb 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

One of the yellow O sculptures was also visible with the Birmingham skyline from the Oaklands Recreation Ground.

dndimg alt="Yellow O skyline Oaklands" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bham Skyline Oaklands (Feb 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

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

Share  Spend Points  Connect with us
70 passion points
Elliott Brown History & heritage
19 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Birmingham (Outside City trail) - Tolkien experience between Perrott's Folly and Sarehole Mill

Take this trail (walk, cycle or bus) between Perrott's Folly and Sarehole Mill and enjoy many of the places connected with the world renowned author, J.R.R. Tolkien during his time in Birmingham between 1895 and 1911.  

Take the article, view digital map or download the pdf map.

Article and words credited to Chris Upton, Kristina Williamson & Chris Rice.

View feature View community

Birmingham (Outside City trail) - Tolkien experience between Perrott's Folly and Sarehole Mill





Take this trail (walk, cycle or bus) between Perrott's Folly and Sarehole Mill and enjoy many of the places connected with the world renowned author, J.R.R. Tolkien during his time in Birmingham between 1895 and 1911.  

Take the article, view digital map or download the pdf map.

Article and words credited to Chris Upton, Kristina Williamson & Chris Rice.

Start your trail HERE. (VIEW ON MAP)

 

Perrotts Folly

Whilst living in Edgbaston the young J.R.R. Tolkien would have been very familiar with two distinctive local landmarks. The extraordinary 96ft (30m) Perrott’s Folly is named after John Perrott who had it built in 1758. The crenelated gothick tower was originally part of a hunting lodge. In the 19th century it became one of the first weather recording stations in the country.

Along the road at Edgbaston Waterworks stands a later Victorian chimney tower. The tower was part of a complex of buildings designed by J H Chamberlain and William Martin around 1870.

The pair are said to have suggested Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith, the Two Towers of Gondor, after which the second volume of The Lord of the Rings is named. The Tolkien brothers lived with their aunt in nearby Stirling Road between 1904 and 1908.

dndimg alt="The Two Towers" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Perrotts Folly (July 2020) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

See more on Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower here.

BACK TO MAP.  A short walk to Newman's Oratory on the Hagley Road. 

 

Newman's Oratory

When Tolkien’s mother converted to Catholicism in 1900, the family worshipped at St Anne’s Church in Alcester Street, Digbeth. After moving to Edgbaston in 1902, Mabel and the boys attended Cardinal Newman’s Oratory on the Hagley Road. The family lived nearby in Oliver Road and, for a time, Ronald was enrolled at St Phillip’s School, at that time located in the same street. The friendship of Father Francis Xavier Morgan, who became the boys’ guardian, was a source of strength during Mabel’s illness and subsequent death.

dndimg alt="Birmingham Oratory" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Birmingham Oratory.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

See more on Newman's Oratory here.

BACK TO MAP. now take a short walk to the Plough & Harrow Hotel on Hagley Road.

 

Plough & Harrow Hotel

Whilst living in lodgings in Duchess Road, Tolkien had met and fallen in love with nineteen year old Edith Bratt. He was only sixteen at the time and his guardian Father Morgan attempted to put an end to the relationship by moving the two boys to Highfield Road. It was Tolkien’s last Birmingham address. In 1913, aged 21, and whilst still at Exeter College in Oxford, Tolkien re-established contact with Edith and their romance was rekindled. They were married in the Spring of 1916 in Warwick and in June of that year spent a night in Birmingham at the Plough & Harrow Hotel. Ronald was most likely on embarkation leave prior to his departing for France as an officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers. There is a blue plaque here, which was presented by the Tolkien Society in 1997.

dndimg alt="Plough & Harrow" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Plough Harrow pub (Jul 2014) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

BACK TO MAP.  Now take a short walk to one of Tolkien's homes on Highfield Road. 

 

Highfield Road (One of Tolkien's homes)

From 1910 to 1911 Tolkien lived at 4 Highfield Road. It is now a nursery. The houses at 3 & 4 Highfield Road are a Grade II listed building and was built in 1830. It was a semi-detached late Regency stucco villa. There is a blue plaque here from the Birmingham Civic Society and the Tolkien Society. He previously lived from 1902 until 1910 at Duchess Place in Ladywood. On Teleperformance House which was on Hagley Road, there is another blue plaque marking near where he lived at the time.

dndimg alt="4 Highfield Road" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Tolkiens Highfield Rd Edgbaston home.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

BACK TO MAP. Now walk or cycle to Moseley Bog (approx. 40 mins) or take the no 1 bus (Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston to Wake Green Road, Moseley). 

 

Moseley Bog

Tolkien later lamented the encroachment of the suburbs upon his former home but there is one place that ‘civilisation’ missed: Moseley Bog. The Bog was an ideal place for Tolkien’s childhood adventures. It was once a storage pool for Sarehole Mill, and is also the site of two Bronze Age ‘burnt mounds’. The Bog is recalled in Tolkien’s description of the ‘Old Forest’, last of the primeval wild woods, where ‘Tom Bombadil’ lived. It is now preserved as a Local Nature Reserve managed by the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust. 

dndimg alt="Moseley Bog" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Moseley Bog.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

See more on Moseley Bog here.

BACK TO MAP.  Then walk or cycle to another of Tolkien's homes at 264 Wake Green Road. 

 

Wake Green Road (Another of Tolkien's homes)

In 1896 the Tolkien family moved to 5 Gracewell Cottages (now 264 Wake Green Road) in the hamlet of Sarehole. At the time the area was completely rural and Tolkien said that the times he spent here were the happiest years of his youth. Sarehole is said to have been the model for “The Shire”, the home of the Hobbits, and memories of this country childhood were to colour much of his later writing. 

dndimg alt="264 Wake Green Road" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Tolkiens Wake Green Rd Sarehole home.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

See more on the Sarehole area here.

BACK TO MAP. Then walk or cycle to Shire Country Park.  

 

Shire Country Park

The Shire Country Park follows the attractive and varied valley of the River Cole as a green ribbon for some four miles from Small Heath to Yardley Wood. It was named in 2005 to reflect Tolkien’s links with the local area. The park contains wetland, grassland, woodland and heath, and supports a wealth of animal, plant and insect life. Herons, mallards and moorhens are a common sight, and if you are lucky you may spot a kingfisher hunting for fish along the meandering river. The ford at Green Road (formerly Green Lane) is one of the few remaining fords along the Cole Valley and would have been very familiar to the young J.R.R. Tolkien.

dndimg alt="Green Road ford" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Green Rd ford SCP (Feb 2020) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

See more on Shire Country Park here.

BACK TO MAP.  Now on to the finish of the trail at Sarehole Mill in Hall Green. 

 

Sarehole Mill 

Ronald and his brother Hilary spent many hours exploring the grounds of Sarehole Mill and being chased off by the miller’s son, whom they nicknamed the ‘White Ogre’. In the 1960s Tolkien contributed to the public appeal to restore the Mill as a museum. Today Sarehole Mill is part of Birmingham Museums Trust. As well as being a working watermill, the museum features the Signposts to Middle Earth exhibition which tells the story of Tolkien’s connections with Sarehole and the surrounding area.

dndimg alt="Sarehole Mill" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Sarehole Mill open day ext (Oct 2013) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

See more on Sarehole Mill here.

We do hope you enjoyed this trail. 

 

Photos by Elliott Brown unless stated above.

dndimg alt="Google Maps" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Tollkien Google Maps Ldywd Edgbn.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />Map of Ladywood from Googles Maps

Share  Spend Points  Connect with us
20 passion points
FreeTimePays Squares and public spaces
19 Feb 2021 - FreeTimePays
Inspiration

Birmingham (City centre) trail - Public squares

Enjoy with our complements this trail (walk, run or clycle) of Birmingham's public squares and spaces. The City's squares are connected with direct and pleasant pedestrian links and they portray a city that recognises the value and importance of its history and heritage whist maintain a vision of growth, creativity and innovation. Duration of the trail if walking: 3 hours.

View feature View community

Birmingham (City centre) trail - Public squares





Enjoy with our complements this trail (walk, run or clycle) of Birmingham's public squares and spaces. The City's squares are connected with direct and pleasant pedestrian links and they portray a city that recognises the value and importance of its history and heritage whist maintain a vision of growth, creativity and innovation. Duration of the trail if walking: 3 hours.


This trail takes in 14 wonderful public squares and spaces across Birmingham including:

Oozells Square

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.freetimepays.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_0260b_OZZL.jpg" />

Central Square

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.freetimepays.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_8634b_BRND.jpg" />

Centenary Square

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_8198b_CTSQ.jpg" />

Chamberlain Square

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_6227b_CHSQ.jpg" />

Victoria Square

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_0964b_VSQ.jpg" />

Cathedral Square

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.freetimepays.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_1706b_PPK..jpg" />

Old Square

dndimg alt="Tony Hancock statue" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/Tony%20Hancock%20Old%20Square%20(May%202009)%20(2).JPG" />

Aston University Green

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Aston Uni Graduation Week (July 2019).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Eastside City Park

dndimg alt="Eastside City Park - A Birmingham Gem!" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/eastside%20christine.jpg" />

Grand Central Square

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_2180b_MUDL.jpg" />

St. Martin's Square

dndimg alt="St Martin's Church" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/St%20Martins%20Church%20Bullring%20(March%202018).JPG" />

Thomas Garden Pagoda Island

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_3903b_ARCV.jpg" />

St. Thomas Peace Garden

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/Peace%20Garden%20(April%202009)%20(3).JPG" />

Five Ways Park

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_5856b.jpg" />

 

Start Trail

Oozells Square

Start your trail in the fantastic Oozells Square and home to the wonderful Ikon Gallery.  

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.freetimepays.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_0260b_OZZL.jpg" />

Oozells Square.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for more about Oozells Square.

BACK TO MAP. It is just a skip and jump to the next square, Central Square and the heart of Brindleyplace. 

 

Central Square

Central Square is at the heart of Brindleyplace.  More HERE about Central Square.

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.freetimepays.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_8634b_BRND.jpg" />

Central Square. Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for more about Central Square.

BACK TO MAP.  The next square, Centenary Square and the Civic Centre of Birmingham is a short walk away. Enjoy the view down the canal and a walk through Symphony Hall along the way.

 

Centenary Square 

Passing out of the Symphony Hall, you will enter a quite amazing open space and a highlight of the City surrounded by stunning architecture. More HERE about Centenary Square.

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_8198b_CTSQ.jpg" />

Centenary Square. Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for more about Centenary Square.

BACK TO MAP. The next square, Chamberlain Square in the heart of an area known as Paradise is connected to Centenary Square via a walkway.

Chamberlain Square

Chamberlain Square is where a modern and thriving Birmingham connects with the City's amazing history and heritage. 

Chamberlain Square is home to Birmingham's Town Hall and to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.   

Between 2010 and 2020, the square was completely redeveloped.

Chamberlain Square is at the heart of the Paradise scheme with One Chamberlain Square and Two Chamberlain Square being the two flagship builds of the Paradise development.  

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_6227b_CHSQ.jpg" />

Chamberlain Square before the reopening. Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for more about Chamberlain Square.

BACK TO MAP.  The next square located alongside Chamberlain Square is Victoria Square and is home to Birmingham City Council House. 

 

Victoria Square

Victoria Square is a magnet for keen photographers.  

Two works of art that can be seen in Victoria Square are the statue of Queen Victoria and The Rivert Art, more commonly known as 'Floozie in the Jacuzzi', by Indian sculptor Dhruva Mistry.

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_0964b_VSQ.jpg" />

Victoria Square.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for more about Victoria Square.

BACK TO MAP.  A short walk down Colmore Row and you will find Cathedral Square and home to St. Philip's Cathedral. 

 

Cathedral Square

Built in 1715 as St Philip’s Church in the Baroque style by Thomas Archer, the Cathedral celebrated its 300 year birthday in 2015. 

dndimg dndsrc="https://www.freetimepays.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_1706b_PPK..jpg" />

Cathedral Sqaure.  Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for more about Cathedral Square.

BACK TO MAP.  Continue down Colmore Row and head towards Corporation Street where you will find Old Square, one of the oldest in the City. 

 

Old Square

Old Square is the gateway to the Steelhouse Conservation Area located between Corporation Street and The Priory Queensway.

In the centre of Old Square is a memorial dedicated to Tony Hancock, who was born in the Hall Green area of the city in 1924.  There is also a Figure of Justice scupture on the pavement in Old Square with a map of Europe and Africa. 

dndimg alt="Tony Hancock statue" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/Tony%20Hancock%20Old%20Square%20(May%202009)%20(2).JPG" />

The Tony Hancock Monument in Old Square.  Photography by Elliott Brown

Go HERE for more about Old Square.

BACK TO MAP.  Continue down Corporation Street and over to Aston University Green. 

 

Aston University Green

Nestled in the middle of the Aston University campus is a wonderful green space. 

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Aston Uni Graduation Week (July 2019).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Aston University Green.  Photography by Elliott Brown

Go HERE for more about Aston University Green.

BACK TO MAP. A short walk across Aston University and Birmingham City University campuses and you will reach Eastside City Park. . 

 

Eastside City Park

Eastside City Park is a 6.75 acre urban park located in the Eastside district of Birmingham City Centre.

With HS2, Curzon Street station and many related works planned for Eastside, this wonderful open space close to Millenium Point, Thanktank Science Museum and Birmingham City University will continue to be a major attraction for people visiting the City.

dndimg alt="Eastside City Park - A Birmingham Gem!" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/eastside%20christine.jpg" />

Eastside City Park. Photography by Christine Wright

Go HERE for more about Eastside City Park.

BACK TO MAP.  Now head back into the City Centre to find Grand Central Square.

 

Grand Central Square

Grand Central Square is located outside the entrance to Grand Central and New Street.  A sculpture designed by local artist, Anuradha Patel was installed in 2018 in memory of those who lost their lives in the Birmingham pub bombings in November 1974. The sculpture's "leaves" bear the names of each of the 21 victims. 

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_2180b_MUDL.jpg" />

The memorial to the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974. Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for more about Grand Central Square.

BACK TO MAP. A short walk through or around the Bullring shopping centre to St. Martin's Square, home to St.Martin's Church, a Grade II listed building.

 

St. Martin's Square

St. Martin's Square is at the gateway to Digbeth and close to the Selfidges building, one of Birmingham's architectural gems.

St. Martin's Church in the Bullring dates back to at least the 13th century and the history surrounding the church is absolutely fascinating. 

dndimg alt="St Martin's Church" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/St%20Martins%20Church%20Bullring%20(March%202018).JPG" />

St Martin's Square. Photography by Elliott Brown

Go HERE for more about St. Martin's Square and St.Martin's Church..

BACK TO MAP.  Now head along Smallbrook Queensway till you reach Thomas Garden and Pagoda Island..

 

Thomas Garden Pagoda Island

Located on the edge of the Chinese Quarter is Pagoda island at the junction of Holloway Circus, Suffolk Street and Queensway. 

Pagoda Island gets its name from the seven storey granite pagoda that resides there. This is surrounded by chinese style gardens and sculpture. 

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Beetham Tower (Apr 2009) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Granite Pagoda at Pagoda Island with Beetham Tower behind.  Photography by Elliott Brown

Go HERE for more about Thomas Garden.

BACK TO MAP.  From here take a walk up Holloway Head till you reach St. Thomas Peace Garden. . 

 

St Thomas Peace Garden

This is a small public park close to The Mailbox and The Cube that is designated to peace and is a memorial for all those killed in armed conflict.  What remains of St. Thomas' Church which was largely destroyed in the blitz can also be found there.

dndimg alt="Peace Garden" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/DSC_0035(1).jpg" />

The St Thomas Peace Garden Railings by Anuradha Patel. Photography by Elliott Brown

The park symbolises peace and is a memorial to all those killed in armed conflict. St Thomas Church was built in 1825 and much of it was destroyed in 1940. In 1955, the gardens around it were laid out to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1995, they were re-designed to commemorate 50 years since the end of World War 2.

Go HERE for more about St. Thomas Peace Garden.

BACK TO MAP.  From St. Thomas Peace Garden take a walk up Bath Row and Islington Row Middleway to find Five Ways Park at Five Ways Island. . 

 

Five Ways Island

At the busy Five Ways Island is a small public space with wonderful flower beds.  A lovely spot to relax and a freat spot to complete a trail of some of Birmingham's public squares and public spaces. 

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="https://www.birminghamgems.com/uploadedfiles/IMG_5856b.jpg" />

Five Ways Island. Photography by Daniel Sturley

Go HERE for more about Five Ways Island.

You have reached the end of the trail.

From here you can explore Edgbaston Village and its bars and restaurants or head back to the city or Brindleyplace.   

Share  Spend Points  Connect with us
20 passion points
Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
18 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Floral Trail, The Big Hoot & Sleuth at St Martin's Square

There has been a couple of Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in St Martin's Square, but only in 2009 and 2013. In 2015 there was several Big Hoot owls around the Bullring, with at least one outside of St Martin's Church. Plus in 2017 there was one Big Sleuth bear outside of the church in the square (another bear was to be found inside Selfridges).

View feature View community

The Floral Trail, The Big Hoot & Sleuth at St Martin's Square





There has been a couple of Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in St Martin's Square, but only in 2009 and 2013. In 2015 there was several Big Hoot owls around the Bullring, with at least one outside of St Martin's Church. Plus in 2017 there was one Big Sleuth bear outside of the church in the square (another bear was to be found inside Selfridges).


Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

Birmingham Parks & Nurseries (aka Cofton Nursery) have over the years been making floral trail pieces to go on display in the City Centre every summer. But first they take the main display to the Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners World Live, where they usually win the Gold prize. These are the floral trail features spotted over the years in St Martin's Square.

 

Trafalgar Medal, Summer 2009

I didn't really start exploring the Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail until August or September 2009. One of the first pieces I found was Trafalgar, Oct 21 1805 near St Martin's Church in August 2009. It is based on a medal that Matthew Boulton made, following the death of Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. He approached the Admiralty and offered to commemorate the famous victory by presenting sailors who fought in the battle with a medal. Birmingham was the first place in the country to erect a statue of Horatio Nelson in 1809.

dndimg alt="Trafalgar St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Martins Square Bullring Trafalgar (August 2009).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Best of Birmingham, Summer 2012

This is the second half of The Best of Birmingham. It won Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show, plus Gold and Best of Show at Gardeners World Live in 2012. Seen in St Martin's Square during August 2012. At the top is the Bullring Bull, then Selfridges in the middle and the Birmingham canals at the bottom with a narrowboat. The first half was in Centenary Square (with the Town Hall, Silver Spoon and a Mini).

dndimg alt="Best of Birmingham part 2" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Martins Square Bullring BCCFT Bullring Bull (August 2012) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

A look at the bottom half with Selfridges and the Narrowboat in the canal with a lock.

dndimg alt="Best of Birmingham part 2" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Martins Square Bullring BCCFT Bullring Bull (August 2012) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

View from the balcony near Selfridges looking down to St Martin's Square. It was very impressive looking. Must have been nice having the two halves together at Chelsea and at The NEC that year.

dndimg alt="Best of Birmingham part 2" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Martins Square Bullring BCCFT Bullring Bull (August 2012) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Now onto The Big Hoot. In St Martin's Square there was about 3 Big Hoot painted owls from July 2015, for around 10 weeks. Before they were auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Beorma

This owl was located outside of St Martin's Church and was called Beorma (after the nearby Beorma Quarter in Digbeth). It was  painted by the artists Jodie Silverman from a design by Betty Underwood a pupil from Camp Hill School for Girls. The sponsor was The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. Seen during July 2015.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Hoot St Martins Sq (Jul 2015) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There was about 8 interlocking hands at the front.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Hoot St Martins Sq (Jul 2015) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Plus flags of the world on a wing at the back. More little owls could be found inside of St Martin's Church at the time.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Hoot St Martins Sq (Jul 2015) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Selfie

This Big Hoot owl resembled Selfridges (seen behind) and was called Selfie. The artist was Martin Band, and the sponsor was LDC. This was up the ramp around the back of the Spiceal Street development, not far from Jamie's Italian. Seen during July 2015. And yes I took a selfie with this one.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Hoot St Martins Sq (Jul 2015) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Skyline 2015

This Big Hoot owl was located at the bottom of St Martin's Walk at the Bullring, with the spire of St Martin's Church and the statue of Horatio Nelson behind. Skyline 2015 was by the artist Nick Murley. The sponsor was Bullring. Seen during July 2015.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Hoot St Martins Sq (Jul 2015) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The skyline was painted on the back of this owl as well.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Hoot St Martins Sq (Jul 2015) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

Now onto The Big Sleuth. There was several Big Sleuth bears around the Bullring starting from July 2017, for around 10 weeks. Before they were auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Bearmingham

This Big Sleuth bear was located outside of St Martin's Church, and resembled the Birmingham Forward coat of arms. It was by the artist James Mustafa. The sponsor was The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. Seen during July 2017. There was more little bears inside of St Martin's to find at the time.

dndimg alt="Big Sleuth St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Sleuth St Martins Sq (July 2017) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Brummie Bear

This Big Sleuth bear was to be found inside of Selfridges (and not in St Martin's Square, but adding for completion). It was by the artist Slobodan Topolović. The sponsor was Selfridges Birmingham. It resembled Selfridges, Rotunda, St Martin's Church, Bullring Bull and Birmingham New Street Station.

dndimg alt="Big Sleuth St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Sleuth St Martins Sq (July 2017) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The famous Selfridges discs at the back of the bear. Lasting longer than the real discs that need some TLC.

dndimg alt="Big Sleuth St Martin's Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Big Sleuth St Martins Sq (July 2017) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

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

Share  Spend Points  Connect with us
60 passion points
Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
17 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Floral Trail and The Big Hoot in Centenary Square

Taking Centenary Square back in time. The Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in the square in the summers from 2010 and 2016 (most of which won gold at Chelsea). Also the owls of The Big Hoot over the summer of 2015. The Big Sleuth didn't have any bears in the square during the summer of 2017 due to the renovation works in the square (which didn't finish until 2019).

View feature View community

The Floral Trail and The Big Hoot in Centenary Square





Taking Centenary Square back in time. The Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in the square in the summers from 2010 and 2016 (most of which won gold at Chelsea). Also the owls of The Big Hoot over the summer of 2015. The Big Sleuth didn't have any bears in the square during the summer of 2017 due to the renovation works in the square (which didn't finish until 2019).


Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

Birmingham Parks & Nurseries (aka Cofton Nursery) have over the years been making floral trail pieces to go on display in the City Centre every summer. But first they take the main display to the Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners World Live, where they usually win the Gold prize. These are the floral trail features spotted over the years in Centenary Square.

Living Wall, Summer 2010

In the summer of 2010 there was the Living Wall on the hoardings of the Library of Birmingham construction site. Around July 2010, the wall was half complete at the time.

dndimg alt="Floral Trail Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Living Wall Cent Sq (Jul 2010).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Another look at the Living Wall in August 2010, towards the Hyatt Hotel. You can see the former Municipal Bank on the left.

dndimg alt="Floral Trail Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Living Wall Cent Sq (Aug 2010) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The Living Wall remained in place for the rest of summer 2010, before it was moved to a more permanent location (there is now permanent living walls at Aston University, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham Snow Hill Station, but not sure where it went).

dndimg alt="Floral Trail Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Living Wall Cent Sq (Aug 2010) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Plight of the Gorilla, Summer 2011

Seen outside of the Library of Birmingham construction site hoardings was The Plight of the Gorilla. Seen during July 2011. It won Silver at the Chelsea Flower Show and Gold at Gardeners World Live in 2011.

dndimg alt="Gorilla Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gorilla Plight Cent Sq (Jul 2011) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

At the top was a sculpture of a gorilla.

dndimg alt="Gorilla Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gorilla Plight Cent Sq (Jul 2011) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Below the gorilla was a waterfall over a rock garden.

dndimg alt="Gorilla Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gorilla Plight Cent Sq (Jul 2011) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The water was flowing down the waterfall below the gorilla.

dndimg alt="Gorilla Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gorilla Plight Cent Sq (Jul 2011) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

It was very impressive to see, the flowers and plants around it looked nice as well.

dndimg alt="Gorilla Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gorilla Plight Cent Sq (Jul 2011) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Best of Birmingham, Summer 2012

After winning Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show, and Gold and Best of Show at Gardeners World Live in 2012, this floral feature from Birmingham City Council called The Best of Birmingham, was split in two. One half in Centenary Square featured a Mini, a Silver Spoon and Birmingham Town Hall. The other half was in St Martin's Square at the Bullring and included the Bullring Bull, Selfridges and the Birmingham canals with a narrowboat. Seen here during August 2012 next to the Library of Birmingham (about a year before it opened to the public).

dndimg alt="Best of Birmingham Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Best of Bham 1 Cent Sq (Aug 2012) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

A close up of the Mini, covered all over with a floral skin. It was later displayed at Longbridge Island over August 2013, for Birmingham's entry into the Entente Florale Europe 2013.

dndimg alt="Best of Birmingham Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Best of Bham 1 Cent Sq (Aug 2012) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The silver spoon acted as a fountain, and probably represented the Jewellery Quarter.

dndimg alt="Best of Birmingham Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Best of Bham 1 Cent Sq (Aug 2012) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Plenty of colourful flowers around this section. You can see why Birmingham win's Gold every year at Chelsea!

dndimg alt="Best of Birmingham Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Best of Bham 1 Cent Sq (Aug 2012) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Enlightenment, Summer 2013

As the Library of Birmingham got ready to open in September 2013, around August 2013, you could see pieces from a floral trail feature called Enlightenment. Which included models of The Two Towers (Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower) plus a deckchair. As well as being part of Summer 2013's City Centre Floral Trail, it was also part of Birmingham's entry into the Entente Florale Europe 2013.

Here you could see the metal sculpture of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower, as it looks like a man walking past Baskerville House was dressed as Spider-Man!

dndimg alt="Enlightenment Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Two Towers Cent Sq (Jul 2013) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

This view of the model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower towards The Library of Birmingham.

dndimg alt="Enlightenment Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Two Towers Cent Sq (Jul 2013) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There was lots of summery flowers around in the landscaped garden in front of the new library.

dndimg alt="Enlightenment Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Two Towers Cent Sq (Jul 2013) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Also the model of Perrott's Folly towards The Library of Birmingham.

dndimg alt="Enlightenment Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Two Towers Cent Sq (Jul 2013) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

View of the Two Towers in the garden outside of the new Library. These days you can find the models at Sarehole Mill. But in the late summer of 2013 you could see them with the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall.

dndimg alt="Enlightenment Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Two Towers Cent Sq (Jul 2013) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch could be seen with the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. All this seen over fences, as the Library and the landscaped grounds wouldn't open until early September 2013.

dndimg alt="Enlightenment Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Two Towers Cent Sq (Jul 2013) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

View of Perrott's Folly towards The ICC, The REP and the Library of Birmingham.

dndimg alt="Enlightenment Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Two Towers Cent Sq (Jul 2013) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The deckchair was covered in the same floral material as the Mini was the year before.

dndimg alt="Enlightenment Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Deckchair Cent Sq (Jul 2013).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

City of Birmingham Ambulance Train, Summer 2014

August 2014 marked the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War, so Cofton Nursery that summer had a trailer of features around the City Centre commemorating Britain's entry into that war. Outside of the Library of Birmingham seen in July 2014 was this floral feature of a train. From the view below you can see the link from The REP to the Library of Birmingham.

dndimg alt="City of Birmingham train Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/CoBA train Cent Sq (Jul 2014) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This view of the train towards the Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House.

dndimg alt="City of Birmingham train Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/CoBA train Cent Sq (Jul 2014) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Behind the train was the landscaped garden in front of the Library. It lasted from 2013 to 2017 before being removed. The Hall of Memory to the left. The floral train was later placed outside Birmingham Snow Hill Station in the summer of 2015 (the public square near Colmore Row).

dndimg alt="City of Birmingham train Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/CoBA train Cent Sq (Jul 2014) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Skull and a Book, Summer 2016

The last floral trail piece to be in Centenary Square was this outside of the Library of Birmingham. Resembled a skull with an open book in front of it. The grass behind hadn't faired to well between 2013 and 2017, and would be removed in the 2017 renovation works of the square.

dndimg alt="Skull Book Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Skull book Cent Sq (Jul 2016) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

This would be the last floral trail piece to be in the square before the square was revamped from 2017 to 2019. At least in a summer.

dndimg alt="Skull Book Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Skull book Cent Sq (Jul 2016) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Mo Bot, Winter 2018

This is a bonus one. When the World Indoor Athletics Championships came to Arena Birmingham in March 2018, Cofton Nursery got their wicker sculptures out (no flowers). Was strange seeing them in the winter with snow on them. The Mo Bot, based on Mo Farah, was seen in Centenary Square (closed to the Edward VII statue), while the square was in it's second year of renovation works. This February 2018 view as it was snowing.

dndimg alt="Mo Bot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Mo Bot Cent Sq (Feb 2018).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

By March 2018, after the WIAC had ended, I saw workers removing The Mo Bot and putting it on the back of a lorry. They had two small lorries. One to take the soil away, the other to remove the wicker sculpture.

dndimg alt="Mo Bot removal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Mo Bot Cent Sq (Mar 2018) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The zoom ins from the Library of Birmingham. Already on the back of this lorry was the Usian Bolt wicker sculpture, originally made in 2012, for their London 2012 floral trail. It had been taken down from Victoria Square (was in front of the Town Hall at the time).

dndimg alt="Mo Bot removal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Mo Bot Cent Sq (Mar 2018) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Two Council workmen digging up the soil, while another prepares the Mo Farah sculpture for removal.

dndimg alt="Mo Bot removal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Mo Bot Cent Sq (Mar 2018) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Just a pair of red shorts, the purple t-shirt had already gone.

dndimg alt="Mo Bot removal" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Mo Bot Cent Sq (Mar 2018) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Now onto The Big Hoot. In Centenary Square there was about 5 Big Hoot painted owls from July 2015, for around 10 weeks. Before they were auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Jack

Located outside of the Hall of Memory was Jack. It was by the artist Martin Band. And was sponsored by JLT Specialty Limited. Seen during July 2015.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Jack was designed by the Union Jack (the British National flag).

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

He had the Union Jack on the back as well.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Wise Old Owl

This Wise Old Owl was designed by the artists Kieron Reilly and Lynsey Brecknell. The sponsor was Gateley Plc. They designed it to look like the Library of Birmingham (which you can see behind). Seen during July 2015.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

It closely matches the golds and blues of the Library, plus the silvers and blacks of the circles.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

TropicOwl

The owl named TropicOwl was painted by the artist Jenny Leonard. The sponsor was Twycross Zoo. Resembles a jungle with chimpanzees. Seen during July 2015 outside of the Library of Birmingham.

 

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

At the back was more features of a jungle, plus giraffes in a desert. This view to Baskerville House.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Owlbert

The owl called Owlbert was painted by the artist Meghan Allbright. The sponsor was University College Birmingham. Seen outside the Library of Birmingham during July 2015.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

This view towards Symphony Hall, The ICC and The REP. It was a rainy day that I saw these owls.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Jul 2015) (9).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Welcome to Birmingham

Outside of Symphony Hall in Centenary Square was an owl called Welcome to Birmingham. Painted by the artist Laura Hallett. The sponsor was Pertemps Network. Seen during August 2015, with a reflection of the Library of Birmingham and The REP.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Aug 2015) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The design featured, Selfridges, the Library of Birmingham, the canals and more.

dndimg alt="Big Hoot Centenary Square" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Hoot Cent Sq (Aug 2015) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Bonus content on Centenary Way

Back in Febrauary 2013 there was a trail for one week called The Big Egg Hunt. These same eggs went from City to City. Two eggs were on Centenary Way at the time.

The first egg resembled the Rocket Ship from Wallace & Gromit's A Grand Day Out. Seen towards the Hall of Memory.

dndimg alt="Big Egg Hunt Centenary Way" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Egg Hunt Cent Sq (Feb 2013) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The charity at the time was Action for Children. The next egg was behind, on the way to the Hall of Memory.

dndimg alt="Big Egg Hunt Centenary Way" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Egg Hunt Cent Sq (Feb 2013) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The second egg on Centenary Way was of Ben 10 Omniverse, close to Chamberlain House (demolished in 2018).

dndimg alt="Big Egg Hunt Centenary Way" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Big Egg Hunt Cent Sq (Feb 2013) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Big Sleuth did not come to Centenary Square, for obvious reasons in 2017, as that's when they began revamping the square, but there was one bear on Centenary Way near Paradise Birmingham.

 

Memoirs of Paradise

This Big Sleuth bear was on Centenary Way, close to the One Chamberlain Square construction site of Paradise Birmingham. Memoirs of Paradise was painted by the artist Gayani Ariyarante. The sponsor was Paradise. Seen during July 2017. Shows what a real paradise looks like! By August 2017, someone had knocked this one over, and they had to remove and repair it, before putting it back in it's place.

dndimg alt="Big Sleuth Centenary Way" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paradise bear Cent Way (Jul 2017).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

There was more to be found in the Library of Birmingham, 4 little owls in 2015 and 4 little bears in 2017. There was a Big Hoot owl inside of The ICC mall, and another outside at the canalside (in 2015). Plus a Big Sleuth bear at canalside (in 2017).

 

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

Share  Spend Points  Connect with us
80 passion points
Show more