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10 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Curtis Gardens, once the estate of Fox Hollies Hall

If you head up and down the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green and Acocks Green, you might spot a green space with trees. This is Curtis Gardens. It opened in 1965, on the site where Fox Hollies Hall used to be (until it was demolished in 1937). Three tower blocks called Coppice House, Hollypiece House and Homemeadow House went up in the early 1960s on the site of the hall itself.

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Curtis Gardens, once the estate of Fox Hollies Hall





If you head up and down the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green and Acocks Green, you might spot a green space with trees. This is Curtis Gardens. It opened in 1965, on the site where Fox Hollies Hall used to be (until it was demolished in 1937). Three tower blocks called Coppice House, Hollypiece House and Homemeadow House went up in the early 1960s on the site of the hall itself.


Curtis Gardens

This green space is located along the Fox Hollies Road between Hall Green and Acocks Green. Just north of York Road, and south of Olton Boulevard East. To the west is Pemerbley Road, where you will find Coppice House to the south, then Hollypiece House in the middle and Homemeadow House to the north.

Curits Gardens from the Fox Hollies Road, seen below during January 2010.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Fox Hollies Childrens Centre is to the south east of the site on the Fox Hollies Road, while Hall Green Little Theatre is to the north west.

Hall Green Little Theatre, seen below during February 2014.

dndimg alt="Hall Green Little Theatre" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hall Green Little Theatre (Feb 2014) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

There is a Play Area in Curtis Gardens, paths and many trees.

Curtis Gardens Play Area seen below during May 2020.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (May 2020) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

From Fox Hollies Hall to Curtis Gardens

Historically the site of a farm, records goes back to 1275 when a farm called Atte Hollies was recorded of being on this site in Acocks Green, but it was later in Hall Green. The Fox family bought the farm in 1626 and it became known as Foxholleys.

By the time Fox Hollies Hall was owned by Zaccheus Walker, he had renamed and rebuilt his grand mansion into The Hollies. The Hall was rebuilt in Italianate style around 1870 by the architect Yeoville Thomason (who also did the Council House). Walker sold the estate to the City in 1925. Fox Hollies Hall was later demolished in 1937. During WW2 the grounds were used as allotments.

dndimg alt="Fox Hollies Hall" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Fox Hollies Hall 1900.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Fox Hollies Hall c. 1900. Public Domain. Taken from The Walker era

 

All that remained from Fox Hollies Hall was the original gateposts on Fox Hollies Road. Although one of them got knocked over by a Council vehicle and had to be rebuilt. New gates were installed in 2004 as well as a couple of benches.

The gates seen below during January 2010, a regular target for graffiti vandals. They have no respect for history.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The three tower blocks were built during the early 1960s (1959 to 1960) and completed by about 1964. This was a result of Jack (or John) Curtis, a local Labour activist. Curtis Gardens was opened in his name in 1965. These were named Coppice House, Hollypiece House, Homemeadow House after three fields in the area at the time called Coppice, Hollypiece and Homemeadow.

The Hollies towers seen below during January 2010.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

This included the Fish Sculpture by the sculptor John Bridgeman. It was later recognised with a Grade II listing in 2015.

The Fish Sculpture seen below during January 2010.

dndimg alt="Fish Sculpture" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Fish Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

In 2016 the Acocks Green Heritage Trail went up, this was board 8 of 8 in Curtis Gardens, near the gate.

Seen below during August 2016.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/AGHT Curtis Gardens (Aug 2016) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Curtis Gardens in 2010

My first photographic walk around Acocks Green was back in January 2010. At the time didn't know that this was called Curtis Gardens. View near a car park close to Fox Hollies Childrens Centre.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There was light snow on the paths in Curtis Gardens. This view below toward the gates and benches on Fox Hollies Road.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Plenty of paths and trees around here.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

This path leads back to the shops on Fox Hollies Road.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

On the right used to be the Fox Hollies Tenants Hall. But long since demolished. In fact, I don't think it's been built on since it was knocked down.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

View to the snow covered car park, which at the time looked like an empty tennis court with no nets.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (9).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

View towards Coppice and Hollypiece House.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (10).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

A Sainsbury's delivery van looks like it was heading into the car park.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (11).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

View towards the three tower blocks. Hard to believe that Fox Hollies Hall was there until 1937.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (12).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Had the Council kept Fox Hollies Hall, could have made a nice tourist attraction, instead these three towers went up almost 30 years later.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (13).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

I used to take loads of views of Curtis Gardens back then.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (14).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The car park entrance road seen from the Fox Hollies Road.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (15).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Gatepost and benches

Some more photos of the gates and benches from January 2010. They were restored in 2004, but by 2010 the gateposts were already covered in graffiti (I think the Council regularly cleans it up, but the taggers keep coming back).

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

View from the back of the gates. They are a recreation of the original ones which were probably removed during the demolition of the mansion.

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This view towards Greenwood Avenue, which used to be the drive that Zaccheus Walker used to used to get to Fox Hollies Hall. The houses were probably built in the 1930s. Both Greenwood Avenue and Fox Hollies Road were turned into dual carriageways after the estate was sold to the Council.

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Benches to the back of the gates, I've never once seen anyone sitting on them, on all the walks past here (even when on the 11A or in a car).

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Also I've only ever seen these gates locked, so you have to walk around the side of the gateposts.

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

They probably used to open around 2004 or 2005 when the new gates were installed.

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The gates and benches were made by William Hawkes Ltd Blacksmiths. Was  minor bit of paintwork at the time missing. Not sure how often the Council paints these gates.

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (8).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was also these flowery details on the gates.

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (9).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Two quarter benches behind the gates, both with small plaques on them.

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (10).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Local councillors and a member of the Acocks Green Historical Society was mentioned on them.

dndimg alt="Gateposts Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Gateposts Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (12).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Fish Sculpture

Installed in the 1960 for local children to play on, it has become a local landmark, but is easy for most people to ignore it going past. Made by John Bridgeman, it was recognised with a Grade II listing in 2015. A few more views below from January 2010.

dndimg alt="Fish Sculpture" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Fish Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

It is a unique survivor in it's original position, but it has been tagged over the years. Bridgeman had done other play sculptures around Birmingham, but it is believed that this one is the only one left surviving. Made on a wire frame covered in concrete.

dndimg alt="Fish Sculpture" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Fish Curtis Gardens (Jan 2010) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Curtis Gardens from 2019 to 2021

In the years since my original photos, I have walked through Curtis Gardens a lot, sometimes as a shortcut to the number 1 bus on Shaftmoor Lane (more recently the 1A seems to come first). In the last year, getting some photos on the lockdowns.

In late February 2019, I saw crocuses growing in the grass from near the Fox Hollies Road at Curtis Gardens. Spring was on the way.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Feb 2019) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Lots of white, purple and some yellow coloured crocuses here.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Feb 2019) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The crocuses looked good close up.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Feb 2019) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A March 2019 view of Curtis Gardens below, taken from near Ferris Grove. Pemberley Road is to the left.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Mar 2019).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Over a month into the first lockdown, it is the end of April 2020, and we were having April Showers. The trees lush and green from the Fox Hollies Road.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Apr 2020) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The grass in Curtis Gardens was looking long too, perhaps some cow parsley was growing there at the time.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Apr 2020) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A closer look at the long grass in Curtis Gardens and the cow parsley.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Apr 2020) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

In the last Spring, everything seemed to grow long in the first lockdown.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Apr 2020) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was also bluebells growing here, when you can't go far in lockdown, you can only find bluebells in your local green spaces.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Apr 2020) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

One of the paths in Curtis Gardens. The leaves grew back fast in the first month of the original lockdown.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Apr 2020) (6).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

One tree had purply red leaves as the rain was coming down.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Apr 2020) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Another lockdown walk past Curtis Gardens in May 2020. This was near Hall Green Little Theatre on Pemberley Road.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (May 2020) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Early February 2021, and a 3rd lockdown walk towards Tyseley Station. I passed Curtis Gardens on the Fox Hollies Road. This view near the car park entrance.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Feb 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

By now there was small fences around Curtis Gardens, as in the past travellers had illegally set up camp here. So this is to prevent them driving over the land. As you can see the gateposts have graffiti tags on them again. Fish sculpture seen to the far left.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curtis Gardens (Feb 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A few days later, a walk around Hall Green. Got these views of Curtis Gardens from York Road, looking up Grimshaw Road.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curits Gdns Grimshaw Rd (Feb 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

You can see the three tower blocks to the left from Grimshaw Road.

dndimg alt="Curtis Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Curits Gdns Grimshaw Rd (Feb 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

During this walk, got some more views of Homemeadow House, Hollypiece House and Coppice House. This view below taken on Shaftmoor Lane. On the bus route of the no 1 and 1A to Five Ways (via Moseley and Edgbaston).

dndimg alt="The Hollies" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Hollies Curtis Gdns (Feb 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The 1 and 1A bus route in the other direction on Shaftmoor Lane heading towards Acocks Green Village.

dndimg alt="The Hollies" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Hollies Curtis Gdns (Feb 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Heading down York Road in Hall Green, was a view of the three towers close to The Link.

dndimg alt="The Hollies" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Hollies Curtis Gdns (Feb 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Back onto Fox Hollies Road, this view close to The York pub (closed on lockdown of course). Hard to imagine what it looked like over a century ago apart from looking at old black and white photographs of the area.

dndimg alt="The Hollies" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/The Hollies Curtis Gdns (Feb 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

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

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Elliott Brown History & heritage
01 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham

Did you know that there is an art gallery at the University of Birmingham? This is the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Founded in 1932, it's first director was called Thomas Bodkin, who was responsible for purchasing the Equestrian Statue of King George I from the City of Dublin, Ireland in 1937. The gallery is close to Edgbaston Park Road in an Art Deco building completed in 1939.

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The Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham





Did you know that there is an art gallery at the University of Birmingham? This is the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Founded in 1932, it's first director was called Thomas Bodkin, who was responsible for purchasing the Equestrian Statue of King George I from the City of Dublin, Ireland in 1937. The gallery is close to Edgbaston Park Road in an Art Deco building completed in 1939.


The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

If you go to the University of Birmingham's main campus in Edgbaston, and head up Edgbaston Park Road from the Bristol Road, you might see the Barber Institute of Fine Arts on the left. It is opposite King Edward's School and King Edward VI High School for Girls. Also near by is the University of Birmingham Guild of Students (BUGS).

 

Some history of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts

The building was built from 1935 to 1939, it was designed by the architect Robert Atkinson. It is now a Grade II listed building. It is an art gallery and concert hall, and is an Art Deco building. It was opened by Queen Mary (the Queen Consort and later widow of King George V of the United Kingdom). It was set up by Martha Constance Hattie Barber, in memory of her late husband Henry Barber. Who was a wealthy property developer in Birmingham's suburbs. He became a baron in 1924. He died three years later. Lady Barber decided to make a permanent contribution to the city in his memory. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts was founded in 1932. The founding director was Thomas Bodkin.

 

I've only been inside once back in 2008, but at the time wasn't allowed to take photos inside the gallery, and I've never been back. But I did get photos of the exterior of the gallery in the snow of December 2009.

First view of the Art Deco building with the Statue of George I in the snow.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There was a light dusting of snow on the grass around the statue.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

At the time cars were allowed to park outside of the Barber Institute.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

It's lucky that this building was completed before the start of World War 2.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The building curves around, with unique Art Deco detailing of the 1930s.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Steps leads to a rear entrance at the back.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (9).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

To shields on the building. A Latin motto "Esto Quod Esse Videris". This means in English "Suppose that you are".

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (10).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Including the crest of the University of Birmingham.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (11).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Snow on the steps to the main entrance, but at the time this could also have been grit salt.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (12).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The main entrance steps and doorway. Above the doors it says "UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM BARBER INSTITUTE OF FINE ARTS AD MCMXXXV". This stone would have been laid in 1935, the year that construction of the gallery began (it would be completed by 1939).

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Institute Fine Arts (Dec 2009) (13).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

In my subsequent walks around the Edgbaston Campus at the University of Birmingham, I rarely take new photos of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, but took this pair during one walk in November 2018, heading off the campus via the East Gate.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Inst Fine Arts (Nov 2018) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There was a sculpture on the wall of a harp. A sign that they also cover music here.

dndimg alt="Barber Institute of Fine Arts" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Barber Inst Fine Arts (Nov 2018) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

 

Equestrian Statue of King George I of Great Britain

George I of Great Britain was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 until his death in 1727. He had come from Hanover in what is now part of Germany, with the title Elector of Hanover. It is unlikely that he would have ever travelled up to the Town of Birmingham at the time.

The statue was bought by the first director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Thomas Bodkin in 1937. It was originally commissioned by the City of Dublin in 1717, and was unveiled in the City in 1722. It was sculpted by the Dutch sculptor John van Nost the Elder. When in the early part of the 20th Century when Ireland was becoming Independent of the UK, and on it's way to form a Republic, the statue could have been destroyed by the Republicans, but thankfully Mr Bodkin bought it and took it to Birmingham. Today it stands just outside of the gallery on the lawn between University Road East, Ring Road North and Edgbaston Park Road.

 

One of the main reasons for coming to the University of Birmingham on a snowy day in December 2009 was to see the Equestrian Statue of George I.

dndimg alt="George I of Great Britain" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/George I Barber Inst UoB (Dec 2009) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

It is quite impressive, probably the only statue of Birmingham with a King on a horse.

dndimg alt="George I of Great Britain" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/George I Barber Inst UoB (Dec 2009) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

It is similar to a later statue of George IV that I previously saw in Trafalfar Square, London.

dndimg alt="George I of Great Britain" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/George I Barber Inst UoB (Dec 2009) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

There is raser sharp spikes all the way around the plinth, to prevent someone climbing up onto the statue.

dndimg alt="George I of Great Britain" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/George I Barber Inst UoB (Dec 2009) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

It isn't worth trying unless you want to harm yourself.

dndimg alt="George I of Great Britain" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/George I Barber Inst UoB (Dec 2009) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

George I is looking towards King Edward's School, which moved here in 1936. All of this land was part of the Calthorpe Estates.

dndimg alt="George I of Great Britain" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/George I Barber Inst UoB (Dec 2009) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The equestrian statue was in silhouette on this side.

dndimg alt="George I of Great Britain" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/George I Barber Inst UoB (Dec 2009) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Back then, I tended to get loads of photos of statues and buildings, when I was new to Birmingham photography.

dndimg alt="George I of Great Britain" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/George I Barber Inst UoB (Dec 2009) (10).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

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

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70 passion points
FreeTimePays Art; Culture & creativity
01 Feb 2021 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

'Forward in Unity' mural - Brilliant initiative in so many ways

The 'Forward In Unity’ mural was started on Friday 22nd May 2020. It was completed by artist Gent48 on Monday 1st June 2020. Not only has the project in Digbeth received some fantastic media coverage, it has helped raise awareness of the virus and its devasting impact on the community as well as raising a vast amount for local charities.

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'Forward in Unity' mural - Brilliant initiative in so many ways





The 'Forward In Unity’ mural was started on Friday 22nd May 2020. It was completed by artist Gent48 on Monday 1st June 2020. Not only has the project in Digbeth received some fantastic media coverage, it has helped raise awareness of the virus and its devasting impact on the community as well as raising a vast amount for local charities.


'Forward in Unity' is a great example of how to bring people together in a massive shared effort against a common enemy, as the Covid-19 virus must continue to be regarded.

The project has helped raise awareness.

The 'Forward in Unity' initiative has raised awareness of the virus and brought people together in recognition of the front-line heroes fighting the virus for the protection of our community.

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

'Forward in Unity'.  Photography by Paul Cadman.

The project has helped bring people together.

The initiative and the significant coverage it has received has attracted the attention of people, not just in Birmingham but across the UK. 

This and other initiatives all have a vital role in tackling the views of those who, despite clear evidence of the devastation caused by the virus, still act and behave in a way that is not in the interests of their community. 

The project has enthused and inspired others to be creative.

During a time when people have been asked to make huge sacrifices and stay at home, the project and the media coverage received has inspired many to check out their own creativity.

Whether through photography, art, craft-making or the written word, such creativity has become hugely important for people's mental health.   

As an example, the Birmingham Gems Charity Calendar for 2021 dedicated a page on the mural in recognition of the city's amazing artists and creative talent. 

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BirminghamWeAre_BMT_Calendar_2021_MASTER_PRINT_DESIGN_FILE20.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The project has raised much needed funds for local charities.

Prints of all sizes can be purchased in order to support local charities, 

In addition to the prints, a book in celebration of those behind the initiative and across community has also been produced.

Connect HERE and get hold of your very own print (signed, limited edition or unlimited) or your 'Forward in Unity' book.  Help support local Birmingham charities. 

'Forward in Unity' A0 Limited Edition Print

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

'Forward in Unity' Print (A1 or A2)

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/poster 2.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

'Forward in Unity' Video/Book Folder

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

'Forward in Unity' Book (2nd edition)

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

Connect HERE to make a donation to Art4Charity and support local charities.

Paul Cadman, one of the founders of Art4Charity, was the inspiration behind the 'Forward in Unity' mural. Paul is active across the City and involves himself in many charities that need our help during these challenging times.

dndimg alt="" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paul Cadman message 1.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

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75 passion points
Elliott Brown Environment & green action
28 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Exploring the Birmingham Botanical Gardens over the years from multiple visits

I've been to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens several times over the last 5 or more years. Usually to attend something like the Magical Lantern Festival, Jurassic Kingdom or Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom events. More recently attended a free open day during Birmingham Heritage Week back in 2019. You can see various birds in cages, a roaming peacock, and butterflies in a greenhouse and more

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Exploring the Birmingham Botanical Gardens over the years from multiple visits





I've been to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens several times over the last 5 or more years. Usually to attend something like the Magical Lantern Festival, Jurassic Kingdom or Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom events. More recently attended a free open day during Birmingham Heritage Week back in 2019. You can see various birds in cages, a roaming peacock, and butterflies in a greenhouse and more


Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is located on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Birmingham Botanical and Horticultural Society was founded in 1829 with the intent to found a botanical garden. It opened in 1832. The gardens are Grade II listed and was designed by J. C. Loudon. The Tropical House was built in 1852, followed by the Subtropical House in 1871. The Terrace glasshouses were built in 1884.

The gardens features a Bandstand and Aviary, four glasshouses (Tropical, Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid glasshouses), plus a Alpine House and Butterfly House. There is a sunken Rose Garden, a cast iron Gazebo built in 1850. A rock garden and pool dating to 1895. Various walks that were laid out in 1862. Three period gardens (Tudor, Roman and Medieval) was created in 1994.

The gardens has a gift shop, plant sale centre, tea room, meeting and conference rooms. Famously the leaders of the G8 had a dinner party in the Pavilion Restaurant here in 1998.

 

2012

One of my earliest photos of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens taken during August 2012, walked past on Westbourne Road. I have been here as a child back in the 1980s, but didn't start taking photos here until this point.

 

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2016

The first event I paid to go to the Botanical Gardens was at the Magical Lantern Festival during December 2016. Hung around the City Centre until it got dark and arrived for my time just before 5pm, but it was heavily raining.

Go here for the Magical Lantern Festival 2016 post.

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While there (in the heavy rain) I got some photos of the Glasshouses. Bit hard to see in the dark, but was lit up inside.

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View to the Pavilion Restaurant. That was where in 1998, the leaders of the G8 had a dinner party. Including the Clinton's and Blair's.

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2017

In May 2017 I booked to see the Jurassic Kingdom event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Better weather this time and was in the daytime. Animatronic dinosaurs. Plus while there got general photos of the gardens.

Got a post here for both Jurassic Kingdom 2017 and Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom 2019.

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The Bandstand was installed here in 1873. It was renovated on it's centenary in 1973.

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The Bird Cages also known as the Aviary.

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Red-crowned parakeet in the Aviary (Bird Cage).

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One of the peacocks that roams around the Botanical Gardens.

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The fountain was built in 1850. It ceased to flow in 1940 but was restored to working order in 1982.

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The Gazebo dates to 1850 and was originally located at 32 Church Road, Edgbaston and was made of Cast Iron. Donated by the Lord Chancellor's Department in 1993. Restored in 1994.

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Heading through The Tropical House.

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It is very warm in The Tropical House. A bench to sit down on.

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Heading out of the Botanical Gardens, saw the blue plaque of Ernest Henry Wilson (1876 - 1930). Placed here by the Birmingham Civic Society in 2010.

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A few months later in August 2017, I was walking past the Botanical Gardens, and saw a view with Old Joe (the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower) at the University of Birmingham.

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By December 2017, there was a Christmas Lights Trail on at the Botanical Gardens, although I didn't go to it myself. But at the time I could see this Helter Skelter and a Carousel from the Westbourne Road. Taken from the no 24 bus. It looks like a fun fair was close to the car park.

dndimg alt="Birmingham Botanical Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Birmingham Botanical Gardens (Dec 2017).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

2018

In July 2018, I got off the no 24 bus on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston to see a new blue plaque at Birmingham City University. Got these photos of the Welcome signs on the walk up the road. This car park is usually full during events, and is best for people to park their cars elsewhere in Edgbaston and walk there.

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This Welcome sign on the main entrance building.

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During the open day at the Tyseley Locomotive Works in September 2018, West Midlands Railway was showing off 172 339 with it's purple livery. On the side was 2 for 1 offers, including at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This livery has since been replaced with the standard orange one on all of their Class 172 trains on the Snow Hill Lines. I previously caught this at Birmingham Moor Street Station back in April 2018.

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The Magical Lantern Festival returned to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in December 2018 (it was at Kings Heath Park in 2017). That year I didn't pay to go to it, just saw from either the no 23 or 24 buses. Santa was outside.

dndimg alt="Magical Lantern Festival" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Magical Lantern BBG (Dec 2018) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Was better to get off the bus to see Santa and the presents from Westbourne Road.

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They had unicorns with wings at the main entrance. Can you spot Old Joe on the right?

dndimg alt="Magical Lantern Festival" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Magical Lantern BBG (Dec 2018) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A few days later, tried to get some more shots from the top of a bus. Christmas tree near the main entrance.

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Could see this shoe from the bus window.

dndimg alt="Magical Lantern Festival" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Magical Lantern BBG (Dec 2018) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

2019

Returned in April 2019 for the Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom event. Link to that post is further up this post. It was another opportunity to get general shots of the Botanical Gardens, as well as the animatronic wild beasts! Due to going to the previous event I attended, got an early bird ticket and went quite early on it's run!

dndimg alt="Ice Age The Lost Kingdom" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Ice Age The Lost Kingdom 2019 Bham Botanical Gardens (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Saw the peacock on the path near the ice age beasts.

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A close up look at the Bandstand.

dndimg alt="Birmingham Botanical Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Birmingham Botanical Gardens (Apr 2019) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Into the Historic Gardens. On the right was The Tudor Knott Garden.

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At the far end was the statue of Proserpina.

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The garden to the far left is The Medieval Garden.

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The garden in the middle is The Roman Garden.

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A view of the Alpine Yard redevelopment.

dndimg alt="Birmingham Botanical Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Birmingham Botanical Gardens (Apr 2019) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

By September 2019, it was Birmingham Heritage Week, and the gardens was packed! But on the Sunday it was free to visit, so had a full walk around this time. Go here for the Birmingham Heritage Week post of the weekend 14th and 15th September 2019. 5 photos in the original post (plus three other venues I visited that weekend).

More views below.

The entrance to the Botanical Gardens, with the stone dated 1832 above the Welcome canopy and Heritage Open Day bunting.

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The Arid House, full of cactuses in here.

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It was nice and warm in here for the cactuses.

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Outside to the Loudon Terrace. The border looked very colourful. Was also a lot of people around. Probably the last time it was this busy before the pandemic started in 2020.

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This was the Garden of Tomorrow.

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The pond at the Garden of Memory.

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A look at the Rock Garden and Pool. Lots of water lilies in the pool.

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Was on the path from Farrer Walk to Wilson Walk. Saw this unique looking flower called Impatiens niamiamensis. Red, yellow and green.

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In the Butterfly House, was several butterflies, the rest were hibernating.

dndimg alt="Birmingham Botanical Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bham Botanical Gardens (Sept 2019) (14).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Saw these Rosy-faced lovebirds in one of the bird cages. There was a lot of them in there.

dndimg alt="Birmingham Botanical Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bham Botanical Gardens (Sept 2019) (16).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

On the Perennial borders saw a lot of Yellow coneflowers.

dndimg alt="Birmingham Botanical Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bham Botanical Gardens (Sept 2019) (17).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was also this flower called Tagetes patula. Had red and yellow petals.

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There was a parrot in the Aviary (Bird House). Saw plenty of other birds in there as well.

dndimg alt="Birmingham Botanical Gardens" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bham Botanical Gardens (Sept 2019) (19).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

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

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An Edwardian gem that is Winterbourne House & Garden

I've only visited the garden at Winterbourne once, way back in August 2008, so was before I picked up Birmingham photography. One of the last places we went to with my late brother (passed November 2008). In the years since, I took some exteriors of the house fro Edgbaston Park Road when it was being restored, and another time for the blue plaque of John Nettlefold, who lived here.

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An Edwardian gem that is Winterbourne House & Garden





I've only visited the garden at Winterbourne once, way back in August 2008, so was before I picked up Birmingham photography. One of the last places we went to with my late brother (passed November 2008). In the years since, I took some exteriors of the house fro Edgbaston Park Road when it was being restored, and another time for the blue plaque of John Nettlefold, who lived here.


Winterbourne House & Garden

Winterbourne House and Winterbourne Botanic Garden is located on Edgbaston Park Road in Edgbaston and belongs to the University of Birmingham. It has been on the site since 1903, and been part of the University since 1944.

 

History of Winterbourne

Winterbourne House was built between 1903 and 1904 as the family home of John & Margaret Nettlefold. They commissioned the local architect Joseph Lancaster Bell to design and build the house. It was made of brick and tiles. The original garden was designed by Margaret Nettlefold herself. They lived here with their children until 1919, when John was getting a bit unwell.

The property was sold to the Wheelock family, who had 9 children. They lived here until 1925. It was then purchased by John Nicholson, who was a local businessman, and a keen gardener. He made improvements to the garden, adding a rock garden and alpine area. He was here until his death in 1944.

Winterbourne was then passed onto the University of Birmingham. Initially the house was used as student halls. The house has had a variety of uses since 1944. During 2009 to 2010, the house was fully restored. During this time the Birmingham Civic Society placed a blue plaque on the house for John Nettlefold.

The garden has many plants from around the world. The house now has a gift shop and tearoom. Plus an Art Gallery. During the Pandemic, the garden has only been open to members.

 

2008

So far the visit of August 2008 was the only time I've been to Winterbourne House & Garden, so is a bit hard to remember this visit (from 12 to 13 years ago). Other than it was one of the places we went to that year before my brother passed away of cancer in November 2008.

View from the garden of Winterbourne House.

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Below, one of my late brothers photos of a small boggy pond.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne Garden (Aug 2008) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

A pond with water lilies (my late brothers photo below). Not sure if this is the Chad Brook or not.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne Garden (Aug 2008) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Large leaves over the pond (or Chad Brook). (One of my late brothers photos below).

dndimg alt="Winterbourne Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne Garden (Aug 2008) (6).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Looking at my archive photos from that visit, I didn't take much, so only had a handle of photos like this. The pond / Chad Brook with water lilies.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne Garden (Aug 2008) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

One of my late brothers photos towards the house.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne Garden (Aug 2008) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

He also took this one in the garden.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne Garden (Aug 2008) (9).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Yes this was one of his photos as well (I Photoshopped myself out of it).

dndimg alt="Winterbourne Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne Garden (Aug 2008) (10).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

What looks a ships deck.

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The ships deck from the front.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne Garden (Aug 2008) (12).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

2009

About a year or so after loosing my brother, during December 2009,  I was walking past Winterbourne House on Edgbaston Park Road, while there was so on the ground at the University of Birmingham. Work was underway to restore the house. Was the same day as I got the statue of George I outside of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (another place we visited back in 2008, but couldn't take photos inside unfortunately).

dndimg alt="Winterbourne House" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne House (Dec 2009) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

A University of Birmingham sign says this is part of the Green Zone. G.11 is Winterbourne House and G.12 is Winterbourne Botanic Garden.

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Looked like at the time they were also doing work on the grounds outside near the car park entrance.

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Details of the first and second floor with the roof covered in snow.

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A sign welcomes you to Winterbourne. Garden Entrance to the left.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne House" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne House (Dec 2009) (7).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

It was a blue sky day, snow everywhere but settled. The front drive was quite big. Public car park is also on this side.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne House" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne House (Dec 2009) (9).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

2013

The last time I got photos of Winterbourne House & Garden from Edgbaston Park Road was during February 2013, to see the blue plaque that had been installed there. Although I have walked up Edgbaston Park Road in the years since, just not taken any more photos of Winterbourne since then.

Saw this sign as I got close to Winterbourne House & Garden. Tearoom * Gifts * Gallery * Plants. University of Birmingham.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne House & Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne House (Feb 2013) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The house was looking as good as new, cars in the car park to the right.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne House & Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne House (Feb 2013) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The drive on the left is the entrance to cars going to the car park.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne House & Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne House (Feb 2013) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Heading to the blue plaque on the right.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne House & Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne House (Feb 2013) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

The Birmingham Civic Society unveiled this blue plaque in 2010 in memory of John Sutton Nettlefold (1866 - 1930). He lived in this house from 1903 until 1919.

dndimg alt="Winterbourne House & Garden" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Winterbourne House (Feb 2013) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Winterbourne during the pandemic

During the pandemic, Winterbourne Garden is open, but the house, shop and tearoom remain closed until further notice. But you can order gifts online and click & collect only (they don't offer a postal service). You can also get a Winterbourne Membership if you want to.

They are not operating a pre-booked system. They have reduced the number of visitors they can have at one time. Only University members or students with ID's can visit at the moment. So it looks like if you are not a member, or don't belong to the University you can't visit right now.

Would be nice to go again one day in the future when things get better.

 

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

 

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