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Squares and public spaces
19 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A look round Colmore Square, between Colmore Row and Steelhouse Lane

If you are walking down Colmore Row or up Steelhouse Lane, you will get to Colmore Circus Queensway. In the middle of that is Colmore Square. Redeveloped in the early 2000s, from the subways and lowered areas that were filled in. The Wesleyan had already been there since 1991, while No 1 Colmore Square opened in 2004. The square was refurbished in 2014 with new benches and flower planters.

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A look round Colmore Square, between Colmore Row and Steelhouse Lane





If you are walking down Colmore Row or up Steelhouse Lane, you will get to Colmore Circus Queensway. In the middle of that is Colmore Square. Redeveloped in the early 2000s, from the subways and lowered areas that were filled in. The Wesleyan had already been there since 1991, while No 1 Colmore Square opened in 2004. The square was refurbished in 2014 with new benches and flower planters.


COLMORE SQUARE

 

Colmore Square is in the centre of Colmore Circus Queensway. It is connected to Colmore Row, Bull Street, The Priory Queensway, Steelhouse Lane, Weaman Street and Snow Hill Queensway.

 

Colmore Circus Queensway was rebuilt in 2002, replacing the old roundabout of the Inner Ring Road with a square (this was around the same time when Masshouse Circus Queensway was demolished, breaking up the Concrete Collar, which had stopped development in Birmingham for decades). Out went the subways, and in came traffic lights and pelican crossings and road level. It is now safer to walk from Birmingham Snow Hill Station, on Colmore Row to Birmingham Children's Hospital on Steelhouse Lane, without having to go into subways (which you had to do from 1998 to sometime before 2002). It is also an alternate walking route to Aston University and the Magistrate and Law Courts, through the Steelhouse Conservation Area.

 

The Wesleyan was built from 1988 to 1991, so some changes had to be made to get the square to be level with the outside of the building, including a fountain.

No 1 Colmore Square was completed opposite The Wesleyan in 2004. No 2 Colmore Square is on the corner of The Priory Queensway and Steelhouse Lane, also known as Cannon House and Priory House (refurbished in 2006). There is a Matthew Boulton plaque, on the corner, as he was born nearby in the area (in 1728).

Colmore Plaza is on the opposite corner of Colmore Circus and Steelhouse Lane, this was completed in 2007 (replacing the Post & Mail Building of 1965-2006). It was renamed to The Colmore Building since 2016.

 

The original Midland Metro extension was built on the part of Colmore Circus near Colmore Row from 2012 to 2015. The first part opened to Bull Street Tram Stop in December 2016 (reaching Grand Central Tram Stop by 2016).

Minor refurbishment of Colmore Square in 2014 with new benches and flower planters, plus some chess table benches.

 

Every Christmas the Colmore BID places a Christmas tree here, and in the summer, Cofton Nursery places one of their Floral Trail pieces. The Big Hoot had 3 painted owls in summer 2015, and The Big Sleuth 3 painted bears in the summer of 2017. The trails were to help the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

 

Colmore Square as it was during May 2009. This view: The Wesleyan on the left, then the view down Steelhouse Lane with Colmore Plaza on the left and No 2 Colmore Square on the right (near the end of The Priory Queensway).

A look down Steelhouse Lane from Colmore Square. Fountain Court and the back of the Victoria Law Courts are visible from here.

In the other direction towards Colmore Gate and Colmore Row with Bull Street to the left. The old 103 Colmore Row (NatWest Tower) was just about visible to the right (behind Barclays Bank).

Shadow near No 1 Colmore Square, which is the office building on the left.

 

Colmore Square Then and Now

Spot the difference. The old NatWest Tower stood at 103 Colmore Row until 2015. After demolition, the new 103 Colmore Row was built during 2019 into 2020, and will open sometime later in 2021.

A July 2009 view of Colmore Square. Beyond Colmore Gate and The Wesleyan towards the NatWest Tower (the old 103 Colmore Row).

 

This view of Colmore Square taken during July 2020. While the new 103 Colmore Square was under construction. Seen between Colmore Gate, Barclays Bank, 9 Colmore Row, 1 Colmore Row and The Wesleyan.

 

2014 refurbishment of Colmore Square

This was during April 2014. This view from the construction site of the Midland Metro extension.

New flower planters with trees and benches, close to The Wesleyan.

They were also installed close to No 1 Colmore Square.

There was also brand new bins installed at the time.

More new trees close to The Priory Queensway.

The chess table benches. Whether anyone played chess or checkers here, I'm not sure. More like people having their lunch on them!

There was also new bike racks, near Colmore Plaza and The Wesleyan.

The reverse view of Colmore Square back towards the Midland Metro extension. The Grand Hotel was under scaffolding, but was before the renovation works started.

 

Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

Cofton Nursery is responsible for placing the various floral trail pieces all over the City Centre, every summer. Some for special occasions.

 

Seen in early August 2012 in Colmore Square was this floral trail piece called Female Weightlifter. It was the year of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was based on Zoe Smith and Natasha Perdue. It was one of 23 features that you could see along the route that summer in 2012. The Colmore BID sponsored it, supporting Birmingham Bloom in celebrating Team GB.

 

From July 2015, the Folding Bicyle was back in the City Centre, this time in Colmore Square. The summer before (2014) it was located in Church Street Square. In 2014 it was one of 12 WW1 features to commemorate Britain's entry into the First World War (1914-18). The commemorations continued into 2015.

 

Wasn't so much of a Floral Trail by the summer of 2019, just the odd piece around the City Centre. From July 2019, was this Rock 'N' Roll Drums located in Colmore Square. Probably as it was Black Sabbath's 50th Anniversary, and they had an exhibition on at the Gas Hall that summer. Called Home of Metal Presents: Black Sabbath 50 Years.

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Seen in Colmore Square during July 2015 was The Big Hoot, a trail of painted owls. This trail would be on for around 10 weeks before being auctioned for charity.

Leo by the artist Ruth Green. The sponsor was Pinsent Masons.

 

Tessellated Triangles was by the artist Deven Bhurke. The sponsor was Shoosmiths.

 

The Graduate by the artist Deven Bhurke. The sponsor was The Wesleyan.

 

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

Seen in Colmore Square during July 2017 was The Big Sleuth, a trail of painted bears. Running for 10 weeks, before the painted bears were auctioned off for charity.

Get Your Bearings was designed by Tom Crotty and painted by G-Anders.The sponsor was Amey.

 

Birminghamshire by the artist Rachel Blackwell. The sponsor was The Wesleyan.

 

Captain Blue Bear by the artist Maria Burns. The sponsor was Vodafone.

 

Christmas Tree's over the years in Colmore Square

The Colmore BID usually installs a variety of Christmas tree's in Colmore Square over the years, close to the part of Colmore Circus with Colmore Row. Sometimes artificial baubles, other years a real grown tree.

The Baubles Christmas Tree in Colmore Square seen during November 2011. Celebrate Christmas with Colmore Business District. The view towards No 1 Colmore Square.

Early in January 2012, the same Christmas Tree was still up, and I caught it lit up after dark in Colmore Square.

 

In December 2014, you could see a real Christmas Tree in Colmore Square. This view towards 9 and 1 Colmore Row.

 

There was also a real Christmas Tree in Colmore Square during December 2015. This view towards Colmore Gate.

 

Same again in November 2017 with this Christmas Tree. View towards The Wesleyan.

 

The last real Christmas Tree in Colmore Square, seen during November 2019. The view between 1 Colmore Row and The Wesleyan.

 

During the 2nd lockdown, close to the end of November 2020, I saw this artificial Christmas Tree in Colmore Square, as a West Midlands Metro tram passed by.

Later that day, before I got the bus home, I saw it lit up after dark. The last time I went through Colmore Square during December 2020, it had been removed. Probably due to the Snow Hill Public Realm works taking place nearby on Colmore Row.

 

Other events

A few more observations in Colmore Square over the years. Usually when I was heading to get some lunch from Colmore Row (and on the walk back to work).

 

The Microsoft Office 365 bench was in Colmore Square on the 29th March 2013. You could sit here and enjoy free WiFi while you work (outside).

 

A band was playing some musical instruments in Colmore Square, and there was an audience watching from those deckchairs. This was on the 23rd July 2014. Lots of office workers out to buy their lunch that day.

 

Exercise bikes were being ridden in Colmore Square, as seen on the 15th July 2015. Quite close to the Folding Bike floral trail feature. They were riding for the Birmingham Children's Hospital charity. From "Lands End to John O'Groats". They were from The Wesleyan. Of course if they did this now, they would do it from home over Zoom.

 

See also the post on Church Street Square in the Colmore BID.

 

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

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70 passion points
History & heritage
18 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A visit to Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses during September 2020

On the afternoon of the 6th September 2020, we booked to go to the National Trust property and grounds of Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses. Located in Staffordshire near the village of Kinver (and not too far from Stourbridge). The Holy Austin Rock Houses were still lived in until the 1960s. Due to the pandemic, you couldn't go into the houses, just peek into them.

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A visit to Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses during September 2020





On the afternoon of the 6th September 2020, we booked to go to the National Trust property and grounds of Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses. Located in Staffordshire near the village of Kinver (and not too far from Stourbridge). The Holy Austin Rock Houses were still lived in until the 1960s. Due to the pandemic, you couldn't go into the houses, just peek into them.


Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses

 

A visit to Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses during September 2020. This was on the afternoon of the 6th September 2020. As before, we booked the tickets via the National Trust website (which goes onto the EventBrite app). Outside of the forest was a car park, and we passed an ice cream van. We booked in for 2:30pm. You head up to the gate, and get your ticket scanned, then proceed to walk up to the Rock Houses.

 

This National Trust site is near the village of Kinver in Staffordshire, and isn't too far from Stourbridge (around 4 miles away). There is caves in the hills, some that had houses built into them. Kinver Edge includes a heath and woodland. The National Trust was first given the estate in 1917 (around 198 acres) by the children of Thomas Grosvenor Lee (who was a Birmingham solicitor born in Kinver). The Trust acquired a further 85 acres between 1964 and 1980. In 2014 Worcestershire County Council approved the transfer of Kingsford Forest Park to the National Trust. By 2018 the parks signs were now reading National Trust Kinver Edge.

Kinver Edge was home to the last troglodyte homes in England. One of the rock houses was called Holy Austin (which you can visit). It was a hermitage until the Reformation. The Holy Austin Rock Houses were lived in until the 1960s. In normal times you can visit them, but during the summer and autumn of 2020, you could only peek into the rock houses.

Further up was a tearoom and caves. You could put your mask on, and order a coffee and cake and sit at the tables outside (this was when restrictions were eased, and before they were strengthened again).

Also located here was Nanny's Rock, which was a large cave, but it was never converted into a house. There was also Vale's Rock, which had also been known as Crow's Rock. It had been converted into houses and was last occupied in the 1960s. But due to it's dangerous condition it is out of bounds to visitors. Although you can see it from the tables and chairs of the Tearoom area.

From 1901 to 1930, it used to be possible for visitors to get the Kinver Light Railway, which connected to Birmingham's original tram network (operated from 1904 to 1953 by Birmingham Corporation Tramways). But it closed due to the popularity of the motorbus and motorcars. These days, only cars and coaches can get to Kinver Edge on Compton Road. Although I only remember parking spaces available for cars.

 

After you explore the rock houses and caves, you can head up into the Woodland and climb up to the Toposcope (if you want to).

 

After showing our tickets in the EventBrite app, we walked around to the Rock Houses. This was the first glimpse of one of them.

These are the Holy Austin Rock Houses at Kinver Edge.

Teas written on the wall of one of the Rock Houses. Probably Vale's Rock.

There is at least three levels to the Rock Houses here at Kinver Edge, along with some caves.

It wouldn't be long before I got to see this Rock House up and close, but first had to walk up some steps.

A Keep Out sign near the rocks. Not all areas are safe for the public to go.

I would get a better view of these Rock Houses once we went up the steps.

Close up to the first Rock House at the corner. The Holy Austin Rock Houses on the Lower Level.

You could peek into the Rock Houses, but a rope prevented you from entering.

A look at the objects on the table in this Rock House.

Pots and pans in this small cave.

Some Rock Houses had open windows, and you could peek into them. Looks like a bedroom.

The window of this Rock House was only slightly open.

A path goes around the Rock Houses to view some more of them. These are the Holy Austin Rock Houses. Ghost sign above barely readable.

Doors on the Rock Houses to the left were closed, so you couldn't see inside of these ones.

A look at Nanny's Rock (I think). Caves that were never converted into Rock Houses. For many years it was known as Meg-o-Fox-Hole. Someone may have died here in 1617 known as Margaret of the fox earth. Visible from the Middle Level, near tables and chairs from the Tearoom (over a fence).

When you get to the Upper Level, there is a cave you can enter. The ground is covered in sand, plus I think graffiti had been scratched into the rocks over the years. This is near the Tearoom. These are the Martindale Caves and have a 1930s appearance.

The Tearoom is on the Upper Level, to the left of the caves. Tables and chairs were outside to the right (in front of the caves). But if occupied, you had to stand up having your coffee or tea. Toilets were around to the left. This house has been restored to a Victorian appearance.

After going through the gate, exiting the Rock Houses, saw a view of the Victorian style Tearoom house. Toilets on the left. From here you can follow the paths and steps up the hill to the summit of Kinver Edge.

The Toposcope at the top of the hill on Kinver Edge. It has a map of the Midlands, which was restored by the Rotary Club of Kinver in 2014 (it was originally presented by them in 1990). Showing all the counties of the West Midlands region. Plus the major towns and cities (including Birmingham). Plus major hills such as the Lickey Hills and Clent Hills.

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

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70 passion points
Health & wellbeing
12 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Introducing the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

The Birmingham Super Hospital was built on a site in Edgbaston close to the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital from 2006 to 2010 by Balfour Beatty. It was opened in the summer of 2010. Built to replace the old QE and Selly Oak Hospital, it was given the name of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. It is linked to the University of Birmingham. The hospital is part of the UHB NHS Foundation Trust.

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Introducing the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham





The Birmingham Super Hospital was built on a site in Edgbaston close to the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital from 2006 to 2010 by Balfour Beatty. It was opened in the summer of 2010. Built to replace the old QE and Selly Oak Hospital, it was given the name of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. It is linked to the University of Birmingham. The hospital is part of the UHB NHS Foundation Trust.


Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham is located in Edgbaston, Birmingham on Mindelsohn Way. The Selly Oak Bypass, known as the Aston Webb Boulevard, along with New Fosse Way and Hospital Way was completed between 2010 to 2011. There is a roundabout nearby called Queen Elizabeth Island.

The nearby Cross City Line includes University Station, which can be used to get to the hospital and the University of Birmingham. As well as the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, the nearby Ariel Aqueduct and railway viaduct are also close by.

Construction of the Birmingham Super Hospital took place by Balfour Beatty between 2006 and 2010. It was named Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, as the Royal title had to be before, and not after, so it could not be called Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The move to the QEHB started in June 2010, and this was completed by November 2011. At the same time, they were moving out of Selly Oak Hospital and the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital (parts of which are now the Medical School of the University of Birmingham).

The hospital is part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

 

The Birmingham Super Hospital seen during May 2009 while it was still under construction. It had been about 6 months since my brother passed away from cancer, and we were at the old QE, to see an art exhibition. While there, I took these photos of the new hospital from the outside.

 

In December 2009 I saw these views of the Birmingham Super Hospital from Selly Oak Triangle. Near the Sainsbury's car park and the Battery Retail Park. Used to be a B & Q at the retail park at the time.

 

Next up, views taken during June 2010, the month the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was first opened. These views from Selly Oak, over the allotments.  Probably taken from the Harborne Lane Island.

 

Some April 2012 views of the QEHB. First up, a couple of views from the Aston Webb Boulevard (Selly Oak Bypass). Plus a couple of views from around Mindelsohn Way.

 

A couple of February 2013 views of the QEHB near the bus stops. The main entrance to the hospital is to the far right.

 

Some views in later years. This one of the QEHB taken from Mindelsohn Way during December 2017 (on Boxing Day). Many bus routes head around this road, with the bus stops on the right. Today you can get the 76 to Solihull, or the 1A towards Acocks Green. Other bus routes serve the bus stops behind.

 

In December 2017, I saw this view of the QEHB from the footbridge at Selly Oak Station. This was two days after the previous time I saw the hospital. There was some snow in Selly Oak that day.

 

This view taken from the bus stop during March 2018 of the QEHB. Taxi rank on the left, bus stops on the right. Was waiting for a no 76 bus back towards Yardley Wood and Hall Green.

 

Now for some views of the QEHB seen over the years from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park.

The view from May 2013, of the QEHB and the BT Tower.

 

By January 2018, you could see the construction to the right of the QEHB of The Bank Tower 2.

 

A November 2020 Lickey Hills 2nd lockdown walk down Beacon Hill started with the skyline view first. The QEHB, was joined by the completed Bank towers, while The Mercian was shooting up Broad Street.

 

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

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110 passion points
History & heritage
05 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Remaining buildings of Kings Norton Workhouse at the former site of Selly Oak Hospital

You'd be surprised to know that there are several surviving Victorian (and Edwardian) red brick buildings at the site of Selly Oak Hospital, despite all the new houses that have been built at The Oaks. Originally built as the Kings Norton Union Workhouse around 1870. The site became Selly Oak Hospital from 1897. But it closed in 2011 after the QEHB opened in Edgbaston in 2010.

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Remaining buildings of Kings Norton Workhouse at the former site of Selly Oak Hospital





You'd be surprised to know that there are several surviving Victorian (and Edwardian) red brick buildings at the site of Selly Oak Hospital, despite all the new houses that have been built at The Oaks. Originally built as the Kings Norton Union Workhouse around 1870. The site became Selly Oak Hospital from 1897. But it closed in 2011 after the QEHB opened in Edgbaston in 2010.


If you go to Selly Oak now, you will find a housing development called The Oaks, from MIA Property Group. The houses are built on (and more are still being built) at the former site of Selly Oak Hospital. Located between Oak Tree Lane and Raddlebarn Road in Selly Oak. You will find that many Victorian red brick buildings have survived (some dating to the early Edwardian period).

The site was originally opened in 1870 as the Kings Norton Union Workhouse, which was designed by Edward Holmes. It was to be a place to care for the the poor. In 1897 a new Workhouse Infirmary was built (this was the start of Selly Oak Hospital). At the time it was known as Kings Norton Union Infirmary at Selly Oak.

An entrance block was opened on Raddlebarn Road in 1902, plus a large nurses home in 1908 (known as Woodlands). The workhouse became a home for the sick known as Selly Oak House. When the NHS was formed in 1948, the whole site was renamed to Selly Oak Hospital.

In later years there was an Outpatients building near Oak Tree Lane (probably dating to the 1960s or 1970s).

In the years before the Birmingham Super Hospital opened in Edgbaston (now Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham), many injured soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan were treated here (in the 2000s).

Selly Oak Hospital began transferring over to the QEHB in 2010, and this process was completed in 2011.

The site lay derelict for years, until the hospital Trust exchanged contracts with developers to build houses on the site in 2015.

But many of the red brick buildings have survived, while many others were demolished to make room for the houses.

 

2nd January 2012

I first got photos of the red brick buildings from Raddlebarn Road back in 2012. By this point was a green fence around the site.

A first look at the red brick entrance block dated AD 1902.

View of the AD 1902 sign.

The ornate gates were closed. Private Property signs on both sides.

There was red brick house to the right.

It was demolished by 2018 to make way for a new road called Arkell Way.

Raddlebarn Road was lined with these ornate railings, probably dating back to the late 19th century I would guess.

These modern extensions to the older red brick block were demolished in 2018. Used to be Therapy Services there.

There was quite a lot of old red brick blocks on site. Many of the NHS signs were still around at the time.

They were advising, "Don't go to Selly Oak if you have had an Accident, go to the QE!". Or something along those lines.

 

14th December 2014

By this point, there was already signs of demolition having taken place on site from this view on Raddlebarn Road in Selly Oak. This was from Elm Road near Bournville. The view today is of a line of houses (built in 2016). Most of these buildings have been demolished, apart from the tower in the middle.

First view of the tower to the back. I think the red brick buildings at the front were demolished in 2015.

 

2nd May 2017

View from the 11A bus on Oak Tree Lane of the red brick building behind the fence. While new houses were going up behind it at the time, it wasn't clear what would happen to this building. It would later be restored and opened as nursery in 2020.

 

18th January 2018

An early 2018 update from Raddlebarn Road in the sunshine. The 1902 entrance block was looking good, was some cars parked in front of the gates. By this point many new houses had been built around The Oaks.

Surprised to see many of the old red brick buildings here, plus the old Victorian railings were still in place.

Most the surviving buildings were hidden by trees.

The building with the fire escape (on the left) was still there a couple of years later.

I saw this building again on my last walk past (with the octagonal roof).

One of the main Victorian landmarks is this tall red brick tower. Possibly a water tower (although I'm not sure of it's use in the past).

One last look at this 20th century extensions to the Victorian or Edwardian blocks.

The Therapy Services extension blocks would be knocked down later in 2018.

Close up zoom in of the tall red brick tower. Is it water tower, or what was it used for at the Workhouse?

I can imagine that the surviving workhouse buildings will be converted into flats and apartments.

There was another building being restored. This was probably the Woodlands nurses home originally. It's near Willow Road in Bournville. Woodlands Drive on the right leads to a new housing development. There is also a green to the far right.

 

12th October 2019

Work was finally under way to restore the red brick building on Oak Tree Lane. Scaffolding going up. When finished it would get occupied by Busy Bees as the Selly Oak Nursery by the following summer. This view from 11C bus.

 

14th December 2019

Another view of the red brick tower, this time seen behind the new houses from Elliott Road in Selly Oak.

 

3rd August 2020

One of my first visits back to Selly Oak while restrictions were eased, I'd gotten off the 11C on Oak Tree Lane. Saw the fully restored red brick building now as a nursery. Was heading for bit of a walk on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

It is being operated by Busy Bees as the Selly Oak Nursery.

 

29th December 2020

When Birmingham was still in Tier 3 restrictions (Tier 4 wouldn't start until 31/12/2020), and when it was snowing that day, I headed to Bournville for a short walk. I ended up on Willow Road and saw the Woodlands again.

The old house in the middle was surrounded by scaffolding, as seen from Raddlebarn Road. It wa surrounded by new housing all around, plus the old red brick tower was behind.

The Oaks sign and a MIA Property Group banner on the remaining workhouse building. Hopefully they will restore it for use in 2021. The 20th Century extension blocks had been knocked down a few years before.

One building remaining but without windows was the one with the fire escape.

On a closer look, it looked a bit derelict. All windows had been removed. Hoardings next to the old brick wall.

The octagonal building to the right. After this the snow started to get a bit heavier. So by the time I got back to Oak Tree Lane, got the 11A home.

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

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50 passion points
Transport
31 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Westside Metro Extension on Broad Street

Despite the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, there has been a lot ot progress on the Westside Metro Extension from Centenary Square towards the Hagley Road, just beyond Five Ways in Edgbaston. Here we will look at the building of it from April 2015 to December 2020 on Broad Street with gaps from Feb to July 2020 and Nov 2020 due to the lockdowns.

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The Westside Metro Extension on Broad Street





Despite the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, there has been a lot ot progress on the Westside Metro Extension from Centenary Square towards the Hagley Road, just beyond Five Ways in Edgbaston. Here we will look at the building of it from April 2015 to December 2020 on Broad Street with gaps from Feb to July 2020 and Nov 2020 due to the lockdowns.


Westside Metro Extension on Broad Street

Most progress was done during the various lockdowns in 2020. Especially in the months where I was unable to travel to the City Centre (until I had to go back to work in July). I also missed November (2nd lockdown, until I went back to work). Didn't really get around to checking the extension out again until late December 2020.

They have started to install Brindleyplace Tram Stop. I had a walk down on Broad Street on Christmas Eve to see it.

Enjoy this photo gallery from April 2015 to December 2020. Track laying began at the end of 2019, and they made a lot of progress during 2020, while Westside was quiet.

25th April 2015.

In April 2015, early signs on Broad Street of utility works between the future site of The Bank and The Mercian.

A lorry and van from the National Grid were on site in front of Zara's starting to move the undeground pipes and cables.

5th April 2017.

Just under the link bridge from the Hyatt to Symphony Hall. More utility diverence works. This time by Pier (UK) Ltd.

10th February 2018.

This view of Broad Street zoomed in from the Library of Birmingham's Secret Garden. Buses were still going up and down Broad Street at the time. This was close to Lee Longlands and Novotel.

15th February 2018.

Views from the top deck of the X10 NXWM Platinum bus, emerging from the Five Ways Underpass near the Five Ways Complex.

Was a lot of traffic here due to the roadworks close to Pryzm.

Traffic was diverted around to the right, with temporary traffic lights. Welcome to the City Centre.

It's hard to imagine Broad Street like this now, as it's been closed to traffic since 2019.

There was even a big hole in the road near Uber, at the corner of Ryland Street.

26th March 2018.

I was on a no 23 NXWM Platinum bus on the top deck, while the 24 was in front. Cones in the middle of the road, while more utilities were diverted near the O Bar.

Near the end of Broad Street approaching Centenary Square, and about to go under the link bridge from Symphony Hall to the Hyatt Regency Birmingham. This view would change a lot in the follow two years.

21st December 2019.

View from the no 24 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus from the top deck, looking towards Broad Street from Five Ways Island. Tracks had already been laid in the Five Ways underpass from Hagley Road to Broad Street.

3rd February 2020.

The road had been dug up and was gates at certain sections, near where pedestrians could cross the road. This was near the Bierkeller Entertainment Complex towards the Five Ways Complex.

22nd February 2020.

The footpath near Symphony Hall was closed, you had to cross through the temporary path towards the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.

Between Regency Wharf and Symphony Hall, it looked like a warzone! No road surface.

Towards Centenary Square, you can see Library Tram Stop in the distance.

14th July 2020.

First time back on Broad Street for about 4 months due to the first lockdown (I'd gone back to work). Tram tracks had been laid near Reflex '80s Bar (The Crown), Walkabout and towards The Brasshouse.

25th July 2020.

Tracks going all the way past Cineworld on Broad Street, down into the underpass below Five Ways Island.

The other side of the fence up Broad Street past the Five Ways Complex, towards The Bank, The Mercian and the Hampton by Hilton Hotel (Cumberland House).

29th August 2020.

Near Regency Wharf and the Solomon Cutler Wetherspoon. The road surface had yet to be filled up.

12th September 2020.

You could now walk down the middle of Broad Street. They were now doing the paving in front of the O Bar and Walkabout. As well as the paving on the Black Sabbath Bridge.

Near the Solomon Cutler Wetherspoon at Regency Wharf. You could walk over part of the track that goes towards Five Ways.

16th September 2020.

Now you can see the track that was installed to connect to the end of the current line at Library Tram Stop.

From Centenary Square at Library Tram Stop, where the tracks are connected to the existing line.

19th October 2020.

Near Brindleyplace, Free Radio and Popworld.

The tracks and the road surface were more or less complete near the Five Ways Complex.

25th October 2020.

My last major walk of the Westside Metro extension before the 2nd lockdown was announced. Seen here near Cineworld (which had closed down again) and Pryzm at the Five Ways Complex.

The freshly laid road surface not far from Revolution.

Autumn leaves on the tracks near Dil Bar Indian Restaurant.

Paving works between Symphony Hall and the Solomon Cutler at Regency Wharf. You could walk down the tracks.

They had already started to lay bricks on the new tracks near Centenary Square, with this view of the Library of Birmingham.

They had made a lot of progress since my previous update of this view, looked almost finished.

19th December 2020.

Headed to the Black Sabbath Bridge, as the Black Sabbath Bench is now back in place. Brickwork towards Walkabout and O Bar is now complete.

Looking towards The Brasshouse and Three Brindleyplace. All it needs now is the four Broad Street Walk of Stars of the Black Sabbath members to be laid, but that would mean removing the newly laid bricks!

24th December 2020. 

The view on Broad Street towards Five Ways. Cineworld has been closed since the middle of October. Buses have to divert down Ryland Street.

Similar to the October view, but all the autumn leaves have long since been cleared up.

Towards the so called Broad Street Cluster.

There is the usual shutdown over the Christmas holidays.

Can walk down the middle of the tracks past Novotel and Travelodge.

First view of Brindleyplace Tram Stop near Free Radio and Popworld.

The start of the building of the tram platforms near Brindleyplace.

Towards the Black Sabbath Bridge with what was The Crown ('80s Reflex Bar) and The ICC.

A lot of strong winter sunshine on Broad Street, was close to Walkabout here.

Looking back at the Black Sabbath Bridge.

Towards Centenary Square, the link bridge from Symphony Hall to the Hyatt.

From just in front of Library Tram Stop, the Westside Metro extension to Five Ways starts here.

27th December 2020.

View of Broad Street from Five Ways Island on the no 24 NXWM Platinum bus towards the so called Broad Street Cluster. Tracks below emerging from the Five Ways underpass. I expect they will build a tram stop near Cineworld sometime in 2021.

Also check out my Hagley Road, Edgbaston post .

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

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