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Art, culture & creativity
18 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Morris Dancers and other events in the grounds of St Philip's Cathedral over the last few years

Over the years you may have seen Morris Dancers performing outside of St Philip's Cathedral (in what is now called Cathedral Square). I prefer Grounds of St Philip's Cathedral. After all it was an old churchyard with burials going back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Morris Dancers for St George's Day. One event for 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral. Also a Christmas Market.

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Morris Dancers and other events in the grounds of St Philip's Cathedral over the last few years





Over the years you may have seen Morris Dancers performing outside of St Philip's Cathedral (in what is now called Cathedral Square). I prefer Grounds of St Philip's Cathedral. After all it was an old churchyard with burials going back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Morris Dancers for St George's Day. One event for 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral. Also a Christmas Market.


Morris Dancers

These Morris Dancers were performing to the back of Birmingham Cathedral in April 2015 for St George's Day. This was on the 25th April 2015.

Colourful costumes. This bunch had white outfits on, while the ladies had blue and green dresses on. And they had England flags.

The man in the beard was playing an accordion.

Dancing both ways with their wooden sticks.

And back the other way tapping the sticks.

Also some folk playing drums to the right.

Temple Row was a bit different back then. Where Gino d'Acampo is now was Allied Irish Bank. Where The Ivy is now was Austin Reed and Louis Vuitton.

This was during October 2017 when the City was experiencing Storm Brian, so it was wet. Not sure what the occasion was, it was on the 21st October 2017, so maybe around Trafalgar Day?

Didn't really catch this bunch dancing, so they were between performances I would assume.

Something Good Nomad

This was during the 300th Anniversary year of Birmingham Cathedral (1715 - 2015).  Something Good Nomad was seen during October 2015. Live painting by Mohammed Ali as he journeys through Birmingham, inspired by communities of many faiths and backgrounds, and their reflections of light and dark in their neighbourhoods.

There was canopies here with bunting. People could make their own Soul Boat's here. They would have formed part of a flotilla of Golden Boats by Artist Jake Lever, supended in the Cathedral during the winter period between December 2015 to March 2016.

These canvases looks like pink towels suspended on scaffold poles.

But at the back you can see the art they were trying to show.

Aerosol Ali himself, Mohammed Ali stands in front of his art in Cathedral Square.

You could see the art from different paths.

This was the area where visitors could stop and design their own Soul Boat. Hope they had fun (4 years ago).

Birmingham Christmas Markets

The Birmingham Christmas Markets was on for one Christmas period in Cathedral Square from November to December 2018. They had to first cover over the lawns to protect the graves below. This was when the huts were being installed on the 12th November 2018, so not open at this point.

The gate from Temple Row was fenced off as they were installing this Christmas Market in Cathedral Square.

Banner seen on Temple Row for Birmingham's Christmas Markets with an arrow to the way in.

As you can see visitors would have to walk past the stone tombs when visiting the huts.

The archway near St Philip's Place and the eventual exit to Colmore Row.

They started installing the market as soon as the Remembrance Sunday commemorations ended the day before on the 11th November 2018. So most of the huts were in place on the 12th November 2018.

Several Santa's and sleighs with reindeers. I think this was supposed to be a mini rail ride in a loop.

Tracks laid with artificial Christmas trees in the middle.

The Christmas Tree Bar. They first did it here in Cathedral Square before doing the same thing a year later in Victoria Square at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market.

Reindeer on top of the huts.

It is now December 2018. Had another look once it was open on the 5th December 2018. A hat stall close to the sparkly reindeer. Due to the rain they had to cover over some parts.

Not very busy on the 7th December 2018. This gravestone surrounded by barriers. You could get a Giant Yorkshire Pudding Wraps or Hog Roast. This was in the morning.

All Aboard the Santa Train. A throne for Santa to sit on. Also a red post box to post kids Christmas wish lists to the Big Red Man.

This trailer you could get Bailey's Cadbury Hot Chocolate.

Perhaps people weren't too bothered by this Christmas Market. And due to bad weather / rain. After it was gone, the grass was found to be quite muddy. But it eventually grew back over the next year. The market has not returned here for a second year.

In years gone by, the Christmas Craft Market used to be in Chamberlain Square and in Centenary Square, but that's not happened for years now due to the Paradise Birmingham works and the redevelopment of Centenary Square. Maybe they could return somewhere suitable in 2020?

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
12 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The changing face of street art over the years at the Custard Factory

Over the years I keep returning time and time again to see what the latest street art is painted at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. You can now get on via the gate at Floodgate Street and walk over the footbridge that crosses the River Rea. Then under the Bordesley Viaduct through the car park towards Gibb Street. Every month the giant billboard art changes. From City of Colours to Hi Viz.

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The changing face of street art over the years at the Custard Factory





Over the years I keep returning time and time again to see what the latest street art is painted at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. You can now get on via the gate at Floodgate Street and walk over the footbridge that crosses the River Rea. Then under the Bordesley Viaduct through the car park towards Gibb Street. Every month the giant billboard art changes. From City of Colours to Hi Viz.


Ever changing, the street art always gets painted over. So while the art is gone, the photo of it survives years later.

2013

This view taken on Floodgate Street in Digbeth during Feburary 2013. The Bordesley Viaduct seen crossing from Bordesley towards Birmingham Moor Street Station.

This view taken in July 2013 in what is now the Zellig Car Park. Looks like a pirate!

The Custard Factory chimney in November 2013 painted for Movember by Graffiti 4 Hire. It is still there now (yet to be painted over). You can see it from the Zellig Car Park or from High Street Deritend.

2014

King Kong painted in yellow was outside of The Old Bank on Gibb Street during July 2014. When Adee Phelan opened a salon here. Previously this was Turners Violins. The Clean Kilo is now in this building.

From the gates on Floodgate Street. This is an alternate entrance to the Custard Factory. Heading under the Bordesley Viaduct. This view taken during August 2014. Cross the footbridge over the River Rea and cross into the car park for the short walk to Gibb Street.

In October 2014 to check out the wonderful street art painted at the City of Colours Festival during September 2014. The artist was Jimmy C.

2015

This piece taken on Floodgate Street during January 2015. The artist was Gent. Several skeletons here.

Garfield seen on Floodgate Street during March 2015. Although I previously got a photo of this one in October 2014. The gates to the Custard Factory was closed. This was on the day of the St Patrick's Day Parade 2015.

Birmingham Centre of the Universe. Seen during October 2015. The man at the top is Benjamin Zephaniah. On the left is Felicity Jones (who would go on to star in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016). This wall regularly gets repainted, usually with giant painted posters adversing something.

2016

The view during April 2016 on Floodgate Street and saw this amazing piece. Not sure of the artist or artists, but was quite close to the Bordesley Viaduct.

The City of Colours Street Art Festival was held again in Digbeth, this time during June 2016. This piece being painted on the wall on Gibb Street. Car park entrance to the right under the Bordesley Viaduct. These artists are amazing. I think it's by Justin Sola (but I'm not fully sure).

Painted gates on Floodgate Street under the Bordesley Viaduct. This entrance to the Custard Factory was closed. Seen in December 2016. This Must Be the Place painted by Caroline Roose. Probably done at the Summer 2016 City of Colours Festival. It was Boxing Day, so the Custard Factory was probably closed.

2017

This was seen during February 2017. The bottom of the Moonlight street art painted movie poster. It won the Oscar for Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards. I've not seen this film myself.

Temporary hoardings at the Zellig entrance of Devonshire House. Merry Christmas from Zellig seen in December 2017. Nice image of a snowman.

Blade of the Immortal also seen in December 2017 (same day as above). In the Zellig courtyard area.

2018

The steps from Heath Mill Lane during the snow of March 2018. The walls were very pink down here.

Crossing the River Rea footbridge under the Bordesley Viaduct during April 2018. And I saw this wall painting of a lady with sunglasses. Possibly a piece by Justin Sola (or someone else).

On Gibb Street in July 2018 under the Bordesley Viaduct. "The Bohemian from Balsall Heath". Painted for Odeon Cinemas. The man is probably Odeon founder Oscar Deutsch. R2D2 from the Star Wars movies was played by the late great Kenny Baker. Felicity Jones by now a star thanks to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The Beatles probably performed in Birmingham in the 1960s.

2019

Under the Bordesley Viaduct from Floodgate Street during March 2019. The gates to the Custard Factory were open. "Diablo" by Gent 48.

Peaky Blinders returned to BBC One in August 2019 with Series 5. And this piece of Tommy Shelby was on the painted billboard wall at the time. Peakys Fan Art by James Mundy.

Judge Dredd in the Zellig Car Park during October 2019. It was probably painted during the High Viz Street Art Festival, which took place during early September 2019. Saw this during Birmingham Weekender, but I was more interested in the street art.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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60 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
11 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Summer fun fair and The Big Sleuth at the Sandwell Valley Country Park (July 2017)

The only time I popped into the Sandwell Valley Country Park was when The Big Sleuth was on, so didn't go far. Saw a fun fair on the way to the Sandwell Park Visitor Centre. A tourist road train was also going round this part of the park. I've not got around to going back to this park. This visit end of July 2017. Not sure if I'll travel back here, is a long way to travel there

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Summer fun fair and The Big Sleuth at the Sandwell Valley Country Park (July 2017)





The only time I popped into the Sandwell Valley Country Park was when The Big Sleuth was on, so didn't go far. Saw a fun fair on the way to the Sandwell Park Visitor Centre. A tourist road train was also going round this part of the park. I've not got around to going back to this park. This visit end of July 2017. Not sure if I'll travel back here, is a long way to travel there


Do you miss the summer with all the Christmas festivities in winter? Lets go back a couple of summers to late July 2017.

On the 30th July 2017 I was following The Big Sleuth trail of painted bears from Dudley to Sandwell (via the bus). In West Bromwich I got the bears in the Town Centre, then headed through Dartmouth Park and entered the Sandwell Valley Country Park.

On the left was a summer fun fair.

A couple of bouncy castles here. The one of the right was the Space Shuttle.

Disney Cottage. Would guess that kids and explore it and see Disney cartoon characters?

Crazy Caterpillar. A small rollercoaster for kids to enjoy.

The blue tourist road train seen going round the park. Was close to the fun fair. The visitor centre seen in the background.

It was called the Sandwell Express. All aboard, full steam ahead!

It did several loops around this end of the park close to the fun fair.

This is the Sandwell Park Visitor Centre. The Big Sleuth bear I was looking for was outside. While a selection of Little bears was inside. Was originally the Sandwell Park Farm.

A Grade II listed building. Dating to around 1800. Near Lodge Hill Road. Built of brick with tile roofs. The farm buildings were built as the home farm on the Earl of Dartmouth's Sandwell Hall estate. Sandwell Hall was demolished in 1928.

The only reason for this visit was to see The Big Sleuth bear called Uncle B. The artists was Louise Blakeley and Warren McCabe-Smith working with Cradley Heath Creative and was funded by Cradley Heath and Sandwell Council.

The back side of Uncle B. Wishing he was at the fun fair.

The other little bears were inside the Visitor Centre.

More photos on my Flickr here: Sandwell Valley Country Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
09 Dec 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, the Amazing Stained Glass Windows in St Martin in the Bullring - December 2019

I was lucky to visit the interior of St Martin in the Bullring during almost perfect conditions for photos of some the amazing stained glass windows, the low sun was shining directly through the south side windows and I got a few of the famous Burne-Jones window in the south transept.

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Birmingham, the Amazing Stained Glass Windows in St Martin in the Bullring - December 2019





I was lucky to visit the interior of St Martin in the Bullring during almost perfect conditions for photos of some the amazing stained glass windows, the low sun was shining directly through the south side windows and I got a few of the famous Burne-Jones window in the south transept.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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80 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
19 Nov 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham over the years

The world famous Coca Cola Christmas Truck used to make an annual visit to Birmingham (and other places across the UK). It will not be returning to Birmingham in December 2019 (instead to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre near Dudley). Instead enjoy this gallery of photos from the Bullring (2014 and 2016) and Eastside City Park (2017 and 2018).

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Coca Cola Christmas Truck in Birmingham over the years





The world famous Coca Cola Christmas Truck used to make an annual visit to Birmingham (and other places across the UK). It will not be returning to Birmingham in December 2019 (instead to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre near Dudley). Instead enjoy this gallery of photos from the Bullring (2014 and 2016) and Eastside City Park (2017 and 2018).


St Martin's Square, Bullring, December 2014

I was first able to get photos of the world famous Coca Cola Christmas Truck at the Bullring in St Martin's Square on the early evening on the 11th December 2014.

Was a crowd of people in the queue to get a free can of Coca Cola, or pose with the truck. Was near Selfridges, St Martin's Church and a Christmas tree.

Views from the upper level balcony at the Bullring are best to see the Coca Cola Truck (and other things that park here).

The Coca Cola Truck always drew a crowd of people.

You know the "holidays are coming" when Santa brings his Coca Cola Truck to town!

St Martin's Square, Bullring, December 2016

Thanks to Birmingham Updates for using one my 2016 photos on their Social Media posts, I now know that it wont be returning to Birmingham in December 2019.

I next saw the Coca Cola Truck when it returned to the Bullring on the 17th December 2016. This time got my photos in the daylight hours.

Similar views as before, but you can see the Coca Cola Truck properly now. A Coke man takes a families photo with the truck.

The Bullring's 2016 Christmas tree look rather artificial that year. This is the photo that Birmingham Updates used. Coca Cola Truck Bham Updates.

Getting different views, but more of the same.

Going round the side of Selfridges for this view of the Coca Cola Truck at the Bullring.

Ice Skate Birmingham, Eastside City Park, December 2017

The next time I saw the Coca Cola Truck was when it visited Ice Skate Birmingham in Eastside City Park. This was on the 9th December 2017. This was the day before it snowed. I was coming back on the train from a day out in Bedworth. Not much of a view from the train, so I headed to Eastside after I arrived at Birmingham New Street Station.

Close up view of the world famous Coca Cola Truck. New views with it included The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station.

This view with the Birmingham Big Wheel and the other rides that were at Ice Skate Birmingham. They found this site in 2017 due to the then redevelopment of Centenary Square (which took two years in the end).

Slightly further back with the Birmingham Big Wheel. It would be nice to get something like this again in Westside, but the Coca Cola Truck isn't coming to Birmingham this year.

Last 2017 view as the light faded. Masshouse residential blocks to the right. Rotunda in the middle and the Birmingham Big Wheel to the left.

Ice Skate Birmingham, Eastside City Park, December 2018

Spending a section festive season in Eastside City Park, Ice Skate Birmingham once again hosted the return of the Coca Cola Christmas Truck. I saw it on the early evening of the 15th December 2018, in rainy sleety cold and freezing weather!

Despite the weather conditions, the resulting photos looking quite Christmasy, even thought it wasn't snowing. The Birmingham Big Wheel to the right. With The Woodman pub seen behind.

For 2018, they parked the Coca Cola Truck in a slightly different position. Also Ice Skate Birmingham were further to the right, as the land they used previously was now HS2 land.

Probably due to the weather, there wasn't many people around.

Still the sleety rain added to the effect of a Coca Cola Christmas!

I hope people at Merry Hill enjoy it. Never been there myself. Although I know that you can get a bus from Cradley Heath Station (which is on the Snow Hill lines). According to the Birmingham Mail, it will be in Merry Hill on the 6th and 7th December 2019. Coca-Cola Christmas truck 2019 heads to intu Merry Hill.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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