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Elliott Brown Modern Architecture
16 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selfridges the most photographed building of Birmingham!

I've been taking photos of the Selfridges Building at the Bullring in Birmingham for well over a decade. It was completed in 2003. I started capturing it back in 2009, and continued to do so until late 2020. I only went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park from late 2017 onwards. In recent years many of the discs have gone missing. And now a pink hoarding is going up with scaffolding.

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Selfridges the most photographed building of Birmingham!





I've been taking photos of the Selfridges Building at the Bullring in Birmingham for well over a decade. It was completed in 2003. I started capturing it back in 2009, and continued to do so until late 2020. I only went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park from late 2017 onwards. In recent years many of the discs have gone missing. And now a pink hoarding is going up with scaffolding.


The Selfridges Building at the Birmingham Bullring

On Park Street and Moor Street in Birmingham City Centre is the Selfridges Building. Completed in September 2003. It is home to Birmingham's Selfridges Department Store. The architecture firm was Future Systems. It contained over 15,000 anodised aluminium discs on a blue background.

After dark, lights around Park Street and Moor Street light it up in different colours, from blue to orange, to green, to red to white. It is joined to Moor Street Car Park by the Parametric Bridge, which customers can cross over. With buses, coaches, taxis and cars going below. It is an iconic landmark, that runners of the Great Birmingham Run could sometimes run past. It also goes green each year for St Patrick's Day.

You might regularly see men abseiling down the side of the building cleaning discs, or replacing them. But many of the discs started to go missing by 2018 and 2019. So by late 2020, scaffolding started to go up. With a pink hoarding artwork that is continuing to go up during 2021. Osman Yousefzada has designed what he has called the 'Dogtooth Flower'. This started to go up in December 2020.

Being on lockdown again since January 2021, I will have to wait until restrictions are eased again before travelling back into the City Centre to see what it is like now.

 

Below is a gallery of photos I've taken from 2009 to 2020. Not all of them, please go to the gallery in the Selfridges feature for more.

 

21st April 2009

One of my first photos of the exterior of Selfridges, taken from Moor Street Queensway, looking down Moor Street.

 

15th May 2009

Getting some early shots of the Parametric Bridge from the pavement below.

 

22nd August 2009

By the summer that year, had my first bridge camera, and in late August there was a brilliant blue sky. And took some classic Selfridges shots, that everyone would get for the decade that would follow.

 

30th October 2009

A mobile shot taken from Platform 1 at Birmingham Moor Street Station, going home that evening from work. My first time capturing it in blue after dark in the early evening.

 

6th January 2010

Snow at the start of the 2010s. This view from near the surface car park between Park Street and Moor Street Queensway. Looking towards Selfridges and Birmingham Moor Street Station.

 

30th December 2010

Close to the end of the year, got Selfridges lit up in blue light from Moor Street Queensway looking left down Moor Street. Was also Christmas lights on the lampposts.

 

18th October 2011

Selfridges used to get special flashing Christmas lights in the windows around the outside of the building where the famous flashing yellow Selfridges signs are. They used to put them in at the beginning of the decade, then replace them with SALE signs after Christmas.

 

2nd December 2011

Selfridges had been lit up in orange lights. This view from Moor Street Queensway with the main entrance to Birmingham Moor Street Station.

 

7th December 2012

About a year later, lit up in orange lights again. This view from Park Street, with the Christmas lights in the middle.

 

16th March 2013

Selfridges was lit up in green for St Patrick's Day, I had travelled up that evening just to get it in green. This photo ended up in Flickr Explore, and at the time got a lot of views, likes and comments.

 

20th December 2013

A blue view of Selfridges after dark from Moor Street Queensway with Birmingham Moor Street Station. A old and new contrast. With a building originally opened in 1909, to one that opened in 2003. The rebuilding of the Bullring led to the restoration of the Edwardian railway station between 2003 to 2006, with platforms 3 and 4 opening by late 2010.

 

15th March 2014

Went to have a coffee at Starbucks Coffee, and got a table near the window at the time, and took this view of Selfridges. Rarely go to this Selfridges in the years since, as it was always busy (back when you could sit inside of a coffee shop and eat and drink in them, instead of just having a take away).

 

18th July 2014

On the bus heading home, passing Selfridges, when I captured this sunburst from Park Street, on my then smartphone camera.

 

31st May 2015

One of my earliest photos taken inside of Selfridges was of this model of the Bullring Bull made entirely out of sweets!

 

27th June 2015

They put a SALE sign on the outside windows (where the flashing yellow Selfridges signs are behind). SMILE BIRMINGHAM SALE IS HERE.

 

31st July 2015

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015  (a trail of painted owls) was on from July, for a period of 10 weeks before being sold at an auction for charity. One morning I saw Selfie, by the artist Martin Band. It was sponsored LDC. And yes I did take a selfie with it at the time! It resembled the exterior of Selfridges with all the discs.

 

9th February 2016

A pair of Johnsons Coaches buses parked on Park Street outside of Selfridges. Usually the 150 goes to Redditch, and the X20 on The Bard's Bus to Stratford-upon-Avon. Although in recent years the X20 route no longer goes from the Bullring to Stratford-upon-Avon any more (replaced by the X50 on Sunday's).

 

10th November 2016

A view of Selfridges from Birmingham Moor Street Station. This was at platforms 3 and 4, usually used by Chiltern Railways, and Vintage Trains (for the Shakespeare Express or Polar Express). Platform 5 has yet to be reconnected, but for many years there used to be a steam locomotive at the end, before it returned to the Tyseley Locomotive Works.

 

24th January 2017

Diamond also used to park their buses on Park Street. One of my bus stops is opposite. Got a reflection on that passing car.

 

4th February 2017

Near Valentines Day, and on the Selfridges staff doors it said "I love you", "I love me".

 

13th July 2017

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017 (a trail of painted bears) was on from July, for a period of 10 weeks before being sold at an auction for charity. Inside of Selfridges was Brummie Bear, it was by the artist Slobodan Topolović. The sponsor was Selfridges Birmingham.

 

29th October 2017

Inside of the East Mall at the Bullring, saw this giant robin sculpture, next to a dummy with a tall French style army hat.

 

6th December 2017

Went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park, to see the Santa Christmas Train. While there got my first photos from the top of the car park, and shortly afterwards, crossed through the Parametric Bridge to get inside of Selfridges and the Bullring.

 

11th February 2018

The West Midlands Police, at the time had this pair of Police cars parked in the middle of Park Street, checking passing vehicles. I took this from a bus I was on looking towards Selfridges.

 

10th April 2018

A pair of National Express coaches were heading around Park Street onto Moor Street at the time, near Selfridges. Your LONDON tour starts here. Or catch at train from the nearby Birmingham Moor Street Station with Chiltern Railways (your choice).

 

13th June 2018

This T-Rex was inside of Selfridges as part of the Dippy on Tour in the City trail. Was in the children's department. Hence the toys behind.

 

30th August 2018

The Big Brum Buz was replaced with this lime green open top Sightseeing bus, that I captured passing Selfridges, from the top deck of a bus I was on at the time.

 

 

15th December 2018

Heading down the escalators inside of Selfridges, saw this giant plump Santa on the floor below!

 

4th January 2019

Early signs of the missing discs that were on Selfridges. Metal bits sticking out of the centre.

 

9th February 2019

Red lights on Selfridges for Chinese New Year, but not quite dark enough from Birmingham Moor Street Station.

 

18th March 2019

Over the years I've seen many workers abseil down Selfridges to clean the discs. Now they were removing or replacing them. But this wasn't really working as it would take ages to replace them like this.

 

19th August 2019

Still taking down the damaged discs in the summer. Another disc dangles below the man on the ropes in front of Selfridges, with a head for heights.

 

5th October 2019

Crossing over the Parametric Bridge from Moor Street Car Park to Selfridges, I noticed that the gaps at both ends had been covered over. Probably to stop people jumping or leaning over the side. But makes it hard to get a photo now from the sides of the bridge.

 

31st December 2019

My last photo of Selfridges of the 2010s taken from Moor Street Car Park, looking towards the Parametric Bridge and Birmingham Moor Street Station behind. The buses and cars look tiny below!

 

26th January 2020

HAPPY NEW DECADE screamed the sign at Selfridges. Saw it while I was at the Bullring that evening for the Festival of Light. Little could Selfridges predict the coming lockdowns and the pandemic. Plus the long term closures of non essential retailers.

 

3rd March 2020

My last photo of Selfridges that I took about 20 days before the 1st lockdown began. From Park Street in Eastside next to the HS2 hoardings. Park Street would later be permanently closed in the middle by HS2.

 

31st July 2020

Lockdown restrictions were eased by July, so was able to renew my travel pass and go back to the City Centre and work. Still missing discs, in this view towards Digbeth and the Bordesley viaduct. Can see the Custard Factory as well.

 

4th October 2020

HS2 had blocked off my many walking routes from Digbeth to Eastside, so took a diversion via Great Barr Street and Lawley Middleway. Got this view of Selfridges from Curzon Street. The Grade I listed Curzon Street Station was on the right. On the left is the site of the future HS2 station at Curzon Street.

 

16th November 2020

Back to work again halfway into the second lockdown. By then scaffolding was going up around Park Street and Moor Street in front of Selfridges. The hoardings would start going up a month later.

 

24th December 2020

We were in Tier 3 restrictions at the time. I headed into the City Centre to see the Westside Metro extension. Then walked to Park Street to get the beginnings of the pink hoardings in front of Selfridges. This is the 'Dogtooth Flower' design by Osman Yousefzada. The 3rd lockdown started early in January 2021, and I've been unable to travel back into the City Centre to get an update of the progress. When restrictions get eased again, hopefully I will be able to get a bus or train to see it.

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

 

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

Newman Brothers Coffin Works

Did you know that when Newman Brothers Coffin Furniture Factory closed down for good in 1998, they left all the tools and equipment as it was. The building now called the Coffin Works was opened as a museum in 2014 after a period of restoration work under taken by the Birmingham Conservation Trust. In the years since it opened, I've yet to pay a visit to go inside. Fleet Street in JQ.

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Newman Brothers Coffin Works





Did you know that when Newman Brothers Coffin Furniture Factory closed down for good in 1998, they left all the tools and equipment as it was. The building now called the Coffin Works was opened as a museum in 2014 after a period of restoration work under taken by the Birmingham Conservation Trust. In the years since it opened, I've yet to pay a visit to go inside. Fleet Street in JQ.


The Coffin Works

Located on Fleet Street in the Jewellery Quarter is this hiden gem. The Coffin Works is at 13-15 Fleet Street. Between Summer Row (at Parade) and Hotel ibis Styles (which is between Fleet Street and Lionel Street). Also near the head office of Mitchells & Butlers.

The Newman Brothers Coffin Furniture Factory is a part of the Jewellery Quarter conservation area. Founded by the brothers Alfred and Edwin Newman. They moved to this site in 1894 (the building was built from 1892 to 1894 and designed by Roger Harley in 1892). Their company began life as a brass foundry company, before they changed to making coffin furniture (the handles, nameplates etc, all which would get buried with the deceased in the coffin underground).

Edwin ceased to be involved in the company during 1895, leaving his brother Alfred as the sole trader of the business until his death in 1933. He was succeeded by his two sons George and Horace. They ran the company until George Newman passed away in 1944, and his brother Horace Newman passed away in 1952. After that there was a variety of owners of the company. Although their sister Nina continued to hold shares until 1980.

The business passed to the Doggart and Whittington families. The last owner was Joyce Green, who acquired the company following the death of the companies two managing directors in 1976. Green first joined the company as a secretary in 1949. She moved up through the ranks until she bought the company in 1989, and was the sole trader until the business closed for good in 1998.

 

Restoration

During the 1990s, Joyce Green fought for the building to be restored. The factory received a Grade II* listed status in the year 2000 by English Heritage. In 2001 the Birmingham Conservation Trust carried out a study on the building about the threat of redevelopment and the loss of the building. The factory was one of three candidates in the first series of the BBC's Restoration programme in 2003, although it didn't receive enough votes to reach the final.

But it got enough interest for restoration in the future. In 2006 / 2007 the Birmingham Conservation Trust got a grant of £1.5 million. The credit crunch in 2009 caused a minor setback when Advantage West Midlands collapsed. But Birmingham City Council was able to buy the building from AWM in 2010. Restoration finally took place during 2013 to 2014. The museum opened in October 2014. Joyce Green was involved in the project throughout until her death in 2009.

 

Fleet Street, 2014

In June 2014, I was walking up Fleet Street, when I took my first photo of the building. Viet Moon was a restaurant at 5-11 Fleet Street. While the Coffin Works next door was coming to it's conclusion in terms of it's restoration.

 

By September 2014, the Coffin Works restoration project was complete. Heading down some steps between Lionel Street and Fleet Street in the Jewellery Quarter, saw these painted signs on the wall to the left "to the Coffin Works Visit Newman Bros.".

The side of the Coffin Works with at least three chimneys.

There was another painted sign further down the steps closer to Fleet Street.

Now a first proper look at Newman Brothers aka The Coffin Works. It would open as a museum in the following month.

A zoom in to the painted Newman Brothers sign looking as good as new!

This view below from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. This view towards Fleet Street from near the Cable-Stay Footbridge and Farmers Bridge Lock No 6. Behind me was the Newhall Square development.

 

Fleet Street, 2018

By April 2018, I saw this plaque on the Coffin Works. From The Birmingham Civic Society, who presented the Renaiisance Award to the Birmingham Conservation Trust for the Newman Brothers Coffin Works in 2014.

A full look at the building with the plaque. In all the years since it opened as a museum, I never once thought of buying tickets in advance to pop in and take photos.

 

Fleet Street, 2020

This was on the evening in December 2020, when I was walking towards Jewellery Quarter Station, to see the Christmas lights at St Paul's Square and The Golden Square, as well as surrounding streets. After passing the Library of Birmingham, via Parade, got onto Fleet Street, and saw the Newman Brothers sign lit up after dark! Bit hard to see in this photo.

 

Maybe once museums can open again, I may think of buying a ticket on their website and pay them a visit. But this will be when I can travel on buses and trains again. After lockdown restrictions get eased again (hopefully for good this time).

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

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Daniel Sturley Construction & regeneration
22 Feb 2021 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The refurbishment of the former Municipal Bank (now The Exchange) - February 2021

For much of the past year, Three Centenary Way (the former Municipal Bank) has been hidden behind protective coverings. With these now largely removed, we have been given the first glimpse of this immaculate building since it has been cleaned.  Now in University of Birmingham hands, we can see that considerable progress has been made.

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The refurbishment of the former Municipal Bank (now The Exchange) - February 2021





For much of the past year, Three Centenary Way (the former Municipal Bank) has been hidden behind protective coverings. With these now largely removed, we have been given the first glimpse of this immaculate building since it has been cleaned.  Now in University of Birmingham hands, we can see that considerable progress has been made.


The following gallery takes a look at how things have progressed over the past 12 months.

 

March 2020

 

April 2020

 

September 2020

 

December 2020

 

February 2021

 

Photography courtesy Daniel Sturley (Birmingham We Are and It's Your Build communities)

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Elliott Brown Green open spaces
22 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central

I've only really been past Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central during February 2012, and not been back since (but have walked near Park Central in the years since). So memory will be a bit hazy being that this was from 9 years ago. Sunset Park is between Alfred Knight Way and Mason Way. Moonlit Park is between Bell Barn Road and Mosedale Way. In the Lee Bank area of Birmingham.

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Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central





I've only really been past Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central during February 2012, and not been back since (but have walked near Park Central in the years since). So memory will be a bit hazy being that this was from 9 years ago. Sunset Park is between Alfred Knight Way and Mason Way. Moonlit Park is between Bell Barn Road and Mosedale Way. In the Lee Bank area of Birmingham.


Both Sunset Park and Moonlit Park can be found between Lee Bank Middleway and Bath Row at the Park Central development in the Lee Bank area of Central Birmingham. They stretch as far as Bristol Street.

This explore of the buildings around Park Central was during February 2012, but I didn't actually go into the parks at the time, and have not been back since. But in the years since, have done walks down Lee Bank Middleway, Bristol Street and Bath Row. Plus got photos of the new corner development (Roosevelt Luxury Apartments) near the Belgrave Interchange (including the new cycle paths).

 

Sunset Park

These views of Sunset Park taken on a walk down Alfred Knight Way. Probably got here via Wheeleys Lane and Longleat Avenue.

There is this metal ramp structure with metal steps in the park.

Passing the railings on Alfred Knight Way, probably looking at the apartment buildings opposite.

These apartments are certainly an improvement to what used to be here before.

Again looking more at the apartments and less at the park. Next heading onto Bell Barn Road.

 

Moonlit Park

Next up passing Moonlit Park on Bell Barn Road.

Looks like a metal sculpture on concrete pillars.

Moonlit Park seen over on Bell Barn Road to the far right.

Basketball Court near Bell Barn Road.

Children's Play Area seen from Bell Barn Road, with what looks like a climbing frame for kids.

Corner of the park near Mosedale Way.

 

Maybe once the 3rd lockdown ends, and I can go on the bus again, I might make an effort to travel to these parks and walk through them, never really thought about them in the past.

 

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

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

A visit to Dudmaston Estate during October 2020

The last National Trust property visit of 2020 was to Dudmaston Estate in October 2020. It's in Shropshire. A 17th Century country house (not open apart from a gallery inside). Near the village of Quatt. As before booked the tickets online for a slot. The grounds you could walk about and explore. Tea Room was open, but you had to have your tea or coffee at picnic tables outside.

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A visit to Dudmaston Estate during October 2020





The last National Trust property visit of 2020 was to Dudmaston Estate in October 2020. It's in Shropshire. A 17th Century country house (not open apart from a gallery inside). Near the village of Quatt. As before booked the tickets online for a slot. The grounds you could walk about and explore. Tea Room was open, but you had to have your tea or coffee at picnic tables outside.


Dudmaston

The National Trust property of Dudmaston is located near the village of Quatt in Shropshire. The country house dates to the 17th century. There is former farm buildings, some of which have been converted into a tea room and second hand book shop. There was a gallery you could visit (sanitise your hands before going in), but no photography allowed inside for copyright reasons (I think the family still live in the house). Tickets and time slot as before booked via the National Trust website (with tickets on EventBrite). If there was a gift shop, I think it was closed.

This visit was on the 18th October 2020 (so was about half a month before the second lockdown began).

 

Outbuildings at Dudmaston

The Outbuildings from the lawn. Near here was picnic tables. A queue for the toilets, sanitise your hands, wer your mask if you go in.

 

A courtyard near the Outbuildings. All the rooms here were closed. There was a one way system in place, so if you wanted, you could enter the gardens from this gate on the right.

 

The Outbuildings from the garden. Due to the one way system in place, if you went out of the garden, then back in, you had to head this way to get out.

 

This gate to the courtyard looked nice, but it was no entry this way (you could only walk through them from the other direction).

 

Private garden seen over the fence from the Kitchen Garden. Far end of the Outbuildings.


 

Dudmaston Hall

Round the back of Dudmaston Hall. A tent with National Trust volunteer, to register you before going into the exhibition / gallery. Sanitise your hands again, mask on. No photos allowed inside (tempting as it was).

 

The back of Dudmaston Hall. It is a Grade II* listed building. A Queen Anne mansion. Built of red brick with stone dressings. Was also a 19th Century office and stable wing built in the Elizabethan style. Couldn't cross the rope on the left.

 

Heading down the hill, a look at Dudmaston Hall, an impresive looking house.

 

There was this Red Ivy going down the house. A bit like those poppy art installations around Remembrance time. Some old steps with urns.

 

Another view of the house with the Red Ivy in the middle.

 

The Red Ivy looked wonderful from any angle in the parkland.

 

You could have a walk around the Dingle Walk. Eventually you would end up at the back of the Big Pool, with this wonderful picturesque view of Dudmaston Hall.

 

Parkland and gardens

A look down to the Big Pool at Dudmaston Estate.

 

Sculpture in the garden, part of a trail. Spaceframe sculpted by Anthony Twentyman during 1985.

 

Seated bench area for relaxing and looking at the views of the picturesque parkland.

 

Greylag geese flying and landing in the Big Pool.

 

The Kitchen Garden. Pumpkins in the greenhouse before Halloween.

 

Fingerpost on the Dingle Walk. Head right to the Garden, or left to the Dingle Walk.

 

Kept spotting this brick boathouse near the Big Pool, although didn't see any boats in the lake.

 

The South Lodge seen from the car as we left Dudmaston Estate. Now a private house. A Grade II listed building dating to the early 19th Century. Made of coursed sandstone rubble, with a tiled roof. The gate on exiting the estate was an automatic electric gate.

 

Hope to visit more National Trust properties in 2021, after the 3rd lockdown ends, if we are allowed to travel far again. Especially in the Spring or Summer months.

 

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

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