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Modern Architecture
05 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

From The NIA Birmingham to Utilita Arena Birmingham

The National Indoor Arena opened in Birmingham in 1991 on a site close to Old Turn Junction of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Rebuilt on the canalside from 2013-14, it was branded Barclaycard Arena from 2014-17. Then Arena Birmingham from 2017-20. It now has a new sponsor and is called Utilita Arena Birmingham. Still owned by the NEC Group.

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From The NIA Birmingham to Utilita Arena Birmingham





The National Indoor Arena opened in Birmingham in 1991 on a site close to Old Turn Junction of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Rebuilt on the canalside from 2013-14, it was branded Barclaycard Arena from 2014-17. Then Arena Birmingham from 2017-20. It now has a new sponsor and is called Utilita Arena Birmingham. Still owned by the NEC Group.


The National Indoor Arena Birmingham

The National Indoor Arena was opened in 1991. It was where Gladiators was recorded from 1992 to 1999. Located near King Edwards Road in Birmingham. It is on the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Old Turn Junction, where the Main Line meets the start of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. The arena was redeveloped during 2013 and 2014. Reopening in December 2014 at the Barclaycard Arena. This sponsorship ended at the end of August 2017. And it was then known as Arena Birmingham from September 2017. Securing a new sponsor in 2020, the arena was renamed again in April 2020 (during the lockdown while they were closed) to the current Utilita Arena Birmingham.

 

The NIA Birmingham (1991-2014)

Events that took place at the National Indoor Arena during this time include Gladiators (1992-99), the Eurovision Song Contest 1998, and the World Indoor Athletics Championships 2003.

My earliest photos of the NIA were taken during April 2009. By which time they were branding it as the nia birmingham. These views from the Brindleyplace Bridge towards The Malt House and the Brewmasters Bridge.

This view of the nia birmingham taken during June 2009, from the towpath outside of the National Sealife Centre.

NIA redevelopment (2013-14)

The redevelopment started around the summer of 2013 and was completed by the winter of 2014. The arena reopened as the Barclaycard Arena from December 2014.

Scaffolding going up around August 2013. The arena remained open throughout the works, but access to the public was limited.

More hoardings going up around September 2013. The old canalside facade was starting to be dismantled.

When the Library of Birmingham opened during September 2013 for the first time, I was able to get this photo of The NIA from the Secret Garden.

By April 2014 the steel girders had gone up and the shape of the new canalside view of the Arena was already up.

Not long to go by September 2014. The golden fins were in place, as was the glass windows and the three sky needles in the middle.

The Secret Garden view from the Library of Birmingham update taken during Sepember 2014 of the Arena. When the view is clear, you can see Edgbaston Reservoir from here.

The November 2014 update from the Brindleyplace Bridge. Within a month the arena would reopen as the Barclaycard Arena, but was more or less complete by this point.

Barclaycard Arena (2014-17)

The Arena reopened on the 2nd December 2014 as the Barclaycard Arena.

In the middle of December 2014, I took the following nightshots to see the Barclaycard Arena lit up after dark. This was around 5pm. It looked amazing. Including the digital display of the then City Skyline.

In January 2015 I took this digital display on the Barclaycard Arena. First view "lighting up Birmingham's skyline". The second view the Barclaycard Arena logo with the skyline.

In March 2015 I took this view of the Barclaycard Arena from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham.

A May 2015 view of the Barclaycard Arena with it's golden fins.

Arena Birmingham (2017-20)

Barclaycard ended there sponsorship of the arena at the end of August 2017. So from September 2017, the arena was now known simply as Arena Birmingham (but with no sponsor).

Took this view of Arena Birmingham from the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham during October 2017.

The Beast from the East and Storm Emma hit Birmingham during early March 2018. Which was when Arena Birmingham was hosting the World Indoor Athletics Championships 2018. But the surrounding canals and towpaths were covered in snow and ice! Athletes and officials could run around outside, but it would have been very cold.

In April 2018, I saw the then new Arena Birmingham logo heading up the steps from the King Edwards Road entrance. Canopies were also at the time going up around The Malt House for an event linking the Arena to The ICC.

My last views of Arena Birmingham before the lockdown and the new sponsor Utilita came into force were taken during January 2020. It would be another 6 to 7 months before I would see the arena again (due to the pandemic / lockdown).

Utilita Arena Birmingham (2020-?)

During the lockdown, the arena had to close (like other venues all around the world).  The name change took place during April 2020. And would now be called Utilita Arena Birmingham. That meant the signs had to be changed, and the old ones taken down.

My first photo of Utilita Arena Birmingham taken in the middle of July 2020 from the Brindleyplace Bridge. The rest near the end of the month.

Hopefully it will one day be safe to reopen indoor arenas like this one. Even for sporting events without crowds. And they could be televised.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

 

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80 passion points
Classic Architecture
05 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers: Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower

Welcome to another Ladywood related post. This time looking at The Two Towers that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. Both are located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood, Birmingham. And are close to Edgbaston Reservoir. In the area that used to be called Rotton Park. Edgbaston Waterworks is managed by Severn Trent.

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J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers: Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower





Welcome to another Ladywood related post. This time looking at The Two Towers that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. Both are located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood, Birmingham. And are close to Edgbaston Reservoir. In the area that used to be called Rotton Park. Edgbaston Waterworks is managed by Severn Trent.


Previous Tolkien posts here:

The Two Towers

Lets take a walk down Waterworks Road in Ladywood. If you leave Hagley Road, head up Plough & Harrow Road. Cross over Monument Road and you will get to Waterworks Road. One way to get back to Ladywood Middleway from Waterworks Road is via Harold Road and Noel Road, where there is some more views of the towers.

The first tower on your right will be Perrott's Folly. If you walk further down the road, you will get to the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (which is within a Severn Trent faciliity so you can only see it from the road). If you are on Reservoir Road nearby, you might be able to spot the towers down the side roads, and it is even possible to see at least one of the towers from Edgbaston Reservoir. Further out in the City, there is views of The Two Towers from the top of Brindleyplace Car Park. Both of these towers (it has been suggested) may have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien for his book The Two Towers (the middle installment of the famous The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, later adapted into a movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, of which The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released in 2002).

 

Side by side comparison of The Two Towers from my original photos taken during June 2011. For the gallery of these, have a look further down the post.

In July 2013, the models of The Two Towers was in Centenary Square, around 2 months before the Library of Birmingham was opened. With a backdrop of the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall.

Model of The Two Towers seen at Sarehole Mill during August 2015. They were moved here and is now their more permenant home (due to the Tolkien links).

View (below) of The Two Towers as seen from the car park behind the Birmingham Oratory during September 2019. Clearly Perrott's Folly (to the right) is taller than the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (to the left).

In a June 2020 walk around Edgbaston Reservoir (below) I was able to get The Two Towers in one picture. But here, Perrott's Folly (on the left) looked shorter than the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (on the right). Must be the different perspective.

Went back to Waterworks Road on the last day of July 2020 during a heatwave. Got this view of The Two Towers. Then also one from Noel Road around the corner off Harold Road.

 

Perrott's Folly

Located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood not far from Monument Road. Perrott's Folly was also known as The Monument or The Observatory. It was built in what was then Rotton Park by John Perrott in 1758. The land at the time was open countryside. He built it either to view his wife's grave from afar or to entertain guests or survery his land. He actually lived in Belbroughton. The tower was used from 1884 until 1979 as a weather recording station for the Birmingham & Midland Institute. The Perrott's Folly Company was formed in 1984 to restore the tower and open it to the public. But the company eventually closed in 2009. There was periods in the late 2000s when they opened it to the public. It is a Grade II* listed building. Built of red brick. Octagonal on a square base with a round stair turret. It was listed in 1952, and the listing was last amended in 1982.

 

My earliest series of photos of Perrott's Folly was taken back in June 2011 from Waterworks Road, which you can see below.

In July 2013, you could see the model of Perrott's Folly in the garden outside of The Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square (around 2 months before it opened to the public). But the area was fenced off until the end of August 2013.

The model of Perrott's Folly (seen below) at Sarehole Mill during August 2015. Was moved to it's now permenant home.

View of Perrott's Folly (below) seen during April 2018 from the top of Brindleyplace Car Park.

The view taken during February 2020 (below) of Perrott's Folly as seen from Reservoir Road (leaving Edgbaston Reservoir). Could see it over the chimneys up Reservoir Retreat.

On the last day of July 2020 I travelled to Ladywood, and while there headed down Waterworks Road from Plough & Harrow Road for a blue sky update!

 

Edgbaston Waterworks Tower

The Edgbaston Waterworks is located at the bottom end of Waterworks Road in Ladywood. It was also called the Edgbaston Pumping Station.  The buildings were designed by John Henry Chamberlain and William Martin during 1870. The buildings are Grade II listed. The site is run by Severn Trent Water. While it is close to Edgbaston Reservoir, there is no current or historical connection to the water here. The listing includes, the Edgbaston Pumping Station, store room, generator room and the ornamented chimney stack. The water pumping station apparently dates to about 1862. The tower was built of red brick with blue brick details. You can see how the tower influenced Tolkien for The Two Towers. Especially in the details at the top. First listed in 1979, the listing was amended in 2015.

 

My earliest series of photos of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower was taken during June 2011 from Waterworks Road, which you can see below.

In July 2013, there was a model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower in Centenary Square, in the garden in front of the Library of Birmingham (two months before it would open to the public).

By August 2015, the model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower was now at it's now permenant home of Sarehole Mill (due to it's link with Tolkien).

There was a view (below) from the top of the Brindleyplace Car Park on my visit during April 2018 of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower.

During February 2020, after leaving Edgbaston Reservoir via Reservoir Road (seen below), I spotted the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower down Mostyn Road over the chimneys.

I saw the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower from my June 2020 walk around Edgbaston Reservoir (below). I was hoping to get an individual photo of Perrott's Folly, but only got the pair of them together earlier on (see the photo further up this post). You can see how it inspired Tolkien in it's design.

Also got some last day of July 2020 photo updates of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. I noticed that one of the window shutters on the left hand side was damaged, and is in need of a repair. Also visible from Noel Road in Ladywood.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
03 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve in the Shire Country Park

Two sections of the Shire Country Park here. During a May 2020 lockdown walk. After leaving the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, we continued on into the Blackberry Way. Then crossed into the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve from Formans Road in Sparkhill. Both run alongside the River Cole towards the Cole Valley Business Park. A lot of history here. Also a litter issue.

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The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve in the Shire Country Park





Two sections of the Shire Country Park here. During a May 2020 lockdown walk. After leaving the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, we continued on into the Blackberry Way. Then crossed into the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve from Formans Road in Sparkhill. Both run alongside the River Cole towards the Cole Valley Business Park. A lot of history here. Also a litter issue.


Blackberry Way and the

Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve

The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve are part of the Shire Country Park and are located in Sparkhill. My first walk in these areas was during a lockdown walk in May 2020, which started from the Sarehole Mill Car Park, and went via the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground and the Greet Mill Meadow.

For related posts click the links below:

 

Blackberry Way

The Blackberry Way is located between the Stratford Road and Formans Road in Sparkhill (near the Springfield and Hall Green border). It starts from the Stratford Road Bridge (which opened in 1914) and runs alongside the River Cole. In the 14th century the area was known as Foulemoreslone or as Fole- or Fullford (foul ford). But today is called the Blackberry Way. It was named after a consultation with local residents and thought to be highly suitable as it is one of the best blackberry picking sections of the Shire Country Park. This area has a litter problem, either in the River Cole or alongside the path.

Starting from the Stratford Road entrance, just head into the gate on the right.

The sign for the Blackberry Way in the Shire Country Park from Birmingham City Council. It says "Please help us to care for your local green spaces. No Dumping of Rubbish".

Sadly the first thing I saw was rubbish down in the River Cole, and along the path.

Saw a dumped trolley hanging up-side-down on the poles of the sign near the Stratford Road. This is not the place to dump your rubbish, and the trolley should be at the supermarket it came from!

During May 2020, there was cow parsley growing alongside the path.

The trees were lush and green, having grown back fast during the second full month of lockdown.

The path continues straight on past the trees and cow parsley.

Approaching the gate at Formans Road. Beyond here was the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve.

Later coming back into the Blackberry Way. Headed down this grass path along the cow parsley.

A bit of a tree canopy here.

Getting back to the Stratford Road entrance, and soon about to go back into the Greet Mill Meadow.

Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve

The Burbury Brickworks is located between Formans Road in Sparkhill and the Cole Valley Business Park. Beyond this area you can walk around The Ackers (which is beyond Warwick Road, but I've not done The Ackers yet). It is a 13 acre site of a former brick making factory that existed here until the early 1960s. The River Cole runs alongside one part of the nature reserve. When the brickworks closed the area returned to it's natural state. It now has a marshland and young oak trees. This area also had a litter problem.

The Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve sign at the Formans Road entrance. As with the Blackberry Way this Birmingham City Council sign says "Please help us to care for your local green spaces. No Dumping of Rubbish".

There was a pair of paths in the Burbury Brickworks. We too the right path.

The trees on this path were lush and green. Some cow parsley along the path as well.

First signs of rubbish alongside the path. Why can't people dispose of their rubbish properly and use the bin?

So much takeaway rubbish around the benches that it attracted hungry crows looking for some food. The bin was also slanted a bit.

Nearing the gate close to the Cole Valley Business Park. Turned back after this. But did briefly pop out of the gate, and back in.

Beyond here is the Cole Valley Business Park. I would think you would have to walk or cycle past towards the Warwick Road to find the entrance to The Ackers, but I've not been there yet.

On the walk back in the Burbury Brickworks found part of the River Cole.

A wooden footbridge over a stream (I don't think this crosses the River Cole).

On the Wetland Walkway saw this pond surrounded by trees. It's hard to believe that a brickworks was in this area until about 60 years ago.

One of the fingerposts of the Shire Country Park was in the water. I'm not sure if it's still in there 2 and a half months on, but Council officials or park rangers needs to fish it out, and repair it.

On the way out saw this NO DUMPING sign from Birmingham City Council. Your City Your Birmingham. Can locals and visitors please not dump their waste in the Shire Country Park. Dispose of your litter properly. Care for the environment.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
30 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Dorothy Round and Priory Park in Dudley

In the second Priory Park, Dudley post, we will look at other areas of the park other than the Priory Ruins (see my previous post). Priory Hall is also in the park and is used for weddings. Built in 1825 for the Earls of Dudley. There is a blue plaque here for Duncan Edwards (Manchester United player died in Munich crash of 1958). Also Dorothy Round bronze statue. Dudley born tennis player

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Dorothy Round and Priory Park in Dudley





In the second Priory Park, Dudley post, we will look at other areas of the park other than the Priory Ruins (see my previous post). Priory Hall is also in the park and is used for weddings. Built in 1825 for the Earls of Dudley. There is a blue plaque here for Duncan Edwards (Manchester United player died in Munich crash of 1958). Also Dorothy Round bronze statue. Dudley born tennis player


PRIORY PARK DUDLEY

Priory Park is located in Dudley, West Midlands. A 19 acre site it opened in 1932. The park includes the historic grounds of Dudley Priory. The park has a wood, playing fields and a lily pond. There is also tennis courts, basketball courts, a bowling green, a cricket area and a football pitch. The park was restored in 2013.

My visits were during January 2011 and October 2016 (usually an hour long bus ride from Birmingham to Dudley). Hopefully in the future when the West Midlands Metro line opens here, journey times from Birmingham will be faster.

January 2011

For my last Priory Park post on the Ruins of Dudley Priory click this link: The ruins of Dudley Priory in Priory Park, Dudley.

Continuing on from my Priory Ruins post (above) with Priory Hall and it's gardens.

Priory Hall is a Grade II listed building, built in 1825 in the Tudor Style. It was formerly the seat of the Earls of Dudley. Built of Ashlar. The Earl never lived here but allowed it to be used as a residence and offices for his principle agent of his Dudley estates. This view from the snow covered lily pond.

These days, Priory Halll is used as a training and conference centre and is also used for weddings held by Dudley Register Office.

One last look at Priory Hall before I left the park and walked back into Dudley Town Centre.

The road in the park from Priory Hall towards the roundabout at The Broadway and Priory Road.

This is the lily pond surrounded by an old stone wall. Frozen over by the snowfall at the time. The walls have been built a little bit like a castle.

To the back of the gardens was this shelter. It was built in the 1950s and re-built in the 1990s after suffering from vandalism. The roof suffered badly and this was not re-built. Although it does reduce it's usefulness from sheltering from the rain.

Wooden sculpture in the Priory Hall gardens. It was designed by Jonathan Mulvaney in 1992 and stands close to the lily pond. It is called People Group.

Another view of the wooden People Group sculpture from the back, looking towards the lily pond.

October 2016

More than 5 years after my last visit. This time mainly to see the statue of Dorothy Round and to find the blue plaque of Duncan Edwards.

Since my last visit, the park had been restored and these new sculpted gates installed. This was near the entrance at Priory Road and The Broadway. The decorative gateway was designed by Steve Field and installed in 2013.

Another angle of the same gates. By the looks of it, they illustrate Dudley's medieval history.

Looking back through the gates to the roundabout. Directions to Dudley Zoo and Castle. Also to the Black Country Living Museum.

One more view of the Priory Park gates.

It was autumn, so there was a lot of leaves on the ground. Was a view from here towards Dudley Castle.

This was the zoomed in view of Dudley Castle from Priory Park. In ruins now, it was built from 1070 and in use until at least 1750. Built of limestone. Dudley Zoo is now located in those grounds. It's a Grade I listed building. For my West Midlands Castle post click here: Castles within the West Midlands region.

Trees in the park with the leaves all over the lawn. Priory Park is the start of the Limestone Walk.

That day, there was a wedding on at Priory Hall. And saw a pair of wedding cars.

The wedding cars look old, but are probably modern builds to look like they are decades old. Didn't stay around here long as the wedding group was having their photos taken and didn't want to disturb them.

Heading past the tennis courts as I started to look for the Dorothy Round statue.

And now to the Dorothy Round statue. It was called The Return of Dorothy Round and by the sculptor John McKenna, unveiled in 2013. She was a World Number 1 British female tennis player. She was born in Dudley. It is near the tennis courts.

Close up view of the statue. Born in 1909 in Dudley, she died in 1982 in Kidderminster, aged 73. She won the Women's singles title at Wimbledon in 1934 and 1937. She also won the Australian Championships in 1935.

Wide view of the Dorothy Round statue with the tennis courts.

This is The Pavilion. It is where you would find the blue plaque in memory of Duncan Edwards.

A front view of The Pavilion. There are public toilets to the left and right. It was originally built in the 1930s but was renovated around 2013. It now includes the rangers offices, toilets and an educational space.

Here's the blue plaque for Duncan Edwards. A Footballer of genius. Born in Dudley in 1936, died in the Munich air disaster of 1958. He played for Manchester United and England. He grew up on the Priory Estate and attended Priory Primary School. The plaque was from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

 

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70 passion points
Modern Architecture
30 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Mailbox from Suffolk Street Queensway and from the Canalside over the years

Most of these photos of The Mailbox were taken in the years before the 2015 refurbishment. The main entrance to The Mailbox up the steps from Royal Mail Street can be seen from Suffolk Street Queensway. The Canalside with all the restaurants and bars is close to Gas Street Basin at the sharp turn of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The Cube joined it in 2010.

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The Mailbox from Suffolk Street Queensway and from the Canalside over the years





Most of these photos of The Mailbox were taken in the years before the 2015 refurbishment. The main entrance to The Mailbox up the steps from Royal Mail Street can be seen from Suffolk Street Queensway. The Canalside with all the restaurants and bars is close to Gas Street Basin at the sharp turn of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The Cube joined it in 2010.


The Mailbox

The Mailbox opened to the public in December 2000. Previously the original building had been used as Royal Mail's main sorting office for Birmingham. It was built in 1970. It replaced the old Victorian head post office in Victoria Square (now Victoria Square House). The building was designed by R. H. Ousman of the Ministry of Public Building and Works. Before that, it was the location of a railway goods yard, which had links to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and Gas Street Basin. There is also an underground tunnel which linked the building to New Street Station.

The first redevelopment took place from 1997 until 2000. The architect was Associated Architects who now have offices at The Mailbox at the corner of Severn Street and Commercial Street. BBC Birmingham moved from Pebble Mill to The Mailbox in 2004.

The second redevelopment took place from 2013 until 2015. This time the architects was Stanton Williams. The Mailbox was given a roof, as it was previously open air in the malls. Harvey Nichols moved the front of the building to units further inside. (I'll cover this regeneration in a future post apart from the photos posted below).

In this post, we will be looking at the exterior that you can see from Suffolk Street Queensway and from the Canalside. The buildings do also go up Severn Street and Commercial Street (but we won't be looking at that side).

Suffolk Street Queensway

Some of my earliest photos of The Mailbox taken during April 2009. The view below nea Brunel Street Car Park. Probably seen from Brunel Street and close to Navigation Street. The Orion Building to the left.

The Mailbox in red seen from Suffolk Street Queensway, looking down Royal Mail Street. Designed to look like you can pop a letter in a postbox. Harvey Nichols was at the front. The Malmaison Hotel was also in the building by this point in time.

With a change of camera by June 2009, I got a then new photo of The Mailbox from Suffolk Street Queensway. Severn Street is to the left.

My earliest nightshots of The Mailbox were taken during December 2009. I was probably heading to a work Christmas Party at the time.

All lit up in red with Christmas trees outside and this bus or coach ghosting as it went past towards the Queensway tunnels.

Similar view in December 2012 at night. You normally have to walk under the Queensway through a square which is lit up.

By July 2013, the redevelopment of The Mailbox would be starting soon. Around this time was one of the summers when the Queensway tunnels were closed for modernisation works. Was also a taxi rank at The Mailbox on Royal Mail Street.

In this March 2014 view of The Mailbox, the redevelopment was underway. At the front it said "Still open, still luxurious as we build you a better Mailbox."

Harvey Nichols during July 2014. The main entrance was closed, so you had to either walk to the restaurants and bars via Severn Street. Or get to Harvey Nichols via the car park. Or straight ahead for the Malmaison Bar and Brasserie.

By April 2015 The Mailbox and Harvey Nichols was looking a bit like a wrapped present with a bow. Main entrance was still closed.

The Mailbox was open fully again by October 2015. There was now a lot of security guards inside, so you have to be careful carrying a big camera around inside (or put it away and use your smartphone camera instead). "Life Made Beautiful". Harvey Nichols had opened in there new store further inside.

A day later and got this view of The Mailbox from Suffolk Street Queensway.

Another nightshot taken of The Mailbox during November 2015. Always rushhour traffic on Suffolk Street Queensway coming out of the Queensway tunnels.

Canalside

Got my earliest Canalside photos of The Mailbox during June 2009. This view to the entrance to The Mailbox (left). BBC Birmingham are in the offices above.

Originally there used to be a narrowboat mooring area down there. And you used to be able to get the Waterbus from The Mailbox around the City Centre canals (never went on it myself). The original steps at the time led down to the restaurants and bars. Apparently this basin is called the Refuge Basin.

There used to be space for two narrowboats to be moored here. Such as Away2Dine. These days they have to be moored around the Worcester Bar. They could also be hired for narrowboating holidays (at least the one on the right could).

The route of the Salvage Turn Bridge was different at the time. It would be altered a year later in 2010.

The Cube was under construction at the time to the right of The Mailbox.

New steps were opened by May 2010.

This gave access to an outdoor eating area for the restaurant down there. Also somewhere to sit on the new steps.

Behind that living wall was the tunnel under the Mailbox that leads to New Street Station. It is now sealed off from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. People have been on tours of the tunnel, but I never have (not even sure where the entrance is, must be a secret).

With The Cube nearing completion and getting ready to open, in June 2010 the route of the Salvage Turn Bridge was rebuilt,

The previous bases in the canal were still there, but they would be eventually removed. At the time Bar Epernay and Pennyblacks were at The Mailbox.

Another route up to The Mailbox is up this path from Holliday Street. It follows on from Bridge Street. But there are steps at the bottom and top, and is quite steep. But there are lifts inside of The Mailbox for disabled and older people to use. Seen in July 2010. Go this way if you want to avoid going into The Mailbox from the main entrance.

In December 2010 I got the two views below from the Salvage Turn Bridge. Snow and ice on the canal. Was also a Christmas tree installed on a base, usually where the narrowboats used to moor up.

Looking down the metal steps from the Salvage Turn Bridge to Pennyblacks. Was still bases in the canal from the old location of the metal footbridge.

The Waterbus seen moored at The Mailbox during April 2012. You can get it from here to Brindleyplace and Sherborne Wharf and it was called Ariel. At the time there was a Pizza Express and a bar restaurant called The Oriential down there. Never been on it myself.

Some August 2014 canalside views. Red Peppers was to the left of the Canalside entrance to The Mailbox. Steps down to the path that leads to Holliday Street and Bridge Street on the left.

Côte Brasserie had outdoor seating to the right of the new steps outside with at lleast one parasol to keep custoemrs dry.

Only 5 years before, part of this area was part of the canal. But was now built over for restaurant and bar use. Must be pleasant to sit out there and eat a meal in the sunshine!

An October 2015 view to the Canalside entrance of The Mailbox. This was after the last redevelopment was completed / opened. Everyman Cinema is to the right of here.

In April 2016 AC Hotel Birmingham was being insalled in The Mailbox. Above was Cafe Rouge and Zizzi to the right.

Snow and ice during March 2018 (the Beast from the East). The view seen under the Salvage Turn Bridge towards Aluna. A Canada goose was standing on one leg on the ice.

In August 2018, I saw this Higher Access cherry picker / scissor lift outside of Bar Estilo and the Everyman Cinema. The footpath around it was closed at the time.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

 

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