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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
Transport
11 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Virgin Trains: end of an era (1997 - 2019). From Wolverhampton to Coventry via Birmingham New Street

The 22 year long West Coast Mainline franchise with Virgin Trains finally came to an end on Saturday 7th December 2019. The franchise started in March 1997, and has had many extensions since. Almost losing it to First in 2012. The franchise will be taken over by Avanti West Coast on Sunday 8th December 2019. On trains from Birmingham New Street to London Euston, and other lines.

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Virgin Trains: end of an era (1997 - 2019). From Wolverhampton to Coventry via Birmingham New Street





The 22 year long West Coast Mainline franchise with Virgin Trains finally came to an end on Saturday 7th December 2019. The franchise started in March 1997, and has had many extensions since. Almost losing it to First in 2012. The franchise will be taken over by Avanti West Coast on Sunday 8th December 2019. On trains from Birmingham New Street to London Euston, and other lines.


A look at various Virgin Trains seen over the years between Wolverhampton and Coventry via Birmingham New Street. Either Class 390 Pendolino or Class 221 Super Voyager. The Super Voyager's either headed up to Glasgow or Edinburgh. Or up to Holyhead in Wales via Shrewsbury.

The Virgin Trains West Coast Franchise ran from the 9th March 1997 until the 7th December 2019. The Diesel Electric Multiple Units known as Super Voyager's were introduced in 2001. While the Electric Multiple Units known as Pendolino's came into service in 2002.

 

Wolverhampton Station

Seen at Wolverhampton Station during March 2019 was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager 221 117. It was going to London Euston. It's next stop would be Sandwell & Dudley. And would go via Birmingham New Street of course.

Tipton Station

Seen passing Tipton Station (they don't stop here) during November 2017 was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager. At least 10 carriages from two 5 carriage Class 221 trains. Passing at speed.

Sandwell & Dudley Station

Seen in September 2016 at Sandwell & Dudley Station (near Oldbury) was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager. I caught this train back to Birmingham New Street. 10 carriages, but standing room only.

Smethwick Galton Bridge Station

In November 2017 saw this Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino passing Smethwick Galton Bridge Station on the Low Level. I was at platform 3. You can use this station to interchange between the Snow Hill lines (high level) and Wolverhampton to Birmingham line (low level). But never with Virgin. In the past was London Midland, now West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway.

Smethwick Rolfe Street Station

Passing the mural at Smethwick Rolfe Street Station during November 2017 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. It was heading towards Wolverhampton.

Birmingham New Street Station

Seen during September 2012, at Birmingham New Street Station was this Virgin Trains Pendolino at Platform 1. Going past the block built for Network Rail. Which is near Navigation Street (and between Pinfold Street and Hill Street in the City Centre). Even in 2012 it seemed like the West Coast would be taken over by First, but it got delayed. And the bidding redone.

Stechford Station

Seen passing Stechford Station in October 2018 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. 390 114. In the last few years many of the Pendolino's got a new red livery. That was until all the Pendolino's were stripped back to all white before Avanti West Coast takes over. This station is having a new footbridge built, and I returned well over a year later to this station. Was a temporary footbridge in use, while the new one is being built. Would assume the new footbridge will open sometime in 2020? The previous concrete footbridge that used to be here was old looking and tired. The new one will have lifts.

Marston Green Station

This Virgin Trains Pendolino was seen passing Marston Green Station during February 2015. This station is close to the Sheldon Country Park and the plane spotting area in the park. From the station you can probably only see the planes from the footbridges, and not sitting down on one of the benches. But you can here the planes from here though.

Birmingham International Station

Stopping at Birmingham International Station during February 2018 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 043. I caught this train from Birmingham New Street. But switched trains on the day I travelled to Berkswell (having to wait for the next London Northwestern Railway train there). The Pendolino at 9 or 11 carriages was quite packed!

Berkswell Station

Passing Berskwell Station at speed was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. Seen during February 2018. You could feel the rush of air as the fast trains went past you. So "Stand behind the yellow line". Or sit on the bench like I was doing. I have also been to Hampton-in-Arden Station back in October 2017, but didn't see any Virgin Trains in the time that I was at that station.

Coventry Station

We finish our journey from Wolverhampton at Coventry Station. Seen during May 2015 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. Welcome to Coventry. This train was at the time named Virgin Champion. 390016. This train was going from London Euston to Edinburgh Waverley. I caught it to Birmingham New Street.

Good luck to Avanti West Coast who took over the West Coast Mainline on Sunday 8th December 2019.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 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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70 passion points
Green open spaces
09 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Return to Manor Farm Park at the beginning of December 2019

Went back to Northfield on Sunday 1st December 2019. And while there thought I might as well do an up-to-date walk around Manor Farm Park. Headed down Bell Hill to the entrance I used 2 years earlier. Then headed to the left path. Eventually passing the lake. Then near the housing development before checking out the old farm buildings again. The barn was demolished and now is a car park.

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Return to Manor Farm Park at the beginning of December 2019





Went back to Northfield on Sunday 1st December 2019. And while there thought I might as well do an up-to-date walk around Manor Farm Park. Headed down Bell Hill to the entrance I used 2 years earlier. Then headed to the left path. Eventually passing the lake. Then near the housing development before checking out the old farm buildings again. The barn was demolished and now is a car park.


Aware that the Cadbury barn had burnt down and also the Northfield Manor House (probably both by arsonists / kids), it was time to have another walk into Manor Farm Park.

Walked down Bell Hill and got in again via the entrance close to Shenley Lane. Two years back I think I went right towards Whitehilll Lane. This time I took the left path for the first time.

A new sign at the junction of the paths. Has a donut shaped sign saying Manor Farm Park.

The path heads straight then curves around a bit between the trees.

Near the end of the first path. Over a small footbridge that crosses a stream. This is the route of the Merritts Brook Greenway towards Bournville and Kings Heath.

Turning right, I headed straight down before turning left. Had to see the lake again.

I mainly passed the lake from the main path and not from the path that goes around it. Saw a pair of moorhens here.

A variety of gulls and geese in the lake.

Leaves on the ground on the opposite bank of the lake. Was still thinking of going all the way around the lake at this point.

Canada geese swimming to the right in the lake.

Nice sight of a tufted duck.

View of the tree island in the middle of the lake, to the left. It was around an hour and a half before sunset. The trees made nice reflections in the lake.

After I exited onto Manor House Drive saw this waterfall behind some trees.

Trying to get back into the park. I went around Middlepark Drive, and saw this pyramid climbing frame on the other side of the fence.

Heading back towards White Hill from Griffin Drive. Leaves on the lawn. Before I got a bus back to Selly Oak I first wanted to go back to the main entrance.

Made it back to the main entrance of Manor Farm Park from White Hill. The old farm buildings look mostly the same. Other than one of the buildings on the right might have been demolished. Really headed back this way to see what had happened to the site of the Cadbury barn.

In the years since the fire that gutted the Cadbury barn, it looks like it has been sadly demolished. There is now a car park here. The sign on the right looks relatively new though.

May have been a cold Sunday afternoon, but was still kids playing in the playground watched over by their parents.

The view into the park from the car park. Not far from the former site of the Cadbury barn.

There was this open garden to the back of the boarded up gatehouse or lodge. Nothing much to see in late autumn / early winter. The old farm buildings were to the left.

Zoom in of the boarded up gatehouse or lodge. From the other side it was covered in graffiti. All the doors and windows were boarded or blocked off. Hopeully the Council could do something with this and all the other surviving farm buildings here.

Previous post here with photos taken between 2010 and 2017: Manor Farm Park: a park down the Bristol Road South I've always considered to be in Northfield.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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