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Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
04 May 2022 - Elliott Brown
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The return of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch to Centenary Square after almost 5 years!

It's been a long time in waiting, but William Bloye's 1939 statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch is back. Now located in Centenary Square next to Symphony Hall. They were formerly on what was part of Broad Street from 1956 until 2017. By then the land behind them was Arena Central, and they had to move for Library Tram Stop. Back in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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The return of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch to Centenary Square after almost 5 years!





It's been a long time in waiting, but William Bloye's 1939 statue of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch is back. Now located in Centenary Square next to Symphony Hall. They were formerly on what was part of Broad Street from 1956 until 2017. By then the land behind them was Arena Central, and they had to move for Library Tram Stop. Back in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.


The history of the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue by William Bloye

The gilded bronze statue of Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdoch was by the sculptors William Bloye and Raymond Forbes-Kings and it stood on a plinth of Portland stone, (formerly) outside the old Register Office on Broad Street in Birmingham (later the House of Sport after the Register Office moved to Holliday Street).

It is known locally as The Golden Boys after its colour, or The Carpet Salesmen after the partially-rolled-up plan of a steam engine which they are examining.  

All three men were members of the Lunar Society.  

Sponsored by an £8,000 bequest from Richard Wheatley in 1939, and £7,500 from the City Council, it was unveiled in 1956, from preliminary designs drawn up in 1938.  

The statue was restored and re-gilded, and replaced in its old position in September 2006. 

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton%20Watt%20Murdoch%202009.JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Views of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch in 2009

While I initally first took the statue on my first digital camera around April 2009, by the time I got my first bridge camera in June 2009, I headed to Broad Street, and took the follow photos below outside of the House of Sport. This was only about 3 years after the bronze statue had been re-gilded in 2006, now making it shiny and golden!

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (Jun 2009) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (Jun 2009) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

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dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (Jun 2009) (8).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch from 2011 to 2017

More occasional photos in the years following my initial shots of the statues, such as when the Library of Birmingham opened, or when Arena Central started.

January 2011 - a (then) new information sign about the statue, and details about Matthew Boulton, James Watt & William Murdoch.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (Jan 2011) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

July 2013 - red flowers were planted in front of the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue on what was then still a part of Broad Street.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (Jul 2013).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

September 2013 - the Library of Birmingham is now open, and at the time, a view down to the Bouton, Watt & Murdoch statue, still surrounded by red flowers.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (Sep 2013).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

April 2015 - early work begins to fence of the House of Sport (the old Birmingham Register Office) on Broad Street. As Arena Central got underway, but Boulton, Watt & Murdoch remained in place. Traffic was being diverted onto Bridge Street.

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May 2015 - Hoardings had gone up in front of the House of Sport ahead of it's demolition later in 2015. But you could still see the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (May 2015).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

October 2015 - demolition on the former Register Office / House of Sport was well underway, just a section near Bridge Street to come down. You could still get close up to the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue at the time.

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November 2015 - a view from the Library of Birmingham. DSM Demolition had a lot of rubble to clear of the House of Sport, while scaffolding had gone up the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statues to protect them.

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April 2016 - by this point the demolition behind Boulton, Watt & Murdoch had been complete, and it was now the site of One Arena Central. Library of Birmingham view.

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There was plant machinery in front of the statue.

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And there was a temporary path between Arena Central and where Boulton, Watt & Murdoch were.

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February 2017 - a night shot of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch from Centenary Square. You could now see views to the hotels behind including Crowne Plaza and the newly built Holiday Inn Express (TETRIS building) at Arena Central.

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April 2017 - a rear view of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch, taken from Bridge Street, looking over Arena Central towards the Library of Birmingham.

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August 2017 - the last views of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch for 5 years before they went into storage. One Arena Central hoardings still behind them, and Midland Metro Alliance hoardings in front of them.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (Aug 2017) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

A daylight view towards Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express. This was my last actual photo of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch for almost 5 years (before they went into storage). This view on the 10th August 2017, the statue was removed on the 23rd August 2017 (ahead of the building of the Westside Metro extension). Library Tram Stop would open on their old spot by December 2019.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boulton Watt Murdoch (Aug 2017) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Return of Boulton, Watt & Murdoch - late April 2022

While the Portland stone plinth was back in place by St George's Day, the actual gold covered bronze statue was lowered into place on the 29th April 2022. Just in time for the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend. Although there is still fences around it, and more paving work to do. As well as the installation of a future plaque, about Boulton, Watt & Murdoch's slavery links (post Black Lives Matter).

With Library Tram Stop (opened end of 2019).

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

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Seen outside of Symphony Hall, their new home.

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With the Library of Birmingham.

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Lookig towards Paradise Birmingham.

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Looking towards HSBC UK - One Centenary Square and The Exchange | University of Birmingham at Arena Central.

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (10).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Looking towards Three Arena Central (One Arena Central aka Five Centenary Square still hasn't been built yet).

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (11).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Looking towards the Hyatt Regency Birmingham and near the new foyer of Symphony Hall.

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The view of Centenary Square on the 30th April 2022. Boulton & Watt & Murdoch now join The ICC, Symphony Hall, The REP, Library of Birmingham, Baskerville House and Hall of Memory. As well as Library Tram Stop.

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From the other side of Centenary Square in this wide panoramic (centred on the Library of Birmingham). Bit hard to see Boulton, Watt & Murdoch but they are on the far left near Symphony Hall, while Edward VII is near Baskerville House. From HSBC UK to the old Copthorne Hotel (which will be demolished in the next few years).

dndimg alt="Boulton, Watt & Murdoch" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/BWM Centenary Sq 30042022 (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

Welcome back lads, you have been missed!

For other monuments of Matthew Boulton, James Watt & William Murdoch, see the post on St Mary's Church, Handsworth.

Photography by Elliott Brown

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100 passion points
Elliott Brown Squares and public spaces
28 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Giant England flag on the Town Hall for St George's Day 2022

On St George's Day 23rd April 2022, for one day only, a giant England flag was on the side of Birmingham Town Hall in Victoria Square. In the morning Team England were there ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Closer to the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend now, but enjoy these photos from St George's Day.

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Giant England flag on the Town Hall for St George's Day 2022





On St George's Day 23rd April 2022, for one day only, a giant England flag was on the side of Birmingham Town Hall in Victoria Square. In the morning Team England were there ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Closer to the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend now, but enjoy these photos from St George's Day.


St George's Day 23rd April 2022 in Victoria Square

 

Walking up Pinfold Street into Victoria Square on the 23rd April 2022, you could see the giant England flag on the Town Hall. This view with the Iron: Man (returned to the square in February 2022) and the Queen Victoria statue. Sadly no trams as they are out of service (and they only test the new trams to Broad Street on Monday's and Wednesday's).

dndimg alt="Town Hall" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Georges Day TH Vic Sq 23042022 (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Heading over to the Council House with this view of the England flag in Victoria Square.

dndimg alt="Town Hall" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Georges Day TH Vic Sq 23042022 (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Inspired by a Jack Babbington photo I'd seen earlier that day on Twitter, a shot of the reinstated Floozie in the Jacuzzi (back earlier in April 2022) with the giant England flag on the Town Hall.

dndimg alt="Town Hall" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Georges Day TH Vic Sq 23042022 (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Around the back of the Council House via Eden Place and Edmund Street to Chamberlain Square. This view to the left of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (due to reopen on the 28th April 2022).

dndimg alt="Town Hall" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/St Georges Day TH Vic Sq 23042022 (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Have a nice May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
28 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Annatomix fox at Wylde Green Station

I was first aware that Annatomix had painted her trademark orange fox at Wylde Green Station, during June 2021. Took me a while, but returned to Sutton Coldfield at midday on Sunday 24th April 2022. Walked down from the Town Centre to the Highbridge Road Bridge. Down the steps, and the art was in an alcove behind the steps and wall.

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Annatomix fox at Wylde Green Station





I was first aware that Annatomix had painted her trademark orange fox at Wylde Green Station, during June 2021. Took me a while, but returned to Sutton Coldfield at midday on Sunday 24th April 2022. Walked down from the Town Centre to the Highbridge Road Bridge. Down the steps, and the art was in an alcove behind the steps and wall.


Getting to Sutton Coldfield

I was going to get the 13:06 from platform 8A at Birmingham New Street Station, but it was running 10 minutes late on the 24th April 2022. The first Class 323 from Redditch ended up terminating there, but an announcement told passengers to go to platform 7A, so over the bridge to the other side, and another Class 323 arrived for 13:16 from Soho Depot.

Arriving at Sutton Coldfield Station, I first popped to Costa Coffee at the Gracechurch Centre, before walking down the Birmingham Road towards Wylde Green Station. I left Birmingham Road at Jockey Road. The wrong bridge over the Cross City Line, but found a shortcut via Wilkinson Close to Highbridge Road.

 

Annatomix fox at Wylde Green Station

Down the steps towards platform 1 (trains towards Four Oaks and Lichfield Trent Valley). I could see the Annatomix fox over the steps as I headed down.

dndimg alt="Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Annatomix fox Wylde Green (Apr 2022) (1).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

In the alcove at the back, below the Highbridge Road Bridge in Wylde Green is the Annatomix fox.

dndimg alt="Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Annatomix fox Wylde Green (Apr 2022) (2).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The fox and the steps. To get back to Birmingham New Street though, went back up these steps, and over the other steps to platform 2.

dndimg alt="Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Annatomix fox Wylde Green (Apr 2022) (3).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Now on the path to platform 2, a view of the Annatomix fox and the steps to / from platform 1.

dndimg alt="Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Annatomix fox Wylde Green (Apr 2022) (4).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

There is high fences either side of the railway, but the fox street art is just about visible from the path.

dndimg alt="Annatomix fox Wylde Green Station" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Annatomix fox Wylde Green (Apr 2022) (5).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

 

I somehow timed my arrival at Wylde Green Station as my train back to Birmingham New Street was arriving at platform 2. The Class 323 got a bit of shadow here, and you can see the fox by Annatomix on the far left.

dndimg alt="Annatomix fox Wylde Green" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Wylde Green Station (Apr 2022) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Retook West Midlands Railway 323213, the lighting was better on the second attempt. Bit hard to see the Annatomix fox now.

dndimg alt="Annatomix fox Wylde Green" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Wylde Green Station (Apr 2022) (8).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

There is a new thing from the Soho Depot called "Soho Bingo", the train I got is now named Sutton Coldfield. I think the game works if you get the name of the train at the station of the same name. But I did earlier arrive at Sutton Coldfield Station.

dndimg alt="Annatomix fox Wylde Green" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Wylde Green Station (Apr 2022) (10).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Photography by Elliott Brown

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Stephen Giles Construction & regeneration
27 Apr 2022 - Stephen Giles
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The Construction of The Square on Broad Street - April 2022 - Update Two

Cortland Broad Street's concrete core is huge! It currently sits on floor 34, just short of its maximum height.

The lower levels of the 35-storey residential tower are also progressing, now up to level 5/6, with its six-storey lower extension now climbing above the hoardings on Ryland Street.

Lots of construction images here in this April Part 2 update.

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The Construction of The Square on Broad Street - April 2022 - Update Two





Cortland Broad Street's concrete core is huge! It currently sits on floor 34, just short of its maximum height.

The lower levels of the 35-storey residential tower are also progressing, now up to level 5/6, with its six-storey lower extension now climbing above the hoardings on Ryland Street.

Lots of construction images here in this April Part 2 update.


3rd April 2022

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7th April 2022

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8th April 2022

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11th April 2022

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13th April 2022

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17th April 2022

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26th April 2022

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Photography by Daniel Sturley.

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Image kindly taken by Kingsheathen.

There are now nearly 200 photos of the construction of this building, and these can now be seen in reverse date order in the full gallery here: The Square, Broad Street - Full Construction Photo Gallery

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Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
12 Apr 2022 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Return of the Floozie in the Jacuzzi after six months in storage

In the autumn of 2021, work began to restore the River and Youth fountains in Victoria Square. By October 2021 the Floozie in the Jacuzzi was removed to storage (The River) as well as the other statue (The Youth). As of early April 2022, the Floozie is back, but as of yet, the fountains haven't been turned on, as workmen are working round the clock to get it finished.

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Return of the Floozie in the Jacuzzi after six months in storage





In the autumn of 2021, work began to restore the River and Youth fountains in Victoria Square. By October 2021 the Floozie in the Jacuzzi was removed to storage (The River) as well as the other statue (The Youth). As of early April 2022, the Floozie is back, but as of yet, the fountains haven't been turned on, as workmen are working round the clock to get it finished.


If you want to see our existing Floozie in the Jacuzzi posts, click the links below:

Floozie post, November 2020

Floozie post, September 2019

 

River and Youth, 1993 by Dhruva Mistry was installed during the 1992-94 works to regenerate Victoria Square (it was opened by the late Diana, Princess of Wales). The Floozie in the Jacuzzi is the bronze female statue at the top known as 'The River', while the pair of children at the bottom was 'The Youth'.

 

September 2021

Fences start to go around the River and Youth stepped area, with the Floozie still at the top.

dndimg alt="Floozie in the Jacuzzi" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Floozie RTN Vic Sq 22092021.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

October 2021

The last time that you could see the Floozie in the Jacuzzi was back in October 2021. Days after this, she would be removed to storage. This was also before the return of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market in November. The Floozie getting one last bath from the rain.

dndimg alt="Floozie in the Jacuzzi" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Floozie Vic Sq rain 02102021.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

December 2021

Last few days of 2021, and there is now scaffolding and a white plastic wrap around the site of River and Youth. The bronze statues are now in storage for a couple of months now. Colourful hoardings up with the Be Bold Be Birmingham slogan, and facts about the Floozie in the Jacuzzi, ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

dndimg alt="Floozie in the Jacuzzi" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Be Bold Be Brum Floozie Vic Sq 28122021 (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

dndimg alt="Floozie in the Jacuzzi" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Be Bold Be Brum Floozie Vic Sq 28122021 (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

January 2022

Still the white plastic wraps and scaffolding around the River and Youth site in Victoria Square, as well as the Be Bold Be Birmingham hoardings, as work continues to repair the fountain, that has been leaking on and off since 2008.

dndimg alt="Floozie in the Jacuzzi" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Floozie repairs Vic Sq 21012022.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

April 2022

On April Fools Day, the basin of The River, has days to wait before the goddess returns to sit in her beloved bath. The stone balls and the basin of the upper pool are visible again, but there is still fences around the site.

dndimg alt="Floozie in the Jacuzzi" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/River Youth basin Vic Sq 01042022.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

She is back! On the 7th April 2022, the Floozie is back in her Jacuzzi! But the site is still a Public Realm works site, and workmen are still putting the finishing touches to the repairs. But we don't yet know when they will turn the fountain back on. Lets hope it never leaks again! While 'The River' is back, 'The Youth' part of the sculpture has not yet been reinstalled in the lower basin.

dndimg alt="Floozie in the Jacuzzi" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Floozie returns Vic Sq 09042022 (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

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dndimg alt="Floozie in the Jacuzzi" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Floozie returns Vic Sq 09042022 (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

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

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