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Elliott Brown Rivers, lakes & canals
28 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
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https://www.youtube.com/embed/eLcVgjS1d9o

Olton Reservoir: only viewable from the train between Solihull and Olton

There is a reservoir in Olton, Solihull. It is private, so there is no way for members of the public to walk around it. But you can spot Olton Reservoir from the train between Olton and Solihull, on the bridge that goes over the Warwick Road. It is used by Olton Mere Sailing Club. It was built in 1799 to supply water to the Warwick and Birmingham Canal, later part of the Grand Union Canal.

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Olton Reservoir: only viewable from the train between Solihull and Olton





There is a reservoir in Olton, Solihull. It is private, so there is no way for members of the public to walk around it. But you can spot Olton Reservoir from the train between Olton and Solihull, on the bridge that goes over the Warwick Road. It is used by Olton Mere Sailing Club. It was built in 1799 to supply water to the Warwick and Birmingham Canal, later part of the Grand Union Canal.


Olton Reservoir

Located near the Chiltern Mainline and the Warwick Road in Olton, Solihull is Olton Reservoir. From the road / pavement it is a bit hard to see. But if you catch a train with West Midlands Railway (or Chiltern Railways) between Olton and Solihull (or in the other direction), you might be able to see the reservoir through the railway bridge that crosses the Warwick Road.

 

History of Olton Reservoir

Olton Mere was constructed as a reservoir to act as a feeder for the Warwick and Birmingham Canal in 1799 (it became part of the Grand Union Canal from 1927 onwards, after being purchased by the Regents Canal Company). The Mere was formed from marshland fed by Folly Brook (now Hatchford Brook). The Mere was extended in 1834 to increase the capacity in order to supply up to 150 locks.

It is the largest of the few areas of open water in Solihull and supports a large number of waterfowl. The woodland surrounding the Mere has remained undisturbed for many years, providing an important habitat for plants and animals.

There is no public access to the Mere but there is a good view of the Mere from the trains travelling between Solihull and Olton. Sailing on the Mere started in 1899 when five residents of St Bernard’s Road leased the reservoir from the canal company. A club was formed for sailing, fishing and shooting, although shooting was suspended in 1926 owing to a shortage of wildfowl.

The reservoir is now privately owned by the Canal & River Trust, who in turn lease it to the Olton Mere Sailing Club.

 

Below is the satellite hybrid view of Olton Reservoir on Google Maps.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Res Google Maps.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

On my YouTube video above (in the introduction), recorded in early February 2017 on a London Midland Class 172 train from Acocks Green to Solihull. We pass Olton Reservoir from 2:20 to about 2:43.

 

Three video screenshots from that video. First screenshot passing over the Warwick Road Railway Bridge.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Reservoir (Feb 2017) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Second screenshot, a view of Olton Reservoir from the train.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Reservoir (Feb 2017) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The view continues, although it was sunny, and the sun was on that side of the train.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Reservoir (Feb 2017) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A more recent view of Olton Reservoir, taken from the train, back in April 2018 (over 3 years ago at the time of this post). Time time caught some yachts on the reservoir from the Olton Mere Sailing Club. This was taken from a Chiltern Railways Class 165 train (sitting in the Quiet Zone), on a train ride from Solihull to Birmingham Moor Street.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Reservoir (Apr 2018).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Warwick Road railway bridge, Olton

This is the railway bridge on the Warwick Road in Olton, Solihull where you can see Olton Reservoir. This view from June 2010, as a Chiltern Railways Class 168 Clubman train passed over it. You can see the reservoir from the train window. If it's clear and not too bright that is (or raining).

dndimg alt="Warwick Road railway bridge Olton" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Warwick Rd RB Olton (Jun 2010).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

By October 2016, Network Rail had give the bridge a fresh lick of green paint, making it look as good as new.

dndimg alt="Warwick Road railway bridge Olton" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Warwick Rd RB Olton (Oct 2016).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Another look at the Warwick Road railway bridge in Olton during February 2021. Taken during a lockdown 3 walk to the Grand Union Canal and back home. If you are in a car, sorry you won't be able to spot the reservoir from down there. I didn't get a train again until April 2021 (after restrictions were eased). But not got a train between Solihull and Olton since sometime in 2020.

dndimg alt="Warwick Road railway bridge Olton" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Warwick Rd RB Olton (Feb 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

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

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80 passion points
Elliott Brown Green open spaces
23 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
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Walsall Arboretum - a historic Victorian public park!

A short walk away from Walsall Town Centre is Walsall Arboretum, which is Walsall's public park. First opened in 1874, originally as a paid for attraction, the local council bought it and reopened it as a free to enter public park in 1884. From 2010 to 2015 there was a refurbishment programme here, including opening a Visitor Centre. Hatherton Lake has a boat house and bandstand.

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Walsall Arboretum - a historic Victorian public park!





A short walk away from Walsall Town Centre is Walsall Arboretum, which is Walsall's public park. First opened in 1874, originally as a paid for attraction, the local council bought it and reopened it as a free to enter public park in 1884. From 2010 to 2015 there was a refurbishment programme here, including opening a Visitor Centre. Hatherton Lake has a boat house and bandstand.


Walsall Arboretum

 

I got the train back to Walsall from Birmingham New Street. Starting from platform 4c, the train went via the Soho Loop Line (meaning it bypasses Perry Barr and Aston, and doesn't stop at Hamstead or Bescot Stadium as it was the train to Rugeley Trent Valley). The only stop before Walsall was Tame Bridge Parkway. From the station, it was around a 15 minute walk, via the High Street and Council House in Walsall. Then you have to cross the traffic lights at the busy junction of Broadway North with Littleton Street East. Which was also near Queen Mary's High School. Your first sight of the arboretum is the Arboretum Lodge.

 

History of Walsall Arboretum

The Arboretum was built on the site of Reynolds Hall, which was the home of the Persehouse family from the 16th century. By the 18th century the estate had been inherited by the Littleton family, who developed lime quarries in Walsall. By the 1840s, one of the quarries had been flooded, and was used by local people for bathing and skiing. The then Mayor of Walsall during 1844 drowned in the lake, by then known as Hatherton Lake. By the 1850s, the quarries was being surrounded by villas and Queen Mary's Grammar School.

The Walsall Arboretum and Lake Company was formed in 1870, and plans started to turn the estate into a park. Plans included the building of two lodges, a boat house and bandstand by the county surveyor Robert Griffiths. The Arboretum was laid out from 1872 and opened to paying customers by 1874. In the following decade the Arboretum Company ran into financial difficulties, and it was sold to the Town Council, who opened it up as a free public park in 1884.

There was a major refurbishment programme in the park from 2010 until 2015, this included restoring the buildings, the lakes etc, and building a new Visitor Centre. 

A bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome, an author born in Walsall was unveiled in 2016, while a bronze statue of a horse was relocated to the park in 2017.

 

West Midlands Cycle Hire

Before entering the park, I spotted a new West Midlands Cycle Hire docking point on Broadway North, so checked that out first. At least two bikes were not properly in the dock.

dndimg alt="West Midlands Cycle Hire" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WMCH Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Later after leaving the park, saw a man with a white van, loading some bikes into the van, and making sure the other bikes were properly in the dock. I did not find any other West Midlands Cycle Hire docks in Walsall on this visit.

dndimg alt="West Midlands Cycle Hire" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WMCH Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Arboretum Lodge

This is the main entrance to the park at the corner of Lichfield Street and Broadway North. Built in 1872, it was originally the subscription paid for entrance to the park, but has been free to enter here since the local Council bought the park in 1884. It is now near the busy traffic junction on the Walsall ring road. It has a distinctive clock tower.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Lodge Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

As I entered, I saw the bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome and a man riding one of the new West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes out of the park.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Lodge Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome

The Walsall born author of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome (1859 - 1927) was honoured with a bronze bust, close to The Arboretum Lodge. It was sculpted by local artist Phil Kelly, and was unveiled in June 2016. Jerome was a Freeman of the Borough of Walsall, and the Jerome K. Jerome Society lobbied for a sculpture to be made to recognise him, in the town of his birth.

dndimg alt="Jerome K. Jerome" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/JKJ Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Jerome K. Jerome was born on the 2nd May 1859 at Belsize House on Bradford Street in Walsall. The Grade II listed house used to be a museum from the 1980s until 2007-08. The Jerome K. Jerome Society is hoping to find a new home for the exhibits that used to be in the museum.

dndimg alt="Jerome K. Jerome" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/JKJ Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Hatherton Lake

Originally a quarry pit, it was later flooded, and by the middle of the 19th century it was a lake used for bathing and skiing. There is a boat house on one side (built 1874) and a Bandstand (built 1924) on the other side.

This view of Hatherton Lake towards the bandstand.

dndimg alt="Hatherton Lake" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hatheron Lk Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This view of Hatherton Lake towards the boat house.

dndimg alt="Hatherton Lake" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hatheron Lk Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Later found an upper path that led back to the lake, and got this view with a distinctive Victorian style lamppost.

dndimg alt="Hatherton Lake" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hatheron Lk Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Another view towards the boat house on the opposite side of the lake. Hard to believe it used to be a quarry pit until the mid 19th Century.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Walsall Arb (June 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

One more view from the benches viewing area on Broadway North of the lake. Noticed that there is no steps or ramp down to the park from up here, you have to enter via the lodge, or anther gate.

dndimg alt="Hatherton Lake" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hatheron Lk Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Boat House

The Boat House is the only Grade II listed building in the park, dating to 1874. Probably designed by the county surveyor Robert Griffiths. It is a timber-framed building with hipped tiled roofs and a raised lantern. It has cast-iron columns and a concrete base supports above the water level. It is on Hatherton Lake.

First saw the boat house going in a clockwise direction around the lake.

dndimg alt="Boat House Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boat House Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Later saw the boat house on the walk back to the lodge,  just after passing the poppy field, and from the opposite side of the lake. Hard to believe it was opened around 1874-75. Especially with all the modern alterations to it.

dndimg alt="Boat House Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boat House Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Bandstand

The present bandstand was erected in 1924, replacing a previous structure on the same site that was built in 1873, which was of the conventional octagonal form. It is near Hatherton Lake.

The first view of the bandstand from the opposite side of the lake, shortly after I first arrived in the park.

dndimg alt="Bandstand Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bandstand Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The second view going off the upper path, was an area where you could look down at the bandstand and the lake below.

dndimg alt="Bandstand Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bandstand Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre was opened in November 2015. The opening of the visitor centre was the culmination of the arboretum restoration programme, delivered 2010 - 2015. Within the new building is retained a former agricultural building that pre dates the park. The new centre was wrapped around this key historic feature.

On the left is the Industrial Garden featuring Fluffy the Oss.

dndimg alt="Visitor Centre Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/VC Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Bronze horse statue of Fluffy the Oss

This statue of a bronze horse was originally commissioned by Walsall Council in the 1990s, and used to be outside of the Civic Centre. But due to vandalism, it was removed to storage. Years later it was restored to the condition it is in now, and installed in the Industrial Garden near the Visitor Centre at the Arboretum in 2017. It was originally sculpted by Marjan Wouda. The garden celebrates Walsall's industrial heritage and is situated by the site of the old limestone workings.

Fluffy the Oss is a feature of the Industrial Garden at Walsall Arboretum.

dndimg alt="Fluffy the Oss" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Fluffy Oss Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Leckie Building

This building was built from 1902, and opened in 1904 as the Pavillion Refreshment Room. It was designed by H. E. Lavender, and was the focal point of the park. It closed down in 1931, but reopened in 1936 as the  Joseph Leckie Sons of Rest Social Club for older adults which it remains to this day.

First view from the path to the centre of the park, but was a pair of trees in the way of the view.

dndimg alt="The Leckie Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Leckie Bldg Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Later walking back to the lake and lodge, got a pair of rear views.

dndimg alt="The Leckie Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Leckie Bldg Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was a stone dated 1902 at the back of The Leckie Building.

dndimg alt="The Leckie Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Leckie Bldg Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Ladies Bowl Pavillion

This was originally a refreshment pavillion built in 1934. It was called the Richard B Sutton shelter. It was built of Cotswold Stone under a tiled hipped roof, with a locally supported by circular section rustic stone columns. In 2003 it became the club house for the Ladies Bowls Club.

This was near the halfway point of the park, saw a Welcome to Walsall Arboretum sign / map, and then followed another path back towards the lodge and lake.

dndimg alt="Ladies Bowl Pavillion" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Ladies Bowl Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden was quite close to The Leckie Building. This was an upper path view of it.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Rose Gdn Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was these steps with railings down the middle and a semi circlular arch above.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Rose Gdn Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Summer Poppy Field

The poppy field is quite a sight to see at Walsall Arboretum each summer. It is close to Broadway North and Arboretum Road, and not far from the bandstand.

dndimg alt="Poppy field" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Poppies Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I wasn't the only one to stop and take photos of this poppy field, even dog walkers stopped to take a look!

dndimg alt="Poppy field" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Poppies Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A macro zoom in to one of the poppies.

dndimg alt="Poppy field" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Poppies Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

After I left the park, a look at the poppy field over the wall from Broadway North.

dndimg alt="Poppy field" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Poppies Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The best of the rest of the park

Having just passed the Arboretum Lodge, and bust of Jerome K. Jerome, I saw these flower beds to the right of the path.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The paths around the Arboretum. This one (below) was between Hatherton Lake (right) and the Deep Pond (left).

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

While I was checking out the Hatherton Lake, I also saw the small pool to the left of the path. This is also called the Deep Pond. Behind is the villas on Victoria Terrace, which indirectly led to the quarry here closing, and the land being landscaped as a arboretum / park.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

After the Visitor Centre, the long path that runs past The Leckie Building. A lot of tree coverage here.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Path Leckie Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A view of the Hoar Brook that flows through the Arboretum. Didn't see much of it, other than this view.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hoar Brook Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Near an area called The Lion's Den. Briefly went off the main path to the left. Then back over the area with picnic benches near the Ladies Bowls Pavillion (on the right).

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Lions Den Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This path was after the halfway point of the park, and the start of the walk back to the lake and lodge. Lots of trees, after all this is an arboretum!

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Some hills as the path goes around a curve, and more trees. Perhaps this landscape was carved out as the quarry, then later grassed over from the 1870s.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Now on the path that follows the wall (on the left) near Arboretum Road. Down below (to the right) is Hatherton Lake and the Hoar Brook.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Eventually the path goes back down towards the lake, as you can see here.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

After I left the park I saw WM bus 6600. It was on the National Express West Midlands, Black Country Bus Rally from Walsall to Wolverhampton. This was the only bus I saw. It was on Broadway North crossing the lights onto Littleton Street East (the Walsall ring road). Click the link above for the photos.

 

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

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80 passion points
Elliott Brown Transport
21 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

WM 6600 bus in Walsall

On Saturday 19th June 2021, National Express West Midlands had a vintage bus rally around the Black Country. From Walsall to Wolverhampton. I travelled up to Walsall by train and went to Walsall Arboretum. After leaving, I only saw the WM 6600 bus on Broadway North, before it went up Littleton Street East. I did not spot any other heritage buses around.

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WM 6600 bus in Walsall





On Saturday 19th June 2021, National Express West Midlands had a vintage bus rally around the Black Country. From Walsall to Wolverhampton. I travelled up to Walsall by train and went to Walsall Arboretum. After leaving, I only saw the WM 6600 bus on Broadway North, before it went up Littleton Street East. I did not spot any other heritage buses around.


WM Travel bus 6600

I was aware of National Express West Midlands having a vintage bus rally in the Black Country. This included their modern buses in the heritage liveries. This was on Saturday 19th June 2021.

Got the train up to Walsall Station, and walked to Walsall Arboretum. After a walk around the park, I exited from the Arboretum Lodge that I entered earier, I saw a vintage bus on Broadway North.

 

I quickly got some photos of it while it was at the traffic lights, but was a car in the way.

dndimg alt="WM 6600 bus" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WM 6600 Walsall (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was no time to wait for the car to move out of the way.

dndimg alt="WM 6600 bus" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WM 6600 Walsall (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Was able to get one more shot of the bus with licence plate no: NOC 600R as it passed the lights. With route 39 on the rear. It was heading onto Littleton Street East. These roads are part of the Walsall ring road.

dndimg alt="WM 6600 bus" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WM 6600 Walsall (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

I'd previously seen the same bus (WM Travel 6600, NOC 600R) at the Yardley Wood Bus Garage open day, back in November 2018. When it was displaying as route 74 to Wednesbury via Wednesbury (The modern 74 bus route goes from Birmingham to Dudley via West Bromwich).

dndimg alt="Yardley Wood bus garage 2018" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Yardley Wood Bus Garage Open Day 2018 (2) .jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Look out for a Walsall Arboretum post coming soon!

 

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

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70 passion points
Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
21 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021

After a delay, Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 finally began in May 2021, and will be on in the City of Coventry for the next year or so. Coventry won the bid to host it in late 2017. The City Centre is being redeveloped as arts and cultural activities get underway. Get the train down from Birmingham New Street with Avanti West Coast, a 20 minute journey. Then 10 minute walk.

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Coventry UK City of Culture 2021





After a delay, Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 finally began in May 2021, and will be on in the City of Coventry for the next year or so. Coventry won the bid to host it in late 2017. The City Centre is being redeveloped as arts and cultural activities get underway. Get the train down from Birmingham New Street with Avanti West Coast, a 20 minute journey. Then 10 minute walk.


COVENTRY UK CITY OF CULTURE 2021

 

Transport to Coventry

If you are heading to Coventry from Birmingham, the fastest route is from Birmingham New Street Station to Coventry Station with Avanti West Coast. Their Class 390 Pendolino service towards London Euston only takes about 20 minutes (with one stop at Birmingham International). If you went with London Northwestern Railway in one of their Class 350 Desiro trains, the journey might be longer.

dndimg alt="Avanti West Coast Coventry" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Avanti WC Cov (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />Avanti West Coast Pendolino 390 010 to Birmingham New Street. Welcome to Coventry. 12th June 2021.

 

If you go by bus, take the X1 on a National Express West Midlands Platinum bus. The journey would take at least an hour or more (depending on where you get on). The bus terminates at Pool Meadow Bus Station in Coventry (not far from the Coventry Transport Museum).

dndimg alt="X1 Coventry" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/X1 Pool Meadow Cov (Feb 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />The X1 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus to Birmingham at Coventry Pool Meadow Bus Station, 29th February 2020.

 

Coventry's BID for UK City of Culture 2021

In 2017, the City of Coventry bid to be the 2021 UK City of Culture. Coventry won the bid in December 2017. The other bidders were: Swansea, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland.

"We weren't sent to Coventry, we chose to come. Coventry is a city of welcome, a city of stories, a city of innovation and invention, a City of Culture".

I saw the sign below at the Friargate development, not far from Coventry Station during October 2017.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 (Oct 2017).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Thre was also this sign about Coventry's bid for UK City of Culture 2021. Seen in Broadgate, Coventry, behind the Lady Godiva statue. Was in the window of Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre. This was in March 2018, so Coventry by this point had won the bid around 3 months earlier.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 (Mar 2018).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

End of February 2020, and I saw this sign about Coventry 2021 at Friargate near Coventry Station.

"We are UK City of Culture 2021". This way to the City Centre. Several weeks before the 1st lockdown, and over a year before Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 would begin. It ended up getting delayed until May 2021 in the end. What with the 3rd lockdown, and having to wait for restrictions to be eased again.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 (Feb 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Cultural activities in Coventry City Centre, March 2018

On the 24th March 2018, over 3 months since Coventry officially won the bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, there was various street entertainment taking place at the time around Coventry City Centre.

Men in kilts with a ladder near West Orchards Shopping Centre on Smithford Way.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

"My City 2048". Also seen on Smithford Way in Coventry. Coventry (UK) is twinned with Volgograd (Russia). And this art was part of the Young Artists' Exchange. 50 young people in Coventry and in Volgograd, Russia were asked to imagine how their cities might look in the year 2084 (when Coventry and Volgograd will have been twin cities for 140 years). This is the exhibition that they came up with.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Canteen advert at West Orchards Shopping Centre, on a four wheeled slow vehicle. This was near a fountain and the Upper Precinct. There was also some people around in orange outfits at the time.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Colourful banners at the Upper Precinct. On my most recent visit to Upper Precinct on the 12th June 2021, I noticed that this footbridge above has been removed. As has the escalators behind with the glass windows.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Finally we had the Bureau of Silly Ideas, making sensible use of silly. There was a moving cone. This was at Broadgate.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 ent (Mar 2018) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Return visit to Coventry, June 2021

I got the train down to Coventry to see a bit of Coventry 2021 on the 12th June 2021. After checking out new station building, took a long walk around until I got back into the City Centre via Spon Street. Got to see the ribbons at Broadgate and the rainbow arcade on Hertford Street. I may have missed other areas I wasn't aware of. Was my first time travelling back to Coventry since the pandemic began.

This banner on the Friargate hoardings, I later saw on the walk back towards Coventry Station. There is a Coventry 2021 app apparently.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC 2021 (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Earlier I saw this Coventry 2021 sign in the windows of a former BHS store, I was heading from the Upper Precinct to the Lower Precinct for a stop at Caffe Nero.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC BHS (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

While landscaping of the City Centre streets continues in Coventry, at the Upper Precinct is this new water jet fountains for kids to play in.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC jets (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The previous footbridge and escalators that was here has been removed, as you can see in this view towards the Lower Precinct. There is still a lot to do in regards to the new paving.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC jets (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The view from the other side, it's not just Centenary Square, Birmingham where kids can have fun in water in a public space, such as here in Coventry!

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC jets (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Hertford Street rainbow arcade

I'd previously seen photos by Damien Walmsley taken in here. You can see his post on his blog here: Coventry looking good in the sun. The rainbow arcade is on Hertford Street.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I kept looking up at the many colours on the roof.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I missed spotting the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 shop (on the left). I wasn't aware of it when I was there.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I popped up some steps that led to a car park, after some views I headed back the way I came.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

One more view of the rainbow arcade before returning to Broadgate.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC Hert St (Jun 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Ribbons at Broadgate

Approaching Broadgate from the Upper Precinct for my first view of the ribbons.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The sun was shing as cyclist rode past, and people sitting on the benches below the ribbons.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The ribbons with messages above the infamous Lady Godiva statue.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was also Coventry 2021 sky blue banners around the square.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

View from the back of the Lady Godiva statue. The Upper and Lower Precinct were to the right.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

More shadows with a view of the ribbons towards the Upper and Lower Precinct. After this I headed to Hertford Street (see above).

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (6).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Coming back from Hertford Street, now back in Broadgate towards Primark, and retracing my steps down the Upper Precinct.

dndimg alt="Coventry 2021" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Cov UK CoC ribbons (Jun 2021) (7).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

I would have looked for more after leaving the Lower Precinct, but ended up walking back to Coventry Station to return to Birmingham. That and get a few more shots of the new red station building.

 

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

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Elliott Brown Art; Culture & creativity
15 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The distinctive street art of Mohammed "Aerosol" Ali around Birmingham

Mohammed "Aerosol" Ali is known in Birmingham for his stencil sprayed on artwork around the City. Such as in Kings Heath, Moseley or Digbeth. Most famous for doing pieces on the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali (who died in 2016). More recently he has done a Malcolm X piece outside The Art Rooms Kings Heath. Plus "I Can't Breathe" Black Lives Matter pieces in 2020.

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The distinctive street art of Mohammed "Aerosol" Ali around Birmingham





Mohammed "Aerosol" Ali is known in Birmingham for his stencil sprayed on artwork around the City. Such as in Kings Heath, Moseley or Digbeth. Most famous for doing pieces on the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali (who died in 2016). More recently he has done a Malcolm X piece outside The Art Rooms Kings Heath. Plus "I Can't Breathe" Black Lives Matter pieces in 2020.


The art of Mohammed Ali aka Aerosol Ali seen around Birmingham from 2016 until 2021. Note that not all of his pieces displayed here are still visible to see. Some of his art is politcal. Connect with Mohammed on Twitter (click the link above).

 

Digbeth

Location: Bradford Street

Date: June 2018

"The fish, even in the fishermans net, still carries the smell of the sea."

This piece has been painted over, and part of the hoarding is missing as of June 2021.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bradford St Digbeth MA (Jun 2018).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Location: Bradford Street

Date: August 2020

"I Can't Breathe" - Black Lives Matter.

These posters have probably been removed, and other taggers kept writing over it.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Digbeth" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bradford St Digbeth MA (Aug 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Moseley

Location: Moseley Central - Alcester Road

Date: February 2017.

Deaths in 2016, including Muhammad Ali, Alex Keogh, USA  (Trump election) and Jo Cox.

These hoardings have gone, and Moseley Central was completed in 2018.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Moseley" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Moseley V Alcester Rd MA (Feb 2017) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Muhammad Ali (1942-2016). Famous boxer. His namesake Mohammed Ali (no relation), sprayed pieces like this all around the City after Ali died aged 74.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Moseley" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Moseley V Alcester Rd MA (Feb 2017) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

USA (1776-2016). The election of Donald Trump in November 2016. Served one term as the 45th President of the United States (20th January 2017 to 20th January 2021). Succeeded by Joe Biden (as 46th President of the United States), after Trump lost the 2020 election. Trump was banned from all social media platforms early in 2021.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Moseley" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Moseley V Alcester Rd MA (Feb 2017) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Alex Keogh (1988-2016). Not sure about him, other than a young man that died young, at 28. He was a teaching assistant according to the Birmingham Mail. He died of a alcohol and drug overdose at Christmas Eve 2016.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Moseley" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Moseley V Alcester Rd MA (Feb 2017) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Jo Cox (1974-2016). She was MP for Batley and Spen from the 7th May 2015, until she was murdered on the 16th June 2016, in Birstall, West Yorkshire of gun shot wounds, and she was stabbed. She was 41 years old.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Moseley" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Moseley V Alcester Rd MA (Feb 2017) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Kings Heath

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: June 2016

Muhammad Ali (1942 - 2016). This was one of the first pieces I found of Mohammed Ali. He also did similar pieces in Sparkbrook and elsewhere in the City at the time.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Kings Heath" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Silver St KH MA (Jun 2016).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: October 2019

Greta Thunberg. A teenage environmental activist. She was born in Sweden in 2003. She is now 18 years old. But was 16 when Mohammed Ali sprayed this on the wall.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Kings Heath" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Silver St KH MA (Oct 2019).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: July 2020

"I Can't Breathe" - Black Lives Matter. This piece had perspex put over it by the Council.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Kings Heath" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Silver St KH MA (Jul 2020).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Location: Acorns - Silver Street

Date: January 2021

2021 - Coronavirus Pandemic, the new year after the disaster that was 2020. The year of vaccines in 2021. This piece is still on the wall.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Kings Heath" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Silver St KH MA (Jan 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Location: The Art Rooms - High Street

Date: June 2021

Malcolm X on Marshall Street, Smethwick, early February 1965. A few weeks after his return to the US, he was shot dead in New York. Mohammed Ali also painted a Palestine flag on it, during the "Free Palestine" movement. After the bombings in Israel and continuing issues with the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

dndimg alt="Aerosol Ali Kings Heath" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Art Rooms KH MA (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

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

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