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Green open spaces
11 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The rest of Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich

Last time was the fun fairs, this time everything else at Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich. There is a bandstand and a pavilion. Also a War Memorial. Gatehouses at two of the entrance gates. A footbridge that goes over a major road. Plus a Pleasure Pool (or boating lake). The visits from July 2017 and August 2019. Not expecting to go back any time soon though.

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The rest of Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich





Last time was the fun fairs, this time everything else at Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich. There is a bandstand and a pavilion. Also a War Memorial. Gatehouses at two of the entrance gates. A footbridge that goes over a major road. Plus a Pleasure Pool (or boating lake). The visits from July 2017 and August 2019. Not expecting to go back any time soon though.


Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich

Previous post: Fun fairs post at Dartmouth Park.

Welcome to Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich. The park is close to West Bromwich Town Centre and Sandwell Valley Country Park. Surrounded by the following roads: The Expressway, Reform Street, Lloyd Street, Devonshire Drive and Trinity Way. It is a Grade II listed park, with a bandstand, War Memorial, Gatehouses, and a Pleasure Pool (boating lake). You can also hire bikes from the park at Valley Cycles.

My visits were in July 2017 (heading to Sandwell Valley on the Big Sleuth bear hunt) and August 2019 (in the area again and noticed that there was a footbridge to cross).

2017

The visit at the end of July 2017. Approaching the entrance gates from Reform Street in West Bromwich. Was an Asian wedding party there at the time, hence the car on the drive.

Later heading back into West Bromwich Town Centre, and back to the gates at Reform Street.

The gatehouse at the Reform Street entrance.

Later on the way out of the park I took another photo of the Reform Street gatehouse.

Outside of the Reform Street entrance was the Crown & Cushion pub nearby.

The War Memorial was on the left of the main entrance path. It is Grade II listed.

It dates to circa 1920. In memory of the local men and women lost during the Great War of 1914-18 (WW1).

At the top is a bronze winged statue.

Close up details of the bronze winged statue.

This green box was an electric feeder. Pre-war it was used to service the trams in West Bromwich. Post-war it was re-sighted here to light up the war memorial, and from 1951 worked the floral clock.

View of the Bandstand and Pavilion.

This time the Pavilion is to the left and the Bandstand to the right.

There was also this drinking fountain in the park.

A look (below) at the Jubilee Sensory Garden 2012.

Outdoor wooden instruments that you can interact with.

Heading down to the Pleasure Pool as I made my way towards Sandwell Valley.

To the far left was swan paddling boats you could hire for a ride.

There was about four swan boats here, with room for about 4 people in each. Also an inflatable boat to the left. Would assume you have to wear a life jacket.

There was also a pond with Canada geese and swans.

Be like the Chuckle Brothers and you could hire Surrey Bikes. Small £9 or Large £14. "To me ... to you!". Paul Chuckle is still alive, but his brother Barry passed away in August 2018.

You could also hire regular bikes from Valley Cycles. Adult Bikes from £7.50 or Kids Bikes from £6. Even a tricycle with a passenger seat at the back!

2019

After checking out the fun fair again, during the August 2019 visit, I made my way to the footbridge that I saw on Google Maps. Lots of trees on the walk along the path here.

Heading on along the path towards those trees.

More trees as I got close to the footbridge.

View of the park beyond from the curved ramp of the footbridge, as I was about to cross over The Expressway. Beyond the trees is the M5, and on the other side of the motorway is the Priory Woods. Where you can find the Sandwell Priory Ruins (somewhere to visit in the future).

First view of the curved ramp that leads to the footbridge I wanted to cross.

It appears to all be made out of concrete.

The start of the curved ramp from the park side.

Starting to walk up it.

Now on the actual bridge that crosses The Expressway.

About halfway over. Would be one more spiral ramp to go down.

Onto the next spiral ramp.

Going around in circles again. It takes you to the Beeches Road gate. Also directly opposite Herbert Street.

Almost near the bottom of the spiral ramp.

One last look at it.

There was another gatehouse, similar of design at the Beeches Road entrance.

View of the Beeches Road gates. Herbert Road is straight ahead.

Beeches Road gatehouse on the right and the gates in front.

The Beeches Road gatehouse also has a clock between the ground floor and first floor windows.

Before I left Dartmouth Park, saw this notice board and map from Sandwell MBC. It is also an alcohol restricted area from the West Midlands Police.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
10 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Southside Theatres: The Alexandra

The Alexandra Theatre located in the Southside area of Birmingham. The main entrance is on Suffolk Street Queensway, running along Suffolk Place. The original building, opened in 1901 is on Station Street and John Bright Street. The main entrance was originally on John Bright Street, but was relocated to Suffolk Street Queensway in the late 1960s. This was rebuilt in 2018.

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Southside Theatres: The Alexandra





The Alexandra Theatre located in the Southside area of Birmingham. The main entrance is on Suffolk Street Queensway, running along Suffolk Place. The original building, opened in 1901 is on Station Street and John Bright Street. The main entrance was originally on John Bright Street, but was relocated to Suffolk Street Queensway in the late 1960s. This was rebuilt in 2018.


The Alexandra Theatre

For another theatre post in Southside currently closed due to the pandemic go to the Birmingham Hippodrome.

The Alexandra Theatre is the second main theatre in Southside Birmingham. Located on Suffolk Street Queensway (the current main entrance is not too far from Holloway Circus). It is also on Suffolk Place, John Bright Street (formerly the main entrance) and up Station Street.

The theatre has gone by many names over the years. Either known as The Alexandra, The Alex or more recently the New Alexandra Theatre (before going back to just The Alexandra Theatre).

Construction of the theatre began in 1900 and it opened in 1901. The main entrance was originally on John Bright Street. The original architects was Owen & Ward and was built by William Coutts. It's original name was the Lyceum Theatre. After low ticket sales, it was sold in 1902 to Lester Collingwood and renamed to the Alexandra Theatre. Collingwood died in road traffic accident in 1910 and he was replaced by Leon Salberg, who died in his office at the theatre in 1938. In 1935 the theatre was rebuilt in the Art Deco style to a design by Roland Satchwell. After Leon Salberg's death, the running of the theatre was taken over by Derek Salberg. The Salberg family ran the theatre from 1911 until 1977.

The main entrance was relocated to Suffolk Street Queensway with a concrete bridge. This was built from 1967-69 from a design by the John Madin Design Group. The Art Deco interior of Satchwell was refurbished in 1992 by the Seymour Harris Partnership.

In the last 25 years the ownership of the theatre has changed hands a few times. In 1995 it was taken over by the Apollo Leisure Group. Who brought many West End productions to The Alex. In 1999 they were bought by SFX Entertainment. In 2001 they merged with Clear Channel Entertainment. In 2006 it was taken over by Live Nation, then in 2011 it was taken over by Ambassador Theatre Group who renamed the theatre New Alexandra Theatre after a minor refurbishment. The main entrance on Suffolk Street Queensway was rebuilt and modernised in 2018 and the theatre was renamed back to The Alexandra Theatre.

 

Live Nation: The Alexandra Theatre

My earliest photos of The Alexandra was taken from Suffolk Street Queensway during April 2009. Island Bar was next door to the right.

In February 2010, I got photos from Suffolk Place, John Bright Street and Station Street. Main entrance is on Suffolk Street Queensway. Then over the bridge. At the time the theatre was showing Porridge starring Shaun Williamson as Fletcher (originally played on TV by the late Ronnie Barker). You could see the former main entrance on John Bright Street (from 1901 until the late 1960s).

New Alexandra Theatre

Under new ownership. And now called New Alexandra Theatre as seen in January 2011. A World Class Theatre. At the time the theatre was being used by Britain's Got Talent for auditions. Main entrance building seen on Suffolk Place and opposite from Suffolk Street Queensway.

My only nightshot of the New Alexandra Theatre was taken during December 2012, when the theatre had 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton on at the time.

In May 2017 the New Alexandra Theatre was advertising Arthur Miller's Crucible, from the 5th to 10th June 2017.

The Birmingham Weekender was held during September 2017. And there was inflatable Sky Dancers on the roof of the New Alex. This was held over the weekend from the 22nd to 24th September 2017. Meanwhile the theatre was advertising Cilla The Musical and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The Alexandra Theatre 2018 refurb to present

In August 2018, scaffolding went up on the main entrance building on Suffolk Street Queensway of what was then the New Alexandra Theatre. Boogie Nights The 70s Musical was to be shown in the theatre from the 22nd to the 25th August 2018. Scaffolding by Gorilla Scaffolding.

By September 2018 they had stripped the old late 1960s concrete facade off. And was all these exposed wooden boards at the front.

In October 2018 you could already see the new facade on the Suffolk Street Queensway entrance, and it had gone back to The Alexandra name. They also had a digital billboard advertising what they had one. Such as David Walliams Awful Auntie and Benidorm Live.

Another look in December 2018 from Suffolk Place and John Bright Street. They had recladded the late 1960's building by John Madin. So not as much exposed concrete as there had been for almost 50 years. There was also shiny new red steps at the Suffolk Street Queensway main entrance. Beetham Tower and one of The Sentinels towers behind.

One of my last photos of 103 Colmore Row before lockdown was above The Alexandra Theatre on Suffolk Street Queensway during early March 2020. I wouldn't see the theatre again until the beginning of August 2020.

Closed since the lockdown began in late March 2020. As of August 2020, The Alexandra Theatre remains closed due to the pandemic. It is unknown when the theatre will be able to reopen, or even if they will be able to do social distancing with less seats available. The Shows Will Go On. Suffolk Street Queensway main entrance, then views a week later from Station Street, John Bright Street and Suffolk Place.

Follow The Alex Theatre on social media:

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Transport
10 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

West Midlands Railway Class 196 section at Tyseley

West Midlands Railway will soon have a fleet of Class 196 Civity diesel multiple unit trains. There is a section of one at the Tyseley DMU depot of West Midlands Railway. I saw it behind the metal fences from the Warwick Road. They will replace the old Class 153's and Class 170's. It might be there for testing or driver training, as it's in the car park.

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West Midlands Railway Class 196 section at Tyseley





West Midlands Railway will soon have a fleet of Class 196 Civity diesel multiple unit trains. There is a section of one at the Tyseley DMU depot of West Midlands Railway. I saw it behind the metal fences from the Warwick Road. They will replace the old Class 153's and Class 170's. It might be there for testing or driver training, as it's in the car park.


West Midlands Railway Class 196

There is a section near the Warwick Road in Tyseley of a West Midlands Railway Class 196 train. Near the entrance to West Midlands Railway Birmingham Tyseley. Outside was a sign about VE Day 75 (which was in May 2020) and an NHS Rainbow. Thank you to our NHS staff and Key Workers.

Gallery below of five photos of a new Class 196 train (I couldn't see another one from Tyseley Station, but noticed one in July 2020 from a train).

It might be there to be used for training, as it is on a car park.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
09 Aug 2020 - Daniel Sturley
News & Updates

The Construction of One Centenary Way - August 2020

Baldwins arrived in Paradise with one of their huge Liebherrs this weekend to install the crane for Sir Robert McAlpine's construction of One Centenary Way, here is a gallery of photos taken on Friday, Saturday and Sunday form several vantage points.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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The Construction of One Centenary Way - August 2020





Baldwins arrived in Paradise with one of their huge Liebherrs this weekend to install the crane for Sir Robert McAlpine's construction of One Centenary Way, here is a gallery of photos taken on Friday, Saturday and Sunday form several vantage points.

Photos by Daniel Sturley


7th August 2020

 

8th August 2020

 

9th August 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

 

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60 passion points
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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