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Art; Culture & creativity
17 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Floral Trail and The Big Hoot in Centenary Square

Taking Centenary Square back in time. The Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in the square in the summers from 2010 and 2016 (most of which won gold at Chelsea). Also the owls of The Big Hoot over the summer of 2015. The Big Sleuth didn't have any bears in the square during the summer of 2017 due to the renovation works in the square (which didn't finish until 2019).

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The Floral Trail and The Big Hoot in Centenary Square





Taking Centenary Square back in time. The Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in the square in the summers from 2010 and 2016 (most of which won gold at Chelsea). Also the owls of The Big Hoot over the summer of 2015. The Big Sleuth didn't have any bears in the square during the summer of 2017 due to the renovation works in the square (which didn't finish until 2019).


Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

Birmingham Parks & Nurseries (aka Cofton Nursery) have over the years been making floral trail pieces to go on display in the City Centre every summer. But first they take the main display to the Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners World Live, where they usually win the Gold prize. These are the floral trail features spotted over the years in Centenary Square.

Living Wall, Summer 2010

In the summer of 2010 there was the Living Wall on the hoardings of the Library of Birmingham construction site. Around July 2010, the wall was half complete at the time.

 

Another look at the Living Wall in August 2010, towards the Hyatt Hotel. You can see the former Municipal Bank on the left.

The Living Wall remained in place for the rest of summer 2010, before it was moved to a more permanent location (there is now permanent living walls at Aston University, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham Snow Hill Station, but not sure where it went).

 

The Plight of the Gorilla, Summer 2011

Seen outside of the Library of Birmingham construction site hoardings was The Plight of the Gorilla. Seen during July 2011. It won Silver at the Chelsea Flower Show and Gold at Gardeners World Live in 2011.

At the top was a sculpture of a gorilla.

Below the gorilla was a waterfall over a rock garden.

The water was flowing down the waterfall below the gorilla.

It was very impressive to see, the flowers and plants around it looked nice as well.

 

The Best of Birmingham, Summer 2012

After winning Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show, and Gold and Best of Show at Gardeners World Live in 2012, this floral feature from Birmingham City Council called The Best of Birmingham, was split in two. One half in Centenary Square featured a Mini, a Silver Spoon and Birmingham Town Hall. The other half was in St Martin's Square at the Bullring and included the Bullring Bull, Selfridges and the Birmingham canals with a narrowboat. Seen here during August 2012 next to the Library of Birmingham (about a year before it opened to the public).

A close up of the Mini, covered all over with a floral skin. It was later displayed at Longbridge Island over August 2013, for Birmingham's entry into the Entente Florale Europe 2013.

The silver spoon acted as a fountain, and probably represented the Jewellery Quarter.

Plenty of colourful flowers around this section. You can see why Birmingham win's Gold every year at Chelsea!

 

Enlightenment, Summer 2013

As the Library of Birmingham got ready to open in September 2013, around August 2013, you could see pieces from a floral trail feature called Enlightenment. Which included models of The Two Towers (Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower) plus a deckchair. As well as being part of Summer 2013's City Centre Floral Trail, it was also part of Birmingham's entry into the Entente Florale Europe 2013.

Here you could see the metal sculpture of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower, as it looks like a man walking past Baskerville House was dressed as Spider-Man!

This view of the model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower towards The Library of Birmingham.

There was lots of summery flowers around in the landscaped garden in front of the new library.

Also the model of Perrott's Folly towards The Library of Birmingham.

View of the Two Towers in the garden outside of the new Library. These days you can find the models at Sarehole Mill. But in the late summer of 2013 you could see them with the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch could be seen with the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. All this seen over fences, as the Library and the landscaped grounds wouldn't open until early September 2013.

View of Perrott's Folly towards The ICC, The REP and the Library of Birmingham.

The deckchair was covered in the same floral material as the Mini was the year before.

 

City of Birmingham Ambulance Train, Summer 2014

August 2014 marked the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War, so Cofton Nursery that summer had a trailer of features around the City Centre commemorating Britain's entry into that war. Outside of the Library of Birmingham seen in July 2014 was this floral feature of a train. From the view below you can see the link from The REP to the Library of Birmingham.

This view of the train towards the Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House.

Behind the train was the landscaped garden in front of the Library. It lasted from 2013 to 2017 before being removed. The Hall of Memory to the left. The floral train was later placed outside Birmingham Snow Hill Station in the summer of 2015 (the public square near Colmore Row).

 

Skull and a Book, Summer 2016

The last floral trail piece to be in Centenary Square was this outside of the Library of Birmingham. Resembled a skull with an open book in front of it. The grass behind hadn't faired to well between 2013 and 2017, and would be removed in the 2017 renovation works of the square.

This would be the last floral trail piece to be in the square before the square was revamped from 2017 to 2019. At least in a summer.

 

The Mo Bot, Winter 2018

This is a bonus one. When the World Indoor Athletics Championships came to Arena Birmingham in March 2018, Cofton Nursery got their wicker sculptures out (no flowers). Was strange seeing them in the winter with snow on them. The Mo Bot, based on Mo Farah, was seen in Centenary Square (closed to the Edward VII statue), while the square was in it's second year of renovation works. This February 2018 view as it was snowing.

 

By March 2018, after the WIAC had ended, I saw workers removing The Mo Bot and putting it on the back of a lorry. They had two small lorries. One to take the soil away, the other to remove the wicker sculpture.

The zoom ins from the Library of Birmingham. Already on the back of this lorry was the Usian Bolt wicker sculpture, originally made in 2012, for their London 2012 floral trail. It had been taken down from Victoria Square (was in front of the Town Hall at the time).

Two Council workmen digging up the soil, while another prepares the Mo Farah sculpture for removal.

Just a pair of red shorts, the purple t-shirt had already gone.

 

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Now onto The Big Hoot. In Centenary Square there was about 5 Big Hoot painted owls from July 2015, for around 10 weeks. Before they were auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Jack

Located outside of the Hall of Memory was Jack. It was by the artist Martin Band. And was sponsored by JLT Specialty Limited. Seen during July 2015.

Jack was designed by the Union Jack (the British National flag).

He had the Union Jack on the back as well.

 

Wise Old Owl

This Wise Old Owl was designed by the artists Kieron Reilly and Lynsey Brecknell. The sponsor was Gateley Plc. They designed it to look like the Library of Birmingham (which you can see behind). Seen during July 2015.

It closely matches the golds and blues of the Library, plus the silvers and blacks of the circles.

 

TropicOwl

The owl named TropicOwl was painted by the artist Jenny Leonard. The sponsor was Twycross Zoo. Resembles a jungle with chimpanzees. Seen during July 2015 outside of the Library of Birmingham.

 

At the back was more features of a jungle, plus giraffes in a desert. This view to Baskerville House.

 

Owlbert

The owl called Owlbert was painted by the artist Meghan Allbright. The sponsor was University College Birmingham. Seen outside the Library of Birmingham during July 2015.

This view towards Symphony Hall, The ICC and The REP. It was a rainy day that I saw these owls.

 

Welcome to Birmingham

Outside of Symphony Hall in Centenary Square was an owl called Welcome to Birmingham. Painted by the artist Laura Hallett. The sponsor was Pertemps Network. Seen during August 2015, with a reflection of the Library of Birmingham and The REP.

The design featured, Selfridges, the Library of Birmingham, the canals and more.

 

Bonus content on Centenary Way

Back in Febrauary 2013 there was a trail for one week called The Big Egg Hunt. These same eggs went from City to City. Two eggs were on Centenary Way at the time.

The first egg resembled the Rocket Ship from Wallace & Gromit's A Grand Day Out. Seen towards the Hall of Memory.

The charity at the time was Action for Children. The next egg was behind, on the way to the Hall of Memory.

The second egg on Centenary Way was of Ben 10 Omniverse, close to Chamberlain House (demolished in 2018).

 

The Big Sleuth did not come to Centenary Square, for obvious reasons in 2017, as that's when they began revamping the square, but there was one bear on Centenary Way near Paradise Birmingham.

 

Memoirs of Paradise

This Big Sleuth bear was on Centenary Way, close to the One Chamberlain Square construction site of Paradise Birmingham. Memoirs of Paradise was painted by the artist Gayani Ariyarante. The sponsor was Paradise. Seen during July 2017. Shows what a real paradise looks like! By August 2017, someone had knocked this one over, and they had to remove and repair it, before putting it back in it's place.

 

There was more to be found in the Library of Birmingham, 4 little owls in 2015 and 4 little bears in 2017. There was a Big Hoot owl inside of The ICC mall, and another outside at the canalside (in 2015). Plus a Big Sleuth bear at canalside (in 2017).

 

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

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
10 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Curtis Gardens, once the estate of Fox Hollies Hall

If you head up and down the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green and Acocks Green, you might spot a green space with trees. This is Curtis Gardens. It opened in 1965, on the site where Fox Hollies Hall used to be (until it was demolished in 1937). Three tower blocks called Coppice House, Hollypiece House and Homemeadow House went up in the early 1960s on the site of the hall itself.

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Curtis Gardens, once the estate of Fox Hollies Hall





If you head up and down the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green and Acocks Green, you might spot a green space with trees. This is Curtis Gardens. It opened in 1965, on the site where Fox Hollies Hall used to be (until it was demolished in 1937). Three tower blocks called Coppice House, Hollypiece House and Homemeadow House went up in the early 1960s on the site of the hall itself.


Curtis Gardens

This green space is located along the Fox Hollies Road between Hall Green and Acocks Green. Just north of York Road, and south of Olton Boulevard East. To the west is Pemerbley Road, where you will find Coppice House to the south, then Hollypiece House in the middle and Homemeadow House to the north.

Curits Gardens from the Fox Hollies Road, seen below during January 2010.

 

Fox Hollies Childrens Centre is to the south east of the site on the Fox Hollies Road, while Hall Green Little Theatre is to the north west.

Hall Green Little Theatre, seen below during February 2014.

 

There is a Play Area in Curtis Gardens, paths and many trees.

Curtis Gardens Play Area seen below during May 2020.

 

From Fox Hollies Hall to Curtis Gardens

Historically the site of a farm, records goes back to 1275 when a farm called Atte Hollies was recorded of being on this site in Acocks Green, but it was later in Hall Green. The Fox family bought the farm in 1626 and it became known as Foxholleys.

By the time Fox Hollies Hall was owned by Zaccheus Walker, he had renamed and rebuilt his grand mansion into The Hollies. The Hall was rebuilt in Italianate style around 1870 by the architect Yeoville Thomason (who also did the Council House). Walker sold the estate to the City in 1925. Fox Hollies Hall was later demolished in 1937. During WW2 the grounds were used as allotments.

Fox Hollies Hall c. 1900. Public Domain. Taken from The Walker era

 

All that remained from Fox Hollies Hall was the original gateposts on Fox Hollies Road. Although one of them got knocked over by a Council vehicle and had to be rebuilt. New gates were installed in 2004 as well as a couple of benches.

The gates seen below during January 2010, a regular target for graffiti vandals. They have no respect for history.

 

The three tower blocks were built during the early 1960s (1959 to 1960) and completed by about 1964. This was a result of Jack (or John) Curtis, a local Labour activist. Curtis Gardens was opened in his name in 1965. These were named Coppice House, Hollypiece House, Homemeadow House after three fields in the area at the time called Coppice, Hollypiece and Homemeadow.

The Hollies towers seen below during January 2010.

 

This included the Fish Sculpture by the sculptor John Bridgeman. It was later recognised with a Grade II listing in 2015.

The Fish Sculpture seen below during January 2010.

 

In 2016 the Acocks Green Heritage Trail went up, this was board 8 of 8 in Curtis Gardens, near the gate.

Seen below during August 2016.

 

Curtis Gardens in 2010

My first photographic walk around Acocks Green was back in January 2010. At the time didn't know that this was called Curtis Gardens. View near a car park close to Fox Hollies Childrens Centre.

There was light snow on the paths in Curtis Gardens. This view below toward the gates and benches on Fox Hollies Road.

Plenty of paths and trees around here.

This path leads back to the shops on Fox Hollies Road.

On the right used to be the Fox Hollies Tenants Hall. But long since demolished. In fact, I don't think it's been built on since it was knocked down.

View to the snow covered car park, which at the time looked like an empty tennis court with no nets.

View towards Coppice and Hollypiece House.

A Sainsbury's delivery van looks like it was heading into the car park.

View towards the three tower blocks. Hard to believe that Fox Hollies Hall was there until 1937.

Had the Council kept Fox Hollies Hall, could have made a nice tourist attraction, instead these three towers went up almost 30 years later.

I used to take loads of views of Curtis Gardens back then.

The car park entrance road seen from the Fox Hollies Road.

 

The Gatepost and benches

Some more photos of the gates and benches from January 2010. They were restored in 2004, but by 2010 the gateposts were already covered in graffiti (I think the Council regularly cleans it up, but the taggers keep coming back).

View from the back of the gates. They are a recreation of the original ones which were probably removed during the demolition of the mansion.

This view towards Greenwood Avenue, which used to be the drive that Zaccheus Walker used to used to get to Fox Hollies Hall. The houses were probably built in the 1930s. Both Greenwood Avenue and Fox Hollies Road were turned into dual carriageways after the estate was sold to the Council.

Benches to the back of the gates, I've never once seen anyone sitting on them, on all the walks past here (even when on the 11A or in a car).

Also I've only ever seen these gates locked, so you have to walk around the side of the gateposts.

They probably used to open around 2004 or 2005 when the new gates were installed.

The gates and benches were made by William Hawkes Ltd Blacksmiths. Was  minor bit of paintwork at the time missing. Not sure how often the Council paints these gates.

There was also these flowery details on the gates.

Two quarter benches behind the gates, both with small plaques on them.

Local councillors and a member of the Acocks Green Historical Society was mentioned on them.

 

Fish Sculpture

Installed in the 1960 for local children to play on, it has become a local landmark, but is easy for most people to ignore it going past. Made by John Bridgeman, it was recognised with a Grade II listing in 2015. A few more views below from January 2010.

It is a unique survivor in it's original position, but it has been tagged over the years. Bridgeman had done other play sculptures around Birmingham, but it is believed that this one is the only one left surviving. Made on a wire frame covered in concrete.

 

Curtis Gardens from 2019 to 2021

In the years since my original photos, I have walked through Curtis Gardens a lot, sometimes as a shortcut to the number 1 bus on Shaftmoor Lane (more recently the 1A seems to come first). In the last year, getting some photos on the lockdowns.

In late February 2019, I saw crocuses growing in the grass from near the Fox Hollies Road at Curtis Gardens. Spring was on the way.

Lots of white, purple and some yellow coloured crocuses here.

The crocuses looked good close up.

 

A March 2019 view of Curtis Gardens below, taken from near Ferris Grove. Pemberley Road is to the left.

 

Over a month into the first lockdown, it is the end of April 2020, and we were having April Showers. The trees lush and green from the Fox Hollies Road.

The grass in Curtis Gardens was looking long too, perhaps some cow parsley was growing there at the time.

A closer look at the long grass in Curtis Gardens and the cow parsley.

In the last Spring, everything seemed to grow long in the first lockdown.

There was also bluebells growing here, when you can't go far in lockdown, you can only find bluebells in your local green spaces.

One of the paths in Curtis Gardens. The leaves grew back fast in the first month of the original lockdown.

One tree had purply red leaves as the rain was coming down.

 

Another lockdown walk past Curtis Gardens in May 2020. This was near Hall Green Little Theatre on Pemberley Road.

 

Early February 2021, and a 3rd lockdown walk towards Tyseley Station. I passed Curtis Gardens on the Fox Hollies Road. This view near the car park entrance.

By now there was small fences around Curtis Gardens, as in the past travellers had illegally set up camp here. So this is to prevent them driving over the land. As you can see the gateposts have graffiti tags on them again. Fish sculpture seen to the far left.

 

A few days later, a walk around Hall Green. Got these views of Curtis Gardens from York Road, looking up Grimshaw Road.

You can see the three tower blocks to the left from Grimshaw Road.

 

During this walk, got some more views of Homemeadow House, Hollypiece House and Coppice House. This view below taken on Shaftmoor Lane. On the bus route of the no 1 and 1A to Five Ways (via Moseley and Edgbaston).

The 1 and 1A bus route in the other direction on Shaftmoor Lane heading towards Acocks Green Village.

Heading down York Road in Hall Green, was a view of the three towers close to The Link.

Back onto Fox Hollies Road, this view close to The York pub (closed on lockdown of course). Hard to imagine what it looked like over a century ago apart from looking at old black and white photographs of the area.

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

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60 passion points
Environment & green action
28 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Exploring the Birmingham Botanical Gardens over the years from multiple visits

I've been to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens several times over the last 5 or more years. Usually to attend something like the Magical Lantern Festival, Jurassic Kingdom or Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom events. More recently attended a free open day during Birmingham Heritage Week back in 2019. You can see various birds in cages, a roaming peacock, and butterflies in a greenhouse and more

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Exploring the Birmingham Botanical Gardens over the years from multiple visits





I've been to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens several times over the last 5 or more years. Usually to attend something like the Magical Lantern Festival, Jurassic Kingdom or Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom events. More recently attended a free open day during Birmingham Heritage Week back in 2019. You can see various birds in cages, a roaming peacock, and butterflies in a greenhouse and more


Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is located on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Birmingham Botanical and Horticultural Society was founded in 1829 with the intent to found a botanical garden. It opened in 1832. The gardens are Grade II listed and was designed by J. C. Loudon. The Tropical House was built in 1852, followed by the Subtropical House in 1871. The Terrace glasshouses were built in 1884.

The gardens features a Bandstand and Aviary, four glasshouses (Tropical, Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid glasshouses), plus a Alpine House and Butterfly House. There is a sunken Rose Garden, a cast iron Gazebo built in 1850. A rock garden and pool dating to 1895. Various walks that were laid out in 1862. Three period gardens (Tudor, Roman and Medieval) was created in 1994.

The gardens has a gift shop, plant sale centre, tea room, meeting and conference rooms. Famously the leaders of the G8 had a dinner party in the Pavilion Restaurant here in 1998.

 

2012

One of my earliest photos of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens taken during August 2012, walked past on Westbourne Road. I have been here as a child back in the 1980s, but didn't start taking photos here until this point.

 

 

2016

The first event I paid to go to the Botanical Gardens was at the Magical Lantern Festival during December 2016. Hung around the City Centre until it got dark and arrived for my time just before 5pm, but it was heavily raining.

Go here for the Magical Lantern Festival 2016 post.

While there (in the heavy rain) I got some photos of the Glasshouses. Bit hard to see in the dark, but was lit up inside.

View to the Pavilion Restaurant. That was where in 1998, the leaders of the G8 had a dinner party. Including the Clinton's and Blair's.

 

2017

In May 2017 I booked to see the Jurassic Kingdom event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Better weather this time and was in the daytime. Animatronic dinosaurs. Plus while there got general photos of the gardens.

Got a post here for both Jurassic Kingdom 2017 and Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom 2019.

 

The Bandstand was installed here in 1873. It was renovated on it's centenary in 1973.

The Bird Cages also known as the Aviary.

Red-crowned parakeet in the Aviary (Bird Cage).

One of the peacocks that roams around the Botanical Gardens.

The fountain was built in 1850. It ceased to flow in 1940 but was restored to working order in 1982.

The Gazebo dates to 1850 and was originally located at 32 Church Road, Edgbaston and was made of Cast Iron. Donated by the Lord Chancellor's Department in 1993. Restored in 1994.

Heading through The Tropical House.

It is very warm in The Tropical House. A bench to sit down on.

Heading out of the Botanical Gardens, saw the blue plaque of Ernest Henry Wilson (1876 - 1930). Placed here by the Birmingham Civic Society in 2010.

 

A few months later in August 2017, I was walking past the Botanical Gardens, and saw a view with Old Joe (the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower) at the University of Birmingham.

 

By December 2017, there was a Christmas Lights Trail on at the Botanical Gardens, although I didn't go to it myself. But at the time I could see this Helter Skelter and a Carousel from the Westbourne Road. Taken from the no 24 bus. It looks like a fun fair was close to the car park.

 

2018

In July 2018, I got off the no 24 bus on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston to see a new blue plaque at Birmingham City University. Got these photos of the Welcome signs on the walk up the road. This car park is usually full during events, and is best for people to park their cars elsewhere in Edgbaston and walk there.

This Welcome sign on the main entrance building.

 

During the open day at the Tyseley Locomotive Works in September 2018, West Midlands Railway was showing off 172 339 with it's purple livery. On the side was 2 for 1 offers, including at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This livery has since been replaced with the standard orange one on all of their Class 172 trains on the Snow Hill Lines. I previously caught this at Birmingham Moor Street Station back in April 2018.

 

The Magical Lantern Festival returned to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in December 2018 (it was at Kings Heath Park in 2017). That year I didn't pay to go to it, just saw from either the no 23 or 24 buses. Santa was outside.

Was better to get off the bus to see Santa and the presents from Westbourne Road.

They had unicorns with wings at the main entrance. Can you spot Old Joe on the right?

A few days later, tried to get some more shots from the top of a bus. Christmas tree near the main entrance.

Could see this shoe from the bus window.

 

2019

Returned in April 2019 for the Ice Age: The Lost Kingdom event. Link to that post is further up this post. It was another opportunity to get general shots of the Botanical Gardens, as well as the animatronic wild beasts! Due to going to the previous event I attended, got an early bird ticket and went quite early on it's run!

 

Saw the peacock on the path near the ice age beasts.

A close up look at the Bandstand.

Into the Historic Gardens. On the right was The Tudor Knott Garden.

At the far end was the statue of Proserpina.

The garden to the far left is The Medieval Garden.

The garden in the middle is The Roman Garden.

A view of the Alpine Yard redevelopment.

 

By September 2019, it was Birmingham Heritage Week, and the gardens was packed! But on the Sunday it was free to visit, so had a full walk around this time. Go here for the Birmingham Heritage Week post of the weekend 14th and 15th September 2019. 5 photos in the original post (plus three other venues I visited that weekend).

More views below.

The entrance to the Botanical Gardens, with the stone dated 1832 above the Welcome canopy and Heritage Open Day bunting.

The Arid House, full of cactuses in here.

It was nice and warm in here for the cactuses.

Outside to the Loudon Terrace. The border looked very colourful. Was also a lot of people around. Probably the last time it was this busy before the pandemic started in 2020.

This was the Garden of Tomorrow.

The pond at the Garden of Memory.

A look at the Rock Garden and Pool. Lots of water lilies in the pool.

Was on the path from Farrer Walk to Wilson Walk. Saw this unique looking flower called Impatiens niamiamensis. Red, yellow and green.

In the Butterfly House, was several butterflies, the rest were hibernating.

Saw these Rosy-faced lovebirds in one of the bird cages. There was a lot of them in there.

On the Perennial borders saw a lot of Yellow coneflowers.

There was also this flower called Tagetes patula. Had red and yellow petals.

There was a parrot in the Aviary (Bird House). Saw plenty of other birds in there as well.

 

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

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100 passion points
Environment & green action
26 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

An Edwardian gem that is Winterbourne House & Garden

I've only visited the garden at Winterbourne once, way back in August 2008, so was before I picked up Birmingham photography. One of the last places we went to with my late brother (passed November 2008). In the years since, I took some exteriors of the house fro Edgbaston Park Road when it was being restored, and another time for the blue plaque of John Nettlefold, who lived here.

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An Edwardian gem that is Winterbourne House & Garden





I've only visited the garden at Winterbourne once, way back in August 2008, so was before I picked up Birmingham photography. One of the last places we went to with my late brother (passed November 2008). In the years since, I took some exteriors of the house fro Edgbaston Park Road when it was being restored, and another time for the blue plaque of John Nettlefold, who lived here.


Winterbourne House & Garden

Winterbourne House and Winterbourne Botanic Garden is located on Edgbaston Park Road in Edgbaston and belongs to the University of Birmingham. It has been on the site since 1903, and been part of the University since 1944.

 

History of Winterbourne

Winterbourne House was built between 1903 and 1904 as the family home of John & Margaret Nettlefold. They commissioned the local architect Joseph Lancaster Bell to design and build the house. It was made of brick and tiles. The original garden was designed by Margaret Nettlefold herself. They lived here with their children until 1919, when John was getting a bit unwell.

The property was sold to the Wheelock family, who had 9 children. They lived here until 1925. It was then purchased by John Nicholson, who was a local businessman, and a keen gardener. He made improvements to the garden, adding a rock garden and alpine area. He was here until his death in 1944.

Winterbourne was then passed onto the University of Birmingham. Initially the house was used as student halls. The house has had a variety of uses since 1944. During 2009 to 2010, the house was fully restored. During this time the Birmingham Civic Society placed a blue plaque on the house for John Nettlefold.

The garden has many plants from around the world. The house now has a gift shop and tearoom. Plus an Art Gallery. During the Pandemic, the garden has only been open to members.

 

2008

So far the visit of August 2008 was the only time I've been to Winterbourne House & Garden, so is a bit hard to remember this visit (from 12 to 13 years ago). Other than it was one of the places we went to that year before my brother passed away of cancer in November 2008.

View from the garden of Winterbourne House.

Below, one of my late brothers photos of a small boggy pond.

A pond with water lilies (my late brothers photo below). Not sure if this is the Chad Brook or not.

Large leaves over the pond (or Chad Brook). (One of my late brothers photos below).

Looking at my archive photos from that visit, I didn't take much, so only had a handle of photos like this. The pond / Chad Brook with water lilies.

One of my late brothers photos towards the house.

He also took this one in the garden.

Yes this was one of his photos as well (I Photoshopped myself out of it).

What looks a ships deck.

The ships deck from the front.

 

2009

About a year or so after loosing my brother, during December 2009,  I was walking past Winterbourne House on Edgbaston Park Road, while there was so on the ground at the University of Birmingham. Work was underway to restore the house. Was the same day as I got the statue of George I outside of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (another place we visited back in 2008, but couldn't take photos inside unfortunately).

A University of Birmingham sign says this is part of the Green Zone. G.11 is Winterbourne House and G.12 is Winterbourne Botanic Garden.

Looked like at the time they were also doing work on the grounds outside near the car park entrance.

Details of the first and second floor with the roof covered in snow.

A sign welcomes you to Winterbourne. Garden Entrance to the left.

It was a blue sky day, snow everywhere but settled. The front drive was quite big. Public car park is also on this side.

 

2013

The last time I got photos of Winterbourne House & Garden from Edgbaston Park Road was during February 2013, to see the blue plaque that had been installed there. Although I have walked up Edgbaston Park Road in the years since, just not taken any more photos of Winterbourne since then.

Saw this sign as I got close to Winterbourne House & Garden. Tearoom * Gifts * Gallery * Plants. University of Birmingham.

The house was looking as good as new, cars in the car park to the right.

The drive on the left is the entrance to cars going to the car park.

Heading to the blue plaque on the right.

The Birmingham Civic Society unveiled this blue plaque in 2010 in memory of John Sutton Nettlefold (1866 - 1930). He lived in this house from 1903 until 1919.

 

Winterbourne during the pandemic

During the pandemic, Winterbourne Garden is open, but the house, shop and tearoom remain closed until further notice. But you can order gifts online and click & collect only (they don't offer a postal service). You can also get a Winterbourne Membership if you want to.

They are not operating a pre-booked system. They have reduced the number of visitors they can have at one time. Only University members or students with ID's can visit at the moment. So it looks like if you are not a member, or don't belong to the University you can't visit right now.

Would be nice to go again one day in the future when things get better.

 

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

 

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100 passion points
Squares and public spaces
20 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Kings Heath Village Square at Vicarage Road and High Street near All Saints Church

The churchyard of All Saints Church in Kings Heath was refurbished into Kings Heath Village Square back in 2011. Located near Vicarage Road and the Kings Heath High Street. There is a regular Famers Market, once a month on the first Saturday of the month. Other events have taken place here over the years. Such as National Express West Midlands promoting the then new no 50 bus.

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Kings Heath Village Square at Vicarage Road and High Street near All Saints Church





The churchyard of All Saints Church in Kings Heath was refurbished into Kings Heath Village Square back in 2011. Located near Vicarage Road and the Kings Heath High Street. There is a regular Famers Market, once a month on the first Saturday of the month. Other events have taken place here over the years. Such as National Express West Midlands promoting the then new no 50 bus.


KINGS HEATH VILLAGE SQUARE

The Village Square opened in Kings Heath back in October 2011. The land was originally the churchyard of All Saints Church (some graves and grave stones remain, plus a war memorial). It's like an old village green now but in the heart of Kings Heath. One of the main features is a Labyrinth that people can walk around for fun. The All Saints Centre was also built around the same time (it includes a cafe and pharmacy).

Many cultural events and markets have taken place here over the years (before the pandemic). Such as the Kings Heath Farmers Market, taking place on the first Saturday of each month. Sometimes even a small fun fair with rides. Or collections for charity at Christmas time.

Kings Heath Village Square is located at a site between Vicarage Road and the High Street in Kings Heath, with All Saints Church to the far end of the square.

Bus routes include the 11A, 11C, 35, 50 and 76.

 

Kings Heath Village Square over the years

One of my earliest photos of Kings Heath Village Square, taken during February 2012, of the Labyrinth. You can see some market stalls near the Kings Heath All Saints Centre. Taken during the Kings Heath Farmers Market on Saturday 4th February 2012.

 

A day later on Sunday 5th February 2012, I returned to Kings Heath when there was a snowfall. This view of Kings Heath Village Square towards the All Saints Centre.

 

A blue sky during the middle of January 2020 as seen in Kings Heath Village Square. The Platinum buses had been on the 50 for over a year by this point. All Saints Church seen to the left.

 

Some snow in Kings  Heath Village Square, as seen from the no 11A bus on Vicarage Road. This was near the end of December 2020 (while still in Tier 3 restrictions at the time). View to All Saints Church.

 

Markets and fairs in the Village Square over the years

 

Kings Heath Farmers Market

This was the Kings Heath Farmers Market as held on Saturday 7th December 2013. It was Christmas time, so there was also some rides there for kids, as well as Father Christmas.

It was open from 9am until 2pm. The Christmas Gift & Craft Fayre was also being held by the Moseley & Kings Heath Lions Club.

Plenty of market stalls all around the square that day.

Bottles of a drink for sale.

A Disney style teacups ride for kids to enjoy.

Oh look, it's Father Christmas in his sleigh with a couple of reindeer! From the Moseley & Kings Heath Lions Club.

 

Kings Heath Winter Fest

This took place on Saturday the 15th November 2014 in Kings Heath Village Square. Plenty of rides for kids to go on.

A small ferris wheel.

Hook A Duck

Signs showing that the All Saints Centre had hall & rooms available for hire. Also the banner for this event.

 

Brum Yum Yum Kings Heath

This event took place on the 9th April 2016. It was part of the KingshEATh Streetfood Market.

From this VW Campervan you could buy Mexican Street Food. Cafe Borchata.

The British Bus Bar, was next to something about Virgin Media.

The Food Yule Love trailer.

Drink Up.

Charlie Dumpling was outside of the All Saints Centre.

 

The 50 bus from National Express West Midlands

On Saturday the 18th April 2015, National Express West Midlands launched the (then) new bus to be used on the no 50 bus route between Birmingham City Centre and Druids Heath (via Balsall Heath, Kings Heath, Moseley and the Maypole).

It was 6132 Julie.

This fleet of buses was on the 50 from 2015 to 2018, before being transferred to the 11A and 11C, when the 50 went Platinum from December 2018.

These buses have since been rebranded from 50 to 11A or 11C, with hints of yellow over the red. So it's more likely that you might be on the 11 on Vicarage Road, than on a 50 on the High Street (as you'd be in Platinum bus instead).

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

The trail of painted owls wasn't only in the City Centre back in the summer of 2015, but you could find some in Kings Heath (as well as the little owls). One owl was here in Kings Heath Village Square, plus you could find another one in Kings Heath Park and outside of Kings Heath Library at the time. The trail ran for 10 weeks (after which the owls were auctioned off for charity).

In Kings Heath Village Square you could find: The Owl and the Pussycat Went to Sea by the artist Mik Richardson. It was sponsored by the Kings Heath BID. Seen during July 2015.

 

Classic Car Meet

Click here for the full Classic Car Meet post. This was held on the August Bank Holiday Monday, 26th August 2019 in Kings Heath Village Square. I was changing buses from the 50 to 11A when I spotted all these classic cars and I went to have a look before going home.

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

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