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Green open spaces
03 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Bandstand and Drinking Fountains at Lightwoods Park

It wasn't just Lightwoods House that was restored in Lightwoods Park. Other historic monuments were restored including the bandstand and two drinking fountains. They look as good as new now. In this post we will look at them from before restoration, during restoration and what they are like after restoration. A new Rest House was built in 2016-17.

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The Bandstand and Drinking Fountains at Lightwoods Park





It wasn't just Lightwoods House that was restored in Lightwoods Park. Other historic monuments were restored including the bandstand and two drinking fountains. They look as good as new now. In this post we will look at them from before restoration, during restoration and what they are like after restoration. A new Rest House was built in 2016-17.


Bandstand

The Bandstand at Lightwoods Park is Grade II listed and dates to the late 19th century. In an Octagonal plan. It was made of Cast Iron on a brick base with a sheet iron roof. The Bandstand was presented to the City of Birmingham by Rowland Mason Esq. J.P. of West Mount, Edgbaston. It was erected in April 1903. It is now in the care of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (since they took over the running of the park from Birmingham City Council in November 2010). The Bandstand was restored between 2016 and 2017.

The first time I saw the Bandstand in Lightwoods Park was in March 2011. So it was about 4 months after Sandwell took over the running of the park from Birmingham. It would be another 5 years before restoration work began on it (same time as Lightwoods House).

There was scaffolding all over the Bandstand at Lightwoods Park during January 2016. Also some hoardings, so couldn't get too close to it at the time.

In September 2016, restoration of the Bandstand in Lightwoods Park was almost complete. But was still barriers around it at the time.

The Bandstand in November 2017 after restoration was completed.

At the beginning of June 2020 I was back at Lightwoods Park for a lockdown walk around the park. Saw a man doing press ups to the left of the Bandstand.

Drinking Fountain

There is at least two drinking fountains in Lightwoods Park. There is one near Lightwoods House, that was given to the City of Birmingham, by Sydney Edwards of Moorfield Beech Lanes, on behalf of the Subscribers in December 1903. The other drinking fountain is near the entrance to the second half of the park from Galton Road. Both are of an identical design. There is a third drinking fountain of this design in Warley Woods.

I originally saw the first drinking fountain when I first visited Lightwoods Park in March 2011. And it was in a state of disrepair. It was about 4 months after Sandwell took over the running of the park from Birmingham. It would be another 5 years before Sandwell Council started to work on restoring it, and the other drinking fountains.

Scaffolding around the drinking fountain close to Lightwoods House during January 2016. The old tiles on the roof had been removed. There was also hoardings around the area as Lightwoods House was also being fully restored at the time.

I first found the second drinking fountain, near the Galton Road entrance during September 2016, when I walked around the rest of the park for the first time. You could see the tiles in the original colour, and it was missing the tip that was added after the restoration was completed.

The second drinking fountain near the Galton Road entrance to the second half of Lightwoods Park, seen during early June 2020. We were heading to the Warley Woods from here. There is a quote on here (a bit unreadble) from William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens Act I, Scene II.

Those healths will make thee and thy state
look ill, Timon. Here's that which is too weak to
be a sinner, honest water, which ne'er left man i' the mire

In comparison to the two Lightwoods Park drinking fountains, a look at the drinking fountain in the nearby Warley Woods. It was made in 1906-07, and was restored in 2009.

The first time I saw the Warley Woods drinking fountain was during July 2017, while I was on the Big Sleuth bear hunt. Bentley the Bearwood Bear was close by (it is now outside of Lightwoods House).

The Warley Woods drinking fountain seen during early June 2020 on a full lockdown walk around the woods.

Rest House

I first saw The Rest House in November 2017, not far from Bearwood Bus Station. It looks relatively new. But the roof looked like it was from the 1900s. It had benches around a central area with noticeboards. It's possible that they reused the roof from another building. It was a completely new build. 

The Rest House seen in early June 2020, as I was looking towards a view towards Bearwood Bus Station. There used to be a section in the middle with benches and notice boards, but it seems to have been removed due to vandalism. 

I'll probably next cover the Shakespeare Garden at Lightwoods House. So watch this space!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Travel & tourism
01 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Thinktank Science Garden outside of Millennium Point

The Thinktank Science Garden opened in the new Eastside City Park in December 2012. I initially saw it after it opened. Then a few years later had a close up look at the Thinktank Science Garden during another visit to Thinktank in April 2014. You need your ticket to enter. It has been so hot of late, so cool off digitally with the fun water jets here.

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The Thinktank Science Garden outside of Millennium Point





The Thinktank Science Garden opened in the new Eastside City Park in December 2012. I initially saw it after it opened. Then a few years later had a close up look at the Thinktank Science Garden during another visit to Thinktank in April 2014. You need your ticket to enter. It has been so hot of late, so cool off digitally with the fun water jets here.


Thinktank Science Garden

I was first aware of the Thinktank Science Garden, while Eastside City Park was being built during 2012, outside of Millennium Point (not far from Curzon Street).

In February 2012, I saw signs on the hoardings for Eastside City Park which said:

 
Where scientastic things happen!
 
Thinktank will be taking science outdoors in 2012 with the opening of a new Science Garden. The whole family can get 'hands-on' and 'bodies-on' with our extraordinary outdoor exhibits, and explore the science and engineering that shape your world in our three themed areas - energise, mechanise and mobilise.
The Science Garden will be located directly in front of Thinktank and is part of the Eastside City Park.

 

It was originally supposed to open in the Summer of 2012. But wasn't really completed until early December 2012 when Eastside City Park was first opened to the public. You used to be able to enter the Science Garden using your Thinktank ticket, but according to the official website it is free to enter after 3pm. In the winter period it normally closes at 4pm. It is located in front of Level 0 of Thinktank in Eastside City Park.

There would have been similar hands on contraptions at the old Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry as I remember interacting with them at the Newhall Street site back in the 1990s. Sadly the old museum closed down in 1997, with the majority of the contents being moved to the new Millennium Point site, which opened in 2001. The old museum was free, but the new museum is a paid for attraction.

Most of what you see below was probably newly built in 2012 (unless they recycled parts from the previous museum).

 

2012

My first wonder around Eastside City Park was on the 9th December 2012. The park was opened by the then leader of Birmingham City Council on the evening of the 5th December 2012. While there I had a look at the Thinktank Science Garden from the outside. It was not open.

Only a year earlier in 2011, this was part of the outdoor Millennium Point car park. But that got replaced with a multi-storey car park, enabling this land to be built into a park.

Views of the scientific machines kids can interact with such as the Chain drive (the clock tower), and the wind turbines (on the left).

The view towards the site of what is now the Curzon Building at Birmingham City University (before it was built). But at the time they were finishing off the Parkside Building. Also visible is the now demolish Curzon Gate student accommodation (to make way for HS2). It was demolished in 2019.

2013

Views of the entrance to the Thinktank Science Garden seen during March 2013. This was around half a month before paid to go to Thinktank for the first time with my then camera.

At the time was probably heading to work, so went via Eastside City Park for once. This was before 10am so wasn't open at the time. And when I did pay to go to Thinktank at the beginning of April 2013, I didn't go into the Science Garden at the time.

2014

During the April 2014 visit to Thinktank, we popped into the Science Garden with our tickets. I had some free vouchers from the Birmingham Museums Trust which I could use at Thinktank, as I had a photo of the BT Tower at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery during 2013. So had to use them in 2014 before they expired.

This is called Water playscape.

A close up look at one third of Water playscape. Water was coming out of the tap into the bucket. There was also plastic watering cans and hoses in the pool of water here.

Here we have Elastic squirt. Fire up the wate piston. At the time I was thee I had a go but it didn't really work for me.

Next up we have Effort. Looks like it was balancing wooden hands on it.

Didn't get the name of this machine, but it is tall cylinder with a red arrow on the top.

Then there was the Human hamster wheel.

Then there was the Wind turbines.

The main landmark of the Science Garden was the Chain drive. Looks like a clocktower.

The next contraption was called Hang in the balance.

Build a bridge. This was one thing I recall from the old Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry on Newhall Street. Although I don't know if it was saved from there, or completely a new build.

Also saw this Car with square wheels. Two square wheels and two round wheels. Won't get very far.

And finally we have this thing that was part of Mobilise. Maybe you have to move those rubber items around the steel tubes?

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
01 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sunday evening walk around Shirley Park on the 7th June 2020

On the evening of Sunday 7th June 2020 we went to Shirley in Solihull for a walk around Shirley Park and some of the surrounding roads such as Haslucks Green Road and Hurdis Road. Heading back into the park, found a field that led to a secret wooded walk. Also in the former putting green was daisies and carnations. Due to the pandemic the playground and dog agility area were both closed.

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Sunday evening walk around Shirley Park on the 7th June 2020





On the evening of Sunday 7th June 2020 we went to Shirley in Solihull for a walk around Shirley Park and some of the surrounding roads such as Haslucks Green Road and Hurdis Road. Heading back into the park, found a field that led to a secret wooded walk. Also in the former putting green was daisies and carnations. Due to the pandemic the playground and dog agility area were both closed.


Most days of lockdown, not been going out that much. And some weekends at home all day. We went in the car down to Shirley, parking on the Stratford Road (before the lay-bys were closed off), and had another walk around Shirley Park after 7pm in the evening. This was on the evening of Sunday 7th June 2020 (3 weeks ago at the time of writing this).

My previous Shirley Park post is here: Shirley Park over the years off the Stratford Road in Shirley.

 

Entering the main entrance on the Stratford Road in Shirley saw this War Memorial bench. It was part of the Fields in Trust commemorative war memorial benches, that have been placed all over the country marking the Centenary of the First World War (The Great War 1914-18). (during 2014-18).

Not far from Shirley Parkgate was another War Memorial bench. This one commemorating those lost during the Second World War (1939-45). There is also a war memorial here.

Looking to the Shirley Park Play Area / playground. Closed during lockdown / the pandemic. But saw a pair sitting on the swings.

Near a bench heading to the Haslucks Green Road exit / entrance was this hopscotch board on the path. Probably drawn in chalk.

Walked down Haslucks Green Road and re-entered the park from the Hurdis Road entrance / exit.

Cyclists going past the Welcome to Shirley Park noticeboard.

Turned right into this former football field. There was markings on the grass that showed that something used to be here. Also the edges of the field were raised up for some reason or other.

This view was after briefly going down the secret wooded path. The main footpath in the park can be seen near that line of trees.

The former football field had paths going into the wood, so we checked it out. Never been round this part before.

It is part of a Wetland Walk. Trees cover the walk, while the path seemed to be covered in leaves and wood chippings.

The path wasn't very long. Normally my Shirley Park walks would take me back into the park via Grenville Road.

Near the end of the wooded walk, there is a barrier up ahead.

Looking back into the former football field where the exit to the secret path was.

A close up look at the Dog Agility Area while it is closed during the lockdown. Dogs can go up the ramp and jump through the hoop.

Dog owners could sit on a bench. But instead with it closed, dog owners have to walk their dog around the park. It seems like they keep taking them off the leash a lot. Plus they bark a lot if another dog goes past (or a human they are not familiar with). I prefer cats.

Final section through the former putting green. Now a wildflower meadow. Saw this Common Starling on the grass.

The Wildflower Meadow had a lot of daisies and carnations. Which looked nice.

Close up look at some daisies.

Close up look at the carnations.

On the way out near ALDI, saw this bin with the message: "If the bin is full, take your litter home. Think First!".

Love Solihull and the Friends of Shirley Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Classic Architecture
29 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The ruins of Dudley Priory in Priory Park, Dudley

Did you know that there is ruins of a Priory in Dudley in what is now Priory Park? It was founded in circa 1160. And closed in the 1530s during the English Reformation. It fell into disrepair and ruins after the 1540s. In the 18th century part of the ruins were used as a tanner. Dudley Borough Council bought the ruins in 1926 and the land around it to develop Priory Park.

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The ruins of Dudley Priory in Priory Park, Dudley





Did you know that there is ruins of a Priory in Dudley in what is now Priory Park? It was founded in circa 1160. And closed in the 1530s during the English Reformation. It fell into disrepair and ruins after the 1540s. In the 18th century part of the ruins were used as a tanner. Dudley Borough Council bought the ruins in 1926 and the land around it to develop Priory Park.


Dudley Priory Ruins in Priory Park, Dudley

My first visit to Priory Park in Dudley was in January 2011, when there was snow on the ground. The park opened in 1932, covering a site of 19 acres. The park is the historic site of the Dudley Priory. The park was restored in 2013.

 

Historic details from Wikipedia (below).

The Dudley Priory is a former priory in Dudley, West Midlands (used to be in Worcestershire). The ruins is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is Grade I listed. The priory was founded in 1160 by Gervase Paganel, Lord of Dudley. It was dedicated to Saint James. It was built of local limestone, quarried from Wren's Nest. The priory was enlarged many times, including the addition of a Lady Chapel in the 14th century. The priory was closed down int he 1530s during the national Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was granted to Sir John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1540, but after his execution it fell into disrepair and fell into ruins.

In the 18th century, part of the ruins were used by a tanner. The area around it became industrialised. Pools nearby were drained and Priory Hall was built nearby in 1825. In 1926 the Dudley County Borough bought Dudley Priory and the land around it, to create Priory Park and the Priory Estate. The ruins were brought into their current state in the 1930s, during clearance and restoration works, when Dudley Council took over the running of the parkland and ruins.

 

Now some details from the Grade I listing at British Listed Buildings. Priory Ruins.

It was founded in about 1160 as a dependant of Cluniac Priory of Much Wenlock. Was made of Limestone rubble. There are some remains of the church left, with tiled pavements exposed.

 

Now onto my visit from January 2011. There was snow in Dudley at the time, but more grass to see here. The approach to the ruins from the park entrance on The Broadway. It was the 4th January 2011.

There was signs on fences around part of the ruins saying No Ball Games in and around the Priory Ruins. To the right was Paganel Drive. The houses up there were built after 1929 in the Priory Estate.

Snow rests on the limestone blocks that have survived the centuries.

This might be the ruins of where the Church was.

There must have been a large stained glass window here at one point in time.

The ruins to the north looking up Paganet Drive.

A bit like a castle here. It's amazing that these walls have survived the 500 years since the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

This was the West Front of Dudley Priory.

The ruins here are just about exposed above ground level. Archaeologists led by Rayleigh Radford dug here in 1939 (before WW2). Exposing the walls and tiles.

There would have been Cluniac monks based here. The Dormitory could have been around here.

Unlike other abbeys or monasteries, Dudley Priory wasn't fully demolished. It just fell into ruins. And wasn't rebuilt in the centuries after the 1530s to 1540s.

The view of the ruins towards Paganel Drive. Everything exposed above the ground would have been buried until the 1930s.

One last look at the snow covered ruins, before I checked out the rest of the park.

I'll do another Priory Park, Dudley post soon, covering the rest of the park, as well as my second visit during October 2016.

 

For another Dudley related ruins post go to: The remains of a fortified manor house at Weoley Castle.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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70 passion points
Environment & green action
29 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park

Another part of the Millstream Way in the Shire Country Park is the Greet Mill Meadow. It goes from Green Road to the Stratford Road in Hall Green (leading to Springfield / Sparkhill). Running alongside the River Cole. At certain points there is stepping stones with waterfalls. Named after the lost Greet Mill of the 13th century, of which no traces remain above ground. Near Sarehole Road.

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The Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park





Another part of the Millstream Way in the Shire Country Park is the Greet Mill Meadow. It goes from Green Road to the Stratford Road in Hall Green (leading to Springfield / Sparkhill). Running alongside the River Cole. At certain points there is stepping stones with waterfalls. Named after the lost Greet Mill of the 13th century, of which no traces remain above ground. Near Sarehole Road.


Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park

Beyond the ford on Green Road is the Greet Mill Meadow. The path in here runs towards the Stratford Road in Hall Green alongside the River Cole. Sarehole Road is to the east (where Druckers Vienna Patisserie used to be before they went out of business). Tenby Road is to the west. An exit / entrance halfway goes onto Bankside which leads to Tenby Road. Near the Stratford Road you will be able to see Mughal & Azam (had a recent fire so the roof was damaged). That is also near Colgreave Avenue. It was formerly the Sparkhill United Church. Was built as a Congregational church 1932-3 by W H Bidlake. It is Grade II listed.

The Greet Mill Meadow is part of the Millstream Way, which is part of the Cole Valley Walk. It was the site of a 13th century mill called Greet Mill, where the walkway here got it's name from, but it has vanished like it was never even here. The first reference to Greet Mill by name was in 1275. That date might not be when it was founded as that was when Roger Fullard was drowned near Greet Mill. The mill was the property of Greet Manor, which was near the Warwick Road, about three quarters of a mile away downstream. The first miller to be recorded was Henry Heath in 1587. The mill was sold to Matthew Boulton in 1762, who seems like he rebuilt both Sarehole Mill and Greet Mill. Greet Mill went out of use by 1843. It's last years was used for steel rolling. The last miller was John Biscoe, and the mill might have been demolished in the 1850s.

The River Cole was diverted in about 1860. The old bridge on the Stratford Road was replaced by a new stone bridge which opened in 1914. By then Birmingham City Council had taken over the running of the area from the former Yardley Rural District Council in 1911. Greet Mill used to be in the news whenever someone was drowned there a few times in the 1790s.

2009

I first popped into the Greet Mill Meadow in April 2009. The mosiac of a fish seen at the Green Road entrance. In the years since, I've noticed that it is missing a lot of tiles, and could do with repairing (either by the Canal & River Trust or Birmingham City Council).

A damaged tree from the path. I didn't go too far as wanted to avoid the youths, so turned back and walked up Sarehole Road.

Before I turned back I saw the first stepping stones for the first time. Too risky to cross at this time as the river level was quite high.

I re-entered the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, and saw this heart shaped mosaic. I think this one has faired better over the years since I first saw it.

The fingerpost in the Greet Mill Meadow near the Stratford Road Bridge. To the left is the Burbury Brickworks (via the Blackberry Way). Sarehole Mill is to the right.

The waterfall seen from the Stratford Road bridge which opened in 1914. The water in the River Cole was fast flowing that day.

Another look at the waterfall. Would be years before I would return to the Greet Mill Meadow for a walk. After this I probably got a no 1 bus to Moseley Village, then a 50 up to Moseley Road Baths (for my first photos of the building).

2015

In August 2015, I did a complete walk through of the Greet Mill Meadow, I think starting at the Stratford Road and ending at Green Road. Only got photos of the stepping stones at the time. The first stepping stones with a waterfall. I did not cross it. But much calmer than 6 years earlier.

It is possible to cross over the stepping stones if you want to, just be careful, and don't slip into the River Cole! I think there must be paths in the woodland near Sarehole Road.

Another look at the second set of stepping stones. Much calmer this time around. I wouldn't return to the Greet Mill Meadow until during the 2020 lockdown.

2020

The lockdown daily walk in the Greet Mill Meadow was during May 2020, towards the Blackberry Way and Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve and back. Got more photos in here than ever before! The path was lined on the side by cow parsley and long grass. The route was so busy with families going on their daily walks.

Part of the River Cole was quite shallow, and it looks like cyclists could ride their bikes through to the other side.

Partway along the path was a path to the left. This leads to Bankside and Tenby Road.

Another look at the stepping stones. While we didn't cross the stepping stones, I did see various families crossing them.

May 2020 was without rain and the River Cole was quite shallow. So it would have been safe to cross the stepping stones, if you wanted to.

The path continues towards the Stratford Road, as it's lined with all that cow parsley.

An open field. The path to the left leads to Colgreave Avenue and the car park for Mughal & Azam. The building had a fire months ago, so the roof was covered in a material. They must be devestated by the fire. As it must cost a lot to repair the venue. And they would have to be closed for the duration of the lockdown. Sadly I don't think they will be ready to reopen in July 2020, at least not until the restaurant (ex church) is fully repaired.

View of the Stratford Road Bridge. Opened in 1914, it allows traffic to go towards the College Arms up Shaftmoor Lane or the Stratford Road in Hall Green. Sparkhill is in the other direction. We were about to cross the road into the Blackberry Way. I even saw a rat here, so litter is a bit of an issue around here.

Later on the walk back from the Burbury Brickworks and Blackberry Way. Back in the Greet Mill Meadow. View to one of the stepping stones with some ducks in the River Cole.

One of the stepping stones had people on it earlier, so was able to get a new photo of it on the way back. The River Cole looks so calm and peaceful here. It's hard to tell that there even used to be a mill around here, what with all the trees all over the place. Was also a lost mill pool, that must now be part of the Cole here.

Another view looking down the River Cole, before heading down the path and back into the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground.

I will cover the Blackberry Way and Burbury Brickworks in a separate post.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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