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Green open spaces
31 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Swanshurst Park through the seasons through the years

Swanshurst Park is a park that I regularly return to and have been taking photos there for almost 10 years. Visited in different seasons. In the autumn or winter, spring or summer. Sometimes when a circus is on, or even a fun fair! Located on the border of Moseley and Billesley. The park is not in Kings Heath. On the World Famous no 11 Outer Circle bus route (also the 2 and 3).

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Swanshurst Park through the seasons through the years





Swanshurst Park is a park that I regularly return to and have been taking photos there for almost 10 years. Visited in different seasons. In the autumn or winter, spring or summer. Sometimes when a circus is on, or even a fun fair! Located on the border of Moseley and Billesley. The park is not in Kings Heath. On the World Famous no 11 Outer Circle bus route (also the 2 and 3).


Usually the first park that I pass on the 11C bus heading up Swanshurst Lane and up Yardley Wood Road, I have been around this park a lot. Swanshurst Park. Follow this link for my album on Flickr Swanshurst Park. Find the full gallery here Swanshurst Park gallery.

December 2009

It was Christmas Eve 2009 when I headed up to Swanshurst Park for the first time with a camera. The park was full of snow and looking quite "Christmasy". Was also freezing. A White Christmas indeed!

The lake was frozen with a layer of snow on it.

Was also quite misty, hard to see the trees in the distance.

A lone swan with several Canada geese. They were able to get a swim in the freezing cold water.

The corner of the Moseley New Pool. All iced over with a layer of snow on it.

March 2011

This visit to the park on a wonderful sunny spring day was to see Zippos Circus on the other side of the Moseley New Pool. They seem to return to the park every year. A pair of Canada geese on the south bank of the pool.

Looking towards Zippos Circus. See my circuses in Birmingham post here Circuses in Birmingham.

Daffodils, a sight you usually see in March or April. Some years in February.

Up the path towards Swanshurst Lane.

The path leads to the Moseley New Pool. The circus seen in the distance.

March 2012

On a hot March afternoon in Swanshurst Park. The field near Brook Lane in Billesley. With this park, you can also do walks to the nearby Shire Country Park in Hall Green and Yardley Wood.

The playground is access from Yardley Wood Road. There is also a car park on that side.

Plenty of trees up here. In recent years the council has had to protect the park from travellers, who seem to set up a camp on the park near here.

This was during May 2013, passing on the 11C bus on the Yardley Wood Road in Billesley. On the right is the Billesley Community Fire Station. That graffiti mural has long since gone, since someone sprayed graffiti on top of it!

Now June 2014, and Bob Wilson's Fun Fair was on in the park. Again seen from the passing 11C bus on the Yardley Wood Road in Billesley.

November 2015

It's now autumn, and there was a canopy of brown leaves on the ground near the Swanshurst Lane entrance of the park. Days after Halloween, and the day before Bonfire Night.

The path down from Swanshurst Lane to Moseley New Pool. Looking quite autumnal.

You always see Canada geese at this end of the park. Yellow and brown colours all over.

Gulls in the Moseley New Pool. The colours of autumn were everywhere.

The corner of the pool close to Swanshurst Lane.

December 2017

After the snow had melted. Leaves on the lawn near Yardley Wood Road. Trees line the park, and the Moseley New Pool in the distance.

Canada geese and swans in the Moseley New Pool.

The middle of December 2017, and saw the gulls flying about above the Moseley New Pool with the Canada geese below.

Is quite the sight to see! There are signs around the park advising people to not feed bread to the birds, yet they still do it any way.

The playground seen on a Christmas Day 2017 walk. No buses run on this day (they never do).

In July 2018 during a summer heatwave. All throughout the UK, the green grass had gone yellow, and it was the same here at Swanshurst Park. This view from Brook Lane in Billesley.

It is now December 2018 and after getting off the no 2 bus on Yardley Wood Road, I walked down Swanshurst Lane as it was getting dark. (Had to change buses from the 5 in Sparkbrook). Still leaves on the lawn, and the park seems different after the sun has gone down.

February 2019

The end of winter with signs that spring was upon us. A man fishing in a tent near the Moseley New Pool. Was a sunny day. Headed along the path from the Yardley Wood Road to Swanshurst Lane.

Purple and white crocuses. A sign that it was almost spring. But was only the middle of February!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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Green open spaces
31 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Muntz Park: the little known park in Selly Oak

There is another park in the Selly Oak area near Selly Park called Muntz Park. You probably haven't heard about it. It is between Gristhorpe Road and Umberslade Road. The park was named after Frederick Ernest Muntz. The Muntz family originally came from Lithuania. His grandfather George Frederick Muntz was the inventor of 'Muntz metal'. Park formed around 1907.

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Muntz Park: the little known park in Selly Oak





There is another park in the Selly Oak area near Selly Park called Muntz Park. You probably haven't heard about it. It is between Gristhorpe Road and Umberslade Road. The park was named after Frederick Ernest Muntz. The Muntz family originally came from Lithuania. His grandfather George Frederick Muntz was the inventor of 'Muntz metal'. Park formed around 1907.


To be fair, I wasn't expecting to find Muntz Park on my walk around Selly Oak in late December 2018. This was after I saw some nice Selly Oak Police ladies going around the area on patrol (seeing me with my camera). Told them about Birmingham We Are (I think). My idea originally that day was to get to the 11A bus stop on Oak Tree Lane, but I went a bit off route. The walk ended in Stirchley (including passing through Stirchley Park for the first time) and the Fordhouse Lane bus stop for the 11A.

Entering the park on Gristhorpe Road near Raddlebarn Primary & Nursery School. Here we see the modern Nursery building.

The Muntz Park playground seen from Gristhorpe Road.

Close up of the slides and climbing frames in this small park.

This sign tells you all about the history of Muntz Park. Named after Frederick Ernest Muntz, grandson of George Frederick Muntz, who invented 'Muntz metal'. George became one of Birmingham's first MP's in 1840. Frederick inherited the Muntz estates in 1898.

The Muntz family came from Lithuania, then later moved to France. Phillipe Frederic Muntz settled in Birmingham after the French Revolution. The park was formed from land that was part of Selly Farm. The Council bought the land between 1907 and 1909 and developed it into a park. Birmingham Civic Society got a grant to re-landscape the park in 1923.

The park also has a big hollow in the ground. It was the remains of a marl pit. They were common in the 19th century. In 2005 the Friends of Muntz Park was formed to celebrate the centenary of the park and to make it more attractive for users.

Nearby parks to Muntz Park include: Selly Park (up Raddlebarn Road), Hazelwell Park (along the River Rea Route in Stirchley), Stirchley Park (behind the Co-operative Food in Stirchley) and Cotteridge Park to name a few.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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Green open spaces
30 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Stirchley Park: the park hidden behind The Co-op

If you went past The Co-operative Food and Farmfoods in Stirchley, you wouldn't know that it is there. Stirchley Park is a small park hidden behind those supermarkets near The Bourn. Got into the park via a path near Ribblesdale Road and Bond Street. Exited near the Friends Meeting House. The visit during December 2018.

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Stirchley Park: the park hidden behind The Co-op





If you went past The Co-operative Food and Farmfoods in Stirchley, you wouldn't know that it is there. Stirchley Park is a small park hidden behind those supermarkets near The Bourn. Got into the park via a path near Ribblesdale Road and Bond Street. Exited near the Friends Meeting House. The visit during December 2018.


Follow Stirchley Park on Twitter (run by Pierre).

This walk during late December 2018 started at Selly Oak. Just trying to get to an 11A bus stop. After I passed Muntz Park, I continued going down Gristhorpe Road and then turned onto Ribblesdale Road. Went past the car park of The Co-operative Food when I saw this sign for Stirchley Park. The entrance was near Bond Street and Ribblesdale Road, and passes over a bridge that crosses The Bourn (same brook in Bournville Park)..

This path leads you into the small park past the noticeboard.

The Bourn seen from the footbridge. Car park for The Co-operative Food to the left, Stirchley Park to the right.

A wall to the back of The Co-op with the street art as of December 2018 (I think it's changed since then).

New trees have been planted in the park and it has been tidied up. Paths on both sides.

This path leads to the back of The Co-op.

Another look at the mural.

The graffiti street art was by Graffiti by Title.

A few more panels to the right. The artist has also done pieces around the Digbeth and Southside areas of the city. Go check them out if you can. He has been a graffiti artist since 1985.

I exited to Hazelwell Street near the Friends Meeting House. Which is also near Stirchley Baths (now a community centre) and Stichley Library. Bournville is a short walk away (Bournville Station can be accessed from Bournville Lane). Just had to walk down the Pershore Road to my bus stop on Fordhouse Lane.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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29 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Selly Park: the park on Raddlebarn Road of the suburb with the same name

This park is on the no 76 bus route between Solihull and the QE Hospital and is not that far from the University of Birmingham. Selly Park shares it's name with the suburb of the same name Selly Park. The park takes is name from Selly Hall, a Tudor-style 19th century mansion that was sold to the Roman Catholic Church in 1864. The Roman Catholic Church of St Edward is nearby.

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Selly Park: the park on Raddlebarn Road of the suburb with the same name





This park is on the no 76 bus route between Solihull and the QE Hospital and is not that far from the University of Birmingham. Selly Park shares it's name with the suburb of the same name Selly Park. The park takes is name from Selly Hall, a Tudor-style 19th century mansion that was sold to the Roman Catholic Church in 1864. The Roman Catholic Church of St Edward is nearby.


A visit to Selly Park during the beginning of October 2019. Getting off the no 76 bus on Raddlebarn Road, I entered via the corner path at Raddlebarn Road and Warwards Lane. This old rusted bollard at the start of the path.

The path leads to this playground up ahead. Sometimes Selly Park is also called a Recreation Ground.

Near the playground, saw this blue wind pipe thing. There is a similar one over at Selly Oak Park (will do a post on that park soon probably).

Always prefer taking playgrounds when they are empty.

There is a large football field and outdoor gym equipment. But on the day of my visit, found many gulls on the goalpost!

Above the gulls on the goalpost, you can see the Beetham Tower.

Saw this coach from Swan Street Coaches. Parked near St Paul's Convent on Selly Park Road. Now owned by the Roman Catholic Church I think this was what was Selly Hall. Built in the 19th century in the Tudor style.

General look at the playing field not zoomed in. I have been to Selly Park before, walking past this park, but this visit was my first time going in. And looking at my old photos from Raddlebarn Road of December 2014, didn't seem to have taken any photos of this park before now (I think boys were playing a football game back then?).

Another look at a goalpost with gulls on top as well as the outdoor gym equipment.

Zooming in to the outdoor gym equipment near Selly Avenue.

Pair of goalposts, gulls on the field and a lady walking over the field.

From here it is an easy walk to the University of Birmingham down the Bournbrook Road towards the Bristol Road. I then walked around the Aston Webb Boulevard (Selly Oak Bypass) towards the new Selly Oak Shopping Park. On the way saw a #Selly sign near The Pavilion at the University. From Selly Park to Selly Oak.

 

For more photos see my album on Flickr Selly Park.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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24 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Highgate Park: inner city park where the statue of Edward VII used to be

By the time I first had a look around Highgate Park in 2010, the statue of King Edward VII had been removed for restoration (it was later installed in Centenary Square near Baskerville House). Not many people visit this inner city park, on the no 50 bus route (Moseley Road), but it has nice views of the skyline, a playground and a sports pitch. The gatehouse was burnt down and demolished.

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Highgate Park: inner city park where the statue of Edward VII used to be





By the time I first had a look around Highgate Park in 2010, the statue of King Edward VII had been removed for restoration (it was later installed in Centenary Square near Baskerville House). Not many people visit this inner city park, on the no 50 bus route (Moseley Road), but it has nice views of the skyline, a playground and a sports pitch. The gatehouse was burnt down and demolished.


Highgate Park

This was the last inner city park (within the middle ring road) to be open for over 130 years before Eastside City Park opened in 2012.

A few details from the Wikipedia page.

The park opened in 1875 on land originally owned by Elizabeth Hollier. When she died it was to be used by a charity. The Trustees of Elizabeth Hollier's Charity wanted to develop the land for industry, but the Birmingham Corporation bought it to develop it as a park. The area near Alcester Street was later asphalted to be used as a playground.

The statue of King Edward VII was in the park from 1951 after being moved from Victoria Square. Various bronze parts were stolen in the 1970s and 1980s and were never recovered. The Victorian Society was able to get Birmingham City Council to move the statue out of the park in 2009 for restoration. The statue was repaired and installed in Centenary Square in late 2010, and the missing bronze pieces recast and replaced.

 

June 2010

First up a look around Highgate Park during my first look around in June 2010. I was heading to see the Edward VII statue but it wasn't there any more!

A path and trees.

More trees and a slope. I'm not entirely sure where the statue used to be, could have been up there somewhere, but all the grass had grown back.

Quite possible that this was the site of the Edward VII statue looking at the disturbance of the grass. It had only been taken out of the park a year before sometime during 2009.

A path heading around and down to the playground.

A look at the playground close to Alcester Street.

When you head down this way, there is a good view of the Birmingham skyline. In June 2010, you could see The Cube (completed that year). The Sentinels (Cleveland Tower and Clydesdale Tower) and the Beetham Tower. The Hyatt Hotel could also be seen from here.

Interesting climbing frame on the playground for kids.

Also this S shaped snake like bench.

Statue of King Edward VII

The following photos of the statue of King Edward VII taken in Centenary Square (not Highgate Park). Seen in November 2010 in front of The Copthorne Hotel. They had just installed it here, but the new bronze parts (to replace the stolen and never recovered parts) were not yet added.

By December 2010 they had finished the restoration of the statue, and it was looking as good as new! The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was being advertised on the Birmingham Central Library (above the entrance to Paradise Forum).

Another view from about July 2011 it was looking nice and clean.

The statue stayed here for the duration of the Centenary Square renovation works (2017 to 2019). But the statue had got quite weathered over the last 9 years. Seen here during June 2019, before they had fully reopened Centenary Square. At one point was portacabins around this site. The Copthorne Hotel is still there (but expect it to go in the 2020s).

Gatehouse

OK now back to Highgate Park and sad news about a building close to the Moseley Road. The gatehouse seen during March 2011, boarded up and empty for decades (probably).

This plaque confirms that it was built in 1876. I wonder if this plaque has gone to the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre?

By April 2018, the gatehouse had been covered in graffiti and was severely damaged from a fire (arson).

The door doesn't look too good. Graffiti either side of it. And looking damaged from the fire.

Sadly the gatehouse was demolished in September 2018. And in the year since, this area has been grassed over. This is what happens when the Council abandons a park gatehouse and leaves it to rot. Hopefully the surviving gatehouses in other city parks will be protected?

April 2018

Heading towards the back of The Rowton Hotel from the Alcester Street entrance of the park. On the way to see the fire damaged gatehouse.

Just outside of the sports pitch. I'm not sure what that green and red structure is for.

New flats built at the back of a Moseley Street site near St Anne's Hostel. Park View.

The back of The Rowton Hotel. Formerly called the Paragon Hotel. A Grade II listed building. Parkview House. Built in 1903-04 as the Rowton House hostel.

August 2019

My last visit to Highgate Park was when I got off the no 50 NXWM Platinum bus on the Moseley Road. For some reason National Express West Midlands call the stop Camp Hill Middleway (it's the bus stop after Highgate Middleway). This view walking up a road called Chandos Road. It leads to Salop Street. So the view through the railings.

A homeless persons tent set up in Highgate Park. Was close to the wall on the Moseley Road.

The main path from the Salop Street entrance towards the Moseley Road entrance.

Skyline update during August 2019. As well as the Beetham Tower, you can also see from here: the Library of Birmingham, Orion Building and The Forum. Big Brum at BM & AG was also visible from here. Above the playground. The new Arena Central buildings was also visible from the park.

For more Highgate Park photos, please check out my album on Flickr Highgate Park.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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