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Green open spaces
17 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, in what was the Studley Court estate

Back in July 2019 I wanted to ride the Stourbridge Shuttle again, and while in Stourbridge, I noticed on a map that htere was a park in walking distance from the Town Centre. This was Mary Stevens Park. The park opened to the public in 1931. It was named after the late Mary Stevens, wife of local businessman Ernest Stevens who donated the land for the creation of a park around 1929-30.

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Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, in what was the Studley Court estate





Back in July 2019 I wanted to ride the Stourbridge Shuttle again, and while in Stourbridge, I noticed on a map that htere was a park in walking distance from the Town Centre. This was Mary Stevens Park. The park opened to the public in 1931. It was named after the late Mary Stevens, wife of local businessman Ernest Stevens who donated the land for the creation of a park around 1929-30.


Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge

I found another park on Google Maps, while in Stourbridge, in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley (back in July 2019). This was Mary Stevens Park. I went to the Costa Coffee in the Ryemarket Shopping Centre, for the second time in 6 years. And was looking at somewhere to walk to before going back to Stourbridge Town Station. I noticed a park that wasn't that far away to walk to. Leaving the Ryemarket Shopping Centre, I headed along Worcester Street, until I got to the main gates on Heath Lane.

In 1929 after the death of his wife Mary, local industrialist and philanthropist Ernest Stevens gave land to the town of Stourbridge to develop a park. He purchased the Studley Court estate and house from the nuns of the St. Andrews Convent, with the intentions of creating a park. It would be named Mary Stevens Park and opened to the public in 1931. The park has a lake called the Heath Pool, there is also a Bandstand, tennis courts, bowling green, outdoor gym, a cafe and a children's play area.

Mr Stevens donated the gates at the entrance to the park.

One plaque dating 1929 reads:

This park was given by
Ernest Stevens
in Memory of his wife
Mary Stevens
a noble woman
who went about doing good,
to be for all time a place
of rest for the weary.
of happiness for children,
and of beauty for everyone.

The second plaque reads:

The entrances were
constructed and given by
the donor of the park
Ernest Stevens, Esq., J.P.
of Prescot House
Stourbridge.

The gates seen from the main entrance on Heath Lane. Just beyond a roundabout and at the end of Worcester Street. The Gates, Piers and Railings are Grade II listed. They date to 1930. They are made of fine ashlar piers with wrought-iron gates and railings in Neo-Georgian style.

There is bollards around the entrance. Cars can drive to the car park, but cant go onto the main path into the park. the roundabout ahead has a big tree in the middle.

Heading into the park, trees line the main path beyond the bollards. Was also flower beds on the right. The main path is called the Queen's Drive. It was opened on the 23rd April 1957 by HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Who toured around in an open top Land Rover at the time.

The Mary Stevens Park noticeboard and map from the main path, The car park is behind. Also has a bit of history on it to the left. The sign mentions that Ernest Stevens legacy was not just to leave a park for local people, but to preserve open green space for all to enjoy. Queen Elizabeth II also made a visit to the park in 1957.

The wonderful flower beds to the right of the main path.

The Stourbridge War Memorial was to the left of the main path. It was erected in memory of the lives lost during the First World War. It was originally set up outside of the public library in Stourbridge in 1923. It was designed by Ernest Pickford and unveiled by the Earl of Coventry on the 16th February 1923. It is Grade II* listed.

It was later moved to it's current location in Mary Stevens Park in 1960. There is a bronze statue on top of a woman. The listing says it dates to 1920 and was moved here in 1966. Made of fine ashlar with metal, probably bronze, plaques and a figure, in severe classical style. It was moved as a result of a road scheme.

This would the people of Stourbridge would gather each November to lay poppy wreaths. It also commemorates those lost during World War 2.

Here you can get coffee and ice cream at the Coffee Lounge in Mary Stevens Park. To the right was some public toilets. Behind the cafe is the Stourbridge Council House (more details further down the post).

Red flowers on the flower bed near the gates that surrounds the Coffee Lounge.

You could also get some ice cream from this ice cream van.

This was the Mary Stevens Park Children's Play Area. Was a a few hoses firing water in the middle, and kids running into the water jets.

A look at the Bandstand. It was made of cast iron and was made by Hill & Smith Ltd. It was funded by Ernest Stevens. Meaning it dates to the late 1920s or early 1930s. It has been an important central feature to the park ever since it opened to the public. Summer band concerts have always been popular.

Outside the Stourbridge Council House in the gardens, is a bronze statue of Major Frank Foley (sitting on a bench). It was formerly known as Heath House and later Studley Court. During WW1 it was used as Studley Court Hospital. Studley Court was originally called Heath House. It was associated with Glassworks. The first reference on the site dates from 1691. Was a number of different owners of Heath House in the 19th century. It was run as a V.A.D. Military Hospital during the World War 1. And was a Convent School during the 1920s. It became the offices for what was then the Stourbridge District Council in the 1930s. It was used until Stourbridge merged with Dudley Borough in 1974. Since 1974, Studley Court has been home to parts of Dudley MBC.

The bronze statue of Major Frank Foley was unveiled on the 18th September 2018 by HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William).

The sculptor was Andy De Comyn. Major Foley was a Black Country war hero. He saved thousands of Jews from Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. 60 years after his death, his deeds have not been forgotten. More information here from the Express and Star.

There is a plaque on the bench which reads:

Major Frank Edward Foley CMG (1884 - 1958)
who lived in quiet retirement near this park
but in the 1930s helped over 10,000 Jewish people 
escape from the Holocaust, whilst working as 
British Passport Control Officer in Berlin.
He who saves one, saves the world.

Another look at the Stourbridge Council House from the second half of the garden. The Dudley Children Services Adoption Team uses part of the building now. Hard to believe that until 1929 this was a nunnery! It served as the Council House until Stourbridge became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in 1974.

Now for a look around the lake, called the Heath Pool. It is to the south west corner of the park.

All the usual gulls and geese here. Plus there was a fountain in the middle of the lake.

Black-headed gulls perched on the top of these wooden poles.

The Heath Pool covers about less than one quarter of the park.

There was Canada geese all over. Some Coot as well.

Something I've not seen before this visit was this Muscovy duck. There was quite a few of them here.

This sign had a lot of information about the Heath Pool. Was close to the exit / entrance from Stanley Road and Norton Road.

This gate is the entrance and exit to Stanley Road.

After I left the park, heading back into town, I also saw this gate on Love Lane, from Heath Lane.

While I could have walked to Stourbridge Junction, I wanted one more ride of the Stourbridge Shuttle so walked back to the Stourbridge Interchange. See my post on my last ride here: West Midlands Railway Stourbridge Shuttle (July 2019).

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
16 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Daisy Farm Park near the Maypole

A short walk away from the Maypole down Maypole Lane is Daisy Farm Park. It is quite small. It is also known as Daisy Farm Recreation Ground. Surrounded by houses on Highters Heath Lane, Gorleston Road and Prince of Wales Lane. The main path in the middle leads to Daisy Farm Road. Close to the Highters Heath and Warstock areas of south Birmingham. And not far from Yardley Wood and Shirley.

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Daisy Farm Park near the Maypole





A short walk away from the Maypole down Maypole Lane is Daisy Farm Park. It is quite small. It is also known as Daisy Farm Recreation Ground. Surrounded by houses on Highters Heath Lane, Gorleston Road and Prince of Wales Lane. The main path in the middle leads to Daisy Farm Road. Close to the Highters Heath and Warstock areas of south Birmingham. And not far from Yardley Wood and Shirley.


Daisy Farm Park

If you pop down to the Maypole for a coffee (back when it was OK to go to coffee shops), if you go to the Starbucks Drive Thru or Sainsbury's Cafe at the Maypole, when you leave and you want to walk somewhere, head along Maypole Lane until you get to Daisy Farm Park. It's quite small, so you may either walk past it, continuing on towards Solihull Lodge. If you head in up the path, and stick to the path, you will only be in there for a few minutes. Unless you have a walk around the fields here.

Daisy Farm Park, also known as Daisy Farm Recreation Ground is on the edge of the Billesley Ward in south Birmingham. There is a playground to the right of the main entrance. The car park is to the left.

 

2016

I first walked past Daisy Farm Park in December 2016, from Maypole Lane. I was walking towards Solihull Lodge.

The trees line down Maypole Lane just in front of the fence.

And old Birmingham City Council sign for Daisy Farm Park from the Department of Recreation and Community Services.

A brief look at the Daisy Farm Park Play Area.

The pavement on Maypole Lane that goes straight past Daisy Farm Park.

A gap in the fence before I passed the park, then went past the houses in Maypole Lane.

2019

In August 2019, after another one of my Maypole coffee stops (Starbucks), I walked down Maypole Lane, and this time headed through the gate into Daisy Farm Park.

The Daisy Farm Park Play Area on the right.

One of the elephant signs that all the parks in Birmingham has for their play areas. Such as here at Daisy Farm Park.

The entrance to the play area has this nice blue and orange gate with the Daisy Farm Park name at the top.

The car park and the field beyond to the left.

A basketball court and an area for teenagers to hang about.

So are teenage boys and girls just supposed to sit in this thing?

The path continues onto Daisy Farm Road and Gorleston Road.

There is another gate to the right which leads towards the estate at Prince of Wales Lane. Also near Maypole Grove.

Big open field to the left.

Some long grass, almost like hay to the right.

Was the odd blue bench along the path.

Looking back along the path towards Maypole Lane.

The gate at Daisy Farm Road.

After this I walked around the area until I caught a bus to Highgate Park. Some of my photos from that visit to Highgate Park are in this post here: Highgate Park: inner city park where the statue of Edward VII used to be.

I probably walked along Warstock Lane back to Alcester Road South and caught the no 50 bus at the time to Highgate.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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Squares and public spaces
15 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square on the August Bank Holiday Monday 2019

On Monday 26th August 2019, I was changing buses from the 50 to 11A, when I spotted a Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square near All Saints Church, so went to check it out, before walking to the next 11A bus stop on the Vicarage Road. Was a variety of classic cars there that day. It was the August Bank Holiday Monday.

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The Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square on the August Bank Holiday Monday 2019





On Monday 26th August 2019, I was changing buses from the 50 to 11A, when I spotted a Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square near All Saints Church, so went to check it out, before walking to the next 11A bus stop on the Vicarage Road. Was a variety of classic cars there that day. It was the August Bank Holiday Monday.


Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square

Kings Heath Village Square opened in October 2011, and is suitable for any kind of event. During normal times, the square was available for hire. The square is at the corner of Vicarage Road and High Street in Kings Heath near All Saints Church.

On Monday the 26th August 2019, it was the August Bank Holiday Monday, and one such event was using the square. There was a Classic Car Meet on that day.

I had got off the no 50 bus and was going to switch to an 11A when I spotted this car meet and went to check it out before getting my bus home that day.

This view was taken from the 11A bus as it waited at the lights. Wythall Transport Museum were also having their usual Bank Holiday Weekend heritage bus rides up and down the Alcester Road. There was an old Metrobus to the right. Which I didn't notice until I first saw this photo on my computer.

When I first arrived I saw this Ford F 150 pick up truck, made in 1977. It originally came from Texas.

Another view of the Ford F150 from the 11A bus.

This is a Austin Six from 1929.

This Riley Elf was near the bushes close to Vicarage Road.

This old car was either a Rover 2000 or the Rover P6.

Various old cars near the All Saints Centre including the T48 Corsa Spyder.

A line of about 5 classic cars. The red car to the left was a 1977 Triumph Stag Mk II.

On the Labyrinth in the middle of the square at the time was this live band. With a drum kit and a guitar.

Close to All Saints Church was a 1966 Volvo Amazon.

The orange car with the boot open was a 1972 MGB GT.

Next up was this Volkswagen Type 2.

A classic Volkswagen Beetle

For a similar post click: Austin Seven's in Victoria Square (April 2012).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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Green open spaces
15 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Vale Village at the University of Birmingham off Edgbaston Park Road

Students who live in the University of Birmingham accommodation blocks in Edgbaston have their very own parkland to walk around at The Vale Village. Located near Edgbaston Park Road. The Vale is a Registered Park of Special Historic Interest. There is 8 residences here.

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The Vale Village at the University of Birmingham off Edgbaston Park Road





Students who live in the University of Birmingham accommodation blocks in Edgbaston have their very own parkland to walk around at The Vale Village. Located near Edgbaston Park Road. The Vale is a Registered Park of Special Historic Interest. There is 8 residences here.


The Vale Village

This area was originally called Strawberry Vale (according to Bill Dargue's A History of Birmingham & Place Names from A to & Y). It lay along the valley of the Chad Brook in Edgbaston, flowing from Harborne then north west to south east through the Chad Valley and the Vale, where it was dammed in a lake. These days the University of Birmingham student accommodation is at the modern Vale. It lies east of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. All of the land here is part of Calthorpe Estates. Edgbaston Hall was nearby (now Edgbaston Golf Club). Was only a few properties on the land in the 19th century.

The University of Birmingham negotiated with Calthorpe Estates after World War 2 as they were short of land for student accommodation (during 1947). The idea was for high rise towers. But the University appointed new architects in 1957. The plan was for a new open landscape similar to parks of the 18th century. The landscape was designed by Mary Mitchell. It involved the excavation of a new lake. 

The first hall opened in 1964. Three more open shortly after that. More halls were built in the late 20th century. New blocks were opened in 2008. More recently, some of the dated 1960s accommodation was demolished in 2014 and new blocks opened in 2016 at Chamberlain, close to Church Road.

I've been up and down Edgbaston Park Road many times in the past, but only went around it for a walk once in August 2019 (while the students were at home away from University and while it was quiet). I have got off the Worcester & Birmingham Canal a few times at The Vale, but usually walked up Mason Way to get the no 1 bus from Church Road to go home.

2012

In August 2012, the Sky Ride was on around Birmingham, and it passed The Vale Village on Edgbaston Park Road.

Families rode together, past all of the student accommodation. Some of which was being rebuilt at the time.

They were passing the student accommodation blocks called the Tennis Court. Although the parkland was to the left of here (I didn't enter it at the time as was following the Sky Ride).

2013

My earliest actual park photos of The Vale from Edgbaston Park Road was taken back in February 2013. But on my then mobile phone camera. Was probably during one of my many walks around the University of Birmingham's Edgbaston Campus, but I did not go into the parkland at the time.

To the left was Mason Halls.

Trees bare of leaves as it was still winter. Apart from the evergreen trees. The old Chamberlain Tower seen in the background (before it was demolished and rebuilt).

2019

My first proper visit around The Vale Village parkland was back in August 2019. Getting in from Edgbaston Park Road near Mason Halls.

One of the traditional black University of Birmingham signs with the Vale Village on it.

The path leading into The Vale parkland.

First look at the wonderful lake at The Vale. In the distance you can see the new Chamberlain Tower. The old one was demolished in 2014. And the new tower opened in 2016.

Saw this swan behind the Willowherbs.

The footbridge that links the Chad Brook into The Vale lake.

The Vale lake from the footbridge.

Saw this squirrel going around the parkland.

These paths leads to: Shackleton, Maple Bank, Elgar Court and Chamberlain.

The trees were looking lovely in the middle of August last year.

Another view of the lake.

A rare sight, a Barnacle goose.

The lake keeps getting better as I see a view towards Mason.

Mason Halls on the other side of the lake.

A view of the lake towards the footbridge I'd earlier crossed.

From this wall you have a good view of the lake towards Shackleton and Chamberlain.

Saw this map of the parkland and student accommodation. There is history and information about the wildlife on it. But in this photo it is a bit hard to read what it says (otherwise I would have extracted the historical information from it).

A lake view towards Shackleton. Seems like at the time the building was having work done to it.

Some outdoor gym equipment. Some kind of bars to lift yourself up.

Heading back to Edgbaston Park Road, one last proper look at this wonderful parkland. Aren't the students lucky!

Heading on the path to get out of the parkland. Was at least one bench around here.

Next time on The Vale I could cover the area around the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the exit up Mason Way towards Church Road.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
14 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Old Yardley Park near the Old Grammar School

I've only popped into Old Yardley Park twice in the past so far. I've got in from the Church Road entrance in the past.  Just a short walk off the Outer Circle (11A / 11C bus routes) from Stoney Lane, then up Blakesley Road. You can either head up Church Road or get in on Queens Road. The park has a play area and a small garden near the Old Grammar School.

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Old Yardley Park near the Old Grammar School





I've only popped into Old Yardley Park twice in the past so far. I've got in from the Church Road entrance in the past.  Just a short walk off the Outer Circle (11A / 11C bus routes) from Stoney Lane, then up Blakesley Road. You can either head up Church Road or get in on Queens Road. The park has a play area and a small garden near the Old Grammar School.


My previous post on Old Yardley is here (relating to the village) - Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall.

The last time I mentioned Old Yardley Park in a post was in this one: Parks around the no 11 Outer Circle Bus Route: from Kings Heath Park to Swanshurst Park and beyond.

Old Yardley Park

The park is part of the Old Yardley Conservation Area. The village surrounds St Edburgha's Church. Next to the Old Grammar School on Church Road is the entrance to the park, via what is now a formal garden (this was restored in 2012). Old Yardley Park was laid out in 1898. Almshouses were built nearby on School Lane in 1904. There is a medieval moat in the park called Rents Moat. The Yardley Great Trust gave lane in 1900 between Church Road and Queens Road for the public to use as Old Yardley Park. It is a short walk away from Blakesley Hall.

More information here: Yardley - History of Birmingham.

2010

In January 2010, during my walk around Old Yardley Village, while it was covered in snow, I saw the Old Grammar School. Old Yardley Park was to the right, but at the time, I did not go into the park (or wasn't aware of it). The school dates to 1260, but this building probably from the 15th century.

Seen on the approach to Old Yardley Village from Church Road.

I didn't know it at the time. but the entrance to Old Yardley Park was to the right of the Old Grammar School. But at the time I was there to have a look around the village. The school was originally built as a Guildhall.

There is a garden in Old Yardley Park next to the Grammar School, but I wouldn't really go through there until 2014. The school closed in 1908, and was being used as a Parish Room with a youth club upstairs (back in 2010).

2014

In April 2014 I headed to Old Yardley Park to try out the camera on my then new Sony smartphone camera. Including testing out some of the filters (so left my then Fuji bridge camera at home).

In the garden close to the Old Grammar School was this memorial to Josiah Derrington (1835-1920) and Caroline Derrington (1830-1916). I would get another look at the Derrington Memorial in 2017. It looks like it was a drinking fountain. The Derrington family were brick makers based nearby in Hay Mills in the 19th century. The memorial fountain was restored in 2012, during the restoration works, which included laying out a Rose Garden and Herbaceous Border.

A view of the playground / play area from a distance.

On my then Sony smartphone camera (and my current one), in the camera, if you press Mode, then select Creative effect. Choose Kaleidoscope. I used this effect to get the spire of St Edburgha's Church mirror imaged.

I next used on Creative effect, Sepia, to make it look like an old photo (looks like my current phone doesn't have this mode). Again you can see the spire of St Edburgha's Church.

As I left, saw this Old Yardley Park sign. What was new at the time was the sign at the bottom for the Diamond Jubilee Gardens 2012 for the Yardley Conservation Society. The gardens was opened by the then Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor John Lines (with his wife the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Kathleen Lines) in October 2012.

2017

It took me until January 2017 before I would return to Old Yardley Park with my main camera (by them my current Panasonic). It was a late morning / midday walk. I would suspect that I entered the park from Church Road at the time.

The view towards the spire of St Edburgha's Church.

A couple of views of the playground / play area.

All the usual play equipment there for kids such as a couple of slides. The view of the play area towards Queens Road.

Some kind of tyre swing, around in circles? It's not a see-saw though.

One of the slides in the play area,

This thing in the middle seems to have springs below it.

Saw this Old Yardley Park sign from Queens Road.

There was another Old Yardley Park sign further into the park near those trees.

A big open field in the park.

Heading over towards School Lane.

The path near School Lane.

The gate park into the park from School Lane.

Saw a blackbird enjoying a bath in a puddle of water on the grass.

Another blackbird on the grass. The grass was quite wet, so it must have rained around this time.

Saw this curved bench. Around this area is a Youth Shelter.

Back to the garden near the Old Grammar School and a proper look at the Derrington memorial. The side at the back.

The bronze plaque reads:

IN LOVEING MEMORY OF

JOSIAH

DERRINGTON

1835 - 1920

AND

CAROLINE

DERRINGTON

1830 - 1916

The memorial is now surrounded by these railings. This was a fountain, and it was restored in 2012 during the Diamond Jubilee Gardens project. Derrington & Sons was brick makers in Hay Mills in the late 19th century.

There used to be tennis courts around here, but they had become neglected. The 2012 restoration works replaces it with this garden. Facing the Old Grammar School. It is now the Rose Garden.

There is also a Herbaceous Border in the garden. I will need to one day go back in the summer to see what it is like now. As wasn't much to see in the winter of January 2017.

For photos of the restoration works, see Robert C Jones post here: Yardley Old Park - the Restoration 2012.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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