German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023

Amazingly, I have not written a blog about the German Christmas market in Birmingham. I have taken pictures of the Christmas markets but many of them are single photos on my social streams. My first observation is that the markets are set up way too early. The present one opened up on the 2nd November 2023. This is crazy yet when I visited the city centre a week after the opening, there were many visitors enjoying the early experience of Christmas. Over the years there is a pattern as the markets extend more and more. However, there was a grand reset in Christmas 2020 with the Pandemic but now the markets are back to their former self.

German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023
Centenary Square at Christmas.
German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023
The big wheel in Centenary Square.

In Centenary square, there is the Big wheel, an ice skating rink and other spinning attractions. The pedestrian link to Victoria square is more subdued as it is private land although the restaurants in and around Chamberlain square are doing well.

German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023
I love this street photograph. A store called Filthy Fries! How do they arrive at such names.

The real noise and excitement starts in Victoria square and this is with you all the way down to the Bull Ring. Shops selling food and drink. The prices are very high considering there is standing room only. The shops also sell other items such as candles, jewellery and gifts you never knew you wanted. I expect most of these gifts will be put away or recycled after Christmas.

German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023
Christmas market in Victoria Square, Birmingham.
German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023
A long exposure of the Carousel in Victoria Square.
German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023
Looking down to New Street.

My purpose for going to the early Christmas market was to take pictures. Every photographer in Birmingham has to post a picture of the market on their Instagram account. I did not want to be left out so armed with my iPhone and x100v, I braved the crowds on a Thursday night. Taking pictures with the iPhone is straightforward although I hold onto it firmly as I do not want it snatched away from me. Taking a camera out and then putting it on a tripod does generate some attention so I used the tripod sparingly and looked for convenient surfaces to rest the camera.

My plan for photographs including taking pictures of spinning things including the beautiful carousel in Victoria Square. I was also keen to capture some of the atmosphere and fun that people were having by being around the market. Taking pictures is not easy as people get in the way and are not posing for you. Therefore at different places in the market, I grabbed what opportunity that I could and moved on. I also walked back from the Bull Ring via Gas Street basin which was less crowded and therefore easier for photographing.

When I got home, I was initially disappointed with my pictures. I am always like this as I want every picture to be a winner. I know that is never the case and I was just hoping that I had captured some good ones. I am always surprised by the pictures that look good and were opportunistic rather than the ones that I had planned in my mind.

German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023
This is a feature every year.

So this is a snapshot of the Christmas market in Birmingham 2023. I am sure that I will look back on these in a few years time and cringe at them. There is still another Christmas market to open around the Birmingham Cathedral which happens to be more picturesque. Maybe some photographs of this market will feature in my future blog postings.

German Christmas Market, Birmingham, Nov 2023
Signs in the market.

Walking back along the canal to Gas Street Basin, there was the opportunity to take some long exposure pictures. I liked this one of Stop Lock Bridge on the Old Birmingham Canal.

Looking back in the archives I found that I have Christmas in 2018 and also what Christmas Trees looked like in 2020, the year of the Pandemic. They make for interesting comparisons.

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I was fortunate to visit Brighton as part of a conference. My hotel was on the seafront and in between…

Ozzy the Bull, New Street Station, August, 2023

Ozzy the bull is in his new home and his been revealed to his public. The journey has been long and eventful from the Opening Ceremony Success at the Commonwealth games to being moved to a car park while the City decided what to do with him. There was talk of Ozzy being dismantled after the games had finished. Now he sits in splendour welcoming passengers to New Street station and there will be many more years of Ozzy representing the City of Birmingham. These pictures show Ozzy in his new home. The interaction that Ozzy creates depends on whether you have time between trains to view him. Many people are in a rush to get to their train or just passing through the station to meet friends or go shopping. Whatever is happening around him, Ozzy will be a welcoming attraction for people visiting Birmingham for many years in the future.

Ozzy the Bull, New Street Station, August, 2023
People and Ozzy in New Street Station.
Ozzy the Bull, New Street Station, August, 2023
People are fascinated with Ozzy
Ozzy the Bull, New Street Station, August, 2023
Close up to Ozzy who moves his head, eyes and tails during the day.
Ozzy the Bull, New Street Station, August, 2023
Ozzy makes a wonderful addition to the station.
Ozzy the Bull, New Street Station, August, 2023
Ozzy towers above the passengers.

Ozzy was unveiled on 26th July 2023 and there is a BBC story on the official opening.

My blog and these pictures bring to an end my commentary on Ozzy and you may wish to follow the journey with the links below.

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Winning photograph Westside BID calendar 2023

Westside BID organised a celebratory evening around the photography competition for the 2023 calendar.  We all gathered at the Flapper Pub near Cambrian wharf where we met our fellow winners and local business people.  There were councillors from Birmingham City Council present as well.  The pictures were hung around the room and the MC interviewed each photographer in turn.  Then the food was served and there was a chance to meetest people.  The evening sun shone over the canal allowing us the chance to soak in the warmth.  The last few weeks have been very wet, so the sun was welcome.  There were interviews to be done and pictures to be taken.  My picture was the overall winner and is shown above, although any of the other ones could have won as well.  The two videos plus the story of the night provide a great memory of the event.  Thanks to Westside BID for the support of photography through the calendar. 

The Flapper Pub, Birmingham, 2023
A beautiful evening for the WestsideBIDS celebration evening

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St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023

St Chad’s Cathedral was the setting for an IgersbirminghamUK Instameet on a wet Saturday morning. Storm Antoni was passing through and the rain was non-stop.  I joked with the photographers that we had made the decision to go for the inside walkabout rather than taking pictures outside. The interior of the building is beautiful, and we had also arranged to view the extensive crypt below.  

St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Caution IgersbirminghamUK photographers at work.

Our two guides were Marie Louise and Angela and as soon as the introductions were done, we were provided with the background information to the Cathedral. The Roman Catholic cathedral was designed by Pugin and is a fine example of the Gothic architecture revival in England. We were shown around both the crypt and the main interior of the Cathedral.  Both Marie Louise and Angela were informative and provided historical and contemporary information about the Cathedral.  They were also very welcoming and tolerant of 20 photographers taking pictures.

St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Marie Louise and Angela our guides for the IgersbirminghamUK Instameet.

Here are a few of the interesting facts supplied by our guides.  Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was the architect at the forefront of the Gothic revival style in architecture.  Pugin was hired to assist in the Gothic design of the House of Commons and Big Ben.  John Hardman, was a close friend of Pugin, and the Hardman family are buried in the crypt.  The son of a button making family, John Hardman turned his skills to metal work and stained glass windows. He designed the clock face and manufactured the hands of Big Ben.  There are many more interesting facts about St Chad’s and both Marie Louise and Angela were happy to inform us of all the details.  I have taken their photograph with the backdrop of the Cathedral Altar behind them.

St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
A view towards the Apse.

One of the most interesting stories is that the Cathedral was earmarked to be demolished but was saved by one vote at the Birmingham City Council meeting.  Many other Victorian buildings were demolished around the area to make way for the motor car.  Luckily there is a sensible view prevailing these days, and the area is under improvement.

The Crypt of St Chad’s Cathedral

The crypt is a secret treasure trove with a layout of several rooms with interesting designs around the altars.  Pugin collected various ornamental religious pieces on his travels, and these are held in the crypt.  My favourites are the two wooden angels that have soulful expressions. The tiled design and ornamental altar in the Hardman family crypt is another standout feature of the extensive crypt.  On display are the vestments worn by both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.  I was also fascinated by the large wooden door which provides the entrance to the crypt. A selection of my photographs are shown. I have many more and it was difficult to select the best pictures. For interest to any photographer reading this account, the majority of my pictures are taken with the iPhone13 which excels in low light. I did have my travel tripod with me which allowed some pictures to be taken with my Fujifilm x100v.

St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
The large studded entrance door.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Details from the Hardman family crypt.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
The tiled walls and ceiling with a relief of Christ on the cross with the two thieves.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Angels
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Close up view of the angel’s face.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Colourful details of the paintwork.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
In this part of the crypt, the Cathedral Choir practice due to the excellent acoustics.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Vestments worn by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Birmingham in 1982
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Vestments worn by Pope Benedict XVI who visited Birmingham in September 2010
Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham on Sunday, September 19, 2010
Looking up at the details.
Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham on Sunday, September 19, 2010
Chairs and a picture of Christ on the cross.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Some beautiful work that is propped up against the crypt wall. There are so many treasures to see.
Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham on Sunday, September 19, 2010
Glass table reflections.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
More examples of pictures and artefacts each with a story.

The main Cathedral floor

The Instagrammers then moved up to the main Cathedral area which provided more photographic opportunities.   There is so much to take in and the Apse of St Chad’s Cathedral with the high altar is impressive to view.  There are colourful stained-glass windows flanking the high altar.  The apse was designed by Pugin and was part of his grand plan to emphasise the Gothic revival architecture of the Cathedral.  There were many small details to see and, on this visit, the guides pointed out to me the non-religious wood carvings on the rear seats in the Choir Stall.  These were fun to photograph.  You will see from my photographs the various parts of the cathedral and I know that I did not have time to view everything.  

St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
The view towards the entrance and the organ.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
One of the detailed 3D depictions of the stations of the cross.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
The Bishop’s chair on the Altar.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Wood carving next to the Bishop’s chair.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Wood carvings on the Choir stall.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Candles
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Closer view of the organ and the loft behind.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Details.

The cathedral has so many stories and this is another one that I find fascinating.  In the diapered design of the transept ceiling, there is a tile that has the words Deo Gratias 22 Nov 1940.  This translates to thanks be to God. During World War II, incendiary devices were dropped and caused significant damage to buildings.  The old Coventry cathedral is an example of the devestating destruction.  At St Chad’s Cathedral, an incendiary device fell through the ceiling and exploded within the central heating pipes and the water subsequently put the fire out. Hence the miracle of St Chad’s.

St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Can you see the tile with the words Deo Gratias?
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
The roof of the Cathedral in Black and white. For an extra point can you see the tile with the words Deo Gratias?

There are many more stories about the Cathedral. These involve St Chad, the patron saint and how his relics were transported from his shrine in Lichfield. Cardinal Newman who was such an influential figure in Birmingham, gave sermons from the pulpit.  However, the best way to learn more about these stories and the Cathedral is to visit the building yourself.  My pictures in this blog which catalogue my view from the Instameet only show a part of what is on view..  

There are many more pictures taken by the talented photographers of Igersbirmingham UK and these may be found on Instagram by using the hashtag #igbUK_meet_stchads

Thank you to St Chad’s Cathedral for hosting us. Thank you to my fellow IgersbirminghamUK organisers, @NickyWarwickshire and @James_never_Jim and all the photographers who came along and supported the event.

For more information about St Chad’s please vist the following webpage

Welcome to St Chad’s Cathedral – Birmingham’s hidden jewel on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
Reflecting on a great IgersbirminghamUK Instameet.
St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham IgersbirminghamUK instameet, 2023
A different view of St Chad’s Cathedral.

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Ozzy the Bull arrives in New Street station, Birmingham. 2023

Since the Bull was unveiled in a spectacular showpiece at the Commonwealth Games in the summer of 2022, the Birmingham public haven fallen in love with him.  As soon as the opening ceremony was over, the Bull was brought to Centenary Square where thousands of people came to view him.  His popularity was immense, and this soon created a new problem.  What to do with Bully after the games had finished? There were many suggestions but no concrete solutions and before long the Bull was moved from the square to a lock up location in Ladywood.  There he stayed underneath a tarpaulin sheet as Birmingham leaders decided what to do with him.  The public learnt that a solution had been found but first the bull needed to be upgraded for his new location. Time moved on and then there was an announcement of a competition to find a name for the Bull.  After a public vote, the name Ozzy was selected.  We also learnt where he was to be housed.  In the large atrium of New Street Station.  Then in early July a space was set up followed by parts of Ozzy being delivered to the station over one night in July.  Commuters woke up the next day to see the construction of Ozzy. First the body, then the head and horns.

Ozzy the Bull arrives in New Street station, Birmingham. 2023
Ozzy is tall and stands with a sheet over his head.
Ozzy the Bull arrives in New Street station, Birmingham. 2023
People move around as normal while Ozzy waits to be unveiled.

Every photographer in Birmingham rushed to take pictures of Ozzy as he is being constructed.  When I visited the feet were still missing although the rest of Ozzy is pieced together.  I had forgotten the size of the Bull and the distinctive head is high into the Atrium.  Someone has placed a white sheet over the head of Ozzy. Brummies are unsure why this has been done as it is not possible with a single sheet to hide the identity of the bull.  However the sheet does give an air of mystery to the statue.  

Ozzy the Bull arrives in New Street station, Birmingham. 2023
You just wonder what all the fuss is about.
Ozzy the Bull arrives in New Street station, Birmingham. 2023
This picture provides an idea on how impressive Ozzy is.

Enjoy these pictures and stay tuned for the unveiling of Ozzy in all his glory later this month. You may also wish to see two of my earlier posts which chronicle the history of Ozzy the Bull.

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Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.

My challenge for this week’s 52 weeks project was black and white photography. As I was in Birmingham for my research work, I took the opportunity to wander the streets of the city looking for pictures of buildings. Armed with my trusty Fujifilm x100v, I stepped off the bus at the O2 arena stop. On the opposite side of the road, there are new high raised buildings going up. All are aimed at the residential market. These skyscrapers are going up all over and the city looks unfinished or going places depending on which way you think.

Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
28 floors with 154 residential apartments being built on Essex street.

My next stop was the square area of buildings that house the Holiday Inn, 3 Arena central and the Alpha Tower. Many shapes, angles and lines as the tall buildings are all clustered together. The Library of Birmingham and the Town Hall were also the subjects of my study on black and white architecture. Finally the rain, which had been falling heavily all day, got the better of me and soaked through, I headed towards Snow Hill Station for my train home. I still managed to get a few pictures of the Snow Hill skyscrapers.

Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
The edge of the Alpha Tower.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Clustering of building lines.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
The Radisson Blu in Black and White!
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Surreal reflections of the Library of Birmingham.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Tram stop in front of the Town Hall.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Tram passing by the Snow Hill Buildings.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Three SnowHill

My processing was a mixture of simple black and white or enhanced work with Silver Efex. The results were interesting and I was surprised that I captured so many buildings in different ways. I reflected all this was done without the need to photograph those iconic Birmingham buildings of the BT Tower, the Rotunda or the Cube. I will probably give the ones that I missed the black and white treatment another time. Meanwhile enjoy the ones that I have in this blog.

Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
A conversation outside Birmingham Town hall.

If you enjoyed this blog then how about a splash of colour with your architecture.

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The Bull in the Car Park, Ladywood, Birmingham, October 2022

The Bull enjoyed an intense period of adulation during the Commonwealth Games as the Birmingham Public took the Bull to their hearts.  Standing tall next to the Central Library, the Bull became the main attraction in Centenary Square.  I visited the square several times with the family.  Whether you were young or old everyone loved the Bull.  However, rumblings about its future began to surface as we learnt that it was not going to be a permanent fixture.  There was an open debate what would happen after the Commonwealth Games were over.  My blog account of that first day when the bull was moved to Centenary Square after that amazing opening ceremony, shows how much it was loved.  There was much discussion about the future and the decision was to keep the Bull on show till the end of September.  

The Bull at the peak of its powers during the Commonwealth Games

On the hour during the games, there was an amazing display from the Bull. The animatronics included leg movement, shaking of the head and smoke coming out of the nostrils.  All this ceased as the team who operated the internal levers and controls moved onto other contract work in the UK.  The Bull remained standing proud and was admired by the many visitors who came to Birmingham.  Then not quite at the end of September, the Bull was moved from the square.  It quickly transpired that its new home was a piece of waste ground in Ladywood near to the Birmingham canal navigations.  There were coverings over the structure to protect it from the elements.  Protection is needed as the Bull is of mixed construction with a metal outer skin, but internal organs made of foam and electronics.  Within its centre was a telehandler, a type of tractor that enabled the bull to be moved around.

The Bull in the Car Park, Ladywood, Birmingham, October 2022
The Bull behind barbed wire

So how is the Bull these days?  My pictures reveal life as a Bull in Birmingham after the Commonwealth games.  The Bull stands alone by the canal behind barbed wire, covered with a tarpaulin. There is a single security guard on duty.  My pictures show it is lonely and that people do not know it is around.  My picture of the lonely bull with the couple passing by captured the imagination of Instagram and it was featured by BirminghamLive bringing its plight to the attention of the whole of Birmingham.

The Bull in the Car Park, Ladywood, Birmingham, October 2022
Behind bars and do not touch.
The Bull in the Car Park, Ladywood, Birmingham, October 2022
The lonely Bull in the Car Park

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022

We were promised lots more activity during the B2022 Festival linked with the Birmingham Commonwealth games. When a readymade garden in the middle of Birmingham was announced, it really caught the public imagination.  PoliNations was not like any other garden, attracting huge anticipation on what to expect. This display was stunning and so different to what had gone before during the festival.  PoliNations is difficult to sum up in a few words.  I will try to describe the scene but I am aware that the gardens brought out different personal experiences from those who went.

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose
Hada Bejar

To put it simply, Victoria square was transformed into a garden.  The paving stones, concrete, and other parts of the square were covered with grass and flowers. There were 5 manmade trees with large umbrella like canopies.  These trees were 40 ft high and towered above the landscape with the trunks covered with colourful patterns.  At ground level, there were walkways through a garden of plants.  Access was by several entrances which lead to different zones.   Iconic plants such as apple, fern, roses and tulips were featured.  Other parts of the garden were called Fringe, Sunny or Temperature zones and had flowers to match the theme.  The map shown provides a key to the different areas.  

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Map of PoliNations

The sensory garden had varieties of flowers based on those you would normally find in the City.  I visited twice. Once while it was raining and the second time when the sun shone. I enjoyed all the textures, interaction with people and the use of mirrors on the public seating.  

There was a full programme of events including music, dance and theatre which were held on either the large stage or the many smaller places through out the installation.  I was not able to attend these shows but my visits during the day gave me a flavour of the place. PoliNations was magical but quirky, natural and surreal.  The diversity of the place was displayed in the range of flowers, the colours on offer and the people passing through. The place eventually caught up with you and made you sit down and take in the uniqueness of everything.  

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Taking Time Out

PoliNations was a photographers delight allowing you to take a range of pictures. There were many stunning pictures taken using drones but I am a simple foot on the ground photographer and this is my interpretation of the place. A simple search on Instagram shows the variety of pictures that were taken. Please enjoy my pictures of my visit to PoliNations which serve as a memory of an extra-ordinary visit.

More pictures to view of PoliNations in the rain and the sun.

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Rain does not stop people from enjoying the gardens.
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Take it slow
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Relax
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Take it easy
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Have fun
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Great interactions either live or virtual
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
PolNations
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
The Floosie in the Jacuzzi and PoliNations

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row

By far the most popular venue for the #keyofthecitybrum was Birmingham’s newly built skyscraper, 103 Colmore row. On the 18th floor, there is a south facing viewing platform that provides amazing views of the City’s major buildings.  When the Key started, Instagram was inundated with pictures of the City of Birmingham from this platform.  Many of these pictures were excellent and circulated by the social media team at 103 Colmore Row.  I left my visit to the building till late July and wondered how I could do a different picture from the platform.

Arriving in the foyer of the building with Nicky Warwickshire, my photo companion for the day @nickywarwickshire, we were met by Touwa, one of the volunteers for the Key to the City Brum.  Touwa welcomed us to 103 Colmore Row, Birmingham, England. He explained that the newly built building was a 108-metre tall 26-storey commercial office skyscraper.  We were going to the 19th Floor and above this floor is the soon to be opened restaurant on the 24th floor. We were not going to the 18th floor viewing platform but to a floor that provides a 360o view.  The floor was empty, and I was able to get pictures of buildings such as the BT tower and the Rotunda.  I even did a panorama to take in the skyscrapers.  It was also possible to capture views of the people visiting who were fascinated with the views.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Admiring the view
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Panorama of the City

My different picture?  I got down low and framed the top of the BT tower in the frame of the windows.  I was pleased as I had got a different view which still conveys the sense of height above the city. The picture was featured by BBC Midlands Today that evening.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
A different view of the BT Tower
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
My picture on BBC Midlands Today

Finally a few more pictures showing the colours of the City for the Commonwealth Games taken from the 19th floor of 103 Colmore Row.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Looking over the City and beyond. What can you see?
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Colours on the pillars.
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
The view with everyone’s favourite the BT Tower.

My Journey with the Key
If you wish to review my journey then I have published all my visits on my blog as follows.


Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Lapworth Museum

Northfield Community Garden

The 61 and 63 buses routes are ones I know well as I use them to visit the dental school at Pebble Mill. I don’t often stay on the bus but for the keys of the City Brum, I carried on and headed down to Northfield.   The final bus stop was only a short walk from the Northfield Community Garden.  There were large iron gates which were locked by the heavy but majestic Yale lock.  The gates had to be pushed open and then I entered.  

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Northfield Community Garden
The gates to the garden with lock
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Northfield Community Garden
Welcome to the garden

There was a lovely welcome sign, and a garden-decorated tractor was also there to greet you.  The garden, next to a busy road, is a mixture of different influences.  My first thought is that the plants needed a good watering, but one could not overlook the enthusiasm that the gardeners have for the place.  There are several car tyres used to good effect providing places for the growing plants.  There were some welcome benches where one could sit down and take in the area.  In one way it was chaotic, but this was also its charm.  

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Northfield Community Garden
Colourful display
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Northfield Community Garden
Colourful tyres
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Northfield Community Garden
Colourful chairs
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Northfield Community Garden
Colourful Garden Shed

The garden sits next to the busy Longbridge bypass and there is a dull noise of traffic in the background.  Over time this noise recedes, and it is possible to relax, reflect and take in the surroundings.   I loved the garden shed which was a colourful metal container painted with several eye-catching designs.  Overall, a pleasant place to visit and wander around.

Lapworth Museum

I took the 61 bus back up the Bristol road and jumped off for the University.  This #keyofthecitybrum was home territory for me as my visit was to the Lapworth Museum which is part of the University of Birmingham.  The museum has won several local awards and been nominated for national awards.  Geology is the theme, and this is highlighted by the magnificent Rock Wall which reaches up to the ceiling.  The display cabinets have many drawers to pull out, with each one revealing different parts of the collection The large number of windows make the museum a delight to photograph and the afternoon light streaming through is a feature of the place.  

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Lapworth Museum
Lovely designs

But the centrepiece is a large dinosaur which is centre piece to the main museum room.  Rory the Allosaurus is a commanding skeleton, and he is also the key to finding the lock as described in the instructions.  Finding the lock could have been a challenge but I was ready for something hidden having already been to Acocks Green Cemetery.  I found the lock in the cabinets opposite to Rory and inside there was a fascinating display of various rocks and fossils.  The colours from the rocks is shown in the pictures. This treasure hunt for the key was rewarded with a lovely display.  Very well done.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, Lapworth Museum
Rory shows the way

My Journey with the Key
If you wish to review my journey then I have published all my visits on my blog as follows.