IgersbirminghamUK have been busy during the year organising a range of Instameets. Following on from our visit to St Chad’s Cathedral, we were contacted by Alexander Beard, the Heritage Officer of the West Midlands Police Museum. Alexander offered us two Instameets at the former Lock up in Steelhouse Lane thus giving the photographers of IgersbirminghamUK a chance to see inside a popular museum venue. Having visited the WMPM on a previous occasion, I decided to focus on the details of the prison. Here are different views of doors, ceilings and the metal structures. I converted all the pictures to black and white. This gave some consistency to the pictures but also overcame the difficulties with managing the low light in the lock up. The museum is a must visit attraction and can be seen at many different levels as my pictures attempt to show.
Queen Mary University of London is on the Mile End Road and is adjacent to the Regent’s canal. Part of the campus borders the canal and there is easy access from the University entrance. I was at QMUL for a conference but took the opportunity when time allowed to explore the tow path. My first walk was in the early morning and I followed the canal down to Limehouse basin and onto the River Thames. My second walk was northwards up to Victoria park and took place in the late afternoon. Both walks allowed me to photograph people, boats, wildlife and buildings along the way. This is my photographic account from those walks.
From QMUL to the river.
I was up early for this walk and was moving on the towpath by 6am. There were still many people out and about at this time. The day before had been hot and whilst there was a morning coolness temperatures were forecast to rise above 30oC. There was a slight mist around the canal which diffused the light. Several species of birds were moving around in the water. The canal was heavy with algae and the ducks made tracks in the green covering. There is a mixture of old industrial decay alongside both modern designs of buildings. I took several pictures of the juxta positioning of the buildings and where the canal was algae free caught their reflections in the still water.
On the streets there were abandoned hire bikes. Colours were appearing as the early sunlight started to reach the taller buildings. I soon reached Limehouse basin and this coincided with the sunrise. The area has lots to see and quick decisions were made as to the best place to stand for the photographs. I used my phone to take a few quick pictures that let me quickly see and plan the pictures with my Fujifilm x100v. One of my first pictures worked well and set the standard that I needed for future views.
After spending time photographing the sunrise , I made my way along the final part of the canal to the Thames. This area is very popular with local commuters due to its proximity to Canary Wharf. The quality of housing is of a higher standard than where I started in the Mile End Road. The journey does take you through a range of housing. The Thames looked good in the early morning light and I took several pictures around Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Kitchen restaurant. I followed the commuters as they walked along the road and then onto the pedestrian walkway next to the Thames. This was a chance to practice some street photography as sharp contrasts between light and dark were created by the sunlight rising between the buildings.
After a while, I realised that I had a conference to attend and I made my way back to QMUL following the Limehouse Cut. This took me past the Sea Mission and I eventually caught up with the Regent’s canal again. The light had shifted and therefore there were different takes on pictures that I had taken on the way down. One picture that I enjoyed taking was of two swans who were tucked into a recess of the canal wall. The picture with the reflections in the background shows the beauty of this canal.
My final picture is of black and white architecture. I saw this block of flats as the canal turned after a railway bridge. The reflections immediately caught my eye. I converted the picture to black and white and I was pleased with the result. I entered into the weekly #fsprintmondays competition organised by FotoSpeed on Twitter and the picture made the top 4 for that week.
If you enjoyed this blog then there is an earlier account of my photographic journey from Kings Cross to Camden along the Regent’s Canal. This waterway has such a varied landscape which makes it ideal to satisfy my love for photography.
Cheltenham Paint Festival 2023 was on my radar when it was first announced earlier this year. Having photographed the street art in Digbeth, I have ventured further afield to Bristol and Leamington Spa to look at their street art. The Paint Festival in Cheltenham has a reputation of being well organised and attracting some of the top street artists from home and abroad. The festival director and artist Andy Dice Davies (aka dice67) had produced an audio map for the phone. I downloaded the interactive map and whilst there was a bit of a learning element on how to use the software, I found it very useful. I would love it if there was a narrative that I could listen to as a continuous streaming or even a podcast of the event. Still the interactive map was very good and I have used the app for reference for this blog.
North Place Car Park
Not knowing the geography of Cheltenham, I did my homework. I found on arriving that the town has NCP car parks and I needed their app to get a good rate of parking. I parked centrally and made my way to North Place Car Park. Many street artists were painting on the surrounding walls and the place was a hive of activity. There were many photographic opportunities as I walked around the walls. I struck up a conversation with one of the artists @mycutecreatures. Her work was only just being started but it was possible to see the design that was planned. I find it fascinating how the artwork develops as the artist is painting during the day. I moved down along the walls where other artists were working away. The murals were on different themes, with different images and most of all differed in colours and content. Certainly a feast for the eyes.
Next stop was the Holiday Inn to see both last year’s mural and the progress on this year’s wall. Last year’s mural is amazing whilst the present mural is facing towards the town. When taking pictures of the street murals, I always look to take a different picture and seeing the mural, I lined up the traffic lights with the face. This made for an interesting picture. Curtis Hylton painted the pea hen for a previous festival whilst the uncompleted work in my picture is by Epod3000. Check his Insta account to see the finished painting.
Previous Festivals Artwork
There are so many murals to visit, and I went to several places to find street art that had been completed during previous festivals. As you see from the set of pictures each mural tells a story. I visited on the Saturday and several works are incomplete. This just means that I will have to revisit at a later date! This blog provides a real time account of how the festival was taking place.
Whilst I was in the area around the Holiday Inn, I met Stephen Gledhill, a street art blogger, who runs the Natural Adventures blog. This covers street art up and down the UK. Stephen was looking at the stencil done by the Street Artist Pogo Stencils UK. Stephen explained that this artwork was a wonderful example of complex multi-layer stencils. There is good attention to detail, and it is possible on close inspection to identify the layers. I love the explanations to paintings in art galleries and was indebted to Stephen for taking me through the Street art. I took a picture of Stephen next to the street art that was painted at a previous Cheltenham Art Festival.
Frog and Fiddle
Stephen recommended visiting the Frog and Fiddle which turned out to be a real gem of a pub. Ordering myself a drink, the bartender gave me some of the background to the place and gave me permission to wander around. I went upstairs where there is another example of the stencil work of Pogo. The positioning of the partial face against the windows adds a haunting feel to the pool tables. At the back of the pub, @Dice67 has painted a portrait of Jet Black, the Strangler’s drummer who is sadly no longer with us. There were other street artists at work in this area and were happy to chat about their work. This festival does provide a buzz to the town.
Leaving the Frog and Fiddle, I walked up the high street taking some detours to see previous festival work by @Zabouartist and work in progress on a new mural by @liambononi. The latter artwork was above an entrance to a factory. The artist was painting on a motorised platform with air filter protection. The tools of the trade. Having marvelled at the artwork I returned to the path down the high street and came into the Church yard of Cheltenham Minster, St Mary’s. My destination was the Two Pigs pub, the HQ of the Cheltenham Paint Festival.
The Two Pigs
The pub was busy and had many artists working both in the back yard of the pub and inside. Many of the painters took time out to chat about their work and most were happy to have their photograph taken for my blog.
More Street Art
The festival experience is remarkable in that the murals have become an interlinked feature of the town. I passed beautiful streets filled with examples of Regency architecture. I walked around the Royal Crescent and then into the streets behind. Here tucked away in a car park are the Bayshill walls where there were examples of artwork from previous festivals.
Using Andy’s interactive map on my phone, I retraced my steps through an alley way to the Bottle of Sauce pub and Dodo establishments. I walked through the St Paul’s area, where the houses are predominantly white with some splashes of colour. My aim was to view an iconic piece of work by the street artist @whoamIrony. However, I went too far and found myself in Pittville Park. Here I discovered street artists painting on the Agg Pavilion. There were 5 artists at work, and I was pleased to meet @Titlegraffiti. I recognised his work at once having come across his work in Digbeth, Birmingham. My personal favourite was the intricate work being done by @faye.rai who explained that she was painting in a similar manner to a watercolour. Other street art at the pavilion included the painting of a Barbie doll on its side by @katiescott_creative. There were others there and I am hoping readers will fill in the artist blanks for me.
I did get to see the iconic wolf moon mural by Irony on the way back.
There were also some other artwork on the streets which were fun to photograph. I went back to the car park and came across @ n_4_t_4 with his colourful mural of a bird. I introduced myself to Nathan and he took time out to talk to me about his work. He is a well-respected street artist and this was one of my highlights in my travels around the festival. Around the corner @mycutecreatures was finishing her mural and several others were nearing completion. Members of the public were admiring the street art.
By now I was ready for home, I realised looking through Andy’s map that I had missed several other large projects such as buildings and carparks. Therefore, I will have to come back to Cheltenham and see the street art that I had missed and take pictures of those that were in progress. I did pick up on Instagram what was happening elsewhere and there is a good record on many Insta micro-blogging sites.
If you want to follow some excellent street art photography, then Max Johnson @Moxsblag is a must. Her documentation of the artists is first class and very detailed. Another insta blogger is @Streetartuk2023. Again, nice photography and documentation.
Many thanks both to Andy for organising the festival and all those artists that allowed me to take photographs of their work. I hope that I have got all the credits right and apologise if there are mistakes. I am happy to amend when I have the necessary information. Please contact me via this website or @dammodammo if there is anything that I need to correct. The featured image at beginning of this blog was by @sam_art_34. BBC Gloucestershire did a feature on the return of the event prior to the festival.
Camera use for all pictures was with my Fujifilm x100v except for a couple of iPhone pics. The x100v was on aperture control and colour balance daylight. For the artists out there, I was the guy in the hat wandering around with the silver retro camera.
If you enjoyed this blog then here are my Street art walks around Digbeth, Leamington Spa and Bristol.
I enjoy a photographic walk with my Fujifilm x100v camera around the streets of Birmingham. The early hours are best when few people are around and about. This series of photographs begins at Eastside where the HS2 works are taking place. Digbeth was next and I returned to Birmingham along the canal exiting again near to the HS2 works.
What is there to tell you about my walk? No surprises, as building in Birmingham has not finished and HS2 is still digging and putting up barriers. I took a few pictures and was interested to see BBC midlands covering the HS2 disruption in the evening news. Why is HS2 taking so long and why is there so much disruption? I do get upset with the blasé way they are undertaking the HS2 works. I am sure it will look wonderful when finished but is it worth the upheaval and time taken.
The latest BBC item puts HS2 under the spotlight.
Digbeth was quiet for a Monday morning and since the pandemic there is less footfall during business hours. The nightlife is always busy but there is a definite change in activity during the day. My next observation is the encroachment of high rise living around Digbeth and the loss of character with the demolition and neglect of buildings.
There are several brownfield sites around the area that will become large skyscrapers. Other signs of change include the former Typhoo tea building which is starting to see activity around the relocation of the BBC to the building. Change may not always be positive and one of my pictures is outside what was the DigBrew entrance. Sadly this excellent brewery has ceased trading and artwork from the street artist Tempo33 marks the spot.
There is much chaotic colour around the streets of Digbeth and the morning sun brings out the light and shadows. The canalside is another area in Digbeth that is changing with several buildings undergoing renovation. How this change will progress will be interesting to document in future months.
My final picture was taken on my iPhone as I went past the Selfridges building. I went low and framed the iconic discs in the background. I was in luck as a woman walked past although she was confused by what I was doing. The picture turned out well but was also a reminder not to attract undue attention during my street photography.
Returning to the HS2 theme then there are more stories about the construction on my blog. I have been documenting 16 acre wood and the damage caused by HS2 around Balsall Common since 2020. Here is my account of this part of the HS2.
When the dental hospital was on St Chad’s Queensway, one of the places I was always walking past was the lock-up cells on Steelhouse lane. The Police Station was active and the cells in the lockup were still being used till 2016. There was always lots of activity around there with police vans and officers moving around sometimes in large numbers. Now the building has been renovated and reopened as the West Midlands Police Museum. The entrance to the Children’s hospital is now the busiest place on the street and several of the buildings are being turned into Luxury flats.
Having seen several photographs of the inside of the building, this has been on my list of a place to visit for some time. The opportunity arose when a group of friends organised a visit and I looked forward to exploring the inside of the building. The museum is the former site of the West Midlands Police Lockups that were used to temporarily hold prisoners whilst they were being tried at the Law Courts next door. The prison has a long and colourful history and many people from different backgrounds passed through the cell doors. With the popularity of the Peaky Blinders BBC series, such sites have generated a high level of public interest. In fact the term Peaky Blinders covers many of the gangs that roamed Victorian Birmingham in the 1890s. Needless to say the museum features the Peaky Blinders in their displays and you can learn more about the gangs that roamed Birmingham which were kept in check by a robust police force.
The museum covers three floors and when you enter the building you are immediately drawn to the metal walkways and the cell doors placed along the side of the building. There is a large skylight in the roof which allows the light to filter in all the way down to the lower levels. The play of the light on the whitewashed walls was fascinating and the metal railings and floor created interesting patterns that were immediately captured by my camera. I had brought my trusty Fujifilm x100v and it proved a useful camera in the tight areas of the prison. There were several favourite pictures which revolved around the cells. There were interesting stories everywhere including the toilets inside the cell with the cisterns outside so as to prevent prisoners self harming with the chains.
The passage way from the lockup to the Law courts was another favourite. I imagined how it must have been when it was in full use as a lockup. Overall I was really fascinated on how the light fell into the prison. Even though the place must have been a difficult place with the smells and the noise, there is also a warmth to the building. The museum features those brave police officers who were harmed whilst undertaking the “line of duty”. There are references to police animals and the highway patrol officers. The presence of a birching stool reminds you of how far we have come in society over a short space of time. In the talk that was given by Peter one of the volunteers, I learnt that the lockup had a matron who oversaw the domestic requirements of the prisoners such as medical care. There were plenty of stories to be told.
The museum is managed by Helen Taylor and her informative staff, some of whom are former police officers who worked in the lock ups. The staff brought the museum to life and ensured that all questions were answered and made sure we enjoyed our visit. The pictures provide a glimpse into the museum and I know that evening tours are often arranged but for me the light coming into the prison at midday was fascinating. I will certainly revisit at a later date.
Here are some references to the prison including their website
The official site – West Midlands Police Museum.
I have also visited the Inveraray jail in Scotland which features in one of my recent blogs.
Weekend in Loch Lomond
A recent visit to London allowed me to take my x100v on a walkabout after my meeting at the Amazon offices just off Bishopsgate Road. I went to Spitalfields market where there was much activity going on. My visit to London involved passing through Baker Street station which is always good for a photograph. Enjoy this selection of pictures. All photographs taken with iPhone13 or Fujifilm x100v. The selective colour picture of Baker Street was made in camera with further processing in Lightroom.
Interested in Street Photography? Here are some other examples of my pictures.
I am delighted to announce that my picture ‘Regency Wharf‘ was commended in the Urban view category of the Landscape Photography of the Year 2022.
The picture will be featured in the LPOTY 2022 book, ‘Landscape Photographer of the Year: Collection 15’, and will form part of the travelling exhibition in the digital format.
The picture is available to purchase from my website. I include an account below how the picture was taken, the camera used and the post production notes.
Fog in Gas street basin mug£8.00 – £10.50
On a cold but very bright January morning, I went into Birmingham with my camera. I planned to walk around the City, with a focus on Brindley Place and Gas street Basin. The sun was low and there was an intensity about the light. By mid-morning, I found myself in Gas Street basin outside the Tap and Spile pub. I looked across to the imposing red-bricked building displaying the large stencilled letters, Regency Wharf. The scene looked as if someone had suddenly turned on a bright spotlight. The basin was lit up and the building was radiating the light. The water was perfectly still, allowing mirror like reflections. A person was walking on the tow path towards the canal bridge. I could see that his route would take him in front of the Regency Wharf sign. I lifted my camera, looked through the viewfinder and took several shots of the lone person moving along the path. I was thinking how these pictures would turn out but then quickly moved on as more interesting scenes were developing around me. I took more pictures in and around the area all of which did very well when posted on my social media channels.Regency Wharf – Damien Walmsley
Camera settings for the picture
The picture was taken on 11th January 2022 at 11.06
The camera was the Fujifilm x100v
Focal length – 23mm
Exposure was 1/10000, f/4, ISO160
The RAW file (Fuji – RAF) was opened in Lightroom and the light was so good that there was not much that that needed to be done to the image. I brought out the shadows and reduced the highlights. There was a small amount of saturation added. Once these basic adjustments were done, I took the image into Photoshop and made the decision to crop the picture to highlight the centre of the image. It may be argued that in the original the background to the Regency Wharf building, highlights the new buildings of Birmingham. However, my crop aims to highlight the legacy of Birmingham with a hint of what the future holds.
As I wanted to quickly upload the picture onto Instagram, I used an unsharp mask and then levels on the picture, but it was minimal editing. The light was so strong that the reflections in the water were excellent.
My personal reflections of LPOTY
I submitted 5 photographs for the LPOTY competition. in early summer, I was taken aback when several people on social media shouted out that they were no longer progressing in the competition. I had not received such a notification and on the website, it was asking for submission of a high resolution picture of one of my pictures. There was a mixture of anticipation but confusion. Eventually, I found my email informing me that I had been shortlisted. It was in my spam filter! The RAW files and more detailed explanation of the processing of the picture were submitted to the LPOTY team. There was another long wait. The FAQ on the website said that if I had not heard anything by October then my entry was unsuccessful. As there were no emails in the first 2 weeks of October, I was just happy that I had been shortlisted. It was on a train journey on the Tuesday afternoon prior to the Sunday announcement that I got the email saying that my picture was Commended in the Urban View category. I was so pleased but the rub was that I had to keep it confidential until now. My family are pleased for me and my friends who have been on my photographic journey were happy as well.
People reading this blog will want to know what it takes to be successful in the competition. Several things spring to mind. Always believe in your picture taking and be content with your own work. Social media is not necessarily a good barometer of a successful picture. Be resilient, this was my fourth attempt since my first entry back in 2018. Listen to constructive criticism and research into how others take their photographs. Always be ready to learn and never take rejection of your pictures personally. Pick yourself up and take the camera on a walk. I will be entering again in 2023 and I know it will be just as competitive as ever. However, I will see what happens and happy to enjoy the experience of entering again.
Fog in Gas street basin mug£8.00 – £10.50
Reflections in Floodgate Street Poster with hangers£15.50 – £31.50
Feel the force Postcard£3.25
Slater’s Bridge Postcard£3.25
Chesterton Windmill WITH SAILS Postcard£3.00
Confetti fields Postcard£3.00
Chesterton windmill Postcard£3.00
Poppy field in Bewdley Postcard£3.00
Bluebells pin buttons£12.00 – £14.00
On cold winter’s mornings and hot summer days, the train to Worcester Foregate Street starts at Dorridge. When I worked full time, this commuter train took me regular as clockwork, most of the time, to either Birmingham Moor Street or Snow Hill. Sometimes I wondered what it would be like to stay on the train to the final destination of Worcester Foregate Street. This blog is a pictorial record of my visit to Worcester via the train.
Worcester Foregate street is a busy station with the London trains from Paddington passing through onto Malvern and Hereford. My photographic agenda was the River Severn, the Racecourse, the Swan Sanctuary, the Cathedral and the Commandery. After that anything was a bonus including the town centre.
The River Severn was swollen and muddy brown in colour following recent rain. It is difficult to imagine what it must be like when it floods and breaks its banks. The racecourse is small but even when empty it was fun to photograph with the cyclists and joggers passing through. Walking over to the west side of the river, I moved onto the Swan Sanctuary. I had timed it well as lunch time was about to start and a large flock of swans had gathered. The sanctuary is a simple set of steps from a boat house down to the river and allows you to get amongst the flock for pictures. For photographs it is ideal as the cathedral provides a dramatic backdrop.
Retracing my steps, I crossed over the road bridge along the East bank making my way through Kings school Worcester to the Cathedral. There is so much to enjoy when visiting a cathedral and whilst parts of the tower were undergoing storm damage repair, there was the Norman crypt and the cloisters to explore. The west window with its spectacular stained-glass window looked down onto the nave. The Cathedral has so much history and I will have to visit again when the restoration of the Quire is completed.
Next stop was the Commandery and the site of the last battle of the English Civil War. A time to brush up on my history lessons and as soon as I saw the helmets and the pikes on the canal bridge near to the building then all that knowledge came flooding back. I remember the Roundheads and Cavaliers together with all those famous figures of history including Oliver Cromwell. The battle of Worcester was the last battle in a sprawling conflict that had already seen the death of Charles I. His son, Charles, later to become Charles II came down to Worcester with a Scottish Army only to be routed by the New Model Army. Charles escaped to France not before hiding in an Oak Tree. The Commandery was the HQ of the Royalist forces, and all this history was built into the building. Even after the Civil War, it was visited by the US senators John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, soon to become Future Presidents. The Georgian rooms were particularly impressive looking out towards the gardens and the Fort Royal Hill.
I wandered back along Friar Street past the Tudor house and Greyfriars House onto Worcester Foregate Street for my Journey home. Reflecting on my visit, Worcester has much to offer, and I enjoy exploring such places with my camera.
Want to know more then here are some links
There is the official Visit Worcester site that has lots of information. Worcester Cathedral also has its own web site which gives lots of information. If you wish to learn more about the English Civil War and the Battle of Worcester please visit the Commandery Web site.
Pictures taken with the Fujifilm x100v and the Sony DSC-RX100M5 .
On one side of the M1 is Warwickshire, on the other is Northamptonshire. Most of the time, I am in Warwickshire visiting my daughter and so Rugby is my final destination. Google maps is a wonderful tool for browsing and looking for new places to visit. Often, I use canals as my compass and it was following the Grand Union canal along Google maps that I was intrigued not only by Cracks Hill but also the surrounding area. I discovered the Friends of Cricks Wood web site and learnt about the good work being done by the community there. Close by is Cracks Hill which was formed by a retreating glacier during the last ice age. Running through this area of natural beauty is the Grand Union Canal. This looked like a good place to photograph especially if the conditions were just right. The one ingredient that is needed is good light and on an evening in December, it looked as if there would be a good sunset. I packed my camera gear and set off to the woods. On arrival, I spent some time in the Jubilee woodland as the sun was setting. The colour on the leaves in the light at the end of day was something to behold.
The next place to visit was the summit of Cracks Hill. It was not disappointing and I was pleased that I had brought along my Canon D5 Mk4 with tripod. The windmills were fascinating to watch at such a distance and at a height. I was also taken by a lone tree on the side of the hill. Needless to say the tree featured in a few photographs. So it was a successful day and I made my way back to the car.
As I reached the bridge over the Grand Union, I met a dog walker and I let him pass. He moved onto the bridge and started walking into the embers of the sunset. I fumbled but I got my Fujifilm x100v just in time to capture a picture of the walker on the bridge. The resulting picture was dark but I used my editing suite to bring out the colours of the sunset. So part capturing the scene and then relying on a preset edit to produce the scene that I observed over that bridge and far away.
The final part to this series of photographs is the selection of the walker over the bridge by England’s Big Picture. It was my second feature of the year on the BBC site. I was very pleased with the outcome.
The University of Birmingham has a major economic impact on Birmingham and the West Midlands region. The University educates students, is a major employer, a research leader in all sectors and a gateway bringing in global connections that benefit the city. Even though the University has a beautiful campus at Edgbaston, a physical footprint in the city centre has long been on the University’s wish list. The old Municipal Savings Bank began to look an interesting project. Especially with the location of the bank on the new look Centennial square.
The former Municipal Bank is a Grade II listed building and has historical links with the University. Joseph Chamberlain was founder and first Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. Neville Chamberlain, the son of Joseph Chamberlain was behind the building of the Municipal Bank on Broad Street. It was first opened by Prince George in 1933 and has a long history of underpinning the wealth of an ambitious city. However, the bank closed at the turn of the century and the last 20 years has seen the building empty with no tenants. It was famously portrayed as the AC-12 base in the BBC series ‘Line of Duty’. The iconic safe deposit boxes in the vault were used in a Chanel advert amongst the various roles that the bank filled in these barren years. In 2018, the University negotiated a long lease of the building with Birmingham City Council and the renovations began.
I was fortunate in my University of Birmingham role to see these renovations firsthand in October 2019 before the pandemic. During my visit, I took a series of pictures on my iPhone. I had no idea which room I was photographing, although I remember the vaults where the safe deposit boxes reside. They are so interesting to see. Rows and rows of metal doors with numbers on them. One can only begin to imagine what was contained within them. The building was being gutted and there was so much to do from floor to ceiling in each room.
Fast forward to October 2021. Hasan Patel who is part of Communications Team at the University of Birmingham invited me to coffee at the Exchange after his Marathon Run. (Follow Hasan on Twitter to learn how to sponsor him on his running diary). We spent an enjoyable couple of hours putting the world to right. Hasan introduced me to the University team at the Exchange and we visited several rooms in the building.
Not long after my visit with Hasan, IgersBirminghamUK announced an Instameet at the Exchange. Immediately I signed up and went along. This Instameet is a friendly collection of photographers. We were given access to all areas including the Board room and the former bank managers office which I did not get to see on my first visit. The other interesting feature is the balcony where the bank manager opened the doors and looked out onto the banking floor to check that the bank was running smoothly. During the Instameet, this was a favourite spot for all the photographers.
Whilst we were in the vault, we were also given access to a utility room where many of the safety deposit boxes were stored. Now many of the boxes are placed strategically around the building and are a feature of those rooms which are used as teaching spaces and meeting areas. This basement room had many of the old boxes and proved to be a fantastic place to take photographs. There were still some stickers remaining and on one of the boxes the notice stated that this box could only be opened in the presence of a solicitor. Once again one could only imagine what was kept in these boxes over the years.
We finished the tour and adjourned to the Distillery Pub next to the Roundhouse. This is another interesting place to visit and includes a wall mural of a canal horse painted by one my favourite street artists, Annatomix. The Roundhouse was used to care for the canal horses that pulled the boats and has been renovated as a historical place of interest. There is even one of the horse stables on view.
This was a day taking pictures of historical buildings that have been brought up to date in a city that is rediscovering its roots and moving forward. Thank you to the team at IgersBirminghamUK for organising the tour and The University of Birmingham for opening the Exchange for this Instameet.
I have also included a blending of the old and new photographs in two of the rooms to show how the building has been modernised between my two visits.
Pictures taken with iPhone 11 and 13, camera Fujifilm x100v
If you are interested in joining an IgersBirmingham Instameet then please follow them on Instagram. An account of a previous IgersBirmingham Instameet at Moseley Market is also available on my blog.