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.

Latest products

Brighton Beach fun

Brighton Beach fun

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

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.

Latest products

Brighton Beach fun

Brighton Beach fun

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

Chinese New Year, Chinatown, Birmingham, January 2023

Venturing into China Town Birmingham to celebrate the Chinese New Year was a colourful affair. Hurst Street was set up with a stage and there were a number of market stalls set up along the street. The main action when I arrived was down in the Arcadian where the dragon dancers were in residence. The dancers put on a great show and these are a few pictures of the costumes and people that were in Chinatown to celebrate the New Year.

Chinese New Year, New Street Station, Birmingham, January 2023
New Year Blossom for Chinese New Year in Birmingham New Street Station
Chinese New Year, Chinatown, Birmingham, January 2023
Getting close to the action in the Arcadia
Chinese New Year, Chinatown, Birmingham, January 2023
Getting lost in the action. Picture Credit – Lena Mac from IgersbirminghamUK

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022

My next visits with #keytothecitybrum involved both a train station and a football ground. This is an account of my travels to two different venues.

New Street Train Station

Having passed through New Street Train station countless times, I wondered what surprise the key would provide.  The instructions were to go the end of platform one and announce your arrival at the door.   There was a wait as a prior party made the visit and then it was my turn.  There were two members of staff who took me down the stairs.  One of them, worked at the station but had never seen the underground tunnels.  We walked along an access tunnel and then we entered the area under the platforms.  Whilst you were allowed to take pictures along this access corridor, I was given strict instructions not to take pictures of the tunnels under the platforms.  These tunnels were originally used to connect with the Mailbox for mail delivery.  They are now used to deliver refreshments to the trains that pass through New Street. This was a good key location and gave access to a very interesting part of the City of Birmingham.

A trip to the Hawthorns

Taking part in the #keyofthecitybrum is not just about the places you visit. The key allows you to meet people who live and work in the West Midlands.  My journey with the key took me to the Hawthorns, the home of West Bromwich Albion Football club.  My key worked in the lock and when opened, the door led to a viewing platform where you could view the football stadium. The picture is of Leah who works in the WBA Club shop.  Leah opened the door to the ground and introduced me to the football club.  She and her colleague were good company.  We talked about her father who is a lifelong WBA football supporter.  In turn, I talked about my love of Manchester City.  Two of my boyhood heroes were Jeff Astle and Tony Brown even though they did not play for my beloved City.  I told Leah that I remember WBA winning the FA cup in 1968 as it was the year before City won the cup.  This stadium is a very friendly place and happens to be one of my favourite football grounds.  I just like the Hawthorns and thank you to “Key of the City Brum” for allowing me to visit once again.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022
The Hawthorns, home to West Bromwich Albion

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 01 - Artfull Expression, Jewellery Quarter

Collection and the first lock

There is a “key to the city Brum” that unlocks doors around Birmingham.  What a great idea.  Such doors give the entry to special places.  Ones that only you may open if you have a special key. Intriguing. I always loved a good treasure hunt but how do I get access to one of these fabled keys?  It was not difficult to find out as the project caught the imagination of Brummies and social media was rife with the #keytothecitybrum hashtag. 

Key to the City Brum 2022
Key to the City Brum 2022 passport box.

 When the launch took place in Grand Central on a Monday morning in June, I jumped in the car and made my way to New Street station, Birmingham.  I arrived just when the launch was taking place with all the media and other important people talking about the keys.  I even caught sight of the artist Paul Ramírez Jonas who came up with the concept.  The project had previously taken place in New York city and was now being launched in Birmingham as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival taking place prior to the Commonwealth Games.

Key to the City Brum 2022
The reception desk at New Street Station
Key to the City Brum 2022
Sarah from the Birmingham 2022 festival who signed the pledge with me.
Key to the City Brum 2022
Me and my key!

I was near to the front of the queue to receive my key and got talking to people around me.  The picture shows Sophie who works for the B2022 festival committee who were instrumental in bringing ‘Keys to the City’ to Birmingham. Sophie is pictured in New Street Station holding up the pledge that we had to read and then sign before getting our ‘Keys’. To sign our pledge, there needed to be two people signing it together on a table. Sophie kindly buddied up with me so that we could correctly enact the ceremony and then collect the key. Thanks to Sophie for allowing me to take her photograph. The key came in a presentation box with a leaflet in the form of a passport.  All the doors were listed with maps and instructions on how to access them.  One of the helpers then asked me to put a sticker on the map of Birmingham postcodes. This is to show everyone where all the key holders lived around Birmingham.  The story of the places I visit will be photographed in the following weeks.   I did write up the first few places and posted my pictures on Instagram.  However, people wanted the opening of the doors to be a surprise so I will release my journey after the 7th August when it ends.  Until then this is the first place that I visited to give a flavour of what you encounter with your key. 

Key to the City Brum 2022
The board showing where all the participants live

Artfull Expression

My first lock venue that I visited was Artfull Expression which is on Warstone Lane in the Jewellery Quarter.  My key opened the contents of the cabinet which held items used in the manufacture of jewellery.

David is the owner of Artfull Expression. His premises are one of the venues of the ‘Key to the City Brum’ event organised by the Birmingham 2022 festival. When I arrived, I was warmly met by David who explained the downstairs studio was not open due to unforeseen circumstances. He directed me to a locked cabinet that they had prepared. My ‘Key to the city’ fitted the Yale lock on the cabinet. I freed a metal rod which once removed, allowed the cabinet to be opened. Inside was a description of jewellery making. David enthusiastically explained the manufacturing process to me. Also, I learnt that David is one of the Guardians of the Birmingham Assay Office. He also told me how Birmingham obtained the anchor hallmark on its jewellery. Apparently, Matthew Boulton, the 18th century industrialist, won the right on the toss of a coin in a London pub. Sheffield was the loser and was given a castle logo which they changed to a rose. David has expertise in jewellery design and Sandy, my wife, will be returning to have some jewellery redesigned by him. This was a fascinating visit and the first lock opened in my Keys to the City journey.

There is a website for the key to the city Brum and also a link to Fierce Festival who are also involved with the organisation. Finally a link to the artist Paul Ramírez Jonas.

If you want to know more then visit David at the website for Artfull Expression

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


View of the City May 2021

Queensway is a busy arterial road in and out of Birmingham so there is always a high volume of traffic thundering along the tarmac.  With my telephoto lens and 24 to 70 mm lens, I went about taking different pictures of an area that is already very familiar to me.  New building projects are always happening in the city centre and the area between the Cathedral and the Canal was an old factory site.  It has been repurposed into city dwelling flats that are being built close to the canal.   

The area is also a magnet for different kinds of people and as I was taking pictures, I was hassled for money, so I quickly moved on.  It is something I am wary of when I am in the quieter parts of town.  I know that I do have to be careful of my own safety.  Still the lure of  taking a few photographs around the buildings on either side of Queensway won through.  I took pictures of St Chad’s Cathedral and also with my telephoto lens up past the Snow Hill buildings.  After that I made my way into town for a lunch time meeting. 

Parking on the top floor of Selfridges Car Park opposite the store provided skyline pictures of both the City and Digbeth, and the skyline bridge linking the two is always fun for a picture or two.    I love the new covering on the Selfridges which is being put in place whilst they replace the discs on the outside.  The covering is designed by Osman Yousefzada,who is a multi-disciplinary artist working in association with the IKON gallery. the pink and black geometric shapes are in contrast with the grey architecture.

It was a day of sunshine and showers and whilst I was outside there was a terrific downpour. 

This then led to the bonus of several puddles for a bit of reflective photography.  The puddles around Selfridges are still there and lend themselves to some nice reflections of the building as it is being renovated

On my way to New Street, there were other interesting images to capture including the queue outside Zara and the photographing of the Electric Cinema.  I lingered around the reflective roof of the entrance to New Street Station. I also took a few pictures of the trams passing through which is something you have to do when in Birmingham. 

So enjoy the pictures and it is good to see Birmingham as it emerges from the pandemic.  The only down side is the weather which is atrocious rain and so unlike May.


Birmingham by Annatomix

As you will have seen I have been stopping off in Birmingham on my way to work and taking pictures of the City.  There is a real opportunity to get some pictures of the place and often highlight the lockdown with the lack of people.  Most of the pictures shown have one or two people in them.  They are also bleak.  A solitary Christmas tree stands where the German market used to be.  A lone masked figure walks through China Town. Sunrises on the roof of deserted car parks.  As you look through the places then they will throw up different emotions and thoughts.  It has been difficult for many people and we will remember what this year is like for many years to come.  Meanwhile I sometimes feel guilty being a voyeur using the camera as an indiscrete people watcher.  Recording the events for my own pleasure.  Take a look through these pictures and see what you think.

I will be covering
Central business District / Snow Hill Tram station,
New Street Station/Grand Central
Roof of Snow Hill station
The Arcadian/China Town

Central business District / Snow Hill Tram station

Cornwall street Lockdown#2
Cornwall street Lockdown#2
Church Square Lockdown#2
Church Square Lockdown#2
Lockdown#2

What is eerie about the Lockdown#2 is the lack of people commuting into the city.  This is most evident in the business district.  There are few people on the streets and the offices are empty except for the security people on the front desk.  On a busy morning prelockdown, there would be people striding around the pavements goint to their office workplace.  Coffee shops would be busy, and the train and buses would stop and have to wait for some time to disgorge their passengers. Now it is much quieter. I have my iPhone and Canon 5D.  With the latter, it is big and therefore difficult to hide.  A man with a big camera, is a phrase someone said about me.  I do worry about being mugged for the camera..  The iPhone is fine, but it does try and correct low light settings and I like the control the manual settings give me.  Therefore it is often a mixture of both.

New Street Station/Grand Central

Welcome to New Street
Welcome to New Street
New Street looking empty
New Street looking empty
Around New Street and. feel sorry for the taxi drivers
Around New Street and. feel sorry for the taxi drivers
Annatomix art work graces the entrance to Grand Central
Annatomix art work graces the entrance to Grand Central
A more colourful approach Lockdown#2
New Street Station
New Street Station looking empty.

The station opens many opportunities for photographs but when there are few people around then it is difficult to be inconspicuous with your camera.  Therefore, in the station, I used by iPhone whilst outside my camera felt more comfortable.  The steps up to the station with the mirrored ceiling always create wonderful reflections.  There was a network rail person working occasionally looking out of a small window at the foot of the stairs.  I caught a picture of him although he is a little out of focus.  My nerves on taking the picture!  Hope you enjoy the pictures especially those of my favourite street artist, Annatomix.  A fellow photographer Elliot brown had passed by the day before, so I retraced his steps and found the place deserted.  Pictures that normally had people distracting you were possible.  So taking pictures of Birmingham have been easier under lockdown.

Roof of Snow Hill station

Sunrise roof of Snow Hill Car Park
Sunrise roof of Snow Hill Car Park
The view over Snow Hill platform
The view over Snow Hill platform
Reflections in a puddle of the BT tower
Reflections in a puddle of the BT tower
The moon still over St Paul's Church
The moon still over St Paul’s Church
Looking down Cornwall Street
Looking down Cornwall Street
Light Trails down Edmund Street
Light Trails down Edmund Street

An old favourite – if the weather is good and for this particular morning a great sunrise was on its way.  There was one car parked and the whole place deserted.  The skyscrapers of Snow Hill 1, 2 and 3 lean in over the car park.  It had been raining the night before and there were plenty of puddles for reflections.  It was dawn so you could look down Cornwall street with the pretty lights or down or do the light trials down Edmund street.  Both favourite locations for Birmingham Photographers since the car park was open.  A check on the BT Tower and yes St Paul’s Spire is still there with a full moon overlooking it.  The trains from Kidderminster arrive on their way to London and the Trams move by the Show hill office blocks. 

The Arcadian/China Town

Hurst Street on a rainy morning
Hurst Street on a rainy morning
Streetphotography in Chinatown
Streetphotography in Chinatown
Looking up Hurst Street
Looking up Hurst Street
A wet day in Chinatown
A wet day in Chinatown
These mopeds get everywhere
These mopeds get everywhere

The last morning of Lockdown#2 was a trip to the Arcadian Centre. I did want to see the Christmas tree that had a small cycling tunnel though its centre. When I made my way to the tree which is outside the Hippodrome, I saw that someone was sleeping underneath the tree. Not only that on closer inspection as my pictures show it was a homeless person dependent upon a wheel chair to get around. This shocked me and you may say this is a now a normal occurrence yet when you stumble across it, it still has the power to shock. I moved onto the Arcadian centre and the rain was persistent. The place was very quiet with few people moving around. I knelt down to do some puddle reflection pictures and happened to catch a young lad walking through the Chinatown passageway. The iPhone was all I used as it was so wet. A miserable end to Lockdown#2 but then again what do you expect from the year of 2020.

Homelessness during Lockdown#2
Homelessness during Lockdown#2

If you like these lockdown#2 photographs then the rest of the set are listed below
1. Birmingham Lockdown #2 – a photographic journey of the first morning
2. Birmingham Lockdown #2 – a visit to the Mailbox
3. Birmingham Lockdown #2 – New Street Art in Digbeth

or compare my photographs to those of the BirminghamLive website
Pictured: Eerie Birmingham on the first day of the second national lockdown


20160610_new-street-cropped
The Birmingham Gems calendar features pictures from 4 photographers in Birmingham and it is the idea of both Daniel Sturley (@iconic_exposure) and Jonathon Bostock (@birminghamweare ). The email telling me that i was going to have my pictures selected for the calendar was unexpected. After I had sent in a few examples of my photographs, they selected New Street Station, my view of the Civic buildings in Birmingham and my sunrise of St Paul’s Church. The latter one was my first picture that was selected for BBC West midlands today. I was also in good company with Tim Crornbill, Simon Felton and Ellie all photographers whose work I do admire.

There were many emails discussing the project followed by a celebration evening at Priestly Wharf where some of my family attended. There were poets, musicians and artists present and there were my pictures which I found so exciting.

20160908_evening2
The Calendar duly arrived and it was a high profile sell across Birmingham. All participants used their numerous contacts to spread the word. The proceeds from the Calendar are for Barbados, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and St Basils. All worthy causes for the proceeds of the calendar sale.

An exciting project and one that I was so pleased to have been invited to be a part of.

Website address:- Birmingham We Are 

Charities supported by the calendar

Barnardos   Queen Elizabeth Hospital  St Basils 

St Paul's Church