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28 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Railway 196 101 and 104 at Tyseley TMD

There is now at least two new Class 196 trains based at Tyseley TMD, the home of West Midlands Railway Birmingham Tyseley. WMR 196 104 was visible on the sidings close to Tyseley Station, while 196 101 was sticking out of the modern engine shed. More will be arriving in the next year or so.

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West Midlands Railway 196 101 and 104 at Tyseley TMD





There is now at least two new Class 196 trains based at Tyseley TMD, the home of West Midlands Railway Birmingham Tyseley. WMR 196 104 was visible on the sidings close to Tyseley Station, while 196 101 was sticking out of the modern engine shed. More will be arriving in the next year or so.


I noticed from the no 4 bus last week that you could see a Class 196 train from West Midlands Railway in Tyseley, as I was heading down to Acocks Green. So a few days later, I walked up from Acocks Green Village to see if I could spot them. There was two of them. Hard to see the numbers with your eyes, but got them from the photos. It started raining just after I got them, before I caught the no 4 bus to Solihull.

West Midlands Railway 196 101

This train was visible from near the entrance of the Tyseley Locomotive Works, and also near the entrance of West Midlands Railway Birmingham Tyseley (through the fences).

West Midlands Railway 196 104

This train could be seen from the Wharfdale Road Bridge near Tyseley Station. You could also see it from the Warwick Road. If you are lucky, you might see it from a train in passing (if it's still there of course).

If not getting a train to or from Tyseley Station, you can get the no 4 or 4A buses here on the Warwick Road. Also in walking distance of Acocks Green Village.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Green travel
20 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Pop up cycle lanes in the Jewellery Quarter

A couple of pop up cycle lanes have been installed in the Jewellery Quarter. One on Newhall Hill, from Sandpits to Frederick Street (no bollards). The other on Legge Lane and Graham Street towards Newhall Street. Whether cyclists will use them, I don't know. Was at least one van parked in the lane on Newhall Hill. And one cyclist on Graham Street didn't even use it.

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Pop up cycle lanes in the Jewellery Quarter





A couple of pop up cycle lanes have been installed in the Jewellery Quarter. One on Newhall Hill, from Sandpits to Frederick Street (no bollards). The other on Legge Lane and Graham Street towards Newhall Street. Whether cyclists will use them, I don't know. Was at least one van parked in the lane on Newhall Hill. And one cyclist on Graham Street didn't even use it.


Newhall Hill

From the bottom of Newhall Hill towards Sandpits. The Council has placed red and white barriers, closing it off to motorists. So only cyclists and pedestrians can pass through.

Just before here, saw a white van parked on the cycle lane, but the Council hasn't installed bollards up here (yet).

The Newhall Hill junction with Legge Lane and Graham Street. Near The Argent Centre (under scaffolding), and the Victoria Works of Joseph Gillott. Pens were historically made around here (or pen nibs).

Legge Lane / Graham Street

Onto Graham Street, opposite the Victoria Works, I spotted these red and white bollards. Although was originally thinking of walking up Frederick Street towards the site of the clock. Instead I headed down Graham Street towards Newhall Street.

Looking back towards Legge Lane from Graham Street. The temporary sign says that there is no access to Sandpits except for cycles. But there is still some cars around here.

A bit further down Graham Street, and there was a raised platform for the bus stop about halfway down the road.

Graham Street curves into Newhall Street where the pop up cycle lane ends just past the red post box.

See also the pop up cycle lane on Bradford Street and Old Camp Hill in Digbeth / Bordesley.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Green travel
30 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

New cycle lane on Bradford Street in Digbeth

As of September 2020, there is a new cycle lane in Digbeth on Bradford Street. There is also a section on Old Camp Hill and Trinity Terrace near Holy Trinity Church. Double yellow lines and bollards in place to hopefully stop cars parking. But there is car parking spaces on the other side of the road.

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New cycle lane on Bradford Street in Digbeth





As of September 2020, there is a new cycle lane in Digbeth on Bradford Street. There is also a section on Old Camp Hill and Trinity Terrace near Holy Trinity Church. Double yellow lines and bollards in place to hopefully stop cars parking. But there is car parking spaces on the other side of the road.


From the bus heading in and out of Digbeth, I've spotted new cycle lanes with red and white bollards. They have also painted white lines on the road. Double yellow lines to hopefully stop car drivers parking their cars in the way of the cyclists. Who would then have to ride into on coming traffic.

The main route goes down Bradford Street towards Moat Lane. There is another section that leaves Camp Hill at Old Camp Hill, then goes down Trinity Terrace (near the former Holy Trinity Church).

 

View 1: after getting off the no 50 bus, saw the demolition site opposite, where Kingfield Heath used to be.

View 2: A bit further down, St Modwen Homes have taken over the St Anne's Court site which had been stalled for a few years. Fabrick Square was completed a few years ago.

View 3: The abandoned S. K. Buildings. Which usually gets tagged and pasted all over. Hopefully this building can be redeveloped into apartments.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
16 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Spitfire and Hurricane at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum

It's the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, so Elliott is taking a look back to his 2013 visit to Thinktank where he saw a Spitfire and Hurricane hanging from the ceiling of the museum. Sptifire's were built at Castle Bromwich, while Hurricane's over at the Austin motor car factory in Longbridge. The Battle of Britain started in September 1940.

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Spitfire and Hurricane at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum





It's the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, so Elliott is taking a look back to his 2013 visit to Thinktank where he saw a Spitfire and Hurricane hanging from the ceiling of the museum. Sptifire's were built at Castle Bromwich, while Hurricane's over at the Austin motor car factory in Longbridge. The Battle of Britain started in September 1940.


September 2020, marks the 80th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain. Which took place over the English Channel between the RAF and the Luftwaffe. The official dates of the battle was the 10th July until the 31st October 1940. Did you know that many of the planes that fought in the battle were built right here in Birmingham!

The Supermarine Spitfire were built by Vickers Armstrong in Castle Bromwich. While the Hawker Hurricane at the Austin motor car factory in Longbridge.

 

Photos below taken on a visit to Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum during April 2013.

Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX

The Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX was built in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. The planes were built between 1938, and throughout the Second World War of 1939 to 1945. Vickers Armstrong had built over 11,000 planes there. The Spitfire was the most famous British fighter plane of the Second World War.

This plane was labelled HK A and ML 427. And could be seen above the Move It section of the museum (at the front) from the balcony views of We Made It.

Behind the Spitfire was the Hurricane.

 

Hawker Hurricane Mark IV

To the back was a Hawker Hurricane Mark IV. This plane was known for shooting down over 60% of enemy aircraft during the 1940 Battle of Britain. Around 300 Hurricane's were built at the Austin motor car factory in Longbridge in Birmingham. The Hurricane ended up being overshadowed by the more famous Spitfire. They were built from 1937 until 1944.

This plane was to the back and wasn't as easy to see as the Spitfire. Labelled JX R. With 395 at the rear end.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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80 passion points
Travel & tourism
24 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

We Made It on The Balcony at Thinktank

On Level 1 at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum was from about 2013 an exhibition on the mezzanine floor called We Made It. "What's a Cow got to do with a Car?" asks the leaflet from 2013. You could see a dissected Riley Elf (a bit like a Mini). Birmingham was known as the Workshop of the World. Gadgets used at home. Nuts and bolts. Tins and things.

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We Made It on The Balcony at Thinktank





On Level 1 at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum was from about 2013 an exhibition on the mezzanine floor called We Made It. "What's a Cow got to do with a Car?" asks the leaflet from 2013. You could see a dissected Riley Elf (a bit like a Mini). Birmingham was known as the Workshop of the World. Gadgets used at home. Nuts and bolts. Tins and things.


We Made It

The official Thinktank Website has info on We Made It here. Located on Level 1 at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum (the mezzanine floor).

Information below courtesy of the Birmingham Museums Trust:

We Made It features more than 20 interactive exhibits that show just how and why Birmingham became known as ‘the workshop of the world’. Visitors are taken on a journey from raw materials to finished product, demonstrating how everyday goods are produced.
The journey is illustrated by around 1200 intriguing objects from Birmingham’s world-renowned manufacturing and natural science collections, and contemporary products made or designed in Birmingham. Find out what links a car and a cow, what makes treasure like jewellery valuable, why we use certain types of packaging, and how products are held together.
 
The gallery contains four distinct areas, each focussing on an area of manufacturing for which Birmingham is renowned: 
  •  Nuts and Bolts - Learn about Birmingham’s role in making iron and steel goods for the world.
  • Treasure - Precious possessions made from precious metals and gemstones.
  • Tins and Things - Discover why the West Midlands is the home of aluminium production and decorative glass.
  • Gadgets - Come and uncover inventions that have changed everyday life, from cameras to mobile phones; and find out why wood and plastic have been used to produce these items.

 

The following photos taken from a visit to Thinktank during April 2013.

The pink we made it logo with a subtitle of nuts, bolts, gadgets and gizmos on a yellow background.

What has cow got to do with a car? You could also see this cow on the leaflet back in 2013.

This is a dissected Riley Elf (a bit like a Mini). I had previously seen it at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre.

Build a Mini. Showing you how to build a Mini. The wheels off and the doors off. Think Michael Caine in The Italian Job: "You only had to blow the bloody doors off!".

Licence plate at the front and back of the Mini read: TH1NK T4NK.

Another Mini, this one at least was fully entact and not cut up like the other ones. Licence plate was XFW 583.

Bike art. Made out of a Honda 750cc motorbike engine. Exhaust pipes used as tubes and the sculpture features them bent into extravagant shapes. Custom Chrome, Nuneaton, 1994.

Making silver goods. In a typical Silversmith workshop in the Jewellery Quarter.

Electricity for silver plating. Made in Birmingham. Was the first industrial electrical machine in the world. Even Michael Faraday was delighted when he first saw it (putting his discoveries into practical use).

Etch. Here was a machine that was used to etch glass. You could even press a green button to operate it in the museum.

A machine used for Bending wire. Curtain hooks used to be made of metal, but are now made of plastic. Wire in, cut and bend, bend and shape, curtain hooks out.

A variety of old cameras made during the 20th Century. Included here in this collection was: Camera by Polaroid, late 1960s, Brown camera by Kodak, about 1905, Cine camera by Kodak, 1950s, Cine Camera by Pathe, 1920s and Cine Camera by Bell and Howell, about 1930.

Next up we have a Magic lantern projector. It looks like it could be used in a cinema to show films, but it actually projects magic lanterns.

This violin was made in France by Thibouville Lamy. Some people who emigrated to the UK in the Inter War period, might have taken a violin over with them. Like a family heirloom.

Glass sculpture. Possibly made out of recycled materials. Looks like it could go in a lighthouse. You could step inside of it on the other side.

One of the Lightweight Bicycles hanging from the ceiling. This bike was made from steel. There was other bikes hanging up as well.

Slinky childrens toys. The one below like the Slinky dog toy from the Toy Story movies.

A typical Slinky walking spring toy. You can play with them in your hands, or push them down the stairs. Still got one myself (but is multicoloured).

 

More of We Made it from the next visit to Thinktank during April 2014.

This is an aluminium sail. It is an extruded aluminium yacht mast. Made in the Midlands by Sapa Profiles, Derbyshire, for Selden Masts, 2012. Lent by Sapa Profiles. It was next to the Bike Sculpture (which was to the right).

A colourfully designed area with green hearts, blue and pink plastic flowers. Thinktank was now calling this floor, The Balcony. Not sure of the purpose of this area, other than for children to play, and adults to sit down.

A collection of old mobile phones. From 'brick' to pocket-sized. Mobile telephones left to right: Sendo, designed in Birmingham in 2002, NEC, United Kingdom, 1995 and for British Telecom, from about the late 1980s.

The Chad Valley Co. Ltd was a toy manufacturer that was based in Harborne. Founded in the early 19th century. When they moved to Harborne, they named their company after the nearby Chad Brook. Which in turn gave it's name to the nearby Chad Valley. Was bought by Woolworths in 1988, but is now owned by Sainsbury's.

A Chad Valley classic car toy. Of an open topped car with a spare wheel at the back.

Guinness Stout. Toy of a classic green car. With people painted onto the side.

A toy of a Midland Red bus. Also a sign for The Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company Ltd Builders Smethwick, England 1924.

A Chad Valley toy of a red Fire Engine.

Another Chad Valley toy car, of a clockwork model of a racing car.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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