Thursday, 10 April 2014

Birmingham (Part 2 - Outer City Centre #1)

A survey of clocks between the inner and outer ring roads. (Well at least some of them).

In a clockwise direction (what else) from 12 o'clock. Sort of, vaguely.

First to be caught in the lens is Jackson's Recovery, at the junction of Manchester Street with New Town Row.

Judging by the actual letters on the clock, I am guessing that this was originally Emberton Ford.

Over the Birmingham and Fazeley canal and a quick left and then right, we come to Moland Street, at the end of which is what used to be the Ben Johnson pub. I remember the occasional visit there in my student days.

The inscription "King Edward Inn" sits above the clock, so the Ben Johnson must be a later name. I'm not sure if the building is still in use, but it has fairly recently been employed as a music venue.

The inscription below the clock gives away the age of the building.

Time for a couple of big clocks now. On Lancaster Circus is the old headquarters of the West Midlands Fire Service.

The size of the clock can better be appreciated in the next two photos.

The building was officially opened on 2 December 1935, featuring a Portland stone tower at its south-western end. The fire service moved out of the building in 2009, and the site is up for redevelopment. Hopefully the tower will remain - the building is now Grade II listed.

Second of the big clocks is just along Aston Street on the southern wing of the main building of Aston University.

Moor Street station is to be found, surprise, surprise, on Moor Street. This ex GWR station was opened in 1911, and is a lovely throwback to a more elegant era of rail travel.

Sadly the old GWR steam locomotive that was stabled in the siding is no longer there, but the station retains a special atmosphere.

You can't talk about Birmingham without reference to the Bullring, so next up is the church of St Martin in the Bullring. (You also can't talk about Birmingham without reference to the Rotunda, but I can't find any excuse to mention it. Oh, I just have. That's that sorted then).

The church originally dates from the 12th century, although the form visible today is a result of rebuilding in the 1870s.

The west facing dial is not as impressive as its north-facing relative:

On now to the Scarlets nightclub on the wonderfully named Horsefair which runs parallel to the northern end of Bristol Street.

St Thomas' church on Bath Row was built in 1829, but was largely destroyed by a bomb in 1941.

It has now been converted into the Peace Gardens, and is now a lovely setting amongst the hustle and bustle of the city.

Just down the road is this peculiar clock tower.

Closer inspection shows that it is part of a student accommodation complex. In every main city it seems that everywhere you go these days there are always vast swathes of student accommodation. I'm sure there are now more students than there are total people in the UK.

On Broad Street, near to where it crosses the Birmingham Canal (the trivia fact that you are always told is that there are more miles of canal in Birmingham than there are in Venice) is what used to be the Crown Inn.

The building has had several additions over the years, and the clock tower was added in 1930.

Just around the corner is No.3 Brindley Place, dating from 1998.

And finally, before we grab a well earned rest, is Quay Place on King Edwards Road, another canal side building.

We will resume our journey shortly......

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