Monday, 21 April 2014

Birmingham (Part 5 - Erdington to the City Centre)

Part 4 of our Birmingham journey took us from the south of the city to the city centre. Part 5 now takes us from the north to the city centre, starting with this building at 151 Sutton Road just to the north of Chester Road, otherwise known as the outer ring road.

Does anyone know what this building was originally used for? It looks like some form of municipal building given the design, quality and ornamentation. It seems to small to be any form of library, post office, police station, but the ground floor arrangement of windows suggest some form of public access, thus ruling out electricity or water sub stations.

The public access theory is also supported by the clock, which is now unfortunately starting to fall into disrepair. Has anyone started a campaign to restore this lovely building?

North of Chester Road is probably not officially recognised as being in Erdington, but we have now moved south into the territory proper. This is the junction of Sutton New Road with The Green, where we find Viktor's Drinkstore.

Just a bit along Erdington High Street is the church of St Barnabas.

The church was consecrated on 23 July 1824, and has only recently been restored after a major fire.

A bit off the beaten track now as we divert to the junction of Fern Road with Spring Lane to find the Lifestyle Express local store. There wasn't much rushing around when I was there, so perhaps fast life styles only happen at certain times in these parts.

And our speedy living would be somewhat messed up by this clock which is not working (or perhaps it is just a cunning plan to make you think it is much later than it really is, and therefore you need to stock up with goods immediately - if only there were a convenient store open - oh look there is!)

Another church, this time St Peter and St Paul in Witton Lane, Aston. The building originally dates from the 15th century, but was substantially rebuilt during the 1880s.

This church has only one clock face, which now faces the flyover of the A38(M) Aston Expressway.

Opposite the church is Aston Hall, work on which started in 1618 and was completed in the 1630s.

The clock itself is a later addition from 1867.

From Aston Hall to Aston Cross, the junction of Lichfield Road and Park Lane.

This is the site of a medieval cross, subsequently replaced by a brick clock tower in the style of Aston Hall. This tower was, however, unstable, and was replaced by the current cast-iron tower in 1891.

You can see from above that this clock is non too reliable.

The plaque notes that the clock tower was manufactured and erected by George Smith and Company of the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. The Sun Foundry operated from 1858 to 1899, making all sorts of ornamental iron work, including bandstands and railings.

Our final stop is the Barton Arms on the High Street (A34) at its junction with Park Lane. This pub has two clocks - we start with the small one above its entrance.

But we look up to the top of the building to see this lovely clock tower with multiple faces, proudly proclaiming the pub's name. This is how all pubs should be built. Talking of which, it was built in 1901, and is said to have been the haunt of Laurel and Hardy (

And what better way to end our tour of Birmingham than with a trip to the pub!

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