BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘interesting architecture’

#365daysofbiking Gorge-ous

Friday, September 25th 2020 – Working in Telford, as I left work the light was lovely and it was a beautiful evening. So I headed down the Silkin Way and then across Madeley down to Ironbridge, and then rode home.

I love Ironbridge when it’s quiet and this evening was absolutely delightful.

In the golden hour, the village clinging to the sides of the Severn Gorge was captivating.

The ride home along the gorge, and back through Albrighton, Codsall and Coven was very nippy though and I wasn’t prepared – it’s starting to get quite cold out there now, even on sunny days like this.

I must return here when autumn starts to really set in. I bet the colours are wonderful.

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#365daysofbiking Full of beans

Saturday, September 19th 2020 – My riding partner for the day was groggy and finally decided to venture out if we could ‘see some lovely villages’ in late afternoon – there was nothing for it. We piled it down the old A5 to Atherstone, and explored the country northwards in Leicestershire – Radcliffe Culey, Shenton, Market Bosworth, Barton in the Beans, Congerstone, Bilstone, and back over Orton on the Hill, Clifton and Whittington.

A lovely 70 mile sunset from near Sutton Cheney, the gorgeousness of Shenton I remember from exploring ten years ago, and the glorious run from there into Bosworth.

Leicestershire still has the best place names.

Half the ride was in the blackest of nights, and a real buzz – but a reminder that summer is now well and truly over.

Autumn so far hasn’t been so bad, though.

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#365daysofbiking That’s hall

Thursday, September 17th 2020 – I used to work around Tyseley a lot, and got to know it well – but when the company I work for stopped renting space out there, I rarely had cause to return.

I had business near the Warwick Road so passed through on a sunny day, rekindling memories – one in particular was the remarkable spectacle of Hay Hall, still buried unexpectedly between factories in the middle of an unremarkable industrial estate.

This 15th century, once moated hall is a historic, grade II listed building and in very good condition. Last time I was here around 2015 it was still in use as offices.

You can find out more about it by clicking here.

From signage outside, it seems to be currently vacant, sadly, but this lovely building is one of the reasons I love Brum – you find wonderfully unexpected things in the most mundane of places.

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#365daysofbiking A complex question

May 1st – Not far away, just a few tens of yards up the Chester Road, the new nursing home, built on the site of a former quarry and blockworks seems open.

Castlehill Specialist Care Centre seems to cater for people with quite marked dementia and it seems to be intended to serve a growing market – and it’s a very decent looking building, which now appears staffed, and open.

I found myself wondering if they were admitting residents yet, what with coronavirus being so pronounced in such places.

But it’s a fine looking place and I wish all concerned with it – residents and staff – well.

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#365daysofbiking The last day

March 20th – I passed the Shire Oak open for the last time for the foreseeable future.

The lights were on. It looked warm, welcoming.The sky, street light and and atmosphere made it look gorgeous. People were inside. I considered joining them. Fleetingly.

What on earth will this country be like without pubs? I have no idea.

At least we can still get a curry… For now.

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#365daysofbiking Here, there and everywhere


February 27th – The Peter Saville thing. It’s everywhere of late.

Later the same day. The rain didn’t stop, it doubled down and rained harder and more fiercely.

Stood, dripping, waiting for a late train at Telford, the rain shimmering on the glass of the new bridge, catching the lights. The angles and patterns of metalwork.

It felt brutal, if not actually truly Brutalist.

Find out more about why I’m in love with Peter Saville’s work here.

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#365daysofbiking Old friends

February 19th – In Birmingham for a meeting, I found myself at the top of Moseley Road where it meets Highgate Middleway, and I noticed a building that’s stunning, yet I can’t recall every studying before.

It’s the Birmingham Friends Institute, and when I have more time I shall take a closer look. It’s still a busy community hub and centre, and is architecturally stunning in that busy, late Victorian Gothic urban style.

An unexpected find on a grey morning. Utterly charming.

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#365daysofbiking Things that happen when you’re not looking

February 14th – I haven’t been to Birmingham much this winter, and the first time passing though overground since Christmas in daylight made me stop in surprise at a building growing in the Colmore Row business area.

This office block has grown on the site of John Madin’s now demolished brutalist gem 103 Colmore Row: The former Birmingham Natwest Tower.

103 had passed its time and it is right, I guess that it has gone and change is happening. But I do miss it, it was a startlingly beautiful bit of brutalist design – a priapic monument to mammon.

The building replacing it is so far unknown to me: But it seems huge. In my head 103 fitted perfectly, in a forest of towers, but it clearly never was so, and the rising of a replacement is somehow shocking in size and imposition.

This is what change looks like. I’ll be interested to see this develop.

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#365daysofbiking An awkward subject

January 26th – Like the village itself, Walsall Wood Church of St John is a quiet, understated gem. Originally a tiny church, extended massively by the Victorians, then again pretty brutally by the diocese of Lichfield in the 1980s, its personality has maintained surprisingly well.

It’s a lovely subject at night, has a great clock and presents a great aspect to the road. But for a couple of things.

The bloody streetlight just out of shot on the right, and the pedestrian crossing light in the foreground.

Any decent angle on the building includes one, the other or both, destroying the shot. It’s one of those frustrations that just make the character of a place.

But that’s Walsall Wood for you. Never less than quirky.

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#365daysofbiking Changing times

January 17th -Slowly, imperceptibly almost, Walsall is changing. After many years in a state of flux, buildings are springing up around the north of the town centre.

Land that was, I think, a car park in the days when Walsall College was on Wisemore is now a smart new Travelodge hotel, with a beauty salon to be in the basement, and an odd kebab chain takeaway adjacent.

Further toward the new Tesco is a brand new drive thru Macdonalds, much to the chagrin of the dietary purists.

But this is the new economy – retail is dying, the new town centre is about entertainment, food and convenience. Over at the waterfront, a new cinema and restaurants are doing well and I wish hem success.

It’s time Walsall moved forward, and although slow progress, I’m glad to see it.

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