BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘interesting architecture’

#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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#365daysofbiking Listed

January 5th – I went for a spin up the McLean Way – the rail to trail cycleway that Brian Stringer and Back the Track have been reclaiming on the old South Staffordshire Railway line that runs through Brownhills.

It’s a bit muddy in places but easily rideable on a mountain or off-road bike. The mud is shallow, and sits mostly as a 3 inch layer on top a solid ballast base, so once you cut into in, it rides well.

On the whole it’s brilliant, it really is and a credit to all involved.

This aqueduct over the former railway conducts the Anglesey Branch Canal from it’s terminal feeder point at Chasewater to Ogley Junction. The bridge is a nationally listed building, considered almost unique in construction and style.

It’s in a sorry state, and I think the Canal and River Trust will have to do a fair bit of maintenance before too long.

But it’s a beautiful thing, and incredibly well thought out.

Unusual to see if from underneath.

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#365daysofbiking A hidden gem

December 27th – It was a grim, grey afternoon and I had to go to Erdington – of all places – on an errand. I saddled up and headed my usual route over Shire Oak, down the Chester Road and through the leafy private estates of Little Aston to Sutton Park and on.

It was a foul, wet afternoon, with little to commend it. But I did stop for a breather at Little Aston Church, a really fine example of GE Street’s devotional and elegant design in an interestingly bright stone.

I have to say, it was the most handsome thing about the day.

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#365daysofbiking A beautiful approach

December 26th – I love Chasetown High Street – day or night, it’s actually a great little thoroughfare: Busy due to the mix of housing and shops, the hill combined with the mixed architecture makes it fascinating.

On a wet Boxing Day evening, on the way back from seeing family it was nice to stop and take a picture.

I’d still like to make a low rent version of the Bullitt car chase here. But on choppers or BMX bikes. It’d be fab.

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