BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘interesting architecture’

#365daysofbiking Explorations

October 3rd – I drove to work and rode home – sadly I chose a really, really unpleasant evening to do so. Again, drizzle and a punishing headwind – but at least the town looked beautiful in the glistening, dripping night.

I decided to quickly try the camera and the phone for a comparison.

Top, the iPhone 11 Pro Max in night mode, which since a beta firmware upgrade on Wednesday evening seems a whole bunch better. It’s not as hyperreal, but is still very strange, but beautiful I think.

My preference is still to the warmth of the Canon G5X, below, which is altogether mellower without losing detail.

Further explorations to come, I think.

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#365daysofbiking City of ghosts

September 28th – The shopping and other errands in Lichfield took longer than anticipated and I ended up returning after dark, but it’s always nice to catch Lichfield in the dusk.

My friend was keen to practise their low light camera skills and it was truly a pleasure to try the old haunts and muses. I always love how the people in these images look almost insubstantial.

There’s a much better photo in the cathedral walk artwork but we didn’t stumble upon it – one for another night.

That old underpays – site of many an 1980s band publicity photo – is still captivating in it’s otherworldliness.

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#365daysofbiking Old and new


September 27th – A meeting in Birmingham at lunchtime meant an afternoon meeting with a pal and a small photo expedition around the business quarter and Cathedral Square, and also chance for tea and cake.

There had been a large rainstorm, but the sun was out and the city shone like a diamond: It the soft sunlight it felt like a summer evening.

Birmingham proves as it always has that old and new architecture can coexist, clash, blend and combine to be wonderful. I adore this place.

An unexpectedly fun afternoon.

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#365daysofbiking High on the hill

September 11th – Another sunny day, and passing through Kings Hill Park, my twin muses, the sisters of Wednesbury’s Church Hill were captured well by the camera.

I love the way these two totally different churches compliment each other, looking over the area imperiously as they have done for more than a century.

The view could probably be improved with the removal of the car sales place but that’s by the by.

On a lovely autumn day, the treetops of church hill were just starting to get their seasonal jackets on, and all was pretty much right with the world.

A decent autumn day can really warm the heart and nourish the soul, and make one realise that the loss of summer isn’t so bad after all.

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#365daysofbiking Violet ultra

September 7th – A busy day, so I slipped out late with a good opportunity to try and learn more about the Canon camera’s behaviour in low light.

This meant paying a visit to an old favourite – the brutalist portal that occurs every night in Silver Court, Brownhills when an ATM’s lights tun part of the 1960s parade of shops violet.

This still fascinates me as it’s so, well, dystopian I suppose.

An odd, hometown curiosity.

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#365daysofbiking Changing places

August 30th – I headed into Brownhills to pick up a takeaway on the way home.

Riding up Pier Street from the canal, I realised how changed this area was. With the new housing on the former market site, this now feels way less desolate at night and actually looks quite warm and cosy.

The design of these homes is pleasant and care was clearly taken with line and materials to extend the line of the street.

I like this very much – and more people living in the centre of town can only be good for the place.

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#365daysofbiking The place I love

August 15th – Some things make a place what it is, although one may not be fond of them in themselves.

And so it is with the Parkview Centre in Brownhills for me.

The former council house and for many years seat of Brownhills Urban District Council became redundant after our absorption into Walsall in 1974. After a good few years as head office for a building company, this four square, red terracotta building stood empty and decaying.

It is imposing, handsome, I guess. Very civic. It’s got a clock that used to be famously and notoriously wrong (but the clock runs to time now, remarkably). It’s part of the fabric and soul of Brownhills, but I’ve never been fond of it architecturally.

After years empty it was extended horribly insensitively and converted into a health centre and library. The extensions are hideous and completely out of step with the building, and the library, although functionally fine, is boxy and dull.

However, in recent years the flowerbed out front before the Miner Island has been beautifully maintained by a local older couple and it is a credit to them, and looks beautiful. It brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

On a decent but clouding over afternoon, it was a joy to the heart. For better or worse, this building is Brownhills, and is my hometown – and I may not be it’s greatest fan but it’s part of the place I love.

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#365daysofbiking A heritage of bridge-building?

August 9th – Back in Telford following morning rain, the new footbridge linking the railway station with the town centre seems to be confused about it’s role: is it a swimming pool or a ‘State of the art facility any town should be proud of’ as one fan of this bizarrely dysfunctional bit of civil engineering recently chided me on Twitter.

In recent weeks, someone has drilled holes in the bridge deck to drain the water. They just clog up and it still floods.

And besides, that water just swamps the platform below.

This bridge is an awful design and has no rainwater control measures whatsoever. And it cost 10 million quid.

Telford, your emperor is stark, bollock naked.

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#365daysofbiking Across the rooftops

July 29th – I came back from New Street to Shenstone, a run I do less these days since the Chase Line upgrade made those trains comparatively less crowded.

I forgot how much I love coming home through Shenstone, a great station to start and end any journey from.

I note that of the twin towers of St Johns, only the modern Gothic horror is visible above the rooftops; the older, earlier tower – the last remnants of a more handsome church – is shrouded by trees as is usual in summer.

I guess I’ll have to wait until autumn to see the twin towers again.

I’ve always adored this view in summer or winter…

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#365daysofbiking A face as long as Livery Street

July 19th – I was in Birmingham for the afternoon on a grey, wet afternoon. The riding wasn’t great but the city was as charming as ever.

On days like this you can really see the origins of the local saying ‘You’ve a face as long as Livery Street!’ – you’d never know it was cut in two by Great Charles Street Queensway and actually traversing the full street is quite a challenge.

I’m also amazed by the transition of the failed fountain ‘The floozy in the jacuzzi’ in Victoria Square into a beautiful flower bed. Civic fountains never seem to last long – Walsall’s and earlier Centenery Square water features are long dry, and this one continued to leak despite months of work to rectify it.

The lavender that grows there now, together with the other beautiful flowers are a credit to those that tend them and amazingly, the transition works beautifully.

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