Home » Birmingham » The jewels of Birmingham

The jewels of Birmingham

After spending the whole day indoors yesterday, looking at the grey skies and rain, and not wanting to do anything except hibernate, the sight of blue skies and sun lifted my spirits again.

“Do you fancy going up to Brum today” T asks “We could go and have a look around the jewellery quarter”

“Ooo! you gonna buy me some jewels then” I replied, not that I’m a really into jewellery, but I said it just to see what his response would be.

“If you want to sell the motorhome, I will”, was his answer…………. As you might guess, the conversation ended rather abruptly there 😉 though the trip to Birmingham was still on.

The last of the big spenders, we walked down to our local bus stop for the free (bus pass) bus into town, arriving with five minutes to spare to buy our £3.45 (senior rail card pass) tickets for the train journey into Birmingham.

Fourty minutes later, we’re off the train and striding out through the hustle of the city streets heading towards the jewellery quarter. Here is a little history for those interested.

The Chamberlain clock

The Chamberlain clock The plaque states it was erected in 1903 in commemoration of J Chamberlain’s visit to South Africa. (note to self, I really must read up on British history)

 

I have never seen so many jewellery shops in one place,  just one of the many streets in the area.

We had a coffee in one of the local cafes, then continued down the road looking for the jewellery museum, after enquiring to find the entrance fee included an hour long tour, we decided it would be for another day.

So we made our way back towards the city centre along canal network, passing the 152 meter tall BT tower, a couple making their way along the canal in their narrowboat and a canal resident (pics in the slide show below).

Old Turn canal junction in the city centre

The Malt House at the junction of the Birmingham & Fazeley canal and the Birmingham canal.

Leaving the canals, we walked up into Broad Street, and passing the statue of the Golden Boys and The Alpha Tower,  finally ending up in Victoria Square.

Birmingham council house in Victoria Square

Built  between 1874 and 1879  and designed by Yeoville Thomason, the Council House is now a Grade II listed building, used for all Council and most Committee meetings.

Birmingham town hall, Victoria Square.

Birmingham Town Hall. Acclaimed at its opening in 1834 as the finest music hall in the country, this is a Grade 1 listed landmark.

The River

The River, a water feature, known locally as the ‘floozie in the jacuzzi’ the statue weighs 1.75 tonnes.

Naked for the last twenty years, she has recently been given a huge pink bra to mark the launch of a £1 million campaign to buy a mammogram trailer.

We sat in the square for a while, watching the world go by, before making our way back to New Street Station, for our train back home.

For me, Birmingham’s jewels are the canals and the wonderful old buildings.

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13 thoughts on “The jewels of Birmingham

  1. I despair of WordPress sometimes. I clicked on your blog to see if you had posted and you had. Then I looked at the bar and it said I wasn’t following you! Stupid WP! (obviously not stupid K)

    I love that Chamberlain clock, it is gorgeous. I didn’t know Brum had a jewellery quarter, how fascinating. I was offered a job there once, (Brum not the jewellery quarter) and very nearly took it. It was out at Fiveways I think. I seem to remember taxi-ing there for the interview but bussing back 😀 into the city centre to go to New Street.

    I think it is a great city, the only down factor is that awful ringroad they built in the 60s (?). The decade of devastation when so many historical buildiings were blitzed by crazy planners. Anyway clearly some old buildings survived in Brum. I seem to remember it has a decent art gallery too.

    Do go on the jewellery museum tour next time – hopefully piccies will be allowed …

    LOL at selling the motorhome. I can see why the conversation ended swiftly.

  2. In all the years I’ve lived down this way, I’ve never been to the Jewellery quarter before. I was amazed, it was like a village within the city.

    The museum is definitely on the cards for a visit, there’s a bit of info about it on the link I posted above, it sounds interesting, though I sonehow don’t think photography will be allowed.

    Yes, Birmingham is a lovely city, very open, spacious and clean, with some stunning architecture.
    Five Ways is the last station our train calls at en route into New Street and would probably be the nearest station for Broad Street.

    • Yes, it doesn’t say much does it? The silver factory sounds good too. I think they need to update that website though.

      There was something on the site about the last Georgian square remaining in Brum. Reminded me of Park Square in Leeds, our university history schools in Liverpool, and St John’s Square in Wakefield (possibly the best of the three, as totally perfect and with a lovely church in the middle). Georgian squares are truly beautiful. I expect you to track down the Brum one and post some nice piccies 🙂

      • I’ve just looked it up on the map, we must have passed with a 100yards of it on our way back to the centre………next time well do the museum nod St Paul’s Square 🙂

  3. So, Brum is Birmingham, I gather .. that’s a cute nickname! I brought up the map now here, to see exactly where it’s located …I had only a loose idea before. The floozie was hilarious 🙂
    How come so many jewellers gathered in Birmingham?!

    It’s funny ..when you look at a map of the U.K. … so many of the place names are here too — I spotted Bangor right away, for example..

    • Yes, Birmingham’s nickname is Brum, and it’s inhabitants are Brummies, but I haven’t the faintest idea why, apart from the fact Birmingham is also called Brummagem by the locals, which according to Wiki dates back to the 18th century.
      I’ve also tried to find out why it is so popular for jewellery. One site I found estimated 40% of Britain’s jewellery is made there, but again, no explanation why, apart from the fact that in the 17th century Birmingham had an expanding metal industry.
      Like yourself looking up Birmingham, it still amazes me the amount of information blogging has prompted me to research (and tried to absorb) too.

  4. So many fascinating things you’ve shared via your virtual tour… the floozie in the jacuzzi – love it. A pub in the jewellery quarter a wonderful idea. I don’t wear a lot but I love looking at jewellery and gems, and wildlife in the centre of the city – all of them brightened up my dull at my desk in the office morning 🙂

    • Glad to have brightened up work dull working day 🙂
      You’d have had a wonderful time around the shops looking at all the jewellery on show.
      Yes, I was really surprised to see a Heron flying along the canals. A passerby, who must be local, said it lives on the canal.

  5. The fountain seems to have been filled in now. Those steps are all covered in greenery, and she’s lost her bra 😦 Are you still getting around in the motor home? Thanks for popping in on me. 🙂

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