Sunday, 19 January 2014

Birmingham skyline

Location:Library of Birmingham, Broad Street

Discovering Birmingham

I tried Geocaching twice today and found nothing including the point, but enjoyed reading about the buildings near where the deposits where supposedly placed, which to be fair perhaps is the point. I can't see why I should traipse around looking for an old camera film tube someone's jammed by the roadside and which has probably been swept up by council refuse. (Sorry, grumble over now).
Better however, and where you can be sure of the information's authenticity, is the "Dozens and Trails" App from the new Library of Birmingham (I hope not so called because of any plan to close the others) or Central Library to older Brummies.
Plenty of archival photographs of sights and documents, and information on local landmarks and history. Writers include historian Dr Chris Upton who used to work for the library and knows his material, having conducted tours, written books and articles and newspaper columns for some years now.
The trails section has four themed tours such as public statues and Birmingham on sixpence a day, the latter taking you though the associations woth poverty many experienced here, as embodied by the old workhouses (now City Hospital, for example). Great advantages over Geocaching: you can see the objects and you know there'll be there ... and they're worth investigating. You'll find new things if you're an old Brummie, and a valuable introduction to the city if you're new here but interested in more than just sleeping or going for a drink.
"Dozens" has the archive material, on all sorts of topics from
community libraries to James Watt and family and World War 2 propaganda.

Downloadable from App Stores.


Saturday, 4 January 2014

A wet walk near Birmingham

Shows how you can still discover places of beauty and interest on your own back door, however long you've lived somewhere.

Partly covers the route of the old Lapal canal and tunnel, which a conservation group is trying to have restored and re-opened.

We walked along the old canalside and into Leasowes Park, which is under the aegis of Dudley Canal.

En route are the ruins of Halesowen Priory, more hidden history of the Midlands.

We started the walk from the Black Horse pub on Manor Lane, B62 8RJ, there's a walkway from the other side of the road.

Location:Leasowes, Halesowen

London Times 3

Location:Hampstead Heath

London times 2

George I and his sheep outside the British Library, smart hotel in an old Georgian house on Montague Street (very) near the British Museum, and a view from the hill - Hampstead Heath and (I think) Parliament Hill zooming in to a London skyscape.

Location:Parade,Birmingham,United Kingdom

London town

Managed two and a bit days in London between Christmas and New Year, with requisite museum and gallery visits, this time the wonderful exhibition of Columbian gold and other artefacts at the British Museum - El Dorado - - see museum web pages for details -.
The smaller upstairs exhibitions at the BM I personally prefer to those in the larger space downstairs, more personal and less threadbare at the edges than the boarding tends to be on the ground floor.

The British Library has another well-presented, informative but not overwhelming presentation - they always seem to get just the right balance of education, challenge and attractive layout, using extensive, developing a theme of how a period in history is relevant to the modern day - commerce and inequality, coffee, politics and satire, and Birmingham at the centre of the canal network and manufacturing (honest, though perhaps the manufacturing isn't so true any more, sadly ... ).
British Library - Georgians Revealed, on till March 2014.

Finally, on to the Royal Academy and the posh new members' cafe ;-) , now extended, with entertainment from the members and always enjoyable exhibitions, this time Honore Daumier works in 'Visions of Paris". Social realism and technical quality which apparently influenced many other better-known artists.

Location:London from Birmingham

New tech?

Trying out a new keyboard on bluetooth to smartphone.

Location:Library of Birmingham