March 10th - I’ve not seen anything like this before. Today, I was travelling from Acocks Green to Tyseley, as I often do. One of the routes I take includes a shortcut down an alley that used to be Rockwood Road, which crosses the railway between Alexander Road and the Birmingham City Mission. On the footpath, just as you leave the railway bridge, there’s an pecuiar, improvised bollard made of cast iron and steel, about a foot high and 8 inches diameter. It bears the legend ‘Great Western Railway Co. Boundary 1888’.
It doesn’t take the brain of Sherlock to work out what it is, but why? I’ve never seen railway property delimited like this before. Further, I must have passed this scores of times without noticing. How did such a trip hazard survive 126 years? Is it listed? Are there more? Is it important historically, or just a curio?
March 4th - I came through Acocks Green today, a place I haven’t visited for a while. I love the sleepy, suburban Metroland feel to the backstreets, the Art-Deco townhouse terraces mingling with much older cottages from a more bucolic history. On the corner verge, a roadside flowerbed, planted with polyanthus and miniature daffodils.
I’m sure there’s an aspidistra in one of these front rooms. I hope they keep flying it.
September 10th - I was in darkest, suburban Acocks Green, waiting for a slow moving car to come the other way. I felt someone watching me. Then we made eye contact.
Cycling judgement cat finds my bike fit is atrocious, my road position is abysmal and my bike is filthy. I must do better.
July 24th - The love affair with Acocks Green and it’s homely, suburban architecture continues. They have a fine, red terracotta police station, in the Birmingham style, and behind it, an ex-fire station worthy of Trumpton.
There can’t be many cop shops with cupolas, can there?
July 17th - For the first time in what must be ages, I cycled through Acocks Green on my way to work. I love this delightful, tree-lined suburb. The streets of victorian townhouses are gorgeous in any season, but sparkled today. I love how busy the frontages are - jagged window and roof lines; the chimney pots. I could study this for hours.
November 26th - Commutes seem to be alternating at the moment - wet and dry. This morning, after the rains of the weekend, it was blessedly clear and dry as I left home in the morning. The roads, however, were quite treacherous; flooding and debris made the going cautious. Accumulations of greasy leaves, tree debris and marbles made the journey interesting in parts. As I descended into Birmingham, the morning got mistier. In Acocks Green, I came past The Old Fire Station. I have no idea what it’s used for today - clearly not a firefighter in sight - but it is rather wonderful. I think it’s offices. It seems as if around every corner in Acocks Green there’s a new architectural curiosity. I feel I could live here.
November 15th - Have you found yourself short of your pumpkin? If so, yesterday at 9:00am, it was taking a breather on the wall outside the Baptist Church Hall in Acocks Green, Birmingham. Untouched, in perfect condition, this lonely gourd made an odd sight on the way to work…
November 13th - Later, in Acocks Green, I was surprised to note some old and rather wonderful architecture I hadn’t noticed previously. I was so busy looking for old cottages last week, that I never spotted some rather wonderful examples of civic buildings in Alexander Road. The Baptist Church Hall is a classic Birmingham terracotta brick building, and puts me very much in mind of the Magistrates Court in Corporation Street in the city centre. It seems to have an attached caretakers house, and next door appears to be an attractive former schoolhouse. I must look into the history of these buildings - they’re very grand for a small suburb. There must have been a fair bit of money here once…
November 7th - I’m really getting into Acocks Green in Birmingham. I love the suburban, Metroland architecture, broad tree-lined streets and air of urban dignity. What’s really interesting me, particularly now I’ve spotted Hay Hall, is that there are clearly buildings of an earlier period dotted throughout the district. Some are quite well hidden, but this suggests a long history. This is fascinating and I must read up.
November 5th - The cafe is an essential part of any industrial area. Serving the needs of workers for butties, breakfasts and baps, these temples to unhealthy food and strong tea take many forms. This corner Cafe on the Tyseley/Acocks Green border is a recently refurbished gem, and a real classic of the art. Sat right on a corner, replete with frosted glass so your boss can’t see you skiving, I bet it does a great fry. Just right to keep the inner warmth going on a frosty, raw morning.
October 16th - It’s all about the autumn colour right now. I was going to split these images down into two separate posts, but they’re all the same set, really. It’s been gusty and chilly, and the leaves have really started to fall now. I noticed council workmen sweeping them up in Acocks Green, and they’re turning even the most mundane alleyways into emerald gold arcades. How fantastic is autumn? Beautiful - but winter is such a price to pay…
October 12th - It was a beautiful sunny, golden autumn day. It wasn’t warm, but the sun shone and made everything precious. I was glad of it - after the soaking of the day before, it was blessed recovery. The day was beautiful both in Acocks Green, which I passed through on my way to Tyseley, and back at Shenstone and Stonnall on my return. A fine day, and we don’t get many of those at the moment. I’ve included some of the best pictures on my main blog.
October 10th - At Acocks Green, I noticed this memorial bouquet of flowers has appeared. It’s sad, and bears no card; I suspect it’s in memory of a young man who committed suicide here a couple of years ago. I felt it’s poignancy today particularly, as it was World Mental Heath Day. Anyone can suffer, we’re all susceptible. Please, if you know someone who’s suffering, do your best to help. Every day is a good day to walk up to someone, take their hand and say ‘Hello, chum.’ Sometimes, we all need a friend to listen.
July 11th - Acocks Green. I’ve discovered that taking the train to here, rather than Tyseley, rewards me with a nicer ride to my destination. Tyseley is very, very industrial, yet bordering it is a perfect, interwar Metroland of Victorian and Art Deco townhouses, on wooded, somnambulant streets. There is great, but modest architecture in these backways, and little traffic. The sun came through this morning, and lit the whole thing up - it felt like I was in an episode of Mr. Ben, or possibly ‘Keep the Aspidistra Flying’ - I couldn’t make my mind up which was more applicable. A lovely place. I think I’m in love.
June 29th - I went somewhere I’d not explored before today. I was in Tyseley again, and needed to go to the bank, so just after lunch I headed to Acocks Green. I’ve passed through before, but never studied the place. I rather like it. Busy, varied, with lots of greenery and nice architecture, I found the church, that of St. Mary the Virgin, fascinating. A J.G. Bland design of 1864, it lacks a tower or spire, although it was designed to have both. Opposite is a school, one entrance to which has an ornate lintel with the legend ‘Cookery’ carved upon it. I found busy shops, and a place with identity and heart. I’ll certainly be back.