BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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.

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.

February 22nd - One of those days when you get back home thinking you’ve got a camera choc-full of great stuff, then realise you had the camera set badly and all your hard work appears to be fuzz and junk. Luckily, down in Sonnall sorting fish and chips from the best chippy in the area, the camera hadn’t yet been nobbled by my ineptitude.

Stonnall is an odd place - in a way, it’s lost is old villageyness, and is now little more than a commuter resort. Drowning in Metroland-style postwar housing, the history can be hard to find. But at night, a little of the old-world charm returns.

Stonnall is a salutary warning for aspiring village communities everywhere: don’t develop at the expense of the things that make you special…

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.