Aston Hall is 400 years old!

Aston Hall in Birmingham, the finest Stuart mansion in England is 400 years old in 2018. It is opposite another iconic #Birmingham place: Villa Park, the home of Birmingham’s biggest and best football club Aston Villa FC in Aston Park. Aston Hall was besieged during the English Civil War in 1643 as its owner Sir Thomas Holte was a staunch Royalist and supported King Charles the first. There is a hole in the bannister of the main staircase caused by a Parliamentarian cannon ball as the town of Birmingham supported Parliament against the King. There was a Battle of Birmingham in 1643 when Royalist Prince Rupert laid waste to the Deritend area of Birmingham. The West Midlands played a major part in the English Civil War with battles at Edge Hill in Oxfordshire and Worcester.

The Iron Room

Aston Hall, published by T. Simpson and Darling & Thompson in 1798 [Ref. MS 3219/9/5/2/35] An inscription above the main doorway of the Hall records that it was started in 1618, occupied in 1631 and completed in 1635, Aston Hall was built by Sir Thomas Holte (1571-1654), whose family owned large estates in the parish of Aston and elsewhere, but particularly the three manors of Aston, Duddeston and Nechells.

Thomas Holte was wealthy and well connected. He studied at Oxford and the Inns of Court and paid James I for a Baronetcy in 1611. The family remained Royalists, which proved expensive of both life and property during the Civil War. In a volume of documents relating to Aston Hall and its owners, an anonymous description states that ‘The Ancient deeds and writings of the family being destroyed when Aston House was plundered in the time of the Rebellion in 1641…’…

View original post 553 more words


11 things to do in Birmingham in May

Lots of things to do in #Birmingham in May……from Birmingham Pride to ‘Legally Blonde’ at The Alex and ‘The Band’ at The Hippodrome, the story of ‘Take That’……@BrumIsBrill

#BrumHour Archive 2015-2018

by Dave Massey

11 things to do in Birmingham in May

From Birmingham Pride to The Band – A musical based on the music of Take That. There is a lot to keep everyone busy in May in Birmingham,

Internet Giants : Masters of the Universe (All May 2018)

Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, B1 2HS

Langlands Bell Internet Giants Masters of the Universe Photo by Stuart Whipps Langlands Bell Internet Giants Masters of the Universe Photo by Stuart Whipps

Featuring the architecture of digital media building,s and the pixelated faces of those media CEO’s. Internet Giants uses the first floor of Ikon Gallery in a direct and stripped back manner. Without even labelling the pieces there’s an audio walk through available, or you can just speak to the informed staff watching over each space.

Via Ikon Gallery “Ikon presents an exhibition of new work by British artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell, marking the 40th year of their artistic…

View original post 757 more words

The first woman in Parliament Square

Millicent Fawcett the first woman to have a statue in #Parliament Square Millicent Fawcett was a Suffragist whose aim was to win #VotesforWomen by peaceful means in contrast to the Suffragettes who vowed to do anything peaceful or not to enfranchise women

The Historic England Blog

Today, Suffragist Millicent Fawcett has become the first woman in history to have a statue in Parliament Square.

Installed on the site of many demonstrations and protests, flanked by the Palace of Westminster, Fawcett joins statues of eleven men including Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi.

Why Millicent Fawcett?

Born in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett (1847 – 1929) dedicated her life to improving the lives of women in England. She promoted tireless, peaceful campaigning and from 1907 – 1919 led the largest organisation for female suffrage, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).

Feature Image: NUWSS procession – Frances Balfour, Millicent Fawcett, Emily Davies, Sophie Bryant, 13 June 1908

Hop over to our earlier blogHow the vote was won to learn more

Who else is on the statue?

The bronze cast, designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing (the first woman sculptor to have work displayed…

View original post 777 more words

‘We Are Balsall Heath’ Street Festival

Balsall Heath Street Festival was a great success and brought together the diverse communities of Balsall Heath with street food and open access to public buildings like Moseley Road Baths which has been saved for the City of Birmingham and for the citizens of #Birmingham to use….

Our Birmingham

‘We Are Balsall Heath’ Street Festival on Sunday brought together the diverse communities of Balsall Heath.

The Moseley Road was closed until 7pm and people enjoyed artists performances, a food hub representing dishes from all communities, street stalls, open doors to community buildings, heritage trails, games and much more.

Photograph: John Newson

The organisers had stalls along the route – above: the Friends of Moseley Road Baths stall in front of Moseley Road Baths. 


View original post

Look Inside the Box: Appreciating the Library of Birmingham’s Collections

The Library of #Birmingham Collections are among the very best in the world including the Boulton and Watt collection shedding light on the role Birmingham played in the Industrial Revolution

The Iron Room

Library of Birmingham LoB Official Photograph – Copyright Christian Richters

The Library of Birmingham deserves to have its reputation burnished wherever possible.  Whilst the building is just two years old, it houses a venerable institution whose wonderful collections have been developed and enhanced by archivists, librarians, donors and contributors for 150 years.

MLA Award-2 BCC Additional, Accession 2015/132

Collectively, these collections have been described as the Library’s ‘unique selling point’.[i]   In 2005 this value was officially recognised when the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council [MLA] designated them as a single Outstanding Collection.  The MLA award applied to the Archives, The Birmingham Collection, the Early and Fine Printing Collections, Literature Collections, Music Collections and the Photography Collections.  It did not single out any specific collection, recognising their mutually supportive nature.  For example, the Boulton & Watt Collection contains a rare variant of the iconic photograph of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (James Watt & Co. of…

View original post 490 more words

Library of Birmingham’s Black History Collection

In this week of the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ anti immigration speech we look at the Library of Birmingham’s ‘Black History’ collection as the West Midlands paved the way for immigrants and their children to make their mark on Britain with people like the late, lamented Cyrille Regis changing the face of football forever…..

The Iron Room

During the existence of Birmingham Libraries, the Library of Birmingham has, over the years amassed a large collection of books which has been given the designation of the Black History collection. As the name suggests this collection does indeed contain material relating to black history but it also includes other topics including Asian History, Culture, Arts, the Black and Asian experience in the UK, and other diverse topics such as the climate and topography of the Indian sub-continent. The collection currently contains over 9000 books.  The Black History collection has grown from previous collections held within past departments of the library including Central Lending, Information Services and Archives and Heritage, with the library continually adding material to the collection. The collection is currently housed within the Archives and Collections Department of the Library of Birmingham.

This collection covers diverse subject areas including the history of Black footballers, for example Colouring…

View original post 613 more words

SUNDAY 22nd: Street Festival – Balsall Heath Mela

@WE_AreBHMela…..Balsall Heath Street Festival tomorrow at Moseley Road in Balsall Heath #BrumIsBrill

Our Birmingham

MELA social enterprise’s new ‘We Are’ neighbourhood campaign will start with ‘We Are Balsall Heath’ Street Festival on Sunday April 22 bringing together the diverse communities of Balsall Heath.

On Sunday 22nd April, Moseley Road will be closed between 8am and 7pm for the “We Are Balsall Heath” Mela. There will be 8 artist performances and installations, a food hub representing dishes from all communities, street stalls, open doors to community buildings, heritage trails, games and much more for a family fun day out. Please join us!

The organisers will have stalls all along the route and the Friends of MRB will be in front of Moseley Road Baths. From the stall Friends of MRB will be arranging some short tours of the building, bearing in mind that Pool 2 will in use until 1:30pm. The Gala Pool will still be out of bounds, unfortunately, but we can show you…

View original post 70 more words

Britain, as yet neither mature nor a democracy, appears to need its monarch and its mayors

Britain a Democracy with Metro Mayors and Merry Monarchs….?????

Our Birmingham

The rational case against metro mayors ably set out by local commentators, Richard Hatcher, George Morran and Steve Beauchampé, has been shattered for the writer by the media-feeding chaotic, emotion-led, vicious, counterproductive squabbling in the Labour & Conservative ranks.

Still, evidently, a tribal people, we appear to need the ‘high-profile leadership’ extolled by Andrew Carter, chief executive of the Centre for Cities , largest funders Gatsby Charitable Foundation (Lord Sainsbury) and  Catapult network, established by Innovate UK, a government agency. (see report cover right)

As yet, the announcements made by the West Midlands metro mayor Andy Street, respected even by most opponents of the post, with a business record seen as a guarantee of efficiency, are provoking little dissension.

Dan Jarvis, who is expected to win the Sheffield election becoming Britain’s seventh metro mayor, intends to continue to sit in the House of Commons to work for a better…

View original post 203 more words

Petition: CityPark4 Brum

The Smithfield Development on the site of the former Birmingham Wholesale Markets needs more green space so we need to create a new City Park there…

Our Birmingham

A petition calling for a park in Birmingham City Centre is to be submitted shortly. Co-ordinator Jim Tuckerexplains more. 

ts nearly three years since the campaign started for the provision of a park on the soon to be vacated Wholesale Markets site next to the Bullring in Birminghams city centre. We recently passed the 6000 signature mark and thanks to the magnificent expression of public support with the initial petition, some green space in the form of a small linear park is now part of the councils official plans for the 14 hectare Smithfield site. Whilst this is good news, and represents a major step forward, the space allocated for the actual park is simply too small (smaller even than the green space surrounding St. Philips Cathedral), is wedged in between several buildings and does not fit our…

View original post 307 more words

100th Anniversary of the RAF

The great British institution that is the RAF celebrates its Centenary today 1st April 2018 and I am so proud that my daughter serves in the RAF as did both her grandfather’s my father during WW2_in a covert squadron RAF Tempsford out of Downham Market in Norfolk from where they dropped SOE operatives from Westland Lysander aircraft. Her maternal grandfather did his National Service after WW2 in the RAF and her cousin flew RAF Tornadoes before being made redundant in the Labour Defence Cuts under Gordon Brown…..#Proudtoserve

The Iron Room

Royal Air Force Birmingham wireless telegrapher appeal, a recruitment appeal for ‘Young Men, 17 1/2 years and upwards’(MS 2966/3/1).

The 1st of April 2018 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force (RAF), when the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps merged to become the first independent airforce in the world, following the passing of the Air Force (Constitution Act) 1917.  In this week’s blog post, I thought I’d take a look at some of the varied sources we hold here in Archives & Collections at the Library of Birmingham, relating to the RAF.

To start with, some of the earliest material I found comes from a collection called ‘Circulars relating to recruitment, fund raising and coal rationing from the First World War, 1917-1919’ (MS2966).  These circulars were sent from various sources to the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham for the purpose of supporting the…

View original post 459 more words