4 June 2014

Brum

In The Jewellery Quarter
Shh! Great Britain's second city is not Newcastle or Edinburgh, Manchester or Glasgow, Belfast or Sheffield... it's Birmingham or "Brum" as it is often affectionately known by its inhabitants. It sprawls across England's West Midlands with a rich industrial history, threatening to absorb satellite towns and cities like Solihull, Dudley and Coventry. But Brum is rarely visited by foreign visitors to our shores and even within England itself I know many people who have never been there. It is almost as if it has an invisible force field around it - repelling invaders.

Our lovely daughter Frances attended the University of Birmingham and when she graduated in the summer of 2011, I don't think she ever expected that she would be back to live and work there. But that is what is happening. Her company are transferring her from Leeds to Brum - it's a promotion - and yesterday, accompanied by her aged father, Frances was back in the city seeking suitable accommodation ahead of the move.

We were mainly focussed on The Jewellery Quarter which is just west of the city centre and even today remains the base for many small jewellery businesses. Nowadays, these small industrial premises and back streets are interlaced with inner city housing developments - mostly apartments appealing to "young professionals". We walked from The Jewellery Quarter along the side of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal to Brindley Place which is where Frances's ultra-modern offices are housed. This would be her regular walk to work and very pleasant it was too - no roads to cross  and an oozing sense of Birmingham's past when back in the day canals were key to its burgeoning growth as one of the world's prime industrial cities.

We found a couple of contenders for apartments she could rent and had a drink in "The Jewellers Arms" before heading home for tea. Here are four more of my snaps from yesterday:-
By the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. The National Indoor Arena is ahead.
"The Jewellers Arms"

At Cambrian Wharf. The pub is called "Flappers".
Brindley Place where Frances will be working.

17 comments:

  1. Congratulations in the first instance to Frances on her promotion.

    Now, I need to find somewhere else to live ~ so is this a service you provide YP ~ searching and inspecting rental properties for people? Perhaps you could do the legwork for me too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem Carol. Send me a return air ticket and I will gladly spend a week finding you the ideal property for your needs. It will overlook the ocean and you'll be able to access a communal gym and swimming pool. There'll be pink fluffy cushions on the cream-coloured leather sofas and a cat basket for your new cat whose name will be Percy. He will keep you company as you plot the invigorating remaining years of your teaching career.

      Delete
  2. Did the fact that Frances attended the University of Birmingham play any role in her decision to spend a year at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, or was that just a coincidence? Inquiring minds want to know.

    P.S. - My own daughter just received her Master's Degree from UAB (the University of Alabama in Birmingham, as opposed to the main UA campus in Tuscaloosa, where elephants go to get their orthodontic work done).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was at Southern College, Birmingham AL - not Samford and yes the connection between the two was deliberate. Send my personal congratulations to your very clever daughter - she must take after her mother!

      Delete
  3. I remember when I was eighteen being offered a place at Aston University. My first choice was Loughborough. I couldn't face three years in Brum. I did a sandwich course at Sheffield Poly. I don't regret it. I had lovely jobs with great folk and went to college after work and one day a week. Then they let me off work to go to the Polly for a while. It went on for years. Then I got a proper job with AJ in front of Ward and HND behind. Boring it was so I went and joined the Merchant Marine.
    I'm glad she likes Brum and your pictures do it proud. It was a shit hole when I last went.
    Congratulations to the La(d)y. I'll never forget that comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What kind of sandwiches did you learn to make at Sheffield Poly? Given the name of that august institution, I am guessing parrot sandwiches!...And yes - Birmingham certainly does seem to be re-inventing itself as a bustling modern place to live. No longer a "shithole" as you so colourfully described it.

      Delete
    2. Sandwich courses were for us folk that were thicker than teachers and teacher training Colleges. We had to learn summat new and not learn to recycle old knowledge.
      I was there for three years and never made a sandwich. I did wonder at the time but I have always been confused by folk that were educating me.
      It was a damn good system if you were a not numpty apprentice. Relaxed it was. They gave me a full year extra when I crashed a motorbike at Cadwell Park. A month would have done. Very kind they were.

      Delete
    3. PS. it wasn't an August institution....It was always shut in August. I'm sure. You must be thinking of somewhere else The Poly was on Pond Street.

      Delete
    4. Pond Street - yes - of course I remember that. I have lived in Sheffield since 1978. If I were the academic director of a sandwich course it would be tuna mayo with salad every time... on granary, love!

      Delete
  4. Congratulations to Frances. It must be lovely seeing her progress in her career.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is and as it happens I feel justified in encouraging her to pursue a degree that would interest her - without having some direct connection to the job world. It has all come good.

      Delete
  5. Well done Frances. Hope she enjoys the move. Our girls are such confident, capable women these days aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being a young woman today is certainly very different from how it would have been in the sixties and seventies. I know that further progress needs to be made but there's much more equality than there used to be, Thank heavens she doesn't follow Islam.

      Delete
  6. I'd never heard Birmingham being called "Brum" until only a couple of days ago...and coincidentally, now I hear it again!

    Congratulations to Frances! She must be filled with excitement mingled with pleasant anticipation and expectation of what lies ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your good wishes Lee. Co-incidentally she got wind of a spare room in a luxury penthouse flat while we were in Brum and has just this hour agreed to rent it. It will even be cheaper and less commitment involved than renting her own apartment. It will certainly do as a stepping stone.

      Delete
  7. I also went to Brum University (regarding the name, did you ever see the kids TV programme about a car called Brum? Some parts were filmed on the uni campus), in the late-80s. A great time was had, some great pubs, independent cinemas, second-hand record and comic shops, tennis courts, you name it - oh, and a bit of studying.
    I got mugged late at night in 87 somewhere near the canal, but I'm sure that would never happen nowadays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I will tell my daughter about your mugging. Good job they didn't push you in the canal or you'd never be in Catalonia right now!

      Delete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.