|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.|