History & heritage
28 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Shakespeare Memorial Room at the Library of Birmingham

Since September 2013, the Shakespeare Memorial Room has been located on Level 9 at the Library of Birmingham (near the Skyline Viewpoint). Did you know that it was orginally built in 1882 to house the Shakespeare Library and was designed by John Henry Chamberlain. It was later dismantled and placed in the 1974 Central Library in the School of Music Complex, before it was moved again.

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The Shakespeare Memorial Room at the Library of Birmingham





Since September 2013, the Shakespeare Memorial Room has been located on Level 9 at the Library of Birmingham (near the Skyline Viewpoint). Did you know that it was orginally built in 1882 to house the Shakespeare Library and was designed by John Henry Chamberlain. It was later dismantled and placed in the 1974 Central Library in the School of Music Complex, before it was moved again.


The Shakespeare Memorial Room

On the 28th September 2013, I returned to the Library of Birmingham for my second visit. Also to go up to the floors that I had no time for the first time around. I went up the lift. Some lifts only go has far as Level 7, so you need the lift to Level 9. This would take you to the Skyline Viewpoint and to the Shakespeare Memorial Room. Or you can walk up the stairs.

In the first month of being open, the library was very busy and full of tourists, including many from overseas, so it was packed! There was a lot of people in the Shakespeare Memorial Room on my first visit. Although in the years since, I've had the room to myself.

Click here for my last post on the Library of Birmingham for an interior tour.

Now located inside of the Golden Cylinder at the top of the Library (looks like a Nescafe Gold Blend coffee jar lid).

The Birmingham Shakespeare Memorial Library was founded by George Dawson and some of his closest friends, as they decided that Birmingham should be the home of the greatest collection of Shakespeare's books in the world. They insisted that a room be built for them, and that it should be free and open to everyone.

It was originally created for the much loved (and missed) Victorian Central Library (opened in 1882 and demolished in 1974). The first Central Library of the Victorian era was built in 1866 but was partially destroyed by a fire in 1879. John Henry Chamberlain was given the task to re-build the Library and this included a room to house Birmingham's Shakespeare Library.

Sir Barry Jackson, the founder of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1913, later became a Director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon during the late 1940s. There is a gavel given to him in 1936 in the room.

The next Central Library was designed by John Madin and was built from 1969 until 1974. The Shakespeare Memorial Room was dismantled from the old Victorian library and put back together like a jigsaw puzzle. Being placed in what was the School of Music complex. Which included Adrian Boult Hall and the Birmingham Conservatoire. This included the Library Theatre Birmingham and the William Shakespeare Memorial Library and the Library Exhibition Hall.

It remained there until it was moved to the new Library of Birmingham in 2013 (built from 2010 until 2013).

The roof was reconstructed by in plaster by A E Edwards & Co, a Birmingham based company dating to the 1870s.

I'd only ever got close to the outside of the old complex (during 2011), so never stepped foot in the room until it reopened at the Library of Birmingham in 2013.

 

View of the Library Theatre Birmingham on the 2nd January 2011. This concrete bridge was in front of Woktastic. There was also an entrance to Adrian Boult Hall at the time.

What was the entrance to the William Shakespeare Memorial Library and Library Exhibition Hall. I never went in. Wasn't sure if I could open the doors as they were self locking doors. After the last Central Library closed down for good in 2013, I had to wait for the new Library to open before I could see the room for myself for the first time.

On the 31st August 2013, I was getting my last views of the Library of Birmingham before it opened to the public in Centenary Square 3 days later on the 3rd September 2013. This view of the golden cylinder seen from Suffolk Street Queensway. The windows at the front is the Skyline Viewpoint and the Shakespeare Memorial Room is behind that.

On the 21st September 2013 during my first visit to the inside of the Library of Birmingham I took the photo below. At the top of the library on Level 9 is the Shakespeare Memorial Room inside of the Golden Cylinder. Below on Level 7 is the Secret Garden. The view was from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line (near the Turnover Bridge No. 2 close to what was at that point called the National Indoor Arena). Overlooking the ICC Energy Centre.

On the 28th September 2013, arriving at the Shakespeare Memorial Room on Level 9 for the first time. There was a lot of people in there.

Looking up at the ceiling. It is remarkable that this has survived since the late 19th century (unless it is a recreation).

Looking to the wooden panelling on one side of the room.

It more or less looks the same to the right.

And to the left near the door.

One of the corners with the bookcases.

Looking down at the doors of the lower cabinets.

Looking up to the ceiling to the ornate detailing at the top.

Out of the door, and there was comfy red sofas at the Skyline Viewpoint.

Ornate glass windows in the upper cabinet doors.

The views outside the room are spectacular. There is also a couple of busts and plaques / tablets, including ones saved from the old Central Libraries. If the lifts are busy walk down the stairs (if you can).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
22 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Forward in Unity by Gent 48 on Meriden Street, Digbeth

While I've been aware of this Gent 48 street art in Digbeth, I wasn't able to travel into the City Centre until I could go on the bus again. With my pass sorted for a 4 week period, I got the bus up to Digbeth, and made my way to Meriden Street. Initally thought it was on Allison Street but couldn't see it there. Behind an old snooker club. Gates locked so took from pavement.

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Forward in Unity by Gent 48 on Meriden Street, Digbeth





While I've been aware of this Gent 48 street art in Digbeth, I wasn't able to travel into the City Centre until I could go on the bus again. With my pass sorted for a 4 week period, I got the bus up to Digbeth, and made my way to Meriden Street. Initally thought it was on Allison Street but couldn't see it there. Behind an old snooker club. Gates locked so took from pavement.


Forward in Unity by Gent 48

It has been around 4 months since I was last able to travel to Digbeth. And many things have changed since then. The street art is mostly the same.

Foka Wolf has done a Love NHS heart at the Custard Factory.

Meanwhile famed Birmingham street artist Gent 48 (known for his murals all over Digbeth and Southside) was commissioned to paint Forward in Unity.

It is located on Meriden Street, and an open area just behind a snooker club. Never noticed it before as there used to be billboards on this side.

The gates were locked on Saturday 18th July 2020, so I got these 7 photos (below) from the pavement. I will leave the photos to do the talking.

Thank you NHS and thank you to all keyworkers. Stay alert. Wear a face covering on public transport (and shops from the 24th July 2020).

Also check out Gent 48's murals around the Chinese Quarter and Southside including a recent one in Bath Passage.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

 

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
21 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Famed Brummie street artist Gent 48 spruces up Bath Passage for the Southside BID

During the Great Lockdown of 2020, the Southside Business Improvement District had commissioned famous local Birmingham street artist known as Gent 48 to spruce up Bath Passage. A little known hidden area between Dudley Street and Ladywell Walk in the Chinese Quarter. It looks nice now. It looks like the Southside BID might be turning this area into some kind of stage or square?

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Famed Brummie street artist Gent 48 spruces up Bath Passage for the Southside BID





During the Great Lockdown of 2020, the Southside Business Improvement District had commissioned famous local Birmingham street artist known as Gent 48 to spruce up Bath Passage. A little known hidden area between Dudley Street and Ladywell Walk in the Chinese Quarter. It looks nice now. It looks like the Southside BID might be turning this area into some kind of stage or square?


GENT 48'S

BATH PASSAGE

SOUTHSIDE

STREET ART

I'd like to thank the Enjoy Southside Twitter for letting me know months in advance about this, and for also welcoming me back to the City Centre, after not being able to get there during 4 months in lockdown.

After popping to the Caffe Nero on the Bullring link bridge for the first time in months (and since they reopened), I headed towards Southside. During a walk around town on Saturday 18th July 2020, I'd earlier walked around Digbeth. Almost went down Hurst Street from Smallbrook Queensway, but spotted this from the bridge, so went down the spiral staircase from the Bullring (near Debenhams) and got it from Dudley Street.

I will leave the photos to do the talking from Bath Row. The art is by Gent 48.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
10 Jul 2020 - Stephen Calcutt
News & Updates
https://www.youtube.com/embed//4thOYIdnxwM

BuStopia

This is a prototype event that encapsulates my work and where I'm coming from as an artist 

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BuStopia





This is a prototype event that encapsulates my work and where I'm coming from as an artist 


This is the run down of the BuStopia event as depicted on my wesite, I was to present this again as  a performance piece at the Midland Fashion Awards 2020 which has been cancelled due to Covid 19. 

BuStopia 

The first  live show was performed Saturday March the 7th 2020 at the Direct Art Action Gallery in Sutton Coldfield.  Birmingham UK.  that was conceived as part of the overall multi media art exhibition is also called BuStopia as a stand alone piece.

The show lasts approximately 5 minutes and is made up of three stages representing a transition from an anxious, depressed state to a feeling of taking ownership  of ones life and  empowerment.

The first stage of the show the models portraying an anxiety or depressed  state.  The models  are some way from the viewers the projection and the windows reinforcing the detachment that the models are portraying as the pace across the floor. 

Phase 1:       Anxiety depression 

The models stop and stand still for this part of the performance. This is the transformation phase where the make up artist  applies some colour to the faces of the models in a minimalist fashion. Preparing the models for the final movement.  

Phase 2:         Transformation

The transformation music stops the models start to weave through the windows getting closer to the viewers slowly the barriers are diminishing. 

The models  discarded the  white outer garments, removed to reveal the garments I created  this is symbolic like the butterfly that transforms from the caterpillar .

This phase of the show the models are now stood in  front of the windows. They are now in full view of the audience the projected film is now hitting them directly. When the models remove their outer white garments they reveal the brightly coloured formal garments that Idesigned. 

Phase 3:           Empowerment

They have broken through the anxiety and depression there are no barriers between them and the viewer.  They have taken ownership, they are in control of their lives.  The clothing symbolises  this state by containing the chaotic image within classic formal clean cut garments. The models then engage in a traditional catwalk as the final movement of this show 

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40 passion points
Photography
10 Jul 2020 - Stephen Calcutt
News & Updates

Lockdown Life

This tryptic of images sum up three aspects of lockdown life and self isolation for me. I was stuck for what I could present that was original and reflected the positive side of lockdown for me. I'd started growing veg in containers and using an exercise trampoline as part of my keeping active regime. I made a scarecrow out of a bamboo cne with a tin pie container and some balloons

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Lockdown Life





This tryptic of images sum up three aspects of lockdown life and self isolation for me. I was stuck for what I could present that was original and reflected the positive side of lockdown for me. I'd started growing veg in containers and using an exercise trampoline as part of my keeping active regime. I made a scarecrow out of a bamboo cne with a tin pie container and some balloons


I decided on a very windy day to capture the scarecrow being blown around on a slow shutter speed. These are the three I loved the most as stated capturing my veg growing and exercise equipment and the artistic side of me being captured in the bold abstract colours of the balloons.

I'm in a sanctuary during Covid 19, as an introvert it has an odd reasurance not to have to engage in the outside world. I'm fortunate not to be suffering health or activity wise,  I know it's a dire time for some.

 

My images capture the spark that keeps me going Covid 19 or not. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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