Birmingham Gems - largest collaboration of community showcasing a great city

In the largest collaboration ever attempted of any city's community, we are building a digital showcase of Birmingham. A digital trail of culture, history, architecture and much more.


This is a totally unique collaboration, 

It brings together in one place, contributions from people who want to share our great city with visitors from across the world.

Features, Posts and Community

Take a look at the huge variety of Birmingham Gems we are covering on our Features page. See fresh articles written by our community on our Posts page.

We are building this unique digital showcase, passion by passion, working with people across the community, young and not so young, people from across the city and from all neighbourhoods, people who really want to tell others how great their city really is.

Our Community page will introduce you to those who are passionate about their city and are helping us gather and maintain content.

For visitors, for investors and for people who love Birmingham!

This unique community led resource we're making available to the millions of visitors who want to explore our great city.  We're sharing it with investors and people who are keen to be part of the city's future.  And of course, it will always be a great place for people to go for those who live in Birmingham and those who know the city well.

Maps, trails, drones and a bit of virtual reality

We're using all the latest technology available to us so that investors, influencers and visitors can maximise their experience of Birmingham. 

 

By way of an introduction, here's a small sample of the City's passions we're covering at Birmingham Gems!

Let's start with a bit of Birmingham Creativity!

Birmingham, sometimes referred to as the ‘City of a thousand trades’, was one of the fastest growing cities in the world during the 19th Century. This growth and entrepreneurial spirit continues to this day.

Sunset over Birmingham. Photography by Daniel Sturley.

What is evident to see for all who visit and then fall in love with Birmingham is the innovation and huge creativity on display, but also the attention paid to showcasing the city’s amazing history and heritage.

Birmingham Council House and 103 Colmore Row. Photography by Reiss Gordon-Henry.

Birmingham’s construction and built environment perfectly complements its historical gems and is a magnet for followers of culture and creativity.

Centenery Square in Birmingham as seen from Library of Birmingham. Photography by Simon Felton. 

Connect HERE for more about Birmingham - the creative city!

 

Birmingham's Parks and Open Spaces

Birmingham is extremely proud of its parks and green open spaces.

Kings Heath Park, Birmingham. Photography by Christine Wright.

With over 550 parks covering a combined area of 14 square miles, this is more green open space than any other equivalent sized European city.

15 of Birmingham’s parks have received the prestigious Green Flag Award.

Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham. Photography Pete Davies.

The city’s parks play a major role in bringing people and community together and providing safe and family friendly environments where people can relax and enjoy nature on a walk, run or cycle ride in wonderful green and open spaces.

Connect HERE for more on Birmingham's parks and open spaces.

 

Canals and Waterways

Birmingham is often referred to as being at the heart of Britain’s canal network. 

Gas Street Basin, Birmingham. Photography by Tammie Naughton.

With over 100 miles of canals to explore it’s easy to see why. Whether you walk, run, bike or simply sit back and relax, the more time you spend by water the happier and healthier you feel. 

Tunnel under Black Sabbath Bridge, Birmingham. Photography by Damien Walmsley.

The charity, Canal & River Trust, together with dedicated volunteers, do a wonderful job in protecting our canals for everyone to enjoy.

Go and discover Birmingham’s canals.

Connect HERE for more canal inspiration!

 

Healthcare and our NHS

Birmingham has always put the health and wellbeing of its citizens at the forefront of policy, strategy and decision making. In 2012, Her Majesty The Queen, as part of her Diamond Jubilee Tour, officially named the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB).

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. Photography by Daniel Sturley.

Birmingham is rightly proud of the country’s NHS and the pioneering contributions made at its own hospitals, including the work for those injured across the armed forces. In 2020, a wonderful display was created in Victoria Square as a thank you from the city in recognition of the wonderful work carried out by the NHS and frontline staff.

Birmingham's tribute to NHS and frontline workers during pandemic. Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

Sustainability

Birmingham is a city committed to providing a clean and healthy environment for its citizens.

South of Birmingham on the canal looking into the City. Photography by Mac McCreery. 

Birmingham City Council’s vision of sustainability and its clean air zone strategy are all considered essential for Birmingham as it continues to grow as a major European city. In 2019, for the 8th year in a row, Birmingham scooped gold at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for a display highlighting the importance of action to tackle climate change. Sponsored by Veolia, and working in partnership with Baroness Floella Benjamin, the garden focused on four key themes: Air quality; water conservation; reducing waste; and community involvement.

Birmingham City Council entry in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (2019). Photography courtesy Birmingham City Council.

 

Birmingham Architecture

Birmingham is a relatively young city. As a result of the industrial revolution, the city grew rapidly. The fast pace of change continues today and this is reflected in the variety of architectural styles on display across Birmingham.

Birmingham City skyline as seen from Frankley. Photography by Daniel Sturley.

Birmingham has been home to many prominent architects over the years such as Yeoville Thomason, William Alexander Harvey and John Madin. In recent years, architects such as Ken Shuttleworth, Francine Houben, Glenn Howells, Frances Gannon, Lyndon Glancy, Warren Jukes and many others have helped create a wonderful landscape and built environment for a city with an exciting future.

The Mercian, Bank Towers and (in the foreground) The Cube. Photography by Daniel Sturley.

Connect HERE to see more great Birmingham architecture!

 

Sport and wellbeing

Cyclists on the canal towpath at Brindleyplace, Birmingham. Photography by Kev Maslin.

Given the city’s long tradition with holding amazing sporting events, Birmingham is a natural choice for hosting the Commonwealth Games. From athletics to world gymnastics, we have been captivated and entertained by so many talented and gifted sports men and women from across the globe. What is perhaps not so well known is Birmingham’s contribution to the Olympic Games by hosting one of the pioneering multi-sport festivals, the National Olympian Games in 1867. Within and across Birmingham, grassroots sport and some more unusual pastimes play an important role in ensuring people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Dragon boat challenge at Brindleyplace, Birmingham.  Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

Birmingham’s street art

Birmingham is most definitely the city in which to enjoy incredible street art from an array of highly talented street artists.

'Forward in Unity' mural by Gent48 commissioned by Art4Charity. Photography by Edwin Ladd.  

Whilst it was the sudden arrival of a mural by Banksy in the Jewellery Quarter and the excellent Art4Charity commission of the ‘Forward in Unity’ mural that hit the headlines, it is around Southside and Digbeth where you can enjoy work from talented street artists.

These artists include Gent48, Annatomix, Lucy McLauchlan, Philth (aka Phill Blake), N4T4 (aka Nathan Parker), Wingy (aka Simon Wingfield), Foka Wolf, Justin Sola, Andrew Mills and many more. The main street art event of the year is the High-Vis Street Culture Festival.

Street art from Gent48 in Digbeth, Birmingham. Photography by Damien Walmsley.

Connect HERE for more on the City's street art!

 

Nature and wildlife

The landscape of Birmingham and the surrounding area has a rich social, economic and natural heritage shaped by a complex history of rural, industrial, and more recent suburban and commercial land use.

Rotton Park Road Bridge, Harborne Walkway, Birmingham. Photograph by Elliott Brown.

From scarce mammals like water voles and polecats to dragonflies and kingfishers, and a huge variety of plant life, there is much to treasure with so many wonderful places to go and enjoy the city’s nature and wildlife.

Heron at Witton Lakes, Birmingham.  Photography by Elliott Brown.

The dedication and passion of hard-working volunteers is essential to the protection of wildlife across the city and within neighbourhoods.

 

Public Squares

Birmingham’s impressive public spaces and squares have played, and continue to play, an important role in the City Council’s urban design strategy.

Centenary Square, Birmingham. Photography by Barry Whitehead.

Birmingham is a great example of how well designed and developed city squares and interconnected streets can enhance the experience for both visitors and people living in the city.

Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham.  Photography by Kev Maslin.

Victoria Square, Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square are just a few of the wonderful public spaces that are connected with direct and pleasant pedestrian links. These spaces and places portray a city that recognises the value and importance of its heritage and history whilst maintaining a vision of growth.

St Paul's Church in St Paul's Square, Birmingham.  Photography by Damien Walmsley. 

Connect HERE for more on the city's public squares and spaces!

 

History and Heritage

History and heritage is such an important part of the Birmingham offer.

So many connections with so many household names, all of whom have played such an important role in shaping the way we all live our lives.  

For example, there is J.R.R. Tolkien.

J.R.R Tolkien is one of the best known authors in the world, with universally acclaimed epic novels such as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

The Hobbitt at Sarehole Mill. Photography by Elliott Brown.

What is not so well known is the Tolkien family’s links with Birmingham. From 1895 to 1911 before Tolkien left to study at Exeter College, he and his family lived in a number of homes located in the south of the city.

J.R.R. Tolkien often referred to Birmingham as his home and places such as Moseley Bog, The Two Towers on the Ladywood/Edgbaston border, Sarehole Mill and the Shire County Park all played their part in the wonderful works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Sarehole Mill, Birmingham. Photography by Ellott Brown.

Connect HERE for more on Tolkien's Birmingham experience.

 

One of Birmingham's most famous of familes is the Cadbury family.

However, it isn’t just chocolate that Birmingham has to thank the Cadbury family for.

Cadbury World in Bournville. Photography by Elliott Brown.

The Cadbury family has a fascinating history that dates back to 1824 when John Cadbury opened a grocer’s shop in Bull Street, Birmingham. But it isn’t just chocolate that we have to thank the Cadbury family for. The early Cadbury brothers, George and Richard had a strong belief in creating a prosperous, enterprising and inclusive community. 

Cadbury brothers George and Richard.  Photography by Elliott Brown.

This ethos and support for community continues today and the Cadbury Foundation supports a variety of inspirational organisations, local and national.

Connect HERE for more about the great work of the Cadbury family.

Project dates

16 Apr 2020 - On-going

Passions

History & heritage, Art; Culture & creativity, People & community
Modern Architecture, Green open spaces, Squares and public spaces

Contact

(for further information)

Admin FreeTimePays

0121 410 5520
Admin@ FreeTimePays.com