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Chinese Quarter and Gay Village - A Birmingham Gem!

The Chinese Quarter and GayVillage are both located in Southside, a hub for much of Birmingham's entertainment and night life. 

Southside is a most diverse city district in Birmingham, it is vibrant and embraces Chinatown (Chinese Quarter), Theatreland and The Gay Village.

 

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Art; Culture & creativity, Food & drink, Business & enterprise
People & community, Squares and public spaces

Project dates

14 Oct 2019 - On-going

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Art; Culture & creativity
28 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Over the Moon Lantern Installation at The Arcadian

Over the Moon is a Netflix film (with a limited cinema release), and to promote it, they are having a Lantern Installation at The Arcadian in the Chinese Quarter / Southside. I popped by on Sunday lunchtime, but these can also be seen lit up after dark. A bit like those Magical Lantern displays in years gone by. It is free. I believe they will be up until the middle of November 2020.

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Over the Moon Lantern Installation at The Arcadian





Over the Moon is a Netflix film (with a limited cinema release), and to promote it, they are having a Lantern Installation at The Arcadian in the Chinese Quarter / Southside. I popped by on Sunday lunchtime, but these can also be seen lit up after dark. A bit like those Magical Lantern displays in years gone by. It is free. I believe they will be up until the middle of November 2020.


Over the Moon appears to be a new Netflix film. And to promote it, there is a Lantern Installation at The Arcadian in Southside / Chinese Quarter. It is viewable from the central circular area. It has been on display from the last few weeks of October 2020, and I think it will still be there until the middle of November 2020.

 

More details on Over the Moon. The film was released in select cinemas on the 16th October 2020 and on Netflix on the 23rd October 2020. It is a computer animated film.

 

Gallery below of the laterns in the daylight. But you could see them after dark to get the full effect. Now we are back in Greenwich Mean Time, it might be dark enough after 5pm or 6pm GMT.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
02 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Rainbow stripes and roadside outdoor seating around Southside

The Southside BID was able to make a deal with Birmingham City Council, so they could close off roads on the remaining weekends of August 2020. As well as the painted rainbow crossings, they have also had rainbow stripes put up, such as on Hurst Walk and on Kent Street. Outdoor seating to encourage social distancing outside while enjoying a drink.

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Rainbow stripes and roadside outdoor seating around Southside





The Southside BID was able to make a deal with Birmingham City Council, so they could close off roads on the remaining weekends of August 2020. As well as the painted rainbow crossings, they have also had rainbow stripes put up, such as on Hurst Walk and on Kent Street. Outdoor seating to encourage social distancing outside while enjoying a drink.


The Southside BID was able to get Birmingham City Council to agree to road closures over the last couple of weekends of August 2020. So Hurst Street, Bromsgrove Street and Kent Street were closed (no cars allowed). Tables and chairs were set up, and barriers placed at both ends. You will also find recent installations of rainbow stripes. First was on Hurst Walk at The Arcadian (above the second rainbow crossing) and more recently above Kent Street.

Hippodrome Square

Thursday 20th August 2020 (not at the weekend). A few more views of the Cross with Pride rainbow crossing, and people sitting on the picnic benches on Ladywell Walk. Between the Mapstone Building and The Arcadian.

Hurst Walk, The Arcadian

On Saturday 22nd August 2020, in The Arcadian. There is now rainbow multicoloured stripes above Hurst Walk. Between Las Iguanas and The Dragon Inn. It was raining that day.

Bromsgrove Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. Heading up Bromsgrove Street from Pershore Street. Then onto Hurst Street near the Missing Bar.

I later got these views of Bromsgrove Street, while crossing from Essex Street to Lower Essex Street to get to Kent Street. Road closed, drivers had to find an alternative route.

Safety barriers for pedestrians on Bromsgrove Street, and in the car park on the right.

Hurst Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. The Missing Bar on Hurst Street.

Looking towards the (closed) Hippodrome past The Arcadian. Tables and chairs outside.

Later after checking out Kent Street, got this view towards Tesco Express and the Missing Bar.

Then down towards the Village Inn. With these security barriers.

Saw some new rainbow banners at The Village Inn near Skinner Lane.

Kent Street

Seen on Sunday 30th August 2020. Kent Street was closed between Lower Essex Street and Hurst Street. Seen near the Nightingale Club.

Rainbow ribbons / stripes had been installed over the last week, just in time for the Bank Holiday Weekend. Looks nice.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
19 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cross with Pride in the Southside Business District

In the middle of August 2020, two rainbow crossings were painted in the Southside BID. The first in Hippodrome Square, where Hurst Street meets Ladywell Walk. The second on Hurst Walk in The Arcadian. Part of Cross with Pride. Sharing the Chinese Quarter with the Gay Village.

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Cross with Pride in the Southside Business District





In the middle of August 2020, two rainbow crossings were painted in the Southside BID. The first in Hippodrome Square, where Hurst Street meets Ladywell Walk. The second on Hurst Walk in The Arcadian. Part of Cross with Pride. Sharing the Chinese Quarter with the Gay Village.


CROSS WITH PRIDE

 

Click here for the renamed Twitter account of the Southside BID. Now Southside District Birmingham (formerly Enjoy Southside, so links to their old Twitter handle no longer works).

 

Delayed due to the pandemic / lockdown, two sets of rainbow crossings have been painted in Southside. One on Hurst Street near Ladywell Walk (Hippodrome Square), and the other one in The Arcadian, located on Hurst Walk.

According to our friends over at Brum Hour they were painted the artists James Gavina Cowper and Matthew Stephens. The 2020 Birmingham Pride Festival should have taken place in May, but was cancelled for obvious reasons. Hurst Street will be closed for 6 weekends from the 15th August 2020, so that local businesses can put out tables and chairs, so people can eat and drink outside.

Hippodrome Square

The Rainbow Crossing seen on the 11th August 2020 in Hippodrome Square. At the time still behind barriers, but they were removed later that day. Located at the end of Ladywell Walk at the junction with Hurst Street. Traffic no longer goes around here since it was closed off years ago and bollards installed.

Popped back to Southside on the 13th August 2020, now that I was aware that the Rainbow Crossing wasn't behind barriers any more. They also put picnic tables on Ladywell Walk in Hippodrome Square.

The hashtag #CrosswithPride was painted on the crossing towards the Hippodrome and The Arcadian.

#CrosswithPride has much interest and is already a focus on some inspired photography in a similar way to Abbey Road became with the help of The Beatles. 

Photo courtesy Southside BID. 

Photo courtesy Rewired PR

Photo courtesy Birmingham City Council 

The Arcadian

The second rainbow crossing was painted on Hurst Walk at The Arcadian. You can get onto it from Hurst Street. Seen on the 13th August 2020. Remember this is still the Chinese Quarter, so many Chinese businesses around here.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown unless where acknowledged. 

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70 passion points
History & heritage
10 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Southside Theatres: The Alexandra

The Alexandra Theatre located in the Southside area of Birmingham. The main entrance is on Suffolk Street Queensway, running along Suffolk Place. The original building, opened in 1901 is on Station Street and John Bright Street. The main entrance was originally on John Bright Street, but was relocated to Suffolk Street Queensway in the late 1960s. This was rebuilt in 2018.

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Southside Theatres: The Alexandra





The Alexandra Theatre located in the Southside area of Birmingham. The main entrance is on Suffolk Street Queensway, running along Suffolk Place. The original building, opened in 1901 is on Station Street and John Bright Street. The main entrance was originally on John Bright Street, but was relocated to Suffolk Street Queensway in the late 1960s. This was rebuilt in 2018.


The Alexandra Theatre

For another theatre post in Southside currently closed due to the pandemic go to the Birmingham Hippodrome.

The Alexandra Theatre is the second main theatre in Southside Birmingham. Located on Suffolk Street Queensway (the current main entrance is not too far from Holloway Circus). It is also on Suffolk Place, John Bright Street (formerly the main entrance) and up Station Street.

The theatre has gone by many names over the years. Either known as The Alexandra, The Alex or more recently the New Alexandra Theatre (before going back to just The Alexandra Theatre).

Construction of the theatre began in 1900 and it opened in 1901. The main entrance was originally on John Bright Street. The original architects was Owen & Ward and was built by William Coutts. It's original name was the Lyceum Theatre. After low ticket sales, it was sold in 1902 to Lester Collingwood and renamed to the Alexandra Theatre. Collingwood died in road traffic accident in 1910 and he was replaced by Leon Salberg, who died in his office at the theatre in 1938. In 1935 the theatre was rebuilt in the Art Deco style to a design by Roland Satchwell. After Leon Salberg's death, the running of the theatre was taken over by Derek Salberg. The Salberg family ran the theatre from 1911 until 1977.

The main entrance was relocated to Suffolk Street Queensway with a concrete bridge. This was built from 1967-69 from a design by the John Madin Design Group. The Art Deco interior of Satchwell was refurbished in 1992 by the Seymour Harris Partnership.

In the last 25 years the ownership of the theatre has changed hands a few times. In 1995 it was taken over by the Apollo Leisure Group. Who brought many West End productions to The Alex. In 1999 they were bought by SFX Entertainment. In 2001 they merged with Clear Channel Entertainment. In 2006 it was taken over by Live Nation, then in 2011 it was taken over by Ambassador Theatre Group who renamed the theatre New Alexandra Theatre after a minor refurbishment. The main entrance on Suffolk Street Queensway was rebuilt and modernised in 2018 and the theatre was renamed back to The Alexandra Theatre.

 

Live Nation: The Alexandra Theatre

My earliest photos of The Alexandra was taken from Suffolk Street Queensway during April 2009. Island Bar was next door to the right.

In February 2010, I got photos from Suffolk Place, John Bright Street and Station Street. Main entrance is on Suffolk Street Queensway. Then over the bridge. At the time the theatre was showing Porridge starring Shaun Williamson as Fletcher (originally played on TV by the late Ronnie Barker). You could see the former main entrance on John Bright Street (from 1901 until the late 1960s).

New Alexandra Theatre

Under new ownership. And now called New Alexandra Theatre as seen in January 2011. A World Class Theatre. At the time the theatre was being used by Britain's Got Talent for auditions. Main entrance building seen on Suffolk Place and opposite from Suffolk Street Queensway.

My only nightshot of the New Alexandra Theatre was taken during December 2012, when the theatre had 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton on at the time.

In May 2017 the New Alexandra Theatre was advertising Arthur Miller's Crucible, from the 5th to 10th June 2017.

The Birmingham Weekender was held during September 2017. And there was inflatable Sky Dancers on the roof of the New Alex. This was held over the weekend from the 22nd to 24th September 2017. Meanwhile the theatre was advertising Cilla The Musical and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The Alexandra Theatre 2018 refurb to present

In August 2018, scaffolding went up on the main entrance building on Suffolk Street Queensway of what was then the New Alexandra Theatre. Boogie Nights The 70s Musical was to be shown in the theatre from the 22nd to the 25th August 2018. Scaffolding by Gorilla Scaffolding.

By September 2018 they had stripped the old late 1960s concrete facade off. And was all these exposed wooden boards at the front.

In October 2018 you could already see the new facade on the Suffolk Street Queensway entrance, and it had gone back to The Alexandra name. They also had a digital billboard advertising what they had one. Such as David Walliams Awful Auntie and Benidorm Live.

Another look in December 2018 from Suffolk Place and John Bright Street. They had recladded the late 1960's building by John Madin. So not as much exposed concrete as there had been for almost 50 years. There was also shiny new red steps at the Suffolk Street Queensway main entrance. Beetham Tower and one of The Sentinels towers behind.

One of my last photos of 103 Colmore Row before lockdown was above The Alexandra Theatre on Suffolk Street Queensway during early March 2020. I wouldn't see the theatre again until the beginning of August 2020.

Closed since the lockdown began in late March 2020. As of August 2020, The Alexandra Theatre remains closed due to the pandemic. It is unknown when the theatre will be able to reopen, or even if they will be able to do social distancing with less seats available. The Shows Will Go On. Suffolk Street Queensway main entrance, then views a week later from Station Street, John Bright Street and Suffolk Place.

Follow The Alex Theatre on social media:

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
06 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Southside Theatres: Birmingham Hippodrome

The Birmingham Hippodrome is located on Hurst Street in Southside (part of the Chinese Quarter). It is also up Inge Street and near the Back to Backs. The theatre is home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet. There has been a theatre on this site since 1895. There has been several redevelopments since. The last one in 2001. The Birmingham Christmas Pantomine usually takes place here.

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Southside Theatres: Birmingham Hippodrome





The Birmingham Hippodrome is located on Hurst Street in Southside (part of the Chinese Quarter). It is also up Inge Street and near the Back to Backs. The theatre is home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet. There has been a theatre on this site since 1895. There has been several redevelopments since. The last one in 2001. The Birmingham Christmas Pantomine usually takes place here.


BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME

Lets support Birmingham's theatres during this troubling time of closure. In Southside there is the Birmingham Hippodrome (on Hurst Street), The Alexandra Theatre (on Suffolk Street Queensway and John Bright Street) and The Old REP Theatre (on Station Street).

Here though we will take a look at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Home of the world famous Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Assembly rooms was the first venue to be built on the site of the Hippodrome in 1895. It was redesigned in 1899 by local architect F. W. Lloyd. A stage and a circus was added with a Moorish tower (removed in 1963). It had the name the "Tower of Varieties". After this failed, it was rebuilt as a normal variety theatre in 1900 as the "Tivoli".  It got the name "The Hippodrome" for the first time in October 1903 under the ownership of Thomas Barrasford (it has previously been named the "Tower Theatre"). The current neo-classical auditorium which was designed to seat 1,900 people, was built in 1924 by Burdwood and Mitchell. After Smallbrook Queensway was built, the entrance building and tower was demolished in 1963.

For a time it was renamed as the "Birmingham Theatre". The plain façade was refaced in the 1980s with mock-Victorian plasterwork. Central TV spent the '80s using the Hippodrome for the ITV Talent Show New Faces.

The exterior was last rebuilt in 2001 by Associated Architects with Law and Dunbar-Nasmith, with a new glass façade and accommodation for the Birmingham Royal Ballet.  There will be another redevelopment of the façade to be completed in 2021 by AHMM Architects.

The BRB has been based in Birmingham since 1990 at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Having been founded in 1946 as the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet in London. Every Christmas season, the BRB perform Swan Lake at the Hippodrome. A production of Sir Peter Wright, the Director Laurete of the BRB. Then there is the annual Christmas Pantomime, where a variety of celebrities come to Birmingham to perform them.

 

Some of my earliest photos of the Birmingham Hippodrome from Hurst Street were taken in June 2009.

Seen during April 2012 on the main entrance doors from Hurst Street was these labels for the NEW STAGE APPEAL. At the time the Hippodrome was showing Oliver!

In December 2012, I saw this pair in Angel Wings. It was when Cinderella was on (as performed by the Birmingham Royal Ballet), and they welcomed theatre goers at the time.

Direct from the West End was Disney's The Lion King. Seen during August 2013. This touring West End show would be at the Hippodrome until the 28th September 2013.

"When in Rome do what the Romans do". Also in August 2013 was the annual Summer in Southside, which used to be held outside of the Hippodrome and down Hurst Street and in The Arcadian every summer. It was a free event held by Birmingham Hippodrome Outdoors.

Christmas decorations and Christmas trees lit up after dark at the Birmingham Hippodrome during December 2013. At the time the panto being held here was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs staring Gok Wan.

Wicked was going to be at the Birmingham Hippodrome from the 9th July until the 6th September 2014. I saw this poster during July 2014. While I've not seen Wicked in Birmingham, I did once see it in London's West End at the Apollo Victoria during October 2012. It was amazing! (it was the last time I went to see a West End show).

Summer in Southside seen during August 2014. Members of the Team in the white t-shirts. With the pointy fingers and at the Info stalls.

Near the end of December 2018, saw some Chinese lantern style Christmas lights hanging from trees on Hurst Street, not far from the Hippodrome. It was nice to see. Southside always makes the area look pretty at night.

In July 2020, for my first walk around Southside since the lockdown began (4 to 5 months after I was last here). I took a few photos of the Hippodrome from Hurst Street. Obviously they have been closed since the end of March 2020. And it is not known when it will be safe for them to reopen. Social distancing in the theatre will be hard, and the theatre may have to make people redundant sadly. Meanwhile the Southside BID gives a huge THANK YOU to all keyworkers and to the NHS.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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40 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