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Birmingham's Image And Status

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BOBJ

knowlegable brummie
About 20 years ago I worked in Essex and travelled up and down Monday and Friday. I lived in Solihull which was always referred to as Birmingham by my colleagues in a joking way. I was on holiday at Whitson and took a call from my boss while in the garden. What’s all that racket, are you in an aviary he asked, no it’s birds in the garden, IN BIRMINGHAM ! he said with great amazement.

I think that sums up the typical Southern view of the Birmingham area.
 

Simon4130

master brummie
I was over on a visit last week and one thing I wasn't prepared for was the huge upsurge in homeless people and also beggars in the city centre. My last visit was in July when beggars were small in number and homeless people nowhere to be seen, in high profile areas anyway. I have to admit I was horrified and taken aback, left wondering just what had gone wrong in only three months. Standing in Victoria Square and looking around I could see sleeping bags in the main entrance to the Council House and all around the Town Hall. I had been praising Birmingham to a friend of mine and she had asked me to send a few photos, one of the reasons I had walked up that direction straight from the airport was to take those photos but I couldn't take them and send them as they would have ruined the image of the city that I was portraying to my friend. I cringed as I saw tourists around me taking photos to no doubt send around the world, some of the best known buildings in Brum complete with sleeping bags, cardboard and unfortunate souls with nowhere to call home. The next morning as I walked down Broad Street I noticed bus shelters crammed with occupied sleeping bags. I really hope for the sake of the people involved and for the image of Birmingham that these scenes are not something that we grow accustomed to seeing. It left me with a genuine feeling of sadness. Aside from this my visit was very pleasant and I haven't been put off from returning again, hopefully not too far into the future.

Simon
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
It's been like for years now. I'm used to seeing homeless people sleeping rough in the city centre. Even during the daylight hours they are fast asleep under a bridge or in a doorway. And then sitting all day with a sleeping bag around their lap.

All the demolition of Paradise Circus and former subways has forced them to move elsewhere. Must be uncomfortable sitting on hard paving stones.


Don't get put off taking photos of Birmingham City Centre Simon!
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Yes Elbrown
I have to agree with simon it as become a city of discontent,and the Homeless rate as become
Worse than ever,but in the next breath ,there is alot of beggars
Yesterday we went to birmingham city centre by train to what they now call birmingham central station
But it will always be birmingham new street to me
Slightly impressed with the inside ,it was buzzing with people of all nations the prices was extortionate
Plenty of eating venues looking good
But when you come out of the station its self its very grim indeed,i was not impressed with
The trams very noisy breaking sqealing brakes at all levels yet to get in one

But i have to admitt like simon said there is loads of people sleeping in door ways
And any where they can drop down on the deck and sleep path ways. door ways
Around moor street was a very popular place for them even new street
Sleeping bags every where well this aint no good for tourist to come and see as far as i can see

The druggies and scroungers stopping and begging for money they was in dozens
Stopping you and asking for money we felt very intimerdated by the hustling that was going on
Just walking around those streets of brum,
It was never that bad years ago,
And when you get the good people of standing saying oh lets go out tonight
With a cardboard box and sleep in the door way like these homeless people
But one night aint no rough experience compared to these poor unfortuneately people
Whom are genuely homeless they do not no whats it all about they just want to be seen doing some think
To get them in the news papers it not helping these people at all
We seen loads of them yesterday you could tell by the clothes they was wearing and very clean
Washed and looking just sit down on the ground with a blanket over your knees
Hoping some people will drop you a quid or what ever

Here in worc city we do not tolarate this behaviour and we do not let them into our city
Police are very quick to move in and move them on if ever they came
We had one and he was persistent but he was taken away and charged under an old law of
Begging same as the drinkers they are quickly tackled and the drink is poured down the drain in front of
Them
I have to say i would never come back to birmingham to live and i am glad that i moved out
Of birmingham city and moved to worcestershire good clean envoironment and less hustle
And freedom to move i felt very insure on the streets of brum
And i do not think its is as spectacler as people say it is as it all mixed up
But getting back to simons thread its definately not a place pleasance to see what little is left of the grand old brum
And its a historicle building that it did have one the streets are filfy as well
Whats it be like when the council cut there cleaning bill for the city
I did have a book afew years ago written by one of the older generation of the cadbury family
And it it he had aspiration for the city and he published pictures of buildings
With its dezign they was very space age photos and glamerous but sadly
It aint happen to brum best wishes Astonian,,
 
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Simon4130

master brummie
It's been like for years now. I'm used to seeing homeless people sleeping rough in the city centre. Even during the daylight hours they are fast asleep under a bridge or in a doorway. And then sitting all day with a sleeping bag around their lap.

All the demolition of Paradise Circus and former subways has forced them to move elsewhere. Must be uncomfortable sitting on hard paving stones.


Don't get put off taking photos of Birmingham City Centre Simon!
It should have course dawned on me that the demolition of Paradise Circus has moved the homeless into much more visible positions where they do indeed seem to remain all through the day. Unfortunately many of these areas are where visitors come to take photos. I'm not your typical visitor as I have a deep interest in the city and I know where to look for the many great and interesting places that are to be found but for the "average" visitor, possibly just passing through, the sight of homeless people and beggars around prominent buildings might well be enough to put them off staying around or returning in the future as well as giving a bad review of the city :(

I'm definitely not put off taking photos Ellbrown, in fact I went and took photos of the many lovely buildings along Cornwall Street and Edmund Street areas.

Simon
 

Old Boy

master brummie
It should have course dawned on me that the demolition of Paradise Circus has moved the homeless into much more visible positions where they do indeed seem to remain all through the day. Unfortunately many of these areas are where visitors come to take photos. I'm not your typical visitor as I have a deep interest in the city and I know where to look for the many great and interesting places that are to be found but for the "average" visitor, possibly just passing through, the sight of homeless people and beggars around prominent buildings might well be enough to put them off staying around or returning in the future as well as giving a bad review of the city :(

I'm definitely not put off taking photos Ellbrown, in fact I went and took photos of the many lovely buildings along Cornwall Street and Edmund Street areas.

Simon
Hi All,
The problems outlined above are not confined to Birmingham. Every large city, not only here but abroad also, has the same trouble. In my experience London is particularly bad. I cannot speak for Birmingham as I have not been to the city centre for years. Alan, people are attracted to the large cities because that is where the money is.The police in Worcester are no different to the police in Birmingham. They have all had the same training and do their best to uphold the laws. I do not know what the solution is. Building more homes might help but not if people expect to live in them for free.
Old Boy
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
There is always a pair of rough sleepers between Tesco Express and Mangobean at Old Square / Corporation Street.

Recently has been someone under the bridge on Dale End. They just seem to sit there all day (what do they do all day?).

Some of them are near the car park on Moat Lane in Digbeth.

The council really need to do something. I know that their are some charities that feeds them at night. E.g. Help the Homeless.
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
Astonian: it is and always will be called Birmingham New Street Station. Grand Central is just the name of the shopping centre on the level above (and also used as the name of the tram stop on Stephenson Street).

If you walk from New Street to Moor Street Station under St Martin's Queensway, you will see at least three people in sleeping bags.

Think there is also one on the bridge on top of the Snow Hill tunnel on Moor Street Queensway also.

And in a doorway on Carrs Lane, opposite all the bus stops.
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Hi Ellbrown
Nice to hear from you and also for putting me correct on the station,
When i seen the name above the building i thought wow, and i really thought it was a name change
For the station ,regarding the bars in there,probaly not that word for it
But all those resturants look very flash possible a american style if i can used that word
It certainly a flambouyant place big difference from the old concourse that i recall
We have aranged a meet up with our daughter at colmore row on 15 November, and i am planning
To get a ride on those trams colour is nice i think we will take the wolverhampton ride
And get to se some shotts of hockley brook, i presume its goes that way
I wonder how much are the fare rides around the city of brum,
When you said it will always be New street Station , I was glad to hear that, because i would never
Get to call it by its new name ,just as i recall dudley road hospital and not city hospital
Like wise with the Heartlands its always call it east birmingham
I am like most people of my agedo not like changes i still use feet and inches not metric
Like wise with the weights old fashioniond i am and always will be
Thanks Ellie for putting me correct best wishes Astonian,,,,,Alan,,,
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
Alan it's just Ell.

Maybe you will see this from the Bullring side of the station.



Not sure about the fares on the tram. Not been on the new Urbos 3 trams yet. Have a Swift card (season ticket) but it's for National Express West Midlands Direct Debit unlimited buses only.


Not sure about Hockley Brook Alan. You may or may not be able to see it from the Jewellery Line (with London Midland trains towards Smethwick Galton Bridge).

Quick look on Google - you may have to get off at Winson Green Outer Circle Hockley Brook
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Hi Ell .
Many thanks for your fast reply in letting me know about the route
And the other information you have given me regarding possible route
Alan,,,Astonian,,,,,,
 

Big Gee

master brummie
A couple of weeks ago - and I apologise in advance if anyone has posted here about it - there was an item on BBC internet news about how Birmingham is currently THE Number One location for people moving out of London to somewhere else in the UK. Apparently, year-to-date, some 6000 people have re-located to Brum to get away from high rents, high property prices, high cost of living. Good for them! Any of them can have my house in Streetly for three times its going price, and they'd still have a cheaper home than if they were buying in London.

We lived in the USA from 1977 - 1980, and once spent a long weekend staying with friends in Washington DC. That is, where the White House is. And truth to tell, not much else, apart from the Smithsonian. There was a Metro, but we were prevented from going on it by police who warned us that there was trouble. There were also homeless people all over the place - I'm talking 35 years ago here - and our friends actually gave us a list of streets and places we should keep away from! We had never seen anything like this in our lives! Our home in the USA was near to Cleveland, Ohio, a big, soul-less, grim, dirty industrial city, but we don't recall seeing homeless people there in the numbers we saw in the capital city of the USA. Last year on the box I saw a feature about the modern homeless in Washington, filmed during winter - and winters are hard down there - and there were groups of homeless gathered around the street heating-duct outlets, the only way they could get any warmth.

G
 

farmerdave

master brummie
I made a promise to myself in #107 that the next time I came to Birmingham I would have a trip on a canal boat. Mission accomplished. At 4pm last Sunday I took a 1hour trip from Sherborne Wharf, near Brindley Place. Made a note of the route. The boat went via Ladywood Junction, St. Vincent Bridge, Monument Road Basin Bridge, and then the Icknield Port Loop. The latter has no tow-path and can only be seen by boat. There were a lot of derelict buildings but I see that the Icknield Port area is to be regenerated. The boat completed the loop and then went back past the starting point to Gas Street Basin and the Mailbox. The latter half of the trip was in approaching darkness but that gave it more of an atmosphere. The cost is only £8 (£7 for seniors) and very good value. There were only 5 passengers on the boat so it does need support. I did see some people sleeping rough or begging in Broad Street and near the Town Hall but not as many as I had expected. Dave.
 

devonjim

master brummie
Astonian: it is and always will be called Birmingham New Street Station.
.
I was in total agreement with this sentiment but reading "Bradshaw" 1863 he refers to "The Central Station" situated in New Street at the bottom of Stevenson Place, so should we embrace the "new" Central name as being historically correct?
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
I was in total agreement with this sentiment but reading "Bradshaw" 1863 he refers to "The Central Station" situated in New Street at the bottom of Stevenson Place, so should we embrace the "new" Central name as being historically correct?
Birmingham New Street Station was opened 1 June 1854 replacing Birmingham Curzon Street that day (although some trains continued to use Curzon Street until 1893). For a time The London & North Western Railway did refer to it as Birmingham Central Station to distinguish it from Curzon Street and probably also to distinguish it from the Great Western's Birmingham Station (opened 1852) which was renamed Birmingham Snow Hill in 1858

I notice that the trams now say Grand Central for New Street Station.

Earlier this year I was on a train into New Street when the announcement of our approach was made. There were some young women sitting ahead of me and I heard one of them say, in that tone of voice that I have not heard since junior school when they think that they are so superior to you thinking that you have got something wrong, "It's now Grand Central"
 

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
I forecast, quite some time ago, in another thread, that the name "NEW STREET" would slowly disappear, and "Grand Central" become the 'norm'.

Eddie.
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
The Froggary was cleared in the 1850s.

In my new book "A History in Maps Birmingham" (by Paul Leslie Line, published 2009, reprinted 2016),
on page 90 it says it was originally called "New Grand Central Railway Station". The map on page 91 has a label "The London & North Western Railway Station".


Some of my recent photos where it says "Birmingham New Street"



 
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