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Old Science Museum. Newhall Street

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
Newhall Square 2019. On Newhall Street, The Whitmore Collection under construction next to the old Elkington Electroplating Works.



 
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BrummyPaul

knowlegable brummie
I remember the old Museum of Science and Industry in Newhall Street very well indeed. I spent many a Sunday there with my dad during the 1960's. It was wonderful. It is no exaggeration to say it proved to be a really important formative part of my life and contributed hugely to my education and in shaping my future interests and engagement. My dad educated me in a fun and interactive way and we bonded massively in those halls. During the 70's through my teens, I still visited, usually alone, moving slowly through the exhibits and remembering. Those old rooms and halls were certainly atmospheric and the room connections were a little cobbled together but, along with the smell of musty oil and machinery, it added to the adventure. And importantly, it was free (I think)!
I have since taken our grandchildren to Think Tank many times. We have had great times there without doubt. Much of it, apart from those exhibits saved from the Newhall Street museum, is aimed at very young children. This is a good thing. But it's modern architecture and open plan makes it very noisy and completely devoid of any atmosphere whatsoever. And it's very expensive indeed!
 

Johnson044

Brummie babby
This lovely museum was a source of delight and inspiration to many, many people. The prize exhibit was 46235 “City of Birmingham” which arrived straight from a cosmetic overhaul at Crewe in 1964 and, hence, is one of the few (if not the only) surviving steam locomotives in authentic paint. The poor thing was pushed and pulled hydraulically backwards and forwards, half-hourly, I think (this always seemed to me a rather cheap and un-dignified trick) and sat in a purpose-built hall along with “Leonard” a 2’ Kerr-Stuart 0-4-2ST and “Lorna Doone” a Bagnall 0-4-0ST of similar gauge. There was also “Secundus”, one of only two locomotives built in the city, a venerable 0-6-0WT with Gooch valve gear. I recently met this old friend again in the goods shed at Corfe Castle station on the Swanage Railway, close to where Secundus spent most of her (or his?) working life- quite an emotional re-union. There was also, amongst other locally-made exhibits, a circular button-making machine- perhaps the most complicated mechanical device I’ve ever come across. This wonderful device of oiled brown metal would be set into chattering and spider-like motion at the push of a button and was absolutely fascinating to watch. Indeed, much of the museum would often be a blur of movement, especially on the regular steaming days. A large model of a colonial railway carriage with the roof hinged up so that you could appreciate the lavish interior springs to mind also- this was next to a display of radios (you could listen to the same piece of music from each in turn by selecting buttons) and I hear the tune in my mind still. A diorama that I remember, still, with a degree of awe was that of an alchemist in his workshop, long straggly white hair and staring into the glass phial of who knows what in his hand- an absolutely haunted and terrifying figure that put me in mind of “Adam Eterno” (anyone else remember him?) the ragged time traveller from the comic “Lion”. A locally made Japanese suit of armour made a similar impression on me. Some of the exhibits made it to “Think Tank”, which is, I’m afraid, very much a shadow of the old museum and I found it desperately disappointing when I took my children there.
 

Spargone

master brummie
The prize exhibit was 46235 “City of Birmingham” which arrived straight from a cosmetic overhaul at Crewe in 1964 and, hence, is one of the few (if not the only) surviving steam locomotives in authentic paint. The poor thing was pushed and pulled hydraulically backwards and forwards, half-hourly, I think.

A locally made Japanese suit of armour made a similar impression on me.
I remember City of Birmingham sitting outside, all sheeted over, in 1969, before the new hall was built around it. Wasn't it pulled along by a steel cable? I don't know what was used to power it.

There used to be a leather Japanese suit of armour at the bottom of the stairs in the Museum and Art Gallery. I think there was a large geode with purple crystals inside in a cabinet near by. A very long time since I visited though!
 

farmerdave

master brummie
There was also “Secundus”, one of only two locomotives built in the city, a venerable 0-6-0WT with Gooch valve gear. I recently met this old friend again in the goods shed at Corfe Castle station on the Swanage Railway, close to where Secundus spent most of her (or his?) working life- quite an emotional re-union.
Hi Johnson044. Great post. If you do a search on Secundus (not defining that it be in title of a thread) then the third selected thread "steam locos" will show a picture of Secundus together with some of its history. Dave.
 

Johnson044

Brummie babby
I remember City of Birmingham sitting outside, all sheeted over, in 1969, before the new hall was built around it. Wasn't it pulled along by a steel cable? I don't know what was used to power it.

There used to be a leather Japanese suit of armour at the bottom of the stairs in the Museum and Art Gallery. I think there was a large geode with purple crystals inside in a cabinet near by. A very long time since I visited though!
Yes- I remember the geode- and also the Pinto Collection of wooden objects- as well, of course, as the T rex! all now long gone, I think.
 

Johnson044

Brummie babby
Hi Johnson044. Great post. If you do a search on Secundus (not defining that it be in title of a thread) then the third selected thread "steam locos" will show a picture of Secundus together with some of its history. Dave.
Thanks Dave- I'll have a look.
 

Williamstreeter

master brummie
This lovely museum was a source of delight and inspiration to many, many people. The prize exhibit was 46235 “City of Birmingham” which arrived straight from a cosmetic overhaul at Crewe in 1964 and, hence, is one of the few (if not the only) surviving steam locomotives in authentic paint. The poor thing was pushed and pulled hydraulically backwards and forwards, half-hourly, I think (this always seemed to me a rather cheap and un-dignified trick) and sat in a purpose-built hall along with “Leonard” a 2’ Kerr-Stuart 0-4-2ST and “Lorna Doone” a Bagnall 0-4-0ST of similar gauge. There was also “Secundus”, one of only two locomotives built in the city, a venerable 0-6-0WT with Gooch valve gear. I recently met this old friend again in the goods shed at Corfe Castle station on the Swanage Railway, close to where Secundus spent most of her (or his?) working life- quite an emotional re-union. There was also, amongst other locally-made exhibits, a circular button-making machine- perhaps the most complicated mechanical device I’ve ever come across. This wonderful device of oiled brown metal would be set into chattering and spider-like motion at the push of a button and was absolutely fascinating to watch. Indeed, much of the museum would often be a blur of movement, especially on the regular steaming days. A large model of a colonial railway carriage with the roof hinged up so that you could appreciate the lavish interior springs to mind also- this was next to a display of radios (you could listen to the same piece of music from each in turn by selecting buttons) and I hear the tune in my mind still. A diorama that I remember, still, with a degree of awe was that of an alchemist in his workshop, long straggly white hair and staring into the glass phial of who knows what in his hand- an absolutely haunted and terrifying figure that put me in mind of “Adam Eterno” (anyone else remember him?) the ragged time traveller from the comic “Lion”. A locally made Japanese suit of armour made a similar impression on me. Some of the exhibits made it to “Think Tank”, which is, I’m afraid, very much a shadow of the old museum and I found it desperately disappointing when I took my children there.
Johnson 044 A loco was the highlight of a visit to the Science Museum when I was young way back in the 60's , the train I saw though was before 64 . I started work in 64 and I'm sure I never visited after starting work . We used to do the tour of the museum and end up at the train .
 

Johnson044

Brummie babby
Williamstreeter- I wonder which loco that was in the early 60's? Before my time. I think I can just remember City of Birmingham's arrival at the museum- it's just possible that my parents took me into town to see- but we'd only just moved to the city and I was six. I think my comment on the way it was moved backwards and forwards was probably wrong- a steel cable much more likely. I only knew the city for seven years but they were my formative years and the city got into my very soul. I visited the museum so frequently and loved it very dearly. Having seemingly gone through hyperspace from early teens to advancing middle age I now find myself thinking of early 1970's Brum very often- and the museums- and in particular of the Museum of Science and Industry- and it leaves me with a desolate and overwhelming sense of loss to think of the museum's destruction and the dispersal of all the wonderful exhibits. I would give so much to be able to enter the museum again.
 

Johnson044

Brummie babby
Ah- thank you, RobT- my memory is playing tricks! The loco arrived much earlier than I thought. I just have something dancing on the edge of my memory that there was some major publicity about the loco around the time we moved to the city and I thought it must be connected with its arrival- but I was only six, as I say. I must try to be scientific in my research!
 

Radiorails

master brummie
I expect the following has already been posted:
It has has four different liveries in its life, so it is not the original. The one it has currently was the last BR version. It looked much nicer in LMS Crimson Lake and when it had its original streamlining I believe, but I doubt few of us will have seen it that way.
 

Johnson044

Brummie babby
I agree, although as you say, way before time for most of us- still, we have Duchess of Hamilton- and C of B's paint is authentic and pre-preservation.
 

Williamstreeter

master brummie
Williamstreeter- I wonder which loco that was in the early 60's? Before my time. I think I can just remember City of Birmingham's arrival at the museum- it's just possible that my parents took me into town to see- but we'd only just moved to the city and I was six. I think my comment on the way it was moved backwards and forwards was probably wrong- a steel cable much more likely. I only knew the city for seven years but they were my formative years and the city got into my very soul. I visited the museum so frequently and loved it very dearly. Having seemingly gone through hyperspace from early teens to advancing middle age I now find myself thinking of early 1970's Brum very often- and the museums- and in particular of the Museum of Science and Industry- and it leaves me with a desolate and overwhelming sense of loss to think of the museum's destruction and the dispersal of all the wonderful exhibits. I would give so much to be able to enter the museum again.
Well the curator with the train used to plug a lead into the line , then it was in motion I can't remember the name , perhaps you are right and it was before I started work in 1964 .
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
rob what fantastic photos thanks very much for sharing them with us can anyone make out the name of the road or st in pic 4

lyn
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Cannot read the name, but to the right the building has a firm written on it, which I think is J & W Mitchell, paper manufacturers, which is at 84-102 Coventry Road, which means that the junction is of Coventry Road and Watery Lane. (Sorry colour on map has not filled in very well)

map c1952 showing 84-102 Coventry road.jpg
 

Bob Johnson

master brummie
Cannot read the name, but to the right the building has a firm written on it, which I think is J & W Mitchell, paper manufacturers, which is at 84-102 Coventry Road, which means that the junction is of Coventry Road and Watery Lane. (Sorry colour on map has not filled in very well)

View attachment 140960
Here's a picture of the paperworks on the left, looking up Coventry road towards the Blues ground. I took this picture when I was standing at the junction of Watery lane.
Covroad2.jpg
 
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