Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history.
While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.
We do hope you enjoy your visit.
BHF Admin Team
We went today, paid almost eight pounds each to get in. Love the exhibits from Newhall street, the graceful Spitfire and the mighty Hurricane. That smashing giant the City Of Birmingham locomotive that seems even without steam has a life of it's own. Old friends from my past that seem out of place somehow? The are numerous other exhibits and interactive displays but I really didnt think it was worth the money, for me there is something missing, the place just doesnt have a soul. I understand the Think Tank needs to generate more attendence from the public, I cant hand on heart say I would return. On balance I imagine the kids would love the place, lots of buttons to press.
I moaned a bit about our history in storage at Dollman Street, but visiting Think Tank has changed my mind about it, I much prefer the industrial setting of a warehouse to the Pseudo Industrial look that is Milleneum Point. There is a cracking view to be had of Curzon Street Station which lies opposite.
Rod, did you by any chance get a picture of the mill part that is there ( this is how senile I'm going, I can't remember which part), found it, it's the engine of Wychall Mill :-\ :-\
We were going to go and take a look round Think Tank, but the step kids said it wasn't worth the money, and that they much prefered the old Science Museum, so we took their advice.
Rod, I agree entirely with you, about the settings the " Memories from the past"are placed but we have two ways of thinking
Do we advance to the future or stay in a time warp
If you became a millionaire would you if you owned Aston Hall furnish it with stainless steel fittings and Glass .........or buy antiques that fitted the period of the hall?
In the Future I can see what is being done in other countries regarding old buildings
3D laser images are projected in the buildings so folk can see how it was in the past and can view a piece of furniture that is not there really..........that is the Future
I detest the Habitat style of furnishing and I do live in the past with furniture but on the other scale like the latest gadgets in the kitchen and like the latest technology.
When I was A kid I burnt more antiques than was featured on the Antiques Road Show when Bonfire night came around, the one year we burnt 6 pianos, but as a kid we had no sense of value............How I wish I could recover what I burnt
Loved the photo of the old tram with the wrought iron "dovecote" as we called it. Always raced upstairs to see if we could get a seat on the front in the good weather. I haven't heard one enthusiastic report yet of Millenium Point, from the outside it reminds me of one of the Gasometers from Nechells.
Loisand.... I didnt Im afraid get any pictures of Mill Parts?
Dennis, those aircraft make the hairs on my back stand on end, I was heartbroken that it's almost impossible to get a complete picture of either of them, theyre displayed "In Flight" as it were and because of the set out of the building finding a vantage point that isn't obstructed in some way is really quite difficult.
Peter I do suggest that if you can, you go see Think Tank and form your own opinions of the place, it might be it suits you, I mourn the passing of Newhall Street and still don't understand why it was decided to change the location of much of our heritage? But there must surely be some of you who will like the new place?
Graham I love modern homes and technology, each generation must surely bring it's own innovations to the table, but as you know I firmly believe that while we must live in the present, we should never ever forget our pasts, and should preserve everything that is practical to do so? Think Tank is a great place of innovation for the young, and thats how it should be, I just wish our heritage was displayed in perhaps a more dignified manner, not so each exhibit is seemingly on top or impeding the view of another?
Rowan I dont know about the move of The City Of Brum to Newhall Street.....it was for a long time stored at Newhall Street and I think they built the building around it? I can remember as a kid we used to look through a hole in the gates at the side of the science museum, it was all covered over, but occasionaly youd catch a peak of one of its huge wheels...........Someone will know I think and inform us. It's a Sir William Arthur Stanier, Coronation Class loco built I think in Crewe. I'm sure a few years ago we discussed this on the VB Forums so hopefully we will get an answer.
Rod, one reason for moving was that the best (that is the most historic and the most interesting) bit over the canal was about to fall down. When I was working for the City Architect's department 50 years ago I did a quick survey with a structural engineer, and it was already in very poor shape, and only about five years since it was opened. Like so many Victorian buildings, the original Elkington factory was handsome and inspiring - which we can't say today of many buildings.
The other reason for the move was that the site was more valuable than the new Thinktank location, being only 3 minutes walk from Colmore Row. Most of the other buildings in the old Elkington factory were a bit poky, and with some of the bigger exhibits they had, it was very hard to house them properly, though I gather the display is still a bit cramped.
I'm in Brum this Tuesday, but I don't think I shall get to the Thinktank, as I'm hunting crocodiles in the library.
Rod you've captured some great pictures there, which I don't think you'd have been able to take so well at the old Newhall Street site. It always amazed me how flimsy those old fighters were. They'd have to give me a medal to go up in one without being shot at.
Although I agree with everyone's thoughts on atmosphere and convenience of the old site to the city centre, another great advantage to the new site is car parking. We took our grandsons some time ago and while they were interested in all the old exhibits, it was me who was doing all the button pushing to work the high-tech robots etc. What does that say about me?
Incidentally, one of my calls to fame is my sister's husband's father used to drive the City of Birmingham. After his retirement (and its) he used to go and check up on her regularly at the Science Museum to ensure she was being treated properly. He was probably one of the few members of the public that was allowed onto her footplate. At Newhall Street they used to move her up and down a short length of track at a certain time every day so you could see all her bits moving and stop her from getting too stiff. I wonder if they still do that.
Paul the on site parking was super. But in all honesty we never had a problem in Newhall Street either, we used to visit on Sundays and could always find a place very near. I guess it would be a very different issue now with the extra cars on the roads, and central brum is very busy on Sundays which it hadn't used to be.
Do you really think those fighters were flimsy? They conjure up a feeling of strength and power to me, and what I wouldnt give to sit in one let alone fly. Still we are all very different and have our own thoughts and feelings.
The interactive areas are very good but are pitched at youngsters exploring things with their teachers or parents etc, which is just as it should be.
They dont move the train I dont think, that was tremendous to watch. It must have been sad for your relation to see her imprisoned in the Newhall Street musuem. Everyone can go up onto the footplate now. I would urge everyone to go and have a look around the place, for me it doesn't hit the spot, and I really dont think it should cost almost eight pounds. But if you go and enjoy it then thats great.
What frightens me about the fighters is they're mainly constructed of canvas stretched over an aluminium and wood frame. I'd rather the big dipper at Alton Towers than risk going up in one of those, especially if there's a squadron of Messerschmitts and ground batteries using it for target practice.
Despite the pluses I highlighted, Rod, I too think Â£8 is robbery.
Just as an "add on" to bring the new "City of Birmingham" Pendolino train into view...
Have a look at the web site for the naming of the newest "City of Birmingham" train. It happened a
couple of years ago I know but many may not have seen these photos.
I know Virgin has had some trouble with the Pendolino trains but I'm proud to see these photos of the name plaque unveiling and seeing the Birmingham Coat of Arms on the plaque as well as the name
"City of Birmingham". . From someone who started out working among the wonderful Kings, Castles, Duchesses, etc. this modern train looks simply amazing.
Great photos Rod. My sister and I can still remember having to start mum's car with a starting handle, and what a job! We used to loathe it and be quite knackered by the time we'd done it - and that was in the sixties!
The City of Birmingham built in 1939 was a Princess Coronation Class loco, I did a lot of train spotting on New Street Station in the early fifties and the story was that these engines were too tall to come under the tunnel, now I think that was just school kid talk, but the fact was I never saw one in New Street, I think they were used on the West Coast main line, if you went to Tamworth Low Level you could see them steaming through, what a sight.
It's all very well saying what a great place the Think Tank and all of the exhibits are,which they are,of course but you now have to pay to go and see them whereas at one time,in the old Science Museum,you could go and see them all the time for nothing.I always thought that they belonged to us,The citizens of Birmingham,for all time so why should we have to pay to see them now.When they were moved from the Science Museum and we were told that from then on we would have to pay to see them. I vowed then that I would never do so,even though I miss going to see them but I will stick to my guns until they are free to see once more!!!!!.
Bob I reckon it's scandalous the ammount charged to get in? I really wouldnt mind paying but why so much, is it because we are living in the past, I have been accused of that? What was wrong with building somewhere a little bit more down to earth to house these museum peices, and at least having sensible admission prices... Money which might pay for the upkeep of the exhibits. I wonder too if any of you remember some of the old staff at the Science Museum, some had a great knowledge of the exhibits in their care, thats all gone, theyre youngsters now who seemingly know very little about our past? While this interactive Think Tank might be a great innovative building, suited to children, where does that leave the rest of us? surely the elder generation could have been a part of the learning process, passing on their Knowledge. While it may seem a bit off topic I just feel that the old and the young could learn so much from one another in this environment surrounded by their collective history. A chance missed? and our history put out of the reach of many because of money.
Heres a great link to a site on our super Midlands Industrial Heritage
Its free to enter most of the museums within the major cities/towns of this country, even the big ones in London....so why are we expected to pay to enter this Think Tank......the motto for Birmingham is FORWARD.....it should now be changed to something more suitable....RIPOFF......
I will never go to thinktank and pay an entrance fee.coventry transport museum is more enjoyable.and it's free.it's about time this council sort themselves out and allow free entry to thinktank.if i had exhibits at thinktank i would want commision out of the entrance fee.but no one says where the money is going.It used to be rip off britain.but now it should be called rip off councils.what have they done with the sale of the property in newhall street.lined their own pockets as usual.