On the number 16 Bus route and parts of central Birmingham we have some very beautiful old architecture.
Starting from Hamstead Village, here are some of the sites or sights that I look out for because I enjoy them immensely a house with a six sided pointed tower then another with a round pointed tower the next has a cupola, upon its peak is a weather vane, a couple have hexagon bays ending in a tower two have gabled part black & white timbered frontage, the one has a beautiful balcony onto French windows upstairs, many have interesting eves and gables in unusual shapes, a lodge has delightfully shaped windows that pleases me but they have added an ugly extension to this building at the rear. On Handsworth Wood Rd an old building has added a Tibetan styled frontage that has turned it into a monastery. On the other side of the road is the Acorn’s shop situated in wonderful building with a flamboyant cupola. St. Mary’s Church is a beautiful building as is the lodge in Handsworth Park with its two-sided clock tower incorporated into the building’s front.
At Villa Cross there is a beautiful black and white building with a tower sporting a weather vane that has been renovated by the Asian Resource Centre, just past the next corner is a marvellously designed Baptist Church, I once had an Asian taxi driver remark to me how beautiful it was. A listed Victorian Building at Hockley that may have once been a school is another fine piece of Victorian architecture only seen from a bus. The Diva ISHI Centre is situated in a building with loads of character as have two more that have designs made up of multi coloured bricks, some of these buildings may once have been banks as Lloyds’ Bank is nice to look at; on top of one building is a sculpture of a Pelican, further up the road on the opposite side is a Royal coat of arms made up of a lion and a unicorn, this building is extremely long from front to back and I believe it may once have been a rope works. At this angle three modern round bays are on buildings, two of red of which are brick, these fit well into the landscape, behind these is the Post Office Tower.
Back across the road and almost into town Syriana restaurant has taken over the use of a magnificent Victorian building on a corner that has a lovely tower with a cupola on top and then the French Chateau styled St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral that I always admire.
In the city centre St. Philip’s and St Martin’s Churches are both worth seeing as is Selfridge’s new chrome disc building shaped like an armadillo, The Pagoda on the Horse Fair, then the Icon Gallery is a splendid Victorian, building a real favourite of mine, as are the statues of the two children kneeling at the foot of the waterfall descending from the awful Floozy but then look up at our Council House with its lions guarding above the entrance, look at our Greek Temple style Town-Hall then go round the back to look at The Art University and Midland Institute for beautifully embellished buildings. Of course there are many more that I admire but instead of day dreaming when you are on a bus or wandering round please look up in Birmingham at our architectural treasures.
©Irene Hinton-Mullins 22/09/2014