Saturday, 17 March 2018

Brummagem part two

Day Two 13th March 2018

The cutest train in Britain, a museum, and canals

Up, showered, out, breakfast (Pret), and down to Birmingham Snow Hill station to catch another train. It's not raining. You may gather I like railways and since watching All The Stations episode 23 I've wanted to visit Stourbridge and ride the unique branch line from Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town. This service is provided using two Parry People Movers also known as Class 139 railcars.

The journey to Stourbridge Junction on West Midlands Railways went smoothly and after a short wait the train arrived from the town.

Stourbridge Junction

A slightly bumpy 3 minute ride gets you to Stourbridge Town station, adjacent to the large bus interchange and a short walk from the town centre.

Stourbridge Town
A walk around Stourbridge revealed an impressive red brick town hall

Stourbridge Town Hall
And the Stourbridge Canal

Stourbridge Canal
A break for coffee and then return to Birmingham (via Moor Street station) to continue doing the tourist thing.

Museum entrance
On the previous evening's walk in the rain I'd passed the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery which looked to be worth further investigation, particularly when I remembered that it contains the Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork, stashed away by someone in the 7th century and for reasons unknown never recovered until it was rediscovered in a field near Hammerwich in 2009.

Despite most of the artefacts being damaged when they were removed from the items they originally decorated - the hoarder presumably being interested only in their monetary value - the fine scale of the workmanship is apparent and even by modern standards impressive.

The ornate interior of the building (part of Birmingham City Council House) is worth seeing anyway.

Museum interior Industrial Gallery
Sword pommel, one of the three thousand five hundred pieces in the Staffordshire hoard.

Piece from the Staffordshire Hoard
A cup of tea and then out into the.... Sunshine! Sat in Victoria Square with my camera and took advantage of the fine weather to get some shots of the Town Hall and City Council buildings.

City Council House

Victoria Square

Birmingham Town Hall

Street sign
It still wasn't raining so once I had worked out which way to go to get around the huge building site that is Chamberlain Square I walked down to Gas Street Basin to wander around and over the canals. The area around the canal has been redeveloped with bars, restaurants, and shopping to attract tourists and by extension although probably not by design, beggars. There are quite a few beggars in Birmingham all of whom seem to need 80p.

Gas Street Basin

Gas Street Basin

The Worcester bar (the part of the canal not the name of the pub).

Gas Street Basin, Regency Wharf

Boats in Gas Street Basin

Old Turn Junction
Having been out and mostly on my feet for 8 hours it was time to return to the hotel to freshen up and drop off the camera, backpack etc. and take the weight off for a bit before heading out in search of food and beer. Especially beer 🍺

Food was taken care of by Byron's posh and expensive - very nice though - burgers. There are a lot of pubs and bars in the city centre, some loud, some cheap (though I'm trying to avoid Brexit-plugging Wetherspoons unless really desperate), and some plain odd. For real ale though I'd have to say that The Wellington on Bennetts Hill is going to be hard to beat. Sixteen pumps on the bar and as the first one was Wye Valley HPA I figured that was a good start. There I stayed until it was time to return to the hotel and bed.

More to follow...

No comments: