Saturday, 3 December 2016


The bf and I went over to Birmingham on Wednesday to visit my family.  It was the bf's first proper visit.  We kicked things off with the City Museum and Art Gallery.  It has a fantastic collection of Pre-Raphaelite art, along with an outstanding collection of applied and decorative arts.  The gallery itself is an opulent Victorian Renaissance style, part of the Council House designed by Yeoville Thomason.  West, over Edmund Street is a huge Edwardian Baroque extension by Ashley and Newman, connected to the original galleries by a massively rusticated bridge rich in sculpture.  The whole complex is really worth a visit.
The next morning we had a brief explore of the Jewelry Quarter.  Originally a Georgian suburb of the city it was slowly colonized by small scale manufacturing during the 19th century, esp the jewelry trade.  The buildings are an interesting mix of the original houses with 19th & 20th commercial buildings.  Most the of manufacturing has relocated and the area is undergoing a slow revival. It has a unique spirit of place.  A lot of the pavements are paved in hard dark  engineering bricks.  The scale is low but dense.  Hard at times to think you are the midst of a vast sprawling city.   St Paul's church and the square around it date from the late 1700s.  The architect of the church - rather Gibbsian - was Roger Eykyns, the spire was added until the 1820s.  Our goal, however, was St Chad's Cathedral by A W N Pugin, but more of that in my next post.

We ate dinner at 'Otto' the pizarria on Caroline Street in the Jewelry Quarter (just around the corner from my nephew's flat where we staying).  Coppa, fresh pesto and rocket on a Margarita base for me.  We have a lovely sharing platter to begin with with garlic and Rosemary flatbread.  The hunter's salami which was flavoured with fennel was outstanding.  Breakfast was taken next door at 'The Eight Foot Grocer' - it refers to the width of the premises.  Both are housed in a former biscuit factory.  Elevenses were taken in Druckers, Great Western Arcade - a good excuse for tea and cake.

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