Birmingham is the second-largest city in the United Kingdom with a population of 1.14 million in the city proper and 4.3 million for the wider metropolitan area. Birmingham is often considered to be the social, cultural, financial and commercial centre of the Midlands. Unusually the city has no large river running through it with only the small River Tame and its tributaries flowing close to the centre. The city grew in the 18th century during the Midlands Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution and became known as “the first manufacturing town in the world”. Distinctively the city’s industry included thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and highly skilled trades.
Tuesday, 14th June 2022
The narthex or antechamber at the western entrance to Birmingham Cathedral. Birmingham Cathedral, or officially the Cathedral Church of Saint Philip, was built as an Anglican parish church between 1711 and 1715. It is Baroque in style and was designed by Thomas Archer. It is located on Colmore Row in central Birmingham and is the seat of the Bishop of Birmingham. The church became a cathedral in 1905. Today the cathedral is a Grade I listed building.
View down the nave inside Birmingham Cathedral. There are rows of seats with the chancel and altar visible at the far end. There are three substantial white marble Tuscan columns down each side of the chancel and at the far end large stained-glass windows above the altar designed by Edward Burne-Jones.
View into the chancel and altar of Birmingham Cathedral. There is a table in the foreground and pews down the sides. A metal cross stands at the far end.
A stained glass window in Birmingham Cathedral. It is located at the left side of the altar and was designed by Edward Burne-Jones. The colourful stained glass appears to depict angels at the top and a crowd of people at the bottom.
The Baroque south exterior of Birmingham Cathedral. Old gravestones stand along side.
View across the churchyard surrounding Birmingham Cathedral. This grassy area is known as Cathedral Square and is a popular spot for relaxing in the centre of the city. Groups of people can be seen sitting on the grass and on benches.
Tony and Tatiana outside Soho House museum. Soho House is a large Georgian residence located in Handsworth, Birmingham, that was formerly home to manufacturer and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton. Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) lived here from 1766 until his death in 1809. Boulton was an important figure in the Midlands Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. In partnership with James Watt he financed and oversaw the installation of hundreds of early steam engines. He was also a key member of the Lunar Society which often met at Soho House. The Lunar Society was an informal learned society of prominent figures from the Midlands, including industrialists, natural philosophers and intellectuals, who met regularly between 1765 and 1813. Soho House was acquired by Birmingham City Council in 1990 and opened as a museum in 1995.
Tony and Tatiana stood by the Bull. This six-tonne bronze bull is located at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham. Designed by sculptor Laurence Broderick, the Bull was installed in 2003 as part of the regeneration of Birmingham city centre, and has since been adopted as a mascot of the city.
Tony and Tatiana in front of the Bullring Bull, which is 2.2 metres in height.
View along St. Martin’s Walk, a pedestrian street in Birmingham city centre, with St Martin in the Bull Ring church at the far end. The church has a prominent spire rising to 61 metres (200 feet). The present church is Victorian but there has been a church on this site since the 13th century. It is the original parish church of Birmingham and stands between the Bull Ring Shopping Centre and the markets. The church is a Grade II* listed building.
Another shot of St Martin in the Bull Ring church giving a clear view of the tower and spire.
Tony and Tatiana outside St Martin in the Bull Ring church. The original church was demolished in 1873 and rebuilt by architect J. A. Chatwin, although the previous tower and spire were kept.
The River fountain in the middle of Victoria Square with Birmingham Council House in the background. The fountain was designed by Dhruva Mistry and was completed in 1994. It is made up of an upper and lower pool with water flowing down steps between the two. The Council House was built between 1874 and 1879 to a classical design by architect Yeoville Thomason.
The upper part of the River fountain in Victoria Square. In the middle of the pool is a 1.75-tonne bronze statue of a reclining woman, from which has come the fountain’s informal name, the ‘Floozie in the Jacuzzi’.
Tatiana by the lower pool of the River fountain in Victoria Square.
Banners advertising the 2022 Commonwealth Games attached to Birmingham Town Hall with a large temporary art installation in front. The art installation is called Foreign Exchange and was created by Guyanese-British artist Hew Lock. It comprises of a wooden boat sitting on top of a plinth with six statues of Queen Victoria standing inside the boat. A permanent statue of Queen Victoria stands on the same spot and is obscured by the plinth. Birmingham Town Hall, which is today a concert hall and venue, opened in 1834. It was designed by Joseph Hansom in classical style with its proportions based on the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum. It was the first of a series of monumental town halls that came to characterise the cities of Victorian England.
The large wooden main doors to Birmingham Town Hall taken in the evening. Coventry
Thursday, 16th June 2022
Looking towards the altar inside Coventry Cathedral. The altar table in front is a wide rectangular stone block with a rectangular slot cut through the middle. On top are candles and a small metal cross. Behind is a huge tapestry of Christ designed by Graham Sutherland and unveiled in 1962. Only the base of the tapestry is in view with the whole thing measuring 23 metres (75 feet) in height and 12 metres (39 feet) in width. It was once thought to be the world’s largest tapestry.
The middle part of the huge tapestry by Graham Sutherland, which is officially called Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph. Christ’s lower body can be seen with a calf depicted to the left and a lion to the right.
Officially known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Michael, Coventry cathedral is located in the centre of the city. Historically Coventry has had three cathedrals, the first was the monastic St Mary’s Priory, which was destroyed during the Reformation under King Henry VIII in 1539. This was replaced by the gothic St Michael’s Church constructed between the late 14th and early 15th centuries. It was a parish church until being elevated to cathedral status in 1918. This second cathedral today stands as a ruined shell after being almost completely destroyed by the German Luftwaffe during the Coventry blitz on 14th November 1940. Only the tower, spire and outer walls survived. Next to these ruins stands the current cathedral, which was designed by Basil Spence and Arup in modernist style. It was constructed between 1956 and 1962. The ruined old cathedral was left as a symbol of war time destruction and barbarity, but also of peace and reconciliation. Both the ruins of the old cathedral and the new one are Grade I listed.
Inside the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral. The red sandstone outer walls can be seen. The paved roofless interior is largely empty: the bases of former stone columns can be seen.
The only tomb to have survived intact inside Coventry’s old cathedral. It is the tomb of Huyshe Yeatman-Biggs (1845-1922), who was Coventry Cathedral’s first bishop, after the church gained cathedral status in 1918. The tomb is topped by a reclining bronze effigy of the Bishop created by sculptor Hamo Thornycroft.
Another view of Bishop Huyshe Yeatman-Biggs’s tomb inside the walls of Coventry’s old cathedral. The effigy of the Bishop can be seen holding a model of the old cathedral in his hands.