Sunday, 25 January 2015


Within the content of this web site you will find archived information about almost every aspect of Birmingham and the West Midlands. Please remember that this is an archive and no longer an active website although occasionally you might find new posts.

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Photos of Birmingham
* New Photos 2015


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Birmingham Library

Situated in Centenary Square by the Birmingham Rep and Symphony Hall is the Birmingham Public Library. It opened in September 2013 and is the largest public library in the UK and the largest public cultural space in Europe.

The Library cost an estimated £188 million and its unique architecture has made it a prominent landmark on the city skyline. The old Central Library failed to gain status as a listed building despite arguments for its protection as an example of brutalist architecture. It will be demolished to make way for the redevelopment of Paradise Circus.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Aston Villa F.C.

Aston Villa Football Club is one of the oldest and most successful clubs in the UK. Founded in 1874 the current ground has been their home since 1897.

Known as Villa or The Villa, the Villans and the Lions the club has a strong following.

Villa Park  Birmingham, B6 6HE. Tel:  0870 950 9260

The Sikh Warriors

Sikhs have always been known as great warriors. During the two World Wars over 80,000 Sikhs gave their lives for the allied cause.

Whilst Birmingham celebrates VE Day we could do well to remember this. Often unforgotten, there are many Sikhs who have been awarded the Victoria Cross.
Britain has a proud tradition of valiant armed forces and a capable military which has managed to defend these isles effectively for hundreds of years. British Military achievement is well known throughout the world and the bravery and versatility of its soldiers, seamen and airmen is unquestioned and forever stamped in history.

Today as we look at the VE Day Celebrations there is an abundance of information in the media that provides an insight into what life would have been like in those troubled times. It is right that we remember them, the fallen, and the living whose numbers dwindle with every passing year. To them we owe our freedom as they fought for this land and often lost their lives so that we might remain a free country.

However, whilst each country has a right to blow its own trumpet and remember the heroic gestures, hardships and victories that made this nation what it is today, we should also remember the massive sacrifice given by others from nations further afield.

The Sikhs sacrificed a great deal for this country. During the Anglo-Sikh wars of 1845 – 1849 the British had been so impressed by the Khalsa Army they decided to enlist many battalions of Sikh forces. The former Sikh enemy became so loyal that in 1857 when most of the Indian Army revolted, the Sikhs remained totally supportive and fought side by side with the British Army.  Subsequently, the Punjab became the recruiting ground for the British. This staunch and loyal Sikh support was to show itself again during the great wars.

During the First World War Sikhs joined the ranks of the British Army in great numbers. They fought in the trenches of Germany and at Gallipoli where thousands of Sikhs fought and died. The British Indian Army was made of nearly 20% Sikhs, despite the fact that Sikhs account for only 2% of the population in India.

During the Second World War this action was repeated. Even though there was now a quest for Indian Independence the British Indian Army grew from 189,000 at the start of the war to over 2.5 million through voluntary recruitment and a large proportion of those were Sikh. At no other time in history has a foreign army this large been voluntarily mobilised to fight for a foreign land as if it were their own country. The significance of this should not be underestimated.

In 1944, Sikh Soldiers halted the advance of the Japanese in Burma and prevented them from invading India. Four VC’s were awarded in this campaign.

As the British Empire came to a close many Sikhs were encouraged to settle in the UK. Their loyalty, hard work ethics and historic connection with the British should be remembered. Many Sikh families in Birmingham are direct descendents of those who put so much into this country.

Of course, there were also millions of Russians who died in the Second World War. One might argue that the Russians won the war and that without them things would have been significantly different. Then of course there are the 100,000 Gurkhas who fought in World War I and the 40 battalions of Gurkhas in the Second World War. What of the Polish who valiantly fought during the Battle of Britain and those from other nations who out of Patriotism and loyalty, came from oversees to enlist, and often die, in order that we might enjoy our freedom today.


                                                Is this acceptable?


                      Or should a city like Birmingham deserve better?

Several years ago most of Gloucestershire adopted the wheelie bin system for the storage of household waste. A recent visit by a friend of mine to Birmingham made me think about some of the things our council could do to improve the cleanliness of our streets.

My friend was horrified that a big cosmopolitan city should still be using bin liners piled up in the street as the main system of refuse collection. I had to admit that on occassions the bags did indeed split and the contents were left strewn across the road and blown around the street to end up settled in front gardens up and down both sides of the road. Domestic pets and occassional attacks by foxes have also led to bags being ripped asunder and their contents littering the streets.

Here I was showing my guest the delights of modern Brum, the great achievements of the past decade or so, and then, its - 'down to earth with a with a bump' on something so obvious! Something so simple stuck in his mind and leaves a lasting impression. Birmingham has gone a long way towards shaking off its image of a drab and dreary urban sprawl and the word is getting around that this a city going somewhere. Isn't it a shame that our rubbish isn't going in a wheelie bin? Couldn't we go the extra mile?

There are issues of course. There is the cost. There may be a requirement for adapted refuse trucks and a change in working practices to cope with using wheelie bins. However, I am convinced that the changes would be for the better. A much cleaner environment and far easier and more tidy than existing arrangements. When Tewekesbury County Council first adopted the scheme over a decade ago, questions were raised such as where would the bins be left when they were emptied - in the street? What about the elderly who find it awkward to move the bins?

Perhaps Birmingham City Council should talk to other counties who are using this much cleaner and more efficient method of refuse collection in order to find the answers. I am sure none of these counties would consider reverting back to black plastic bin liners. What a shameful advert for our region.