Monday 5 February 2024

Off To Unuversity (1)

 Sorry : Grovel Grovel.

Yet another poor job of proof checking before beddy-byes on Saturday night! Somehow fbb's boundless enthusiasm for rootling out the errors (?) must have faded. More corrections, but far too many, were left until 0720 yesterday! Must do better!

The First Red-Brick Uni!
Known affectionately as ‘Old Joe’ the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower dominates the Edgbaston campus as a symbol of the University of Birmingham, visible from far and wide.

It was largely due to Chamberlain's enthusiasm that the university was granted a royal charter by Queen Victoria on 24 March 1900. The Calthorpe family offered twenty-five acres of land on the Bournbrook side of their estate in July. The Court of Governors received the Birmingham University Act 1900, which put the royal charter into effect on 31 May.

Joe ...
... was the father of Neville, the sadly deluded "peace in our time" PM.

Back in 1900, Edgbaston was mostly open country ...
... with the darker green bit being the more formal part of the Calthorpe Estate. By the 1930s, the shape of today's University was beginning to appear.
The semi-circular development is still recognisable in todays maps - see below.

Two stations appear on what was then known as "The Birmingham, West Suburban Railway".

The railway was  built by the Midland Railway company. Opened in stages between 1876 and 1885 ...
... it allowed both the opening of development of central southwest suburban Birmingham south into Worcestershire and the by-passing of railway traffic via the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway into central Birmingham. Today, it forms a major section of the Cross-City Line, running from Lichfield to Redditch. It also forms an important part of the Cross Country Route.

The stations shown on the 1930s map (above) are Selly Oak ...
... (map, bottom left) which has changed a bit since the arrival of the electric!
The other station, already closed when the OS map was drawn, was called Somerset Road for fairly obvious reasons. It closed because of lack of passengers.
Only one picture exists of the station which was situated north of the road bridge.
It is possible that No 7 Somerset Road was rebuilt on the site of the cottage in the fuzzy picture.
There is some varied brickwork in the overbridge which may well be the remains of an station entrance.
There is also an access gate from the nearby canal towpath which may have some historic raison d'etre.
The railway and the Worcester & Birmingham canal run together for some distance as those who have travelled by train between Bristol and Brum can testify. Blog readers should have no problem in identifying the canal's two terminal points. 

At Worcester it joins the River Severn and in Brum joins all sorts of canal stuff at the Gas Street "interchange".
O.K. It is better known as the Gas Street Basin and, these days, has become hyper trendy.

A feature of the canal is the lengthy Wast Hill tunnel ...
... lengthy and spooky!
The bright light is a boat coming in the opposite direction.
It would be oil lamps or candles in the good old days, so even spookier!

But back to the University.
There is much more Uni than the "D" shaped blocks from the 1930s and a load more Hospital stuff opposite.

And there, two roads south of Somerset Road is University station.

University station was built in 1977–8 to the designs of the architect John Broome as part of the upgrade of the Cross City line. The station was opened on 8 May 1978. It is a short distance away from the former Somerset Road station which closed in the 1930s. The station is part built on the site of the ancient Metchley Roman Fort. The Cross-City Line was electrified in 1993 when Class 323 electric multiple units were introduced by British Rail on the local services.

Busy, isn't it?
And rather small for such crowds!
TTA - Tanker Trouble Again
fbb is trying to decide whether a new Hornby TTA with one end ladder (as opposed to two side ladders) should be part of his famous tank wagon collection.
It is, after all, a structurally different model. It even has different handrails at the top. Wow!

Your persistent author searched thr web sites of approx 20 retailers (including Hornby itself) and every one showed Sold Out.

The great and glorious EBay knows nothing of the model.
Presumably each retailer had only one or two delivered and nobody has any to sell via EBay?.

Faced with possible rarity, fbb is keen to seriously consider treating this as a different model and thus adding it to his collection. It could be a 79th Birthday Present?

By the time many will be reading this, the erroneously ordered and unwanted duplicate BP (green) TTA will have arrived ...
... with TWO ladders.

Anyone want to swap?
 Next University blog : Tuesday 6th February 

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