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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Old friends and new pubs.

We had arranged to meet an old friend from my Birmingham days so we had a bit of a lazy start this morning, catching up with correspondence and the like. The sun was out and it was very pleasant sitting with the sun streaming in the windows. At this time of year we get sun all day on this berth. Nearer the time of meeting we headed off into town and then out towards the Ashted Locks as we were meeting up with our friends at the Woodman pub. This was a place I had wanted to visit for a while but it had never been open when we had passed.

Image result for Curzon Street Station
We were heading to the area that has been recently redeveloped into an area for the Universities with Millenium Point and East Side Park The building in the picture above is the old Curzon Street Station. This was the first station in Birmingham and this, the entrance hall, is the oldest bit of railway architecture surviving as it was built in 1838. The station acted for the London and Birmingham and the Grand Junction Railway companies, and they had platforms next to each other. There were no through trains. The station continued to be used for passenger traffic until 1893 when it became a goods station other than for the odd train to Sutton Coldfield. It finally closed to traffic in 1966. The building was occasionally used as an arts venue and the track area for a car park.

Image result for Curzon Street Station
Curzon Street Station has been nominated as the Birmingham terminus of the HS2 train, when and if it comes. Above is the design for the station and the old station building can be seen in the left distance. I think the design is by Sir Terry Farrel. It will be part of a full regeneration of the area with a new museum quarter. The station will be very close to Moor Street Station and a man mover can whisk passengers to New Street Station in under 5 minutes.

Image result for woodman pub new canal street
As we arrived there was a message saying that they were running late so we said we would meet actually in the pub. It had been empty and derelict, other than for squatters, before being reopened in 2013. It was built in 1897 by the well known pub architects James and Lister Lea for the nearby Ansells Brewery. There is still some Ansells memorabilia around the tiled walls. They had a good choice of beers and I had an Oakham Brewery Citra. Our friends finally arrived and after an initial catch up we ordered some food which was classic pub grub but went down very well. Two and a half hours later we had just about talked ourselves to a standstill and the group broke up, until the next time. Stephen and Marva have been invited 'up north' so we hope to see them later in the year in the City of Culture 2017.

The list of things required had grown so we walked back into town via the Rag Market. This isn't a view of Selfridge's Bull Ring Store that you see very often. We pottered about at various locations picking bit and pieces up before getting back to the boat at 1700. We didn't even stop for a pint on the way home!

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