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Birmingham of Yesterday

Reminiscences, observations and information about the history of Birmingham, its people and industry.

49’ers – Smallbrook Queensway

Over the years I have begun to think that 49’ers was a figment of my imagination as I’ve found virtually no reference to it anywhere so I’m hoping that some people who read this will chip-in with their memories – or at least attest to its existence, and thus my sanity! The bar stood roughly […]


The Costermonger – Dalton Way

I do have to confess to not being in possession of an abundance of information on the Costermonger in Birmingham City Centre – partly, as there is scant info around and also as during my time frequenting the establishment I took full advantage of the hospitality and so memories are a little vague at best! […]


The Rotunda

Whilst the foreground today is totally unrecognisable from the 1978 postcard view above following the redevelopment of the Bull Ring Shopping Centre completed in 2003, the iconic Rotunda dominates the skyline to this day with its unique cylindrical construction proving one of, if not the only, enduring remnants of the 1960s redevelopment of the City. […]


Shy

Shy emerged from Brum band Trojan during the early 1980s and featured Tony Mills (vocals), Steve Harris (guitar), Andy Kelly (drums), Paddy McKenna (keyboards) and Roy Davis (bass) who replaced original bass player Mark Badrick. Playing a brand of 80s synth-led commercial rock the band gained a reasonable following and released a couple of albums […]


Birmingham Central Library – Chamberlain Square

With its £193m replacement being constructed a mere few hundred yards away, the present incarnation (the third in total) seen above of Birmingham’s much-maligned Central Library’s days are numbered. Designed by Moseley-born architect John Madin and completed in 1974 the structure aesthetically has somewhat divided opinion with attempts being made in recent years to have […]


Gangsters – BBC Television Series

Set in a period of heavy economic decline and large-scale urban regeneration, Gangsters originally began life as a BBC Play For Today broadcast 9th January 1975 focusing on the interrelations between an ex convict, a family of underworld brothers in the nightclub entertainment industry of Birmingham, an Asian ‘godfather’ and West Indian crime gang. This […]


The Barrel Organ – Digbeth

The Barrel Organ and was a flourishing indie/alternative gig venue and drinking hole during the 1980s and early 1990s located in Digbeth.


The Institute Night Club – Digbeth

The Institute night club in Digbeth opened in the summer of 1990 with big ideas of revolutionising Birmingham club life and majorly failed to live-up to expectations falling into administration within a mere 12 months of opening.


Mega’s Wine Bar – Old Square / Priory Queensway

Whilst The Railway, the Barrell Organ and Edward’s Number 8 are frequently cited and recalled as prime examples of the local gig ‘industry’ back in the day, one venue appears to have slipped from the radar; Mega’s Wine Bar on Old Square.


The Old Railway – Curzon Street

The Old Railway pub in Curzon Street played host to a vast number of gigs during its two periods in operation and was a mainstay of the Birmingham music scene over several decades.