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Birmingham of Yesterday

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

Alpha Tower – Broad Street

The 200,000 sq ft of office space contained within Alpha Tower opened in 1973 and formed part of the hub of the ATV television network adjoining their ATV Centre studios on Broad Street in the centre of Birmingham.

ATV Centre Television Studios – Broad Street

As those with a good memory will recall, ITV’s output in the Midlands was once provided by ATV (Associated Television Ltd) from 1956 until 1982 and in 1969 ATV commissioned the construction of the purpose built ATV Centre studio complex on Broad Street in central Birmingham.

Selly Oak Hospital / King’s Norton Union Workhouse – Selly Oak

Selly Oak Hospital, due for closure in 2010, was originally developed in 1870 as King’s Norton Union Workhouse, on Raddlebarn Road, by King’s Norton Poor Law Union.


Ask many a 40 year-old these days if they used to watch ‘Today is Saturday, Watch and Smile’ and you’ll most likely draw a blank; ask many a 40 year-old if they used to watch Tiswas and overwhelmingly you’ll get the same answer: Yes! Produced at ITV regional franchise ATV at ATV Centre on Broad […]

Edward Fewtrell – Nightclub Pioneer

Opinions about Birmingham nightclub impressario Edward ‘Eddie’ Fewtrell are rarely non-committal or ‘on the fence’. What is incrontrovertible is that Eddie Fewtrell did more to nurture and develop Birmingham’s nightlife culture over three decades than anyone else in the City’s history.

Tinkers Farm School / Northfield Comprehensive

With the rapid expansion of Council housing during the inter-war years, a commensurate school building programme was set in motion in Birmingham. In South Birmingham, the children of the sprawling Allens Cross estate in Northfield were to be accommodated by schools at Trescott Road and Tinkers Farm Road, the latter of which is the subject […]


As is sadly the case with many bands, talent doesn’t necessarily equate to success and this was no more starkly evident than with neo-prog rockers Ark who formed in 1985 following the breakup of local band Damascus. Hailing from the West Midlands, and walking the dangerous line between prog-rock and commercial rock, Ark produced a […]

The Redbeards From Texas

A good friend of mine, when I was around 16, got a job at a guitar shop called the Bass Place in Suffolk Street that was owned and run by two members of the Redbeards from Texas and thus my introduction to the band began.  It’s a little tricky to describe the Redbeards act without […]

Birmingham City Council Museum Collections Centre – Dollman Street

As you would expect, over the years Birmingham City Council has built up some ‘overspill’ from its museums that it needed to put into storage.  However, with the closure of the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry in 1997, considerable storage space was required for a large proportion of its exhibits as only some made […]


Along with the Starfighters and Quartz, Cryer were a heavyweight in Birmingham rock music circles.  Constantly gigging, and touring in support of such notables as Gillan and Ozzy Osbourne, the band had a great live reputation – not least due to the extensive use of somewhat unpredictable pyrotechnics operated by roadie Stevie Husband – alongside […]