Birmingham is changing. Whether you are a fan of the waves of new development happening across the city, one thing for sure is that it doesn't show any signs of slowing up. There is always huge disruption whenever another part of the city is, closed down, blocked off and peoples lives re-routed. However, the financial benefits and the growing positivity around Birmingham is a testament to the investment that is being made in the city.
However, one thing that will change are some of our favourite views. Many will improve, some will be questioned and all will never be the same again. In years to come, we will look back at many of these images and talk about 'how things use to be'. It's strange to think that by then, we will have grown acustomed to the 'new' views and undoubtedly be surround by even more new developements and growth in our amazing city.
1) Boulton, Watt & Murdoch
The 'Three Wise Men', the 'Golden Boys', the 'Carpet Salesmen' - Whatever you refer to the statue as it's no longer where you would expect to find it. The lads have been uprooted as part of the Centenary Square development. Even the backdrop will change as a new building is already in development on the very spot where these influential men once stood. I wonder if they would approve of the changes happening in the city?
2) Three Snowhill
You can see this development from pretty much anywhere in the city, it really does dominate the skyline. The huge commercial development (the biggest in Europe I believe!) is set to completely change the landscape of the heart of Birmingham's financial district and the area around Snowhill. The sheer scale of this building is the most impressive thing and is best viewed from Great Hampton Street.
3) Paradise Forum
Despite the ironic name, Paradise Forum always divided opinion. Many will miss the Brutalist architecture that dominated the area (myself included) and I'm sure many more would quite happily of bulldozed the place down themselves! Love it or hate it, the old has made way for the new and the modern glazed building are well and truly flying up. I'm sure we will all grow use to the new amenities but a huge piece of Birmingham's heritage has changed forever.
4) Centenary Square
Lying just beyond Paradise is Centenary Square and it has already it's £10m transformation. The area that was once home to the iconic 'Forward' statue and Cliff Richard's 'Flame of Hope' is now making way to a new 'urban' space that has received mixed views. One thing that will change is the layout of everyone's favourite Christmas Market, that will be adapted to fit around the all new Centenary Square.
5) HS2 - Curzon Gate
There is no way that I could leave this one off the list. Arguably the most important development in Birmingham in decades, the multi Billion Pound project will see a central hub dominating Curzon Street. The area pictured above has already started to change and will provide the vital link between the new HS2 station and the heart of the City Centre. This one will be huge and with phase two expected to be completed around 2032 - you can expect this one be around for a while!
6) Bradford Street and the view back to the city
Bradford Street provides one of the main links into the city, arriving just behind the Outdoor Markets. Major developments have already started popping up along the sides of the road and with a huge area (bottom right) earmarked for further projects, it won't be long before the view back to the city has changed forever.
7) - The whole of Digbeth
And whilst we're in the area, it's probably worth noting that with the arrival of HS2 and the on-going 'land grab', it's not hard to imagine that much of the historic area will fall under development. I can only hope that at least some of the old buildings and light industry are preserved to ensure that there is some nod to the past and the important part that Digbeth has played as an industrial and creative hub for the city.
8) The Iron Man
Another statue has grown legs and moved on (he genuinely has feet too!). Antony Gormley's famous statue has been moved to make way for the new Metro route and will be put into storage and cleaned up by Birmingham's Museum's Trust. The statue, with it's iconic rusty metal work will pop up somewhere new in the city, but for now at least, this is another view we will not see again in our city.
9) Victoria Square
Victoria Square has seen many changes over the decades. If you search for the 'old' pictures of Birmingham, it has been transformed from a grassy, park-like spot to a very 'urban' square that wouldn't look out of place in any major European City. Whether it's the brutal bulldozing of the old Library, the new Metro that will skirt around the edges of the Square or the filling in of the Floozy's fountain, Victoria Square is constantly evolving.
10) The view form the old Natwest Tower
OK, so the view itself might not change much but with the demolition of the old Natwest Tower on Colmore Row, the skyline of the area will be changed forever. The new development of '103 Colmore Row' will see a new, glass-clad 26 storey tower replace John Madin's iconic structure. The new tower will undoubtedly be impressive, but the views from the top will be the real gem!
11) The Wholesale Markets
Another icon of Birmingham will soon be cast to the history books with the demolition of the Wholesale Markets. The history of the markets can be tracked back over 800 years and it's most recent incarnation opened in 1974. The traders will now be relocated and the buildings demolished to make way for a substantial new development comprising of commercial and residential buildings and huge new park areas.
12) The City Skyline
With all of these changes, one thing that will definitely never stay the same is the city skyline! With many other new developments popping up around the city, Birmingham will continue to grow and change for many years to come!
I am not a historian, nor am I an expert on regenaration or city plannig. However, I do like to think my images go some way towards documenting our changing city. Even though it will not be to everyione's liking, it is impressive to see the money being spent in our city which can only have a positive impact. Birmingham is a very special place and I think more people are starting to realise this. We may have lost some special views and iconic buildings, but it will certainly be exciting to look back on these images in years to come and see just how much Birmingham has changed!