Thursday, July 24, 2008

YARDLY-SHELDON walkabout - 24th July 2008

This is still being added to, photos were taken on different days as I tried to cover the area. Old Yardley Village, Church Road and Blakesley Hall next <--- nearly finished now. Bits I've forgotten will be inserted into this section where they fit best, notably the Yew Tree and Wells Green shopping areas, the New Inn and the Toby (still-known-as-the-Wheatsheaf) Carvery. Then a quick trip down Sheaf Lane towards St Giles Church and the Old Smithy. And anywhere else I think of.
There may also be a few photos of Acocks Green and Sheldon Country Fair soon.
Blakesley Hall on Blakesley Road, Yardley. Built in 1590 and still in good condition. The barn is to the right. Two eco-friendly recycling bags pose in the foreground.
The front view.
Taken from the gardens on the west side of the hall.
The sign outside Blakesley Hall. Details were correct when photographed and the author takes no responsibility... etc.
Zooming across Yardley to the top of Vicarage Road where it meets Church Road, we find those charming almshouses.
Another view of the almshouses.
Looking along Church Road towards the church hall.
Another view of the church hall, on the corner of Church Road and School Lane.
Looking along School Lane from Church Road.
The entrance to Church Farm from Church Road.
Church Farm (also once known as Tile House Farm) now apparently converted to a residential area. It's probably about 40 years since I was last around here and I'd forgotten how beautiful it was - such a hidden glimpse of history. It is a shame that there are so many cars parked in the area but traffic is at least blocked from passing in front of the church.
Part of the southern aspect of the church amongst the trees. It's so peaceful here.
More of the churchyard showing more of the southern aspect of the church.
A last look at the churchyard with the Trust School to the right.
Leaving the church grounds I pass the church sign.
The old Trust School. I used to go to the youth club here on Friday evenings.
The sign outside the Trust School.
Looking back towards St Edburgha's Church and Trust School.
Past the Trust School is the entrance to Old Yardley Park. I played here as a kid, when you could fall off rusting play equipment and land on tarmac, maybe sustaining real injuries! Not so exciting now when there is a 30' layer of satin-coated wood-chip to break your fall.
Further along the road from the Church is a building which was once a pub, Ye Old Talbot. I remember it in the 1960s as being one of those shops selling fishing paraphernalia, knives and guns. Now it is a private dwelling. Question:- Was it once the original Ring O' Bells too?
Carmelite Grange, now private residences but formerly a Carmelite Convent.
Another view of Carmelite Grange.
The recently closed Ring o' Bells has now been partially incinerated, which seems to be the inn-thing these days (see the Wagon and Horses and the Tilt Hammer for examples.
Looking along Church Road towards the Yew Tree with Croft Road emerging from the left. The supermarket on the far left corner was Kwik Save, but in the 1960s it was Fine Fare (I used to work there part-time). It will soon be a new branch of Iceland.
At the top of Church Road is the Coventry Road and the Swan underpass, built in 1967. The north-west corner is occupied by a sinusoidal blue office block known as Equipoint. This would fit in nicely in the modern city centre but is glaringly out of place here. As usual, signs carry advertisements for zillions of square feet of vacant space.
I remember when the underpass was being built, we could walk all over the Coventry Road without fear of the traffic.
The south-west corner was until recently occupied by Staples, the office suppliers. Down it comes!
This office block on the south east corner would blend in nicely with it's surroundings if it had any surroundings to blend in with. Certainly more pleasing to the eye than the blue squiggly thing opposite.
Many years ago, the majestic coaching house which was the Swan Inn occupied this site, later replaced by "The Swan", a modern boozer which claimed to have the longest bar in Europe. I actually think this office is a visual improvement on the latter (did I just say that?)
Just south of the Swan Island on Yardley Road is W H Painters funeral directors, established 1907 and one of the oldest buildings left standing.
Next to Painters is South Yardley library, recently reopened after extensive repairs to the roof.
Back to the Coventry Road and we have that architectural pearl, the "Swan Centre". I had rather hoped that the wraps going up round the flats were a sign of an impending controlled explosion, but no such luck....
... here's more of it. This shopping centre on the north-east corner comprised a variety of shops including an excellent green-grocers and an indoor market (the In Shops) which will also be missed. It's being redeveloped by Tesco as a super-duper-hyper market, providing they undertake refurbishment of the not-to-be-blown-up flats and a traffic improvement scheme on Church Road, the latter being desperately needed. Tesco seems to be fairly prominent in this walkabout and I should point out that I am not being paid by them.
Heading away from the Swan we come to an arcade of shops at the top of Manor House Lane and Rowlands Road.
Further along the row of shops is the Yardley Fish Bar, a prime example of small business seeing off opposition from the big boys, notable Harry Ramsdens. And there is a MacDucks across the road as well as...
... the Spicebuffet pub and restaurant. In my youth The Good Companions public house stood here, that made way for a Harry Ramsden's fish and chip restaurant which in turn was demolished and replaced by the Shooting Star pub, and now the Spicebuffet. You can't beat a good English chippie!!
Further down the Cov Road: Until recently the site of the Wagon and Horses, a new building takes shape... apparently a new Aldi supermarket.
The "Aldi and Horses" just up the road from Tesco, where I'm standing. I reckon I could squeeze at least another 20 supermarkets in there.
I suppose the Royal Navy could take over Tesco as an helicopter training centre if the competition from Aldi was stiff.
Tesco supermarket, on the site of the former Sheldon cinema.
The Three Horseshoes.
The Crane and Dragon on Cranes Park Road. Formerly the Sheldon.
When I first moved into the area in 1992 it was what I called a "real" pub with a public bar, lounge and snug (remember snugs?). Then it turned into a Mr Qs, a diabolical open-plan Habitat style bar with TVs in every nook and cranny, probably in the bog too.
Very recently it has been re-invented as a Thai restaurant, also serving English food. This is a considerable improvement which, for me at least, is enhanced by having a seperate bar area serving guest real ales and a fine selection of malt whiskeys (Talisker 10 minutes walk from home... heaven!)
I like it. It is clean inside and the staff are polite. Whether it takes off or not remains to be seen, but I hope so.
Detail on the building.