Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Old and new in Brum

En route for Warwick on Saturday, I changed trains in Birmingham. It's my birthplace, which is no doubt why I like to linger there whenever possible: this time, it was to visit St Martin's in the Bullring - for the first time - and to catch the Leonardo Drawings exhibition in the Art Gallery at the other end of New Street.

The Today programme this morning noted the Daily Express's support for investment in a National Water Grid. "Lets do something that will one day make our grandchildren proud of us!" it urges. Coming into Birmingham via Selly Oak, the train runs alongside the Elan Aqueduct, which - more than 100 years ago - was constructed to bring Welsh water to Birmingham, a distance of 73 miles. My father always said his grandfather, as manager of the Birmingham Corporation Improvement Scheme, was instrumental in this, though my researches so far don't throw up his name in connection with this - as opposed to other major projects of his time. "A splendid specimen of the Anglo-Saxon race, as all will admit who know him." So goes one of the many newspaper cuttings in our family album.

Arthur Henry Davis might have recognised the steam train berthed at Moor Street Station: Selfridges in the Bull Ring (behind), however, would have made his eyes pop.

No comments: