|Birmingham Town Hall, overlooking The River in Victoria|
Square, which is lovely spot to sit on a sunny day.
These are not the best photos I’ve ever taken – either the sun was in the wrong place for good shots or, more likely I suspect, I was in the wrong place. As the Duchess told Alice, everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it, and the moral of this is that you should never take pictures with the sun in your eyes. Anyway, these images are a nice memory of a few hours spent in the sunshine with my elder daughter yesterday afternoon, so I thought I’d post them for a Saturday Snapshot. Lucy had spent a couple of days with my mother in Herefordshire, then caught the train back to Birmingham where she had time to spare before the boarding the coach for a six-hour journey home to Devon, so we met up, had a chat and a tea, and sat basking in the sunshine, in Victoria Square.
|Quality time for Mother and Daughter!|
|Queen Victoria: She's probably not amused|
at the quality of this photo!
And the pool was filled with water of sunlight, and the lotos rose, quietly, quietly, the surface glittered out of heart of light, and they were behind us, reflected in a pool. Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
|Cooling off.... The Floozie in the Jacuzzi.|
The water certainly glittered yesterday, cascading down a flight of steps into the smaller pool, which is where we sat - on the edge, of course, not in the pool itself! The statue here is called Youth, and shows a boy and girl with an egg and cone (though these last two are difficult to spot as they are partly submerged).
|Youth: We sat by this statue of a boy and girl, listening to|
water splishing and splashing.
On each side of the fountain are The Guardians, two large stone sculptures which look a bit like sphinxes, and next to them are the two obelisks, Object (Variations). I am not sure whether there is any special significance to the sculptures, and I have to admit the symbolism (if there is any) is lost on me, but it’s a pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by.
|One of Mistry's Guardians.|
The sculpture I really adore is Antony Gormley’s The Iron Man, which is another feature of the Square, and is a much better guardian for the city than any of Mistry’s pieces. He’s 20 feet high, and stands at angle, tilted slightly backwards, and slightly to one side, with his feet buried in the pavement. He looks like some kind of ancient Egyptian mummy, or alien being, who has landed on earth, feet first, and remained that way ever since watching over the city and its people and is, I feel, a powerful and beneficent presence. To start with the sculpture was called Untitled, but Brummies coined the nickname, and consequently Gormley asked for it to become Iron:Man, referencing the fact that this piece represents the traditional metal-working skills of Birmingham and the Black Country.
|The Iron Man: I love this sculpture and its rusty|
looking surface, which is not corrosion, but is part
of the design, caused by oxidisation of the metal.
|Birmingham Town Hall, where Charles Dickens read his work|
to packed audiences
Behind the fountain is the Council House, completed in 1879 – before that the council met at all kinds of venues, including a pub. Councillors were so awed by their new home they couldn’t decide what to call it, and held a debate to consider the merits of The Council House, The Municipal Hall, and The Guildhall. I would love to see the inside - I gather the interior is just as grand as the exterior.
When I first moved to the Midlands, Victoria Square was a very busy, very uninspiring traffic junction, but it was pedestrianised in the early 1990s, when Dhruva Mistry’s water feature was the winning entry in a competition to design a
focal point. The revamped area was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1994, and has now become popular with tourists and residents of all ages.
Saturday Snapshots is being hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mummy. Use the link to see photos taken by other participants and for full details of the meme.