Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Big One (15-3)

Tuesday 10th July 2012

Gas Street Basin. Shepcote Street Bridge.

Yesterday I wittered on for a while on the subject of gas bottles. So today I am reminded that there was a group of students on a visit to to the area in and around Gas Street. The group leader was describing at length the old -v- new buildings that come together here. I thought he might touch on the aesthetics of modern buildings being misplaced in an old environment - An environment that we would want to preserve for historical and architectural reasons. 

One comment he made really got to me! It was when the leader said. "See the buildings over there (pointing to a new block of flats) how much do you think they cost?" He went down the line asking for guestimates. Then he pointed out that the typical cost of a flat in the building was £800,000. He then said he would not buy one because - of all the "old buildings in the area" and that there was a nearby "estate of new housing" and the canal is now populated by "Water Gypsy's" which I take must people like me!

Maybe it was me, but I agreed with him in a way. I thought that I would not buy one because the flats are an eyesore that has been set into a jewel of Birmingham history. This willingness to despoil the area may give some indication of the type of people who do purchase such flats. Owning a "trendy, waterside accommodation" having more of a draw than the vista of an important part of the history that brought around the prosperity of Birmingham and the black country.

Now that a great deal of the old fabric has gone to be replaced by concrete and steel with the odd bit of stylised ironwork as a nod to the past. It looks like even more is about to change. Today I spotted several men with a theodolite doing measurements around the old building that was the Fiddle and Bone pub. I don't think that many people use a theodolite if they were about to consider refurbishing the building.

The Fiddle and Bone pub, was a city centre venue on the canal side close to the NIA. However the Fiddle and Bone was one of the first Birmingham entertainment venues to be exposed to the clash between new city-centre flat developments and historic pubs and nightspots. The pub was a popular venue for jazz and live music. But was forced out of business after occupants of the new flat developments nearby complained.

However the Fiddle and Bone has been put up in the "Cash for Assets" sale by British Waterways.

Quote "British Waterways are pleased to offer for sale, the former Fiddle and Bone public house, the Roundhouse and Wharf Site set in the heart of Birmingham. This is a rare opportunity to acquire historic canal side property. An area of the original wharf site, to the west of the Roundhouse building has been sold and now contains a modern apartment building."
The last sentence above, is the sentence of death for the Fiddle and Bone pub and for the Roundhouse as one of the last bits of the Birmingham canal heritage.

Or as the Digbeth Slacker put it on his blog "Since it closed down it's sadly sat there for years slowly decaying like a brewery themed Marie Ceste."


Daily Total
Miles: 0.0
Locks: 0
Swing/Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 0.0
Diesel: 0

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 972.5
Locks: 722
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels: 9
Pump Outs: 11
Engine Hours: 2250.3
Diesel: 40L (49.57)


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