Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Delving into History.

Birmingham 037 Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery.

After a quiet week-end it was back to the tourist trail with a visit to the City Museum and Art Gallery. It was certainly a day to be inside with temperatures not much more than 3 or 4 0C. On the way to the museum we spotted a rather large crane (same sized crane that launched Gypsy Rover) by the Big Wheel. We suspected that the wheel was going to be dismantled which proved correct when we passed by some 3 hours later. We have searched the website to see if we could find out where it is heading to next but no such luck.

Birmingham 084 The entrance to Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery. All done in marble.

At the museum the first thing to impress us was the stone marble foyer and staircase. Another surprise was that “The Bullring” wasn’t some new American style mall because it has been in existence for about 400 years. Of course it has received many make over's and rebuilds in this time but it’s what Birmingham is built on. The name of Birmingham came from a rich land owner aptly named Peter De Birmingham who started a market in his own grounds. Once it was established he started another market which was to become Birmingham.

Birmingham 090 One of the galleries in Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery.

Listening to some of the live stories about “The Bullring” was very enlightening. A slaughterman/butcher was telling the tale of the rats that frequented the cattle pens. First thing in the morning the slaughterman would go into the pens and switch on the lights to find the cattle lying down with rats sleeping on their backs to keep warm. Once the lights went on they scattered as fast as their little legs would carry them but the slaughtermen would sometimes go in with air rifles to shoot them. Thankfully the slaughter house was closed in 1976 and the rats went with it.

Birmingham 082 Birmingham Town Hall modelled on the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum.

In the Buddha Gallery there is the largest copper Buddha in the world.  The Sultanganj Buddha has been in the museum since 1867.  It is over 500 years old was discovered buried by an engineer building the railway. He initially uncovered a foot and then organised it’s complete exhumation. The story goes that it was on a stone plinth but when invaders attacked the area the monks dug a pit and tipped the Buddha into the pit and then buried it. The plinth was buried in a similar fashion but in the opposite direction to protect the location of the Buddha should it be discovered. The monks never returned to restore the Buddha so it lay undiscovered all that time. A city benefactor then paid to have it shipped to Birmingham where it now resides.

Birmingham 104 Gypsy Rover outside the NIA Birmingham.


grey wolf said...

The Town Hall has only recently reopened as a music venue.It is by far the most interesting place to listen to music etc.
It is a shame the cold weather stopped them running the fountain [outside the town Hall] because you would have then seen why some people call the statue of the woman "The floozy in the jaccusie"especially as sometimes happens some bath foam has been added.

Derek and Dot said...

We may have to come back as the fountain certainly must be a sight when it is going. Was unaware of the town hall as a music venue, will have to check that out.