"Memories of Birmingham"
Birmingham Prints by Martin Stuart Moore
Birmingham has been a centre for craft skills throughout the ages and its manufacturing diversity has been renowned worldwide. As a focus for the canal system and later the railways, the city boomed during the Industrial Revolution. In the last century its location again proved vital for growth as it lay at the hub of the national motorway network.
In the autumn of 1995 I arrived in the city centre to plan my first Birmingham painting. Whilst the street patterns were as I remember when I lived in Brum as a boy, but much had changed around them. Particularly striking was the Gas Street Basin with the renovation of the canalsides, the International Convention Centre and National Indoor Arena off Broad Street with its broad piazza link through to the Council House and New Street — all pedestrianised. These features had to find a place in my Birmingham prints
There seemed to be more Victorian shopping arcades than I remember, all of a more sumptuous quality than the malls of today; the Rotunda was just as squat (ground conditions dictated the planned height could not be built); the old cartoon cinema was now the Electric — what an elevation! I couldn't resist putting my old Ford Popular and Morris Convertible into this Birmingham cityscape as well as the blue and cream Corporation buses that used to take me to school. Dominant of course was the fine detail of the Victorian architecture.