Wow - what a fantastic week away on our travels we have had! Following your advice we have left Rattie all locked up @ Julie's house while me and the other TV Pisoni on our adventure
Wednesday we went on a train & travelled from Bristol to Birmingham to see Girls Aloud in concert in Birmingham National Indoor Arena - we staying in nice hotel, walked along the canal to get to the arena - it was huge - thousands of people there & we were only 17 rows away from the front - had the best night ever!!
Here is some info on the history of Birmingham that you may find of interest:
Anglo-Saxon tribes started to settle in the region around 700 A.D. Tribes such as the Hwicce and Anglian Mercian's started to make the area their permanent home. Evidence of Saxon settlement is apparent from the name endings of some of Birmingham's well known localities. The suffix -ley means clearing in a forest. The town of Birmingham was a hamlet hence ending in ham. In 1166 when Peter de Birmingham bought the right to hold a weekly market in his castle. The market prospered and Peter laid the foundations of the town of Birmingham.
By mid 1300's the town was listed as third town in size in the county of Warwickshire. Coventry and Warwick were larger. Aston, once the larger settlement now became Aston beside Birmingham. The Birmingham market grew from strength to strength with traders selling their cloth ware and metal goods. In 1511 the Clerk of Ordinance placed an order for horseshoes and weaponry for the Royal Army. Trade links were being forged with East Anglia and Bristol.
In the mid 1600's, with a population of some 7000 inhabitants, William Westley by 1700 drew up a town plan and calculated the population of Birmingham as 15,000. In 1801, at the time of the first census Birmingham had a population of 73,670, which meant it was one of Britain’s largest and most important towns.
In the 19th century industry in Birmingham was still dominated by metalworking. The workers of the town still made nails, brass goods (such as bedsteads), nuts and bolts, screws and buttons. They also made pen nibs and toys. There were also jewellers and gunsmiths in Birmingham. In the late 19th century railway carriages were made in Birmingham. So were bicycles. Glass making was also an important industry. From the end of the 19th century there was also a cocoa and chocolate industry at Bourneville.
Interesting Events in History Time Line:
1832 The Botanical Gardens opened
1852 The first public baths opened
1856 The first public park in Birmingham opened
1879 The Council House was built
1885 Museum and Art Gallery opened in
1889 Birmingham was made a city
1837 A railway from Birmingham to Manchester and Liverpool was opened
1838 Birmingham was connected to London by rail.
1861 The first public library in Birmingham opened
1873 horse drawn trams ran in Birmingham.
1874 The first modern fire brigade in Birmingham was formed
1879 The first telephone exchange opened in
1882 The town gained its first electricity supply
1890 The first electric trams ran
1885 A Municipal School of Art opened
1891 Municipal Technical School opened
1909 Birmingham University was founded in
1913 Birmingham Repertory Theatre was built
1960-1971 An inner ring road was built
1971 New Street Station was rebuilt
1973 a shopping centre was built over the station
1980s it was refurbished and renamed the Pallasades
1987 The Pavilions Shopping Centre opened
1987 the City Council unveiled a new City Centre Strategy, the city centre was to be rebuilt and refurbished
1991 The International Conference Centre and Indoor Arena opened in 1991.
2000 Mailbox Shopping Centre opened
The Bull Ring shopping centre was built in 1964 & the re-developed & re-built in 2001
Today industries in Birmingham include car manufacture, engineering, finance and also tourism.
Today the population of Birmingham is 1,025,000.
**On Thursday from Birmingham we travelled to Burton Upon Trent where Julie's friend Jo picked up & took us to her house in Swadlinlicote**
We drove past the Coors Beer factory in Burton upon Trent - it is really famous in this area - look what i found out:
Burton upon Trent is a lovely market town which is most famous for its Brewing Industry. In 2002, Coors acquired the England and Wales business of Bass Brewers and created Coors Brewers Limited (CBL), the United Kingdom's second largest brewer with more than 20% market share. With the number one brand in the UK, Carling, CBL is a solid presence in the seventh largest market in the world. The company employs approximately 2,500 people in the UK, 9,500 worldwide and has breweries in Burton, Alton and Tadcaster.
On March 31st, 2009, Coors Brewers changed its name to Molson Coors Brewing (UK) Ltd. This is a move which clearly signals the companies™ parentage and recognises the significance of both Molson and Coors families in co-creating one of the worlds™ most significant brewing organisations, with operations spanning the globe from the United States, Canada and Mexico through Europe to China and Japan.
Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK) Timeline
1744: William Worthington starts brewing in Burton-on-Trent, UK.
1777: William Bass starts his own brewing business in Burton, UK.
1784: British ales were exported to St. Petersburg and the Baltic's.
1799: Exports to North America.
1839 to 1944: The introduction of the Birmingham to Derby and Midland Railway provides the opportunity for fast transport and new lines.
1850: Bass production tops 100,000 barrels.
1876: The Bass triangle is registered as Britain's first trademark.
1877: Bass produces more than 1 million barrels a year.
1900: There are more than 32 breweries in Burton, including 87 miles of private brewery track and 36 level crossings in town.
1926: Bass and Worthington breweries merge.
1940s: A declining overseas market for Burton beers and the effects of two world wars lead to a spate of brewery mergers from the 1940s onward. With the aid of new technology, the remaining breweries are able to concentrate on fewer sites.
1954: Carling Black Label launched in the UK. First brewed at Hope & Anchor Brewery, Sheffield.
1960s: A new series of mergers leads to the creation of Bass Charrington, the UK's largest brewer.
1969: Bass Charrington is renamed Bass Plc.
1998: Carling Black Label re-branded as Carling.
2000: Interbrew acquires Bass Brewers.
2002: Coors acquires the England and Wales-based business of Bass Brewers from Interbrew and creates Coors Brewers Limited, the UK's second largest brewer with more than 20% market share.
2003: Carling becomes first and only UK beer to achieve sales of 5 million UK barrels per year.
2006: Carling is the UK's biggest selling beer brand.
2009: Coors Brewers Limited changes it's company name to Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK) Limited.
SWADLINLICOTE - here is what i found out about this town which we drove around:
Swadlincote is the main ‘town’ in South Derbyshire, with a population of around 30,000. The town also includes the settlements of Church Gresley and Newhall. It dates back as far as 1086 where it is described as Siuardingescotes, a small manor which was part of the parish of Church Gresley.
It was once a coalmining area - documents have been found to date back as far as 1294!! But it was not until the late 18th century that coalmining and clay extraction took place on a large scale. Over the next century a number of collieries, brickworks and potteries sprang up, including Sharpe’s Pottery in 1821 where the world’s first rim-flushing toilet was made, Bretby Art Pottery, and T G Green Pottery, famous for the highly collectable Cornish Ware Range. As the industry grew, the skyline became dominated by chimneys and kilns. At one time it was possible to see up to 70 chimneys from almost anywhere in the town without turning your head.
In the mid 1900 more than 6,600 men were employed in the mines and production averaged 2.7 million tons a year. Output peaked in 1964/65 at 3.7 million tons. But production declined from the late 1960s by which time Swadlincote was suffering from a shortage of stable building land and had become scarred by colliery spoil heaps, and clay holes. By 1982 there was only one colliery remaining in South Derbyshire, Cadley Hill.
Swadlinlicote lies at the heart of the National Forest. The National Forest is a forest in the making, transforming 200 square miles of central England. Already more than 7 million trees have been planted and woodland cover has increased from 6% to nearly 18%.
It is an inspiring example for the country, in the face of climate change and other environmental pressures
It is a place of enjoyment and learning for its residents and visitors
It is a place of contrasts, where people find quiet relaxation and active leisure
It is a working forest providing new and sustainable livelihoods.
**We got to meet Jo's pets when we arrived - Sooty & Smokey the cats, and Millie the dog. We went to Brittish Car Auctions where Jo works ..... it was huge, wanted to find a nice car to ride in but instead found a wicked motorbike - i loved sitting on that - it was huge & goes really fast!
Me & Pisoni went & sat in an actual Fire Engine - it was huge, the fireman were very nice though - we want to try & find a nice policeman to have picture taken with but they are allot scarier then the fireman!
I begged Julie & Jo to find me a friend, so we went in to a little pet shop & actually got to meet another Chipmunk - it was amazing, i am much bigger then what she was, but she was very nice, it was such a shame we couldn't of taken her home with us!
Saturday we went to Alton Towers - it's a massive Theme Park in the middle of the country side in the Midlands area of England! It was a little scary to go on the actual rides & no seats were small enough to strap us in & we didn't want to get dropped of lost, but we managed to have our pictures taken on 2 of them - The Water Rapids & The Log Flume - they were great, thankfully we didn't get wait, phew
The weekend ended with a great breakfast & cuppa on Sunday!
All the pictures of my travels will be updated in next day or 2 - Julie has problems with her laptop going very slow at the moment - grrr!!! I hope you like them when they are up though
Julie is going to Amsterdam in Holland on 12th June, a 12 hour party on the beach - party & dance kind of music! Will be great to travel over there & go on a plane where i am not stuffed in an envelope - will be able to look out the window & see the sights
And then in July if i am still here there is another concert on the beach at Weston Super Mare near Bristol - pop & commercial music - Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris, The Gossip, Metro Station, The Enemy are some of the names that have been released so far
NattNoy the Blue Nose Bear is on his way to England to stay with us - cant wait to meet him - we will all have so much fun!**
Hope you are ok back home? Miss you lots!
Lots of Love & Smiles, Claire xxx