MORE THAN A PLAYGROUND; RESEARCH BY CARL CHINN - THE EVENING MAIL WRITER WHO MAKES HISTORY COME ALIVE It Could Be a Place of Adventure but Also a Good Spot to Earn a Copper Here and a Copper There

By Chinn, Carl | Birmingham Evening Mail (England), January 17, 2000 | Go to article overview

MORE THAN A PLAYGROUND; RESEARCH BY CARL CHINN - THE EVENING MAIL WRITER WHO MAKES HISTORY COME ALIVE It Could Be a Place of Adventure but Also a Good Spot to Earn a Copper Here and a Copper There


Chinn, Carl, Birmingham Evening Mail (England)


It was a scene which had sped into his spirit when he had been but a toddler and now he was ageing, he had only to let his eyelids drop and his mind and soul were there once again in the Bull Ring of his childhood

Looking up High Street, Birmingham on a market morning from close to Moor Street and Saint Martin's Church in the late 1890s or early 1900s. The Bull Ring as a street actually started at Moor Street and went down to Park Street.

The photograph above makes plain just how the redevelopments of the 1960s cut off the markets from the city centre by overlaying this area with the concrete collar of the Inner Ring Road.

Just to the right of Nelson's Statue and the lamp post is Nelson Passage, and to the left is the old Market Hall, the address of which was also in High Street.

It was a scene which had sped into the spirit of a Brummie when he had been but a toddler and now he was ageing, he had only to let his eyelids drop and his mind and soul were there once again in the Bull Ring of his childhood.

Born when the nineteenth century was first ebbing into history, the old Bull Ring had been more than his playground, it had been his whole life and nothing anywhere could have matched it.

In them years, the barrow boys lined Spiceal Street from the Market Hall down across Edgbaston Street into Jamaica Row, while on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from six in the morning the sellers of plants, shrubs, fowl, eggs and rabbits used to set up their stalls.

He and so many other kids got such a thrill from running between the wooden trestles over which tarpaulin had been pulled across uprights, from minding out for the baskets from which the flower sellers hawked their wares, and from bobbing and weaving betwixt and between the flat hand carts.

But the best fun of all was harking at the banter between the more street-wise, raucous city traders and the softer-voiced and calmer farm folk.

From an early age, he'd learnt how the Bull Ring could not only be a place of adventure but also a good spot to earn a copper here and a copper there by making himself useful through running errands, fetching this and carrying that. …

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MORE THAN A PLAYGROUND; RESEARCH BY CARL CHINN - THE EVENING MAIL WRITER WHO MAKES HISTORY COME ALIVE It Could Be a Place of Adventure but Also a Good Spot to Earn a Copper Here and a Copper There
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