Year 7 had a fantastic day studying urban change, problems and solutions in Birmingham. The day began exploring the canal network on board Jericho, the canal barge which under the guidance of skippers from Sherborne Wharf, took our pupils on a journey through Brindley Place and out into the areas of the canal yet to be redeveloped. Next stop was Newman Brothers factory. Known as the Coffin Works, this building is the only remaining intact relic of Victorian industry in the city. The machinery and processes in the factory were demonstrated to the children and they learned about the lives of the working class in the city. From there they went to the award winning Hive Café and Heritage Centre. This is a multi-use building including a school for young people with learning difficulties, craft workshops, gallery spaces, a theatre space, roof garden and wormery. Everything in the building is recycled and the students even make the glass, coasters and some of the crockery used in the café.
A ride on the new tram service took Year 7 into the city centre, where they hired Brompton bikes to take them to the library. The pupils then interviewed members of the public using their questionnaires to find out what they thought of the new development. A short journey took the group to Digbeth – an emerging cultural hub renowned for its street art. A local graffiti artist showed the pupils around, before taking them to a graffiti yard where the children developed their own tag names. As with all good days out in Birmingham, the visit ended with a Balti at Imran’s restaurant on Ladypool Road, where the famous dish originated. The children were extremely well behaved an engaged throughout this busy and interesting day of discovery.