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Sunday, 18 March 2012

#056 The Woodman, Digbeth : 1998 to 2011 (RIP??)

The Woodman is one of the finest examples of what proper city pubs can be. It is one of the earliest of the pubs designed by James & Lister Lea. It is one of the pubs that I had occasionally visited before I took this photo in 1998.
As I remember, it has a compact front bar and a lovely, quiet back room that still had gas lights on the tiled wall. In 1998 this was still a busy and popular pub, but how times have changed.

In the intervening 13 years there have been massive developments in this part of Digbeth. The whole area behind The Woodman has been flattened and is now (or it was the last time I looked) somewhat neglected grassy area.
To give some geographical perspective, the city centre is off to the right. Behind me is the Thinktank which opened in 2001 and houses the Birmingham Science Museum and is part of the Millennium Point development. To the left of The Woodman is New Canal Street which leads to the old Curzon Street Station and the (closed) Eagle & Tun which was #032 in this series.

Curzon Street was the site of Birmingham's first raiway terminus and is a listed building. This will be the future Birmingham terminus of the HS2 High Speed Rail Line.
Here is the view from the back of The Woodman and the Eagle & Tun is to my right. These pubs are both under threat from the developers who have previous for demolishing old buildings that are in their way. Personally, I'd have thought that incorporating such lovely old buildings into a new development would make the final experience so much better. What could be better than to step off a high-tech, hi-speed train, that has whisked you to Birmingham from London in less than hour, into a lovely old pub for a pint? Obviously I'm biased, but surely even the developers can see the attractions of mixing the new with a bit of the old.

More about this can be found on the Digbeth is Good website which is better informed about these matters that I am!

This is the twenty-sixth in my 'Birmingham Eastside' series.

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