News & blog

Get the lowdown on all of the latest news and activities for My Route.

Return of My Route taxi tour for my Route website
27th July 2016

Return of Sampad’s FREE ‘My Route’ taxi tour of Stratford Road, August 2016!

Back by popular demand! One of the runaway successes of My Route was a free taxi tour which took place during Summer 2014. The tours brought local history vividly to life with a 1970s-styled taxi taking visitors on a trip down memory lane with sensory props, music and audio of personal anecdotes from residents past and present immersing passengers in… Read more »

60 Vanley Burke and Amerah Saleh at My Route Exhibition launch - sm
10th March 2016

My Route at the University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival – March 2016

Sampad Arts presents My Route at the University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival Wednesday 16 March 2016 onwards, see details below. My Route Panel Discussion Wednesday 16 March 2016, 5pm  University of Birmingham, Muirhead Tower Lecture Room G15 Free – booking recommended. A short event exploring the changing history of Birmingham’s Stratford Road, with… Read more »

My Route app in action
12th June 2015

Download the free My Route app now!

The free My Route app is now available! The app will allow you to learn more about the history of the Stratford Road area when used in combination with the My Route publication, allowing you to view and listen to memories from local residents.Via the inside cover of the publication, it will also let you… Read more »

My Route publication - photo by Dave Walsh Creative.
12th June 2015

Get your free copy of the My Route publication

About the publication The My Route publication forms the culmination of a fascinating journey for the participants, volunteers and Sampad staff who have been involved in the My Route community heritage project. We have sought to capture the history of Birmingham’s Stratford Road as lived and remembered by its people (with extra material sourced from articles and telephone directories… Read more »

Jossett Lynch

Photo by Vanley Burke

Jossett arrived in Birmingham during the 1960s from Jamaica. 
She became a school teacher when it was extremely rare 
to see Black women in professional jobs. Her husband set up one of the first home-based churches in Birmingham catering for the African-Caribbean community.
12th June 2015

Vanley Burke photography exhibition for My Route: 13 June – 10 July 2015

Vanley Burke’s photographs documenting the social history of migrant communities are known and appreciated around the world. He has been taking photographs of people in their homes and places of work for the last 40 years. The images in this free outdoor exhibition celebrate the lives and achievements of residents of Birmingham’s Stratford Road, encompassing… Read more »

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01st June 2015

Sampad presents the My Route Exhibition Trail: 13 June – 10 July 2015

New photography by the internationally-respected artist Vanley Burke will form the major focus of Sampad South Asian Arts’ free My Route exhibition trail, opening on Saturday 13 June and continuing until Friday 10 July 2015. Blown up to 3 metres high, the 11 images of Stratford Road residents will be placed on Stratford Road Baptist… Read more »

Aunt Kits Shop Farm Rd
18th May 2015

Birmingham: The development of a city of migrants, as told by Richard Trengrouse

We have a bucolic view of the rural village; cottages around a duck pond, clean air, working the soil and community spirit, but our urban view of the village is an illusion framed by late eighteenth and nineteenth century European literature. Remember the French Queen Marie Antoinette playing shepherdesses in Petit Trianon, her mock village… Read more »

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04th May 2015

Let’s get down to business…

One of the key themes that My Route has been investigating is the development and changes to trades and businesses along Stratford Road over the past 70 years. By recording and mapping the businesses that have existed along the road, we hope to be able to trace when different communities came to the area and… Read more »

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30th March 2015

An aMACEing visit to the Media Archives.

On 2 February 2015, the My Route team headed to Lincoln to visit the Media Archive for Central England. Based at the University of Lincoln, this influential archive collects and preserves moving images about the East and West Midlands, with the oldest item being from the late 1800s. Along with director of Iconic Productions, Sam Lockyer, who… Read more »

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26th March 2015

Coming soon… the My Route Exhibition Trail!

Sampad South Asian Arts is pleased to announce the My Route Exhibition Trail, opening on Saturday 13 June and continuing until Friday 10 July 2015. The My Route Exhibition Trail will feature striking images of the Stratford Road and its residents by internationally-respected photographer Vanley Burke, combined with short audio clips housed in purpose-built units designed… Read more »

Hidden Heritage little aden
12th February 2015

Stratford Road’s Hidden Heritage

Volunteers and researchers have been busily working alongside the My Route team to uncover the hidden architectural heritage around Stratford Road. The resulting information and photographs will be used by Sampad as it develops an exhibition and archive of the heritage of Stratford Road,  to be unveiled in May 2015. Sampad’s project manager for My Route Urmala… Read more »

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09th February 2015

Ghosts of Stratford Road – Exploring with Still Walking festival’s Ben Waddington

On a bitingly cold January afternoon, kitted out with gloves, scarf, camera and a flask of coffee, I set off for Camp Hill roundabout to meet Ben Waddington, founder and director of Still Walking festival. With Ben having recently explored (and tweeted his findings from) Sparkbrook and Sparkhill, and myself having spent several months researching… Read more »

Photo of the Waldorf Cinema, Sparkbrook via The Birmingham Post, taken from a collection of photos taken by former city projectionist Tom Watkins.
26th January 2015

My Route discovers the lost cinema heritage of Stratford Road

From bomb-damage to Bollywood, the cinemas of the Stratford Road are a microcosm of Birmingham’s recent history. Stretching from Sparkbrook through Sparkhill and to the edges of Hall Green, the Stratford Road was a centre of film-going during the middle of the 20th century, with numerous cinemas serving the densely-housed and changing population. From World… Read more »

Interactive map prototype
14th January 2015

Get involved in shaping My Route’s final exhibition

In Summer 2015, as the grand finale to My Route, Sampad will be creating an outdoor exhibition in the area (exact location tbc), which will celebrate the heritage of Stratford Rd and showcase many of the stories, themes, places, people and discoveries that the project has brought to light. The multimedia exhibition will run for a… Read more »

The main office at Stratford Road in 1959
14th January 2015

Smiths Imperial Coaches take us on a trip down memory lane

One of the Stratford Road companies that many local people seem to remember is ‘Smiths Imperial Coaches’, whose iconic signboard of a “flunky” driver welcomed people into the premises for many decades, with the strapline “Your coach is here Madam!” Founded in 1924 by William Sampson Lloyd Smith, the company was originally known as ‘Prentice’,… Read more »

Hidden Heritage-5
19th December 2014

Unveiling Hidden Heritage

In December 2014, over the course of three weeks, My Route worked with ten ESOL students from the Hall Green campus of South and City College to explore hidden places of worship around Stratford Road. Led by Dan Burwood, an experienced photographer and co-founder of Some Cities , the sessions explored the history of faith in… Read more »

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05th December 2014

‘Tis the Season to be Training!

As the days have been getting colder and nights longer, our dedicated team of My Route volunteers have been carrying out some intensive research which will be feeding into the resources about the project we are currently designing for the middle of next year. November and December saw the delivery of several training sessions to… Read more »

Small St John's
01st December 2014

And the winner is…..

Next year, Sampad will be producing a high-quality print publication based on the My Route project. In order to bring various stories and landmarks to life, we’re going to illustrate parts of the publication by using ‘augmented reality’ technology that will allow us to create 3D digital models of some of the buildings found along Stratford Road…. Read more »

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29th November 2014

Foodies get a taste of Stratford Road

In October 2014, Sampad hosted culinary workshops at two of the most popular restaurants in the Stratford Road area. The first was held at Al Faisals, a Kashmiri restaurant on Stoney Lane near Ladypool Road, known to be one of the first exponents of the famous Balti Curry in the 1970s, and the second took… Read more »

Close up of mayor and taxi tour participants
17th October 2014

Celebrating a Summer of My Route Taxi Tours

From 30 July to 27 August 2014, My Route delivered a series of free taxi tours which aimed to bring the history of the road to life in a distinctive and engaging way. Each of the tours allowed up to seven members of the public to travel around Stratford Road in a taxi that had… Read more »

021 Stratford Road for buildings vote
13th October 2014

Your favourite Stratford Road building – voting extended to Monday 27 October by popular demand!

A publication based on My Route will be produced next year and in order to help to bring the stories and landmarks to life, Sampad will be using ‘augmented reality’ technology to create digital 3D models of some of the iconic buildings found along Stratford Road, allowing people to explore the building’s architecture, history and character. The augmented… Read more »

Moseley All Service Club
06th October 2014

My Route at Moseley History Fair Sunday 12 October

As part of My Route’s outreach work, staff and volunteers have been out and about to raise awareness of the project and to meet people who would like to contribute to the heritage materials that we are collecting. Daisy and Dave will be at the BRUM BRUM History and Memorabilia Fair at Moseley All Services Club… Read more »

An example of augmented reality.
24th September 2014

Vote now to make your favourite Stratford Road building stand out!

A publication based on My Route will be produced next year and in order to help to bring the stories and landmarks to life, Sampad will be using ‘augmented reality’ technology to illustrate particular aspects of the project. What is Augmented Reality? Augmented Reality (AR) ‘mixes’ the real and virtual world together by superimposing computer-generated  sound,… Read more »

Shree Ram Mandir
19th September 2014

The Transformation of a Cinema

This summer I had the pleasure of being invited to the Shree Ram Mandir Temple and Community Centre on Walford Road, just off Stratford Road in Sparkbrook. Originally a cinema that was opened in 1913 by Mr J.W.Atkinson, this building has changed hands several times and was even bombed by Germans during WW2, causing damage that… Read more »

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10th September 2014

A Day of Mystery Solving

On Sunday 7 September Sampad invited members of the public to take part in a free My Route workshop, as part of a three week public engagement scheme run by the University of Birmingham called Think Corner. Led by Daisy and Dave, two of our PhD students from the Reaching out from Higher Education Scheme, families… Read more »

Wikipedia logo
09th September 2014

Wanted: Wikipedia Editors for My Route (volunteer basis)

As part of My Route’s legacy Sampad is aiming to preserve information about the heritage around Stratford Road on the free online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. According to the Alexa study of 2014, Wikipedia is the eighth most visited website and is one of the most used open source references available on the internet to communities across the… Read more »

St Agatha's from front
09th September 2014

St Agatha’s: A tale of beauty and survival!

On 20th July Katy was welcomed into St Agatha’s Church, an iconic grade 1 listed building for Anglo-Catholic worship, which is situated on Stratford Road in Sparkbrook. Completed in 1901, it was funded by the sale of Christ Church on New Street in the city centre, which was demolished to make way for a new… Read more »

101 Hall Green Methodist Church small
22nd August 2014

Katy’s visit to Hall Green Methodist Church

In my role as Project Coordinator for My Route, as part of the project’s outreach work, I’ve been visiting several community centres and places of worship around Stratford Road to help raise awareness of the project and to meet some of the people who would like to contribute to the heritage we are collecting. Hall… Read more »

Dave Colin and Mercedes
22nd August 2014

The data collectors get on the trail…

On what was arguably the hottest day of the year so far (July 26) six My Route volunteers undertook training in data collection, as part of the project’s historical research. The data collection in My Route  records how businesses situated along Stratford Road have changed over the last 70 years, allowing the physical landscape, demographics and trades… Read more »

Josh Ray and family 1
04th August 2014

Josh Ray’s Taxi Tour experience

A huge thank you to our guest blogger Josh for sharing his experiences of My Route’s Taxi Tour …along with his family’s #StratfordRdSelfie! How well do we really know Birmingham?  Sampad’s recent new project My Route with its ‘Stratford Road Taxi Tours’, offers a whole new adventure, diving into Birmingham’s rich history which dwells in the places… Read more »

085 Sign
04th August 2014

My Route is on the move! 

Over the summer we will be doing a series of presentations in local venues around Stratford Road to talk about what’s happening with My Route and to provide information for people who would like to get involved. Members of staff will provide news updates about local activities and take questions about this unique heritage project. Keep an… Read more »

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14th July 2014

Dave delves into diverse data

Dave Richardson is the third PHD student supporting My Route from Birmingham University’s Reaching Out from Higher Education scheme. He’s assisting us with volunteer research in both the archives and public data collection due to his specialist knowledge in this area.  Find out more about Dave below. My thesis looks at populist campaigns in Britain… Read more »

Jonathan working looking down
14th July 2014

Jonathan hops on board My Route’s free taxi tour.

Jonathan Lloyd, one of the three PHD students supporting My Route, has been assisting My Route’s project manager, Urmala, with the script for the free Taxi Tour taking place along Stratford Road 30 July – 27 August. Find out below how and why he joined My Route as part of Birmingham University’s Reaching Out from Higher Education… Read more »

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26th June 2014

Free professional training in oral history interviewing!

Due to popular demand, Sampad has arranged an additional day of oral history training with the West Midlands regional consultant Helen Lloyd. If you are interested in oral history and willing to dedicate time to help us collate the memories of people who have lived and worked around Stratford Road, then please download the volunteer… Read more »

Daisy Payling
30th May 2014

Say hello to Daisy Payling

I’m a History PhD student working on activism in Sheffield in the 1970s and 1980s. My research looks at how activists in different organisations interacted with each other and with local government and how this fits within our wider understanding of left-wing politics in post-war Britain. I got involved in My Route because I wanted… Read more »

Sampad staff member Buzby interviewing Cllr Barry Bowles
15th April 2014

Sampad staff learn the art of silence

On 15 April it was the turn of Sampad staff to be trained by Helen Lloyd as they undertook a taster day of oral history training. Although they will not be recording any interviews themselves, it extended their knowledge of this unique skill and gave them the opportunity to appreciate the work our oral historians are currently… Read more »

Sampad staff get a blast from the past at Birmingham Archives
10th April 2014

Sampad staff get a blast from the past

On 10th April Sampad staff and PHD student Dave Richardson went to the Library of Birmingham for an introduction to the contents and purpose of the Birmingham Archives, which is hosted within the Library building. Led by Izzy Mohammed and Rachel MacGregor, the visit allowed staff to see some of the oldest items in the… Read more »

Jonathan Lloyd
20th March 2014

Meet the PHD Students

To help manage My Route’s research and heritage activities, three PHD students from the University of Birmingham have joined the team as part of a 12 month professional development opportunity. Daisy Payling, Dave Richardson and Jonathan Lloyd are all assisting with the first phase of My Route, as part of a new AHRC funded scheme… Read more »

Marianne practising her interview skills on Jas, 29 March 2014
07th March 2014

First training day for My Route oral history volunteers

As part of My Route’s research, volunteers will be recording the memories of the people who have lived and worked around Stratford Road from the 1940s to the present day. Known as ‘oral histories’, these interviews will be used alongside other research to help to create our learning resources and all recordings will be deposited… Read more »

014 sampad My Route Stratford Road - by Jas Sansi
10th February 2014

My Route gets the green light!

Thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £226,300, Sampad South Asian arts is delighted to announce that it’s full steam ahead for My Route, an 18-month project researching the history of the communities that live along the Road between Sparkbrook and Hall Green. ‘My Route’ will start with a wide-ranging investigation covering how the various lifestyles,… Read more »