Gangs of Digbeth Tour

Back in May 2013, Dr Chris Upton gave a free tour of Digbeth documenting its dark history of gangs.

Chris, who consulted on the hugely popular Peaky Blinders TV series, a Digbeth favourite, is an expert local historian.

There are ten markers on the below map, each with an accompanying video clip from Chris’ tour. Follow the markers on the line, starting on the red marker and finishing on the green. You can view a larger version of the map here, or watch all the film clips together in this Youtube playlist.

The videos were taken on a wet day and are not professional quality by any means. Of course, there is no substitute for the real thing, so we will continue to keep you updated of any upcoming Peaky Blinders tours by Rosie Pocklington.

However, if you are interested in learning more now, The Gangs of Birmingham, a book by Philip Gooderson, was recommended to us as a good read.

iSE – January Events

Where: iSE, Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth, B12 0HJ

The Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs (iSE) runs a number of training workshops to share skills with people involved in social enterprise all over the city.

Take a look at the events planned for January below; for more information or to book a place, please contact

Tanya’s Vegan Restaurant

When: Saturday 17 January 2015, 13:00–16:00
Where: Centrala, Unit 4, Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5RT
Tickets: £20 (available online)

January is the time for new years’ resolutions, and for many, these will be diet-based aims.

To help you out, Centrala Café will be hosting Tanya’s pop-up vegan restaurant for lunch on Saturday 17th January. For the bargain sum of £20 you will be able to enjoy a three-course, super healthy meal, including a complimentary drink!

Booking is essential. For more information, see the Facebook event page, visit the Centrala website, or email

Eat good! Feel good!

Opportunities for young people at RoguePlay Theatre

Where: West Midlands Creation Centre, Unit 8, Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5RT

RoguePlay Theatre run weekly workshops and classes for young people wanting to develop performance skills. Whether you want to just learn aerial and trapeze for fun, or whether you are looking to make career from acting, there’s something available for you:

Young Actors
Audition dates:
Saturday 10th January and Saturday 28th February, 12:00-14:00
Cost: £139 per term

Run by professional working actors, The Young Rogues are a group of young people aged 8-19 years, from a variety of backgrounds, who perform on stage, in film and on TV.

The Young Rogues meet every Saturday afternoon (12:00-14:00) during term time to develop acting skills for public stage performance, whilst also being provided with as many professional opportunities as possible.

The Young Rogues have worked at the International Youth Arts Festival in London, on Channel 5, and in TV drama Doctors. Joining the group is through audition only; for more information or to request an audition, please visit the RoguePlay website.

Young Aerialists
Session dates:
Saturdays from 10th January to 28th March (excluding half term), 09:30-11:30
Cost: £15 per session OR £135 for the full ten week term

Young Aerialists teaches aerial silks, hoop and static trapeze to those aged 7-15 years.

RoguePlay’s professional artists work with the students to develop their skills whilst working towards achievement certification. The sessions culminate in a Showcase performance, which in 2015 will be delivered in partnership with Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Classes take place every Saturday morning during term-time, and can be booked individually or as a block. For more information, visit the RoguePlay website.

Yard Talk – Age

When: Saturday 10th January 2015, 14:00-16:00
Where: The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Digbeth, B12 0QH
Theme: Age

Yard Talk started as part of Friction Arts’ heritage project Echoes, as a way to learn more about the recent history of Birmingham from the people who lived it. Now Yard Talk has a life of its own and everyone is welcome to join in!

Held on the second Saturday of each month, there is food, conversations, and special guest musicians, speakers or artists. Best of all: it’s free! Lunch and refreshments are provided (guests bringing food with them get brownie points though!).

For more information call 0121 772 6160 or email

Future dates and themes:

  • Saturday 14th February 2015 – Music
  • Saturday 14th March 2015 – Make Do and Mend

January 2015 Meeting of DRA

When: Monday 12th January 2015, 18:00 onwards
Where: Old Crown Restaurant, High Street Deritend, Digbeth

The next committee meeting of Digbeth Residents Association will take place on Monday 12th January at 18:00 in the Old Crown on Digbeth High Street.

Documents for the meeting can be found at the below links:

If you have any questions ahead of the meeting or would like to submit apologies, please do email

Impact Hub Warming Party

When: Thurday 8th January, 19:00 onwards
Where: Impact Hub Birmingham, Walker Building, 58 Oxford Street, Digbeth, B5 5NY

The team behind Impact Hub Birmingham are throwing open their doors for a Hubwarming party next Thursday, and all Kickstarter backers are invited.

We reported last week that the team are raising funds to kit out the hub to enable it to become a collaborative working space to nurture socially good projects.

We’re told there will be some pretty epic food courtesy of Digbeth Dining Club, so if you haven’t yet donated (anything starting from £1) and want in, make sure to check out the Kickstarter page here.

Digbeth is Good needs you!

January is the time for resolutions, and maybe one of yours is to become more involved in the local community?

Perhaps you’re a budding writer and want a space to air your musings? Or maybe you just like taking photos of things around Digbeth and are happy to share?

It could be that you’d like to learn a new skill, become more confident with using social media, or add a voluntary activity to your CV?

Whatever it is, our sister site Digbeth is Good needs you!

I spend quite a lot of time tending to the Digbeth blog, but a helping hand here and there would be very much appreciated! Whatever it is that you’d like to share, be it event reviews, photos from your window, updates on local projects, please do get in touch by email to and we can take it from there.

You will be provided with full training, and expected to contribute only one blog post per week/fortnight/month. That could be a random fact you’ve discovered, a new shop/product you love, or just a photo you’ve taken of some street art. We’d like your contributions to be around 50-100 words long as a minimum, which all in all boils down to around 15-20 minutes commitment.

Now, that’s not much to ask is it? And once you get into the swing of things, you may actually start to enjoy yourself!

I look forward to hearing from you. :-)

The Old Crown, 1931

In celebration of the new year, we thought it would be apt to take a look into the Digbeth photo archives…

Trevor Cobden, a friend of Digbeth Residents Association, recently sent us this photo of The Old Crown from 1931. The photo came with the following caption:

The Old Crown, 1931. With the death of Joshua Toulmin Smith in 1925, the ‘Old Crown House’ was put up for sale. At an auction held on 17 March 1925, the ‘Crown’ was bought by Holts Brewery of Aston for £5,000. G. H. Rodway was allowed to retain his half of the premises, which he ran as a restaurant, paying an annual ground rent to them of £92. In 1934 Holt’s were taken over by Ansell’s Brewery, and the Old Crown passed into their hands.

Alms House

When: Friday 9th January, 22:00-04:00
Where: The Loft, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA
Tickets: £5 on the door (all proceeds go to Mind)

Alms House is a new club night coming to Digbeth in 2015. For their first outing, Alms House present Deelux Audio and Louis Herinckx, amongst some resident DJs.

It will be a night of old school garage and house, and some other stuff in between, all in the name of charity.

All proceeds will go to Mind; for more information, see the Facebook event page.