OK…Listen up dear reader.

Things have been just a bit too colourful and up beat in the Shpics image emporium of late………Time for a bit of a change..

So here we go…Back to black & white Birmingham…. Smack dab in the middle of the Grey Kingdom.

I’ve got a bit of a thing about open stairways…(Got a bit of a thing about pathways in general, Β metaphorical and physical), so given that to my way of thinking, an open stair’s just a path with a nice twist of Β fear thrown in, Β I thought I’d dig under Birmingham’s top layer and find some of it’s escape routes.

bwstair3jpegI like the fact that fire escapes are probably the only stairs designed to be used primarily for going down, as opposed to travelling in both directions. You can’t beat a bit of purity of purpose.


I desperately tried to find one of those super-cool fire stairs where the bottom flight is hinged and hangs suspended until some escapee puts their weight on the treads and thus decapitates some innocent passerby…I was all ready to do my whole West Side Story song and dance routine, (a proven crowd pleaser at the Shpics christmas party), but sadly Birmingham isn’t New York.

bwstair2jpegBut..Missing hinged sections aside … How many cities could combine vertigo with claustrophobia so successfully?

Let’s hear it for Birmingham!



All Images Copyright Stuart Allan Hyde

  1. Elizabeth Krall

    “I like the fact that fire escapes are probably the only stairs designed to be used primarily for going down, as opposed to travelling in both directions.” I never considered that! Great photos. The b&w gives them a sinister, mysterious air I think.


  2. suppressorexpress

    I like your style, and way of thinking, in terms of metaphoric or physical- i can relate to that with work i do-
    but mostly you make me laugh….in a good way πŸ™‚ the pics are grate and reflect the the darkness of cities and power, and escapism, for me that is. chantelle


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Cheers Adrian..Nice to see you on here.
      And you’re right….I remember Birmingham in the sixties,(just) and it really was a hell-hole…but, it does seem to be gradually morphing into a place where you can have a nice few hours with a camera without wearing a stab vest.
      I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you in Gas street.


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      I’m always aiming for out of the ordinary… but even if it only happens one shot in a hundred, (and realistically that’s a generous estimate, I need a hard drive just for my recycle bin), I think that’s a result…..Just the occasional one and it’s enough to keep me out there looking for the next one….
      Good luck with your own search.
      Great to see you here and thanks so much for commenting.


  3. Charles Ford

    Wow great images! I feel compelled to comment because as my day job here in the USA, I actually draw blueprints for stairs and rails. I shudder to think of the work involved in drawing plans for some of these stairs you’ve photographed. Great atmospheric work sir, and thanks for stopping by my blog.


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