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Out and About

Co-ordinator Peter Calver

The purpose of the Group is to visit local places of interest (by public transport or self drive) as well as coach tours. This group will merge the Questers and Garden Visit groups together as well as extending to provide Coach trips (possibly 3 to 4 a year).  This group is open to all members of the Balsall Common U3A, all activities will be advertised to the whole membership

If you have any suggestions for visits, either local or afar please email the Coordinator.

 Contact Peter Calver 01676 535318


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Out and About Visits 2020


Thursday March 12th Birmingham Oratory

Thursday April 9th - Birmingham Catacombs walking tour


Thursday June 11th Coach Excursion to Kew Gardens



Birmingham Oratory Thursday March 12th starting 2.00 pm

The first visit of 2020 will be to the Birmingham Oratory on Thursday March 12th starting at 2:00 pm.


The Birmingham Oratory is a Roman Catholic religious community comprising Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, located in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. The community was founded in 1849 by St. John Henry Newman who was recently canonised.

The Tour includes the Oratory Church and Shrine of St John Henry Newman along with the new small museum. It usually lasts between and hour and an hour and a half. They do not charge for tours but do ask for a minimum donation of £5.00 per delegate. A cup of tea will be available after the tour.


The Birmingham Oratory was founded by St John Henry Newman on 1st February 1848. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Rome in 1847. In Rome he joined the Congregation of the Oratory founded in the 16th century by St Philip Neri later known as the Apostle of Rome. The Oratory in Birmingham was first established in Maryvale, then moved to a converted gin distillery in Digbeth, and finally settled at Edgbaston in 1852.

After Newman’s death in 1890 it was decided to replace the first Oratory church with a larger building as a memorial to him. The architect E. Doran Webb (1864-1931) was commissioned and the foundation stone was laid in 1903. The church is built in a classical style which evokes early Italian baroque and is an example of Edwardian baroque architecture.

The church was solemnly opened in 1909, but had been in use for three years before this. It was consecrated in 1920. The new church was built on top of the old church, with the old church remaining in use for a time, before it was dismantled and the remains removed to reveal the new church.


The Oratory is just past Fiveways on Hagley Road slightly over a mile from the centre of Birmingham. It can be reached by public transport. A car park behind the Oratory is available if any member wishes to drive there. It is about 1.5 Kms walk from the new Metro tram terminus by Symphony Hall.  Or 1 km walk from Fiveways railway station.


There is a limit of 25 members on this visit.  If you wish to be included on this visit please email Peter Calver  or telephone 01676 535318.  This visit is now full.  If you wish to go on a reserve list please contact me


This visit was recommended to me by one of our members. If you have any suggestion of places to visit please do not hesitate to contact me

Discovering the Birmingham Catacombs - Thursday 9th April Starting 2 pm


I have arranged a walking tour of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter to specifically visit the two main Cemeteries in the area and see the graves of some of Birmingham’s former important inhabitants.


The two cemeteries Warstone Lane and Key Hill contain the graves of the following:


·       Harry Gem (Invented Tennis )

·       Joseph Chamberlain (Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Liberal MP )

·       Alfred Bird (Birds Custard)

·       George Manly (Arch-Druid tomb that looks like standing stones )

·       Edward Hipkins (BSA & Avery scales ) Lost on the Titanic )

·       John Baskervill (Printer Baskervill type on almost every computer )

·       Isherwood Sutcliffe (Bronzer or japanner factory on Gt Hampton Street.


The tour will start outside the Jewellery Quarter Metro/Rail station at 2:00pm and last between 1½ and 2 hours. 

We will be guided by Kevin Thomas a local photographer.  He has numerous artefacts associated with or made by the people he talks about.

Kevin uses a small amplification system to ensure everyone can hear on the tour.

There is a maximum of 20 participants on this tour and the cost is £10:00 per person payable by the April core meeting (2nd April).


Please email or telephone 01676 535318 if you wish to be included on this tour.

Coach Excursion to Kew Gardens Thursday 11th June

We are arranging a coach excursion to Kew Gardens on Thursday 11th June. 

The coach will leave from outside the Library on Kenilworth Road at 08:30 am arriving Kew Gardens between 10:45 and 11:00 depending on traffic.  We will leave Kew at 4:30pm arriving back at Balsall Common around 7:00 pm (These timings are provisional at the moment).


The cost of the coach travel will be £18:50 each.**  Group rate entrance to the gardens is £13.60 for over 65s.  Under 65s £15.30.   If you are a member of Birmingham Botanical Gardens you can get 2 for 1 deal paying full rate at the gate.


This trip is open to all members of Balsall Common U3A.


If you wish to join this excursion please email or telephone 01676 535318.


**  The coach cost for Balsall Common U3A members will be no more than the £18:50 quoted.  If we fill the coach (52 passengers) then the cost will come down to £14:50         (50 pence is included as a tip for the coach driver).  The coach used is a standard coach with access via 5 or 6 steps. It will have air-conditioning and an on board toilet.  Coffee and tea will be served to your seat during the journey (£1 charge per drink).