#Brumhenge

Hello all! First things first, many thanks for your interest in #Brumhenge - I have had loads of responses so far so i’m hoping it should be a great evening!

So what exactly will happen on Sunday 21st June? By chance the setting sun will align with Newhall Street, Church Street and Livery Street. Standing on Colmore Row, one of the highest points in Birmingham, you will see the sun framed by the buildings, and the streets lit up with a channel of light.

I stumbled across this phenomenon last week when walking past Newhall Street and seeing the sun just peeping around the corner over the Jewellery Quarter. It then occurred that in a few weeks it should perfectly align with the street, so I thought I’d do some further research. It turned out that on the 21st, the sun will pass across the street just before sunset at approx. 21.15.

 Sun almost in position at the end of Newhall Street 7th June 2015

Sun almost in position at the end of Newhall Street 7th June 2015

 Position of sun at sunset on 21st June 2015

Position of sun at sunset on 21st June 2015

The meet will owe much to Manhattanhenge, which happens twice a year when the sun aligns with all the streets on Manhattan Island in New York. Newhall Street is not quite as long as the streets of New York, but we will get the added advantage of standing at the top of a hill.

I have done some research into the history of Newhall Street to check whether its orientation wasn't a coincidence. I found that the street was originally a tree lined avenue with elm trees leading to a large Jacobean mansion, called The New Hall, which stood around the modern day junction with Great Charles Street. This was built in the early 1600s, and perhaps the mansion was positioned by the Colmore family so that the solstice sun appeared directly down the hill?

 Map of Birmingham in 1731. New Hall Lane is now Colmore Row, with Newhall Street shown as the avenue down to the mansion.

Map of Birmingham in 1731. New Hall Lane is now Colmore Row, with Newhall Street shown as the avenue down to the mansion.

So here are the arrangements. Meet at around 20.45 to 21.00 on Newhall Street at the junction with Colmore Row. The sun will be aligned with the street at around 21.15. Having looked at the weather the Met Office is forecasting sunny intervals between 18.00 and 21.00, with the BBC also reporting light cloud and then clear skies at 20.00. It looks like there is a decent chance we will see it, and if it clouds over, hopefully we will get a break in the clouds. I would recommend you keep check of the forecast during the day to see if there are any changes, especially if you are planning a special or long journey. Unfortunately I can't guarantee the weather but let's keep our fingers crossed!

REMEMBER TO NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN AS IT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS DAMAGE TO YOUR EYES! The sun will still be very bright at lowest point in the sky so I recommend you take the necessary precautions.

Feel free to share this blog with family and friends who think may also be interested in joining us. You can contact me at timcornbill@outlook.com.

 

References:

Birmingham Mail have also written an article on Brumhenge here - http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/summer-solstice-sunset-lines-up-9436512

The Newhall Estate - http://billdargue.jimdo.com/placenames-gazetteer-a-to-y/places-n/the-newhall-estate-city-centre/

Two Years at Margaret Street - https://2yearsatmargaretstreet.wordpress.com/tag/colmore-family/

Manhattanhenge - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattanhenge