Author: Debra Urbacz

Checking Out is so Hard to Do

For those of you who are of a nervous disposition, you may remember just before the pandemic struck, a large shipping container appeared next to the Lakeside Arts Centre. It was for an aural experience called Flight. A 20 minute trip on a plane in total darkness, where you may or may not have ended up dead.

The group responsible for that, Darkfield.Org have returned with another submersive audio sensory show called Eulogy. This time you have booked into a hotel, rather than being on a plane, but the experience is just as disconcerting. Why are you there? Who is the strange companion who never leaves your side? These and many other questions may or may not be answered, as you sit in a laundry trolley, in complete darkness. I don’t know what Pantone colour they would call the blackness, but mushrooms would probably grow very well in it.

I caught up with Artistic Director Glen Neath, he and his team were making the final adjustments to the world premiere of this 35 minute experience and asked him about his latest creation. “This is our fourth show. Our last was Coma in 2019, where people laid down on beds”. “So, what was the idea behind the story?” “It’s a collective dream. You are all in this hotel, being pushed around from floor to floor, by your designated chaperone”.

“How long did it take you to create?” “We started during the first Lockdown, and continued building and recording the soundtrack during that period. We’ve used 300 tracks in the show”. Of course, I had to ask about the shipping container “It’s actually a refrigerated one. It came ready padded, which helps to keep out any external sounds”.

You listen to the soundscape through headphones. The sound is so accurate, that it could be in 3D. Your chaperone whispers in your ear. So close that you could almost smell their breath. My companion sounded so sensual, that I was disappointed she was only a voice, and not someone I could have a drink with. Other voices appear and disappear without warning. So too do other noises. I’m sure I added to the soundtrack, as I yelled out several times at loud noises behind, or at the side of me.  Time seems to stand still, as you move from floor to floor, down to the bowels of the hotel.

After it had finished, I emerged blinking into the daylight. Feeling like a mole who has just moved the last bit of earth before popping its nose out from the hole in the middle of a lawn. Slightly shaken by the experience. I feel like a blind man who has listened to The Shining, but without seeing the madness of Jack Nicholson’s acting.

If you want to experience this surreal, haunting event yourself, it’s on between 22 September & the 3rd of October, then 19th October to the 31st. During the gap, it will be situated on the South Bank in London, as part of the BFI London Film Festival.


Sing, Baby Sing

Not only is the Beestonian celebrating its tenth birthday this year, but the same number of candles have been blown out on a cake belonging to the Beeston Mum’s Choir. Unless you are a parent of a baby or toddler, you may not have heard of this local group, who get together to sing songs, whilst their offspring play to their heart’s content. I contacted Rose Norman, after seeing her post on Beeston Updated about the groups’ anniversary. She in turn contacted the choir’s musical director Sarah Taylor, who answered all my questions, and some of the choir met me for a quick photo. From the left are Kate, Rose Norman, Sarah Taylor, Emma-Jayne, Rose S and Emily.

I asked Sarah, when did the choir start, who started it and why? “The choir was created in February 2011 by myself and a good friend. We both had young babies and were missing singing in choirs, as we weren’t able to get out in the evenings to conventional choir rehearsals. I had been involved in running choirs since we were at university together and she asked if I could make us a choir where we could bring our babies, but sing for us, not for them”.

How many members do you currently have? “Membership is quite fluid, as many people join us for a few months whilst on maternity leave and then must go back to work. Others plan their return to work, so they can still sing with us, and some come back for a second (or third) time, as they have more babies! Usually, we will have between 15 and 20 singers at a rehearsal (and that means 20+ babies and toddlers). Regular numbers have gone down slightly over this past year or so as Zoom choir singing is not for everyone. We’re hoping to be back to regular in person rehearsals from September, so hopefully numbers will pick up again”.

How have you all still managed to keep going since lockdown? “We’ve kept going throughout the last 16 months online, and actually had two rehearsals per week for most of that time. One at our usual 10am time and one at 8pm, because Zoom with a toddler in the house is hard! We’ve actually managed an in-person rehearsal on Monday 19th July, just as a one off before the summer holidays. It was wonderful to be back together and to sing together again. It’s not the same being at home singing on your own”.

What sort of songs do you sing? Is there a favourite amongst the group? “The only rule we have in terms of songs is no nursery rhymes! That’s what makes us different from other singing baby groups; the singing is for the mums (but the kids do enjoy it and pick up a lot of the songs themselves). We sing a real mixture of music from classical and folk songs, to songs from the shows and the usual pop tunes. We’re usually in two or three part harmony, but everything is taught by ear, so there’s no need to be able to read music. I think if you asked the members, they would all name a different song, but our signature tune is probably ‘Bella Mamma’, which incidentally, we have just released as a virtual choir recording to mark our 10th anniversary. We sing it as a warm up at the start of every rehearsal. It’s a really simple round which sounds glorious when it’s in full flow and the words mean Beautiful Mother. Quite apt for us”.

Are dads allowed in the choir? “This is a question we keep asking ourselves. But in truth, no dads have ever asked! In theory there’s no reason fathers can’t join us. However, the music we sing is arranged for upper voices, so they might find some of it a bit high! If we did find out that we had a group of dads who wanted to join I guess I’d have to find some new music with lower parts”.

Have you ever performed in public? Any inclination to do Beeston’s Oxjam for example? “We generally do two main concerts per year, and other performances to support local events, such as at the Canalside Heritage Centre and fundraisers for OpenHouse Nottingham, the charity we support. in December 2019 we were also lucky enough to provide ‘backing vocals’ for Jonny and the Raindrops’ Christmas gigs. That was totally different for us and loads of fun. We’ve never done Oxjam. I’m not sure why but we would be keen to be involved”.

Are any members of the mum’s choir, in say the Beeston Rock Choir? “I’m not sure about Beeston Rock Choir, but we have had members who also sing with Beeston Voices. It seems to be the choir members will move on to once they can get back out in the evening”.

Where do you meet, and how often? “We generally meet on Mondays at 10am during term time in central Beeston. We need to confirm our venue for September onwards, so details will be on the choir’s Facebook page”.

If there are any new parents that like what they’ve just read, and are considering joining, then please contact the group through their Facebook page,

And as Sarah mentioned, you’ll also be able to find out where their meeting space will be when the group reconvenes in the autumn.


Beeston Bounces Back

I’ve lived in Beeston for all my life, and over the years I’ve seen many changes, big and small, but never as much as the last year or so. Where so many businesses have struggled under the pressures of the lockdowns, and highstreets in places like Arnold and Long Eaton have withered away, Beeston has been thriving in spite of the circumstances.

We’ve seen many welcome additions to the town centre, the most obvious one being The Arc Cinema, which opened back at the end of May. After a couple of visits, I still stand firmly by my recommendation that you check it out as soon as possible! Another fantastic addition has been the new Turkish restaurant, Anatolia, which I could recommend on its excellent service alone, but the food is pretty good too. Just across the street is the newest branch of The Pudding Pantry, a coffee shop and dessert restaurant, and while I haven’t managed to pop along myself, I have it on good authority that it’s another great inclusion to our high street.

It doesn’t end there however – there’s way more coming to the town over the next few months. One of Nottingham’s best success stories – or as you might know them, Doughnotts – is upgrading from a market stall to a whole new store. Speaking of, there are plans for one of the units under the cinema to be filled by a new bar called “The Beeston Social”, the latest in a chain of indie bars from Fletcher Gate Industries, who run popular joints in the City Centre such as Das Kino and The Hockley Arts Club. Another chain making its presence in the town is Ohannes Burgers, and on top of that pastry giant Greggs is opening its second branch on Queen’s Road later this year, with plans for an indoor and outdoor seating area too.

Although the new additions have been, and surely will be fantastic, another great boon for the existing businesses in Beeston will be the easing of lockdown measures. Safety is of course paramount in times like these, but I’m sure that many locations are breathing a sigh of relief now they have the freedom to deliver a safe yet improved service to their customers. One change among many that I don’t think will be going away will be the increased use of outdoor dining. Originally envisioned as a way of slowing the spread of Covid-19, I think having people out in the fresh air, especially on hot summer nights like these, has brought a revitalised feeling to Beeston’s high street. Dare I say it even makes the town seem a little sophisticated with all our favourite places going al fresco.

I can’t pretend it’s not great to see that Beeston is looking better than ever despite the trying times we’ve all been through over the past year and a half, and like many of you I’m glad to be getting out and enjoying what’s here. Whether it’s our longstanding local businesses, favourite new additions, or most anticipated openings, Beeston is putting itself on the map in a big way.


Welcome Doughnotts!

Beeston is about to get “proper freshly baked doughnuts”
Welcome Doughnotts!

Yet another new, fun and entrepreneurial business is moving into Beeston this October in the old Thorntons shop!

In our printed edition we told you that Doughnotts would be moving in under The Arc cinema, it is all change! As the Doughnotts team have updated their plans… “Due to ongoing setbacks, rising costs of materials and availability of tradesman etc we have made the hard decision to look for a smaller store in Beeston. Thankfully we’ve been pretty lucky that the Thorntons on the high street became available and after negations we’re pleased to say we’ve got the keys and work has begun behind the scenes on our counter, neons etc for a planned Halloween opening! “

We’re thrilled to be welcoming Doughnotts into our thriving and growing town and even have a competition launching on our website ( around the time they open their doors so do keep an eye out online.

When asked why Beeston was the newest location to serve their oh so tasty Doughnuts doughnuts, one of the founders Wade Smith (29) waxed lyrical about Beeston being “… a vibrant and up-and-coming town – with such a friendly community atmosphere”.

You may know that Doughnotts are no strangers to Beeston, as they’ve been providing freshly baked delicious goods to our community on their pitch at the Farmers Market for a while now.

Wade shared:

“We’ve had a stall at the farmers’ market there for a couple of years and the welcome we’ve had has been amazing. There’s been nothing but positivity from the people of the town and when we found out this development was happening we knew it was somewhere we wanted to be.”

This will be Doughnotts’ fourth location and their new flagship store. They also cater for many types of events and offer a delivery service in England, Scotland and Wales with the intent to be offering the same service in Europe come Christmas this year and soon after, next day delivery to New York!!!

Doughnotts are a company that have been ambitious since they started back in 2015. When the business began in Clifton, with locals Megan and Wade who decided to start making and selling doughnuts with just £10, a wok and a mother’s kitchen in order to pay for a holiday. Talk about a success story!

A few months later they had their own micro-bakery, stocking cafes and bars around Nottingham and attending food fairs which led to them opening their very first shop in Nottingham in 2016. Fast forward to 2021 and with the help of a growing team of dedicated and hardworking staff, DoughNotts is soon to have 4 stores and a multitude of wholesalers spanning the Midlands.

What can Beeston residents expect?

  • A range of hand-made Doughnuts including vegan options and fresh coffee from another Nottingham business, 200 Degrees.

  • There’ll be a selection of indoor & outdoor seating and a grab and go area for those catching buses or trams

  • A welcoming feel like they have established in their other stores in Lincoln, Leicester and Nottingham city centre.

This new central Beeston location will be bringing the same friendly atmosphere, with seating inside and out and will be equipped with sockets etc. So if you fancy working away from the home office for a break or just grabbing a treat on the go, with the longer opening hours of 8am – 8pm planned, they’ve got you covered!

The magic of making the doughnuts, testing and experimenting with flavours and fresh baking happens in their 5000-foot bakery in NG2. This is where on a day-to-day basis, they make between 2000 to 3000 doughnuts, on average. This large number is distributed between fulfilling the needs that the shops sell, wholesale suppliers, deliveries, events and weddings. They really have it all going on.

We’re really looking forward to welcoming them to Beeston. How excited are you? Have you tasted a Doughnotts doughnut before?

Doughnotts is looking for Store managers, key holders, baristas and team members for the new store, full time and part time positions available. If you’re interested, please send a cover letter and CV to and don’t forget to make it fun!

To keep up with the announcements and sneak peeks of how the new shop is shaping up then join their enormous and growing social media following at

Instagram – @doughnotts_official
Facebook –
Website –


Craft, Create, Connect.

Beeston is such a hive of creativity! With so many resident artists and increasing opportunities to appreciate artwork we really are spoiled for inspiration. As soon as you alight at the Beeston Interchange you are just steps away from the street art murals that have enlivened some of our industrial buildings and added character to those of more historic value. Add in the painted telephone exchange boxes and we have an enviable street gallery to feast our eyes upon! The town also now houses one of the most accessible indoor exhibitions. Currently, in the old Argos local community projects and professional artists sit comfortably together in a window gallery of artistry worth shouting about – The Beeston Showcase.

If this public display of creative talent has fired your imagination, an obvious place to start picking up art and craft materials would be Artworks on the corner of Imperial Road. With shelves stacked with paints, inks and specialist papers they also have an extensive range of cardmaking and scrapbooking materials that would keep you busy until Christmas! They are looking to start their established weekly art classes back up in September.

The Young Artist’s Club was launched at Canalside Heritage Centre at the end of July. Low cost and allowing participants to explore a variety of different materials and techniques it is aimed at 8 to 12 year olds and ran weekly throughout the summer holidays.

Their ever popular Canalside Art Club also returns for the summer and can be accessed both in person or over Zoom.

Further down Chilwell Road you will find The Fabric Place, for those of us that prefer to sew than sketch. Just browsing the tempting collection of floor-to-ceiling fabric rolls is tantalising, especially at this time of year when their fruity summer fabrics are especially eye-catching. From curtains to bags to summer frocks, they have everything you need for your stitching projects. Bob tells us that are looking at introducing workshops later in the year so why not pop in and express your interest.

If you can’t find that finishing touch you are looking for, there’s always The Sewing Box further up the High Road on Willoughby Street, a definite top spot for trimmings! And if you are searching for craft kits, they have a selection to choose from to satisfy your creative cravings. They have a large range of fabric and wool too.

At teh Broadgate end of town is Pot ‘N’ Kettle Ceramic Café. A spacious place where your colour and imagination join forces to help you create your own special trinket or a personalised present for someone. If baking is more your thing then Beeston Baking School are running classes all summer from their outdoor venue on Cumberland Avenue. From rustic loaves to decorating techniques, Jill loves sharing her expertise and providing opportunities for a bit of experimentation with her tailormade sessions. We love her ‘Quintessential English Baking’ classes but then who doesn’t enjoy a freshly baked scone with jam and cream?

Down at Chilwell’s Independent Creative Corner, Cyrilyn invites you to join her in a personalised jewellery making session and be part of the whole process. If the joyful folk in her social media posts are anything to go by, this is often an amazing experience and fantastic fun! We adore the handmade wedding ring pics, but the one-off blue opal ring created by local lady Liz was an absolute stunner.

Larger organisations that serve our community well are Beeston Library, with their engaging family theatre productions and the annual Summer Reading Challenge. Lakeside Arts’ events for children take place in and around the Arts Theatre, with Art in the Park and Play in a Week.

As an added bonus, all the Arts Council funded activities have all been transferred online.

Log in for storytelling adventures, music sessions, craft activities, workshops, dance performances and a delightful digital book to evoke awe and wonder across the generations. Both venues are also well known to provide high end and community exhibitions that provide a little ambling time on lazier summer days.

There was so much creativity to be energised by in Beeston this summer and it will continue to inspire us well into autumn I am sure. I have not even mentioned the return of the ABC Art Trail or Incredible Edible Beeston! Why not follow the Creative Beeston Facebook page for updates on all of these and more?

Happy creating!


There’s Only One Cadland

The Cadland in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, is believed to be the only pub in the UK bearing that name.

What we know of the Cadland is that it has probably been a public house since the late 18th century – possibly earlier – but has only been known by that name since 1828. It was in that year, or very shortly afterwards, that the landlord changed the name to The Cadland, in recognition of the horse that won the Derby in May that year.

Cadland (1825–1837) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career that lasted from April 1828 to 1831 he ran twenty-five times and won fifteen races, with several of his wins being walkovers in which all of his opponents were withdrawn. In the summer of 1828 he ran a dead heat with The Colonel in the Derby, before winning the race in a deciding run-off. He went on to have a long and successful racing career, winning a further eleven races before his retirement, and developing a notable rivalry with his contemporary Zinganee. Cadland was disappointing as a sire of winners in England and was exported to France, where he was much more successful. He died in 1837.

Local legend has it that the landlord named the pub after the horse because it was supposedly trained around the fields of Chilwell. This legend is dubious as records show the horse was never trained around Nottinghamshire and most probably never set a single horse shoe on a field in Chilwell. Another legend states that the landlord at the time named the pub after the horse after winning a very large sum of money betting on Cadland. Again this is only conjecture.

What we do know is that surviving licences show that between 1810 and 1825 the pub was known as The Bulls Head and that throughout this period the landlord was John Felton.

Unfortunately, no further licences survive for subsequent years, but White’s Trade Directory for 1832 indicates that the landlord was John Hopewell. It is not known exactly when he took over from John Felton, but one of these landlords was presumably the one who changed the name of the pub.


Re-emergence of Live Music

Howdy readers, make yourself comfortable, pull up a pew, grab a brew and cosy on in, Beeston Beats is about to get rather loud and live. Yey!! At last!! For the first time ever in my life I can actually count how many bands I have seen in the last year on one hand, pre-covid (remember that?) I caught as many as three gigs a week with Rock City feeling like my second home. The dreadful C word has forced me into temporary musical retirement, but before I yammer into ‘back in my day’ spiel about the wonders of life pre-2020, I have to take time to say how much I have reconnected differently with certain aspects of music.

Let me explain, the rise of online streaming has introduced me to Twitch, mainly used for gaming but a quality platform for live DJs, where I listen to the banter and call outs by DJs like I used to via radio many moons ago (I was a huge John Peel fan), with services like Spotify and Youtube you can forget there can be a more personal side of music. There’s the Old Skool Rave stories told by DJ Brisk, to supporting the music by virtually buying them a pint. Checking in with shows over the weeks has been fun. I catch Hardy T for my R’n’b and soulful needs on Saturday 3 till 5 pm on The Music Galaxy Radio (he really is the nicest guy). If am still alive I listen in to DJ Zee from Ilkeston based Apollo radio – usually an 8pm start has also regularly started on a Friday night from 7.30pm. He plays a mix of allsorts but Fridays is more party and hi-energy dance stuff to fuel up the weekend. But this schedule is going to be thrown into disarray – yes, lurking on the horizon is live music faintly making its way back to us!

My first glimpse of anything remotely live was at The Victoria Hotel. At first I was unsuccessful in managing to secure a seat outside but luckily there was some football match or other on, and people began to disperse to watch the big game. We grabbed a table and for an hour sat dreamily supping a pint while Kelly’s Heroes poured beautiful renditions of ‘Dirty Old Town’ and ‘Whiskey in the jar’ into my awaiting ear holes. Creeping up in the live calendar is also Richie Muir on September 12th and The Brace Friday 24th September.

Please note that I do not have a crystal ball and there is a possibility that things may move or get cancelled, I guess what I am saying is correct at the time of going to print.

But wait, theres more! Schuggie who organises Ceilidhs and has been entertaining us throughout the lockdowns with online events is returning to hosting actual events at the Boat and Horses. The events are dance at your own risk as it is close proximity dancing, however there will be hand sanitizer and those attending will be encouraged to track and trace. For more information search for ‘Schuggies Ceilidhs’.

Local Beeston band CodeOut are set to perform ‘Covers that people usually hide under’ when they play at Vat and Fiddle Nottingham for their upcoming shindig festival. It is usually a ticketed event, at the time of writing there is no details yet on entrance fees.

Phewww, isn’t it nice to be getting social again? I feel like a cautionary word is in order, play nice, play fair and play safe, till next time.


Summer Trees

Summer Trees: an appreciation of three trees along Queens Road*

*Or just off it

As I write this issue of Trees of Beeston, the sun is scorching and a heatwave has kicked in, so I wanted to reflect on the glorious street trees that provide shade and respite from weather extremes in our town. In particular, the trees on or just off Queens Road. There are too few where once there were lines of poplar trees, these have now been replaced by driveways and parking. I was genuinely gutted to witness the cutting down of the silver birches that were once on King Street, the first trees I wrote about for The Beestonian back in 2018. I am sometimes concerned that this column could perform a Medusa style kiss-of-death whenever I mention the notable trees beloved of the community! I missed the silver birches very much walking past in the blazing sun earlier. Same with the large tree that was next to the Rockaway / now private flats along Station road near the slip-road to the train station.

So I want to dare to salute and acknowledge three trees: the Alder on the corner of Station Road and Queens Road (behind the billboard and what was once public toilets latterly Vicky’s beauty bar), that provides dappled shade while waiting to cross at the junction of Station Road and Queens Road, where birds perch and sing.

Further along Queens Road heading into Nottingham there is, on the right-hand side the copper beech tree of Queens Road near Alexander Crescent with its seasonally changing leaf colours, and tall aspect for blackbird song in the spring. Every time I see it, I am reminded of the Sherlock Holmes Copper Beeches mystery (if you haven’t read it, do so, it’s a joy, Beeston Library has a copy). This is a spectacular tree, casting its shade and cover across the road and providing shade to anyone waiting for the bus into town.

Finally, I want to mention the majestic Tree Preservation Order protected (so I have been unofficially informed) sycamore tree of Henry Street where owls are heard to hoot and bats have been seen. Plaques have been placed on this tree to reflect the local love for it, a reminder that our Beeston trees are loved and appreciated beyond the short term cutting-down profiteering of the absentee landlords who appear to target this part of Beeston for rental properties, levelling down any trees or plants that might serve as a financial loss in their maintenance.

I am reminded walking down Station Road towards Beeston centre that the house with the plaque ‘The Beeches’ on it was likely named after trees that were planted along the road a century ago. Many towns that developed their roads after WW1 began street tree planting programmes in order to create idealised living landscapes for those returning from the Western Front. The remains of one old beech tree – its low-cut trunk and roots bears witness to the likelihood of this.

A majestic tall mature tree is a privilege to behold and be around. Trees are recognised to add value to properties (think of the lovely leafy trees along Devonshire Avenue!), so when there are few tall street trees, they should be treasured.  In the cold of winter, tree canopies trap in the warmth and provide shelter from the rain and snow. Tree canopies provide splendid shade and cool temperatures in the heat, especially good if one is waiting for a bus (thank you copper beech of Queens Road!), and the evapotranspiration of water from the leaves has a cooling effect on the surrounding air. Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and in the winter save energy used for heating between 20 – 50%.  In addition to this, trees provide habitat, food and protection to plants and animals, increasing urban biodiversity which is good for the wellbeing of humans and animals.

Of course, trees need to be maintained. Coppicing a tree, maintaining its branches helps both the tree and the humans around. Make sure you find a qualified tree surgeon though, then they will maintain and care for your tree.

If you don’t have a tree, have a look around on your wanderings around Beeston, choose your favourite tree, and adopt it. Look out for it. Take care of it. Give it a hug. Artists and scientists recognise the enriching capacity of hugging a tree, and it will do you a world of good.

If you have space in your front or back garden, consider planting a tree.  Even miniature trees in pots on a balcony can improve your quality of life and that of the insects and bird wildlife. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is yesterday, the second best time is now.


Reference: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations website / benefit of urban trees.

I Am Beeston – Dr. Donna-Marie Urbanowicz

This issue’s I Am Beeston is Dr. Donna-Marie Urbanowicz – PA for the QMC’s Centre for Spinal Studies and Surgery.

“I was born in London and moved to Beeston in 2003 to complete an MA in American Studies at The University of Nottingham. When I asked them for “good places” to locate to, the University advised me that Beeston was lovely. I was then invited to complete a Ph.D and have never left Beeston. That was 18 years ago now. This is a lovely place for my children to grow up in, and whilst I don’t feel that I have done anything interesting in my time here, I have found Beeston to be a safe environment to raise my family”.

“Beeston has a lot to offer both in terms of its local urban environment and its artisan shops and restaurants. The fact that we have such wide variety of open green spaces in close proximity is wonderful. There is Attenborough Nature Reserve, Wollaton Park and University Park to name a few and all offer a different day out depending on your wishes. Beeston also has a very active high street. Although I feel the town will suffer somewhat with the closure of Argos. There are good stores here, but where we make up for charity shops and eateries, we probably lack in a decent department store. That said, I very rarely feel the need to go into Nottingham, and now that we have the new cinema, the desire to go to the city is not necessarily there”.

“Beeston has and continues to have a real sense of community. I have lived in three different houses during my years here and have been very lucky that both neighbourhoods afforded a community spirit. There is always a friendly face and a smile to be had when you are walking through the park and when my children were really young, I was often stopped in the street for a conversation. I feel very lucky and blessed to have been assimilated into the landscape of Beeston. As an ‘outsider’, I have never been made to feel unwelcome. As a student, I was never dismissed, and as a mother, I was always impressed by the activities offered by such a small community. My children attend the Rattle and Roll nursery rhymes at the library and visited the under 5s play group at Beeston Free Church”.

“I love the fact that Beeston has an amazing array of charity shops. I wander through them on a regular basis as I love the vintage fashion look. I particularly like the 50s era with the full petticoats and cute cardigans. They tend to go with my mega crazy shoes. Sue Ryder has a vintage section that I am often scrabbling in, and many a bargain can be found in the others, if you have time for a browse. Unfortunately, this style is often hard to find, so I tend to shop on-line for my dresses. And as for my shoes…well, let’s just say they are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or hate them.

It does sadden me a little, that there is a definite lack of popular clothes shops in Beeston for the more contemporary market. Considering Beeston is such a diverse town with a large cohort of students and permanent residents alike. Other than the charity shops, buying new clothes in Beeston is very limited to either Peacocks, or the supermarket own brands. It is good to see White Rose open up to attract the younger population, but it is still second-hand. I do feel Beeston would benefit dramatically if a larger well-known clothes store took the plunge and opened a branch here, especially in light of the fact that we now have a new cinema, which is very exciting and will, I have no doubt, increase the foot traffic to the local shops nearby.”

“One of my favourite things about Beeston is the switching on of the Christmas Lights. My father used to call this the “Beeston Lightbulb” and it has become a large part of our Christmas tradition. Again, times have changed and where once the rides used to be all down the high street and the fireworks were in the square, things have moved around more. It will be interesting to see what happens this year with the new cinema now taking up prime real estate. But I am sure it will still be a family fun evening. My family used to travel up from London every year for this event and we made it part of our celebrations. There has always been a wonderful atmosphere in Beeston, that I have never felt unsafe, even when walking home late at night on my own and this is probably one of the greatest achievements that Beeston can offer, safety in the community and in a town that I am proud to call my home”.


Rylands Retail Renaissance?

Where do Rylanders go if they need a pint of milk, a hair cut, or a bottle of wine? Not that surprisingly they can get all these things and more within the Rylands. What may be more of a surprise is you can also pick up a portaloo, a very good haircut, some vegan fast food, or even talk to an experienced Luthier (stringed instrument expert) on Lily Grove if you so wish.

We’ve had numerous shops here over the years, but if you a newcomer (or a resident of just the last 20 years or so) you’ll perhaps remember the post office on the corner of Trafalgar Road, the various food outlets on Lilac Crescent, or the afternoon tea shop on Trafalgar near the old Plessey site.

News and Essentials that most refer to as “the Cob Shop” is a ‘jewel in the crown’ of Rylands retail and has faced many challenges and reincarnations over the years. The vast shelves that held the extensive DVD lending library 20 years ago now bears a fantastic range of wines, chilled foods, cupboard essentials, and even has its own garden centre out the front. Winter hasn’t arrived until we see the Facebook post from owner Lloyd that sledges are out and ready for purchase.

After a conversation with Lloyd it became obvious him and his colleagues are driven by a  passion and enthusiasm for serving the Rylands. What we also learnt are his extensive ambitions for the shop and is commitment to supporting local charities.  The good news is Lloyd and his partners Pat and Andy are around to stay, having just signed a ten year lease.

While change is inevitable and bigger retail places may evolve, the strength of communities is measured in the power of its supporters. It’s lovely to hear about the days gone by and also see the enthusiasm of more recent businesses firming their roots in to the Rylands and creating new memories.

The resilience of our community really does offer hope and continuity, with creative and green-fingered individuals opening up pop up shops outside their front doors selling such things as rhubarb and gladioli or veg and bedding plants, or even something creative from local artists.

We’re also got the recent initiative of incredible edible project down at Leyton Crescent providing a sustainable healthy scheme that has been accessed by families, who have helped plant, grow and nurture the produce offering all in the Rylands delicious home grown veg in return.

Community at its best – use or lose it!


Janet Barnes and Naomi Robinson; Rylands community activists