Author: jadekmoore

The Commonwealth of Beeston

This is our Commonwealth

Who really owns Beeston? Some might argue that ultimately it’s the Queen (via the Crown Estates) because technically speaking she owns any Commonwealth land that she reigns over, which might make her the biggest landowner on the planet. But at a local level, when Her Majesty is busy elsewhere, what about those areas where elected representatives of the people have used public funds to provide places for the use of the people, but where the original intentions have become somewhat lost or forgotten? I’m thinking now of the Town Hall, which was recently sold off by councillors saying things like “I as a council tax payer in the north of the borough am sick and tired of putting money into Beeston Town Hall” and telling us that the £85,000 yearly running costs could be put to better use elsewhere, without actually publicising a persuasive cost-benefit and/or risk analysis.

And those of us who were involved in the 2010/13 campaign to ensure that Middle Street Resource Centre was not lost to public use know that sometimes it’s only when we’re about to lose a treasured resource that we do the work to understand its ownership, and find out what we need to do to keep it. Certainly, if all property owners were well-intentioned, we’d always be given the time and the information we need to present viable alternatives to the public losing out, but this sadly ain’t so when all that matters is the need to relieve a maddening itch caused by an ideologically-driven fiscal policy. And what is the use of an impressive ‘bottom line’ in the context of public services anyway……was money made for mankind, or mankind for money?

But I’m not taking up space in this lovely publication to try and turn back the clock. I’m thinking forward to Saturday July 13th, when anyone who cares about the Beeston area and its public facilities can come and show their support and affection, and make a declaration about what is meaningful to them via the procession we know as the Beeston Carnival. The participants usually congregate first of all in front of the Town Hall which this year will, sadly, have lost much of its significance as the heart of our local democracy. The processing part begins in The Square at noon then moves along our pedestrianised High Street, terminating at Broadgate Park where there will be more events and stalls, with additional activities at the Middle Street Resource Centre. All these aforementioned gathering spaces, when properly used for trading and recreation and entertainment, perform a critical function in our local economy, improving our quality of life and enabling social cohesion. This all boosts our position in the country, and so we’d all suffer if they are not cherished. Our annual carnival is a way for us to demonstrate and showcase what we have to offer, so let’s not forget that this year and for the last 14 years, we’ve had this opportunity because a local couple decided to commit themselves and their personal energies to resurrecting this great event. Well done Lynda and Pat Lally. The Commonwealth of Beestonia would be poorer without you.

KM

University of Beestonia

Augar-ing down into the world of Higher Education

On my return from a University of Beestonia sabbatical I find HE in the national headlines, in May sandwiched somewhere between Farage and Trump (don’t dwell on that imagery too much) Dr Auger and his colleagues presented their Review of Post-18 Education and Funding (from the literal rather than creative school of titling I
guess…).

The headline grabbing recommendation (out of all 53 of them) was that to reduce the University Tuition Fee from its current level at £9,250, to £7,500 per year for undergraduate students. Less widely reported, but fairly critical for the Universities was the following recommendation that Government should replace in full the lost fee income by
increasing the teaching grant, leaving the average unit of funding unchanged at sector level in cash terms.

This seems fairly critical, as otherwise most Universities will see substantial reductions in income, given the high percentage of that income that comes from tuition fees.

However, word on the lanes and boulevards is that the next government is likely to embrace the former recommendation and quietly ignore the latter. After all, saving folk money is a good thing, whereas taking it away from something else or increasing taxes generally doesn’t go down so well.

Some point out though that government also want a high quality higher education sector in the UK – it has its uses after all, not least the 1.2 % of GDP in contributes (figures from the Auger review).

So how does one go about balancing that alongside the other things Universities have to do, like undertake research? It is the question that Universities and those that work within them have been batting with for some time. How do you balance the books and maintain or improve quality? How do you measure quality and ensure it? Themes such as this have drifted through this particular column before.

And whilst we juggle with the balancing, there are still huge uncertainties about just what will happen to the review in the hands of a new PM, a new government and in an uncertain Brexit landscape. It’s difficult to plan for, and so institutions have to look to the worst case. A cut in fee will likely have to be compensated for by an increase
in student numbers or cut in provision somewhere. Neither are ideal in terms of providing a leading higher educational experience to our future students. 20 go to 10.

There’s a challenge to doing more with less, to more by fewer. And it’s a shame because we have great students who deserve and should demand a good University education, and we want to be able to provide that. I don’t think the Auger review wanted anything less than that either, I just hope whoever implements the review allows it to happen.

It’s good to be back…

Prof. J

Barton’s Bus of Bricks

It’s been around a year since local lad Ewan Cooper revealed the Lego model of everyone’s favourite local shop – Fred Hallams – which he constructed with his father John.

Now the lad and dad team have produced another brick-based bit of local interest, a classic Bartons double decker. To the untrained eye it may look like a Routemaster bus, but it is in fact a slightly different model, a Bridgemaster.

The model contains some cool features including an engine under the bonnet, an opening driver’s door, and also the ability to turn round the destination blind to alter the destinations.

The model is currently residing in the window of one of the Bartons buildings opposite the college tram stop, alongside the Hallams model.

Ewan will be displaying both creations at various different places over the summer.

EC/JC

Creative Beeston: Word on the Street Art

You can’t help noticing the wealth of gigantic artwork that sprung up around Beeston last summer. Most striking of all perhaps are the trio of famous Beestonians, Edwin Starr, Richard Beckinsale and Sir Paul Smith gazing down on you from the twenty-three feet high precinct walls on Station Rd.

If like us you love what the street art has added to Beeston then you will be pleased to be informed that more is on its way!  Attracting established local and international artists, our town is being rejuvenated by an overcoat of colour on the ugly areas past developments have left behind.

Beeston has been undergoing a huge transformation (particularly over the past seven years, since the tram extension began) and the street art has been the latest creation to redefine our town. It could be said that some of Beeston’s rich history has been highlighted by these artistic additions to its landscape; I am thinking in particular of Rob Jackson aka RJ77 Stencils’ Canary Girls on the side of The Victory Club when I type this, and the word on the street is that there is more of this to follow. I caught up with project manager Jeanie Barton at Greenhood Coffee House for a progress report.

Jeanie Barton

The original plan was conceptualised by Jeanie in 2017 and a call for design submissions went out. The response, and what has been achieved since, has exceeded all her expectations and she has been overwhelmed by the support the project has received from the community. You might remember that Beeston Street Art was launched by a lively festival on 16th and 17th June 2018 where a collective of skilled artists sprayed up their artwork at eleven different locations all over Beeston. The festival art was funded by a crowdfund and corporate sponsors and its success prompted Broxtowe Council to release an art fund they inherited from Henry Boot Plc.

They then commissioned their striking mural by internationally acclaimed artist Zabou on the side of the Birds building at the top of Station Road.  She painted her portrait of Robin Hood on the disused toilet block on the old bus station site during the festival to test the brick and clinch the job.  Whilst the festival added vibrancy to the town, the subsequent art work has served to bolster the idea that it can enhance its overall image.

Jeanie has worked tirelessly to organise the works so far plus forthcoming commissions; she feels the new murals on the way will bring more cohesion to the pieces we already have and build on the intrinsic history that Beeston possesses, bringing it to the fore.  The project seems to be growing more organically and this will be reflected in some of the new art.  With the remaining council fund plus another crowdfund and new sponsors who include Saint Property Services, we will soon welcome Mr Cenz, Peter Barber, N4T4, Jim Vision and Alex Rubes to paint; Jeanie also hopes to bring NeSpoon here this year as well – she has designed a piece based on Parkes’ machine lace which was manufactured at the Anglo Scotian Mill on Wollaton Road in the early 1900s.

These works in the pipeline are due to begin in late July. Owen Jenkins’ family have fundraised for a memorial to their son, which will raise awareness of the Open Water Education Network, the charity they founded following his tragic death at Beeston Weir after rescuing two of his friends.  His portrait will appear atop the Station Rd side of Hairven overlooking the square; Collette Osborne who owns the building was keen to host the commemorative piece. At the mention of this scarily tall building, Jeanie remembers the daunting task of learning to use the scissor lift to prep the opposite wall for Zabou’s artwork.

She will be doing the same again in preparation for Qubek’s nature inspired mural to be constructed on the remaining precinct walls to the left of Zabou’s work and the delivery entrance opposite Tesco also in July. His design will inject some natural beauty into this urban spot; he is particularly fond of painting flora and bees.  The bee has undeniably become our town’s symbol although the name ‘Beeston’ is derived from the old English word Beos (meaning long grass) and Tun (meaning town or settlement). If you look around, you will see that bees have already featured in the art around our town.

Jeanie tells me that there are a few other pieces due to pop up over the summer, one of which is top secret so I cannot reveal any details, however I think there are many locals for whom it will raise a smile. When she is not co-ordinating Beeston Street Art, Jeanie is making music and being a mummy to her 6 year old son. She also writes a weekly column, The Jazz Diary for the Nottingham Post in print on Fridays and is an award winning jazz singer/songwriter.

If you would like to know more about Beeston Street Art and view a map/guide of the current pieces, then join the Beeston Street Art group on Facebook or go to the Beeston and District Civic Society’s website – they have supported Jeanie in driving this initiative forward.

Jeanie’s musical endeavours can also be followed via her Facebook page or website jeaniebarton.com

Her third album Moments of Clarity is due be released on 28th June.

https://www.facebook.com/jeaniebartonofficial/

DU

ABC Art Trail: A festival of creativity

One of the highlights of the year is back!

That’s right, on the first weekend of June, the ABC Art Trail will be winding its way again around the roads, streets and avenues of Attenborough, Beeston and Chilwell and this year it is even bigger than before.

If you have ever attended the two day festival of creativity then you will no doubt remember what a buzz it creates. If you haven’t, then grab a pen and write ‘ABC Art Trail’ on the 1st and 2nd of June on your calendar, or type it in your phone if you don’t have one of December’s featured photographer Lamar’s beautiful calendars hung up in the office like we do.

The Beestonian team both trailed and wrote about the whole weekend producing a raving review in July’s bumper issue last year. There was so much to see, and this year will be no exception. Expanded to include even more venues and more creatives it is ‘a wonderful opportunity to see some private studios that are rarely open to the public.’ With a mixed media collection of paint, print, textiles, jewellery, ceramics  and glass there is something to appeal to everyone’s tastes and budget.

When I met with Karen Atwood last year, who is one of the artists and organisers of the event, I was instantly struck by her passion in promoting the work of others in the trail. This pervades throughout the weekend as you visit each venue, some in home studios and other housed in local businesses. Artist supporting other artists and sharing their talents with those in the community is a wonderful thing to be part of. It is also brilliant to see how many local businesses have offered their support via sponsorship.

If it’s a weekend of creative inspiration you want then you have got it! If you are looking for a one-off gift that you might never see anywhere else, then that’s on offer too, and more than that you get a behind the scenes peek into a range of creative processes which can really make you appreciate the wealth of talented people we have residing in our local area.

You can read about last year’s ABC Art Trail by clicking on the link below:

https://beestonian.com/2018/07/27/creative-beeston-abc-arts-trail/

You can download a handy pocket-sized map of all 13 venues and 30 featured artists via the official website here:

www.abcarttrail.uk/map–flyer.html

Look out for promotional material popping up all over Beeston and follow the posts on their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/abcarttrail/

DU

The Yorkshireman Speaks #12

This month the Yorkshireman looks at how children are an inspiration

Pablo Picasso famously said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

We recently went on a family holiday and I’m using the term “holiday” loosely. There is no such thing as a holiday when you have a young family, it’s essentially just stress on tour. You go from your house, where you all have your own space and comfort and go and live together all in one room, for two weeks, like the Bucket Family in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. That isn’t a relaxing break, that’s like you’ve been temporarily rehoused after a flood. They shouldn’t give you duvets, just foil blankets, you don’t need room service you need the red cross!

You don’t realise how noisy your kids are until you all have to sleep in one room. How can a two-year-old snore? They are T-Total, have hairless nostrils, yet mine sounded like Gollum with a head cold!

Your bedtime is their bedtime too, that’s so weird. My wife and I were laid next to each other in the dark, all wired and awake, “I can’t sleep” she said, “neither can I it’s ten to seven, the One Show hasn’t even started yet!” People said to us, try keeping the kids up. No, we’ve tried that they go feral, they start fighting and crying, screaming at each other across the hotel lobby whilst people are trying to check in, it’s like a hen night without the gin.

“They are like dictators in Peppa Pig pyjamas.”

As parents most of your holiday is spent huddled in the bathroom, that’s like your own little apartment. It’s ten o’clock at night and you find yourself sitting there on the toilet, just drinking a box of wine, eating a buffet off the side of the bath. Rockstars chop out lines of cocaine in a hotel bathroom, I’m cutting carrot into sticks.

You get jealous of the childless couple in the room next door, “they’re loud aren’t they? I wonder what they are doing?”

“Each other probably, like we used too, remember that?” you both stare wistfully into the distance, imagining what that would be like, then one of you breaks the silence, “fancy another game of travel Scrabble?” “yeah, whose legs are we balancing the board on?”

We came back shattered too, because the youngest always came and slept in bed with us. She’d always say, “Daddy I’m scared, I’ve had a nightmare” I felt like saying, “So, have I mate, what’s yours about? mine started in 2016, looks exactly like you and it doesn’t end even when I’m awake. But why don’t you pop in here with us and for the next eight hours, just use my back as a treadmill. I love the way you position yourself just at the perfect height to kick me repeatably in the kidneys until the sun rises.

She’s doing so many miles on my back at one point I swear my wife started sponsoring her. I always know when the holiday is coming to an end because it’s the same day, I start to see blood in my urine, that first wee of the morning was like Darth Vader’s light sabre!

The kids just gradually take over the bed, it’s like sleeping with a military occupation. They are like dictators in Peppa Pig pyjamas. I spent the whole night clinging on to the edge of the bed. The only thing that kept me there was the suction from my own clenched arse cheeks.

It was on this holiday however, that I noticed this zest for life that the children have and it made me re-evaluate my attitude to things.

We had a key card for our hotel room door and this blew the kids minds. A simple plastic card, a door handle and a little green light, that was like Disneyland to them. Every day they had to take it in turns, one of them would take the card, we’d all have to leave the room. They then would approach the door, put the card in, we’d marvel at the little light, they would open the door, we’d all walk into the room, one child one give the card to the other one, we’d then back out of the room again and repeat the process again….six times a day. We spent more time in that corridor than we did in the room!

If you did this as an adult people would tell you to grow up!

I feel that they do need to reign in this excitement. Life is going to be such a disappointment. If they carry on like this, the first time they do drugs their heads will fall off and no doubt a plastic card will be involved there too.

I have realised the best way I can be a role model to my kids is to approach life with positivity and joy, what other choice do we have? As adults we need to be more like the kids with the key card, reconnecting with those experiences in life that make us happy. So, I’m making changes, tomorrow morning I’ll be up at eight, singing and whistling and marvelling at the majesty of that bin lorry from my window.

@scottbcomedyuk | scottbennettcomedy.co.uk

Find the Scott Bennett Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes

Reassuringly Hurt’s

On one of Beeston’s oldest businesses

It’s a day when things could get steamy in Broxtowe. 10℃ over the average for February, and the MP has just resigned from her party while claiming the right to stay on as our representative at Westminster. Maybe it’s a good day for the Beestonian to go and look for something that is reassuringly a good thing.

G.H Hurt & Son on the Chilwell High Road is just the place. You may have visited them when they open on Heritage Days in September, but not know they also open to the public on Saturday mornings (10am – 12noon). They inhabit an old seed mill, built in 1751, which remains a thing of beauty from the outside, but you may be more interested in their famous baby shawls, which suddenly came into the worldwide media spotlight in 2013, then again in 2015 and 2017, when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stepped outside the Lindo Wing in London with their newborns wrapped in Beeston’s finest.

“…every generation must face its own challenges.”

No-one was more delighted to see their choice than Gillian Taylor, who is in the fourth generation of Hurts to own and manage the business since its inception in 1912. The family has stayed true to its roots, producing fine knitwear that includes men’s and women’s scarves, and caring about their employees as much as they care about their customers and products.

While Gillian hadn’t previously known the royals had their shawls, she had no reason to be surprised, because if the royal family is supposed to represent our country’s core values, then a firm like Hurts surely helps us decide just what those values are.

And they are proof that every generation must face its own challenges; for Gillian it has been to adapt to an increasingly internet-dependent and computerised world. For her father, Henry Hurt (who in his 80s still takes an active part in the family firm) it was to take on the challenge of moving from hand looms to mechanisation when he was barely out of his teens, and he would go on to be awarded an MBE for his services to the knitwear industry. Henry’s own father Leslie had to deal with two world wars, injury and serious illness. It was Gillian’s great-grandfather, George Henry Hurt, who started the whole enterprise in 1912 when he took the step of acquiring the mill so that local knitters could bring their manual handframes together under one roof, and take advantage of shared marketing and production.

In the 1980s everything could surely have been lost, when the area was surrounded by similar-seeming businesses, some of which were buying their products from China. But Henry Hurt wasn’t going to compromise on quality or discard his legacy. According to Gillian it was he who said that if they stuck to their core values and loyal customers then one day perhaps even China would decide to buy from them. With a trade fair in Ningbo, China coming up in April, then ‘perhaps even China’ will be customers for the fifth generation of Hurts?

KM

 

Motherhood: Spring

‘Spring is sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder where the birdies is’.

My Dad used to recite that line to me when I was a child, and if I replace ‘birdies’ with ‘pinot grigio’ you have exactly my sentiments about the approaching warmer weather. I’m a big fan of a pub garden, of early evenings sat outside while the children play in the paddling pool and run through the wheat fields before leading the country into the abyss. Wait, that’s just Teresa May, my bad.

I adore the good weather, I’ve lived and worked in central Europe and being outdoors suits me entirely. My issue with the approaching summer is that my kid is an only child, which means that I am her playmate, which means no wine, no sitting down, and absolutely no relaxing thank you very much. Despite a social life which would make the Kardashians recoil in exhaustion, my kid wants to play with ME. Which is great, because she still thinks I’m cool enough to play with (time is ticking on that front) but it flies in the face of wine-drenched relaxation in the garden. The first green shoots of Spring signal the end of my peaceful hibernations indoors, and the start of my Olympic training regime in such sports as Kick the Ball Loudly into Next Door’s Fence, Help Me Up on to this Swing, and Mum Can I Have an Ice-Lolly. I need to get fit, quick, these are blood sports and I’ve neglected my training.

Having an only child is an absolutely magical thing. They (maybe a tad patronisingly) allow you to become an honorary child again while they set the rules and run you ragged. I adore it. We can’t have any more kiddos, so this girl will be forever thrust into other people’s gardens, picking up neighbourhood waifs and strays to play with while we are out and about. I don’t think this is a negative thing, and I’m grateful that I’m active enough to keep up with her while she shouts rules at me and berates my obvious athletic inadequacies in public. From what I hear from people with more than one kid it seems to be more of a lion-taming situation anyway, more Chris Pratt with the raptors in Jurassic World and less The Waltons. I’ll never know, but sometimes I feel a pang of gratitude in Autumn when the nights draw in and we can legitimately stick a DVD on under a blanket and ignore the outside world completely. Summer is great, but dear sweet baby Jesus I’m shattered already.

DL

I Am Beeston: Marie-Louise Denham – Sales Negotiator

“I was born in Beeston and went to Beeston Manor and Alderman White Schools. When I left school I went to work in an estate agency; then in 2006 I moved to a local optician. I’m now back working in an estate agency. This time its Robert Ellis.”

“There are lots of things that I love about Beeston. The Victoria for its food, ales and whiskies, the farmer’s market, especially Sue’s Cakes stall and walking between the Marina and Attenborough Nature Reserve. Although I am a fairweather walker. I also like taking photographs on my mobile phone, especially of the swans and my pets. I have three cats and have rescued a hedgehog.”

“Beeston is an up and coming area, with a buoyant housing market and great transport links. We are finding that developers are moving in from other areas. It’s a shame that we have lost a lot of the small, independent shops, which have been replaced by the larger chain stores and supermarkets. But I think we will always have Hallams.”

“A lot of people know me and even an old teacher of mine called Mrs Jones still recognised me. Some people have called me ‘The Face of Beeston’.”

CDF

Sand Martins

The latest from Attenborough Nature Reserve

Aristotle once said; ‘one swallow does not a summer make’ and with this is mind, we perhaps shouldn’t get too excited about the news of a single sand martin spotted at Attenborough Nature Reserve on the 12th March – two weeks earlier than we would typically expect.

This small hirundine, a cousin of the swallow and house martin, is often one of the first spring migrants to arrive back on the Reserve’s each year.

Despite many birds being considered to be the herald of spring, it is the sand martin’s appearance that is met with the most excitement at Attenborough as it means that not only is summer drawing closer, but also the artificial nesting bank at the Reserve will come to life again.

Dubbed the ‘Sand Martin Hotel’, the nesting bank and viewing hide, situated at the end of the Attenborough Nature Centre’s wildlife garden, first opened its tunnels to its feathered guests in April 2014. Funded through a Heritage Lottery Funded ‘ACE’ project (Access, Community, and Education) the bank provides nesting opportunities for up to 150 sand martins each summer. While the integrated ‘sunken’ bird hide provides panoramic views across Coneries Pond and enable visitors to watch the sand martins at close quarters as they feed over the water and return to their nests.

Sand martins make an incredible 2000-mile journey to the UK from the Sahel, a region of Africa to the south of the Sahara Desert, where they have been over-wintering.

This species has suffered a number of major population crashes in the last 50 years, mainly due to droughts in their over-wintering sites – which means many birds can’t build up enough energy to help them cross the Sahara. Within the UK they are also under threat from habitat loss, where natural nesting sites have been destroyed through development, dredging and bank stabilization along rivers.

Sand martins nest colonially. Colonies can range from just a few dozen pairs to groups of several hundred. In a natural environment they use tunnels in sandy banks along rivers and surrounding lakes. The birds dig the tunnels themselves using their long sharp claws. The nest holes are usually between 35cm and 1m in length and are excavated by both parents over a period of two weeks. In our artificial bank, clay pipes filled with sand will be embedded in to the walls to simulate the bird’s natural nesting habitat.

By mid-April, it is hoped that the sand martins will begin nesting in the artificial nesting bank again. Throughout the breeding season, volunteers carry out weekly nest record checks to monitor their progress. From the moment the first twig is taken in to the bank, to the first egg being laid and first chicks hatching and fledging, every detail is recorded.

The data gathered has already provided us with a fascinating insight in to the Sand Martin’s nesting ecology – including early indications that some pairs may in fact raise three broods during their short stay in the UK.

At around a week old, each of the chicks is fitted with lightweight, uniquely numbered ring by members of the South Notts Bird Ringing Group. The information gathered by the ringing scheme enables us to learn more about the sand martin’s incredible migration journey, how long they live for, and indeed if any of the chicks return to visit us in subsequent years to start a family of their own.

Just four years since Attenborough’s ‘Sand Martin Hotel’ first opened its doors to visiting birds, staff at the Nature Reserve were delighted to announce the arrival of the nesting bank’s 1,000th chick.

With the early arrival of the birds this spring we are hoping for an extended breeding season and the biggest number of chicks raised to date. Why not pop over to Attenborough and enjoy some of the early signs of spring for yourself? You might even spot one of our sand martins.

TS

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