Author: jadekmoore

Beeston Sea Scouts

Scouting around at Barton Island

 

It’s Friday night between April and September, you’re walking along the banks of the Trent away from Beeston Marina in the direction of Long Eaton and suddenly, the quiet area is interrupted by a splashing sound. Where is it coming from? What’s happening? And most important, who’s making it?

Hint: it’s something to do with Scouting. Give up?

The noise is coming from Barton Island (not to be confused with Barton Buses). What’s happening is some kayaking/canoeing/rowing activity. And the people making it are the 2nd Beeston Sea Scouts.

Barton Island is really an Island within an Island in the Trent which is a bit confusing for some of us. Half of it is owned by the 2nd Beeston Sea Scouts and the other half is nobodies (technically it is in Rushcliffe). It is used by Scouts for a wide range of activities such as Kayaking, Canoeing, Rowing and sometimes land activities like camping, fire-lighting, pioneering or even all of them in one! It is only accessible by boat, unless you fancy a dip in the river.

 

The island also hosts a handful of buildings and designated areas. These include a boat shed for storing boats and paddles, a divisions area where the flagpole and bell are, camping huts for storing bags and sheltering in bad weather, an explorer scout only area and a galley used for cooking.

At least one day a year in the summer the scouts hold an open day on the island for everyone to come and see the fantastic facilities available. Barton Island is also available to be used by community groups and businesses.

For more information about 2nd Beeston Sea Scouts and Barton Island, visit www.2ndbeeston.org.uk

EC

The Seats of Democracy

Beeston’s Town Hall

Being a journalist on the Beestonian brings you into contact with all sorts of people with different stories to tell.  And someone with quite a few stories to tell is Dawn Reeves, facilitator, trainer and author of a coffee table book all about various town halls across England; their history, uses and future. That universal symbol of local democracy seems to be under threat from the very councils that they belong to. Beeston’s is a prime example. But more on that later.

We arranged to meet at Greenhoods, and so over a hot drink I chatted to Dawn about herself, her interest in town halls and the purpose of the book. “I was born in London, but moved to Nottingham with my family. I got a job with Nottingham County Council, and then as a manager with Ashfield District Council. Working in those buildings, made me realise how important they are to communities, and not just for paying bills. I’m now back in Beeston and love it. I love the creativity of the town.”

Turning to her generously illustrated volume ‘Town Hall: Buildings, People and Power’. “Working in local government, I realised that there are three main architectural styles of buildings that are used as town halls; the grand Victorian palaces like Bradford, Birmingham and Todmorden; the art deco styles of Torquay, Hornsey and Nottinghamshire and the postmodernist structures at Newcastle, Mansfield and Worcestershire. Although this book is broken down into themes, rather than styles.  I touch on four general themes: ‘Purpose’, ‘People’, ‘Power’ and ‘Future’.”

Nearly 30 councils and their town halls are described and evaluated in the book, that includes some eye-catching photography, I asked Dawn how she got the book completed. “I have some friends in Yorkshire, and around the country and I just basically roped them in to either write about their town hall or take photos of it.  I am planning another volume. One, which should feature Beeston’s original building. The book is self published through Shared Press and with financial assistance from CCLA.”

The story of Beeston’s town hall would make a worthy inclusion in volume two. How Broxtowe Council sold the building off for £425,000 to the Cornerstone Church, whilst ignoring other interested parties, including Beeston’s Civic Society; who wanted to turn it into a community resource for weddings, arts and theatre events and similar community celebrations. Very much like Brent’s does with theirs. But it was sold, even though the residents of Broxtowe will be out of pocket by some £155,000, as the council will be spending £533k on moving computer servers to it’s newer building, legal fees and doing up the building before the church moves in. But the council claim that it will be saving £85,000 a year on maintenance and repair costs. It is understood that the building will only be available to its church members, therefore excluding the citizens of NG9, whose past relations would have paid for the town hall to be built through their rates bill.

Last year the Civic Society collected over £5000 from residents through crowd funding to raise a legal challenge. But the findings from a barrister suggested that this challenge would not be successful. The group are currently working on some Freedom of Information requests about how the council had reached its unpopular decision on whom it selected to have the building.

With local elections coming up in May, it remains to be seen as to whether the sale will actually go through by then, or maybe a change of administration may have other ideas.

Besides writing about town halls and training businesses, Dawn has also written a couple of novels, ‘Hard Change’ and ‘We Know What We Are’. Also printed by Shared Press. These are urban thrillers that also include the shady dealings of fictional local councils.

If you would like to hear Dawn talk about her love of town halls, then she is appearing at the amazing Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham on the 10th of April at 7pm. Admission will be £3, including refreshments.

CDF

Creative Beeston: Beautiful Things are Possible

As we rapidly approach spring, buds are bursting, branches are blossoming and the spikes of green that have been shooting up through the earth are now sporting their familiar yellow bonnets. If like me, you are always delighted by these markers of new life, then you may also be one of those Beestonians who enjoys the abundance of green spaces we have surrounding our town. Warmer days, with longer periods of daylight, encourage us to leave our cosy homes and embrace the opportunity to get a bit of fresh air and sunshine between the showers.

With the threat of climate change almost at its most critical point, it is clear that fast action is needed to preserve nature’s treasures. There are a number of national campaign groups that work tirelessly towards this but there are also positive things happening right on our doorstep. Making the least impact is key to our planet’s survival, so it makes sense that putting a stop to harmful activities would have the biggest impact – you will be more than aware of the plastic problem. The Climate Coalition is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change – they have 15 million members from all over the UK.

Launched in 2015 and promoted by stunts such as turning the BT Tower green. The #showthelove campaign has led to some positive and dramatic changes. On Valentine’s Day in 2015 a cross party pledge was made to tackle climate change and this was pivotal in the UK taking a global leadership role in reaching the first international climate commitment – the Paris Agreement.

#showthelove has been championed by institutions such as Lords Cricket Ground, which announced a switch to 100% renewable energy in 2018. By which time the movement had reached 126 million people. 100,000 of them made, wore and shared green hearts and 80 MPs got personally involved. An incredible 600 community events happened over the UK in 2018 and the first Green Heart Hero Awards were held in Speaker’s House.

Beeston’s own ‘buzzing branch of the women’s institute’ have extended their creativity to promote Show the Love 2019. The (aptly named) Hive WI is just entering its second year and from the beginning saw a lot of interest in environmental issues among the members. Litter walks and wildflower planting have been just some of the suggestions already put forward, so a national project like this immediately attracted their attention.

Where you end and the environment begins is a really blurry line. Whether you are able to see plants and green spaces in your day-to-day life is proven to have an effect on your mental health.

Jenny-Marie Gale, president of the The Hive WI spoke of her passion to combine creativity and projects with purpose. She believed #showthelove was an important way to ‘raise awareness about damage done ignorantly, not really consciously or maliciously, to our planet.’ She felt that now is the time to focus on reversing that damage, ‘not just for the sake our wildlife, but also for future generations.’ She also pointed out that The Wi is all about education, so a campaign like this fits well with that. Education starts with conversation.

One of the members Rosa Davies was attracted to The Hive WI by their ‘strong environmental focus and involvement in campaigns like #showthelove. She feels that ‘the WI is no longer seen as outdated and has a strong modern message’ which resonates with many people in society currently. If you follow the news you will no doubt be aware of the climate marches that are happening all over the globe and that Greta Thunberg a 16 year old Swedish political activist has just been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. It’s big news people!

Rosa mentioned the Trees of Beeston section in the Beestonian and how a simple idea like that encourages people to be aware of and appreciate their natural surroundings. And this is what the #showthelove campaign is all about. ‘Where you end and the environment begins is a really blurry line. Whether you are able to see plants and green spaces in your day-to-day life is proven to have an effect on your mental health.’ The handmade hearts that symbolise this love for our environment are shared with the community to prompt a response – to encourage people to start a discussion.

The collection of hearts took about two months to make and members found the process itself both mindful and ‘addictive!’ They were put together by the sub groups who meet at the Wednesday Café Society or for a Saturday Crafternoon. The intention is, now that they have made a set of hearts to display, that they keep adding to them to increase their impact each year. When I went along to watch the ceremonious hanging of the hearts, at Rudyard’s Tea House, I was inspired by the individual messages conveyed in each one.

Many are cut out of verdant green felt in various shades but there are also hand-knitted hearts, all have been lovingly embellished. I spied a miniature tree, a stag, a rainbow and flowers embroidered in vibrant colours. Of course there is one dedicated to Beeston. The effort that has been expended on every single heart makes it that bit more meaningful, each representing an element of nature that we hold close to our own hearts. You will be able to enjoy them in situ until the end of April.

Making a commitment to collectively save our planet is something we can all get involved with by making conscious changes that show how much we really do love this incredible spinning sphere of rock, gases, minerals, water and delicately coexisting ecosystems.

You can find out more online at www.theclimatecoalition.org

DU

Creative Beeston: The Hive WI

Jenny-Marie started thinking about The Hive WI in March 2017 following the death of her mum. Her world had suddenly become very small and she wasn’t meeting new people or trying anything new. The Beeston WI was also launched around the same time but it was somewhat oversubscribed so she decided to start one of her own. She gathered together a collection of people from the Beeston WI’s waiting list and via social media, with their support, and the idea went from ‘shall we?’ to an actual launch night with ninety ladies in attendance! She is proud of what has been achieved so far and feels privileged to preside over such a great team.

It’s the empowering nature of the group that feels the most rewarding to her. People have come along and ‘developed a love for craft’ which proves that she has succeeded in creating a space for creativity, community and chat – that all important ‘me time’ that is so important when our lives are so busy and fraught with stress.

The WI was originally founded by women to provide empowering activities for women and The Hive WI branch is a proud member of the Nottinghamshire Federation of WIs. They meet every second Wednesday in the month to share and learn new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities. With a honeycomb as their emblem, it is clear to see they have their roots firmly in the natural world.

Jenny-Marie tells us

“The response to the hearts has been brilliant, from simply being asked why they are there to starting people talking about our planet and how to make small personal changes to conversations about people craving community and wanting to be involved in organisations like The Hive WI. We have had people talk to us about not knowing how to find real community, consequently we have had a few visitors and enquiries about joining. So a community event about global problem is in turn creating more opportunities for community. Love it!”

And so do we Jenny-Marie.

If you would like to find out more about The Hive WI then please get in touch, they would love to hear from you

Email: thehivewi@gmail.com

Website: www.thehivewi.com

Facebook: Facebook/thehive/

DU

Pottle Poetry

We caught up with Jen Pottle, to see how the micropub’s monthly poetry event is going…

Waaaaay back in July 2018, in micropub The Pottle, ‘Pottle Poetry Open Mic’ was born. This gave Beeston its very own regular poetry event, taking place on the first Sunday of every month. Those of you who organise your social lives using our Poetry Round-Up will already be familiar with the event, but for those of you who may not have come across this brilliant little gathering of poets, fear not.

The event was originally set up as a response to the fact that Beeston used to be a prime location for poetry events, often welcoming poets from outside the town to come here and perform. The Pottle Poetry may be ‘micro’ in location, but has been a big hit since it started.

I popped into the micropub to catch up with Jen, and find out how it’s been growing over the eight months that it’s been running.

“There’s a solid regular group of poets that come, some of them every month, which is nice,” says Jen. “But there’s also been some of the pub regulars who have come to listen to bits of poetry. One of our regulars, who isn’t really the poetry type, was even inspired to write their own poem!”

The Fighting Nightingales

When I originally spoke to Jen before the very first event, she anticipated that by having it take place on a Sunday afternoon would make the perfect slot to read and hear poetry. So, was she right?

She says: “They’ve been relaxed, comfy afternoons, with a friendly crowd of people who are very accepting. I’ve been quite surprised by how many people are interested in poetry, and it’s nice to see people just wandering into the pub.”

Jen starts to tell me about one of the regular performers who does autobiographical poetry. “He asked if he could have musical accompaniment, so then for the next event he came with his dad and brother, and they did a musical poem. There was Spanish guitar and interesting percussion instruments involved.”

After this, they asked if they could do a longer performance at the next event. As a group, they’re known as The Fighting Nightingales, and describe themselves as delivering ‘progressive jazz/funk chit chat and tall tales set to strange music’. Jen says: “They came back and did a fantastic afternoon of music and poetry, and a huge crowd came to see them.” She also tells me that the group teamed up with regular poet Will Kummer, who comes to every Pottle Poetry event.

I got in contact with him to ask him what it is about the Open Mic that he loves. He said: “I would recommend Pottle Poetry because it’s a small and welcoming event. It’s actually where I did my first open mic performance and I think it’s great for those who are new to the poetry scene. A wide range of people attend and Jen usually opens with a piece of her own. It’s a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon and an event that I’d be sad to miss.”

The next event will take place on Sunday May 5 as part of Nottingham Poetry Festival and has the theme ‘My Younger Years’ attached to it. “Someone challenged me to do this,” says Jen. “I was looking at my childhood poetry from when I was a teenager and thought it was awful. We are asking people to bring in childhood poetry to read it, or to write poetry about their younger years, if they want to!”

Even without the theme, Jen tells me there’s all sorts of types of poetry being performed, including: funny poems, light-hearted poems, limericks, serious and silly poems.

So, whether you consider yourself a poet or not, it’s worth wandering in.

JM

Trees of Beeston #5: Springtime

For the love of hedges and “weeds”.

“Spring is here … and they can’t stop you enjoying it. This is a satisfying reflection. How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can’t. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, Spring is still Spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it”
George Orwell (1946) Some Thoughts On The Common Toad.

Spring. The utter joy of it. Wandering Beeston, there are signs of its hopeful presence everywhere. All you need to do is slow down or stop and get your senses tuned in: look for the first buds, listen for increased birdsong, smell the first blossoms, watch nature return to our gardens and parks, the street trees, in the cracks in the pavement and the near smiles on folks faces when the sky happens to be blue and the sun is out. It is such a glorious season, full of the promise of new life and possibilities.

Along the railway tracks, the Wild Cherry and Hawthorn have begun to blossom, and the Apple, Elder, and Silver Birches have begun to bud. These route-ways offer shelter, sustenance, and respite for diverse animal life that migrate along them including the humans who wend their daily commute, looking out of carriage windows beyond a phone or computer screen.

This Trees Of Beeston piece is a broader reflection on how our ‘green corridors’: the plants in our locality, synergise, connect, and facilitate Spring to, well, spring. It considers how we might, with a little planning, tune into the seasons, tweak our garden maintenance patterns to ensure spring keeps returning, and to value those ‘out of place’ plants that assist Beeston’s flourishing biodiversity.

A huge number of hedgerows have been ‘lost’ across the country in recent years, especially in the back gardens of urban settlements. Recent social media coverage of netted hedges and trees to stop birds nesting and examples of extreme ‘pruning’ is surely a sign of the meanest of human spirits. So this column reminds readers of what to do when rapid growth of vegetation in trees and bushes can make them ‘look’ untidy, and when humans, venturing back out into their gardens wish to ‘tidy things up’ ready for summer socialising and BBQing.

The dandelion should be celebrated: its tender young leaves can be eaten like rocket, and the root was used to make coffee substitute during World War 2.

So what to do? Advice from the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) regarding hedgelaw is that between March and August there should be no cutting as this is the prime time period in which birds are making their nests, rearing their young and when their young are fledging. The RSPB website states:

“It is a criminal offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage, or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being build, or to intentionally kill, injure or take chicks or adults, or intentionally take or destroy any eggs.  It is an intentional act, for example, if you or your neighbour know there is an active nest in the hedge and still cut the hedge, damaging or destroying the nest or contents in the process”

The RSPB recommend if you know someone is cutting a hedge during this period to:

“… speak to them and politely mention the risk to the birds’ nests, and the laws protecting nests.  If they proceed, and you know there is an active nest at risk, contact the police on 101, and ask for a reference number.  If you are unsure what to do, contact RSPB Wildlife Enquiries on 01767 693690.”

When it comes to dealing jointly with neighbours regarding a boundary hedge or trees, the RSPB advises:

“Disagreements with neighbours often relate to the size and tidiness of the hedge and about cutting the hedge, particularly during the breeding season. A boundary hedge is usually the joint responsibility of both neighbours. Both must agree on major work, including removal, coppicing or laying. In theory, you need your neighbours’ agreement even before trimming the hedge. If the hedge is just inside your neighbours’ garden, they own it. You only have the right to trim any part which encroaches over your boundary line. Your neighbour should ask for your permission for access to trim the hedge on your property. Regardless of ownership, no-one can trim or cut a hedge if the action damages active birds’ nests, and hence violates the Wildlife and Countryside Act. If tall hedges or trees put your garden in the shade, you can cut off branches which overhang your boundary. You can also prune back roots that invade your property, even if this is detrimental to the plant. You do not have the right to cut down vegetation on your neighbours’ property, or apply weedkiller to destroy the plants.”

If door to door ‘tree surgeons’ call between March and August offering to cut down your trees, politely remind them that birds might be nesting. By all means, maintain your trees/border plants. Plan to prune / cut back trees in the winter months when they are dormant and when birds are not nesting (between November and January), but for now, leave the hedges for the nesting birds.

Love Your Weeds.

From hedgerow to cracks in the pavement. I know that many people dislikes “weeds” or the socially maligned wild plants that manage to survive in the harshest of conditions: in the cracks in paving, along verges, in the cracks of buildings (oh Buddleia, how do you manage it?). These plants offer sustenance to pollinating insects and provide the possibility of food for animals and humans alike (look at this lovely wild cabbage growing along Wollaton Road!). The dandelion should be celebrated: its tender young leaves can be eaten like rocket, and the root was used to make coffee substitute during World War 2.  In these stricken ‘austerity’ times, many ‘weeds’ offer food and medicinal possibilities for animals and humans alike (Disclaimer: only ever eat plants you absolutely know are non-poisonous and are in suitable locations to ensure your own health isn’t compromised. Look up foraging and wild foods books in our fabulous Beeston Library.  I would recommend Richard Mabey’s classic Food For Free).  So please consider doing some exercise (or get someone else to do the exercise) and physically weed these plants you want to remove rather than using weedkiller. Ideally remove them once they have flowered so the insects can thrive. Please don’t spray weedkiller. Nothing is sadder than shrivelled plants that were once food for pollinating insects (butterflies, bees) or offered scavenging possibilities for the birdlife of Beeston (you only need to see the joy of the Pied Wagtails near Beeston interchange in the carpark/space where once Beeston Fire Station was to see their collective joys, calling to one another and feeding).

In 2018, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust began a campaign, Nottingham For Nature, focusing attention on valuing wildlife in the city and its importance for keeping cities and urban habitats (Urbitats) habitable for humans, so humans have to do what they can to ensure space is created and maintained for plants and animals to thrive too. Their #WildlifeInTheCity hashtag gives more information on how to get involved.

I started my column with George Orwell’s quote about Spring. Orwell wrote his essay in 1946, post war, after a harsh winter, when austerity was at its most acute. Hope is very much needed, and ‘austerity’ in 2019 is harsh indeed. The plant and animal lives in our neighbourhood offer us so much. In order that spring can keep springing back, please consider doing your bit, where you can, to ensure the green corridors of Beeston thrive.

Dr JN

Refs:

Mabey, R (1972) Food For Free. Collins (also Collins Gem editions for handy pocket-sized guide).

For more details on ‘pests’ in the garden, see Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust https://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/get-involved/how-you-can-get-involved/wildlife-gardening/pest-or-guest  For more details about their #NottinghamForNature campaign, see https://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/nottingham-nature

Orwell, G (1946) Some Thoughts On The Common Toad. See https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/some-thoughts-on-the-common-toad/

RSPB: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/plants-for-wildlife/garden-hedges/hedge-law/

 

Beeston Beats: Purple Rain

Ooooo we have been lucky sausages!! Getting a lush, sneaky peek into what spring holds, and in early Feb too, last year we were ten foot deep in snow (artistic license) and this year the whispers of BBQ bounced around faster than my falling back off the wagon post dryanuary. While in the midst of this cruel mini spurt of glorious sunshine and this issue of the very fine Beestonian being centred around the topic of Outdoors I had a brainwave (yes it does happen occasionally) about beautiful sunshine and beer gardens with fruity cider and hazy afternoon drinking, followed by only just making it home for a slap up Sunday dinner to soak it up, (ya can feel the beautiful summer glow on ya face right now I bet!) I arranged a meet up with a band from the local area, picturing butterflies and nature and a laid back photo shoot by the weir….

In reality though the best laid plans relying on the weather in late Feb early March is incredibly stupid, and my ideas turned as fast as a picnic by Skeggeh beach on a bank holiday. The early spring photo op turned into a lets go to the pub idea and what better pub to head to than the Jolly Anglers, with  Andrew Sully, Ryan Richardson, Aaron Weedon, Chris Atkinson better known as Lilac Grove, the only band to play at the pub since, well maybe ever. The weather was shockingly horrendous as the rain made for a miserable Sunday morning coupled with the fact the night before I had attended a fellow Beestonian’s hen party, (Congratulations are in order by the way as by the time this hits the lucky couple will be sunning themselves on their hunnymooon). So here is a shameless Congrats to Claire and Mike J.

Anyhoo back to the job in hand as it were, one half of the band turn up bang on time and we exchange hi and heys in the dreary car park as we wait for the pub to open (I mean rest of the band). Despite being horrendous (I did mention that didn’t I?) the lads are in high spirits as we have a very chilled out interview style over a few pints of Pepsi and not so Pepsi.

The bands namesake Lilac grove, being the road that connects Meadow to Humber Road and is home to various foods, floor and maintenance companies so why pick that name? The band says they had a few different names in the hat and that one stuck (although they didn’t elaborate which ones fell to the wayside). They all naturally passed the How Beeston are you test, with talk of favourite hang outs of The Berliner and Hop Pole, coincidentally two of the venues also to host the band via the Micks music Festival and the annual must for music lovers Oxjam. Their previous gig at The Jolly Angler (also  have you ever seen a jolly angler? Like ever?), Became a thing as Lilacite? Aaron and his dad are regulars int’ pub while he’s not playing for the casuals. In fact the band are so Beeston Andrew mentions that he went to school with  Nactus Kunan (the last band I interviewed way back in issue 59). We randomly talk about music and mainly being influenced by Arctic Monkeys  and how much they enjoyed their gig in Feb and looking forward to their return on March 29th. I would love to tell you more of their set but as Pete Doherty very rudely delayed me getting back to this neck of the woods as he was exceptionally late on stage on the same night I only managed to catch their last track.  No need to panic though as they return at the Berliner on 5th May, Hop Pole 24th May and 7th Sep at the crown. I can tell you that the pub was very busy and full of new faces I hadn’t seen before it was obviously a successful night as they have been invited back so quickly. News in the pipeline includes recording over at eleven in Long Eaton (the former silver prize band) a brand spanking debut E.P for release in May. So get down and support some local lads and the pub music scene, go on ya know ya wannna!!!

LD

I Am Beeston - Muriel Bartlam

I Am Beeston: Muriel (Penney) Bartlam – Centenarian

Meet Beeston’s own centenarian!

Penney - 5

It’s not everyday that you get to meet someone that is (at the time of interviewing) just about to turn 100 years old. By Christopher Frost.

The golden number that everyone strives for, but sadly, not many attain.  I cycled up to the house, situated in a quiet part of Beeston, and was met at the door by Kay, a close friend who suggested her, and behind was Muriel, who prefers to be called by her maiden name. Not having met anyone of that age before, I didn’t quite know what to expect. But I was gratified to see that Penney is a spritely, warm and friendly person that could easily pass for someone in their late 70s. Being slightly deaf and needing the use of a wheeled walker were the only drawbacks that she appeared to have on reaching her century.

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We sat in her living room and started chatting. She had actually written down a lot of information for me that she had remembered. “I was born at ‘The Lodge’, which was part of the City Isolation Hospital on Hucknall Road on 12 October 1918. My father George, worked as the Lodgekeeper there, plus undertaking any other duties that were given to him. While my mum, Eliza, looked after us all. I went to Southwark Street Primary School in Old Basford. I then went to Guilford Central Girls School, where at the age of 14, I passed the E.M.E.U examination in six subjects, and was awarded the Jardine Honours Prize.”

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“On leaving school, I got a job with J.B. Lewis and Sons, who were one of the largest hosiery and underwear manufacturers in the Midlands. The company then became Meridian, before being taken over by Courtaulds. Whilst working as an errand girl there, I decided that I wanted to better myself by learning shorthand and typing. So I enrolled on evening classes at Binns Business College. Attaining the qualifications, I landed a job as secretary to the Advertising and Promotions manager at Griffin & Spalding, which is now Debenhams. This was in 1936. Besides the typing, I got to book London theatre tickets, arranged after dinner speakers and entertainers for children’s parties. All for the store’s customers.”

“But this all came to an end in 1939, with the start of World War II. In 1941, I used my secretarial skills for a wartime charity, which was based at the Council House. Then in 1943, I was appointed secretary to the Lord Mayor’s secretary. This was a very enjoyable post, and I got to meet some really exciting people, like the Queen in 1947, who used my very own fountain pen to sign the visitor’s book. I also got Eisenhower to sign a menu from the Black Boy Hotel, when he visited in 1945.”

When I was younger, my friend and I used to go into Beeston about three times a week with our shopping trollies.

“In 1953, I married Leonard, who was director of a family business that made prams. I then had a baby called Philip, and so left my Job at the Council House. Philip did very well at school, and went to Cambridge University to read History and the History of Art and Architecture. I typed out his dissertation about the Nottingham architect T.C. Hine. After graduating, Philip got a job with IPC Magazines in London. He eventually became the editor of ‘The Antique Dealer and Collectors Guide’. He was made redundant in 1990, but continued to publish the magazine under his own name. I helped to type up some of the articles, but computerisation came in, and so I had to learn how to use a computer. This was when I was in my 70s. I didn’t like the idea, but had some encouragement from friends and got used to it. I did it until I was 91. Sadly Philip died in 2009. Leonard had died in 1978, and so I decided to move to Beeston in 1979. My best friend lived in the area, so I thought I would join her. I’ve never regretted moving here. It’s such a friendly place.”

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“Beeston has some good shops. When I was younger, my friend and I used to go into Beeston about three times a week with our shopping trollies. We used to like going to Fine Fare and the Co-Op. I miss Woolworths and a ladies’ clothes shop nearby, that I forget the name of.  These days I go by taxi. All the assistants in Sainsbury’s know me and look after me when I visit. I also like to go to Hallams. It seems a bigger, better shop now, than when they had assistants picking the produce for you.”

“I’ve always been a fan of Beeston Players, and often go to see their shows. I have some lovely friends and neighbours; 50 of them are coming to my birthday party. Talking of parties, we had a lovely street party around here, for the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Yes, I made the right decision moving here. I never wanted to live in the country. Beeston suits me fine.”

CDF

Celebrating 5 years of ACT!

 

For those of you that didn’t know, Beeston has it’s very own tourism ambassador in Marysia Zipser and this year marks five years since her interest in local heritage blossomed into a fully-fledged organisation promoting both local and international artists – Art, Culture, Tourism (ACT).  By Debra Urbacz.

ACT2

Marysia originally moved to Beeston in 2012, to retire and continue with her writing but after exploring the local area her head was quickly turned by the rich tapestry of its heritage, as well as an appreciation of its wealth of green spaces to enjoy. Determined to spread the word she has since made connections with creatives all over the globe which has earned ACT international status.

It’s been an exciting five years for ACT! Since the birth of her networking events, Marysia has collaborated with artists, photographers, writers and filmmakers alike with impressive results! She herself is inspired by nature and feels that connections are made naturally and she has allowed ACT to grow organically via the ‘opportunity’ pathways.  She is a professional promoter of People and Places.  When I asked her for the highlights since ACT started she mentioned these as her top five;

  • Exploring Beeston, meeting new friends, discovering the historical archives at Boots and the ‘heritage wall’ at The Boathouse Café, in particular the photograph of Ghandi’s visit in 1931
  • The first creative networking event at Beeston’s landmark site, Anglo Scotian Mills themed around Nottingham lace in December 2013, followed by Cultures Crossing in March 2015
  • Making ACT international via articles she published on LinkedIn bringing Beeston critical acclaim
  • The Italian connection – in particular meeting visual artist, best-selling author, journalist and official biographer to Pope Francis, Roberto Alborghetti ,who first visited in Beeston in 2014 and has fuelled her creative ideas ever since. Roberto is re-visiting Beeston  for his 6th time early March
  • The Ghost Bus project. An idea conceptualised by Roberto Alborghetti on a visit to Barton’s garage and inspired by one of the old decaying buses. His Ghost Bus short films show us how we can see what we would never imagine to see. The project with Robin Hood’s help will be travelling around the world
  • Cultural tours to Tuscany, Venice, Frascati/Rome, originally an extension of the Italian connection, which will now be moving into other countries too

We are delighted that Marysia is still finding the energy to plough into her projects. This year she is relaunching her popular networking evenings and revisiting the theme of Cultures Crossing. Appearing at different locations, on the last Wednesday of each month, around Beeston and Nottingham, Marysia will be pulling together artists, photographers, poets, musicians, storytellers and performers in a showcase of their work around this theme.

The first of these took place at The Berliner on Wednesday 30th January at The Berliner with the second Cultures Crossing evening taking place at Synergy NG9, 60 Attenborough Lane, Chilwell, on Wednesday 27th February, 6:00-8:30pm.

See and read more about ACT and her blog on www.artculturetourism.co.uk and get involved with ACT-ive Opportunies programme http://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/partners–sponsors.html

GO/grow with the flow…naturally…nothing forced” – Marysia Zipser 2016

DU

Beeston Abroad!: A Hivemind Special

Let’s get out of the NG9 postcode, and not merely to find our Beeston namessakes in Leeds, Norfolk Cheshire and so on, but worldwide. Grab  your passport, get your jabs and lets go explore our top five places:

By Matt Turpin

AUSTRALIA: BENDIGO We start right around the world in Australia, where the former gold-mining town of Bendigo, Victoria* owes its city name to Beeston’s world-famous boxer. Bizarrely, its twinned with Penzance rather than us, but does have a famous tram system, built in 1890, at the same time a local newspaper titled ‘The Tram Ranter’ began, which has since descended into a right-wing mess of idiocy.

THAILAND: BEESTON CAFE We wrote about the ‘Beeston Cafe’ a few issues back, where a group of former Thai students had been so impressed with Beeston’s cafe culture, not least The Bean (see within) that they set up their own joint in Bangkok to emulate our little bit of NG9. We hope they continue the mission to Beestonify Bangkok by closing down all local shoe-shops and encouraging locals to moan about it.

USA: BEESTON FIELDS: Our own area of opulence has a twin over in Virginia, and it’s just as fancy. It boasts a country club, runs off a main road simply called ‘Nottinghamshire’ which also, quite wonderfully, boasts streets called ‘St Anne’s’ and ‘Bulwell Forest’. Confusingly, to the North you’ll find streets named after Somerset, Devon, Sussex and Hastings, while to the South you can visit the New England Scotland by travelling to nearby ‘Glasgow’ ‘Aberdeen’ and ‘Dundee’. Enough to make a UK-bought Sat Nav weep.

VIRGIN ISLANDS: BEESTON HILL. The choice of the discerning tax-shirking ex-Beestonian, this little hamlet is currently for sale for around £81,000. It’s rather pretty too. Anyone want to sub us ‘til payday?

GERMANY: Gütersloh: As we hurtle towards some form of Brexit horror in a few weeks, we’d like to remind our twin** city in North-Rhine Westphalia that an obligation of the twinning process is honoury citizenship  towards your twin, which we’ll happily cash in when all we have to eat here is roasted blue-passport and crumbs thrown from Jacob Rees-Moggs table.

* sadly not named after the pub.

** Actually the whole of Broxtowe, not just Beeston, but we’re the biggest town so neh.