Sunday, 5 July 2015

A Beeston wander prompted by a new Beeston based blog about 'urban wanders'

This post is by way of an experiment and is based on a map and photographs of where I wandered to. Nowhere was new to me, but I did see things unnoticed before. I was prompted by a friend who also lives in Beeston and, like me, used to live in Lenton. Richard (that is his name) has started a blog called The Nottingham Urban Wandering Collective.

Richard invited me to contribute and this post is shared with the new blog. More will be revealed as you look through the pics, but first my route map, which I hope is self-explanatory:

To see the map in more detail, simply click on it and it should enlarge. Now for the pics by location, running from 1 — 10.

1. The well used public footpath between Central Avenue and Wollaton Crescent, which I use regularly, looks about ready for a trim. I missed a couple of opportunities to photograph footpaths on yesterday's wander. I have fought a few footpath campaigns in my time.

Locations 2 and 3 of my wander have been posted to The Nottingham Urban Wandering Collective and relates to the old Humber factory and Queens Road Methodist Church, with its terracotta beehives above one its main entrances, plus a blue plaque by The Queens pub.

4 is a 'plastic bag factory' on Lower Regent Street (I have imbedded a caption in the photograph, a first for me). It looks in desperate need of some TLC. It must have been very impressive at one time and could be again, but two locals who passed me by as I was photographing it, described it as 'an eyesore' and 'ugly'.

5 are locations all close together at the eastern end of Nether Street. I love the way the two trees have grown together and I did find the blue plaque to George Wilkinson. There is meant to be a second Nether Street blue plaque, but I have yet to find it. I suspect I can't see it for the looking.

I am sure that John Clifford School has its champions, but the buildings are awful and the main entrance is ugly and forbidding. I would hate to walk in through these gates every day. Suspicion is poisoning our education system. The building has clearly reached the end of its days and needs replacing. Having been to meetings in the school only strengthens my belief that the pupils and staff deserve a new school ASAP.

6. Until this wander I had never taken in The Star Inn sign before, which looks like a night-time view of Nottingham's Council House. With the star shining above, perhaps the sign portrays a hope of better things to come. Having noticed it, I like it almost as much as the Commercial Inn sign on Wollaton Road, which I have referred to in a recent post.

Location 7 on Middle Street was on my list simply because I wanted pics of both. The war memorial seems isolated where it is and deserves a more prominent position. Perhaps with the coming of the Tram it could be moved to the new Interchange, where it would be seen by a lot more people every day. I did go down West End and found the blue plaque there, which is a bit of a disappointment. It really tells you nothing other than this was where Beeston's 'oldest buildings' were (are?). The spot on West End needs an information panel with images.

Location 8 marks Church Street with its two plaques and just tucked inside the churchyard by the gate is the Crimea War memorial. It's a lovely spot and I never been there once and not seen passers-by stop, sometimes reading the names, as if just to remind themselves of who they are. The Middle Street war memorial deserves to attract the same kind of attention. I recently blogged about the Boer War memorial in Broadgate Park, which is the grandest of the three. All should be seen by any visitor coming to Beeston.

9 is the shops beside the Interchange and The Square. I suspect a good other folk in town of Saturday were enjoying the sight of a tram caught up in work on the track, which meant the tram was parked up so to speak with a lone security guard to protect it, but it did me the opportunity to take a view from the tram towards The Square and I have to say I think it looks impressive. Enough I think to tempt passengers passing through to come back and have a closer look at Beeston town centre and that has to be good.

I rather like the stone slabs with an image of a wheelchair engraved on them and put down at the spots where wheelchair passengers should wait.

The Square was busy with a people looking at display panels and waiting for a on-stage performance by the community theatre group Excavate about the Chilwell munitions factory tragedy. The image below is from their website:

It appeared to be reminiscence theatre, drawing on the recorded memories and memoirs of the workers and families of those caught up in what happened in 1918. 
Next Saturday will see The Square and Broadgate Park alive to the sounds and sights of the 10th Beeston Carnival between 10am and 4pm (Summer Fete starts in Broadgate Park at noon). A fun day for sure. Let's hope the day is warm and sunny as yesterday.

10. My wander ended in the O'Liva café with a fine black Americano coffee and a small 'Sicilian treat' and a second one I took home to Susan (it's in the brown paper bag). For just over £3 it has to be the best value coffee and treat in Beeston. I could have chosen other favourite haunts like Mason & Mason, the Local not global deli, Fusion or the White Lion, but on this occasion O'Liva was close to where I needed to shop before walking up Wollaton Road and home. 

Altogether, I was out wandering for a good part of the morning. I wonder where my next wander will take me?

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