Monday, 17 August 2015

A new market comes to Beeston

I enjoy life in the slow lane. Always have. Rush along and you miss things. Even I miss things going slow, as I will explain later. Right now, join me on a Saturday morning amble last weekend into Beeston to get fresh fruit and some Sicilian Treats to take to my daughter on the Sunday to have with our tea after a day spent canal walking in North Warwickshire, where she lives.

I couldn't resist the chance to photograph David selling his runner-beans on the Wollaton Road at the entrance to the allotments and two ladies stopping to buy some of his lovely looking beans. If it were not for the fact that I grow my own runner-beans I would have bought some too. I could write a whole story about how important runner beans have been to me throughout my life. Perhaps I will.

At the bottom of the hill, where Wollaton Road becomes Station Road is The Square or is it Beeston Square. It is called both, even Town Square and across from the side I was on I could see the market. When I first began shopping in Beeston in 1996, the market was tucked away behind (Beeston) High Road. In some ways I liked it more. Nothing fancy or twee about it. Then the middle classes left bread and pies to working-class bakers and butchers. Hallams,  Barnsdale and the Homemade Bakery on the High Road still have this quality, but a good few of the stalls in The Square (which is what I call it) are middle-class 'artisan', who give the impression that no customer is ever quite good enough for them. They have a 'I will serve you if I must' attitude and their bread and pies are fancy and clever. They are playing at trade and that is what I do not like about them. Rant over, but I mean every word.

On the left side of the entrance to the Tesco car park off Station Road is this blue plaque. I wonder how many of us notice it? I added Beeston's blue plaques to my town pubs & cafés map a few months ago, but there were still a couple I had not located and my search for them added another reason to my Saturday amble. 

But I was drawn to Tesco's not just to shop, but because I knew they were hosting a new 'indoor' craft market, charging stall holders a small sum and then putting the income towards local good causes. There were still a few spaces available as you can see, but this was the first one and it is August. Come the autumn and Saturdays begin to get colder, I am sure all the available stall spaces will be taken.

There was Lisa with her 'JaneyDesigns' card stall, who caught the mood perfectly. A lovely looking stall.

Next to her was Capricorn Woodwork run by Chris Hopkinson. The picture below captures some of the detail and I was sorely tempted by the large bowl, but where would I put it? There comes a point where surface space is one's home is limited and we reached it long ago. These objects are tactile, to be held and stroked.

This was the StashApparel stall with its wonderful mannequin. A sign described their clothes as 'Trendy, edgy womans wear'. From the empty hangars I could see that they had attracted a few buyers by the time I arrived, just before mid-day.

The last stall might be described as a temporary Saturday branch of My Fabric Place, who have a shop on (Chilwell) High Road. In charge were Iain and Emma, who had brought along what seemed like a lorry-load of fabrics. The picture below os of the fabrics on the table Iain and Emma are standing behind.

There was also a face painting stall with a couple of youngsters being turned into animals and aliens, and I had passed several out in to town, as I had made my way to Tesco, but we live in an age when photographing children has become a no no, for understandable reasons, and children are being air-brushed from  history. It is something I have written and blogged about in the past. Perhaps it is another topic I need to re-visit.

By the main Tesco entrance from the car park were singers Percy and Rob, who go by the name of 'Adoring Fan' in honour of the one fan they know that have. They were belting out the songs and good with it. They told me that they were involved with a local charity called Mindset, which 'seeks to run a variety of social and activity groups for the benefit of socially excluded people, drawn on the skills, experience and knowledge of socially excluded people themselves. We aim to provide opportunities for people in Nottingham and the surrounding area and to improve their mental health through musical, creative and gardening activities'. 

I left Percy and Rob, very impressed with what Tesco was trying to achieve and full marks to them. Tesco is making a real effort to wins hearts and minds in Beeston and, with me at least, they are succeeding. Their glass, atrium like. walkway beside Station Road, opposite the now closed bus station, makes a great communal space and I wish their Saturday craft fair venture every success. I am sure it is a space which could perform many other functions.

Earlier on I mentioned that I was also going to try and find a couple of Beeston blue plaques I had yet to locate. Thanks to a Beeston Civic Society member involved with the scheme, my missing blue plaque location on Nether Street was located. Nether Street crosses Station Road and had I looked at the street signs this would have been obvious. The openstreetmap website also shows this, so I have no excuse for not finding the missing plaque on my own.

The sign above the first floor windows reads 'General Baptist Chapel, erected 1806, enlarged 1856'. To see the photograph larger, just click on it.

On the wall in front of the old chapel, now a day nursery, you will see this plaque. I think it speaks for itself. To find out more about Beeston's blue plaques visit the Beeston & District Local History Society website.

I walked back via Foster Street so I could visit the library and took in the full glory of the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption. It is one of the finest buildings in Beeston and I love how it stands there, solid, making a statement. I have yet to go inside, but I will before too long. I have mentioned it before. And around the back of the church is a little oasis of quiet. As I mentioned in a recent blog, I am not religious (I do have a faith and have a piece I am working on about why Socialism is a faith and a way of trying to live).

Next to the church stands another building I am never quite sure what to call. Is it Broxtowe or Beeston Town Hall, or just 'Council offices'? On top of its roof is what I would describe as a bell tower. I have no idea what it houses, but it is a pity that the Council has chosen to surround it with radio masts and other clutter. I would have then down tomorrow if I was in charge. It is little things like this which tell you a great deal about those in charge.

From the town hall/council offices  I crossed the road and into the library before walking down Quart Road, pass the Pearson Centre, over Wollaton Road and onto Albion Street in search of my final 'missing' blue plaque, which I found in plain sight, opposite Sainsbury's petrol station. How could I have missed it for so long? Now I will see it every time!

I walked up Wollaton Road and home, having got what shopping I needed, discovered a new market and found two missing blue plaques. I met a few folk along the way. David was gone, having sold all his runner beans I am sure. At some point I would like to walk around the Wollaton Road Allotments. I see that the Allotments are taking part in the 2015 Heritage Open Days scheme and will be doing guided tours between 9am and 4pm on Saturday 12 September. Susan and I will go. In the morning I am helping the Beeston Civic Society with the stall in the Pearson Centre. Something to look forward to and blog about.

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