Heritage Walks 2018

There will be three heritage walks over the summer:

28 June 2018:

Park on Long Lane and walk to the church. Assemble in the churchyard at 6.30. Approximately 2 hours.

This evening walk is one of the events commemorating the centenary of the explosion at the Chilwell at the Chilwell Shell Filling Factory (now the Chetwynd Barracks compound) on 1 July 1918. The walk will include a visit to the church, and to the Strand, as well as an opportunity to view, and hear about, the Environment Agency’s flood scheme.

23 July 2018:
Education and Entertainment

2.30 p.m. from the podium, Beeston Square

This two hour walk will take in some of the sites and, where they survive, buildings linked to Beeston schools and also to places of entertainment. Beeston once had many more schools, and also cinemas and other forms of entertainment, quite apart from pubs and clubs.

16 September 2018;
Beeston Heritage Trail

2.30 p.m., from the podium, Beeston Square

This 2.5 hour walk will begin and end in Beeston Square and will provide a brief introduction to the history of the town. Beginning with an outline of the structure of the town, walkers will then circle the centre of Beeston to take in the remaining mills, the High Road, Middle Street, new developments either side of Station Road, and old Beeston (West End, Church) before returning to the Square. The hope is that those who come on the walk learn something about Beeston and will be challenged to find out more!



The 45 minute reports and discussion chaired by Stan Heptinstall took place immediately after the Beeston and District Civic Society AGM 2017.  The Society undertook to report progress at the AGM when we met for the ‘Vision for Beeston’ event on Friday 7 April 2017 in the Pearson Centre.

The object of the April event was to fast forward thirty years to envisage the kind of place we would like Beeston to be beyond the planning horizon.  We live in a time of accelerating global change and population growth, with more people expecting higher standards. Simultaneously we are absorbing new technologies and facing limited, finite resources.  This Society has a particular long-term role in protecting and improving our environment.

Reporting progress

Peter Robinson listed relevant events over the past six months, including, in no particular order:

  • the opening of the refurbished Library and the announced sale of the Beeston Town Hall
  • progress on the Beeston Borough Council Local Plan, (something that we would hear more about from Steffan Saunders on the morning of Saturday 14 October in the White Lion)
  • the pop-up summer beach on the former car park site beside the Beeston interchange
  • developing ideas for town centre artwork led by Jeanie O’Shea, (nee Barton)
  • the opening of the Canalside Heritage Centre in the Rylands
  • the resurrection of the Beeston Station volunteer project
  • the recent gifting by NET of the ‘Lets Go to Beeston’ logo to the local voluntary group Middle Street Resource Centre
  • ideas for a ‘Welcome to Beeston initiative’ explored by Jonathan Tait
  • continuing progress on the Toton and Chilwell Neighbourhood Forum embracing Chetwynd Barracks, including firmer information about HS2.

A common factor in the last six of these activities is that they are the product of community commitment and voluntary action. While much of this is positive there has been little visible progress on bigger, longer term questions discussed on 7 April, including:

  • What is Beeston about today; how are we perceived by others?
  • What are our assets, (some are social, like Oxjam, The Carnival and Heritage Open Days), and how can we make better use of our attractions and strengths?
  • How is the world about us changing and how is it going to impact on us? Particularly relevant is the changing nature of retail and its impact on town centres.
  • In unpicking these issues we could start to focus on why and how as a Civic Society we can protect and improve our environment.  What does pride of place mean to us?
  • How can we help to make Beeston a more attractive, confident and welcoming place to live in, work in and to visit?
  • The way initiatives are taken forward must be a key element in all of this thinking. We no longer live in a command economy where resources can be directed.

Jeanie O’Shea described progress on the Beeston Street Art Festival proposal, followed by questions:

  • £8k is available from Henry Boot via Broxtowe Borough Council as a ‘ring fenced’ Art Fund.
  • Street art could give a facelift to Station Road, creating an attraction out of an eyesore.
  • Submissions have been sought from artists; with twelve received and four described as ‘affordable large-scale possibilities’.  The Council is showing interest.
  • A presentation folder has been passed to John Delaney with a response expected shortly.
  • Artwork would comprise murals on the Station Road Birds’ walls; owned by the Council.
  • Responding to maintenance questions; murals should last at least 10 years without attention using Montana spray paint or another reputable brand of high definition paint. The Station Rd walls are also out of the sun, which could increase the durability to 15 years, after which touching up could be done or a whole new festival held.
  • Proposals did not include changing the stump in the Square, or a clock.
  • Restoring the hanging baskets was seen as one way of making Beeston greener.
  • Another is to ensure that planning permissions on Phase 2 etc. include green space and green issues.
  • Potentially we should be able to influence conditions applied to planning consents.

Julian Owen described progress on the Canalside Heritage Centre, opened on 24 June last:

  • The Centre is being managed with gusto and is financially sustainable.
  • An army of volunteers turn up every week. The site is turfed and is looking greener.
  • Vibrant artwork is being encouraged and the website is being developed.
  • Many things are planned, including a sustainable trail with Attenborough Nature Reserve.
  • Ways of using the waterways to advantage are being explored, including canal boat trips.
  • Another possibility is to restore the ferry to Barton in Fabis.
  • The possible impact on Tony’s Cafe is being monitored.
  • The Centre is the product of many years work by Stewart Craven.
  • A question was raised about possible gravel workings on the Clifton side of the Trent.

The next thirty years

Julian Owen was invited to speculate on the impact of change over the next thirty years:

  • He expected that how we buy things will alter. Present patterns of retail may have disappeared by 2050 raising questions about what our town centres are for.
  • Will more people want to live in town centres?
  • There are serious housing issues as whole segments of our population become disenfranchised. Where will they go?  We need to explore housing options.

A more general discussion started and ended with a focus on Beeston Station as a key entry point to Beeston, but was cut short through lack of time.  Notes from the evening would be summarised for the Civic Society website.

A concluding point was made about looking to the future.  The Royal Society of Arts suggest that long-term thinking might be both strategic in outlook and tactical in action:

  • Strategic, by thinking through possible eventualities using sensible, factual predictions; and
  • tactical, by being agile, adaptable and pragmatic.  Seize opportunities as they arise.
  • Inevitably, events will occur unexpectedly that will open up possibilities for change.

Peter Robinson
18 October 2017

Save Beeston Town Hall from Demolition

town hallWe have been petitioning to save this 1936 Art Deco building from proposed total or partial demolition.  Please sign to protest the council via this link.

Our Chair Judy Sleath is presenting the petition to council on January 31 and we want as many people to be there as possible – meet 6.45pm at the front of the town hall.  We will have a social after in the Commercial Pub nearby.  More details here

Join the event on Facebook to help spread the word.

Also email these councillors to voice your opinion about this historic and community asset:


Many thanks for all your support so far and we hope to meet you on the 31st!


Another year flown by and in some ways not a lot has happened but in others it has. Our membership stays stable as people leave but then new ones join so it is mainly constant. We lost one member of the committee through resignation, which currently stands at 9, this is not enough if we wish to keep the flourishing committee we would like. We hope to welcome a new member this coming year who has already proved herself to be a very useful member taking on the Twitter account which has lain dormant since Owen left us a couple of years ago. These days life is led in the Social media, namely facebook, Twitter and the World Wide Web. We try to keep up to date but it would be great to have more help and different people having input, so few can only do so much.

We are lucky in our Treasurer, Rob Murphy, who keeps us up to date and has finally got us signed up for Gift Aid, hence you all receiving new forms to complete, I would urge you to please do this for us even though you may have completed one in the past, we are starting afresh as Rob has no idea with the forms we currently have who is still eligible and who, without a lot of work searching, is still a CS member. It is annoying that we cannot make our Santander account online as until the bank decides to send us a statement we have no idea how much money is in there, it is a most unsatisfactory place to be, we now ask people to sign up with our account at HSBC where we can see online banking at the flick of a button and can pay into an actual bank with cash, which we cannot do with Santander as it is a postal account, makes our lives a lot easier. After members subs have gone into the Santander account, we write a cheque to move it into HSBC, we keep hoping that because there is no movement on the account, only now once a year, that they will write to us to advise they are closing it. If this does happen, we will have to ask you to move your standing orders anyway, so it would be helpful if you could do this now your current Sub has gone into the account, if you do it now it will be from October next year, October 1st 2018, please consider helping us by doing this for us. Thank you.

Our meetings have been well received, some better than others. The November talk on Recycling was replaced last minute by a talk by Mike Spencer, Director of Attenborough Nature Reserve, very, very popular talk and he will be coming back again in the New Year to talk to us about another aspect of Attenborough Nature Reserve. I missed the January talk by Elain Harwood of English Heritage on Brutalist Architecture but it was very well attended and enjoyed. In March Jason Mordan also gave a very interesting talk on Heritage at Risk, Building Conservation in Broxtowe, some problems and opportunities.
Peter Robinson organised a meeting in April entitled Beeston: 30 years into the future. We had quite a large panel of speakers and there will be an update on that talk at the AGM on Friday 13th October. An extra talk was put on in June so we could invite Wolfgang Buttress to talk to us about The Hive situated in Kew Gardens. So we knew what he was talking about, I organised a coach trip to see the Hive which was just incredible, it made his talk far more interesting to those of us who had actually seen it and could ask intelligent questions about it. We learned that it is and will remain, the only one, that it will be at Kew for at least the next 12 years, that The Duke of Devonshire wanted it for Chatsworth after it left Milan but didn’t get it –shame as it would be good for ‘we who live in the North’ as far as London is concerned – it may yet go there, no commitments for it yet I don’t think!
People enjoyed the Kew trip so we have just had another trip to Hampden Court Palace, enjoyed by all who went. I am happy to organise more trips if people want them.
We continue to monitor all local planning applications commenting on those we consider to be of concern. We also attend Broxtowe’s Planning Committee meetings in a watching role. We continue to research local buildings to nominate as non designated Heritage Assets, help is always needed and welcomed to do this. We also attend Council workshops on various issues, Chetwynd being one of them. We have responded to the Government Consultation on the future of East Midlands Rail Franchise. We will be responding to the Local Plan Part 2 which Stefan Saunders will be coming to talk to us about at an extra coffee morning on this Saturday 14th at The White Lion. We will be offering to help the Council with the Consultation on the future of the Town Hall. There is interest in the fate of the building from outside Beeston including C20 Society. We have also encouraged the Council to have a policy on HMO’s in view of policies in place in Nottingham City. This is mainly for the protection of occupiers as well as amenities of local residents. No reported progress so far.
Caroline Penn has become a member of the Friends of Beeston Station, reporting on the state of the station building to Network Rail and the Councils Enforcement Officer. This group has been successful in getting gutters cleared and plants removed from the canopy EMT are upgrading the waiting room/ticket office.
This report is about looking back not looking forward but there are some excellent talks booked for the coming season, 2017/18 thanks to Caroline Penn who has done sterling work booking then chasing people up for confirmation that they are actually coming.
We attended the opening of the Heritage Canalside Museum, what an event that was! Over 2000 attended, they were quite overwhelmed by the crowds, we had our stall there and spoke to a lot of people.
Once again we took part in the Beeston Carnival, always a good event for Beeston folk to enjoy, a very successful affair, enjoyed by many people.
We have had a new Editor for our Newsletter and it has had a facelift, some good articles, not many societies still do a paper newsletter so I feel this is one of the bonuses for our members, much as it would be easier for us to just to email it out to people.
The Blue Plaque Booklet has had another print run, this time 5000 and all paid for by donations thanks to the hard work by Peter Robinson. Half of these are kept by the Nottingham Tourist Board. Jonathan Tate, our designer of the BP Booklet and also the HOD booklet, took it on himself to design a BP walks leaflet, again this has proved very popular and although the Nottingham Tourist office had an initial supply they now have the pdf so they can print out maps for visitors when they ask for a booklet. Thank you to Jonathan is due.
Thanks must go once again to Professor John Beckett for his series of walks which take place through the summer when we do not hold public meetings in the evening. These are very well attended with 40 or so people joining him to hear about Beestons History.
And so to HOD, now run by a separate committee to whom thanks are due for all their hard work in making it even bigger this year, still one of the largest in the country I believe so well done everyone. 10.000 booklets were printed and distributed around the area from Wollaton and Strelley to Stapleford and Attenborough, truly an inclusive district affair. People are still needed to help with this committee which comprises few people and would benefit by more joining it. Please contact them through our Gmail account, addressed to Eileen Atherton, at beestoncivicsociety@gmail.com if you would like to help. It is not a 12 month commitment like being on the CS committee is. If anyone has any comments to make about this year’s events please email us with your views, be great to have some comments to put in the next newsletter.
We have now moved back to the Library, newly refurbished with a larger room for us, the room being the main reason for us leaving there for the Pearson Centre. Because of the layout having a kitchen in the room, we are once again offering refreshments. We are now open from 7pm for refreshments and chat, this is to enable us to start promptly at 7.30 and more importantly finish at 9pm. One of the best things about the Pearson Centre was the ability to stay later if we were enjoying the speaker, two evenings we went on until nearly 10 pm, not so at the Library hence the earlier start.
Coffee mornings continue to be sometimes well, and sometimes not well attended but those of us who are there enjoy them and sometimes stay on for lunch, it can be quite a social event. This coming Saturday 14th October, Stefan Saunders is coming to talk to us about the Local Plan Part 2, this is a really important document for Beeston, please come and hear what he has to tell us and how we can help to get the public involved in the consultation, this is the only Public meeting in Beeston there will be as far as we know so we will be pleased to welcome Stefan.
Finally, there will be an update of ‘Beeston, 30 years hence’ on Friday at the AGM. Please do join us, please think about standing for committee or at least volunteering to help, people to look at planning applications are particularly welcomed.
Thank you. Judy Sleath Chair of Beeston Civic Society.