Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Unmissable Bearwood Event! Crafty Muthas Handmade Fair Saturday 3rd December 2011

Hello readers of the We Love Bearwood Blog! I’m Erin Power and I make up 1/6th of the Crafty Muthas, a collective of 6close friends who love to bake and craft and generally make things by hand.

Early in 2010 we founded The Bearwood Tapestry, a very social craft night every third Thursday at The Bear Tavern. Over the past eighteen months, we have seen some truly great talent in Bearwood, and we wanted to give Bearwood the opportunity to see it as well! So it was that Bearwood Handmade was born.

Last year we held our first Handmade Bearwood Christmas fair and we were blown away by the warm response we received from visitors and stallholders alike. It seemed that Bearwood was more than ready for our particular brand of handmade loveliness and so we held a Springtime event in April this year, which was also extremely well attended. (You can read more about our previous fairs here and here).

Just over a week ago, on Saturday, November 19th, we had the first of our Bearwood Handmade Winter fairs of 2011 at St. Mary’s Church Hall and it was pretty overwhelming successful. How humbling it is to see the community of Bearwood continue to come out and support its local independent artists.

We had over 20 talented artisans selling their wares, and the quality of the items that was on offer was amazing. Everything from individually packed cupcakes to felt-heart-bunting to beautifully hand embroidered hoop art to vintage button bracelets... just to name a small few. Giant handbags, Christmas cards and ornaments, mosaics, pickled onions and chutney... I could go on and on (and on!)

I tried to take some photographs before the doors opened to capture a glimpse of people’s beautiful stalls and the lovely paper snowflakes dangling from the rafters... and sadly, i didn’t get everything! Time was short and once the doors swung wide, the hall filled up, and I could barely leave my stall to run to the loo, let alone take more photographs!

We have one more Bearwood Handmade fair to go... and it’s not long for you lucky people to wait! As I type this, it’s only 5 more sleeps until December 3rd! Once again we'll be at St. Mary’s Church Hall from 10am until 4pm, with over 20 stalls... but this time there will be even more different artisans represented. As the demand for stalls was so high we decided to hold two events on different days. If you came out to our fair on November 19th, it’s worth to come back for a second visit, as there will be much more to see and chose from... but still the same high quality of handmade art and gifts and cakes made here in Birmingham remains a constant. And if you missed the first... here’s your chance to come down and visit us. We look forward to seeing you there!

Erin (along with Ceri, Jayne, Jennie, Nat, & Rachel)


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Webb's Winter Wonderland

Are you feeling the pressure of Christmas already? Only 30 days to go you know! Don’t know where to get your Christmas trees from this year? Dreading the queues in the shops in town? Find the thought of the German Market in town(there’s over 200 stalls this year!) very very scary?

Well, Bearwood has the answer...Webb’s!

Webb’s of Bearwood are expecting their first delivery of beautiful real Christmas trees this week so you’ll be able to buy one from this weekend. Why wait? Get in early! There’s nothing which puts you more in the mood for Christmas than a real tree.

They just look lovely too...

Webb’s are open 7 days a week and as from 1st December they will be open until 8pm every Thursday and Friday so you’ll be able to do some late night shopping. They’ll even serve free mince pies and a free glass of mulled wine – how civilised! Who needs town anyway!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Bearwood Legend: Ken Wharton


I just love this video that Bill Munro sent welovebearwood about Ken Wharton. Everybody looks so smart - not sure about the smoking though!

Both Robin Hanny, who sent us some great info about Ken earlier in the year, and Bill Munro are researching into Ken's life and we would love to know if you knew Ken.

Did you ever see him race? Were you one of the two thousand people who attended his funeral? Did you ever get your car serviced at his garage? Please tell us about your link with a real Bearwood legend by emailing us at welovebearwood@googlemail.com.

A P.S from Robin Hanny:

The garage in the newsreel clip was in Hume Street, Smethwick. most of which sits beneath the ASDA car park. The lady doing the smoking which, incidentally, almost everybody did then, was Jean, Ken's sister. She worked at the garage alongside Ken's father and mother.

I know her children Kate, Sarah, Caroline and Ken (whose full name is Ken Wharton Emms). Jean married after Ken's death, when the garages had closed down. Kate and Sarah have been particularly helpful in my researches. Incidentally, if there was local interest, we could always put on a Ken Wharton exhibition, or I could do a talk about him. I have many photos, press cuttings and magazine articles.

If you want to see more Bearwood newsreel footage from early 1957, go to the website of MACE Archive, key words Ken Wharton, and you'll find TV newsreel footage of Ken's funeral. You will see Bearwood Road, St Mary's Road and church, the crowds and some very famous 1950s racing drivers, many of whom got killed in the 50s.

There is also a glimpse of one of the first Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwings which, althoug driven by a blonde, was owned by another garage owner/racer called Bill Whitehouse. He was killed racing in April 1957

Incidentally, Ken, his sister Jean and theirmother and father are buried in the same grave in Quinton cemetery. A large blackmarble edifice.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Bearwood All-Star: Webb's of Bearwood

I think it’s fantastic that Webb’s of Bearwood is 90 years old this year and still going strong! In these turbulent times that’s not an easy thing to achieve.

Webb’s did me a huge favour this summer because I wanted to get something a bit more exciting than a CD for my Dad’s birthday and my Mum suggested a bird table. I hunted high and low in town and in Harborne and had no success at all. Everywhere I went they said you’ve got no chance as it was far too late in the season.

Well what a load of cobblers! I had a brainwave, it does happen now and again, and I went to Webb’s instead. They had everything you could ever want to feed the birds in your back garden. I was able to get my Dad a really sweet little bird house, a peanut feeder, fat balls (they are called that you know!), a big bag of peanuts and a bird seed all from Webbs and all for a very good price too! I learnt a valuable lesson that weekend always go to Webb’s of Bearwood first!

I went for a wander down to the shop on Sunday for a bit of a mooch and in their gift shop there’s a gorgeous range of Christmas gifts and decorations. The gift shop has been up and running for over 3 years and I think Samantha Davis (Webb is her mum's maiden name) has done a brilliant job!

I fell in love with all the lovely things that you can buy there that I asked Samantha’s mum, Pauline, if it was ok for Mr B to take some photos. I bought one of the very cute gingerbread men for my Christmas tree.

All in all, Webb’s of Bearwood is a really friendly & helpful family run shop with loads of lovely things to buy all at very reasonable prices. They definitely deserves to be a Bearwood All-star.

Where do you like shopping in Bearwood? Please email us at welovebearwood@googlemail.com with the details.

P.S. HOT NEWS! It’s just been announced that Webb’s of Bearwood are going to have a stall at Lightwood’s Park Winter Wonderland next to the ice-rink from Saturday 17th December to Christmas Eve. I can’t wait!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bearwood Event: Crafty Muthas presents Bearwood Handmade at St Mary’s Church Hall on 19 November 2011

Yikes! Just realised there's only about 6 weeks to go until Christmas Day so I’d better start thinking about doing my Christmas shopping.

No more last minute Christmas shopping whoopsies this year though I’m going to get really organised and make a early start by going to the Crafty Muthas’ Craft Fair this Saturday at St Mary’s Hall just off Bearwood High Street.

Here’s some more details about it.....

P.S If you can’t make the event this Saturday! Don’t worry! There’s another Bearwood Handmade event on Saturday 3rd December.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Bearwood All-Star: Haweli

I love going out for a balti because when I’m eating a good curry I always feel that I could never cook it as well and so cheaply at home.

Luckily for me my favourite balti house Haweli is just around the corner from where I live. I don’t get to go there as often as I would like but when I do I am never disappointed.

We went there last Sunday and the food was delicious – crispy poppadoms with minty raita, sizzling lamb shish kebab, fluffy warm Naan bread and spicy Chicken Jalfrazi all washed down with a nice cold Cobra beer. You can’t beat it!

Haweli is definitely one of my Bearwood All-Stars and I think lots of people would agree. My in-laws endured a 6 hour traffic jam due to the nasty accident on the M5 because you can’t get a good curry in Devon and even by 7pm on a Sunday night the restaurant was packed out.

Where is your ‘foodie heaven’ in Bearwood? Please email us at welovebearwood@googlemail.com as we would love to know! My tummy’s getting hungry just thinking about it!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bearwood Events: Smethwick Heritage Centre Roadshow at St Mary's Church Saturday 12th November 2011

In the last few months I’ve found out so much more about Bearwood – Charlie Chaplin was probably born near here, motoring legend Ken Wharton lived here and the Beatles played here.

If you would like to know about Bearwood’s past, the Smethwick Heritage Centre Roadshow is in town this Saturday. The roadshow’s being held at St Mary’s Church, just off Bearwood High Street, from 10.30am until 4pm. There will be loads to see and hear and there will be special displays on British Pens Ltd and the Bearwood area.

At 2pm, local historian and chair of the Bearwood-based Smethwick Local History Society, Mary Bodfish (one of Keith B’s Bearwood All-Stars) will be giving a talk entitled 'Strange Tales from Smethwick' including ghostly tales about Thomas Chandler who was once the local fire station officer.

Admission is free too so it’s well worth a visit!

If you would like to know more about the roadshow and Smethwick Heritage Centre please go to their website at: www.smethwick-heritage.co.uk

Monday, 7 November 2011

Bearwood Events: Christmas Charity Ceilidh in aid of Parkinson's UK

Calling all Bearwoodians! Get your dancing shoes on!

Fancy a fun local night out in aid of a very worthwhile charity?

Then come along to a charity Ceilidh featuring ‘The Cat’s Whiskers’ Barn Dance Band.

Here's the details:

Venue: St Mary’s Church Hall in Bearwood B66 4BX
Date: Saturday 10th December
Time: 6pm to 10pm

Tickets are £7 for adults and FREE for children aged 12 and under.

The entrance price includes a light buffet, soft drinks and tea and coffee.

To purchase tickets please contact:
Karen Blachford on 07908 681651 or call into St Mary’s any Saturday morning between 9.30 and 12.00 to purchase tickets from Marion Hills.