Bromsgrove Arts News

  • Sat 12 Oct 2019

    GREEN-fingered Rubery residents are celebrating after their displays were judged to be ‘outstanding’ by the Heart of England in Bloom for the fifth year running.

    Rubery in Bloom, graded Level 5 by the judges, was launched in 2012 and since then has gone from strength-to-strength.

    There are 150 flower boxes throughout the village – one under every street sign – which are planted out and watered by a host of volunteers.

    Lorna Ockendon from Rubery in Bloom said the grade was well-deserved and testament to the amount of work put in.

    “We would like to thank all our donors and volunteers who work so hard to look after the flower boxes across both the north and the south wards of the village.”

  • Tue 8 Oct 2019

    A POPULAR Bromsgrove librarian will be closing one chapter and opening another when she retires after 38 years’ service next week.

    Pat Tansell started as a junior library assistant at the former Bromsgrove Library site on Stratford Road on February 2, 1981.

    And in almost four decades, she had seen some dramatic changes in her place of work.

    “Back then, it was a deferential world where hierarchies mattered.

    “The librarian Miss Barley only took her coffee break in the staffroom on Saturdays.

    “During the week we took turns to deliver her coffee to her office, knocking and waiting to be called before entering.

    “It was a challenge not to spill the coffee onto the biscuit in the saucer.”

    Junior staff were not allowed to answer customer enquiries, all book and information requests had to be dealt with by a qualified librarian who sat at a desk away from the main counter.

    “In those days, pre-Internet, we relied on a large collection of reference only titles to answer questions.

    “Now customers can reserve new books as soon as they are published but in the early 1980s, they had to wait until they were six months old,” added Pat.

    Pushchairs and prams were not allowed in the library, small children had to be carried or left by the door with one family being able to use the ‘Push-Troll’ – a Britax car seat mounted on a custom-made metal frame with a shelf underneath to hold books.

    It was introduced in the early 1970s after a campaign organised by Bromsgrove Housewives Register.

    The hour-long storytime was held in another county council building away from the library so customers were not disturbed, whereas now there are two lively song and rhyme sessions per week.

    Another change, which happened in the mid-1980s, was the introduction of audiobooks (formerly ‘spoken word’ items) on cassette.

    They were free of charge to anyone with sight loss.

    Nowadays the library offers ebooks, e-audiobooks and e-magazines.

    On February 1, 1991, the brown issue paper-ticket system was replaced when Bromsgrove Library had its first computerised system.

    Library staff used a hand-held scanner to read barcodes in the books and on customers’ tickets.

    When the Internet was first made available to customers it was on just one public computer – now Bromsgrove Library has more than 20.

    Pat said: “The first time I used the Internet was to answer a customer’s question about a utility company’s contact details.

    “Customers now use the Internet for job searches, applications of all kinds, social media, and all sorts of other things that enhance their lives.”

    In March 2006, coinciding with the major refurbishment of Bromsgrove’s former Stratford Road Library, the first self-service system was introduced, enabling customers to check their own items in and out.

    There was also a hot drinks vending machine, new sofas and easy chairs so customers had somewhere to relax.

    Staff encouraged people to spend more time there and even came up with their own strapline: ‘Linger longer in the library’.

    In November 2015 Bromsgrove Library moved to where it is now at Parkside with a modern look.

    Pat said: “These days the deferential and hierarchical world is gone.

    “Everyone is welcome. You do not need to have an address to use the library.”

    Pat, who is also a renowned historian for all things Bromsgrove and chairman of the Bromsgrove Society, said she had enjoyed my time as a library assistant and seeing library services evolve.

    “I will miss my colleagues and our customers.

    “I have particularly enjoyed leading sessions with local schools and nurseries, the annual Summer Reading Challenge and dealing with local history enquiries.

    “I’m looking forward to pursuing some new interests and devoting more time to others as well as spending more time with family and friends.”

    Pat’s last day at Bromsgrove Library is next Friday, October 18.

    Everyone is welcome to join her for tea, coffee and cake between 10am and 4pm.

  • Mon 7 Oct 2019

    TWO young dancers from Bromsgrove are through to the final of a national competition after wowing judges at the regional stage.

    Kaitlyn O’Brien, 11, and Ella Smith, nine, who both attend Spirals Dance and Performance Academy and St John’s Middle School, won a talent show in April in Torquay whilst on holiday at a Parkdean site.

    Their victory qualified them for the regional finals last weekend and, after triumphing there, they will now contest the national crown in Skegness on November 8.

    Becky O’Brien, Kaitlyn’s mum, said: “They have done fantastically well and we’re all so proud of them for putting Bromsgrove on the map.

    “Whenever they are asked where they are from and they tell them, a lot of people say they don’t know where it is – so hopefully they can help change that.”

    Ella’s mum Vicky Smith said: “We were so chuffed – we went on holiday in April and didn’t even know there was a competition.

    “They had already rehearsed the routine their dance teacher Helen had taught them so thought they would give it a go in the contest.”

    The mums had to go and find them a matching outfit and then the families had to leave Torquay in the early hours the next day to get to another competition for their dance school.

    “We’ve got our fingers crossed for the national final,” added Becky.

  • Sat 21 Sep 2019

    OVER 100 pieces of art is on exhibition at the Jinney Ring Craft Centre until September 29.

    The annual Sculpture Garden event includes animals, plants, birds and abstract pieces created by local and nationally-acclaimed artists.

    All are welcome to come and view the collection around the idyllic gardens and ponds at this free event.

    A free guide is available to take guests on a leisurely stroll and provide more information on the sculptures and artworks.

    All are available to buy.

    The Sculpture Garden is open at Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury from 11am to 4pm daily until Sunday, September 29.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Sat 21 Sep 2019

    CHILDREN from Blackwell First School were given the task of naming four residents’ lounges in The Lodge at Burcot Grange care home.

    The home held a competition asking pupils to come up with the names and also artwork to illustrate their decision.

    The winning lounge names were – Halfords (by Evie), Henry Osler (by Olivia), Cadbury (by Harry) and Peacock (by David).

    Vicky Osborne, general manager of The Lodge at Burcot Grange, said: “It’s such a treat to have the children’s fantastic artwork on display in our care home lounges.

    “The residents have been really engaged with the stories and creativity behind the chosen names and its associated artwork.

    “It has certainly sparked some memories and conversations between the schoolchildren and our Burcot Grange residents which is delightful to see.”

    Visit for more on The Lodge – a 54-bedroom care home in Greenhill, Burcot, which provides residential, dementia, day and respite care.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Thu 12 Sep 2019

    A COLLECTION of more than 100 paintings have gone on display at Bromsgrove’s Artrix, writes Abi Cook.

    The Spice of Life exhibition created by members of Lickey Hills Art Society (LHAS) runs until September 30 and all the pieces are available to buy.

    It is a busy time for the society which runs demonstrations, lectures and workshops by established local artists.

    Meetings take place at 7.30pm on the first Saturday of every month (except January) at Longbridge Methodist Church Hall, Bristol Road South.

    Admission is £4 per person and free to members (membership is £20 per year).

    Family membership is £30 and there is an additional £1 cost at each meeting for refreshments.

    The group will also hold a workshop on October 12 will feature David ‘DJ’ Johnson who will demonstrate how to use acrylic paints to create a sunset.

    The workshop will run from 10am until 4pm and admission is £25.

    There are limit spaces, available on a first come, first served basis

    Email Lynda Sharp at lyndasharp2010 [at] yahoo [dot] com for more information.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Sun 11 Aug 2019

    ARTISTS from Bromsgrove and Droitwich will be among those opening their doors to the public this bank holiday weekend as the Worcestershire Open Studios returns from August 23 to 26, writes Carrie Eddins.

    Now in its fifth year, the country’s largest free art event invites visitors to see the inside of artists’ studios and shared spaces and to talk to them about how they make their work.

    Participating artists include painter Gillian Simpson and enamel artist Teresa Kent based in Bromsgrove. Wildlife artist Eric Watson from Stoke Prior, ceramicist Chris Bell who works out of the pottery and Belinda Terry who makes jewellery at the Jinny Ring Craft Centre.

    Eva Walters from Hanbury, who designs cross stitch and jewellery, painters Julie Leach and Zoe Taylor at Bevere Gallery, Droitwich painter Ann Bennett, Droitwich mixed media artist Maggie Hobbs, paint and printmaker Sally Anne Morgan, mixed media artist Chris Walker at the PigstyStudio Oddingley will also be participating.

    There are more than 180 artists at 83 locations around the country to visit.

    Anyone who visits five of the venues can complete an entry to win a £100 voucher to spend with any of the participating artists.

    Teresa said: ” I really enjoy meeting people and explaining the art of enamelling.”

    Mix media artist Chris added: “I really like people coming to my studio and discussing their experiences as artists or telling me about their favourite pictures.”

    Visit for more information.

    Reprinted by kind permissio0n of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Sat 27 Jul 2019

    CONTROVERSIAL charges are being introduced at Artrix’s car park which has always been free since the centre opened 14 years ago.

    Heart of Worcestershire (HoW) College, which owns the car park, said the move, which comes into force from September 1, was needed to generate funds amidst a 30 per cent cut in its budget over the last decade.

    The fees up until 7pm each day would be comparable to Bromsgrove District Council’s current town centre car parking charges, currently around 80p per hour.

    While many people might go to see shows at Artrix in the evenings, there are a variety of sessions which take place during the day and would be affected by the introduction.

    Among them are dance classes, including dancefest, belly dancing and Chance to Dance, youth theatre sessions, the little and junior Songstars Choir, the singstars choir and Silver Singers.

    There are also Rhythm Time sessions, pilates, calligraphy and film screenings.

    A spokesperson for the HoW College said: “Despite the pressures, Heart of Worcestershire College has looked to support the local arts community by giving partners time to look to secure alternative revenue streams before considering applying charges for the use of the College car parks.

    “HoW College has to maintain, insure and light these car parks.

    “The college needs to secure additional revenues to support its mission to provide high quality technical and vocational education opportunities across Worcestershire.

    “Charging the general public to use certain car parks where the college has excess capacity is necessary.

    “These charges are aligned to those the local council charges for use of its public car parks.”

    Artrix director Angela Galvin said she was concerned about the impact the charges could have on people coming to the centre in the daytime and may lead to a loss in bar profits as some people who turned up early to shows to have a drink beforehand may turn up in time for the show.

    But she refused to criticise the college over its plan.

    “The college has faced draconian cuts as we have – we have lost £100,000-a-year which we used to receive from the council.

    “Sadly nowadays, free parking is the exception, rather than the rule.

    “We are confident our programme is exciting enough for people to still want to come here.

    “The Bromsgrove community has always supported us and we hope they will still come down when they see what we have planned.”

    She added she had spoken to the college about passes for the staff and volunteers over daily daytime charges and was hopeful an agreement would be reached for passes.

    And she said the college moving its performing arts students from Bromsgrove to Worcester had also hit its revenue stream as it no longer received cash from the college for letting it use the space for lessons, sessions and performances.

    Bromsgrove Arts Alive (BAA) has expressed its disappointment at the policy change.

    In a letter to The Standard this week, Steve Cowperthwaite writing on behalf of BAA, said the organisation was dismayed by the fees.

    “Bromsgrove is so lucky to have an arts centre like Artrix.

    “It hosts a wonderful range of performances and activities – music, shows, comedy, theatre, family entertainment etc.

    “Local orchestras and choirs have enjoyed using its facilities.

    “With Artrix being outside the town centre we have been fortunate that it has always enjoyed ample free parking.

    “Artrix has been creative in its programming and planning to cope with major funding cuts in recent years.

    “We sincerely hope that visitors to Artrix are not deterred by an hourly parking charge.”

    WHAT do you think about the proposed car parking charges? Do you agree the college should charge to negate cuts? Or maybe you believe other methods could be found to raise revenue? Will you be one of those hit by the fees? Email us your views to editor [at] bromsgrovestandard [dot] co [dot] uk

  • Fri 19 Jul 2019

    A TALENTED Dodford First School pupil fought off 22,000 others to make the top ten in the country in a Young Writers’ competition, writes Roman Filkin.

    Hamish, from year three, had written and submitted a 100-word short story called ‘The Mysterious Soup’.

    It was one of the winning pieces selected in the contest.

    He was delighted to receive a prize of a rucksack filled with goodies and his name appearing on the young writers’ website.

    Headteacher Lisa Parkes said: “All the children had enjoyed entering the competition and seeing their work published.

    “We were all very proud of Hamish’s achievement.”

    Reprinted courtesy of The Bromsgrove Standard

  • Sun 3 Feb 2019

    PEOPLE can find out more about the Bromsgrove Men In Sheds group at two upcoming open days, writes Eve Watson.

    The events, which anyone can go along to for chat and a cup of tea, will be between 11am and 2pm on Thursday, Februrary 7, and from 11am to 3pm on March 23.

    ‘The Shedders’ take part in DIY, restoring furniture and completing community projects.

    The scheme, run by Age UK Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest, brings together people, often retirees, who want to share and learn new skills in a relaxed environment.

    The group’s base is at Unit 1, Metal and Ores Industrial Estate, 138 Hanbury Road, Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove. Visit and click the ‘Men in Sheds’ link in the ‘Activities and Events’ section or call Jo Hughes on 01527 868855 to find out more about the group.

    Reprinted by kind permission of The Bromsgrove Standard