The Chainmakers Festival

Chainmakers Festival

Cradley Heath

Admission free

11am – 5pm

A yearly event held now in the high street. Many years ago it was held at the Blackcounrty museum, then at Bearmore Park. The festival is jointly organised by the Midlands Region of the TUC and Sandwell council.
The festival celebrates the achievements of 800 women Chainmakers who in 1910 fought to establish a minimum wage for their labour. The local employers sought to deny them their rights but were met with forceful opposition, They were led by Mary Macarthur, who founded the National Federation of Women Workers and later stood for Parliament as a Labour candidate.

The day follows much the same routine every year now that it is in the high street. Music followed by unionist speakers, a re-enactment of the chainmakers strike, Mary Macarthur speech, more music, a brass band who then lead the banner procession to Macathur park where there is a worker picnic, music and more speeches. Every year Billy Spakemon sings strong arms and every year Stacey Bylthe sings the chainmakers song.

For the little ones there is a small funfair, normally two rides and face painting, ice-cream van, and what are bravely called stalls. Most of which are trade union bags and buttons, some pretty grotty looking raffle prizes and I think this year jam, but I wouldn’t swear to that.

Every year I go expecting it to be better that the year before and every year I am disappointed.  Still as a one off it is very interesting, its just a case of once you’ve  been that’s it you need never go again.


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If you get bored here over there on the right under pages there’s some more rubbish to read.




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Tatton Park

Tatton Park
WA16 6QN

Admission, car parking £6.00 but this gives you access the one thousand acres of parkland, pools and deer parks.

Admission to gardens £6.00

Tatton garden is set in 50 acres so it’s not too difficult to get around in a couple of hours, the paths being relatively flat and well kept means its accessible to all. Over 200 hundred years each generation of the Egerton family have added their own designs and ideas to the gardens, which has given the garden quite a few different stiles to appreciate.

I particularly liked the Japanese garden which can only be seen from the perimeter, it is opened up at high season for a couple of days a week and can be entered for a small charge, however our visit was not high season so we couldn’t partake in that pleasure. Another fun part is the maze, if you manage to find the middle (without cheating, there were an awful lot of people squeezing between the trees and under the wire on our visit), you can greet the Green man who stands at its centre. He is beautifully carved from wood.

The gardens also contain a few very pretty bridges, a walled kitchen garden, rose garden with a very relaxing pool for bathing, Tower garden which contains the Tower which was used to watch for sheep stealing, inside you can see the skull of one of the watchers. There’s a conservatory, fernery, Italian garden which is beautifully, Mercury’s pool, An African hut, american garden which was very over grown, several pools, and Choragic Monument.

It seemed a bit unkept in parts, although we did see gardeners around tidying.  Not one of the prettiest gardens we have been to but still a nice place to visit.



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Summertime in Southside

Summertime in Southside.
17th/18th June 2017


Birmingham is really good at putting on a free  event/festival and this years Summer in Southside was no different. Southside was turned into countryside for two whole days. There was loads of entertainment to be had including dancing sheep, sort of, it was very hot, sheep shearing, sheep races and sheep dogs herding ducks, or in this case not, the ducks getting the better of the dogs, all courtesy of The Sheep Show I will admit that this was my favourite part of the day, I just loved everything the Sheep Show put on.

Along with that there was Farmer Giles wandering around with his gate saying ‘ooh arr’ and ‘ger orf me land’ the Birmingham Royal Ballet did La Fille mal gardé. There were acrobatics and dancers, I really enjoyed The Lions of Punjab bhangra dance, and Folk dance Remixed Step Hop House which they describe as Folk meets Hip-Hop, just think Street-breakin Morris dancers and your not far off. There were little plays for the kiddies and Cardboarida, a cardboard farm. Roots by Highly Sprung and Taking Flight by Rouge Play both told stories, using aerial theatre both very good. The Destroyers also played a set, one of my all time faves.

All in all a really fun filled family day and all free.

The sheep shuffle

The Destroyers

Ready steady goooo it’s the sheep race

Duck herding, well sort of. Stick with it, it was the only place I could find to stand.

Sorry about the filming on this last one, but it was the only place left to stand, stay with it, this is when the ducks win 🙂



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Bearwood Street Festival


Bearwood High st.
Admission free
One off event

Bearwoods first street festival took place on the 11 June, and given that it was the first and done without any help from the council it was really good. The whole day had a happy vibe and was well organised. It kicked off at 11.30 and went on until 5.30.

There was food a plenty, 6 bands/groups played throughout the day, market stalls, story telling, an automaton by Rowland Emett. Plus a lot more.  There were lots of hands on join in things for the little ones to do. Including The Mystery of the Cosmic Clocks, a short play by The Highly Sprung Performance Company, where the children have to find the cogs to help repair the three clocks in Bearwood, because they are the clocks that control all time.

The grey lady who haunts Warley Woods part of The Mystery of the Cosmic Clock. (Just a short clip)

Rowland Emett’s automaton

Junior Blue Notes

Electric Swing Circus

Rhino and The Ranters

Photos videos by Tilly

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Mevagissey Muesum

Mevagissey Museum
East Wharf, Inner Harbour
Cornwall  PL26 6QR

Admission Free


The building that houses the museum Dates from 1745 and it was part of a boat builder’s yard that  extended to the far corner of the cliff. It was built straight into the rock face and this can see  behind the kitchen dresser. Boats used to be constructed on the ground floor, the first floor was the carpenter’s workshop and the top floor was used as a store.

When  Arthur Frazier, retired, he offered to sell the building to the museum at a reduced cost and due to the generosity of a local benefactor, Mrs Matson, the museum trustees were able to acquire the building .

There is a remarkable amount of  stuff in this little museum to look at including a very interesting dolls house, I love a dolls house and spent some time looking at the one here.

Some of the other exhibits include Ship building and sail making,   the top floor of the Museum covers fishing and there is a collection of items that have either been recovered from the local beaches or which managed to find their way in to a local fisherman’s net, including  whalebone’s, a turtle shell and an aircraft propeller.

Andrew Pears was born on the outskirts of Mevagissey  eventually moving to London where he spent many years trying to perfect a clear soap and there is a small exhibit that covers this.

There’s a nod to Mevagissey bank founded by Philip Ball & Son in 1807, and went bankrupt in 1824. A copy of a bank note  can be seen in the museum along with the old bank door.

Mevagissey was the first village in Cornwall to benefit from the introduction of electricity and this is also covered in the museum.


Its easy to spend a couple of hours in this little treasure trove.



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Minack Theatre

The Minack Theatre
TR19 6JU

Admission Adults £5.00′ 15 and under £2.50′ under 2 free.

As you descend the steep steps you could be forgiven for believing you had been transported back in time to a Roman amphitheater, because that’s just what the Minack feels like. It truly has a magical feel to it, this is made all the more amazing when you consider how it was built.

Rowena Cade, loved the theatre so much she decided to build a place to perform her shows. She lived in Minack House and decided that the cliffs below her garden would be the perfect setting. When she was 38 she and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, and another workman moved endless granite boulders and earth by hand to create the lower terraces of the theatre, it took them 6 months to complete. In 1932 the first play was put on, ‘The Tempest’ and the  performance was lit by batteries and car headlights. Over the next seven years there were many improvements and extensions. She had developed techniques for working with cement. Using the tip of a screwdriver she decorated surfaces with lettering and Celtic designs before the cement hardened. She brought the sand up by hand from Porthcurno beach  and carried huge beams from the shoreline up to the theatre. One lovely story is that a ship had lost some of it’ s cargo including some very heavy thick beams and Rowena had carried them up the cliffs to use in her theatre. The next day when she was on the beach customs men asked her if she had seen anyone taking anything from the beach, she told them no, but she had taken some wood to use, they could walk back up the cliffs with her to see if that was what they were looking for if they wanted. They looked at this frail old woman and thought she couldn’t lift a beam never mind carry it up the cliff, and so told her she could keep the bit’s of wood she had found. Rowena Cade continued working on her theatre no matter what the weather until her mid 80s and died just before her 90th birthday.

It isn’t until you start to really look at the place that you realise how much work went into the building of this place, every seat has the name of  a Shakespearean play etched into it, every pillar has a pattern.

I would have loved to have had a chat with her, she sounded like one incredible woman.


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