Historic England’s Living Memory project commissioned a series of ten films – and Stirchley was one of the areas chosen.
Shop / business owners, residents and visitors were asked their thoughts on what Stirchley high street means to them and how they see its future. Which reminds me of the Stirchley Dreams project I did a few years ago where we asked what people would like to see for Stirchley.
It includes some great businesses, including Stirchley Wines, Birmingham Bike Foundry, Midlands Vac Shop, Wards, Isherwood & Co, Loaf, Couch, Eat Vietnam, Pause At…, Artefact (and the grey origami hearts I made in the window) and probably a few others I forgot to mention.
You should definitely watch the whole thing, which is available on YouTube, but the sense of belonging and community in Stirchley is clear from everyone spoken to. It’s also nice to hear the rough around the edges but a good heart, as often people dismiss Stirchley as being run down, without realising that there is a lot going on here, and it’s often not about looking good but doing good. There’s equal love for some of the more historic independent businesses like the Vac Shop and Wards, as well as some of the ‘newer’ businesses. Although lets not forget the likes of Loaf have been here for over ten years now, so new is definitely not quite as new as you might think. And I was really pleased to see the history of the co-operative movement and plans for the Stirchley Co-operative Development get a shout out, as that’s not only going to bring more people to Stirchley, but hopefully more independent businesses too.
‘Future of the High Street’ is part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme, led by Historic England in partnership with National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Arts Council England. It includes the Future Stirchley film, as well as nine others made by filmmakers, in collaboration with young creatives, explore what the future of the high street could be.