Historic England’s Future Stirchley

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.

Ghost Tables

Stirchley ghost tables

Our local hospitality industry has had to make a lot of changes due to Covid-19 and social distancing, and with the latest round of announcements making things even more difficult, we wanted to find a way to help.

And so, with spooky season on the horizon, we’ve set up a very simple thing where we’re asking people if they’d like to reserve a ‘ghost table’. For a suggested donation of £10 you’ll book one of the tables lost to ensure drinking establishments in Stirchley comply with social distancing rules due to Covid-19.

Basically, you’re supporting your local independents by putting your money where you can’t be.

We wanted to focus on the smaller, independent venues in Stirchley who will feel the impact of these new changes the most, those that are predominantly drinks-led: Cork & Cage, Couch and Wildcat. With Birmingham being restricted to household-only drinking and dining, gone are the beers or cocktails with friends and that is going to have yet another massive impact on an already struggling industry. We’d still recommend going to these places, and all the other lovely drinking and dining establishments in Stirchley too, by the way.

Giving money to a local business without getting anything back seems strange, but these are strange times and if we want things to survive then we need to support them. Aside from a very small amount (so we can send those who donate a thank you card) we will split the money equally three ways to go to Cork & Cage, Couch and Wildcat. We’re taking nothing from this, it’s not something we want to benefit from, we want to find a way to help. The businesses are also not involved in this either, but they do know about it.

Book a ghost table

(please note the account is under the Stirchley Snowflake festival)
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