Edgbaston Blue Plaque Walks
TASBE Heritage Volunteering Project with Calthorpe Residents Association
The cultural past of the local area in which our society meets (Edgbaston) has already been marked by several Blue Plaques.
Our new project is to research, design and illustrate a number of walks around the area to take in some of these plaques. Each walk will be timed, facilities en route noted and a leaflet produced giving a short resume of the individual(s) to whom the plaques relate and a sketch map of the intended route. A local historian will support our volunteers in researching the historical background of the plaques.
Winterbourne House and Gardens
Our Heritage Volunteering project with Winterbourne House and Gardens is now complete.
The project came out of an exploratory discussion between our chair, Carole Gumbley, committee member Meriel Hutton (now project lead) and Winterbourne director, Lee Hale. We have now replanted the empty ‘wheel’ at Winterbourne as a garden for medicinal herbs with information sheets. A textile group has produced artwork based on the herbs which was exhibited at Winterbourne House and Garden from 21 April to 22 May 2017.
Volunteers for the project were welcomed by Sara Chaouki, Winterbourne’s volunteer co-ordinator and Steve Haines, the head gardener. To start the project, we had to research what plants would be appropriate and how to source them with a rough idea of how we would categorise them. Volunteers came to a meeting where they were allocated to research, gardening or illustration, some people asking to be involved in more than one group.
Martin Killeen from the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library was keen to be involved and gave the researchers and illustrators access to some wonderful rare botanic books housed in the library. He also gave free access to the volunteers to continue their research whenever they wanted. We are also heavily indebted to Steve Haines who advised on the list of plants, sourced them for us and continues to advise in the garden
The researchers helped to formulate the list of plants and researched additional information which was then written up. The gardeners have been active all year, weeding and preparing the ground in spring, planting out the available plants and sowing seeds to plant out in autumn. The fickle summer weather meant that some days they were confined to the potting sheds and on others were employed watering the gardens, but a small band of stalwarts put in over 100 hours, mostly working on our project but at times helping more generally in the gardens.
The illustrators started their input to the project in the winter months to produce the artworks on display in April and May.
Thank you to all the volunteers who made this project come to life.