Greets Green?: Local histories and Xchanges

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The fence story

My names Matt and i helped put up the fence at the Rec, the gardens and the basketball courts as part of Groundwork. I am 22 next month and am hoping to move to Spain by the age of 25.

YMCA - Blogging workshop

Just had a good chat with a few of the YMCA staff, they're going to go out and spread the word about this workshop, and also the blog in general to everyone they come across today. Hurrah! The staff here are really nice.


A great place! I've been here for 3 weeks, lovely place, lovely people!!

Workshop Set Up

Arrived this morning at the YMCA for the workshop promoting the Greets Green? blog - hopefully we should be able to get some people using the blog as a community resource. Set up a mini exhibition of the photo documentation of our journey through Greets Green last year, then created a new user account in order to find out how easy it was (nice & simple) and then posted the first post with this new account which you're now reading!

Blogging Workshop

Arrived at YMCA nice and early this morning to meet Si & Steve. They're currently setting up a small exhibition of the 'Greets Green?' project from last year before the workshop starts. Hoping that we'll get a good few people in, the facilities here are really nice, hadn't been to the YMCA before and really like it.

Expecting a couple of the local wardens to stop by, Si & Steve have been speaking to them recently and a few of them seemed really enthusiastic about the potential of the blog. Be great to get this thing going and see is being used.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The start of regeneration

On Wattle Road the house are due for demolition. Occasionally the Sitex is removed covering the windows and boilers and central heating systems stolen. In this house this caused a water leak affecting residents still there.

Fence Locked

Fence is locked between school and Recreation ground.

This means that people have to walk around, or that the kids break holes in the fence in order to get through.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

test post for a resident

hello this is my first post to the greets green weblog. I hope to post more in the future about what is happening in this area

Friday, January 28, 2005

St Francis Church Bournville

St Francis Church Bournville held a Christmas Market and one of the "stalls" was making patterns round the font with as many pennies as we could aquire. The enormous bag of pennies went towards this. Some of the children outlined the patterns on the floor and then used their imaginations to fill in the spaces. The total collected from this effort was just under £74 and the church would like to thank everyone who gave us their pennies.

by Pamela Whyman

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Composting at The Public

The appearance of the compost bin at the Overend St office just before Christmas, generated interesting, and often conflicting responses. Initial concerns seem to have subsided, and I can see by the amount of waste I take from the kitchen each day that the idea has truly been embraced by us all.

As the foyer installation comes to an end, what life will the compost bin and it's contents now have?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Installing Compost

We installed the first part of the exhibition at THE pUBLIC, a compost bin , consisting of green waste we Xchanged on our journey around Greets Green

We also asked for people to contribute to the project by adding items to the compost bin. View the extensive list of items including harbour mud and starfish

Thursday, December 02, 2004

More Multimedia stuff

We were planning to go to the Green Gym and Sandwell Stride - but at the moment getting on top of all the multimedia stuff seems to be more of a priority - so instead we decided to spend the day at Decoy - which is incidentally absolutely freezing at this time of year!! Had a good day, Steve found a nice Perl script that creates wicked photo galleries that look great and are really simple to manage, while I finished updating the blog.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Session with Reena - across from Oak House

After our session with Barry we went across the road to visit Reena. Kath Hewitt had put us in touch with Reena and we had a really good session talking about what it was like to grow up across the road from Oak House and stories about playing on Marl Hole.

Also discovered that Reena recognised our faces - from when we were dancing at the Vikram New Year Festival at Shri Krishna!!

Barry - Security Guard at Oak House

Arranged to go and talk with Barry the security guard at Oak House - had to go round the side and shout him as the grounds were locked up for the night. Spoke about the changes that had been made to Oak House about four years ago, in terms of fencing and security, and about the differences that these had made to the lives of the local residents.

Multimedia stuff at Decoy

Went back to our warehouse in Digbeth to work on bringing together the multimedia aspects of the project - we've amassed loads of interesting material - always a bit daunting at first (over 15 hours of audio material to be captured and edited!!) - but also really exciting - the anticipation as the project starts to take off in another new direction!!

St Andrew's Church

We dropped off a cd and some printed copies of the photographs we took during the Harvest Festival at St Andrew's Church at the beginning of the project. Hopefully they'll be able to use the photos in their Newsletter.

On Patrol with Tony (Neighbourhood Warden)

We'd arranged to join Tony on his shift this morning. He'd got in touch with Bob and Margaret, a couple who'd been together for 65 years, had met when they were 17 and had been born and raised in Greets Green! Got some great stories off both of them, from tales about courting behind the back of the Bakery to swimming for a mile or two up and down the canals!! Margaret really enjoyed using the digital camera and seeing the results of the photos that she'd taken straight away. Really interesting stuff.

Also went for a walk with Tony around the back of the Rec& made plans to join him again in the near future to talk with people who are opposed to the redevelopment of the Rec and the demolition of peoples homes involved in this.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Golden Oldies - YMCA

Introduced our project and then went round working with individuals and groups who were interested in the project. Spoke to Vera the Chair who's lead a very interesting and active life within the local community. Also spoke to Peter, who we'd previously meet at the Swan Village Action Group, and who was very interested in the recent developments concerning the THEpUBLIC's new building.

Also spoke with Ann & Joan who are both 82, now live on the same street and amazingly went to the same school as each other!! In all this was a really friendly and welcoming group and we had alot of fun with them.

In exchange we helped out with the bingo - pulling out a few prize winners from the hat!!

Session with Roy - Swan Village Action Group

Came out of the YMCA Dance Studio after the Keep Fit session, went to get a coffee & saw Vera the Chair of the Golden Oldies group who we were doing a session with at 2pm. Vera had recently been bitten by a local dog - but fortunately she was fully recovered. She was kind enough to use her influence at the YMCA to get us a couple of free coffee's - thanks Vera. Then Roy, who's the chairman of the Swan Village Action Group, also walked past with a load of goodies and prizes for the Golden Oldies bingo. Said hello to Roy and arranged to do an impromptu session with him in the cafe before the bingo started.

Session with Roy went really well - he's a very active and well informed member of the local community and it was good to hear his views on the redevelopment of Greets Green and THEpUBLIC's new building (he sat on the interview committee for THEpUBLIC's new community artist). He also cleared up the confusion surrounding the name Greets Green and it's use over the history of the New Deal for Communities scheme.

YMCA - Senior Citizens Keep Fit

Went along to Pauline's keep fit club at the YMCA. Interviewed several of the group about their views on the redevelopment of Greets Green, including THEpUBLIC's new building. Really good & challenging session. Pauline and the ladies confirmed that they would like someone from THEpUBLIC to come down and talk to them - will pass Pauline's no. on to Trev.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Green Gym - Warley Woods - Cancelled

We were planning to join the Green Gym in Warley Woods today, as it's such a nice place and as they're such a friendly group. Texted James and found out that unfortunately it had been cancelled as none of the volunteers could make it that day.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Afro-Carribean Luncheon Club - YMCA

Bumped into Tony one of the Neighbourhood Wardens outside the YMCA, he said that he'd arranged for us to visit a local couple who'd been born and bred in Greets Green on Tuesday coming, it also turned out that he was visiting the Afro-Carribean Luncheon Club aswell!

Everyone at the club was extremely friendly and we talked a lot about what it was like to come from the Carribean to West Brom in the sixties. The fog that was caused by the steam trains and all the local industry was one of the main memories that people had. Another recurrent theme was that several people had only planned to come to England for a few years before returning to the Carribean, but had ended up staying their whole life!

Took some photographs of the group and everyone was very interested in the digital camera, so gave a demonstration about it.

Tony then gave his talk about the role of the Neigbourhood Wardens - decided to also record this as it sounded interesting and relevant to the project.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Sandwell Stride - Walking for Health

Joined the Walking for Health group again. Very nice day - we started doing some interviews and taking photographs of the walk with the participants. Bob had some very interesting stories about the local area and is very knowledgeable about local history. Had some good chats with Doreen, Mary and Assad (one of the walk leaders). Also gave a massive bag of copper coins that we'd collected over the last year or two to Pamela Whyman who's church was collecting them as part of a fundraising effort. The coins were going to be used to create a mosaic in the church before being contributed to the fundraising total.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Lifts and Errands

Gave our good friend Eleanor a lift over to Wood Lane Community Centre where she's doing a Silver Surfers project for THEpUBLIC. Popped in to see Kath Hewitt at Greets Green Partnership, updated her about how the project was going, asked for a couple of reminders about contacts that she'd given us, and asked if she'd request a few copies of the massive A0 Greets Green map that we've been hankering after for the exhibition. Also called in on the Neighbourhood Wardens and arranged to go out on patrol with Tony a week on Tuesday.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Afro-Carribean Luncheon Club

Gave an introductory talk about our project to the Afro-Carribean Luncheon Club. Pauline does a keep fit session with them and she'd arranged this opportunity, so a big thanks to Pauline for that. Just gave a short talk and had a quick chat, but it went very well, everyone was very interested and we arranged to come back the following week and do a proper session.

Meeting with Trev & Caitlin

Had a meeting with Trev and Caitlin at THEpUBLIC. Made arrangements for the live exhibition of the project that will be starting on the 6th Dec in the foyer at THEpUBLIC, talked about how the project was going, the bad perceptions that quite alot of locals seemed to have with regard to THEpUBLIC and participatory art. Also talked about possible future projects and the development of our relationship. Good meeting!

Cancelled Healthy Walk

Had arranged to join another healthy walking group this morning. James from the Green Gym had suggested we contact Joe about the conservation work and healthy walks that he led. However got a phone call off Joe and unfortunately he was ill and unable to lead the walk that morning. Although the walk was still going ahead, decided it would be better to leave it until Joe was better.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Blogging at Decoy

Went to Stony Lane allotments, but the Green Gym crew weren't there - very wet windy weather so who could blame them? Had also planned to go on the Sandwell Stride in the afternoon - however due to the weather decided it would be better to spend our time collating some of the stuff that we'd gathered over the last month or two at our warehouse in Digbeth, Decoy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Green Gym - Stony Lane Allotments

Met up with the Green Gym group at Stony Lane allotments at the back of Smethwick High St. Helped with clearing overgrown plots that will be used by other community groups in the future. Took some photogrpahs with the group and also did some interviews with them. Lots of fun!!

Monday, November 15, 2004

YMCA - Senior Citizens Keep Fit

Kath Hewitt had suggested we get in touch with Pauline who does a keep fit session at an Afro-Carribean Luncheon Club at the YMCA on Fridays. We spoke with Pauline & she told us that she also did a women's keep fit club on Monday mornings. We therefore arranged to go along and have a chat about our project with both of these groups.

Turned up to the ladies keep fit group & spoke about the project that we were doing. Upon finding out that we had been commissioned by THEpUBLIC the ladies let us know what their views of the new THEpUBLIC building were - on the whole they did not have a very high opinion of THEpUBLIC and the new building, thinking that Greets Green and West Brom were more in need of such things as a swimming pool & a theatre. This was a very interesting session and certainly opened our eyes to some of the local feelings about THEpUBLIC, while also making us question our hopes and ambitions for the project.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Sandwell Stride - Walking for Health

Went out for another walk around Sandwell Valley with Sandwell Stride, who are based at the YMCA. Meet some more interesting people and had some good chats in the cold november air, with the sound of traffic from the M5 drifting on the wind.

Green Gym - Ecological Disaster at Warley Woods

Helped out with more holly thinning - great fun & you can really see the difference now - the bushes are starting to look a lot clearer.

On a downside we were also notified about an ecological disaster that had occured on the far side of the woods - on the site of an old victorian path that the Green Gym had cleared and restored last summer & which supported a habit for a local butterfly population - the Warley Woods Project Manager had apparently struck a deal with developers from the Bull Ring to take a delivery of slag & construction waste. Such waste products from the construction industry are very expensive to dispose of in a sustainable manner and in a bid to cut costs such deals are apparently common within the construction industry. Rather than pay to dispose of such waste in a responsible manner construction companies apparently strike deals with park managers whereby if the park takes the construction waste the constructors will provide in exchange a fixed amount of labour (minimum wage no doubt) to be used by the park. In this case the waste was apparently to be used as part of a golf course redevelopment, however the careless manner in which this waste from Birmingham's flagship shopping centre had been uncerimoniously dumped on a local park meant that a delicate ecosystem had been destroyed.

Big up to Birmingham's shiny new shopping centre :-(

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Interviews and Lunch at Shri Krishna

Helped set up the dinning hall for lunch at Shri Krishna, enjoyed another great meal & conducted interviews with Marris & . . . .

Thanks to the cooks!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Gardening for Stories at Mrs Patel's

Went round to Mrs Patel's house to help her with her garden. Had a good morning clearing the garden which had become slightly overgrown since Mrs Patel had broken her leg six months ago. Mrs Patel then treated us to a lovely curry for dinner by way of thanks for our work. We then spoke with her about her experiences in West Brom and Greets Green.

Click here for photographs

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Sandwell Stride - Walking for Health

My Birthday!! Went for a walk with Sandwell Stride around Sandwell Valley. Sandwell Stride is organised by the YMCA & we'd seen their leaflets when we first visited the YMCA with FRANCIS. We popped in the day before and spoke to ASAAD, one of the walk leaders, to check if it was ok for us to come along on the walk.

This is a really friendly group of people, very chatty, with lots of interesting things to say. We really enjoyed going out with them.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Weeding for Dinner - Shri Krishna

Went to Shri Krishna and helped Raman and members of the Visamo luncheon club with weeding in their front garden. In return for our help we were treated to a tasty and spicy dinner courtesy of Visamo.

Check out more action gardening photographs

Also met Mrs Patel and Raman's brother Marris. Unfortunately Mrs Patel broke her leg about six months ago. She is well on the way to recovery now but she hadn't been able to keep on top of her garden, so we agreed to go round to her house and help clear her garden in exchange for stories about her experiences in West Brom.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Green Gym - Warley Woods

Went to Warley Woods & participated in BTCV's Green Gym program. Warley Woods is an amazing park, lovely rolling hills surrounded by old woods, beautiful skyline of trees, could fool yourself that you're not in the middle of a conurbation from certain angles. I used to live about 5 roads away but had never visited it - now I know!! We were thinning holly bushes to improve security in the park and it was great fun, really refreshing to be out working in the woods in the cold autumn air.

View the boot full of holly

Friday, October 29, 2004

Here's a flowchart

View the map test by clicking on the link below:


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Navratri Festival

We attended the Navratri festival at the temple last night. Raman invited us along and we turned up at 9.30pm. There was an amazing rhythm coming from the drummers and singers on the stage and the room was a swirl of men and woman dancing in concentric circles around the deity in the centre of the room. Occasionally the beats would speed up and chants of 'WUP WUP!' would echo around the hall.

After a while Raman invited us to dance and we did

As we were left we were presented with a gift of fruit and sweets

View more photographs

More about Navarati

Swan Village Action Group

We were invited by ROY to make a presentation about our project to the Swan Village Action Group which he chairs. The members of the group were very vocal about their opinions of THEpUBLIC and other redevelopment projects that are going on in Greets Green. Some very interesting points were raised and we are hoping to return so that we can record some of these opinions for the project.

Tour of new Shri Krishna Temple

Raman gave us a guided tour of the new Shri Krishna Temple, which is currently being constructed. It is already an absolutely magnificent building. Each stone has been hand carved by master craftsmen in India and it is only the second temple of it's kind to be built outside of India.

Many thanks to Raman and view more pics of the fine details

Monday, October 25, 2004

Walk with Anne (Neighbourhood Warden)

We were given an amazing tour of the boundaries of the Greets Green area by Anne, who's one of the Greets Green Partnership Neighbourhood Wardens. Highlights included the chemical factory where the local kids were convinced that the people inside were aliens & had produced some amazing graffiti to demonstrate this. There was also the Gnome garden, the Christmas Tree House, and the mysterious (government??) factory that doesn't exist on any official maps and which the wardens have been unable to identify who owns it or what goes on there!?!?

View the rather huge set of images

There was also one big low point which was the fact that the canal had been turned orange because some unscrupulous company had dumped a load of chemicals into the water. Bert and Gert, Anne's favourite local swans were looking a bit worse for ware with their feathers died muddy brown/orange :-(

Here's another set of photographs

Big shout out to Anne, many thanks :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Shri Krishna

We went to the Shri Krishna Temple. We met up with RAMAN. He told us about the BCTV Green Gym project where senior citizens help with green projects whilst keeping fit. They are going to convert their green space into a small allotment/garden with a pond.

RAMAN encouraged us to get in touch with JAMES from the BCTV. In a very synergistic manner James then turned up at Shri Krishna & we had a good chat with him and made arrangements to join him on some of the Green Gym sessions that he runs for BCTV.

James also mentioned that we should contact Joe Miskin about a healthy walk that he co-ordinates on Friday's at Sandwell Valley.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Met with Trev and Caitlin at the Public

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Shri Krishna + KATH HEWITT

We went to Greets Green Partnership. KATH HEWITT suggested we speak to the neighbourhood wardens. After that we went to the Shri Krishna temple for the first time. Kath had told us about a gardening group from the temple who are transforming some derelict ground at the side of their meeting hall into an allotment pitch for the community.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Reverend + Barry + Sid

We went to St Andrews Church and interviewed Rev MIKE CLARIDGE.

Later in the afternoon we went to the Oak House. We met BARRY the security guard. He took us over the road where we met SID HAYNES, a fantastic old gent who has in depth historical knowledge about Greets Green and Sandwell. We interviewed him and took photos

Check out more photos of the Xchanges with Sid here

Monday, October 04, 2004

Harvest Festival Redistribution Service

People attended and bought some of the produce from the previous days festival. We met SHEILA and FRANCIS. We interviewed them about local food and green space initiatives. FRANCIS mentioned we should go to the YMCA and speak to VERA BARNES and ROY JACKSON. We took some photos, they may end up in the church magazine

Click here for all the pics

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Harvest Festival - St Andrews Church

We attended the Harvest Festival. Lots of people attended and brought vegetables, fruits and other foods to donate

Check the glorious images!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Allotments on Saturday

Went to the allotments, spoke with ARTHUR about the harvest festival

Click here for big photo

Friday, October 01, 2004

Allotments - New Contacts

Went downt the alotments. We spoke to Earl about pumpkins in Jamaica. Apparently they can grow 30-40 ft long vines, often ending up with a pumpkin growing on a vine thats climbing up a tree.We met ARTHUR. He was being given many different vegetables. He said it was for the HARVEST FESTIVAL. He told us where it was. We were also given cabbages, courgettes, potatoes, and celery

Click here for a big version

Click here to view the photogallery

Friday, September 24, 2004

At the Public

Did stuff at the Public

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Public Presentation

Public Presentation at the Greets Green Partnership. We met KATH HEWITT

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Saturday session on the allotments with fellow A2:RTs Rashid and Simon. We met and talked with FRANK

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Visited and talked

Monday, September 13, 2004

Visited Allotments

Went down Lyttlrton Street Allotments with Trevor and we met EARL and TED. Trevor got a small bag of tomatoes from the allotment shop

Friday, September 10, 2004

Welcome to Mapping Greets Green!

Hello. We are making a map charting green space, local histories and Xchanges in Greets Green. Soon you will be able to post up your stories of interest