THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
A LOCAL artist loves Stratford-upon-Avon so much she’s devoted three months of her life creating a quirky hand-drawn map of the town centre which she describes as her personal love letter to the town and its people.
With passionate attention to detail and armed with a black ink pen, artist Jane Tomlinson has drawn Stratford as she saw it through the eyes of a little girl and then as a teenager growing up in the town.
With intricate attention to detail she has sketched Stratford, its people and its places in such a way that it translates into an overall image of the town she loves.
In many respects, the map is a journey through Stratford life for all of us as it depicts many sights that we, as Stratfordians, will have wandered past during the last 30 years or so.
It’s been a labour of love for Jane but it’s not lost on her just how important this town and its history is to her and—perhaps—millions of other people around the world, so why did she decide to draw the map?
“I was born in Hunts Road, I went to Bridgetown School, I used to go shopping in town with mum on a Saturday, and I listened to local bands at the Green Dragon when I was a teenager. I’ve seen Stratford through the seasons and could list a hundred reasons why I love this place, but I think the map tells the story better than I can and it’s there for all to see,” Jane said.
The map is almost a black and white patchwork quilt of Stratford town centre. It’s quirky, it contains caricatures and it takes the viewer on an concentric ride of illustration which sweeps over the Avon, around town streets and past historic buidlings. It resonates with a refreshingly welcome oasis of nostalgic pleasure and good old fashioned fun!
The method with which the artist moulds and blends your perception of the town alongside hers is quite thrilling. You are not disappointed with what you see, your expectations are raised and your memories of Stratford are matched with hers. In many ways the whole journey around the map of Stratford town centre is not unlike that first memorable ride at the town’s annual mop fair. It’s unforgettable and draws you back in for more.
As one would expect, there’s plenty of Shakespeare and lots of history in the map. Almost everything is included and thanks to Jane’s infinite attention to detail, even some of Stratford’s much loved shops and venues, which have long-since gone are also featured, like, Pargetters Bakery, the Web gift shop and the Old Picture House.
“It’s how I saw and grew up in this lovely town and I hope the map will create a living image for others as well. Just like Stratford—it’s there to be enjoyed,” Jane said.
It features, motor bikers on Waterside, Morris Men, Shakespeare, Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, the cattle market, The Dirty Duck, and even a couple of lovers on the Recreation Ground, virtually everything is depicted in this diligent collage of the town.
Perhaps the last words should be left to Stratford’s most famous son, Shakespeare, who once said, “ I like this place and willingly could spend time in it.” Could these words be interpreted as a premonition from the great man of what we feel for ‘this place’ right now?
The original of Jane’s map of Stratford is currently on display in the Montpellier Gallery, Chapel Street, Stratford, until the end of the month.