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Stranger Things

At this time of year for the last 6 years there has been a different type of Art Exhibition at Bear Steps Hall Art Gallery.

The exhibition was designed and curated by gallery manager Dave Lupine. He says “my intention was to create something ‘out of the ordinary’ to our usual more established exhibition. The exhibition brings together a collective of artists who share a similar mindset: individuals who have extraordinary imagination with the ability to create a fantasy world.”

The exhibition has grown over the years with works by three artists in the first year, growing to seven contributors the next year. It has grown in reputation and volume as the years have gone by. This year’s event has many different artists showing their talented approaches to this subject.

Bibbs Tomaszewski, a member of Shrewsbury Civic Society, said “ As the years have passed this exhibition has become a special event for the major avant-garde  artists in Shrewsbury. The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of what happens next in Art and therefore is a must see exhibition.”

Reuben Amarna, Reg Cooper, Eric Coyle, Joseph Coyle, Dave Fletcher, Mike Hatch, Dave Lupine, Yuliya Lupine, Alberto Pitalua are involved, and it also features contributions from Mike Wilcox, Dave Higgins, Matthew Heap, Sam Brett-Atkin, Cat Elston, Neil Webber and Phil Evans.

Monday, October 15th, (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) is the opening day for Stranger Things, and the exhibition will close on Saturday 27th October. Contact David Lupine: Email –

Plaque to be unveiled

On Thursday, 1st November, 2018, a plaque will be unveiled on the wall of Priory House, which is now part of the Shrewsbury Colleges Group, Welsh Bridge Campus

This plaque will commemorate the stained-glass artist, Margaret Agnes Rope, who was born in Shrewsbury in 1882. She designed windows for over sixty churches across the world, and her work is now held in prestigious museums, such as the New York Metropolitan Museum

This project has been organised under the auspices of Shrewsbury Civic Society, with input from the Margaret Rope Appreciation Group and Shrewsbury College itself. Two members of the Civic Society – Bibbs Cameron and Mark Stewart – have been instrumental in driving the project forward

Although Shrewsbury Civic Society has awarded plaques in the past to acknowledge architectural achievement, this is the first time it will have been involved in a project acknowledging an individual. Bibbs, who is a former vice-chairman of the society, said: “In the year of the centenary of the vote being granted to women, it’s fitting to celebrate the work and creativity of an inspiring Shrewsbury woman whose accomplishments have been too often forgotten”

Although the plaque is being installed on a wall inside the grounds of Shrewsbury College, it will be sited in such a way that it can be seen by the public as they walk on the adjacent river-path

Priory House, then known as The Priory, was home to the Rope family from 1901. Although Margaret set up a studio-base for herself in London from 1911, she never took up permanent residence in the city and was always ‘returning home’

After 1921, she was drawn to the religious life, entering a nunnery in 1923. It was an ‘enclosed’ convent, so she never saw Shrewsbury again. However, she continued to work at her craft from within the convent walls until the late 1930s. Her mother continued to live at Priory House until the 1950s

Seven of Margaret’s greatest windows can be seen in Shrewsbury Cathedral, 500 yards from Pri0ry House. She used the large kitchen table at the house as a work-bench on which to make the designs for the cathedral’s Great West Window

The plaque project comes just two years after the ‘Heavenly Lights’ exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum, which profiled the life and work of Margaret Rope

Shrewsbury Civic Society expresses its thanks for the financial grants to the project, supplied by Town Councillor Nathaniel Green, the Rope Family Charitable Trust and the Margaret Rope Appreciation Group. Is also expresses profound thanks to the estates-staff of Shrewsbury College, who made the project possible

Information provided by Mark Stewart

New Plan for the Stew – 14 August 2018

Another plan has been put forward for the Stew.

This one is an update posted on the previous application’s validation number (17/05538/FUL) so it is important to disassociate previous documents and comments.

Shrewsbury Civic Society feels this new plan is better than previous ones but reserves making overall comments until more information is known. It is noted that Shrewsbury Town Councillors are objecting to this scheme as it does not address their previous requests. It is also noted that Historic England says that the plan is better but still overwhelming. They insist that evidence is needed to justify such a large extension. A rigorous Viability Report has not been submitted.

The Civic Society has previously pointed out that Shrewsbury and its heritage buildings should not be undermined by past financial errors, nor by the lack of consideration of less intrusive schemes.

Shrewsbury Growing Forward


Shrewsbury Growing Forward exceeded all expectations with attendees from many different interest groups attending.

Shrewsbury’s Mayor Jane Mackenzie gave an introduction to the meeting, welcoming the panelists and Chairman for the day Mike Carter.

The Panelists consisted of :

Cllr Nic Laurens Shropshire Council Cabinet Member and Portfolio holder for investment and Economic growth

Ian Kilby Planning Development Manager of the LPA

Robin Mager Shropshire Wildlife Trust Planning Officer

Charles Green CPRE

David Ward Ex Government Planning Inspector

Peter Gilbert Sustainable Transport Shropshire


Each gave an evaluation of their particular area of expertise on Shrewsbury Growing Forward.

After refreshments the audience then divided into 6 discussion groups to formulate ideas on development priorities.

We then resembled for feedback from the various groups with questions for the panelists mostly answered by Ian and Nic who gave very comprehensive answers.

By the end of the day our attendees went away knowing more about the growth in Shrewsbury they had had the opportunity to share their views and identify key aspects of ‘Sustainable’ neighbourhoods.

Shrewsbury Civic Society Awards 2018 Entry Form

SCS Building Awards 2018

Shrewsbury Civic Society (SCS) Building Awards are for buildings in Shrewsbury which are considered to make a positive contribution to the built environment of the Town. The last Awards were made in 2016 and this year is to be the next time that the buildings of Shrewsbury are to be considered. There are four categories for the Awards:- 1. New built buildings. 2.Renovated or refurbished buildings. 3. Shop fronts, new or refurbished. For 2018 to celebrate 50 years since SCS first started work on the Bear Steps Restoration another category has been added for this year only: 4. The most outstanding new building or substantial renovation, of the last 50 years. The Awards are for buildings, or shopfronts, which have been completed between 14th September 2016 and the closing date 14th September 2018. The exception is for the building which is the most outstanding since 1968 where the obvious start date is as it says ‘1968’. Anybody can enter a building for an Award. You don’t have to be a member of SCS. You don’t have to own the building. Entries are welcome from Owners, Occupiers, Builders, Developers, Architects, SCS Members, other organisations and from anybody interested in the built environment of Shrewsbury. There is an entry form available at Bear Steps, on the SCS Website and in the Newsletter but you can just submit the name of the building and the category and we will do the rest. Just email, 01743 344994, drop in at Bear Steps or write to Building Awards, Shrewsbury Civic Society, Bear Steps, Shrewsbury, SY1 1UH. The more people who participate the more we can promote the quality buildings of Shrewsbury. Anyone can make more than one entry and SCS would like to see a wide range of buildings to be considered for the Awards. The closing date for entries is 14th September 2018 and entries are already being made. The Awards will be announced at a ceremony at Bear Steps on Friday 19th October at 12.30pm which will be open to the public. SCS wants to recognise the excellent buildings of Shrewsbury. They give builders of the future something to aspire to. SCS wants the people involved in building to know that buildings which deserve to be recognised will receive a positive accolade. Please do participate.

The Nash Glass Roof: Attingham Hall: photograph by Richard Bishop

The Nash Glass Roof: Attingham Hall: photograph by Richard Bishop

Mayors forum

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‘Young Darwin and Shrewsbury’ opened by Mayor Jane Mackenzie Monday February 20th 2018.

‘Young Darwin and Shrewsbury’ opened by Mayor Jane Mackenzie  Monday February 20th 2018.
The Mayor is working to have Charles Darwin’s home saved as the lease come up for renewal, she spent some time viewing the exhibition and said, “ This is a comprehensive look at Charles Darwin’s childhood and as life a young adult in Shrewsbury, from his birth at The Mount to his return from 5 year’s on The Beagle.
Byron Grainger Jones commented “This exhibition comes at a very appropriate time with news of The Mount possibly becoming available in the near future.
Anyone interested in young Darwin and his connection with Shrewsbury should come along and take a look.”
Young Darwin and Shrewsbury can be found upstairs in Bear Steps Hall the meeting room of Shrewsbury Civic Society, it gives a good introduction to the young Charles Darwin’s life in Shrewsbury. His young days at home at The Mount where he was born in1809, his love of the land surrounding his house covering his education in Shrewsbury School which left him with lifetime memories and goes on to explain how he got his chance to go on a voyage of a lifetime, on The Beagle returning to Shrewsbury 5 years later with many note books of research. Bibbs Cameron Vice Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society said, “Many people attending the preview of the Exhibition from different parts of the country and abroad, have said the exhibit is very informative regarding his early life, they were not aware that his love of the natural world was nurtured in Shrewsbury also that The Mount his birthplace and home would make an excellent place to open to the public.”
Mayor Jane Mackenzie opening Young Darwin and Shrewsbury

Mayor Jane Mackenzie opening Young Darwin and Shrewsbury

Mayor Jane Mackenzie. Byron Grainger Jones Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society Mark Scutt Member Shrewsbury Civic Society

Mayor Jane Mackenzie.
Byron Grainger Jones Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society
Mark Scutt Member Shrewsbury Civic Society


Bibbs Cameron V Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society  David Lupine Art Gallery Manager Mayor Jane Mackenzie

Bibbs Cameron V Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society
David Lupine Art Gallery Manager
Mayor Jane Mackenzie


Forum – Shrewsbury Growing Forward: Urban Sprawl or sustainable development. April 28th 1pm.

“Shrewsbury Growing Forward: Urban Sprawl or sustainable development”. An Open Forum Meeting to share views.

Shrewsbury’s Mayor, Cllr Jane Mackenzie, and the Civic Society want to consider how the town might accommodate some 8000 new dwellings and maintain high quality of environment and living. This Forum will briefly hear from a number of experts on different aspects of Shrewsbury’s growth and then collect views from discussion groups. These may suggest working towards outcomes, which could complement the Big Town Plan.
Please come to hear the issues and give your views on Saturday April 28th 1pm – 5pm Room 020 The Guildhall (UCS) Shrewsbury. It’s a chance to have a say!
While this Forum is free, it is helpful to have an advance ticket from or from the Bear Steps.

Stew Update February 2018 Mike Carter

Shrewsbury Civic Society has added to its objection to the application concerning the Stew

We re-iterate the urgent need for a sensible and sympathetic re-use of the building. However, we note that Historic England (HE), the nation’s inspectorate of heritage and buildings, has objected very strongly:

HE objections are that:

the proposals would cause harm to this heritage asset and the Special Character of Area of the Conservation area;

the current proposals are contrary to the 1990 Act and the NPPF;

an additional storey of development would have a highly detrimental impact;

if there has to be an extension, it should complement and be informed by the architecture of the existing building.

HE would encourage addressing the highway-dominated setting…. and…enhance the relationship with the river.

The Civic Society completely agrees and adds that the most recent design for the building’s development, does not comply with these points. As SAVE says, “It would cause significant harm to the building’s integrity and historic character, as well as harm to the Conservation Area.” The latest design, with changes to the windows and removal of the door, fails to grasp the distinctive qualities of the Queen Anne facade. Rather than elucidating the individuality of the building, it has rendered it unintelligible. Consequently, we are gratified to hear that this drawing is to be re-considered.