Blue Badge Guides find the most interesting places....
On: 20/02/2009 In: News

Where do the Experts go when they want to meet?

The Blue Badge holders of the Heart of England Tourist Guides Association always pick an interesting  location for their meetings, which have taken place over the years in such spots as the National Memorial Arboretum,  the ancient town of Ludlow, Lichfield for its Cathedral,  in the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford,  in the Bass Brewery Museum in Burton on Trent - we are anything but hide-bound in our choices. 

Thus we elected to hold our AGM of 2009 in the prestigeous location of the brand-new Severn Theatre in Shrewsbury - the first function to take place in the theatre's Conference Suite.   Situated on the very bank of the Severn,  just next to the Welsh Bridge,  this modern venue, recently opened, seemed a most suitable place & Shrewsbury was surely the best choice,  not only for its beauty & historic interest, but also as the birthplace of Charles Darwin in  his bicentenary year & the 150th anniversary of the publication of the controversial "On the Origin of Species". 

For 2010, the venue was the Old Grammar School in King's Norton, which readers will remember as the winner of the "Restoration" programme on TV a couple of years ago,  a magnificently refinished, timber-framed building of enormous interest.  This was a completely up-to-date choice - oddly, if you like, in an ancient structure - but the restoration had recently been completed & few of us had yet found the opportunity to visit it to see the work that had been carried out.  The work has been sensitively done,  without any attempt to hide or "blend in" any new components,  but highlighting the job done by the anonymous carpenters of the fifteenth century who pre-formed the skeleton of the little building with consummate skill.

The 2011 Meeting was held in the exciting precinct of the Transport Museum in Coventry.   The first car to Le Mans Bentleymeet the eye just inside is a fabulous 4 1/2 litre supercharged Bentley in gleaming black finish - what a gloriously evocative machine - but it is accompanied by a modernistic Le Mans contender in the shape of a recent Bentley entry in the most up-to-date format, &  with a superb British Racing Green livery!    Cars of all sorts are there for inspection or to bring back memories, pleasant or less pleasing!  There is even an example of the one I still own,   "a modern classic",  although I am not sure I want to be driving a museum piece....

So, for the next year's meeting,  where to?  In 2012, the Year of the Olympic Games in England,  what better place could we choose than the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock,  with its association with the concept of the modern Games?

Apart from the link with the Olympics,  this is a fascinating little town with an astonishing variety of fine half-timbered buildings,  an ancient Market hall & a nineteenth century Guildhall,  both still in use today.  The venerable Raven Hotel was the site for the meeting & for a superb lunch.

What will we come up with for 2013, I wonder?   It will certainly be different, exciting & informative - of course!


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