Abigail Borg

Abigail Borg is an artist who hand draws and designs intricate patterns for wallpapers, fabrics and interior accessories, and since this summer, is now a Digbeth resident.

I moved into a studio at The Custard Factory at the start of August, and really appreciate the creative, inspiring environment around me. Already I’ve got to meet lots of other designers, artists and people carving out their own creative path, which is something I really admire.

Abigail’s work is stocked all over the world, and one of her designs was awarded a British Design Award by Elle Decoration for ‘Best British Pattern Design’. Having had a look at her work, it’s no surprise really – I’d describe her style as timeless and elegant, taking cues from the natural world.

Alongside producing her own range of products, Abigail is also a freelance illustrator and pattern designer, and has a long list of distinguished clients, including Laura Ashley, Johnson & Johnson, Crabtree & Evelyn, Kew Gardens and Zizzi Restaurants.

Passionate about keeping the production and manufacture of her products as local as possible, since moving to the neighbourhood, Abigail has been in touch with a Digbeth-based social enterprise specialising in soft furnishings production. She also uses a talented seamstress on the same floor in the Custard Factory – and you can’t get much more local than that!

For more information about Abigail, and to see some of her designs, visit her website, or follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Digbeth Community Garden – October 2014 Newsletter

Plans for Digbeth

Birmingham City Council has made some important decisions regarding the future of Digbeth recently, with development plans for currently unused buildings being approved.

Harrison Drape

An application for the refurbishment, conversion and extension of the former Harrison Drape building on Bradford Street has been accepted. The new development will include a total of 313 residential dwellings, along with a retail opportunity.

If built, the developers will contribute £252,956 towards public realm improvements in Digbeth, such as improved street lighting, way finding and landscaping of public space. For more information about the development, click here to see the planning application, or here to see the plans for the site.

Ladbrooke House

Developers has initially hoped to turn Ladbrooke House on the corner of Bordesley Street and Meriden Street into a hotel. However, a new application now includes a banqueting suite in the basement, along with a four-storey, 51-bedroom hotel with a swimming pool, gym, spa and 25 parking spaces.

Click here to see the the planning application in full.

I for one hope that these projects do go ahead, as the redevelopment of fallow buildings (providing it is done sympathetically) can only benefit Digbeth. As far as we’re aware, plans have not yet been submitted for the recently cleared Connaught Sqaure site, but we will keep readers up to date with any changes.

Whittingham & Baché

When: Saturday 18th October, 20:00-02:00
Where: The Old Library, Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA

Whittingham & Baché are Maurice Whittingham and Stuart Baché – two designers who have recently joined forces to produce couture menswear.

Based in Birmingham, and having previously worked for Francesco Group, the pair are starting to make waves in the world of menswear having designed garments for Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell.

They hope to showcase an eclectic fusion of creativity, fashion, art, ceramics, dance live music and DJs at the launch of their autumn/winter 2015 catwalk collection, called Against the Grain, later this month at the Old Library.

For more information, see the invite below, visit the Whittingham & Baché website, or RSVP directly by email here.

Halloween at the Giant Screen

When: Friday 31 October, 19:00–23:50
Where: The Giant Screen at Millennium Point, Howe Street, B4 7AP
Tickets: from £10 (available online)

Halloween falls on a Friday this year, so why not spend it in a classic 80s style (and escape the trick or treaters) by hiding out in the cinema with a film double-bill?

The original Ghostbusters film celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, so the Giant Screen have decided to show the re-mastered 4K anniversary edition, immediately followed by Ghostbusters 2!

Revellers will be joined by The UK Ghostbusters, a costuming group, so if there is something strange in the neighbourhood on the night, you won’t need to call anyone, as they’ll be ready and waiting with their proton packs.

For more information and to procure yourself a ticket, click here to visit the Facebook event page.

Birmingham Police offer a stepping stone to brighter future

When: from Monday 20 October
Where: Digbeth Police Station, High Street, Digbeth

Young people aged 16−25 years, are being encouraged to sign up for a free 12-week Prince’s Trust course, which aims to improve their personal skills and job opportunities.

Starting on Monday 20 October, the recruits will be asked to identify an issue affecting our local community and plan how they can tackle it. Previous courses have seen videos on homelessness and knife crime in the city produced to great acclaim. But as important as these accolades are, participants also gain transferable skills, knowledge and confidence, not to mention a great addition to their CV.

By joining the course, the young people will also have an opportunity to work with Birmingham’s ‘Busking Bobby’ PC Ian Northcott, who has received numerous awards for his voluntary work, including one from Prime Minister David Cameron, along with being recognised at last week’s Pride of Birmingham Awards:

When we meet young people who are out of education or work, their stock answer is that there isn’t anything for them to do and few opportunities. We can empathise with this but at the same time we’d urge everyone to make the most of schemes like this that are on offer. I’d ask the city’s younger generation and their families to give the Prince’s Trust scheme some serious thought and join us as we look to make the end of this year and 2015 a time to remember.

For more information, and details on how to apply for the scheme, please visit the West Midlands Police website.

Adee Phelan brings Kong to Digbeth

Image: Elliot Brown

Where: The Old Bank, The Custard Factory, 1 Gibb St, Digbeth, B9 4AA

Award-winning hairdresser Adee Phelan has opened a brand new salon and photography studio at The Old Bank building at the Custard Factory. You surely will not have missed the arrival of a custard-yellow King Kong above the door!

Offering an extensive range of the services you would usually expect, the salon also caters for makeovers and photography sessions with industry experts.

Phelan himself is getting back to his roots, and will be back behind the chair cutting hair at the salon. He has an impressive client list, including Liza Minnelli, Piers Morgan, Tom Daley, and of course that Image of the Year-award winning mohawk he gave David Beckham before the World Cup in 2002.

To find out more or to book an appointment, call the salon on 0121 643 7921.

Rock ‘n’ Roll for Charity

When: Friday 3rd October, 19:30-late
Where: Irish Centre Birmingham, High Street Digbeth
Tickets: £9

Heart Research UK are holding a charity rock ‘n’ roll night at the Irish Centre this Friday.

Featuring Colin Paul and The Persuaders live on stage, a buffet, raffle, auction, and a DJ until the wee hours, it’s bound to be a good laugh, all in aid of a good cause.

For more information and to buy your tickets, see the flyer below, visit the Heart Research UK website or email midlands@heartresearch.org.uk.

Peaky Blinders at The Spotted Dog

When: Thursdays from 21:00
Where: The Spotted Dog, 104 Warwick Street, Digbeth, B12 0NH

Just in case you have forgotten, the second series of Peaky Blinders starts this evening!

To celebrate its return, Digbeth Residents Association invite all fans to come and watch the show with us on a big screen befitting the show’s cinematic style at The Spotted Dog.

Since our exclusive discovery that the pub is featured in this series – Aunt Pol goes there for a drink – it’s only right we chose it as our venue!

We will be at The Spotted Dog every Thursday, and the pub has even bought in some Peaky Blinders ale for the occasion. The friendly pub landlord, John Tighe, has even promised to put on some free food for Peaky Patrons so don’t miss it!

See you there at 9pm tonight!

Feeling Peaky at Alfie Bird’s

This week saw the launch of the brand new menu at Alfie Bird’s – but never fear, old favourites have made the cut and will be supplemented by a selection of delicious new dishes.

Rather fittingly, Alfie’s now stock Sadler’s Peaky Blinders Ale. Make sure to grab one this evening before heading over to the Spotted Dog at 21:00 to watch the first episode of the brand new series with Digbeth Residents Association!

The biggest change to the menu is the new brunch offering, served from 09:00-13:00 daily. Along with brunch, there is a new line-up of burgers and pizzas, including a brand new triangular (!) Balti Triangle pizza.

Keep an eye on the website for more information and updates, and make sure to follow Alfie’s on Facebook or Twitter for competitions and more.

Click for a larger image