"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Big Sleuth Bears

Following the success in 2015 of the Birmingham Hooting Owls Trail, the city of Birmingham hosted this Summer "The Big Sleuth Trail" as a celebration of Birmingham. (Sleuth is the name for a group of bears). The Trail consisted of around 237 specially designed bears (100 large and 137 cubs) located around the city, Sutton Coldfield and Solihull. The Trail and auction at the end of summer raised funds for Birmingham Children's Hospital.

After the auction the large bears were put together at a location at Millennium Point where people could view them over the course of three days. We enjoyed a similar event of the Hooting Owls so much that D, E and I bought tickets for this one too. Sadly, I made the mistake of driving over to the venue at the last minute only to arrive and find the open air car park so close to the location was closed this time. Sheer panic ensued (the tickets are timed in hourly slots) especially when I managed to get totally lost in the area around the Bull Ring and Digbeth searching for another car park. I do believe I would still have been driving round the area a week later if my daughter hadn't been with us as she often goes into the city centre with B and was eventually able to get me out of the city centre and back to another car park at Millennium Point. Somehow managed to scrunch one of the car's alloys wheels on entering the car park (least said about that the better!!) and we arrived at the Big Sleuth Farewell event about 10 minutes late - so still plenty of time to look around!

Timothy wasn't going to be left behind and miss the chance of seeing so many of his relatives in one place!

As you can see it was very crowded and as everyone was trying to get photos of the bears it wasn't easy getting photos so there are people everywhere in the pictures. Sorry for the huge amount of photos although I promise you I didn't get photos of all 100 of the large bears!

"Spock Bear" loves Birmingham and will report back to the USS Enterprise and Star Fleet on what he finds in the city.

"Shakesbear" - a tribute to mark the recent 400th anniversary of William Shakesepeare's death.

"Honey Bear Honey Bottle"

"Dharma" - a peaceful and mindful bear.

"Grandpa Bear" - Inspired by the artist's grandfather who was always taking photos and drawing/painting and on birthdays and other special occasions used to draw a bear card for her grandma.

Timothy was in his element and thoroughly enjoying himself.

"Honey Bear"

"Bearingham" - the design is based on the Coat of Arms of the City.

"Jungle Jenny" is covered in pictures of animals of the jungle.

"Peabody" is a medieval name for a "showy dresser". This bear is disguised as a peacock to help it steal honey from bees.

"Get your Bearings" - the road marking designed was created by Tom Crotty who won Amey's "design a bear" competition.

"Buzz" A design inspired by the habitat of Sun Bears with tropical plants, fruits and flowers.

"Helarctos Malayanus" the design is inspired by Asia where sun bears live - it is decorated in a traditional Malaysian style.

"Dr Bear Brawn" represents the staff of Birmingham Children's Hospital and their pioneering work.

"Flower Bear" - the design includes flowers from the summer that encourage native birds and bees.

"Sunny" - this bear is "controlled" by the Cosmos with a sun in his heart and on his back.

"Enlightenment" - a bear inspired by exploration and conservation.

"The Bees Knees"

"Bearjing" - a Chinese dragon inspired bear.

"Bee My Honey" - this bear with bees, beehives and honey takes inspiration from the pyschedelic posters of the 1960's.

"Bearlock" - following the bears and sleuths theme this bear wears the coat and hat of one of Britain's most famous detectives (Sherlock Holmes)

"Wyrley McBear Face"

"Tiger Lily" - after years of tiger population decline tiger numbers are rising.The lilies are a symbol of peace.

"Mother Bear - inspired by the large variety of bear species.

" Hettie the Heritage Bear" - this bear celebrates Birmingham's Industrial Heritage e.g. canals, chain making, mining and glass blowing.

"Memoirs of Paradise"

"Peony Passion"

"X-Ray Ed" - the first x-ray taken for clinical use in the UK occurred in 1896 in Birmingham by a John Hall Edwards

"Bear it in mindfulness"

"Gas Street Basin Bear" inspired by the Gas Street Basin area of Birmingham (centre of canal network) and popular TV programme Peaky Blinders who were based in and around the basin.

"Well Active Bear"

Timothy not quite sure if he can believe all the bears he is seeing!

"Picnic Time for Teddy Bears" - based on the children's famous rhyme.

"Ghost Buster Bear"

As the hour was nearly up the event became a bit quieter as people left.

"Rosie - the design was inspired by narrow boats on Birmingham's canals.

"Just Wanna Bee your Teddy Bear" - a tribute to Elvis - "The King"

"Factory Bear" illustrates Birmingham's industrial past painted to resemble a factory under construction.

Timothy thrilled to see a little bear.

I was very tempted by these bears for sale - but wasn't sure if Timothy approved or not!

Time for us and Timothy to wave bye bye.

Re-development of Curzon Street Railway Station - although it is nice to see a railway station being renovated - in this case I am not so happy as it will be connected with the dreaded HS2 which is likely to have a devastating effect on wildlife in Warwickshire. It will effect ancient woodlands, important local wildlife sites, protected and priority species and may sever important wildlife corridors. The 250 year old Cubbington Pear Tree which was chosen as England's Tree of the year in 2015 is under threat from construction of the high speed rail.

"Don't Worry Bee Happy"

We popped into the Entrance Hall of the ThinkTank Museum where more bears were on display.

"Peaky Blinders"

"Wildlife Detective" out searching for wildlife in Birmingham and carrying binoculars, notebook, map and compass.

Mary Beary's Soggy Bottom

"Wild City" was one of my favourite bears. It shows that even in the most densely populated and industrial areas wildlife can be found.

"Brummie Bear" celebrates architecture of Birmingham such as St Martins in the Bullring and the Selfridges building.

Timothy the Intrepid was over the moon to find a bear with the same name! "Intrepid Bear" designed in honour of the famous Bear Gryllis.

Walking back to the car park

Finally, (if you are still with me!!) a few photos taken by D with the Canon SX50





Information on the bears taken from the Big Sleuth Souvenir Guide


Midmarsh John said...

Brilliant pieces of art work. A great way to attract visitors and make money for charity.
Lincoln had a similar event with mediaeval knights.

Pam said...

What a fun thing to visit (I won't comment on the driving issues beforehand..........) the bears look fantastic, I think I like Spock bear the best!

Ragged Robin said...

Midmarsh John - Thank you - it is such a brilliant idea and if my son and daughter were little again they would have liked going on the trail through the summer seeing how many they could find. The Medieval Knight event in Lincoln sounds good too :)

Pam - Thanks Pam - gosh I hate driving round Birmingham City Centre - all totally changed since they did the Bull Ring. Usually I only drive into the bit where the theatre and museum are!!! Glad you liked the bears :)

Rosie said...

So many bears, so little time! Glad you got to see them after the trials of parking. They are wonderful and I bet Timothy was in his element seeing so many other bears. We only saw the one little bear at the Lapworth Museum. It must have been wonderful to see them all together:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thank you - glad you liked them :) I'd only seen a couple before the event so it is good they give you the chance to see them all in one location! :)

amanda peters said...

They are so lovely and pleased you have photographed many of them for us to see. It would have been lovely if you could buy small ones to take home, they would sell well I think.
Lovely photos.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. I am surprised they didn't sell any small models - they did do a few for the moths. Have just checked Big Sleuth website shop and can't see any on there either.

Bovey Belle said...

Those are BRILLIANT and thank you for sharing so many photographs for us to enjoy. I did a double take on one of them though, as I was scrolling down and I got to Hettie the Heritage Bear, I saw the chains etc and my eyes said Hettie the BONDAGE Bear. Oh dear . . . I'll get my hat!!

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thank you so much - glad you were pleased there were so many photos as I did feel I had gone a trifle OTT! lol re: Hettie - and yes I can see why you would think that :)

Caroline Gill said...

Timothy apart, Buzzbear and Wild City Bear are my favourites. What a scary start but joyful event it must have been... We had pigs in Ipswich a couple of years ago!

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thanks so much. Pigs event sounds interesting :)