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Stoke heritage under the spotlight with series of cultural events

Published: Thursday, 28th September 2023

Visitors to Stoke town centre will get the chance to see heritage ‘in action’ this weekend with a series of cultural activities.

The two-day Hi! Stoke Festival, which has been organised as part of the Stoke High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme, is taking place around the town on Friday 29 September and Saturday 30 September.

Organised by various local art groups, the free festival will include a range of hands-on activities. On Friday, Spode Rose Garden is hosting an Autumn Tidy Up between 10am and 2pm, B Arts will be hosting a podcasting workshop at Stoke Indoor Market between 11am and 3pm and there will be a 'moth watch' event at Stoke Minster between 6.30pm and 7.30pm. 

Activities will continue throughout the day on Saturday with a plant label workshop and a symbolic performance at Spode Rose Garden.

Over at Spode Museum, there will be a clay workshop with Cath Ralph, a talk about Victorian costumes with Lucy McConnell, a Victorian photobooth, Turkish tea tasting and a badge making workshop.

There will also be a 'moth making' workshop at Stoke Minster and B Arts’ podcasting workshop at Stoke Indoor Market between 11am and 3pm.

Separate to the festival, visitors to the town will also get the chance to see the latest WOW installation - the first stage of a visual art trail which is being created around the town to celebrate different aspects of Stoke’s heritage.

Two vinyl illustrations, celebrating Stoke Market and Stoke Library, have already been installed on windows in Church Street and Campbell Place and work is now underway at 23-29 Glebe Street (formerly Harry’s Bar) on the new ‘Stoke Town Stories’ mural which will feature references to Minton, Spode and many more.

All of the installations will form the final art trail which is expected to be completed by early 2024.

Elsewhere, Spode Museum is playing host to two new exhibitions – UNION and Mad in Stoke: Riot here riot now – which are running until November 5.

Councillor Duncan Walker, cabinet member for planning, climate change and regeneration, said: “All of the events which are happening in Stoke town will celebrate our heritage and help to highlight everything that has been achieved so far through the Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) programme.

“Over the last four years, the programme has helped to deliver dozens of community projects and fund vital repairs to some key buildings in Stoke.”

The Stoke High Street Heritage Action Zone is a £3.9 million heritage and regeneration project which is being delivered in Stoke town in partnership with Heritage England.

The four-year project, which is now in its final year, aims to restore the urban fabric of the town by working with property owners to repair heritage buildings and bring vacant sites back into use.

Since 2020, it has already helped to fund the repairs and restoration of more than a dozen buildings in Stoke town including Stoke Library, Stoke Market and the Spode Museum as well as properties in Glebe Street, Church Street and Campbell Place.

It has also supported various community projects in the town, as well as business outreach sessions, public workshops, a heritage art trail and other ad-hoc heritage activities.

Rebecca Frankenburg, from B Arts, said: “We have been working with local residents to creatively explore the rich and, sometimes surprising, heritage of Stoke town and are excited to invite everyone to come and share in the programme of heritage events.”

For more information about the events happening in Stoke Town, visit: www.b-arts.org.uk/hi-stoke-town