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Wanted – memories of Warrington’s wire industries

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PEOPLE with a story to tell about Warrington’s proud wire heritage are needed to be part of a new cultural and heritage project.
Council chiefs and Culture Warrington are looking for people with personal or family history connections with the town’s wire industries, past and present to be help with “The Wire Factory.”
The council has been awarded funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for the project which will research the stories of Warrington’s wire industries from the 18th and 19th centuries, up to the present day.
Focusing on collecting oral histories and engaging a vast range of new audiences, the project aims to spark renewed interest in Warrington’s industrial past among communities throughout the borough.
Local people are being invited to get involved, by sharing their stories, memories, photos, documents and artefacts.
There are several ways for people to do this:
• By attending a special a drop-in session at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery (the WREN Gallery), on Saturday, February 22, at any time between 11am and 3pm. The team will be on hand to meet visitors, and tea and coffee will be available.
• By dropping in to Warrington Museum’s Object Enquiry Service, any Wednesday afternoon between 2pm and 4pm and asking to speak to the collections team.
• By emailing heritageprojects@warrington.gov.uk to tell their stories, or to let the council know they have something to share – the council can arrange for any items to be collected at a future date.
Any documents or photos that people would rather hold on to can, with the owners’ permission, be scanned at the museum.
The council’s cabinet member responsible for culture, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “This is a really important heritage project, which will provide a fascinating insight into Warrington’s past, and the part the wire industry played in shaping our town today. We need the help of local people to tell these stories.
“As part of the project, a team of trained volunteers will be conducting interviews to collect these important parts of our history, and it will all be recorded as part of Warrington Museum’s permanent archives. Have you or a family member worked in Warrington’s wire industry? Do you have an interesting story, memory, photograph or item to share? If so, we want to hear from you!”
The council has secured a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £45,300 for The Wire Factory project.
The project will take place between now and September, celebrating the legacy left by the wire industry, which dominated Warrington’s employment structure for more than100 years in the 18th and 19th centuries, putting the town at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution.
Local creative practitioners will be supporting community members to re-explore the past, and present their stories in engaging, contemporary ways.
The project will culminate with a special exhibition in the town centre during the Heritage Open Weekends in September, but there will be many opportunities to get involved before then. The full programme for The Wire Factory, along with a dedicated web page, is currently being finalised, and further details will be released in the near future.
For more information about the project,  visit warrington.gov.uk/wirestories, or email heritageprojects@warrington.gov.uk

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