River of Life memorial

Heritage Lottery Fund grant will bring history to life in Warrington

March 17, 2014 | Nick Taylor

Warrington Borough Council is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage One grant, it was announced today (17th March 2014).

This exciting project, Our Past, Our Present Our Future which is being led by the council in conjunction with Culture Warrington, has been given £9,800 to help fund the creation of three linked digital resources to enable schools and the wider community to learn more about Warrington’s rich history in particular the story of Bridge Street and other key heritage sites.

This project is linked to the commemorative event held in March 2013 to mark the 20th anniversary of the IRA bombing of Warrington and subsequent art projects that are taking place across 20 schools.

Sharing Heritage is a new funding programme to help people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area.

The project focuses on Warrington’s historic town centre and notably Grade II listed Bridge Street which has played a major part in Warrington’s history for more than 800 years.

There are three main strands:

* A web based virtual library of downloadable resources, documents and people’s memories of the area showing change through time

* The Guardian Game will take players on a virtual walk through time to rescue the Guardians who have disappeared from Market Gate

* ‘Augmented reality application’ to be downloaded from the web or on location via a smartphone

Schoolchildren will visit key locations, take pictures, search the Warrington Museum archives, study medieval artefacts and maps to enable them to gather all the information that is needed to create the digital resources.

Cllr Mike Hannon, deputy leader, said: “We can’t wait to get started on this digital initiative, which is all part of a wider project to create a legacy of the 2013 commemoration by engaging a wider audience in understanding the historic streetscape and its hidden history.

“Warrington is peppered with a rich and varied history for example did you know that Bridge Street links us medieval times, Shakespeare and the English Civil War! There are so many interesting stories and facts to learn about our town as well as understanding and appreciating events including the 1993 IRA bombing which shape both our history and our future. I look forward to the introduction of these resources and people finding out more about our great town.”

Sarah Hilton, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that Our Past Our Present Our Future can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.”

Maureen Banner, Chair of Culture Warrington said: “I’m delighted that Culture Warrington will be working with young people to help everyone discover the town’s heritage. I’m very passionate about Warrington’s rich history and proud that through the Museum and Archive collections we have fantastic resources to tell these fascinating stories. I’m also delighted that this project involves young people in caring for the heritage of their town and also that their ideas will be shared through new digital media which make history come alive for current generations”.

For more information about Warrington Borough Council visit www.warrington.gov.uk

For more information about Culture Warrington visit www.culturewarrington.org.uk

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with £5.5bn across the UK www.hlf.org.uk

Sharing Heritage

Sharing Heritage is for any not-for-profit group wanting to explore their community’s heritage. With a commitment from HLF of £3m each year, Sharing Heritage grants between £3,000 and £10,000 are now available to groups who want to discover their local heritage.

Projects can cover a wide spectrum of subject matter from exploring local archaeology and a community’s cultures and traditions to identifying and recording local wildlife and protecting the surrounding environment to managing and training volunteers, and holding festivals and events to commemorate the past.