Half a century of Memorial Hall memories to be captured before curtain falls for final time
Northwich residents are being invited to take a trip down memory lane for an exciting project to record the colourful 52-year history of the Memorial Hall.
The ‘COLLECT’ memory capture project aims to create a lasting legacy of the building that has served as the town’s cultural hub since 1960, ahead of its closure next year.
An appeal is now going out to the community to help uncover its rich history and associated personal stories so these can be recorded for future generations.
Led by lead artist for Northwich Katayoun Dowlatshahi on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council, the project aims to gather spoken and written recollections spanning all eras of the Memorial Hall’s history.
Organisers are also appealing for items of memorabilia such as Super 8 films, posters, tickets, photos, records and clothing that can either be loaned or donated to the project.
People can record their memories and drop off memorabilia at a series of ‘collection dates’ taking place during December and January at the Memorial Hall, Northwich Library and Weaver Hall Museum.
Councillor Gaynor Sinar, who is involved with the project, said: “The Memorial Hall has a rich heritage, having hosted many celebrated performers over the years -from The Beatles and Dusty Springfield to Cilla Black and Lulu – and launching the career of countless other acts.
“But perhaps its most important role is the one it has played in the day to day lives of Northwich residents over the last half century.
“Virtually everyone will, I am sure, have enjoyed a performance, attended a special event or joined one of the regular activities such as dancing and indoor bowling.
“This is why it is so important that we capture these memories and produce a lasting legacy before the curtain falls on the Memorial Hall for the final time.”
Partners involved in the project include DAN Community Ltd (Development Arts Northwich), Cheshire Dance, Weaver Hall Museum, Brio Leisure and Mid Cheshire College, whose students will be producing a documentary about the Memorial Hall within the context of the regeneration in Northwich.
One of the project aims is to produce a legacy artwork, conceived by artist Katayoun, which will be directly informed by collected memories and artefacts.
The artwork will take pride of place in Memorial Court, the new entertainment and leisure venue being delivered by Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Weaver Valley Partnership that will occupy the Memorial Hall site.
The project will also contribute to a dance and performing arts spectacular planned for March 2, 2013, titled COLLECT LIVE: a Community Promenade Dance Event.
The event will be led by Cheshire Dance and is expected to involve schools, colleges, brass bands, youth music and performing arts groups.
The collection days, which will be led by Northwich artists Beth Barlow and Simon Kennedy, are as follows:
- Friday December 7 – Memorial Hall 7-10pm (targeting Unforgettable – 1950′s & 1960s music
- Saturday December 8 – Memorial Hall 7-9pm (targeting The Morg, Northern Soul and Motown)
- Friday December 14 – Northwich Library 2-6pm
- Saturday December 22 – Memorial 8-11pm (targeting Come Dancing)
- Saturday January 5 – Northwich Library 9am – 1pm
- Friday January 18 – Northwich Library 2-6pm
- Thursday January 24 – Weaver Hall Museum 10am – 2pm and Memorial Hall 7-9pm (to be confirmed) (targeting Barnton Variety Workshop)
- Friday January 25 – Memorial Hall 7-9pm (to be confirmed) (targeting Barnton Variety Workshop)
- Thursday January 31 – Weaver Hall Museum 10am – 2pm
In addition to the collection days, interactive displays for collecting memories and a museum cabinet labelled “The Museum of Memorial Hall Curiosities” will be sited at the Memorial Hall, Library and Weaver Hall Museum.
People will be encouraged to loan or donate objects of memorabilia to be placed in the cabinets between the beginning of December and the end of February.
The Weaver Hall Museum is also hosting two coffee afternoons for the Royal British Legion where ex-services personnel can record their recollections, drop of memorabilia and be interviewed by students from Mid Cheshire College for the documentary.
These will take place at the Weaver Hall Museum on Thursday, January 24 and Thursday, January 31.
And in February, the Weaver Hall Museum will host three public film screenings of several short films from the North West Film Archive taken in Northwich from 1938-1967. Details will be available nearer to the time.
Alternatively, people will be able to submit information online via a dedicated blog site and Facebook page for the project, which will be active from December 7.