Colourful windows shine a light on the lives of Peak District workers from a bygone era

The working lives of the people of Wirksworth will be illuminated on September 6 when windows depicting their professions are unveiled at the town’s library.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 3:46 pm
Wirksworth Windows will depict the working lives of people from the town

The library will be showing stories of working lives in Wirksworth using some amazing community artworks. They will be unveiled in time for the Wirksworth Festival Art and Architecture Trail.

Alderwasley School, Matlock Parenting Additional Needs support group, Wirksworth Federation of Infant Schools and Wirksworth Memory Café have created artwork for the ‘Wirksworth Windows’.

The brightly designed windows depict the town’s shops, shopkeepers, farming and quarrying. Well-known historic shops, current shopkeepers, quarryworkers, local produce and quotes about work feature in the windows.

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The artwork produced by the groups has been brought together by local artists Pitch Blue and will be printed as semi-transparent vinyl to be applied to eight of the library windows.

Like stained-glass windows, they will let the light shine through, providing colour inside the library as well as a colourful display outside when the library lights are on.

Library-based group Knit and Natter have produced knitted models of five shop fronts dating from the 1980s-1990s. They show the changes that can occur even over just a few years.

Café Sour Cow is shown when it was Blitz Records, Marsden’s Gifts when it was a music shop and Grant’s Estate Agents when it was a fabric shop. However, two shops have remained the same – Paynes the Chemist and the local newsagent.

These are the first results of New Opportunities Wirksworth’s Wirksworth Works project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project is finding out about and sharing the history of the town’s shops, shopkeepers, farming and food.

Project Officer Bill Bevan said “The Wirksworth Windows and knitted models show how today’s residents view their shop and farming heritage in exciting and vibrant ways.

“We are delighted that Wirksworth Library will provide the home for these artworks given its central place in the town’s community life.”The results of the research will also form a film, book, exhibitions, self-guided trails and an important historic archive.