Express & Star

Week of heritage events a huge success

A week of local heritage events in the Black Country came to a successful conclusion at the weekend.

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DUDLEY COPYRIGHT TIM STURGESS EXPRESS AND STAR 12/09/2023 A Black Country market is celebrating its 100th anniversary next month with two special events..Brierley Hill Market will mark its centenary with two days of singing and dancing at its High Street venue. Pictured, singer songwriter Dan Woodhouse with his guitar and the Brierley Hill songwriters entertain shoppers..

Sunday's finalè of events capped a busy week of heritage and culture projects in Brierley Hill.

With large attendances throughout the week, it started last Sunday the Civic Hall, with the 'These People, This Place ' exhibition, where four art sculptures took centre stage at the start and the 100 Faces of Brierley Hill exhibition.

Other events saw St Michael's Church host Teddy parachuting, handbell ringing and graveyard walks and harp recitals at St Mary's Church.

The sculptures on display at Brierley Hill Civic
One of the parachuting Teddies at St Michael's Church

Other events were held at the Market Hall, where singer/songwriter Dan Whitehouse performed songs from The Brierley Hill Songbook, Harry's Cafe, The Storehouse/Faithful Coffee Lounge and one off public tours of the old library and arts institute on Moor Street.

One of the organisers, Julie Bate, said: "It has been a wonderful display of our local heritage and testament to the people of Brierley Hill for making it such a success. I've loved making a glass display for a project, had a fab time bell ringing, listening to a harp and an organ recital. Congratulations to all.

Jayne Pilkington and the Dudley Council Heritage Action Zone team funded by Historic England, organised access to the old library building. She said, "Huge thanks to everyone who came along, from little children filled with wonder, to enthusiastic grandparents poring out their own stories and memories of this historic and beautiful building. We had well over 200 visitors, everyone seemed to really enjoy the opportunity to look inside."

Frank Chamberlain and Tim Sunter who helped coordinate some of the events with Brierley Hill Community Forum and the network of local volunteers were astonished at this year's turnout. Frank said he saw people moved to tears at the harp music and the parachuting teddy event.

"Everyone got caught up in the joy of the children's happy voices shouting out as their favourite teddies floated down to them at St Michael's. At St Mary's one lady told me she wept after hearing the harp coming from another room and being dragged towards it by the beautiful notes and harmonies that really touched her."

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