Celebrating Courtaulds

Pictures: Richard (Dick) Nuttall
Pictures: Richard (Dick) Nuttall
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A series of exhibitions, workshops and community singing will tell tale of an iconic Preston firm

A series of events is being launched in Fishwick and St Matthew’s to collect memories and celebrate the heritage of this world famous institution, which stood on the site of what is now Red Scar Business Park.

Colours of the World: Made in Preston was inspired by the glorious colours of the artificial silks (rayon fibres) made by Courtaulds, and the rich fund of living history and personal stories of the many thousands of people who worked there since it opened in 1939. Many of these stories have never been collected or shared, yet they form a key part of Preston’s history.

Working with writer Alison Boyle, co-author with her father of From Pakistan to Preston, Dovetail has organised a series of free events, to collect further memories, share histories and stories to celebrate the Courtaulds name and legacy – which took Preston into the global market until its closure in 1980.

Co-founder of Dovetail, Frankie Mullen, said:“We have been working in Preston for over five years and are delighted to be leading this project about an institution which touched so many people here – whether they be one of the thousands who worked there or knew someone who did.

“Courtaulds laid the foundations of the vibrant mixed community we see in the area today, utilising the talents, hard work and experience of a wide range of people – and bringing them together in one workplace.

“The materials they produced were astonishingly beautiful and successful.

“We feel this is something to celebrate and we hope lots of people from the area and beyond will join us to explore and celebrate this heritage.”

The project launches on Saturday, 2-4pm at the St Matthew’s Mission in Fishwick and St Matthew’s.

Colours of the World: Made in Preston is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is one of a series of projects led by Dovetail, the agency which created the Preston People Panorama project for the 2012 Guild, which was shown at The Museum of Lancashire.

The events (all free, suitable for all ages, refreshments provided, no need to book) are as follows:

Collecting Memories: an introduction to Courtaulds Saturday, May 17, 2-4pm at St Matthew’s Mission (free)

Courtaulds & Preston’s Gujarat Hindu Society Tuesday, May 27, 6-8.30pm at Preston Gujarat Hindu Society & Community Centre, an event to explore the society’s own intertwined history with Courtaulds and the legacy of many of the South Asian families that moved to the area.

Singing for your Community is on Wednesdays, June 4 and 11, 6.30-8.30pm at St Matthew’s Mission, two workshops with singer-songwriter Claire Mooney. All ages welcome, no experience needed.

On Saturday, June 21, 2-4pm Celebrating Courtaulds will bring together the songs created with Claire, displays of artwork by local children and an exhibition of archive material collected through the project.