Tapestry of River Irwell on display in Bacup on Saturday

Published October 26, 2018 at 15:37

A stunning tapestry has created a celebration of the River Irwell and left a lasting legacy of Bacup’s heritage work.

Each of the four pieces weaves together the story of the River Irwell with the history of the Bacup area.

Community Artist Ruth Evans was commissioned to hold a series of workshops to empower local people to create art work which she then combined into the panels.

The tapestry was first available for public viewing as part of Rossendale Art Trail when it was displayed at Globe Studios in Toll Bar Mill, Stacksteads.

Ruth said:

I started work on the tapestry before last Christmas and held workshops throughout. It has been a really successful project and I could have carried it on for longer.

People have claimed ownership of it and we had lots come to view it that first weekend and they were looking to see where their piece was.

There are bits of history, social and personal, local characters and it is fun. It is a celebration.

On Saturday October 27 it will be on show at an open day at the A, B and D Centre in Bacup.

In 2014 Rossendale Borough Council secured £2million of regeneration money for Bacup through the Heritage Lottery Townscape Heritage Initiative.

Shop fronts in Bacup town centre were renovated, public realm work is scheduled to be completed by the end of November and the tapestry was commissioned.

THI Project Manager Mhorag Saxon said:

The finished tapestry has surpassed everyone’s expectations and now forms part of the council collection ensuring it will be protected for people to enjoy forever.

Ruth has done an amazing job. It is a piece of social art for the local community to enjoy and have been a part of.

The colourful, three dimensional textile includes the renowned Britannia Coconut Dancers, turbines on the moors, dancing jam butties, gravy wrestlers and a beautiful tree created by Britannia Primary School pupils.

Each section tells a different story, from Weir, Bacup and Britannia, Stacksteads and then the final piece is Rossendale’s iconic terraced housing.

Mhorag added:

Ruth has a world-wide following on Instagram and so this tapestry is already world famous.

We will be displaying different sections in local places and we have had an offer to display the tapestry in its entirety at The Whitaker in Rawtenstall.

Wherever it is displayed, it will always be available to be put on show in the Bacup area.

Rossendale Council’s Acting Chair of the THI board Councillor Jackie Oakes said:

The tapestry is a fabulous reflection of the history of the areas and the contributions of so many local people are fantastic.

I felt quite emotional when I saw it for the first time. We’re determined to find permanent homes for the four pieces where residents can appreciate the effort involved and we welcome any suggestions for locations.

To inquire about displaying the tapestry contact Mhorag by email on: MhoragSaxon@rossendalebc.gov.uk

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