Lidice Campaign Must Live Long In Stoke-on-Trent

One Monday evening, March 7th, Stoke-on-Trent witnessed regeneration in action at a landmark prizegiving event at The Victoria Hall, Hanley.

The pilot,inaugural, UK stage of the Lidice International Children’s Art Competition was a great success. 38 prizes, 10 winners and 28 merit awards, were presented to delighted children from across this city.

The children, after receiving a presentation on the topic, had produced artwork in celebration of the work of Sir Barnett Stross and the workers of Stoke-on-Trent in
rebuilding Lidice, the Czech village wiped out by the Nazis in 1942.

Around 400 inspired pieces were exhibited in all, definitely a fitting tribute to a story anyone with an interest in Stoke-on-Trent can take justifiable pride.

Broadcast simultaneously was the BBC’s Inside Out programme, narrated by Nick Hancock, explaining, in depth, the relationship between Stoke-on-Trent and Lidice, and the man Sir Barnett Stross – a man never appeared in the list of “Citizen of the Century” nominees nor currently mentioned once in The Potteries Museum.

Hopefully, this programme has done much to spread the
inspirational message further round the Midlands region and has helped fill in the generational gap of the many, many tens of thousands of Stoke-on-Trent born adults who’ve completely missed out on this story.

Stoke-on-Trent is the home of the “Lidice Shall Live” campaign. The people of Lidice feel with passion that the people of Stoke-on-Trent should be a part of their lives.

Barnett Stross and our working ancestors have presented
Stoke-on-Trent with a powerful promotional legacy. If we are wise enough to grab the opportunity with the full commitment it deserves and promote our links in exciting and imaginative ways this legacy can do much to change, for
the better, the way Stoke-on-Trent is perceived. It can help raise its profile, which can only be a good thing when attracting public & private sector investment and visitors.

Continuation of the project in schools will
ensure Stoke-on-Trent’s rightful place as the UK hub for the International Art Competition, do much to raise aspirations and send out a strong anti rascist message.

Most people agree that Stoke-on-Trent’s generated some amazing people and is responsible for some remarkable feats. Unfortunately, it’s seldomly presented to the outside world or its own young people.

The Lidice “story” is one of the great examples of a city’s people joined together in a common, courageous, selfless cause. It’s an impressive story that must be told.

Finally, it’s ironic that while much of the heritage around us disappears, we unlock a potentially priceless gift from the working class people of 70 years
ago and Sir Barnett Stross, a “great” but, sadly, formerly unknown man.

Let’s not waste this opportunity.

Plans To Rejuvenate City Centre Streets Go On Display

Early proposals for a revitalised city centre design are going on display for the first time in a bid to gauge public opinion.

Ideas for improvements to city centre streets and public spaces will be on display from Thursday 17 March with a series of roadshows in Tontine Square on 22 and 23 March.

The designs, which have been drawn up by the city council’s in-house design team, show how areas such as Tontine Square, Crown Bank and can be revitalised to create an improved, functional and attractive space for visitors and residents to enjoy.

“The city centre is currently undergoing major regeneration with schemes such as the new bus station, Central Business District, Mitchell Memorial Theatre and East West Centre redevelopment all moving forward. The public realm improvements will help to complement the major schemes by creating a mixture of new public spaces which create an inviting atmosphere for shoppers and visitors.”

Key priorities have been identified for the project to complement work on the city’s major regeneration schemes such as the new bus station, East West Centre redevelopment and Central Business District.

Areas that have been identified for investment include Tontine Street, Percy Street, Fountain Square, Upper Market Square, Crown Bank, Market Lane and Albion Square.

The first phase of work, which is due to take place in the next financial year, will focus on Tontine Street and Percy Street.

The consultation will give local people the chance to comment on initial designs for the area. Plans will be online at www.stoke.gov.uk/citycentreconsultation , on public display in The Indoor Market, The Potteries Museum and The Regent Theatre and at the roadshows in Tontine Square on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 March between 10am and 4pm. Comments can be received up until 31 March.

Once the comments have been received a final design is expected to be drawn up for the first phase of works by the end of July.

Glittering gold shows full glamour of Staffordshire Hoard, one year on from its discovery

Glittering images of the most valuable treasure find ever discovered are today (Friday) being revealed for the first time ““ one year after it was first unearthed.

Mud encrusted gold crosses, garneted sword pommels and intricately designed helmet fragments dating back to the seventh century were found buried in a farmers field as part of the 3,500-piece Staffordshire Hoard.

The £3.3million collection, a completely unparalleled haul of gold and silver Anglo-Saxon military artefacts, was declared treasure on September 24, 2009.

Since then, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Birmingham City Council, which jointly acquired the treasure, have begun the delicate process of researching and conserving the hoard ““ including cleaning some of the most significant artefacts, to dramatic effect.

And plans are being put in place for the hoard to go on display in the heartland of ancient Mercia ““ Lichfield, Tamworth and Stafford, the county town of Staffordshire. This will be a precursor to the Mercian Trail, which will see Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Lichfield, Staffordshire and Tamworth display the Hoard, taking people on a voyage of discovery, and revealing the wealth of stories behind the gold.

“The world marvelled at the quantity and quality of this breath-taking collection when it was first discovered, and the detailed conservation and research work taking place will wow people again.

“The pectoral cross ““ one of the signature items of the collection ““ has been partially cleaned and looks incredibly beautiful, and to mark the first anniversary of the find, we are now showing this item along with 21 artefacts that have never been seen before at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, in Stoke-on-Trent.”

Conservation work on the treasure will see garneted artefacts sent to the Louvre Museum in Paris in November for analysis, to help determine the origins of the jewels and when they were made.

“It is extraordinary that in the 12 months since the find was first announced people have come from far and wide to Birmingham, including a number of international visitors, to see the display of the hoard. I have also been staggered by local people’s generosity in helping the West Midlands to secure the hoard for the region and I am confident of their continued support.”

A team of leading Anglo-Saxon history and object experts has been recruited to research the treasure to provide insights into the art, wealth, power and politics of the time, as well as the region’s transition from Paganism to Christianity.

“The hoard was found in the district of Lichfield and we are eagerly anticipating learning more about the detailed history of the hoard, as the crucial programme of conservation and research unfolds. We’re delighted to be working alongside the team at Lichfield Cathedral, who will be exploring the possible links between the hoard and the cathedral’s priceless treasures including the St Chad Gospels and the Lichfield Angel, as part of next year’s touring exhibition, as well as uncovering more about what life was like in Lichfield during Anglo-Saxon times.”
“Our wish is to make the hoard as accessible as possible to people within Staffordshire who were such enthusiastic supporters of the fundraising campaign to raise the £3.3million to acquire the hoard. Staffordshire people have been enthralled by the hoard since its existence was first unveiled exactly a year ago. The displays would incorporate key items from the hoard and benefit from the latest research that is currently being carried out on the treasure.”
“It is amazing how much support the public has shown over the past 12 months since the discovery of the hoard, just a few miles outside our historic town. As the ancient capital of Mercia, I am delighted Tamworth will be included in the touring exhibition, meaning people living in and around the area will get to see the hoard; one of the most exciting finds in recent history. The touring exhibition could lead to tens of thousands of people discovering the fascinating history of Tamworth and its surrounding area.”

A huge public campaign raised the £3.3million needed to acquire the hoard ““ the most valuable artefacts ever to be declared treasure in the UK. A further fundraising campaign is required to raise the £1.7million needed to fully research, conserve and display the treasures.

To pledge support to the fundraising campaign, please visit www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk.

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it!

Keeping the air clean and pure in Stoke-on-Trent isn’t an easy job, but the city has two superheroes who are continuing to help out in 2010.
 
The city council’s Clean Air Superheroes campaign, which began last November, is aimed at helping youngsters understand pollution and how it affects the environment.
 
Youngsters can visit Fiona Freeze, Travis the Time Traveller and Oxy-Gen the Super tree at their exhibition at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery which will be in place until the spring.   
 
Pledge cards are now also at the museum or can be completed on line at: http://stoke.gov.uk/cleanair
 
The pledge cards give children the opportunity to say what they will be doing to help keep the air clean in Stoke-on-Trent, and all the cards will be entered a competition to win a bike.
 
77 pledge cards have so far been completed, with youngsters offering suggestions such as walking to school with their parents instead of taking the car, and hopping on a bus or biking to school – and persuading their parents to do the same.
 
All the characters, along with their evil arch nemesis “Professor Pollutant”, have been created to highlight the issues of air pollution within the city and get people to try and find better greener ways to travel, to improve the air quality in Stoke-on-Trent.
 
The superheroes have also had great feedback from schools – any school taking part has received an activity book for each year four child. 
 
The campaign has been funded using money provided by DEFRA to improve the air quality in the city.
 
Councillor John Daniels, cabinet member for housing, environment and neighbourhood services, said:
 
“We want to be able to teach children and young people about the consequences of pollution at a very early age, so they understand the harm that is done to the environment.
 
“Poor air quality affects people’s health, especially if they have breathing difficulties or suffer with heart trouble.
 
“The clean air campaign is just one part of our long term plan to make the city a cleaner, greener place to live and work. By getting the message across to people at a younger age, we can lay some solid foundations for our environmental future.”
 
More information about is also available online at: http://stoke.gov.uk/cleanair