New Exhibition Celebrates Weston’s High Street Heritage Action Zone

Dive into Weston's history at 'All Together Now,' a free exhibition revealing the High Street Heritage Action Zone's £1.1m investment from Historic England.

pictured (left to right): Fiona Matthews, Creative Director at Super Culture; Stephen Guy, Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas at Historic England South West; Megan Clark Bagnall, Artist; Cllr Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s executive member responsible for Heritage Action Zones; Cllr John Crockford Hawley, North Somerset Council’s Heritage Champion; Cara MacMahon, North Somerset Council’s High Street Heritage Action Zone Officer.

North Somerset Council and Super Culture extend a warm invitation to explore an exciting new exhibition running from Thursday, January 18 to Sunday, 11 February 2024.

The exhibition unveils the fascinating initiatives of Weston-super-Mare’s High Street Heritage Action Zone. The ‘All Together Now’ exhibition promises an insightful journey into its legacy.

In 2020, North Somerset Council received an investment of £1.1 million from Historic England, designating Weston’s town centre as a High Street Heritage Action Zone. This initiative is part of a larger scheme comprising over 60 zones across England, all working towards unlocking the potential of historic high streets for economic, social, and cultural recovery. Learn more about this nationwide effort at Historic England.

Thanks to this funding from Historic England, Weston-super-Mare’s Shopfront Enhancement Scheme has revitalised priority properties within the Heritage Action Zone.

Seven businesses, including Walker and Ling, The Fork n Ale Taproom and Kitchen, the old Kendall’s building, The Albert, the ‘Stage Door’ restaurant, 4, 6 and 8 Walliscote Road, and Plaza cinema, have all benefited from this initiative.

Each property adds a unique touch to the town’s historic charm, contributing to the ongoing revitalisation of Weston-super-Mare’s vibrant high streets.

Walker & Ling mosaic tiles rejuvenation
Plaza cinema weston
Walker and Ling family owned department store shop front before and after and frontage of the new Plaza cinema

The free exhibition will be open from 10 am to 3 pm every Thursday to Sunday. You can find it in unit 27 of the Sovereign shopping centre on the town’s High Street. Take advantage of this opportunity to delve into the rich history and achievements of the High Street Heritage Action Zone.

The High Streets Heritage Action Zones represent a £95 million government-funded program led by Historic England. This initiative aims to bring lasting improvements to historic high streets, enriching the lives of the communities that inhabit them. By collaborating with local partners and communities, Historic England strives to breathe new life into high streets, making them more appealing to residents, businesses, tourists, and investors. Discover more about the scheme and its impact at Historic England.

Morag Myerscough, Super Wonder Shrine Culture Weston
Morag Myerscough, Super Wonder Shrine Culture Weston

Super Culture has delivered a programme where local communities and artists came together to create a series of ‘shrines’ that shine out the voices and values of local people to the wider world. This has included:

A high street display curated by local artists Bev G Star and Kelly Lewis has provided a space for a public interface on the development of the projects.

Lively chats between artists and communities on Weston’s creative high street are available via YouTube and Podcast series ‘Chip Chat’.

The first ‘Super Wonder Shrine’, a contemporary bandstand designed, made and built by international artist Morag Myerscough and local residents of all ages to animate the head of the high street. Across the past year Super Wonder Shrine has hosted a wide range of performances including circus, theatre, music and drawing, become a favoured busking spot, and prompted compassionate community events from a St Peter’s Hospice daisy garden to a peace vigil.

The second shrine was spearheaded by acclaimed performance artist Tom Marshman, who crafted ‘Queer Tales of Weston’, an alternative walking tour of the town centre made with members of the town’s Queer community. Local narratives also informed the development of a performance piece ‘Brothers Through the Decades’, that has subsequently embarked upon a national Seaside Tour, as well as playing to audiences in Bristol and London.

The third shrine was created with Chila Kumari Burman MBE, a multi-disciplinary artist, who is listed on BBC’s 100 Women list for 2023.  Chila explored the diversity of cultures and people who are proud to call Weston their home, and created a dazzling, illuminated Pigeon to celebrate that dynamic homing instinct.  An accompanying schools project led to an installation of nests in the high street, glowing with the hopes and dreams of the younger generation.

The fourth and final ‘You Shrine’ was led by Megan Clark Bagnall, social maker and artist mentor for 21st Century Super Shrines.  Megan platformed all those who have been involved in the programme, amalgamating many of the voices, young and old, who make the town so special in a celebratory ‘Whirligig Beatles’ performance at Weston’s Whirligig Festival.  Taking a cue from The Beatles’ historic visit to Weston 60 years ago in 1963, Megan discovered that the ‘Whirligig Beatle’ is a real species that thrives in groups. The ensuing performance and interactive photographic installation were a testament to the collective ‘All Together Now’ people power that is at the heart of Weston’s vibrant high street.


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