Silverdale Heritage Project
St. Luke’s Primary School, Silverdale, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire
St. Luke’s Primary School pupils were exploring and celebrating their area’s rich mining heritage. This was a big project, involving the local community, county archives and visits to local sites of interest. I was asked to work with the pupils to create a piece of sculpture for the wall near the front entrance of the school.
I facilitated half day workshops for each year, using age-appropriate crafts to help the pupils explore their history as well as have some fun with materials that they might not have the opportunity to use in a normal school day. This was great fun and created a wealth of images to base my designs on.
Once I had created 4 designs, they were put on display at the school and local library, and everyone had the chance to vote on their favourite. This was a great way to create a feeling of ownership. It was really important to me that everyone understood what the sculpture was about and felt that they had played a part in its creation. It was a very close race, but the Davey Lamp design won. It incorporates images specific to the area, such as the Stafford Knot, and some images popular in the pupils’ artwork.
Once I had the design confirmed, I started work at the forge. I had created a Facebook Page, so everyone could see how things were progressing and ask questions. This was very popular and something I’d definitely do again. Members of the school council came to visit the forge to watch me working and took photos to show the rest of the school. I think it’s important for young people to see how things are made and encourage visits to the forge when possible.
Once installed, the sculpture was officially unveiled by two local ex-miners who were really pleased with the artwork and the project. It was a great way to bring the past to life for the pupils.
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