COLUMN: Preserving the heritage of our town

Sue Cooper
Sue Cooper

On duty in Webster’s recently it hit me that it is more than a year since my husband and I first walked into Webster’s and offered our services to Wirksworth Heritage Centre as volunteers.

As newcomers to Wirksworth, we thought volunteering would be a great opportunity for us to meet people and learn more about the long and colourful history that first attracted us to the town.

My main role, with others, has been to staff Webster’s so that we can continue to provide a small exhibition about Wirksworth and the exciting plans for the new heritage centre, together with a shop selling Wirksworth-related items.

These items include our branded t-shirts, bags and tea towels plus products by local craftspeople.

As well as the locals and tourists coming to the shop there are regular visits by the trustees and their consultants beavering away on our funding proposal to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The plan is to have a shop and café on the ground floor and interpretation of the town’s history and character on the upper floors.

There will also be a large room to host the wide range of activities planned, with something for everyone.

Wirksworth’s Carnival and Well Dressings over the last bank holiday weekend were the first big opportunity of the year for the trustees and volunteers to exploit the high footfall to raise our profile and make extra money too with our takeaway coffee service.

Other volunteers have been cataloguing and archiving the details of our collection of artefacts still held in the old premises at Crown Yard.

It is disappointing that, apart from the small but interesting selection in the town library, they cannot be displayed at present but I am excited at the prospect of seeing them in the future in their new surroundings.

Yet more volunteers are working on guided walks which should be launched soon.

We are currently open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

If you are around do pop in to see us at 31 St John’s Street.

For the time being our display may be limited but our welcome is certainly not!

For more information on Wirksworth Heritage Centre, including how you can become a volunteer, visit the organisation’s website www.storyofwirksworth.co.uk