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Historic England award £90,000 for Wentworth Street, Petticoat Lane cultural programme


Petticoat Lane Market

Tower Hamlets Council, in partnership with Toynbee Hall and other local art and culture partners, are delighted to announce a £90,000 Historic England grant to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years. This includes Petticoat Lane market, as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone on Wentworth Street.

As part of this programme, a community decision-making group made up of local stallholders, businesses, creatives and residents will collectively design, curate and deliver a vibrant cultural programme of art experiences, bi-monthly activities and an annual Festival of Petticoat Lane.

The programme will seek to celebrate the area’s uniquely layered and blended cultural heritage, shaped by many different communities over the decades. Creatives will be commissioned to produce specific landmark experiences on the high street that are locally relevant, include local people in design and construction, and raise the profile of the area to a broader audience.

With the support of an experienced Cultural Consortium, the programme will increase awareness of Petticoat Lane and its market, increasing footfall and supporting thousands of people to discover and make use of this space.

This news comes alongside additional investment in the neighbourhood, as Tower Hamlets Council’s High Streets and Town Centres team are delivering shopfront improvement and refurbishment and conversion of the Leyden Street Toilet, which also has been supported by grant funding from the High Streets Heritage Action Zone Scheme.

This is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time. Wentworth Street conservation area is one of more than 60 high streets across England to receive a share of £6 million for their cultural programme.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the work of the Cultural Consortium over the next three years and are embracing this opportunity to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Wentworth Street. This area has an incredible history, and together with our local partners, residents, and businesses, we’ll work to ensure this investment benefits our local community.” 

Sam Crosby, Community Services & Cultural Programming Manager, Toynbee Hall, said: “Toynbee Hall are excited to be involved in helping people who live, work, and study in the Petticoat Lane area to celebrate their heritage and present by designing and commissioning their own world-class cultural programme.”

Emily Gee, Regional Director, Historic England in London and the South East, said: “The High Streets Cultural Programme is such an important – and exciting – way of bringing people back to their cherished high streets in need of love. We are working together to regenerate historic high streets through conservation and building work, and this community-led cultural activity programme will draw people back to enliven and shape these special places for the future.”

The funding builds on the success of a series of pilot cultural projects that have run since last August across 43 High Street Heritage Action Zones. They have not only helped high streets offer cultural activity during lockdown, but also discovered what local people would like to see happening on their high streets. 

High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme

The £7.4 million Cultural Programme is part of the £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative, which is currently working across over 60 English high streets. It is funded with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund, £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Streets Fund, and a further £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Cultural Consortium

This includes a wide array of partners from across Tower Hamlets, including Toynbee Hall, the Arts Admin, Whitechapel Gallery, Numbi Arts, Swadhinata Trust, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), Raphael Samuel History Centre at Queen Mary University, School of Art, Architecture & Design, London Metropolitan University, Tower Hamlets Archives, City of London Corporation, and Aldgate Connect Business Improvement District.

Posted on Wednesday 19th May 2021