Hats off to Denton Wellness Centre

TAMESIDE’S flagship wellness centre is not just home to the future of community fitness but is also a haven for local history thanks to the Denton Local History Society (DLHS).

Jill Cronin Paul Cronin Florence Oliver

Formed 42 years ago in response to the loss of a handful of historical sites for construction of the M67, the group preserve and exhibit artefacts of all types and backgrounds from bygone years.

Their current display in the foyer of the Wellness Centre pays tribute to the town’s roots in the unusual industry of hatting; the business of making and accessorising hats!

Jill Cronin, president of the DLHS, said: “We were approached by Active Tameside during construction of the new wellness centre about having permanent place to exhibit our historical artefacts.“They sent two very skilled ladies who have worked in galleries like The Tate in Liverpool to see us, and we met them quite a few times to discuss what they wanted.

“We went through our archives and they helped us to create the current exhibit about hatting in the town; all the objects are authentic and owned by the society.”

But it is not just about paying homage to the past of the town of Denton, as Jill described there was much more to the displays than local history.

She continued: “When we were putting together the exhibit, we wanted to make sure that it was done in such a way as to ignite an interest in young children about their hometown.

“But not only that we believe that displays like these can help massively with patients suffering from dementia, so part of the hatting display includes objects people can actually pick up and handle.

“Hatting was an unusual trade. It wasn’t commonplace so it was quite unique, certainly to Denton, and it’s that kind of engagement that can invoke lost memories in Dementia patients.

“The sensory experience can have a profound impact and we know that the local Dementia group at St Mary’s Church are very keen to visit.”

The DLHS plan to rotate their displays at the Tameside Wellness Centre to bring to light even more aspects of the town’s past.

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