Denton to doff its cap with hat sculptures

DENTON is to take its hat off to its heritage by seeing a new hat sculpture trail installed across the town.

The 15-monument trail – five of them giant – will be in the town centre between Saturday, February 19, and Sunday, March 13.

Each will be a unique creation painted by a local artist with many inspired by schools and community groups.

And the Hats Off to Denton scheme will celebrate what made the town and show what it can do.

A artistic trail is coming to Denton to celebrate its rich heritage | Photo courtesy of Denton Hats

Denton was a centre of hatting for 300 years and in Victorian times was home to 86 companies. It is also the birthplace of Thomas Bowler, the man who designed the famous hat that bears his name.

The tradition continues even now in the shape of Denton Hats, which supplies the trademark Gatsby caps for the popular BAFTA-winning BBC television drama Peaky Blinders.

A statue outside Denton Town Hall called Tipping the Denton Linney commemorates the link with the hatting industry which once employed almost half the town’s population.

All the artists involved are based in Greater Manchester and several are from Tameside. They include Gordon Banks, Lizzie Rigby, Amina Sheikh and CBeebies artist Vanessa Scott.

Children have also been encouraged to supply their own designs through a competition for them to show their skill and inspiration.

Questions to get the creative juices flowing included what has been your favourite place locally? What three positive words would you use to describe Denton to someone who has not visited before? If you had to pick your favourite local landmark or attraction (eg building, sculpture, venue or green space), what would it be? What do you love about Denton? And What makes Denton unique?

Among the participating schools and community groups are St Thomas More RC College, Denton Community College, Denton Local History Society, Gibson’s Dance Centre, Denton Brass Band, Beavers and Cubs, The Create Centre and Tameside Air Cadets.

Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s executive member with responsibility for culture, said: “I’m really excited about the Hats Off trail. It’s a celebration the entire town can get involved with, allowing people to work alongside some very talented artists who will give expression their ideas.

“Denton was once one of the main hatting centres not just in Britain, but the entire world, and the industry was a source of great civic pride.

“Hats Off provides us with an opportunity to rekindle that pride by showing that creativity and community spirit are still at the heart of what makes Denton such a great place.”

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