£8,700 Heritage Grant to tell the story of Bideford Black

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By tinap | Monday, February 04, 2013, 10:51

Bideford's Burton Art Gallery and Museum is celebrating a £8,700 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to suppot its Bideford Black project.

Bideford Black is a naturally occurring pigment uniquely found in Bideford, which was mined for over 200 years, until 1969.  It is a unique pigment found only in Bideford, used by the local ship building industry, for tank camouflage in WWII, as a dye and artist's colour and even by Max Factor in make up production.

The Burton Art Gallery and Museum is one of the first UK organisations to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) 'All Our Stories' grant to find out more about Bideford Black and its relationship to the area. 

Commenting on the award, Miranda Clarke Visual Arts Manager at The Burton said: "It's fantastic news that we have been awarded this grant and we can't wait to get started. 

"Older members of the local community still remember Bideford Black, but if we're not careful to record and document these memories and collect relevant artefacts that first hand information will be lost forever. "For me, what's even more exciting is that Bideford Black is not only part of our local heritage but it's also an artists material. In fact a number of local artists, such as Pete Ward, who inspired this project, still use Bideford Black in their work. So it has a direct connection with the current day. It's so important to teach and share our heritage with future generations and this project will add to our knowledge and preserve history."

All Our Stories funding is a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two's The Great British Story – it has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.

TV presenter and historian Michael Wood, said: "It is really tremendous that the people of Bideford have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and to dig deeper into their own past."

The programme and HLF 'All Our Stories' has proved a real hit and now The Story of Bideford Black is one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant. The Burton will be working with the local community to research, gather and document stories and share these memories and experiences, through a Show and Tell at the Burton on March 20th, and at other community-based workshops. 

Councillor Jane Whittaker, Torridge's lead member for Communities added, "This project and the funding secured for it is another triumph for the Burton and for Bideford as well. There are a wealth of stories to be told about the town's significant past and this one of them. The story behind the rise and fall of Bideford Black will now be told and of equal importance will be available to future generations". 

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