Memories of Spalding Flower Parade are being sought for a new community project, which will also explore potential ways of reinvigorating the event for future generations if there is a demand for it.
South Holland Heritage, which is part of Chain Bridge Forge, in Spalding, has secured £15,000 Arts Council funding for the multi-phased project, which aims to collate people’s memories – including oral histories, photos and documents – of the world-famous event which was held annually in Spalding from 1959 to 2013.
Other aspects of the program will be expanding the existing digital archive and creating an exhibition at Springfields on May 1-3
Local artists Kathleen Smith and Laura Mabbutt are working with the project, helping to gather and collate people’s memories in a visual way and these will be used to create ideas for the future.
Geoff Taylor, a director of the forge, is keen to hear from as many people as possible with past connections to the parade including organisers, volunteers, performers and those who attended it to share their memories.“Unfortunately, due to the COVID situation a lot of the gathering of memories will have to be done through social media and online platforms rather than face to face,” he said.
“Looking further ahead we want to know how people feel about the event and whether there is an appetite to put something else in its place, as there is an opportunity for us to go to the Arts Council and seek more funding to create something else if there is a desire to do so.
“We are hoping this first phase will be the litmus paper that will tell us whether there’s any call for this for.”
Geoff says there may also be an opportunity to harness the augmented reality technology the forge has access to, to replicate aspects of the parade online.
He is also hoping that items at the closed Bulb Museum, housed at Birchgrove Garden Centre, can be catalogued and displayed digitally so the exhibits can still be enjoyed and adds that there may be potential for a book about the parade and the bulb growers too.
The project will need to be completed by the end of April and regular updates will be posted on social media and the website.
* You can submit your memories through Chain Bridge Forge’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, using a form on the website at www.heritagesouthholland.co.uk/flowerparade or alternatively email them to firstname.lastname@example.org