Do you know what a bleach packer is? Perhaps one of your ancestors was one?!
Young people in Halton have been re-imagining iconic workers from the borough’s past, creating holographic video and augmented reality images.
Halton Borough Council used funds granted by The National Lottery Heritage fund to create workshops with local creative artists and young people to produce a themed selection of arts and digital imaging.
Bleach packers were hard working heroes of Widnes and Runcorn, champions of chemical works who created vital alkali for the UK and beyond.
Working with artist Lou Chapelle young people created an ambitious holographic artwork reinventing the stories of the Halton Bleach Packers.
Part of the Celebrating Halton’s Heritage project, the work will consist of large-scale public projections.
It is inspired by archive images of Bleach Packers who worked in the local chemical industry packing bleaching powder into casks, a particularly unpleasant job.
To protect themselves they wrapped themselves in layers of flannel and paper, covering their mouths with muzzles to stop inhaling the powder.
A series of creative workshops took place throughout autumn 2021.
Lead artist Lou collaborated with local creative practitioners: costume designer Rachael Prime, sound artist Wendy Smith, poet Louise Fazackerley, choreographer Sharon Graham and film-maker Tim Brunsden.
They worked with students from Cronton Sixth Form College studying fashion, graphic design, dance and music, as well as the Young Choir and GLOW group who meet at The Studio in Widnes.
The final work will be displayed in Runcorn Shopping City from 12th-16th January 2022 and in Tesco in Widnes from 19th-23rd January 2022.
Halton Borough Council Executive Board Member for Community and Culture, Councillor Paul Nolan, said: “This is great piece of collaborative work which will showcase some of the young talent we must celebrate in Halton.
“I am looking forward to seeing the whole series of work that will be a tribute to those long gone, but were founders of the boroughs chemical workforce”
The project is part of Halton’s Borough of Culture 2021 celebrations and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. #CelebrateHalton