Organising the annual Heritage Open Day is our single biggest activity, but we do a lot of other things as well.
We have been working closely with Groundwork Stoke-on-Trent’s project ‘The Past on Your Doorstep, the Future in Your Hands’. The aim of the project is to help young people understand the significant part mining played in the development of the city. Members of the Friends visit schools to tell pupils about life as a miner and about the proposals for the site’s future. We also accompany groups of pupils when they visit the site or climb the nearby tip.
Until the recent restrictions imposed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council on entering buildings on site, we spent a lot of time at Chatterley Whitfield, helping out in various ways:
- Archives – working with the City Archivist, we collected together lots of old documents lying in various buildings on site in the hope that we could sort through them, but they have been locked in an out-of-bounds container for over a year now.
- Deployment Centre – we created a small office and decorated the building because we hope to lease it as a permanent base on site, but discussions with the City Council’s legal staff have been underway for two years.
We had hoped to be able to help restore some of the artefacts removed when the Underground Experience was demolished in 2006, but so far we have not been allowed to.
We help to promote the site and the regeneration project by staffing consultation exhibitions, delivering leaflets and setting up stalls at events like the Etruria Canals Festival.
We were awarded a grant from Awards for All in 2004, which we used to buy equipment and send members on training courses.
At present we are working on archiving the vast amount of plans that were left on site when the museum closed. It is our intention to make a digital record of all of them and make them available to the general public.