The Avon Works Launch Night. Remembering, cherishing and progressing to a new future.
Saturday 22nd April 2017 witnessed an extraordinary event at St Margaret’s Hall. What made it so unique was the way in which it straddled the past, present and future, not only through the events it chronicled and the ideas it expressed, but also the generations that took part.
The first half was a celebration of the return of the Iron Duke and much more of the pivotal role that the Avon Rubber factory played in the history of the town for so many decades. Twenty five years after the factory closed it was brought back to life through the words of its workers captured on film by Fresh Start Films and contemporary cine footage of the party that marked its end.
The Avon Works Cabaret offered an amusing and thought-provoking exploration of the life and times of the factory and town in music, stories and poetry, with performances by musicians Rosie Upton & Pete McGregor and Sid Bloomfield, guitarist Woody Woodland, and poets Steve Williams, Merv Grist and Dawn Gorman.View photos of the launch
The bridge to the present was provided by a soundtrack especially composed for the evening by Patrick Henchman and Taran Stormes-Martino that blended the sound of the works with modern hip-hop style. The present was shown through the eyes of a group of young people whose film showed how they experience Bradford on Avon today plus music from hip hop duo 'Stay Hungry'. A glimpse of the future was provided by Bob Wilcox of Wiltshire College’s IT department. His students have created a 3D virtual reconstruction of the factory.
The event was attended by around 150 people; former workers, young people, residents of the town and members of the Museum and Preservation Trust. Reactions were overwhelmingly positive. Jon Durrant, a former Avon Rubber worker, of Banter in Somerset described it as "fantastic". Margaret Shipley, also a former worker, commented "everyone on our table was saying how wonderful it was".Listen to "Sounds of the Factory"
Dan Farrell, a local historian, unveiled a new book that he has just published telling the story of the rubber industry in the town.
Dan is shown on the left signing a copy of his book. Maggie Dobson was also present and spoke about the work she plans to do to build upon her excellent oral history.View images of the book