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Tameside Wellness Centre helps headline Denton’s hatting heritage

Published: 9th February 2022

Our flagship health and wellbeing facility Tameside Wellness Centre is helping to headline a cultural event honouring its hometown’s hatting heritage!

The centre on Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze Way has been chosen as a venue to host a hat sculpture as part of the Hats Off to Denton Trail, which runs from 19th February through half term until 13th March.

Celebrating the town’s impressive status at the UK’s largest industrial centre for hatting in the early 1900s, the Hats Off trail features five top hats around 6ft tall and 10 smaller ‘community’ hats.

Following in the footsteps of Manchester’s Bee in the City and Stockport’s Gigantic Leap frog art trail, the hats are being brought to life by local artists with designs inspired by the town, community groups and local schools.

Our hat design will represent Active Tameside’s ethos of inclusivity, sense of community and physical and mental wellbeing – all in our brand colours of burgundy, navy blue, teal and orange.

The ‘Hats Off to Denton’ trail hats hot off the production line at the factory in Stockport

Ahead of the unveiling on the 19th, Tameside Wellness Centre is handing out top hat colouring sheets to youngsters who visit the centre so they can come up with their own designs.

The drawings will be displayed, and prizes will be given to winners in each age category.

Aidan Gilmore, Active Tameside’s Area Operations Manager said: “Tameside Wellness Centre is delighted to be involved in the Hat Trail, it’s a great way to celebrate the local history of the area.

“This event will bring additional visitors to Denton and is an ideal way to showcase all of amazing things Denton has to offer, as well as encouraging people to support local businesses.”

The giant hats will pop up in locations around the town including a wildlife-themed sculpture outside Tameside Wellness Centre, and others in Crown Point North, Morrisons’ foyer and Denton Town Square.

The smaller hats will sit in shop windows and families, shoppers and visitors are invited to pick up a trail leaflet from either Tameside Wellness Centre, Denton Library or Morrisons and follow the Hats Off trail.

Denton was once the UK’s hatting capital and made the majority of country’s hats with over 80 firms based there during the Victorian era.

It was also the birthplace of Thomas Bowler, the man behind the famous bowler hat.

The hatting tradition continues to this day thanks to wholesale supplier Denton Hats, based in Windmill Lane, which supplies the trademark Gatsby caps for the popular BBC television drama ‘Peaky Blinders’.

Hats Off to Denton is funded from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Welcome Back Fund and is being organised by Tameside Council and freelance trail producer, artist and sculpture trail expert, Caroline Coates.

“Hats Off to Denton is to truly celebrate the town’s heritage and all its achievements, all the way through from its proud hatting history to current day,” said Caroline, whose artistry has appeared in many similar trails including Bee in the City and Stockport’s Gigantic Leap and she is currently painting one of the giant hats.

“The idea is when you come across a hat sculpture, you can pick up a leaflet and follow the trail to find the others. The aim is to bring more people into Denton and for those already in the town, we get them to spend more time there and discover things they wouldn’t normally do.

“The sculptures are top hats. Denton is renowned for the bowler hat but from an aesthetic point of view and for the ease of the artist the top hat works better and it’s instantly recognisable.

“We’ll be giving sneak peeks of the hat designs on social media in the run up to the launch and producing activities such as word searches to help children get involved, particularly in the half term holiday.”

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