Voices from the past greet town visitors

Mayor of Sleaford, Coun Jan Mathieson and chairman of Sleaford and District Civic Trust Garry Titmus unveil the first interactive heritage trail plaque on the Town Hall. EMN-180420-170345001
Mayor of Sleaford, Coun Jan Mathieson and chairman of Sleaford and District Civic Trust Garry Titmus unveil the first interactive heritage trail plaque on the Town Hall. EMN-180420-170345001

Sleaford’s new interactive Heritage Trail has been launched with the unveiling on Thursday of the first plaque.

The Heritage Trail has been a project conceived by members of Sleaford and District Civic Trust and supported by donations from the Trust, Sleaford Councillors Fund, The Dulverton Trust and Hodgson Brothers LLP.

Sleaford and District Civic Trust members join Mayor of Sleaford Jan Mathieson for the unveiling of their new Sleaford Heritage Trail plaques. EMN-180420-170438001

Sleaford and District Civic Trust members join Mayor of Sleaford Jan Mathieson for the unveiling of their new Sleaford Heritage Trail plaques. EMN-180420-170438001

The first brass and ceramic plaque mounted on the Town Hall to celebrate its historic significance contains an interactive QR code and NFC chip linking ‘smartphone’ users to a video portrayal of Edward Waterson in 1793 describing his involvement in development of Navigation Wharf.

He was a member of the committee that ordered construction of the first warehouse on the site of what is now Sleaford’s Town Hall, which is constructed from some of the original warehouse’s materials.

Christopher Hodgson, the Trust’s vice-chairman explained: “It evolved from an idea for plaques to identify more interesting buildings in the town to making it more interactive and interesting to the younger generation.”

The plaque in Navigation Yard was revealed by the Mayor of Sleaford, Coun Jan Mathieson.

Alan Robey as Rev Waterston, who appears in the video linked to the plaque on the Town Hall. EMN-180420-171031001

Alan Robey as Rev Waterston, who appears in the video linked to the plaque on the Town Hall. EMN-180420-171031001

This is the first of eight which will be attached to old and interesting buildings in the town. Each building has an occupier with a story to tell enacted by members of Sleaford Little Theatre and filmed by local company Tin Hat Productions.

These characters lived and worked in the town between 1700 and the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

Details of the sites and characters can be found on the website: www.sleafordheritage.co.uk.

Garry Titmus, chairman of the Civic Trust, said: “The pressures of modern life make it easy to forget the level of commercial and social activity that existed in the past and the characters who helped shape Sleaford’s history through centuries of change. 

“The trail videos give a small insight into the lives of little-known people who lived and worked here in very different times. We hope to extend the trail and welcome suggestions from the public about sites and characters to include in the future.”

Andy Canadine plays Henry Pickworth at the Sessions House in 1701 - a businessman and landowner. Karen Davey is Elizabeth de la Coeur in 1871 at Lafford Terrace - a school teacher/governess. Garry Goodge is Joseph Smedley in 1834 at the Playhouse - a businessman/impresario.

Charlotte Shearsby plays Hannah Wood a baker’s wife in 1871 in Carre Street. Tony Gordon is George Ranyard Lee, hotel and factory owner in 1901 at The White Hart Hotel. Lionel Rudkin is baptist minister Edward Samuel in 1883 at The Temple on Eastgate; and Alan Robey plays the Rev Edward Waterston in 1793.

Any suggestions for other sites to be added to the trail can be submitted at www.sleafordheritage.co.uk/take-part/ or by writing to the project developers: Hodgson Brothers LLP, 28 Carre Street, Sleaford NG34 7TR.