NORTH Somerset Council is running an exhibition at Weston Museum to celebrate the community engagement work that has been undertaken as part of Weston’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ).

The exhibition, which focusses on the extensive engagement work done with the community, particularly with schoolchildren and older residents living in retirement homes, opened on Saturday, November 4 and is running until Saturday, March 2, 2024.

HSHAZ, a four-year project, finishes in March 2024. The purpose of the exhibition is to illustrate the programme's lasting legacy.

Alongside showcasing the community engagement work, the exhibition features information on restoration work of Weston's buildings. Businesses that have benefited include the Fork n Ale pub, 4,6,8 Walliscote Road, and The Kendall’s building (16-28 High Street and 40-42 Regent Street). All businesses involved were recommended to follow a shopfront design guide.

This equates to over £1.1m worth of investment by Historic England.

Weston Mercury: The exhibition runs until March.The exhibition runs until March. (Image: NQ staff)Weston Mercury: The exhibition showcases community engagement.The exhibition showcases community engagement. (Image: NQ staff)

The exhibition, which features pictures, statistics and an interactive information board, celebrates the work that the museum has carried out to deliver the High Street Heritage Action Zone engagement programme. 

The Weston Museum website reads: "The £55,000 engagement programme funded by Historic England included:

• A schools engagement project run by Weston Museum;
• Monthly talks organised by Weston-super-Mare Civic Society;
• Memories Shared: A reminiscence project in Care Homes managed by NSC Library team;
• Recruiting, training and managing ‘Culture and Heritage makers’ volunteers managed by Super Culture;
• Training for Retailers in marketing their shops;
• Co-ordination of Heritage Open Days Sept 2018 to Sept 2023."

The exhibition also features a map of a heritage tour that residents and visitors can take part in to learn more about the history of the coastal town.

The ‘Gems of Weston’ heritage tour begins at the town’s Grade II listed railway station.

The railway first came to Weston-super-Mare in 1841 as part of a line connecting the commercial ports of Bristol and Exeter.

In 1879 the B&ER amalgamated with the GWR, and in 1884 a new railway loop line was completed which replaced the Weston branch line. A new station was built on a curve in the loop line and the 1860s former station was then used for goods and demolished in the late 20thcentury.

The present station was designed in 1875-1876 by Francis Fox, the chief engineer for the B&ER.

However, by the time Weston-super-Mare Station, as it was originally known, was opened on March 1, 1884, the line was under the remit of the GWR.

An exhibition to highlight all of the building restoration work will take place in The Sovereign, starting in January.