Peterlee 75 finale event to take place this weekend

Mar 6, 2024 | Leisure & Lifestyle

A free music event will take place in a County Durham town this weekend to celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Durham County Council will be hosting a free concert in Peterlee’s Castle Dene Shopping Centre at 12pm on Saturday, 9 March.

The concert is the final part of Peterlee 75, the council’s programme of commissions, exhibitions, music concerts, and workshops marking the town’s landmark birthday.

It will feature performances from singer songwriters Elaine Palmer and Steve Pledger, who will be joined by children from Acre Rigg Academy, Dene House Primary, and Dene Academy.

Elaine and Steve have been working with the children to create songs about the town’s past and future, inspired by PETERLEE: Living Memory – a new exhibition that will go on display in the shopping centre the same day.

The concert will also include readings from poet Bob Beagrie, who has written a series of poems inspired by his conversations with residents at Ballantyne Care Home and Poppy Dean Residential Home.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “I was delighted to open the exhibition that launched Peterlee 75 last year. It’s very fitting that the finale to Peterlee 75 should be a showcase of the work produced with and by people from the local community during the town’s anniversary year.

“It’s particularly nice to see how all generations have been involved in making personal contributions to this celebration of people and place. Sharing an understanding of the past can often inspire us to embrace the future with a greater sense of self-confidence, both as individuals and as members of a community.”

PETERLEE: Living Memory will be open to the public from Saturday alongside a second new exhibition, Garden City Futures.

Building on an exhibition which was displayed in June last year named PETERLEE: The Place to Be, which charted the early development of the town through archive photographs and plans, PETERLEE: Living Memory will shine a light on the people who call the town home.

The exhibition will feature personal photos, memorabilia, and related stories that have been submitted by people who live or have lived in the town.

The materials donated are also being copied and recorded and will form part of the archive collection held in The Story, a brand-new culture and heritage venue set to open at Mount Oswald in June.

Garden City Futures will showcase work produced by East Durham College students, who have been considering the future of open spaces in the urban environment and the unique landscape of Peterlee.

Facilitated by artist Sara Cooper, alongside architects and design-practitioners from the School of Architecture at Newcastle University, the students have researched existing projects, shared case-studies, tested and developed ideas and designs, all with a view to actively encouraging community participation in the care of shared green spaces.

Their exhibition encourages people to consider what green spaces are for, who uses them, and how biodiversity and sustainable green spaces can be supported and created for the future.

Laura Dugdale, art lecturer at East Durham College, said: “The project was a challenge and totally different to anything the students had done before. It’s hugely positive that they can see how their designs could influence spaces in Peterlee and, potentially, on the college campus. The student’s responses reflect that they care about where they’re from and the future of Peterlee.”

PETERLEE: Living Memory and Garden City Futures will both be on display in Castle Dene Shopping Centre until the end of April.

Fully illustrated exhibition catalogues are available to purchase at £10 and £4 respectively. The catalogues can be purchased half-price from Peterlee Leisure Centre & Library and branch libraries in the local area.