Picturing Maltby

Picturing Maltby

Project overview

Picturing Maltby saw local people sharing photographs, stories, family tales and memories of places and people through a series of creative, co-produced community events and activities.

The original aim of this public engagement initiative was to create a permanent digital online collection of images and stories that reflect Maltby’s unique character and heritage, celebrating its working-class history. This was made possible by securing funding from Historic England.

Through a series of community collection and story-sharing sessions, culminating in a pop-up hub on Maltby's High Street during February and March 2023, we invited local people to visit, talk to us, and share stories about their lives in Maltby. They discussed what mattered to them, their families, the community, the town, and the changes they have seen and continue to experience.

Residents who attended the hub were invited to participate in creative activities, including the Love Maltby Trail. This trail was created in partnership with 16 Maltby High Street shops and businesses and hosted by performers Becky Newbould and Gemma Whelan, known as We Great Ladies.

During Love Maltby, we asked people to share their wedding photos. Some shared not only their own but also their parents' and grandparents' photos. We photocopied the original photographs and displayed them in the shop and its window. This encouraged people to come in and share stories about the bride, groom, and even the wedding guests. One resident said: "That's Jean and Peter's wedding in 1962 at St. Bart's. I was only 10 and went with my mum to watch them come out of the church."

Other activities included creating a large, bespoke "This is Maltby" visual map, highlighting all the well-known "Famous Features" of Maltby, designed by local artist Steve White. Once completed, the map was turned into a unique jigsaw puzzle and offered as the top prize at a local Maltby family fun day.

The pop-up hub on the High Street offered ongoing opportunities to share stories and images about life in Maltby. It welcomed local people to drop in, chat, have a cup of tea, and reminisce, especially about the High Street itself.

Shopping on the High Street at Maltby was the number one subject people spoke about, it really brought people together, so many stories shared with great fondness and amazing detail about which shops sold what and who owned them, arguments about what they were called and where they were located. Alongside these memories, there was a shared sadness about the decline of shopping in Maltby.

We created a large-scale recreation of the High Street by photographing a panoramic view of the current buildings and printing it on wallpaper lining paper that wrapped around the entire shop. We invited people to come in and explain which shops used to be where, with some buildings having housed four or more different shops over the years. Each building was labeled with all the information and details of the shops as they were over time, incorporating everyone's memories. It was a wonderful experience that helped people remember more than they thought they would, thanks to the visual prompt.

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