The FIRE & STEAM arts and heritage project from Wadebridge Creative Hub, which is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and FEAST along with local partners, celebrates the unique railway heritage of Wadebridge & Bodmin – which boasted one of the earliest steam railways in the UK, linking the two towns from 1834 until 1978.
Forming part of the wider project, twin inclusive, illuminated, bicycle-based BikeLights events took place in October 2019. Magical echoes of the old railway were traced in light when cycle-based ‘steam locomotive’ the Coasters Camel followed in the footsteps of its namesake, the first ‘Camel’ engine, journeying up the old line from Wadebridge to Bodmin to link the two processive town-centre events; and halting once more at the John Betjeman Centre, which, for one magical night, became the Wadebridge Railway station once more, brought alive too through the installation of beautiful themed light boxes showing archive photographs of the town’s thriving heyday in the age of steam, kindly shared with the project by Wadebridge and District Museum.
A whole host of heritage- & arts-based schools, community and elderly people’s workshops and activities, reaching an incredible number of participants, has not only shared this fascinating heritage directly with our participant groups, but also helped to create the light boxes and illuminated builds for each event, which appeared alongside eight professional artist commissions, and inspired people of all ages to learn more about this wonderful set of achievements.
The wider ongoing project, which runs until summer 2020 working with a wide range of partner organisations, offers further exciting supported heritage visits, creative activities and engagements for college students, schools and the community, inspiring young people to employ new technologies to solve current problems in the way that Sir William Molesworth did with this wonderful railway, while also working to create exciting new public assets and celebratory outcomes that help share this unique heritage with new and wider audiences.
More will be published here as we go forward, do come back for updates.
FIRE & STEAM partner organisations include Wadebridge and District Museum, Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Concern Wadebridge, Bodmin College FdA Digital Media Unit, Wadebridge Dementia Action Alliance and IntoBodmin CIC.