Well I never: villages get creative with ancient art

AN eye-catching array of well dressings will be on display across Saddleworth villages this month as locals bring to life the ancient custom.

Well dressing is a summer custom practised in rural England in which wells, springs or other water sources are decorated with designs created from flower petals.

The project has been organised locally by Saddleworth Museum after the success of their own well dressing created last year to mark the first anniversary of their refurbishment.

The well dressing made last year to celebrate Saddleworth Musuem’s first birthday

A team of volunteers designed and put together the well dressing featuring the museum and Pots and Pans war memorial.

It was crafted carefully over three days using locally sourced petals, little stones, slate, and bark all pressed into clay, and it was displayed on the ornamental stone well in front of the Museum.

After an overwhelmingly positive response, they held a workshop to pass on the traditional design skills so other villages can create and display their own well dressings.

From September 15-22, locals will be able to see the creations across Saddleworth.

There will be three well dressings on display in Uppermill located at the Sacred Heart Parish Church, Saddleworth Museum and Saddleworth Medical Practice.

The dressing outside Saddleworth Museum is themed around suffragette Annie Kenney, from Springhead, to mark 100 years since some women got the right to vote.

Saddleworth Medical Practice is celebrating 70 years of the NHS through their design.

Meanwhile, there will be other well dressings on Denshaw Road in Delph and at the end of the bridle path on Chew Valley Road in Greenfield.

Other villages which could possibility take part in the well dressings project include: Lydgate, Diggle, Dobcross, Denshaw and Scouthead. Keep an eye out for more details.

• There will be a talk at the Museum on Saturday, September 15 from 1.30pm-3pm by local historian Jack Schofield about Annie Kenney and the Kenney family.

Admission is £2, please book in advance by ringing the Museum: 01457 874093. Refreshments will be available.

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