Residents aid flats documentary for new exhibition

Reporter:

Helen Davies

A NEW exhibition capturing the highs and lows of a Wrexham community will be launched next week.

Residents from Hightown have been helping freelance journalist Ciara Leeming document the history of the area including everything from the building of the Hightown flats to a well respected goat which was part of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, now known as the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh.

Ciara, 31, a former Leader chief reporter, has been commissioned by Oriel Wrecsam to work with community members to document the recent social history of the neighbourhood.

“It was really interesting,” she said. “I met quite a range of people including Portuguese and Polish people.

“Everyone was extremely welcoming and helpful. I didn’t realise there was such diversity in terms of the types of house in the area.

Like many people I had associated Hightown with the flats but you also get quite a lot of big detached houses and semis.”

The exhibition includes the history of the flats ranging from the excitement when they were first built though to their demolition earlier this year.

Ciara interviewed and photographed residents throughout the community for the project and also found out more about Hightown Barracks, which opened in 1877 and gave the area an association with the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

“I learned about the regimental goat from Royal Welch Fusilliers,” said Ciara. “It wasn’t a mascot, it was seen as part of the regiment. The goat used to have a rank of lance corporal and the lower ranks had to stand to attention when he walked past.

“He used to get a ration and was given cigarettes to chew.”

The exhibition will be launched at the Oriel on Thursday, July 28, with a preview evening from 6pm to 8pm and will be on show until the end of September.

Ciara has also created a short photofilm featuring resident interviews and images from the project, which can be seen at www.ciaraleeming.co.uk/blog/2011/07/13/highs-and-lows/ and has written a self-published book, which can be read at www.blurb.com/books/2317363.

See full story in the Leader

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