TWO Hexham artists have launched a new project to celebrate more of the town’s heritage..

Designer Stephen Pardue, of Differentia, and Ben Haslam, owner of Haslam’s of Hallgate, want to promote the town’s retail history.

The project will see the pair provide retailers with a simple wall plaque which highlights an aspect of the heritage of Hexham that relates to their shop or location.

“During lockdown in particular when I was coming into Hexham I noticed how there were many people still coming in, walking with their cups of coffee when the shops were closed," said Stephen.

“I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if there was a heritage story to tell’ so people could look at a heritage plaque next to a shop window and associate that shop with that heritage.”

He added: “The big shopping centres are dying but what you’re finding in these small towns is a resurgence of interest in the local retailers.”

All the planning and artwork will be completed by Differentia and Haslam’s of Hallgate free of charge, but they are asking businesses to help with the cost of producing the plaques which is around £120.

Two plaques have already been made up for St Mary’s Chare, and around 12 are earmarked.

Hexham History Society has offered photographs of Hexham’s past to put on the plaques which include a short description of the picture and a small inset map showing other lanes and places to explore nearby.

Stephen and Ben now have to apply for advertisement consent from Northumberland County Council. The pair are asking retailers who are interested in getting involved, or anyone who may have photographs or stories, to get in touch.

Hexham Town Council, and in particular town councillor Alison Smith, are supporting the project.