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County’s rich floor - tile heritage to be celebrated

A renowned Victorian tile design and manufacturing firm which had its base in Herefordshire will be commemorated with a series of events this month.

Herefordshire Council’s archive service is celebrating success in obtaining a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an outreach programme called Paved with Living Colour. This will consist of a series of events and activities focusing on the work of William Godwin and Son, the decorative floor tile manufacturer based at Lugwardine and Withington.

The firm operated from 1860 - 1912 and produced tiles for use in churches, secular public buildings and homes in Herefordshire and across the United Kingdom. The aim of the programme will be to explore the local impact of this key industry and the riches it produced. It will include talks, guided walks, education sessions, arts workshops and research.

Senior archivist Rhys Griffith said: “It’s easy to forget just how important the Godwin tile industry was to Herefordshire a century ago. There is precious little left to remind us of the factory complex and only the glorious tiles survive to tell their own story. We’re grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for giving us the opportunity to bring them to life and to highlight a key aspect of our county’s history.

“We are keen to hear from anyone with local information about the tile works, as well as any volunteers who would be interested in helping us in our archive and archaeological research.”

The programme of events will begin with a series of two free cross stitching workshops, using the tiles as inspiration. The first part will take place on 11 April at the record office in Harold Street Hereford and followed by a second workshop on 9 May at Hereford Museum Resource and Learning Centre in Friars Street Hereford. The workshops will run from 6-9pm and will be suitable for beginners and more experienced stitchers alike.

Dr Margaret Gill, who has written extensively on the Godwin floor tiles, will give an introduction to the family, the factory and its products in a free talk at 11 am on Monday 29 April at the museum resource and learning centre.

Booking is essential for all these events. Please call 01432 260750 for further information.