Press Release: Louisa Fennell Multi-Language Walking Trail Book Launch

Wakefield’s hidden past revealed in new book.

Louisa Fennell, Wakefield’s famous watercolourist, whose artwork was placed on the streets showing what Wakefield looked like in by-gone times in 2019, now has a book dedicated to bringing Wakefield’s hidden past to life in 6 different languages.

Louisa’s walking trail is one of the main attractions within the city centre and engages people in the history and heritage of this ‘Merrie City’.

The book, funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is designed to celebrate not only the life and achievements of Louisa Fennell but also the multi-cultural, diverse and vibrant community that enjoy the legacy of her art work and makes our history and heritage accessible to all.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

Alongside its benefits for health and tackling the climate emergency, walking is one of the best ways to explore the cultural heritage of our cities and towns here in West Yorkshire. It’s great to see this book and translation project make the life of Louisa Fennell accessible to more of our communities – I hope it helps everyone feel welcome to explore and be active in Wakefield.’

The launch, set against the backdrop of grade II* listed Westgate Unitarian Chapel, where Louisa’s family worshipped during the early 19th century, will include light refreshments and a short talk about Louisa’s life and her achievements. There will be a walk along part of the Louisa Fennell trail immediately afterwards, led by Sarah Cobham, the project lead.

Sarah, CEO of Dream Time Creative, the powerhouse behind the Forgotten Women of Wakefield Campaign, explained the importance of the project.

As a City of Sanctuary we are proud of our diverse cultures, languages and peoples. This project, the first of its kind in Wakefield, enables all our citizens to access the rich history and heritage of our city now that language is no longer a barrier and that’s something I am very proud of.’

Collaborating with Wakefield District City of Sanctuary, the project has engaged many communities that would otherwise be left behind. Linda Fielding, who has been coordinating the asylum seeking community for translations and walks, said:

The response to this book has been tremendous, the community feel really valued and there is a lot of excitement about the different language walks over the late summer into autumn which is encouraging everyone to get more involved. We are delighted at the response.’

Councillor David Pickersgill, recently elected to represent Wakefield North Ward in which most of the Fennell art work can be found said,

Louisa Fennell’s paintings show us how Wakefield, capital of the old West Riding, looked in the era before the motor car and tram. What is now Wakefield North was home to so many talented people and it’s important that the role of women in particular, is being celebrated.’

Copies of the book can be found at The Art House of Sanctuary on Drury Lane, The Theatre of Sanctuary on Westgate and at the Library of Sanctuary at Wakefield One on Burton Street. A PDF of the book is also available at www.forgottenwomewake.com

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