Local schools help celebrate 800 years of Penrith's market charter

Officers from Westmorland and Furness Council proudly stand alongside Artist Karen MacDougall and the new artwork. (L to R: Charles Thornton, Economic Development Officer at Westmorland and Furness Council; Karen MacDougall, Artist; and Kay Metcalfe, Penrith Library Manager)

A trio of captivating banners have been unveiled at Penrith Library.

Now on display in the library, the banner project is a result of a partnership between Penrith and Eden Museum, Westmorland & Furness Council, artist Karen MacDougall and young talents from three local schools.

Pupils from North Lakes Primary School worked on the concept and what should be included on the banners, with pupils from Brunswick School and St Catherine’s School creating the characters, animals and buildings which were then thoughtfully arranged on the three banners by Karen.

This year, the town is celebrating its 800th anniversary of being awarded the market charter. To involve Penrith’s young people in the commemoration, each school brought two classes to the museum, for workshops centred on market history. Students delved into the past through hands-on exploration of artefacts, paintings and photos. Working closely with artist Karen MacDougall, they created artwork suitable for public display in Penrith.

During the summer, the banners will grace Penrith Library before finding new locations in the area. Karen MacDougall, the artist behind the project, shared her experience, saying, “The young people embraced the history through the museum artefacts, old maps, photographs and displays. They poured over the maps and other evidence, there was lots of discussion and drawing and I incorporated all their ideas into the banner design. All their work is represented somewhere in the three panels. We used oil pastels with their bright colours - we had a great time!

“My research for this artwork has meant that the museum now has another education workshop with creative activities on offer to primary schools, as they explore their local area and their local market town. This is a sustainable project too.

“I also tied things into the Coronation Garden, behind the Town Hall, which has a deconstructed market stall sculpture I worked on some years ago - go and see it!

Kay Metcalfe, Penrith Library and Customer Manager, added, “Penrith Library is delighted to support this amazing piece of artwork over the summer months.  We do hope the local community and visitors will enjoy viewing the banners when visiting the town’s library.”

Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Education and Skills at Westmorland & Furness Council, said, “I’m truly impressed by the fantastic teamwork involving our local schools, the museum and the artistic flair of Karen MacDougall. It's heartening to see our young talents diving into the town's history with such passion, crafting something that looks great visually and that echoes Penrith’s 800 years of its market charter. Top marks all around."