THE new "Hats Off to Denton" sculpture trail is Tameside Council's way of tipping its hat to the industry which made Denton's name.
It's a project aimed at bringing together the entire community in a celebration of the town's heritage and launches, aptly enough, on National Hat Day (Saturday, January 15).
The 15-hat trail – five of them giant – will be in Denton town centre between Saturday, February 19, and Sunday, March 13. Each hat will be a unique creation painted by a local artist with many inspired by schools and community groups.
Individuals and community groups are still able to get involved by inspiring the design of "The Denton Hat". Town-centre shops are also invited to get in contact to display one of the trail hats in their window. For full details visit: www.tameside.gov.uk/hatsofftodenton
Denton was a centre of hatting for 300 years and in Victorian times was home to 86 companies. It was also the birthplace of Thomas Bowler, the man who designed the famous hat that bears his name. The tradition continues even now in the shape of Denton Hats which supplies the trademark Gatsby caps for the popular BAFTA-winning BBC television drama "Peaky Blinders".
A statue outside Denton Town Hall called "Tipping the Denton Linney" commemorates the link with the hatting industry which once employed almost half the town's population.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council's executive member with responsibility for culture, said: "I'm really excited about the "Hats Off" trail. It's a celebration the entire town can get involved with, allowing people to work alongside some very talented artists who will give expression their ideas.
"Denton was once one of the main hatting centres not just in Britain, but the entire world, and the industry was a source of great civic pride. 'Hats Off' provides us with an opportunity to rekindle that pride by showing that creativity and community spirit are still at the heart of what makes Denton such a great place."
"Hats Off to Denton" is funded from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the Welcome Back Fund.
All the artists involved are based in Greater Manchester and several are from Tameside. They include Gordon Banks, Lizzie Rigby, Amina Sheikh and CBeebies artist Vanessa Scott.
Among the participating schools and community groups are St Thomas More RC College, Denton Community College, Denton Local History Society, Gibson's Dance Centre, Denton Brass Band, Beavers and Cubs, The Create Centre and Tameside Air Cadets.