The windows of an empty Banbury town centre shop have been turned into a showcase for a photographic exhibition capturing the colour, fun and vibrancy of Banbury events.
50 images taken by local photographer Neil Simmons of Modern Parlance Photos, have been curated as an exhibition in the window of the first former Trinder’s toy shop on Broad Street.
The exhibition in the former Trinder’s window is the latest in a series facilitated by the Cherwell District Council-funded Banbury town team. Its aim is to make attractive use of the windows of empty shop units while work continues to get them let. It’s also an example of the partnership working that’s so important to the town team project: local group Visit Banbury supported the exhibition with funding, and printers Banbury Litho have re-produced the images at cost. Barry Whitehouse, owner of the Artery Art supplies shop on Parsons Street and lead for the collective of artists that run Church Lane Gallery in Old Town, acted as advisor on display and signage.
Deborah Menikoff, author of the local blog The Banburian, manager of Modern Parlance, and a strong ambassador for the town centre, has curated the exhibition. Deborah says: “There’s always a lot happening in Banbury – events, exhibits, moments – that people might easily miss going about their day. White Commercial and the landlord kindly allowing us use of this space means people can get a new view of places they already know well.”
Neil Simmons says: “With some great historic architecture, countryside close by and so many fantastic, colourful events, Banbury is a great place to be a photographer. I’m delighted and grateful to be able to showcase some of the moments that make this such a great place to be.”
Banbury Town Council-run events captured in the images include: Banbury & District Show, Banbury Food Fair, Canal Day, Armed Forces Day, the Christmas Lights switch on, Old Town Party and others. Ann Sewell, Events Manager at Banbury Town Council, says: “To see many of the Town Council events on photographic display gives residents and visitors to the town a wonderful opportunity to look back on the events that have been enjoyed by so many and demonstrates the Council’s commitment to the town.”
The shop site has recently been purchased by a development/investment company and is to be fully refurbished to provide new retailing facilities and in town residential accommodation. The proposed new retail units are being marketed ‘to let’ by White Commercial Surveyors. Harvey White, advising the developers, says: “Our clients considered that this exhibition highlighted the reasoning for their investment in Banbury, capturing the colour, fun and vibrancy of Banbury, and the fact that these retail units are very accessible being in the town centre pedestrianised area.”
The new display adds to those in the windows of the former Moss Bros unit on High Street which are used to showcase local independent businesses and Banbury organisations; there’s an ongoing display of local art in the former Stead & Simpson unit on High Street, and the owner of the former Arthur Whitcher shop on Parsons Street agreed to a temporary window display there before the new owner-commissioned refurbishment works.