Giant stiletto starts Northampton's heritage sculpture trail

Giant stiletto
Image caption The giant red stiletto is the first of 12 shoes to be placed around Northampton

A giant sculpture trail designed to promote a town's industrial heritage has been launched with a red stiletto.

When finished, the 12 shoes, which will include Doc Martens and Chelsea boots, will be located around Northampton.

Northampton Borough Council commissioned Long Buckby artist Noel Blakeman to create the sculptures.

He said he hoped the giant shoes would "promote the rich history and feeling of the town".

Each of the shoes has been sponsored by a local business who worked with an artist on each shoe's design.

Image copyright Northampton Borough Council
Image caption Local sculptor Noel Blakeman said it important to to engage the local community with public art projects

Anna King from Northampton Borough Council said the authority had realised "more promotional work was needed to highlight the town's heritage".

She said she hoped the trail would "raise awareness of the town's rich shoe and boot-making history and the many shoe manufacturers still based in the town".

Northampton and shoes:

Following the first shoe in place in the town's Market Square, more will be installed next month in locations such as the Royal and Derngate theatres and the university.

The trail is part of a summer of events to bring people into Northampton town centre, the borough council said.

Image caption The giant shoe trial has also been support by the Northampton Business Improvement District

Earlier this year, the authority said footfall into Northampton had fallen by 15%, while problems such as vacant shops and homelessness are on the rise.

They published a plan to save the town centre, and hoped to secure £25m of government funding for the work.

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