Greater Manchester town named Town of Culture for 2023

Stockport has been announced as the Town of Culture for Greater Manchester in 2023, securing a £50,000 grant to support arts and creativity in the borough.

The announcement was made at the Hat Works, with the presence of local stars like Blossoms and Macauley Southam-Hales from Stockport County, along with Mayor Andy Burnham and Council Leader Mark Hunter.

Stockport’s bid for the title was centred around the One Stockport vision, which aims to boost the local economy, connect communities, and promote health and well-being.

The bid focused on four key elements: Stockport Makes, Stockport Moves, Stockport Sounds, and Stockport Tastes, all celebrating arts, creativity, and the town’s diverse cultural heritage.

Mayor Andy Burnham expressed his admiration for Stockport’s cultural power and its recent achievements.

He said the town had “a real buzz about it at the moment”.

He also acknowledged recently attending one of Blossoms’ performances, calling it one of the best nights he remembers.

He encouraged Stockport to embrace the spotlight and highlighted the town’s upward trajectory.

In recent years, Stockport has gained recognition as an emerging creative hub in Greater Manchester, even being referred to as the “new Berlin” by DJ Luke Unabomber.

The Underbanks have created a hotbed of fantastic independent shops like Rare Mags, Top of the Town Vintage and SK1 Records (to name but a few, there are loads).

This year as the Town of Culture aligns with major public redevelopments and investments in the town, including the regeneration of the town centre, the refurbishment of the Hat Works museum, the Stockport Creative Campus Cultural Fund, and the Future High Street Stockroom discovery centre.

You can read our story on the huge changes happening in Stockport by clicking here.

The Weir Mill is also due for a massive redevelopment in the area, promising a hip community to spring up in its wake, too.

Cllr Mark Hunter expressed delight at Stockport’s recognition and credited the hard work of cultural organizations under the banner of Culture Stockport for supporting the bid.

The Town of Culture program aims to provide opportunities for everyone to be active and creative in Stockport while celebrating its people, places, and stories.

Stockport’s rich cultural history is highlighted by landmarks such as Strawberry Studios, which has welcomed renowned artists like Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and Paul McCartney.

The town is also the birthplace of notable figures like broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell, actors Claire Foy, Sally Lindsay, Sacha Dhawan, and choreographer Wayne McGregor. Its historic public buildings, including the Edwardian Central Library and the Town Hall, add to its cultural significance.

It’s also full of historically important public buildings, like the Edwardian Central Library, which was built with the assistance of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and the Town Hall, which had become a popular filming location for “a number of primetime TV shows”.

Throughout the year, Stockport’s Town of Culture Program will unfold, inviting residents, local artists, creative businesses, and partners to participate. The program aims to engage the entire community, fostering an environment of active participation and inclusivity.

As the program develops, various events and activities will take place, showcasing the town’s artistic talents and cultural richness. From theatrical performances to street parties, Stockport will come alive with a vibrant tapestry of arts, music, dance, and more.

Stockport follows in the footsteps of Stalybridge, which held the title in 2022, and the region’s first Town of Culture, Bury, which held the title for tow years from 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic put a number of events on hold.


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