The new ‘Hats off to Denton’ sculpture trail is Tameside Council’s way of tipping its hat to the industry that made Denton its name.

It’s a project to bring the whole community together in a celebration of the city’s heritage and is fittingly launching on National Hat Day (which was Saturday, January 15).

The track of 15 hats – including five giants – will be in Denton town center until 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 can still get involved by inspiring the design of ‘The Denton Hat’. Downtown merchants are also invited to get in touch to display one of the trail hats in the window. For all the details, visit

Denton was a millinery center for 300 years and in Victorian times was home to 86 businesses. It was also the birthplace of Thomas Bowler, the man who designed the famous hat that bears his name. The tradition continues to this day in the form of Denton Hats supplying the Gatsby branded caps for the popular BAFTA-winning BBC TV drama ‘Peaky Blinders’.

A statue outside Denton Town Hall called “Tipping the Denton Linney” commemorates the connection to the millinery industry which once employed nearly half the town’s population.

Councilor Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s executive member responsible for culture, said: “I’m really excited about the ‘Hats Off’ trail. It’s a party that the whole town can get involved in, allowing people to work alongside very talented artists who will express their ideas.

“Denton was once one of the leading centers of millinery not just in Britain but worldwide, and the industry was a source of great civic pride. ‘Hats Off’ gives us the opportunity to rekindle that pride 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 by the European Regional Development Fund England as part of the Welcome Back Fund.

All of the artists involved are based in Greater Manchester with several hailing from Tameside. They include Gordon Banks, Lizzie Rigby, Amina Sheikh and CBeebies artist Vanessa Scott.

Participating schools and community groups include St Thomas More RC College, Denton Community College, Denton Local History Society, Gibson’s Dance Centre, Denton Brass Band, Beavers and Cubs, Create Center and Tameside Air Cadets .

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