This Surrey market town has been named World Craft City

PUBLISHED: 13:47 23 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:56 29 July 2020

Farnham Maltings usually hosts a variety of arts and crafts events throughout the year. Image: Farnham Maltings

Farnham Maltings usually hosts a variety of arts and crafts events throughout the year. Image: Farnham Maltings

Farnham Maltings

The market town of Farnham is only the third region in Europe to be granted such status by The World Crafts Council

Farnham Pottery has the oldest wood-fired kiln in Europe, Image: Farnham PotteryFarnham Pottery has the oldest wood-fired kiln in Europe, Image: Farnham Pottery

Farnham has been awarded the prestigious title of World Craft City, the first town in England and only the third region in Europe to be granted such status by The World Crafts Council.

Only 36 other regions and cities across the globe have achieved the award and Farnham joins this innovative network which is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities programme.

The Farnham area has been populated since the Ice Age, making it older than Stonehenge, and a history of craft making is evident in the landscape. Remains of a flintknapping industry dating back 7,000 years have been discovered just outside the town, and during the Roman period Farnham became a centre for pottery, famous for its ‘whiteware’ made from the plentiful supply of gault clay.

The town’s creative landscape includes Farnham Maltings, The University of Creative Arts, the International Textiles Research Centre run by Professor Lesley Millar MBE, the Crafts Study Centre which is celebrating its 50th year, The New Ashgate Gallery and the Farnham Pottery, founded by Absalom Harris in 1873 which has the oldest wood fired kiln in Europe. With the boost of World Craft City status, opportunities for creativity will be supported not only for the established creative hubs but also for individual crafts people in the area.

Farnham's Craft Town MapFarnham's Craft Town Map

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New Ashgate Gallery is one of Farnham's long-standing galleries. Image: New Ashgate GalleryNew Ashgate Gallery is one of Farnham's long-standing galleries. Image: New Ashgate Gallery

Councillor Pat Evans, Mayor of Farnham said: “Farnham has a powerful reputation for craft education as well as nurturing and promoting the careers of some very talented makers. Our fantastic arts and crafts venues have enabled craft to be embedded into our everyday life. I am thrilled that Farnham has been awarded World Craft City status and for the opportunities this presents for both the visitor economy and the next generation of makers.”

The judges from The World Craft Council commented on the strong sense of community in Farnham and noted that ‘although the town is informed by its past and a respect for its traditions, it is very much looking towards the future and embracing new technologies and ways of working.’ “The World Craft City status is fantastic news for Farnham and Surrey,” comments Dr Outi Remes, director of the New Ashgate Gallery. “This comes to fruition from a great team effort by the craft partners, the makers, Farnham Town Council and Waverley, all of whom make Farnham the very special hub of crafts that it is. Craft brings us joy through learning skills and in discovering beautiful objects, it contributes to our economy and improves our mental health through a sense of creative community.”

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