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Home News Sekers reunion hailed a success

Sekers reunion hailed a success

Home News Sekers reunion hailed a success
Sekers reunion at Rosehill - pics by Tom Kay Photographic Sekers reunion at Rosehill - pics by Tom Kay Photographic

It was an emotional day when Rosehill Theatre hosted a free reunion for former employees of Hensingham's Sekers factory.

The event took place as part of the theatre's Creative Connections programme.

A number of former Sekers employees and their families enjoyed meeting up with ex-colleagues, reminiscing, sharing their stories about the factory and Rosehill, and some even brought along items of memorabilia.

Established as the West Cumberland Silk Mills and then Sekers Fabrics, the business became renowned worldwide for its quality fabrics, supplying great couturiers such as Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Givenchy and more.

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It was founded in 1938 by Sir Nicholas Sekers, a Hungarian who was invited by the British Government to establish a silk mill to provide work for the unemployed at Whitehaven, which was then a declining port. As a lover of the arts, 'Miki', as he was known, went on to collaborate with Oliver Messel, a leading theatre designer of the 20th century, to create Rosehill Theatre in the grounds of his home - and on its opening in September 1959 it was hailed as a "rose-red silk-lined jewel box".

The Creative Connections programme is inspired by this collaboration. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, it includes workshops, exhibitions and talks involving schools and communities. These are aimed at enabling the Rosehill team to interpret the theatre's heritage in fresh ways, leading to more engagement and allowing a greater understanding of the way it has shaped their local environment and culture.

Creative Connections practitioner Janice Murray said: "Many local people have fond memories of the Sekers factory. I do myself. My mam and many of my friends and their families also worked there. I was brought up just down the road and loved visiting the factory shop. I was a keen dressmaker and spent my youth clad in 1980s creations made from Sekers curtain fabric!

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"The reunion was such an emotional day. It was fantastic listening to people's recollections and looking at memorabilia, and we are really grateful to everyone who came along and shared their stories. It was a privilege to hear them all.

"Local oral histories are incredibly important to collect and record. The stories gathered will be inspiration for the Creative Connections project's second year and will form the basis of a display at the theatre next year."

Anyone who was unable to attend the reunion but wishes to share stories of their time at Sekers is invited to contact Janice at Rosehill on 01946 692422 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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