Special artwork echoing history is among the final touches being made to the multi-million pound regeneration of Hartlepool’s Church Street.
Nine engraved granite stones featuring adverts and posters from the 1850s through to the Second World War promoting Church Street businesses are being set into the pavement near where the firms were originally located.
Among the subjects are J Hawkridge clothier at 1 Church Street, a refreshment list for the Royal Hotel, a lecture at the Athenaeum plus an original architectural drawing for the Shades Hotel.
A total of £2.1million has gone into the Hartlepool Borough Council project to regenerate Church Street.
It has been funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the main contractor was local firm Seymour Civil Engineering.
The council says the new layout will make it easier for parts of the street to be closed to host future events.
The road had not been expected to open to traffic until early August after being hit by delays due to bad weather earlier this year including the Beast from the East, but was re-opened to traffic in July.
The council says that the focus has been on enhancing the existing architecture and creating a more open, pedestrian-friendly area, including a wider footpath along the south side of the street, new lighting, full repaving and new, smaller trees replacing the previous larger ones which obscured the buildings.
Councillor Rob Cook, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Heritage Champion, said: “Church Street has a rich history of industry and innovation and as the revitalised Church Street area grows into a hub for the creative industries, this eye-catching artwork will serve both as a lasting reminder of that proud heritage and an inspiration for the future.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “How better to honour some of Hartlepool’s most iconic, historic businesses than by making them a permanent fixture of Church Street.
"These pieces will mark the entrepreneurs and trailblazers who made the town great, while sparking the imagination of our flourishing creative sector.”
The council set up a £129,000 grant scheme for businesses in Church Street and Church Square affected by the work.
It also gave business rates relief to 48 businesses of £127,000, and 11 received partial relief worth £242,000.
The regeneration work is being funded by the council, Tees Valley Combined Authority, and by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The revamp includes the creation of a large oval event space encircled by trees and raised seating outside Hartlepool Art Gallery.