High Street Tales – Stories Capturing the Everyday Magic of High Streets
From hidden histories to local urban legends, eight contemporary writers across England have worked with their local communities to explore the everyday magic of high streets.
Seven new short stories, or 'High Street Tales', are available as an ebook. The eight writers have also narrated their stories for a 'High Street Tales' podcast series.
High Street Tales ebook and podcast series
- 'Time and the Shoe Man' set in North Shields
- 'The Women of Number 11' set in Weston-super-Mare
- 'In Between Days' set in Woolwich
- 'All the Secret Postcards' set in Leicester
- 'Borrowed Ground' set in Hastings
- 'Under the watchful eyes of seagulls' set in Great Yarmouth
- 'Flying' set in Wednesbury
- 'Meet the writers' bonus episode
The stories were commissioned as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zones Cultural Programme, led by Historic England.
'Time and the Shoe Man' by Celia Bryce
In 'Time and the Shoe Man', musician and writer Celia Bryce draws on folk tradition, history and from online and 'offline' conversations in her hometown. The story charts the journey of a mysterious character who walks through time, determined to return a lost shoe to its home.
'The Women of Number 11' by Rebecca Tantony
In 'The Women of Number 11', writer and poet Rebecca Tantony uses online conversations, socially-distanced conversations as well as the sights and sounds of Weston-super-Mare to conjure the lives of women there across the ages.
‘In Between Days' by Merrie Joy Williams
In her short story 'In Between Days', poet and novelist Merrie Joy Williams was inspired by the local Woolwich community, who she spoke to discover this vibrant corner of London. Her story explores the rich history of Woolwich through the eyes of its teenage resident, Karim.
'All the Secret Postcards' by Rod Duncan
In 'All the Secret Postcards', writer and photographer Rod Duncan describes a father reminiscing during a visit from his concerned daughter. Whether remembered or imagined, the past and present of his hometown, Leicester, are brought to life in his memories.
'Borrowed Ground' by Robin Pridy
In 'Borrowed Ground', writer Robin Pridy has combined Hastings’ familiar sites, sounds and smells with the stories and memories of local people, to turn the town’s Trinity Triangle into the backdrop for the fascinating life of her character, Jackie Brigham.
‘Under the watchful eyes of seagulls’ by Ellie McKinlay-Khojinian and Ligia Macedo
In 'Under the watchful eyes of seagulls', writing duo Ellie McKinlay-Khojinian and Ligia Macedo explore the seaside town of Great Yarmouth. Here we dip behind the flamboyant arcades and candy-floss colours of the seafront on a visit to King Street, through the eyes of a kindly Portuguese migrant who befriends an elderly resident.
‘Flying’ by Maria Whatton
In 'Flying', Maria wanted to capture Black Country dialect. Growing up in Wednesbury, her character Lily May can only dream of having the confidence her friends all seem to have. On a special day when spirits stir, it’s Lily May who discovers a new side to Wednesbury, and herself.
Meet the writers
In this bonus episode, we meet the writers, stepping behind the scenes of High Street Tales as they talk about the ideas, people and places that inspired their stories.
High Streets Heritage Action Zones
The £95 million government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zones programme, which is being delivered by Historic England, will unlock the potential of high streets across England, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery and breathing new life into our high streets for future generations.
The programme includes four years of cultural activities across the country to engage local communities with their high streets.