In My Shoes

A black and white photo from the 1960s of a group of women workers at the Millers Factory in Cockermouth sitting on the side of the mill race in the sunshine

In My Shoes is our 18-month project which aims to share and celebrate West Cumbria’s diverse culture and heritage, running from April 2023 – September 2024.

The project will feature a series of storytelling events, theatre, music and exhibitions across the area, to inspire people to share their own stories.

What makes your community unique? What do you take pride in? What are your family traditions? What is your story?

Our group of oral history volunteers have been trained to record people’s own memories, family history and traditions.

Have you got a story to tell? We want to hear from people who were born and brought up in West Cumbria, and some of the unique aspects of life here, alongside stories from recent refugees, immigrants and people who have relocated to the region.

If you’d like to take part, join us at one of our Storytelling events or get in touch with Helen Johnston, Community Projects Officer: 01900 829966 or email

Storytelling events:

  • Wigton: Friday, 8 Dec 2023, 10am – 1pm, The Bowling Club, West Road, Wigton, CA7 9RG
  • Egremont: Thursday, 18 January 2024, 10am – 1pm, Florence Arts Centre, Florence Mine, Egremont, CA22 2NR
  • Workington: Tuesday, 13 February 2024, 10am – 1pm, Northside Community Centre, Trinity Drive, Workington, CA14 1AX
  • Cockermouth: Saturday, 2 March 2024, 1 – 4pm, Kirkgate Centre, Kirkgate, Cockermouth, CA13 0PJ

Youth Theatre

Young people performing on stage, wearing bright coloured t shirts, with bear ear headbands and party hats

Photo by Chris Lewis Photography

The Kirkgate Youth Theatre will be performing pieces inspired by the project. Their first show is Following My Footsteps, on 7 December 2023.

In Act 1 The Young Performers bring you the story of a bear, a factory and mistaken identity, along the way looking at the importance of being yourself. In Act 2 The Young Actors explore their own family stories, tracing the journeys that led them to live in Cumbria.

In 2024, the Youth Theatre will perform a piece inspired by the oral histories for Cockermouth Live!


There will be two exhibitions as part of the project:

Shoemaking in Cockermouth Exhibition

An older man and a younger woman looking at scrapbooks at the Shoemaking in Cockermouth exhibition

Photo by Chris Lewis Photography

Did you know boots, shoes and clogs were made right here in Cockermouth for several hundred years?

Dead animals, dog and pigeon poo, and even the bark from oak trees were all once used in the shoemaking process.

This exhibition steps into the history of making shoes in Cockermouth, from the tanneries of the 18th and 19th century to Millers – a shoe factory that arrived in Cockermouth during World War Two and traded in the town for 50 years.

The exhibition was on display from 7th November – 18th November 2023 at the Kirkgate Centre, we are planning to tour it at other local venues over the next few months.

The second exhibition will explore migration stories in West Cumbria and will be on display in summer 2024.


Throughout the project we will be programming music, dance and performances by local, national and international acts which explore themes of identity and diversity.

Made possible with Heritage Fund logoThe In My Shoes project has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the generous support of the Arts Society, Cockermouth and Papcastle Recreation Trust, Cockermouth Town Council, Cumberland Council and Francis Scott Trust.