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  • Writer's pictureRachael Prime

The Bleach Packers

Look at the black and white picture

if you had a job as a bleach packer

in Widnes and Runcorn

you were elite, a fleet of top trumps

one lump of salt or two?

Credit: Louise Fazackerley

Picture credit: Catalyst Museum

Rachael Prime was asked to work upon the Halton Borough Council heritage project, funded by the Heritage Lottery all based around the Bleach Packer workers of Widnes and Runcorn.

The creative director on the project was the amazing artist Lou Chapelle who worked with young people from Halton as well as creative practitioners also based within the borough.

Rachael ran two workshop sessions with fashion students from Cronton College, who developed and designed the costumes to be used within the final piece. Focusing on the original materials that the Packers themselves would have used to project them from the chemicals, the pieces were created using cotton fabric, brown and white paper and white cardboard.

The costumes were then used as part of the dance element with the dance students also from Cronton College. Their movements became restricted due to the costumes giving some idea of the conditions the Bleach Packers worked their sometimes 128 hour week.

The final pieces involved the multi disciplines of costume, music, poetry and filmography then went on display at Runcorn Shopping City and Tesco in Widnes.

Runcorn Shopping City 10th Jan - 16th Jan

Widnes's Tesco 19th Jan - 23rd Jan

More Info on the project visit Lou Chapelle's website -

Collaborating artists:

Creative director Lou Chapelle

Film-maker Tim Brunsden

Costume designer Rachael Prime

Choreographer Sharon Graham

Sound artist Wendy Smith

Poet Louise Fazackerley

Augmented Reality Laurie Cooper

Young People:

Dance: Caitlyn James, Eleanor Williams, Ellie Shaw, Emily Banks, Jessica Moss, Olivia Boardman, Phoebe Fletcher, Rhianna Murphy, Rowan Craske

Costume design: Bethany Hogg, Sophie Ambler, Sophie Robson, Ellie Mclean, Chloe Spyrou, Mia Lucas

Choir and narration: Chloe McCartney, Sophie Royle, Melissa Royle, Wolfie

Digital sounds: Alyssa Mae Connely, Declan Fishburn, Lewis Murdoch

Poetry: Alex, Alistair, Liam, Molly, Oscar, Wolfie, Zephir, Louise, Paul

Promotion and AR: Luke Hamilton

Special thanks to:

Project director Steph Davies

Project co-ordinator Ruth Darling

Youth facilitator Rebecca Ainsworth

Louise Nulty at The Studio

Sharon Graham and Sandra Brown at Cronton Sixth Form College

Judith Wilde and Diana Leith at Catalyst Science Centre and Museum

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