Collaborator Profile: Sutton New Town Community Festival

Sutton New Town Community Festival is a community group funded by a Neighbourhood Grant from Sutton Council. Team member Jeff Richards worked on the Stories From the Sheds Project, co-producing the exhibition "Stories from the Welsh Chapel'' with local historian Fiona Carey, the exhibition explored Sutton’s transformation from the 19th to 20th century.
Sutton New Town Community Festival

Tell us a little bit about yourselves

We arrange and promote community festivals and events for the benefit of the inhabitants of Sutton New Town and the surrounding area. We want to promote social inclusion and community cohesion through staging fun events and activities for the people of the Sutton New Town area.

How were you involved in Sutton STEAMs Ahead?

Our September Heritage Exhibition was called "Stories from the Welsh Chapel". We worked with a local historian, Fiona Carey, and other volunteers to create an exhibition that explored the rapid technological changes that took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These changes had a profound impact on the way people lived and worked in our neighbourhood of Sutton New Town.

The exhibition and supporting talks and walks based at the Welsh Chapel on Lind Road explored the social impact of the arrival of the railway, the tram and other personal means of transport. The exhibition featured a variety of stories and images.
An illustration of several modes of transport such as car, horse and carriage and bicycles
The Welsh Chapel
Stories from the Welsh Chapel, from Sutton New Town Community Festival, explored the technological changes in transport of the 19th & 20th century.

Were there any highlights and/or take-aways from being part of Sutton STEAMs Ahead?

This was the first heritage exhibition where we had a stage at the Welsh Chapel and the trustees could not have been more welcoming.  They were delighted in being able to host the exhibition and tell the story of the Welsh community in Sutton.  We had asked for evaluation forms to be provided in Welsh and were delighted that so many were completed!  One great unexpected benefit is how the exhibition display will be used at different locations in Sutton and that the Welsh Chapel Trustees have been able to use the success of the exhibition to secure 20K funding to improve the accessibility of the Chapel.

What does STEAM mean to you?

The History of Transport is very obviously STEM based but being able to use Sutton's photo archives and local residents' historic postcard collections to create the exhibition was a hugely privilege.  It was great being able to use the research to tell stories and allowing people to use their imagination to capture the sense of what it was like to live in a period of time of breathtaking technological change.

What’s up next for you?

We are looking forward to our next Heritage Open Day exhibition in September 2024. We are building links with other groups to reuse and 'mix up” materials to create new interpretations of history.
Have you worked with us as part of the Sutton STEAMs Ahead programme? Contact us to potentially feature in a Collaborator Profile. Send an email to
Sutton STEAMs Ahead