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Exploring Best of Britannia North as it returns to Preston’s Old Post Office

Posted on - 11th March, 2016 - 12:37pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, City Centre, Events, News, Preston City Centre
The Old Post Office in the sunshine, the team behind BOB North, inside the main foyer and seeing the David Bowie inspired artwork

The Old Post Office in the sunshine, the team behind BOB North, inside the main foyer and seeing the David Bowie inspired artwork

A ‘pop-up department store’ has opened its doors in Preston for a second year.

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Best of Britannia North showcases the best in Northern design, produce and inventiveness during three days at the Old Post Office.

The building, a maze of different rooms to explore, has everything from pitboards made for Formula One champions to an exploration of David Bowie’s impact on musical history.

Many Lancashire firms are taking part in the event, which aims to show off what the North can do and uses an often forgotten space in the city.

The champion potter Matthew Wilcock was lending his support to BOB North

The champion potter Matthew Wilcock was lending his support to BOB North

Matthew Wilcock, who won the BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down opened the event, and was pleased to be back in his home city.

Best of Britannia North organisers said they were pleased to be back in the city for a second year, and hoped Prestonian’s would turn out to have a nose around and discover what was on offer.

Exploring the rooms was the chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, Ruth Connor, who said it was important ‘iconic’ buildings such as the Post Office were used for events like BOB North.

A main foyer area houses stalls with products available to buy to the public, from the latest jumpers, to real ale and paintings made on a typewriter.

Upstairs there’s a bar and also the University of Central Lancashire space, which includes rooms with students showing off their funky creations and collections.

Highlighting Preston’s talent

In one of the rooms there’s a collection of motorbikes, signed pictures of many a Formula One champion and a quiet unassuming man who helps the likes of Lewis Hamilton win races.

Stephen Whalley, based in Fulwood, holds the world patent for his specially-designed pitboards.

Stephen Whalley with the pitboard used by Hamilton at the Brazilian Grand Prix

Stephen Whalley with the pitboard used by Hamilton at the Brazilian Grand Prix

He said: “I’ve been doing this since 1991 and I made these pitboards. There was a friend of mine and he was racing and he said it’d be great if it had a light. So I did it.

“Since then we’ve been supplying all the champions. Lewis Hamilton he used ours and when he moved teams he requested they change our supplier to us.

“I guess it’s something the public just wouldn’t know because we just go about our business. But we supply them all, Formula One, GP2, World Superbikes, and it’s all made right here in Preston.”

The pitboard used by Hamilton when he won the world championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008 is on display at the event.

The event opens to the public from 5pm on Friday 11 March and runs through until Sunday. Tickets are £4 (£2 for students) and includes a free craft beer or cocktail for each visitor).

Will you be checking out Best of Britannia? Did you go last year? Did you go this year? Let us know your views in the comments below

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