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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

New exhibition sheds light on Stockton's friction match history

Friday, May 02, 2014


There is a new story to find out about at Preston Park Museum and Grounds.

An exhibition about the tale of Stockton-born chemist, John Walker and his famous invention, the modern friction match is on display there.

The exhibition is based on Sara Maitland’s magical book ‘Instant Light’ – a mythical tale about Walker and his invention. The heart-warming book which was launched by Stockton Council last August is beautifully illustrated by Robert Dunn.

Visitors can learn about the mythical story and the real history of the invention in the new exhibition, which will be displayed in an old-fashioned market stall. There will also be a chance to meet “John Walker” on May 3, 10, 17 and 24!

Meet Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Ken Dixon, said: “The Instant Light story brings to life Stockton’s involvement in the invention of the friction match. It really captures the imagination, weaving a fictional tale of a relationship between Walker and a visiting circus performer, with the true story of Walker’s world changing invention.”

The exhibition will be at Preston Park until 1 June and will then be on display in the Rediscover Stockton Shop on Stockton High Street. Copies of ‘Instant Light’ are available for £5 from both the Rediscover Stockton Shop or from Preston Park.

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