Some stories never tire in the re-telling. Thus it is with reality – recollections of how and why Bristol is twinned with Hannover.
The tale has been retold, with perfect balance via poster displays, historic film, voice recordings and still pictures in the exhibition In Someone Else’s Shoes.
The first phase of the exhibition ran from January 29 to February 2 in the Vestibules at City Hall, before being transferred to the Central Library on the opposite side of College Green.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees addressed a reception on the formal opening of the exhibition on January 30, following up his own visit to Hannover only last August when he signed a “Memorandum of Understanding Reaffirming the Friendship for the future between Hannover and Bristol” which pledged “to renew our promise to further promote the exchange in …… numerous areas.”
Mayor Rees recalled his own teenage days on an exchange visit to Germany and how he came to understand only later the significance of the Bristol/Hannover partnership.
Such city twinnings, he said, were all the more important in the post-referendum Brexit future when relationships between cities and local government administrations would gain in value as national government ties were loosened.
In Someone Else’s Shoes has been created to celebrate the 70-year friendship between Bristol and Hannover.
Ruth Myers of Myers-Insole Local Learning CIC, described it as “exploring the roots of the twinning and telling the stories of some of the enduring friendships that were forged between inhabitants of these two cities — from the earliest gestures of goodwill in 1947 to the exchanges that still take place
The exhibition, curated by Sarah Knight, who devised its striking ‘shoe-art’ display, also showcases a recent creative collaboration between students from Bristol and Hannover secondary schools.
The reception was also attended by Penny Gane, granddaughter of one of the Goodwill Mission in 1947, Crofton Gane, the Chairs of the twinnings with Hannover, Bordeaux and Tbilisi, former Lord Mayors, representatives of the City Archives and academics from Bristol University.