History and art combine to show Luton's heritage

First show opens on Monday about the 33 Arts Centre

By Lynn Hughes
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 5:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 5:24 pm

Luton Heritage Forum has joined forces with Luton Historical Society to host an eclectic series of events in early 2022. The programme kicks off by celebrating the cultural history of the town’s iconic 33 Arts Centre, with local legend Paul Jolly joining as guest speaker.

Delivered with the University of Bedfordshire’s Heritage Enterprise Hub – a National Lottery Heritage Funded project – the online session will take place on Monday (Jan 17) at 7.30pm. Events will be held on the third Monday of every month and alternate between online and ‘in person’.

Paul Jolly has been involved in local arts provision for 50 years: first with the group Refleks, a collective of visual artists, musicians and actors working in Luton from the early 1970s, and then with Luton Community Arts Trust, a charity responsible for the administration of the ground-breaking 33 Arts Centre between 1978 and 2001.

The 33 Arts Centre

Alongside his work as a musician, he founded ‘33 Jazz’ a contemporary jazz record label with over 350 releases of contemporary music and supported many other local initiatives including ‘SNAP’, a unique youth arts project, and ‘33 Film & Video’. Paul is currently working, with the support of the UoB Lottery Funded Impact Accelerator Scheme, to create an archive of work produced at ‘33’. The hope for the archive is that it will contribute to the history of the arts in Luton and will have relevance to the currently developing Cultural Quarter.

Paul Hammond, Chair of Luton Heritage Forum, said: “By coming together with Luton Historical Society, we are able to bring great speakers to an even wider audience of heritage enthusiasts, and we are delighted that Paul Jolly is able to join us for our first collaborative event.

“Our programme for the first quarter of this year offers a blend of more traditional building and industry-based themes alongside topics and speakers that show the full breadth of topics that are encompassed by the title of ‘heritage’. While our combined communities are already sizable, we always encourage new people to get involved.

“The 33 Arts Centre played an important role in the development of the local and national arts scene over four different decades – and the building and people associated with it are remembered fondly by generations of local residents. I’m sure this will be a very popular event.”

Free tickets for January’s online event can be booked via Eventbrite here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/paul-jolly-history-of-lutons-33-arts-centre-guildford-street-tickets-243527496297Dates for meetings in 2022 are as follows:

> Monday 17 January, 7:30pm – Remembering the 33 Arts Centre with Paul Jolly – online

>Monday 21 February, 7:30pm - “Pubs and Pints" updated for 2022 with Stuart Smith – in person at Bushmead Community Hub

>Monday 21 March, 7:30pm - Luton Census 1921 - Ten Households with Paul Hammond – online