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Harper Street, Middleport Pottery

Stoke on Trent

​"The past is never where you think you left it."

Katherine Anne Porter

Until recently a near-derelict row of late 19th-century workers’ houses, Harper Street is being rescued by Re-Form Heritage, owners of the nearby and still working Middleport Pottery. Past Present is providing the interpretation scheme and running community oral history.


Community is at the heart of the enterprise, and integral to the interpretation scheme returning one of three houses into how it had been lived in seventy years ago, filled with voices and video of people and their memories.


Exhibition spaces amplify their stories, in what had once been the main type of housing in the Six Towns but now are largely cleared away.


Other parts of the row are being converted into archives, community meeting spaces, and craft workshops. Here, Past Present’s skills in interpretation, regeneration, oral history and film-making all come to the fore.

Find out more about Who We Are.

Winchester Cathedral (2020)


"The past beats inside me like a second heart".

John Banville

The bones, the stories and the entangled, bloody relationships of England’s kings before 1066. Monks, scribes and choirs. Saints and sinners, stones and shrines, books and manuscripts. Divers, iconoclasts and artists.


All these fill a wholly new exhibition, Kings & Scribes, on three levels in the ancient cathedral’s south transept. Their stories are all told in colourful, direct and accessible ways. Past Present produced the content, prepared a new guide book, and devised new themed story map trails through the building.


Working with Metaphor, exhibition design, surface 3, graphics, and the cathedral’s staff and advisers. Winchester Cathedral won the most improved interpretation award in the national 2020 heritage awards. Past Present’s involvement continues in assisting the development of smartphone-based site interpretation.


British Museum 2017-2018 &

Historic Royal Palaces 2004-2015


At Historic Royal Palaces, David was a leading member of the teams producing sometimes radical re-presentations of some of the most famous buildings in the country: the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, and multi-award winning work at Kew Palace.


He devised and produced introductory exhibitions and welcome centres at these sites, as well as associated publications and guide books.


Storytelling and narrative have been at the heart of these endeavours, skills he took to the British Museum in his role in 2017-18 as Head of Exhibitions. Under his leadership, the Museum mounted a series of 5-star shows on Rodin, the Scythians, Munch, new American art, Manga, Hokusai and religious belief, as well as a considerable number of smaller temporary exhibitions.


David developed his skills in heritage interpretation through working with English Heritage and National Trust publishing, as well as in television programme-making.

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