Spring has Sprung in Haworth Park

By Jean Emmett – A Walk in the Park

Walking through Haworth Park at the moment is delightful. The birds are singing their hearts out and they are very audible as there is little traffic noise and very few people in the park. I even saw a nuthatch in one of the trees. They are usually secretive and difficult to spot.  The trees are coming into leaf and there are spring flowers about. It’s good to take a moment to look and watch. Butterflies are fluttering around and even the squirrels are being more adventurous.

This week the gardeners have been busy taking out straggly bushes. I asked if they were planting more or maybe wild flowers, but the powers that be have decided to grass over where the bushes were. I suppose it’s easier for maintenance, but not as good for the soul!

It was interesting seeing the gardeners with a JCB trying to pull out the stumps. The driver couldn’t see where the stumps were for the bucket on the front of the digger. He was being instructed by another gardener – back a bit, forward a bit, down a bit, close the bucket, PULL. The stumps did come out eventually, but each took a while.

The gallery of course is closed, but it’s presence is felt as you walk round. Really can’t wait for it to open again. It is greatly missed.

I hope all the staff are staying well. Look forward to seeing them all again when this covid crisis is over.

Jean Emmett

Haworth centenary: what’s in store?

The Haworth’s centenary as Accrington’s art gallery – the jewel in the town – is just around the corner. The fascinating photograph above was taken in 1921, the year the building was opened to the public. What a decorous entourage assembled for the occasion!

“This can’t last. This misery can’t last.” Laura Jesson, Brief Encounter.

As the Haworth staff and Friends volunteers prepare to mark the 100th anniversary (watch this space!), we’ve been hard at work documenting the gallery’s two major artwork stores, uncovering and preserving important artefacts in the permanent collection, many of which will help shape the event.

Our featured photograph was among the hundreds of items in the building’s watercolour store, work on which has been ongoing for the past year, documenting and assessing the condition of each item.

Among the many lovely discoveries were several sheet music albums belonging to William and Anne Haworth. At least one album, bearing William’s monogram and the date 1902, pre-dates the era when the Haworths lived in the house, then known as Hollins Hill.  Friends’ member Frances Prince, leader of the Red Rose Singers, is cataloguing this music, with plans for the group to perform some of it in the 2021 anniversary celebrations. The centenary exhibition will chart the story of the house and celebrate the people who lived and worked here from 1909 to 1920.

Mayoral insignia from the inception of Accrington Corporation, showing the lovely Town and Market Halls.

In addition to all the fantastic photographs and artwork, the store holds a variety of paper-based works, including cartoons, architectural drawings and copies of the documents and correspondence relating to the building of the house,

Among them was this illuminated manuscript (left), recording the bestowal of the mayoral insignia at the first meeting of the newly formed Accrington Corporation in 1878.

Also in this store is the original photograph album of the house from 1921, after Anne died and bequeathed the house to the Corporation. It shows the rooms and furnishings as they were when the house was her home. A copy of the album, sponsored by the Friends, is available at the Haworth reception desk for all visitors to see. Make sure to have a look on your next visit.

A romantic pen and ink sketch (above right) from the watercolour store suggests a Brief Encounter moment; a bittersweet image of an Edwardian-era couple, parting ways as his train prepares to leave. Also in this collection is a photographic portrait of Joseph Briggs (below right), who donated the vast majority of the Haworth’s Tiffany collection to his hometown.

Joseph Briggs, the local lad who became MD of Tiffany Studios and gifted his town the largest Tiffany collection outside the US.

In the early days of 2020, gallery staff, aided by eight volunteers, emptied the gallery’s oil store. Tasked with documenting and assessing the gallery’s more physically substantial works and re-hanging them in a more accessible order – we recorded each painting’s position in the store for ease of management.

Next on our list is documenting the Haworth’s extensive collection of art books, detailing works from Goya to Rembrandt and beyond.

Many of the works in these two stores will inform and illustrate the forthcoming anniversary exhibition, which will be a significant feature of the Haworth’s programme of events next year.

Looking ahead to 2021 has become a luminous objective. We very much hope to see you all there.

*If you’d like to help us realise any of our projects, or perhaps have information about any aspect of the gallery or its heritage – no matter how small – please don’t hesitate to contact us at haworthaccrington@gmail.com.

The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts

Nothing to do while staying indoors or self isolating?

Why not put your feet up and enjoy this series where modern crafts people go back in time to live the life and reproduce the work of the Arts and Crafts pioneers. Click here. It’s laid back and very enjoyable.

The Arts and Crafts house where the action takes place is a relatively late example built in the early 1920s. You can see clear similarities with our Hollins Hill, aka Haworth Art Gallery in the images above.

The house is Wyndcliffe Court, which lies half a mile north of the village of St. Arvans, Monmouthshire, Wales. It is listed Grade II* and was completed in 1922

Stitching for sisterhood at Aawaz Accrington this International Women’s Day

A warm welcome and creative crafting were the order of the day at Aawaz, Accrington this week. Friends’ member and Haworth crafting queen Bee Daly led a lovely ‘Slow Stitching’ project as part of International Women’s Day celebrations.

Each designing to her own theme, members had a chance to try out creative embroidery and decorative sewing under Bee’s expert tutelage. Swathes of fabrics, buttons, beads and coloured thread were kindly provided by Bee and the Haworth.

The stiching project continued over three days and these are just a few of the lovely works created by women who participated.

The Friends are funding materials to create a decorative wall hanging, combining all the panels.

A well-established, Hyndburn-based charity. Aawaz, which means ‘voice’ in Urdu, aims to improve the lives of south Asian women and their families, and to help create harmonious, equal and cohesive communities.

Aawaz Centre Manager  Zulekha Dala said the project had been very popular with members and that they would like to continue to collaborate on future events.

In the near term, Haworth Art Gallery manager Yvonne Robins invited Aawaz members to a private tour of the Haworth  one morning in March.

Wonderful work, everyone!

*To get involved, become a Friend of Haworth Art Gallery, or just learn more about the Friends’ activities, contact us at haworthaccrington@gmail.com

 

2020 vision: Haworth is jewel in the town, says council leader, as staff look to future

Leader of Hynburn Borough Council Miles Parkinson has praised Haworth Art Gallery and its staff, describing the gallery as the town’s “jewel” to local news media. Cllr Parkinson’s remarks, published in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, come as the Haworth leadership prepares to renew the gallery’s Arts Council England accreditation – and looks beyond 2020.

Haworth Curator and Deputy Manager Gillian Berry describes the Arts Council accreditation as the industry standard for museums and galleries and a necessary step for the gallery if it is to seek Arts Council or National Lottery Heritage funding. Accreditation lasts for five years.

Heritage lottery funding was critical to completion of the Haworth’s Stable Studios and Motor House into artists’ studios. It has been an invaluable component of the gallery’s ongoing development as a cultural nexus for the area. Which in turn enhances the Haworth’s ability to provide an exciting and varied programme of events throughout the year.

Proposals for future developments within the gallery complex are under wraps, but its programme of improvements in recent years has included a major reconfiguration of the Tiffany showcase rooms to highlight the story of Joseph Briggs and Accrington’s connections with Tiffany’s New York art studios. As well as the stunning redevelopment of the former greenhouse, stables and motor house, the addition of the Gallery Kitchen, restaurant and bar facility has been a significant part of the gallery’s transformation.

See above and below for the Haworth’s 2020 schedule of exhibitions, workshops and live music events.  Many more functions, events, workshops and classes are organised by staff and volunteers of the Gallery, the Stables Studios, the Haworth Artists’ Network and – of course – the Friends. So stay tuned to our social media for more updates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lancashire Lifesavers!

A group of Haworth volunteers, Friends and staff have received training in performing CPR and using a defibrillator, thanks to Lancashire Adult Learning which provided a free workshop delivered in house especially for us at the Haworth Art Gallery.

Following a joint venture with Friends, gallery and restaurant staff to raise money last year, we now have a 24 hour public access defibrillator in the gallery grounds.* A number of Haworth employees are already trained in CPR but new members, Friends and volunteers welcomed the opportunity to take part in a session delivered by a professional trainer and ex-nurse.

The session was well attended and the group learned about essential information regarding cardiac arrest and heart attacks. There was also the opportunity for hands-on practice with the resuscitation mannequins and defibrillator machines. Feedback for the session was very positive with all agreeing that it was pitched just at the right level and we came away feeling much more informed and confident about how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator on adults and children.

Defibrillators come with clear instructions and often have audio messages to assist the user. However, in the heat of the moment it may be quite daunting and therefore having previous experience and knowing what to expect when using a defibrillator might make a significant difference.

Lancashire Adult Learning offer FREE Lifesaver courses throughout the year at venues around Lancashire.

For more information or to book on a session please contact them on: 0333 003 1717

Or you can enrol online at www.lal.ac.uk

*The Haworth’s defibrillator can be found on the exterior side wall of the main gallery building, adjacent to the Hollins Lane entrance.

Haworths, history and heritage at St John’s, Baxenden

Friends of Haworth Art Gallery helped stage and narrate a delightful exhibition of the history, heritage and fine folk of Baxenden – at St John’s Church in the village. Conceived and hosted by the church, the exhibit brought together visual and oral histories, presented by local interest groups at a special launch event. The Friends focused on the Haworth’s place in Baxenden’s history and the many terrific tales from within its walls – not least, of the Haworth family.

They regaled residents with the history of the house and the fascinating lives of those who lived and worked there in its days as Hollins Hill, the private home of William and Anne Haworth. The Haworths lived in the house from 1909 to 1920, when Anne died – William predeceased her in 1913.

William was a philanthropic man. He gave generously of his time and money to many worthwhile causes and individuals in the area. He was a good employer, who paid decent wages and cared for the welfare of his workers. He was no saint, however, and didn’t suffer fools gladly. He was known to sport a sarcastic wit and a sharp tongue on occasion!

Anne was a beacon of benevolence. Although not much in the public eye, she was well known for her generosity. Like her brother, she was a well-liked employer. Her staff – once they arrived at Hollins Hill – never left, which was testament to her treatment of them.

Among her many acts of generosity, Anne donated her Wolseley car for use as Accrington’s first motorised ambulance – completely fitted out with the most state-of-the-art equipment at the time. On her death, she bequeathed the house and grounds to the people of Accrington, to be used in perpetuity as a museum and art gallery, with the grounds to become a public park.  She also left bequests to every one of her staff.

Staff featured in the exhibition were Anne’s companion, Ellen Priestley;  William’s valet, Abraham Whiston, who would later become Anne’s butler and subsequently the first curator of the museum; chauffeur Joseph Taylor; coachman William Beach; undergardener, Joseph Cowling, and cook, Elizabeth Shaw.

The Friends’ display also featured artifacts for visitors to see and handle, including a parasol and a silk beaded shawl, such as Anne would have worn; a top hat just like the ones William would have used; and Edwardian jewellery just like the objects Anne and Ellen would have possessed. Personal items of yesteryear, such as clogs, and period household items like laundry equipment were also on display.

The exhibition ran for nine days , in which time, almost 900 people enjoyed the displays mounted by the Friends and other exhibitors. Friends’ trustee Roger Cunliffe also had a display on the history of the mills, trams and roads in the Baxenden area near Haworth Art Gallery. It featured a model steam engine and models of trams, coaches and other vehicles that would have seen use in the local area through time.

We at the Friends enjoyed our part in the exhibition immensely. We can’t wait for the next local heritage event. Looking forward – and looking back -2021 will see the centenary of the Haworth as the town’s art gallery. Keep your eyes peeled!

There is a season, turn, turn, turn

Autumn’s here and it’s back to school, back to work and back to blogging! (Please pardon our hiatus over the summer. dear reader – absence of posts has not meant absence of Friends’ activity, which has continued as energetically as ever – more of which in future posts.)

Alison hard at work, planning for the Friends

And to everything there is a season. In August, the Friends turned two years old and held its Annual General Meeting at Haworth Art Gallery. It was a momentous meeting, as our brilliant Chair, Alison Phelan, stepped down after a stellar two years of service. Alison has been a driving force since the Friends’ inception, co-founding the group, along with fellow Trustees, Harry Emmett, Jean Emmett and Roger Cunliffe and other dedicated members. Alison’s hard work, enthusiasm and tenacity are always accompanied by a friendly smile and she has been a great galvaniser of all the Friends projects. The Friends all agree that we have been very lucky to have been steered by her calm good sense for the past two years and have made truly remarkable progress in that time. Thank you, Alison!

Alison and Harry, appropriately bookending a group of Hollins young photographers at their exhibition at the gallery last year

The good news is that the inimitable Harry Emmett takes up the reins and will be spearheading the Friends’ efforts for the next two years (while Harry may himself be inimitable, he gives both uncanny Santa and Elvis performances – to name but two – and like those icons can be recognised by just the one name)! As a founding Trustee, Harry has been central to the Friends’ progress in every aspect, and works tirelessly in leading and supporting the group’s many projects. Harry’s involvement with the Haworth reaches back many years, as an interested Friend and neighbour, and as a key member of the Accrington Camera Club. Congratulations to Harry – we welcome his zest and zeal for the work of the Friends and look forward to working with him in his new role! Please watch this space for more on our continuing and future projects.

In further good news, Alison remains on board as General Secretary and Treasurer, while fellow founding Trustee and relentless researcher, the unrivalled Jean Emmett, also takes up the role of Minutes Secretary. We’re in excellent hands!

If you’d like to play a role – large or small – in the Friends, or even just to join us for the social side of this lovely group, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

haworthaccrington@gmail.com

 

 

Hollins Hill Heyday

History enthusiasts gathered at Haworth Art Gallery today to see and hear the story of Hollins Hill, as the building was known in its days as a private home, told through the medium of a beautiful old photograph album.

An example of the lovely period photographs of the Haworth at the time of its bequest

The album was presented to the public for the first time since its restoration by expert bookbinders and restorers, Formbys Ltd. Haworth Curator Gillian Berry joined the Friends to talk about the restoration project and the Haworths’ bequest of their home, which prompted the album’s creation.

When the Haworths bequeathed their beautiful house and its contents to the town of Accrington, an inventory of their effects became necessary. Hence the album was commissioned: an astonishingly crafted, leather-bound document of the items in the bequest. Amazingly detailed with stunning photographs of the house’s interior, its exterior and the surrounding nine-acre parkland, the album was certainly more lavishly executed than was strictly necessary for the task. The exquisite photographs illustrated the individual rooms with all their contents just as though the Haworths had merely stepped away.

The album before it was restored to its former beauty by Formbys Ltd of Ramsbottom

Those attending today’s event were treated to the fascinating story of the album, which was restored from the very dilapidated state into which it had fallen, to the astonishing artefact now returned to its home at the Haworth.

The story of Hollins Hill’s heyday was also helpfully illustrated by the presence of a stunning contemporary (1913) SCAT automobile (main photograph), which was generously displayed on the Haworth Motor House forecourt by owner Gordon Cornthwaite. A jaunty addition to the period mood!

Pages prior to restoration

The Friends also raised funds by way of a tombola, the proceeds of which will complete the acquisition of a defibrillator for the gallery and park by providing high-spec housing for the equipment.

While the album itself will be carefully maintained and displayed on similar occasions, a facsimile will remain on display at the Haworth for the public to view.

Start the car and get yourself over to see it as soon as you can!

 

Heartening News!

Brilliant news! The British Heart Foundation (BHF)  has informed the Friends that it will match funds raised towards a defibrillator for Haworth Park and Art Gallery. This excellent cause, spearheaded by Trustee Jean Emmett and Chair Alison Phelan, was  greatly helped on its way by Haworth Art Gallery and Gallery Kitchen staff, artists and volunteers, who gave generously of their time, money and prize donations.

The news means that £600 raised through their efforts will be matched by the BHF to reach the target amount for the defibrillator and its installation. It enables the Friends to purchase a high quality defibrillator and training pack, including training for up to ten people at a time in CPR.  The equipment is compatible with North West Ambulance kit and has a ‘child key’ which would allow the voltage to be adapted for use on a small child, should that be necessary. Installation is expected to be within the coming month.

The conditions for match-funding require that the defibrillator be housed in an unlocked box with 24/7 public access, which will be met by plans to mount the equipment on the outer wall of the Haworth, easily accessible via several of the gallery’s exits as well as the park and stable complex. The funds raised by the Friends also enable the group to purchase housing for the equipment that incorporates an alarm and temperature control.

The Friends are particularly pleased that they were able to raise funds in a relatively short time for this worthwhile project. Fundraising projects included a Christmas raffle and chocolate stall and a fantastic evening of fifties fun, complete with auction and raffle, for which Accrington Stanley generously gifted a signed shirt, and stable block artists Heather Ashton, Steve Crowther and Catherine Lansdale kindly donated works. Special mention also goes to Rishton artist Nigel Airey, who made the big-hearted donation of his large abstract work. Enchanted Forest, which was auctioned in March.

The Friends would like to thank everyone who contributed to this result, including of course all the above- mentioned. But also the community members who participated in various events that helped raise these vital funds, while also enjoying the gifts of the gallery.

We ❤️ You!