History comes to life for Sacred Heart Primary School

A visit from our very own Friends Group member and ex-teacher, Linda Fisk, provided a fun packed history lesson for Year 3 at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Accrington.

Teacher, Miss Dawes, contacted the Friends of the Haworth Art Gallery to ask if someone could visit the school to deliver a talk for the children to help them learn about the history of the gallery and the people who lived there when it was called Hollins Hill.  Miss Dawes was also keen for Year 3 children finding out more about the Tiffany Glass Collection.

During her visit to the school, Linda  provided a lively and interactive session for the children who were able to see pictures from over 100 years ago of Hollins Hill Farm area, William and Anne Haworth and the beautiful house they had built which we now all know as the Haworth Art Gallery.  Wearing a full Edwardian dress complete with gloves and broach, Linda was able to bring a little bit of living history into the classroom and some of the children were able to have a go at trying some of the clothing adornments of the time, like a top hat & collar and ladies chokers made from lace and beads.

A couple of weeks after the school visit by Linda, the lucky Year 3 class visited the Haworth Art Gallery with their teacher and had their own private tour by the Gallery Manager and Curator Gillian Berry.  Here they were able to see the Tiffany Glass collection and hear all about local lad Joseph Briggs who made his way to the top of the Tiffany company and sent precious and unique pieces of glass back to Accrington when the company wound down in 1933.

Year 3 teacher, Miss Dawes, commented on the experience, “My class have absolutely loved learning about the history of the Haworth Art Gallery. They had already developed some knowledge at school but when Linda came to visit us, they developed a wealth of knowledge that they can now recall confidently.   We celebrated all the learning we did by attending a trip to the gallery and the children had a fantastic day. They thoroughly enjoyed the art workshops provided by the gallery and they found it amazing to see their learning come to life!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Some of the Year 3 pupils wrote;                                                                                                 “Linda taught me lots and I remember her telling me lots of facts about Joseph Briggs. I learnt that he went to America and came back to Accrington to share the Tiffany Glass.” Keagan
                                                                                              “I loved it when Linda came to visit us because we got to see photographs of William and Anne.” Greta                                                                                                                                                                                                                       “I liked it when we went to the gallery because we got to see a lot of new things that we hadn’t seen before!” Mckenzie.                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Friends of Haworth Art Gallery and Gallery Staff really enjoyed engaging with the children at Sacred Heart and would like to thank the teacher Miss Dawes for her initial idea and involvement in this educational outreach activity.

Where did you get that hat?

September 21st, 1921: a host of notable Accringtonians assembles in its finery to witness the opening of an exciting new cultural centre for the town.

It’s the day the Haworth Art Gallery first opens its doors to the public – a cause for celebration for Accrington folk, who would benefit from this most generous gift – the day on which the town, still recovering from the effects of World War I, marks the opening of its first public art gallery. And a day on which to recognise the remarkable people who had made it possible.

Because it’s also a day of sad reflection. The house and grounds, previously known as Hollins Hill, are the bequest of Anne Haworth, who along with her brother William had lived there for fewer years than they no doubt would have hoped.

The Haworths’ family wealth was created by their father Thomas, an engraver by background, who built and ran two thriving cotton mills in Accrington and later passed the running of the businesses on to William. Being from humble beginnings themselves, the Haworths were fair and sympathetic employers, who ran clean mills with good working conditions and were a close and loving family.

It was after the death of Thomas and his wife Mary that William and Anne commissioned York-based architect Walter Brierley, dubbed ‘the Lutyens of the north’, to build Hollins Hill in the Arts & Crafts vernacular as their retirement home.

Completed in 1909, the house had been home to William for just four years when he died in 1913, aged just 65. After his death, Anne lived on more reclusively at the house, along with her companion Ellen Priestley, and died in 1920.

It was Anne’s extraordinary bequest that gave the town its new park, art gallery and collection of beautiful artworks, sculpture and ceramics, among the many items the siblings amassed from both near and far – on their many travels – fulfilling a dream William had harboured: to create a public gallery for the people of his hometown to enjoy. Abraham Whiston, who had been William’s valet and later Anne’s butler, stayed on to become the gallery’s first curator.

The generous bequest was welcomed by the town’s corporation and on this day 100 years ago, Accrington’s mayor officially took charge of the key to its great oak door. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Wonderful Work Placement! Thoughts from a Post Grad Student

Carla Loyola Cruz

Studying Cultural Heritage Management is definitely one of the most rewarding fields to study; not everyone is able to learn how heritage, museums, galleries are managed and, most importantly, how important it is to create a bond between them and society. Since I started this MA at the University of York it has granted me new knowledge regarding heritage and collections management, and, through the writing of essays and heritage plans I have been able to put this newly gained knowledge into use. However, although this was rewarding, the actual experience of working within a heritage space was missing.

That’s why I was very thankful and excited to find a placement with Haworth Art Gallery during the Easter holidays. At first I hesitated a bit due to the fact that I would have to travel every day from York to Accrington, but now I can say all those early mornings have been completely worth it! This has been one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences I’ve had since I started the MA.

My first impression of the building was simply WOOW, and that was just by looking at it on the website; of course it didn’t disappoint once I was actually on site. The gallery is based in an astonishing old English house located at the top of a hill, surrounded by a lovely park which grants you a fantastic outdoorsy environment and landscape. However, all these outdoors settings have nothing compared to what is awaiting you inside of the house. The whole gallery is filled with gorgeous paintings and various objects created by local artists, which really gives you a glimpse into Accrington’s history; not to mentioned the Tiffany glass collection which is classified as an international collection.

One of my first jobs here was the inventory and re-packing of the ceramic and glass objects in one of the stores. Thanks to this now I have more experience in how objects are classified and stored, not to mention that I have discovered so many really amazing objects in there and I have had the opportunity to look at them up-close.

Another task I have been able to perform, and definitely one of my favourites, was learning how paintings of different sizes are stored onto racks. We were able to re-hang eight paintings in the store, where, again, I got to see up-close very nice art pieces created by local artists and experience being on the inside of an actual object store in a gallery.

Furthermore, I was invited to attend to a planning meeting, where some future exhibitions and workshops were discussed. It was very interesting to see how these matters are planned and how much work, collaboration with other fields and planning is done behind the scenes. Even as a student in this subject, it is hard to realise sometimes all the work involved to bring an exhibition to life.

Overall, this placement has been a one-time life experience. I can truly say my knowledge in the field has increased, I now realise that working in a place like this is way more complex and time consuming than it seems. Being able to work close up with the collections and handle heritage pieces, discover all kinds of interesting objects, and work side by side with the managers of the gallery has given me the opportunity to actually put my MA knowledge into practice. Thanks to Haworth Art Gallery, I now feel more prepared to start a career in the heritage sector.

Haworth Art Gallery is one of the most interesting galleries I have been to, it highlights the importance of Accrington’s history and roots. Not to mention that the management team have some great ideas to integrate and make visitors interact more with the collections. Thanks to this placement I feel very happy and honoured to say I was able to work at, and be part of, this gallery.

The only thing I have left to say is thank you, thank you Alison and Gillian for accepting and guiding me through this placement; you have made me feel very welcome. Thanks to all the staff members and volunteers, I have truly enjoyed my time working alongside you, as well as all those chats and brews! I am really looking forward to coming back once the gallery is back open!

Carla Loyola Cruz