Heritage Fun Day at the Gallery

                                              With Fun and Frolics
On Sunday, September 17, 2023, the Friends of Haworth Art Gallery together with Gallery Staff and Arts in the Market came together to provide a day of heritage and fun for our local community and beyond.

The day kicked off with the Mayor of Hyndburn, Councillor Terry Hurn opening the event. Staff and Friends dressed in period costume and Arts in the Market organisers dressed as pirates to go with their display of “Under the Sea”, which was made by children in the market during the school holidays.


Here children see their art work on the wall for the first time – a beautiful display.


There was laughter and enjoyment for all. The ever popular tombola was well patronised, as was Marilyn’s arts and crafts sale.

Heritage games provided much amusement with spinning tops spinning off the table across the room. Table skittles and bagatelle became very competitive, with visitors vying to get the best score. Our finger puppet theatre was popular with the younger visitors, who acted out children’s stories like Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. Dressing up was again a feature

Gillian and Sam took people on tours of the house, pointing out its beautiful Arts and Crafts features. Amelia, as our Victorian Explorer, took the children on

an adventure, where they had to be detectives and find all the various animals in the carvings. She also did story telling.

Harry, above, acting as the coachman William Beach, took people on a tour of the stable/motor home block, which was converted into artists’ studios several years ago. Visitors were fascinated by all the stories our three tour guides told.

One of the visitors was the great granddaughter of the coachman, William Beach, and Jean was able to give her a lot information about her great grandfather, also being able to put her in touch with a distant cousin she didn’t know about.

As well as all that, we were treated to two sessions of Lancashire dialect songs by Jennifer Reid, who was entertaining as well as amusing at times. Her songs were interspersed with explanations of the meanings of some of the more obscure dialect words. A real adventure into Lancashire Heritage.


Jennifer Reid


All in all, a really successful day as well as a lot of fun and the theme of Heritage, especially of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, was well represented in all the activities.


Thanks to all who took part, helped with the organisation and planning donated resources and gave their time. Well done.

New coin boxes are now in use

The new coin boxes bought by the Friends of Haworth Art Gallery are now in use. Sandy, Jean and Harry are in the process of transferring coins, medals and commemoratives from their previous envelope storage into the new secure boxes. Each coin is re-inspected and its new location recorded. This new system will allow much better access to the items, as well as ensuring their safe storage. The photograph shows some of the Friends seeing how the new storage works.


Storage Boxes

Hurrah – the storage boxes for the coins have arrived. With great excitement, we opened the boxes on Tuesday when we went in to the gallery to do some more documentation.

The Friends paid for them as we agreed at our last meeting. The storage boxes were desperately needed as we had coins and medals in many envelopes in a shoe box and open plastic box. So their storage was unsafe.

Now that we have suitable archive boxes, all these items will now be secure.


Haworth Art Gallery – Hyndburn Business Awards June 2023

Haworth Art Gallery was nominated in the Hyndburn Business Awards 2023 and was a finalist in two of the categories. The results were announced at a dinner and presentation at the Dunkenhalgh and the gallery had a table there. Gallery staff, a representative of the Artists’ Studios and gallery volunteers went along for the dinner, which was accompanied by live music prior to the presentations. Three of the Friends were represented amongst the volunteers.

Whilst the gallery didn’t win, it was a prestigious occasion to attend and had done well in being finalists.

Gillian and Amelia, gallery staff with Marilyn, volunteer and member of the Friends.





Paddy representing the Artists
and Harry, volunteer and
member  of the Friends.




Liz, volunteeer, alongside Alison and Sam, gallery staff.



Jean, volunteer and member of
Friends with Liz, volunteer,
Alison, gallery staff.

Coronation Event at Haworth Art Gallery May 7, 2023

At the Haworth Art Gallery on Sunday, May 7th , we celebrated the Coronation of King Charles lll by holding a community event for our local families. Organised by Gallery staff, Accrington town councillors and the Friends of Haworth Art Gallery, with funding by Hyndburn Borough Council, a brilliant day was had by all. Following the singing of the National Anthem, where children from St Nicholas Primary School, Church accompanied the soloist, the fun commenced.

The Red Rose Singers performed in the rose garden as did the group, much to the delight and enjoyment of visitors.

Also outside, children and adults alike were able to enjoy making giant bubbles , which soared away into the sky and over the gallery. There was lots of fun inside as well. Vintage games proved to be really


popular with lots of discussion with children about the toys that were played with over 100 years ago.
Spinning tops became very competitive—who could make their toy spin the longest! A bagatelle and table skittles tested everyone’s skills and we were entertained by children acting out stories in the puppet theatre.

Crafts for children also had loads of clients and the crowns made

 were seen all afternoon on children’s heads in the gallery. Dressing up was amazingly popular with adults more so than children and the opportunity to “Have your photo taken with our king” was well subscribed as was the ever popular tombola, which did a roaring trade

Visitors who wished were taken on a guided tour of the house, looking at all the marvellous Arts and Crafts features of our building.

Every child attending received a party bag , which included a Coronation Commemorative medal, and enjoyed an ice cream with sprinkles in coronation colours. Featured in the gallery was a display of art work by children from St John Primary School, Baxenden and prizes for the best pieces were presented.

Report – Friends Viewing Day

Special Viewing Day of Items from the Permanent Collections at the Haworth Art Gallery
 In April, The Friends of  Haworth Art Gallery  were able to view some of the weird and wonderful items that are the gallery  collections.

Three of the Friends have spent several years  of voluntary work documenting the collections  and chose items to view .

Three magnificent silver plated items by Elkington were the first to look at. These elaborately  ornamented pieces dated from the Victorian era  and, whilst not intrinsically valuable, represent Victorian workmanship at its best.

We also viewed the miniature portrait of William Haworth , which must have been a    treasured possession of Anne Haworth as a memorial of her brother. Anne had also saved  a sampler made by her mother, Mary Rushworth around 1810 . This had been discovered in a corner of the attic when we were documenting artifacts. A remarkable find.

By contrast, we were amused to read the poster from the public library, shown on the left. Quite who had the job of deciding who was “a dirty person”  we will never know.  Whilst we do not know the date of this poster, it dates from after 1908, the date when the  build of Accrington’s Carnegie Library was finished.

This poster reminded us of similar ones that were posted in the various mills across Lancashire and Yorkshire of “Rules of the Mill”.

Amongst the coin collection, we were lucky to be able to look at the medal from Accrington’s Mother and Baby Day held in Oak Hill Park in 1929.

Each child received a medal on a blue ribbon from the Mayor. Over 700 mothers and their babies attended and were treated to entertainment in the park and afternoon tea.

The two medals on red, white and blue ribbons were from the Jubilee of the Accrington Borough incorporation, the celebration being in 1928.

The photographic album that the Friends had had conserved was also on view, with the replica produced by Harry Emmett there to handle. The photographs were taken in 1921 following the conversion of Hollins Hill, Anne Haworth’s home, to Haworth Art Gallery after her death and her gift of the house and grounds to the people of Accrington.

We also looked at a Chinese porcelain bowl with pierced decoration, a Chinese tea bowl, Chinese slippers and pattons.  There were also household bills dating from just after World War ll , one of which was a rates bill for  around £5.

A fascinating morning for the Friends, which gave just a small insight into the treasures of the gallery.

Documentation of Haworth Art Gallery

Documentation of Haworth Art Gallery Permanent Collections

Documentation of Haworth Art Gallery permanent collections has been going on for well over 5 years. Three of the Friends of Haworth Art Gallery have been involved in this along with, from time to time, other volunteers, gallery staff and university students on placement.

Currently ( March 2023), Jean and Harry Emmett and Sandy Spence are busy working on the coin/medal and commemoratives collection. There have been many weird and wonderful items to be seen, including “cowrie” money, Chinese knife money and beautiful commemorative coins, including ones made especially for Accrington’s celebration of the Coronation of Edward Vll and Queen Alexandra. Also found were medals that had been presented to babies at an Accrington Mother and Baby day in 1929.  This was held in Oak Hill Park and 700 mothers and their babies attended.  An interesting insight into life in Accrington then.

Here Jean, Sandy and Harry are busy documenting coins from George lll’s reign.





The coin documentation should be finalised in April. What will we be working on then? Who knows, but we hope to still be working with the fascinating collections held at the gallery.



Edwardian dress and a mess of fun; heritage open day a sunny Sunday success

Edwardian dress cuts a dash

Didn’t we have a lovely time, the day we went Edwardian? As the old song goes – and all for under a pound, you know.

The fun and friendly Heritage Open Day, hosted by the Friends and staff of Haworth Art Gallery, was a huge success, thanks largely to the 500 visitors who turned out to enjoy an afternoon of Edwardian-era fun .

The smallest suffragette!

Some splendid period entertainment, including games, crafts and educational activities helped bring to life the beautiful old arts and crafts house and surroundings in ways its first owners the Haworths would surely have recognised.

Testing skills on table skittles and bagatelle

From piles of period costumes for dressing up and snapping selfies, to great games and toys of the times, such as bagatelle and table skittles, there were free activities for old and young – and everyone in between – including giant bubble-blowing and wild welly-wanging. Wow!

I’m forever blowing bubbles!

And from demonstrations of the needlecrafts that were typical of the era, to making your own crafty creations – or learning how to handle some of the Haworth’s huge collection of artefacts – most of the day’s activities were absolutely free.

The hope was to provide an event where everyone would feel welcome, and we were delighted to be joined by people from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities to join in the fun.

Craft room capers, fun for all



Also free were fascinating talks about the house and its surroundings, the stables, the motor house and its very rare petrol store.

Audiences were regaled by tales of amazing inventions of which the Haworths were early-adopters – and treated to a visit from a stunning SCAT car – a contemporary of the Haworths’ motor cars.

Hello, Dolly!  Working a dolly tub


For a small fee, visitors could chance their arm on the tempting tombola or the human fruit machine – a fun and fruity way to win a perfect prize.


Talking textiles; needlecrafts of the times

For those who just wanted to sit back and take in the balmy, end-of-summer mood, the hypnotic moves of the 400 Roses and T’Thorns (see main image), entranced the crowds with their genre-defying brand of traditional dance – a real must-see.

Beautiful Baxenden Concert Band sounds


The brilliant Baxenden Concert Band delighted everyone with their pitch-perfect performances of classics old and new, drifting through the rose garden. A wonderful way to unwind on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Trusting to luck on the human fruit machine!

A huge thank you to  our many visitors, staff and volunteers, who helped make it such a memorable day in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

SCAT! This marvellous motor by Società Ceirano Automobili Torino dates to 1913


And while it may have been a day of looking back to a bygone era, we’re already looking forward to seeing you at our next event.

Pip pip!

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.