Gawthorpe Textile Collection unveils new premises at Northlight

By We Love Creative

24 Apr 2024

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Trustees, staff and supporters of the Gawthorpe Textile Collection gathered to celebrate the grand opening of its new premises at Northlight.

The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Amanda Parker JP, carried out the official ribbon cutting as notable guests, including local MPs Antony Higginbotham and Andrew Stephenson, the Mayor of Pendle Councillor Brian Newman, representatives from UCLan, Burnley College and Nelson and Colne College and a wealth of business owners, all gathered to commemorate the next significant milestone in the history of the collection.

In a heartfelt address to guests, chairman of trustees, Lord Charles Shuttleworth, expressed his own deep gratitude to all who contributed to the successful relocation of over 30,000 priceless textile items. 

Director Linda Drury, curator Rachel Midgley, assistant curator Rachel Terry, and dedicated volunteers were praised for their tireless efforts in making this transition possible.

Originally curated by the visionary Hon Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth, the Gawthorpe Textile Collection holds a rich heritage deeply rooted in north-east Lancashire. 

It is now cared for by a board of trustees, who, inspired by Rachel's enduring motto, "Cherish the past, adorn the present, create for the future," are committed to carrying on her admirable community and educational work.

Lord Shuttleworth said: “The collection was previously housed in Gawthorpe Hall, where we faced challenges in maintaining adequate storage conditions. The decision to relocate to the Northlight was driven by a commitment to preserve and protect these invaluable treasures for future generations.

“Northlight is a former cotton mill and holds a wealth of historical significance within the area, so we felt it was the perfect new home.

“With ample space and improved accessibility, the new location promises to enhance public engagement and educational outreach initiatives.”

Looking ahead, Lord Shuttleworth outlined ambitious plans to broaden access to the collection and further its educational mission. 

However, financial constraints pose a significant challenge in meeting this end goal, prompting a call to action for support from the community.

In a beacon of hope, Lord Shuttleworth announced that the Trustees have received an offer to match donations up to a total of £60,000.

This initiative aims to sustain the collection's operations while paving the way for long-term financial sustainability.

Director Linda Drury said: “As the Gawthorpe Textile Collection embarks on this new chapter, we are looking to support from the community to help safeguard and nurture this cultural gem. 

“Together, we can uphold Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth's legacy and ensure that the collection continues to inspire, educate, and enrich lives for generations to come.”

After the formal speeches and ribbon cutting, guests were invited to take a tour of the collection stores led by curator Rachel Midgley.

For more information on how to support the Gawthorpe Textile Collection, or to organise a visit please contact Linda Drury at [email protected].

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