Friends of Elizabethan Gawthorpe Hall celebrate 50th anniversary with guests including Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire

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The Friends of Gawthorpe celebrated their 50th anniversary by holding a celebration event at the 16th century Gawthorpe Hall.

Guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Charles Shuttleworth with Lady Ann and his cousin Gilly Newbery who was a trustee. Gawthorpe Hall was Lord Shuttleworth’s family home until he was five years old.

Also attending were the incumbent Mayor of Burnley Coun. Arif Khan and his daughter, the deputy Mayor of Padiham Town Council Coun. Mac Harrison and the Mayor of Rossendale Coun. Anne Cheetham, OBE, JP, and Ms Dorothy Jones who is the Mayoress (and a Friend of Gawthorpe treasurer) together representatives from other organisations linked with Gawthorpe Hall and the Friends of Gawthorpe Committee and members.

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The chair of FOG as it is known in short is Carol Stinton from Padiham who opened the event by welcoming guests. She was then followed by Dorothy Jones who gave an overview of the history of the group and why they help the three organisations responsible for Gawthorpe Hall and its collections, Lancashire County Council, The National Trust and Gawthorpe Textiles Collection.

Friends of Gawthorpe Hall, including the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Charles Shuttleworth with Lady Ann and his cousin Gilly Newbery who was a trustee.Friends of Gawthorpe Hall, including the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Charles Shuttleworth with Lady Ann and his cousin Gilly Newbery who was a trustee.
Friends of Gawthorpe Hall, including the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Charles Shuttleworth with Lady Ann and his cousin Gilly Newbery who was a trustee.

Childhood memories

Lord Shuttleworth then gave a speech about his early memories of living at the hall at one point saying all the local fields at the time were open cast coal mines so he always got very dirty when playing out often getting him in trouble with his nanny.

He gave his heartfelt thanks to the Friends of Gawthorpe for all their years of support and wished the group well for the future.

Lord Shuttleworth was then invited to cut the celebration cake which had been beautifully decorated with a drawing of Gawthorpe Hall by a Gawthorpe volunteer.

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Rachel Kay Shuttleworth

Those attending were then joined by actress Eleanor Jolly who was dressed and talked in character as Rachel Kay Shuttleworth. Her talk was about the time Gawthorpe Hall was visited by the King George and Queen Mary in 1913. It was a very amusing insight to the life and times of living at the hall.

Everyone was then invited to take refreshments including the cake. Guest were then invited to look around the Gawthorpe Textiles galleries and the Friends of Gawthorpe quilt display.

Formal photos were then taken outside the hall as a memory of a wonderful 50th celebration.

Dorothy said: “Although I have been a Friend for 20 years, compared with some of our Friends, I'm a relative newcomer. But since being quite young I have always been aware of Gawthorpe, as my aunt attended Miss Rachel's embroidery classes here and was always full of admiration for her.

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“In later years I attended many embroidery classes and completed my City and Guilds in embroidery here.

“I've been looking through some reports from the early days and the principles by which the Friends of Gawthorpe was established.

“The organisers must have done a great PR job as initially they enrolled around 200 members. To generate income, they held many social events including music recitals, concerts, tea dances, Easter lunches, Christmas lunches and Harvest Suppers. They obviously enjoyed dining together.

“There were viewings of the collection, demonstrations of stitching techniques, specialist speakers, visits to neighbouring museums and much more. These events were well all supported.

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Honourable Friends for Life

“In 1974, at the second meeting of the Friends, when a 'good number of members attended', it was unanimously agreed that three people who had a specific relationship with the Hall be invited to become Honourable Friends for Life - Lord Shuttleworth, Miss Schofield-Clegg and Miss Wordsworth.

“The following year, included in the minutes of the March meeting, the curator's report listed donations to the collection, and here I quote, 'some of which were in good condition, but some of the cotton items were soiled and in need of a wash, including an 1858 crinoline dress, which involved keeping control of 25 yards of wet fabric.’

“The curator reported that all the items came out beautifully and were subsequently displayed in the summer exhibition.”

“Our main fund raising event is the Gawthorpe Christmas Fair which is a wonderful display of handmade goods and helps to swell the coffers. It is an also an opportunity to recruit new members. In addition the Friends make articles for sale in the reception area of the Hall, which last year generated £1,400.

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“How do we use the money we raise? There are over 30,000 articles in the collection and over the years we have contributed to help to fund the conservation and preservation of them, such as provision of storage materials, boxes and packs of acid-free tissue paper and last year we helped to fund a data logger to monitor humidity and temperatures in the storerooms and the library.

“These may not seem very glamorous items, but they are essential to help with the conservation of the Collection. In addition, over the years, a core of friends has, under supervision, assisted with conservation work on the collection. They are very dedicated to this work.

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Retro picture gallery from Burnley in the 1970s and 1980s

“We have also provided funding to LCC for supporting exhibitions in the Hall; you may remember last year's Women of Gawthorpe Hall which informed us of all their talents and what fascinating women they were. We also contributed to the conservation of 17th century account books of the Shuttleworth’s of Gawthorpe which are in the Lancashire archives in Preston.

“These accounts cover the period during and after the building the Hall. Fascinating.

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“I hope all this puts you in the picture about the Friends and examples of some of the more recent contributions we have made for the benefit of Gawthorpe. We plan to continue to build on what has been established during the past 50 years and continue this support. Hopefully that has given you a flavour of how the Friends have supported Gawthorpe and we will continue to do so.”