The beginning of October saw the preparations underway for the start of the atrium extension construction. This work is due to be completed by mid-2022 and in the meantime there will be some disruption to our normal operation but we are still open for visitors who can view at first hand and at a safe distance the transformation taking place.
The photo of the planning visual has been slightly modified since origination, but you get a good idea of what we have planned.
During the work, the main entrance will be via number 80 Derngate for both the house and The Dining Room. Our introductory video, normally shown at the start of tours, is being made available online for those who wish to see it, and access to the rear of number 78 will be restricted whilst the heavy demolition work next door continues. When available, our volunteers continue to offer guided tours, but no guarantees can be given at the moment.
We ask all our visitors to bear with us during this exciting development and hope that they will come and see us now and then return once all the building work is complete to see the immensely exciting finished project!
On July 1st Northamptonshire Heritage Forum hosted a feel-good evening celebrating the very best of Northamptonshire’s heritage. 78 Derngate is proud and delighted to announce that The Heritage Award for ‘Best Event of 2019-2020’ was won by us for our ‘Evening with Call the Midwife’ which we held just before lockdown in February last year.
Compered by BBC Radio Northampton’s John Griff DL, the ceremony was held online of course, due to COVID-19 restraints - which allowed everyone to attend from far and wide. Guests and presenters included James Lowther of Holdenby VII, representing the Lord Lieutenant, and Earl Spencer, Patron of the Forum. Andrea Leadsom DBE MP and Andrew Lewer MBE MP presented awards, along with Kate Dent of ‘Northamptonshire Surprise' representing the county’s excellent promotional website. John Griff also presented the ‘People’s Choice Award’ reflecting the most popular organisation featured on his BBC Radio Northampton show.
There were eight categories plus the People’s Choice Award – for which 78 Derngate was also shortlisted - and the award was won in recognition of a very successful and highly enjoyable event held in collaboration with Northampton High School at their venue. The event saw hundreds of fans descend upon the school’s great hall who all avidly listened with delight at many amusing anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from the show’s creator, Heidi Thomas, and her husband – who plays Dr Turner – Steve McGann.
Northamptonshire Heritage Forum said: “It has been hard for us all to keep going during the pandemic, but imagination, passion and commitment have enabled many to find new ways of working together and produced wonderful results that have kept spirits high both within the teams and the communities they serve. New skills have been learned by many, especially increased familiarisation with the digital world. The innovation demonstrated by the winners has been an inspiration for us all. And as James Lowther VII reminded us, our unique Northamptonshire Heritage is something to be proud of and is an important element of the offer to the multimillion-pound tourism business, essential to our hospitality sector.”
It is hoped that winning accolades such as this will continue to motivate and inspire our existing volunteers, Friends and visitors and also that it will encourage new interest to emerge. The entire evening was a wonderful celebration of all the fantastic cultural and heritage sites across the county and all the people who work or volunteer for them.
Researcher and volunteer, Christine Sanderson and Chair of Friends of 78, Rob Kendall, have both been very busy during lockdown, scribing books! Both books outline the important work of two influential men who lived and worked in Northampton and who are intrinsically linked to 78 Derngate's history. One, the founder of a prosperous model-making business and possibly Mackintosh's most demanding and progressive patron and the other a Scottish born Architect celebrated not only for his initial work on 78 Derngate but for all the wonderful buildings in and around the town, still very much in existence today.
Christine's book - Bassett-Lowke War Work: The Making of an Identity is the second in her comprehensive series on the Northampton-based man and his model making company and it covers the extent and the importance of the work undertaken by the artisans of Bassett-Lowke Ltd and associated companies, Winteringham Ltd and EW Twining Ltd during the war. This significant work, bearing in mind the shortage of materials at the time and often undertaken in the utmost secrecy, makes for an incredible story.
With over 100 pages and colourful images, the A5 sized book is packed with original information from articles produced by WJ Bassett-Lowke himself. Printing was generously funded by The Friends of 78 Derngate and is available both in the shop and online at £9.99.
Rob's book - Alexander Ellis Anderson - Architect demonstrates within its illustrated pages that Anderson was already a well-established architect in Northampton prior to the plans he drafted for the modification work on 78 Derngate. Anderson had already designed a series of Arts and Crafts houses known then as the Alexandra Park Estate and his incredible Baronial style castle, the Taylor Memorial Hall and the colossal Barratt Footshape Boot Works factory are but two examples of his extraordinary vision.
This A5 36-page landscape book, which costs £5 and is available online and in our shop, provides a most interesting insight into Anderson and will give the reader plenty of motivation to go out and locate all those celebrated buildings that do still exist in Northampton.
This exhibition of textiles and mixed media work has been created by the VISUALise (formerly known as ISE) textile
group which was formed several years ago by like-minded artists who enjoy creating diverse work with stitch as the
The group meets regularly in Welford Village Hall, Northamptonshire, and has always had a mentor, who works
individually with each artist, presently this is Amanda Clayton, former mentors were Matthew Harris, James Hunting,
Mary Sleigh and Sue Eden.
“The role of the mentor is to engage each practitioner in a dialogue with their own practice - it is to propose not
impose. This show is the manifestation of a collection of individual journeys. Rather than a full stop the works are to
be seen more as a comma, a pause for breath and reflection within these dialogues. The range of work illustrates the
emphasis that VISUALise places on the individual, united by a rigorous approach to reflection and practice and a
celebration of the diverse applications of the textile media.”
Following the Government's announcement in March that Northampton will receive £25million from Towns Fund to kickstart a huge raft of development projects across Northampton, we are pleased to share that our ongoing atrium extension programme has been accepted as part of that exciting fund!
It is brilliant to be part of this important regeneration and enhancement of our town and will make such a big difference to our visitors, both local and worldwide. It will also enhance the already exceptional delights on offer in the vibrant Cultural Quarter of our diverse town.
Despite the strangeness of this month, it is likely to be an extra busy time for Amazon shoppers! So, shop at Smile.amazon.co.uk and they will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases, at no extra cost to the purchaser, to a favourite charity – in this case, we hope The 78 Derngate Trust! It could help boost our funds quite a bit and we would much appreciate fans of The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House giving it a look!
78 Derngate has been awarded a grant of £38,400 by HM Government’s Culture Recovery scheme in association with The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
“Culture creates jobs, supports livelihoods, and brings joy to everyone. The UK leads the world in the creative industries and we can all feel pride in that.
Now, in these challenging times, it’s our turn to show our support for culture. With an unprecedented investment through the £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund, the government is #HereForCulture so it can weather the storm of coronavirus and come back stronger.
And we are #HereForCulture too.
#HereForCulture is a movement that unites the public, government and cultural organisations in support of our fantastic cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and heritage.
We want people to make sure that where they are able to visit local culture venues in their communities, they do so in a covid secure way. Plus, with more and more culture being curated online, there is no better time to support and enjoy all the new and exciting ways culture is available to us.
By being #HereForCulture, we aren’t just supporting the people in the industry, we’re also supporting communities across the country.”
The Secretary of the 78 Derngate Northampton Trust, Les Patterson said “We are very grateful to the Culture Recovery Fund in granting this money which will enable us to open over the next six months and make plans for the future.”
The international significance of 78 Derngate’s design has been highlighted this week as a cover story in The New York Times’ twice yearly Design Section.
Jayne Design Studio of New York recently completed work on a Long Island guesthouse for clients Betsy and Bryan H. Lawrence. The ‘Narnia House’ features a kitchen inspired by the one from 78 Derngate. The distinctive ‘Neptune Green’ painted dresser in the Northampton house has been recreated and stands within a luxurious American counterpart that features the same colour throughout.
Decorator William Cullum who worked on the scheme referenced his visit to 78 Derngate in 2014 with The Victorian Society of America Summer School. The “Narnia-Inspired” property has been remodelled throughout to exacting standards and is an eclectic mix of influences from around the world. A predominantly Arts & Crafts look is mixed with strong contemporary elements to create a series of memorable room settings.
Ms. Lawrence, a psychologist and artist who serves as president of the New York School of the Arts mentions one of her inspirations for the home as being C.S Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. “To me, it’s enchanted”, “It was an ugly duckling, transformed into a beauty,” she said.
The article can be accessed via The NYT website
Many of you will know Mark Draper and be familiar with his work as an Architectural Ceramist. He has been a member of Friends of 78 since the group was set up, and indeed has kept copies of all the newsletters that have been published.
His fascination with 78 Derngate started in 1966 when he began secondary school in Northampton and his bus passed by the building. He knew nothing about Charles Rennie Mackintosh then but that front door captured his imagination, a door that he would go on to recreate in model form many years later.
After attending Northampton’s Eaglehurst College, Mark studied at Kettering Technical College on an Arts Foundation programme. This was followed by a course in 3D Design at Leeds and a post graduate degree in furniture design and technology at High Wycombe.
Following a brief time as an architectural assistant in London, he set up a ceramics department at Hinwick Hall F.E. College and trained as a teacher. He moved to the Wellingborough College in 1990 with responsibility for the arts curriculum within the special education provision. When the College merged with Tresham Institute, Mark also lectured on the Interior Design course run jointly with De Montfort University, Leicester. When he lectured on the first year of De Montfort’s degree course in Interior Design, Rob Kendall gave him and his students a guided tour of 78 before the renovation work began.
Mark returned to Hinwick Hall College in 2002 where he organised collaborative projects with the Victoria and Albert Museum and was appointed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission as a judge for their national project, Young Brits at Art, 2009.
Early retirement came in 2009 and since 2011 Mark has been making clay models of favourite and, in some cases, very famous buildings at his studio at Rushton, Northamptonshire.
The processes involved in creating each and every model are intricate and labour intensive. Mark visits the building to be modelled to get a feel for the place. His first hand observation informs the decision making throughout the duration of the project. Sketches and photographs accompany the visit and although, on very rare occasions, Mark has access to the original drawings, he prefers to make all his own architectural drawings.
After satisfying himself that his drawings are accurate, he then constructs a 3D card maquette. Mark has the experience of over ten years and 33 projects so, as you can imagine, he has learned a few techniques along the way. Mark keeps everything connected with his model-making including his working drawings, although some are archived with the University of Cambridge and The National Trust.
Many more stages follow – making a press mould, constructing the clay master and mould for each elevation, making the prototype, assembling the pieces, drying out the model, first and second firings. If any colour needs to be added, this is fixed on the second firing. Obviously, this is a very condensed account of the model’s construction and Mark has produced much more detailed notes on all the processes involved.
The bookends depicting the front and back elevations of 78 Derngate were made between April and June 2015. These can be purchased from the shop at 78 and as can be seen from the attached photograph are a stunning example of Mark’s work. Mark does not undertake commissions but has chosen to donate his work to diverse institutions, including the University of Cambridge and various National Trust properties.
Some of the models executed by Mark in recent years are the Triangular Lodge, Rushton, Lyveden New Bield, both in Northamptonshire and Emmanuel College and Trinity College Library, both in Cambridge. The most recent work is Cliveden and as you can see from the photograph is absolutely stunning. Mark spent 329 hours on the Cliveden project. This was an exceptionally large piece of work which was effectively nine components or models that make up the whole piece.
Now comes some really exciting news! As you probably know, the Scottish Architect, Alexander Ellis Anderson long-time resident in Northampton, did the original drawings and plans for the re-modelled interiors in 1916 for Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke. He also designed many other buildings in Northampton and some of you many even have had the opportunity to accompany Rob Kendall on one of his Alexander Ellis Anderson walks, taking in many of the architect’s constructions.
Mark is modelling two of the architect’s buildings: the Barratt Footshape Boot Works in Kingsthorpe Hollow and the Taylor Memorial Hall in Castilian Street. The former was completed in 1913, and carries Alexander Ellis Anderson’s distinctive rose motifs in the stained glass windows and raised pediments. The factory is now offices. The Taylor Memorial Hall c.1919 was built in memory of Second Lieutenant Ralph Patron Taylor who died in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. Later uses include accommodation for the Y.W.C.A. and it is currently a wine bar.
Four models of the Footshape Boot Works have now been donated to 78 Derngate to help raise funds for the Atrium Project with a similar number of models of the Memorial Hall following in the early part of 2021. The Barratt building is extremely impressive and Mark’s model is a true reflection of this as you can see from the photograph. Details of how these generous gifts from Mark will be marketed will be published shortly.
Mark has work in the collections of the following organisations: The National Trust, English Heritage, the University of Cambridge, the Diocese of Peterborough, Kelmarsh Hall Preservation Trust, Rothwell Preservation Trust, Northampton and Kettering Borough Councils, private collections in the U.K. and U.S.A., and of course, 78 Derngate.
Mark has exhibited at the Sir Alfred East Gallery in Kettering, Northamptonshire and staged a major exhibition at 78 Derngate in 2014. He considers it a huge honour to have been granted this exhibition, considering, in his words, “the building’s association with the world renowned Bassett-Lowke”. Well, 78 Derngate is honoured and proud to have had Mark exhibit here; Bassett-Lowke would probably have been fascinated, with his love of models and model-making, to have a local artist sharing his own take on the model world.
Who would have thought that the school boy looking out of the bus window at that iconic front door, probably pale blue then but since the restoration now its original black, would later in his career, not only be making replicas of that door and other models linked with 78 Derngate’s history, but become a Friend in every sense of the word!
A postscript from 78 Derngate’s House Manager Liz Jansson
Mark’s model of the Barratt Works Building is now available to buy at 78 Derngate - price £125.
Now is also a good opportunity for me to reiterate that we are OPEN and that it is the perfect time to come and pay a visit to the house, gallery, shop and dining room (as long as bookings are phoned ahead).
It has been a fair while since the last update. A lot has happened in that time, much of it for the worse. Clearly the pandemic has meant that we were closed for nearly 4 months, but we are now open again, albeit on a limited pre-booked schedule.
During the closedown however the fund raising and work to complete the drawings on the extension has been underway. I am pleased to report that the Trustees had a virtual meeting last month and based on the monies we now have in the bank and the reports from our quantity surveyor and architect, have decided to go out to tender this month for the construction. Dependent on the response we are planning to start on site in the autumn. As with all capital projects there will be unknowns and we continue to ask for funds in order to limit the risks. We were bolstered considerably by a single contribution of £25,000 from the George Cadbury Foundation which enabled Northampton Borough Council to release the remainder of their promised £200,000. We have also successfully applied for a ‘Bounce Back’ loan from our bank which also underlines our need to fund raise at every opportunity.
Thanks to all who have made this possible and we look forward to better times.
Les Patterson Co. Sec.,
Two milestones reached
At the beginning of November, the Trust received the planning permission and listed building consent for the extension to the Atrium of 82 Derngate. I’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to write in support of the application, the planners say they had never seen such support and made their decision making easier. There had to be a few compromises to the design in order to comply with Historic England’s observations and the final plans can be viewed on Northampton Borough Council’s planning portal.
As you are no doubt aware, we have a funding target to match the £200k pledged by Northampton Borough Council towards the scheme. I’m pleased to report that in under a year we have reached the halfway stage and raised just over £100k. This is due to a combination of donations, trading, reserves from past years and fund raising like the raffle and Pims and pudding evening. We continue to actively seek donations and will be making applications to a variety of sources now that planning permission is in place. The Trustees will be instructing the architects to proceed with the detailed drawings in the new year ready to go out to tender.
Thank you once again for all your support.
As you are no doubt aware our efforts to build an extension on the back of 82 Derngate continue, but for once this message is not asking for monetary support (phew). Earlier this month we submitted our revised plans to Northampton Borough Council for planning permission and listed building consent. This is now the subject of public consultation which closes on 8th August 2019.
The Trustees and the Friends committee are urging all our supporters to write into the council backing the revised proposal. We hope that this will demonstrate and reflect the passion and esteem in which the house and organisation is held and improve our likelihood of success.
The easiest way to send a comment – and it need only be a sentence or two - is by using this link and clicking on "Comment on this application".
As always thank you for your time, efforts and support.
Les Patterson, Secretary to the Trust.
The appeal is going well – we are now at £75,000 – but, we still need more. We've now launched our exciting Summer Raffle with many spectacular prizes and tickets can be bought from Reception and if you wish to sell tickets on our behalf, please contact Liz.
As you may already be aware, a grant of up to £200,000 has been pledged to us by Northampton Borough Council to enhance the visitor experience here at The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House & Galleries. We plan to enlarge the existing atrium to facilitate an increased shopping area, a new reception area and tearoom and provide a new exhibition/performance space at mezzanine level. At the same time it will provide better permanent disabled access. The increased storage will free up rooms in 78 Derngate, enabling them to be open to the public for the first time. The opportunity also exists to reduce our carbon footprint by lowering heating costs.
As a self-funded charity, we depend on trading in order to survive and believe that this plan will produce greater income and lower costs, making the venue much more sustainable. An architect’s illustration of how it may look (subject to planning approval) is available to see at the bottom of the page.
Our aim is to match fund the £200k by the summer and so we are asking Friends and supporters to donate in units of £100. For each unit of £100 the donors’ names will be recognised on engraved glass panelling located in the new atrium. So, if you wish to add 2 names, this will cost £200 and so on. We do of course welcome donations of any amount and individual groups could potentially donate money through their own fund-raising activities.
To donate, click here, which automatically takes you to our secure fund-raising page. All donations are commission-free so the whole amount comes to the Trust.
78 Derngate has today received the prestigious ‘Hidden Gem’ award from Visit England, the national tourism agency.
This award is given for outstanding visitor experiences, excellent customer service, quality, accessibility and sustainability offered to visitors.
The only property in the East Midlands to receive the award, 78 Derngate joins a select group chosen by Visit England’s highly trained assessors.
We are proud to receive this award as recognition for all of the hard work and effort by our dedicated volunteer team in creating thousands of unique and much-valued experiences for all those who visit this house, our Charles Rennie Mackintosh gem in Northampton.