The Northamptonshire Business Excellence Awards, in association with All Things Business and hosted by top comedian Rob Beckett proved to be a fantastic night – not just for the county, but for 78 Derngate –The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House! Held at Northampton’s County Cricket Ground, it was a dazzling evening celebrating many achievements across Northamptonshire’s wonderful business community.
78 Derngate proudly accepted an award in the Land &Development category, sponsored by Moore Chartered Accountants, which serves to fully recognise the significance of the major project undertaken. So many people were behind the success of the award-winning extension, from local architects MWK Ltd and building contractors, Cornerhouse of Earls Barton, family-run firm Haddonstone, which supplied some of the steps and copings, all ourfantastic volunteers who remained resilient throughout the extensive build and kept us open to the public, to the huge injection of money from The Towns Fund via West Northamptonshire Council and the Regeneration team in particular, without which it could not have been achieved.
Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development,Town Centre Regeneration and Growth at WNC, said: “We’re delighted to see 78 Derngate pick up this well-deserved award. This is an internationally significant venue which attracts visitors from all over the world. A huge congratulations to all those who helped bring the impressive redevelopment works to life and enhance the museum for visitors to enjoy for years to come.”
Congratulations to all involved!
Celebrating the official opening of the extension at 78 Derngate
Organisations across West Northamptonshire came together on Friday, 7 July to celebrate the official opening of the expanded 78 Derngate and Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England, cut the aptly coloured yellow ribbon for the splendid, sunny, celebratory occasion.
Part of the reception involved guests taking self-guided tours of Northampton’s iconic and historic 78 Derngate - which has been expanded to offer a larger visitor centre, rejuvenated secluded garden and totally revamped shop following the completion of the extensive £950,000 refurbishment in June this year - and flowing through the galleries, shop and gardens.
As the only public building located outside Scotland with interiors designed by renowned artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh this local gem and former home is a now a museum. Following funding from West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) of £400,000 through the Town Funds, £200,000match funding from WNC and generous donations from a multitude of individuals and organisations the expansion to this cultural facility reached completion in May this year, following more than 12 months of regeneration work.
The site now boasts an extension to the main buildings and enhanced gardens, allowing larger groups to visit and enjoy the museum, as well as benefit from an enriched visitor experience at one of Northampton’s most popular attractions.
Cllr Dan Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth at WNC, said: “I am delighted that representatives from key organisations including the Arts Council were able to join WNC and 78 Derngate Trust to celebrate the official opening of the redevelopment of this local gem. The expansion provides enhanced facilities for visitors, which I hope people will enjoy for years to come.”
Liz Jansson, House Manager at 78 Derngate, added: “It was a great pleasure to welcome Darren Henley,CEO of Arts Council England, to officially open this wonderful extension. We are thrilled with it and are settling in well to our enhanced surroundings! Visitors past, present and yet to come will thoroughly enjoy the added spaces inside and out, which already feel harmonious with the original heritage buildings.”
West Northamptonshire Council has secured £25 million from the Government’s Town Fund to regenerate Northampton Town Centre. This project is the first to benefit from the funding and reach completion. It will complement the wider regeneration of Northampton Town Centre where works can already be seen at the rejuvenation of the historic Market Square and the empathetic restoration to bring the former Old Black Lion Pub back into use for the community.
To keep up to date with regeneration projects across West Northamptonshire visit regenerationpage.
It's great to have a local supplier from a world-renowned family-run firm for some of the stonework on our fantastic new extension build!
78 Derngate is excited to be taking part in the Wild Escape, a major new project led by Art Fund uniting hundreds of museums with schools and families in celebration of UK wildlife and creativity.
The Wild Escape is led by Art Fund alongside hundreds of museums, artists and environmentalists, in partnership with WWF, the RSPB, National Trust and English Heritage.
The Wild Escape is made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England's National Lottery Project Grants, with additional support from Kusuma Trust, Fayle Foundation and a group of generous individuals and trusts.
The Wild Escape is inspired by Wild Isles, a landmark BBC series exploring the flora and fauna of the UK.
78 Derngate will be partnering with a local community group in a gardening workshop, helping to restore the beauty of the garden whilst learning about the wildlife that inhabits it and is connected to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh House.
More to follow.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of welcoming Stuart Ratcliffe from BBC Look East to 78 Derngate. Stuart spent the afternoon talking to Liz and Les about the history of 78 Derngate, its importance to our local heritage and history and the exciting extension developments! You can read the online version of our segment by clicking the button here, and catch up on iPlayer to see the footage which was on at 6:30pm Tuesday 7th February.
MASQUE AT 90
1st - 18th February 2023
78 Derngate is pleased to announce its first exhibition of the year in collaboration with Northampton's Masque Theatre in celebration oftheir 90th anniversary. Held in the Bassett-Lowke galleries, the MASQUE AT 90 will take you on a journey through the hundreds of productions done by the theatre through the medium of photography and costume.
Fancy learning more about the history of this gem in Northampton's cultural crown? Then pop along to Rob Kendall's talk about the history of the theatre on the 11th February 2023 at 2:30pm. Admission for the talk and the exhibition are both free of charge but please phone 01604 603407 to book your space.
Inspired by our Prosecco & Paint at 78 Derngate evenings, we are so excited to announce: Bubbles & Baubles !!
Enjoy entry to 78 Derngate, the Charles Rennie Mackintosh House, and explore unique and eclectic interiors - which shall be decorated for the festive season too
Then, sit down to paint your own Christmas baubles whilst enjoying a glass or two of fizz on the side.
We will be hosting THREE evenings over the festive period:
Thursday 10th November
Thursday 17th November
Thursday 1st December
And they will run from 6:30pm-9:00pm
Tickets are £30 pp (£25pp for a soft drink ticket) and are available on the website
Enjoy some festive fun at 78 Derngate this year!
On Wednesday 14th September, 78 Derngate hosted its first Fizz & Flowers evening as part of the Nene Valley Festival! The festival celebrated the natural and cultural beauty of Northampton over the course of nine days which saw a variety of diverse activities and events across this part of the county.
78's Fizz & Flowers evening saw 12 budding (pardon the pun) florists take a tour round 78 Derngate, taking in the rich history of one of Northampton's heritage gems before sitting down for a Mackintosh inspired floristry workshop by Claire from Florry and a glass or two of fizz!
The guests, guided by Claire, created their own bouquets inspired by the watercolours of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, complete with hand made florist wire homages to the iconic 78 screen. Claire designed a unique and striking bouquet, taking inspiration from Mackintosh roses, watercolours and 78 Derngate itself.
In just over two hours, attendees had both learned about and experienced, many for the first time, the striking Charles Rennie Mackintosh house and his artwork, as well as going home with new flower arranging tips and tricks and a beautiful CRM inspired bouquet!
Thank you to Nene Valley for allowing us to take part in the festival which aimed to celebrate the rich and varied culture of Northampton. Massive thanks must go to Claire Moch at Florry (check her out at @florryflorals on Instagram) and of course to all our wonderful attendees - we hope you had a lovely evening!
Rethinking Northampton - Interior Architecture and Spatial Design
UoN and 78 Derngate are pleased to present an exhibition of work created by students on the BA Interior Architecture and Spatial
Design course. The course focuses on developing professional design skills that creatively solve three dimensional and spatial problems. Based in studio environments students undertake projects informed by historical and contemporary design, current trends, social contexts and the relationships of other Art and Design disciplines to Interior Design, Architecture and Spatial Design. The work on display in this exhibition has been produced by our first and second year students. All design briefs have focused on the repurposing and/or regeneration of buildings and sites located in Northampton.
Innovating with Northampton’s Industry - BA & BSc Product Design
The UoN and 78 Derngate are also pleased to present a showcase of the work created by students on the BA & BSc Product Design course.
Product Design challenges ideas of functionality, aesthetics, materials,sustainability, social contexts and ethics so that students can design products that work and make a difference to society. This mindset will be put into practice with industry projects and contemporary technologies. Collaborative working is a recurrent aspect of design, as the development of a new product invariably involves participating in multi-disciplinary team. Students are encouraged to engage in 'live-client’ projects with local businesses, international companies and charities such as Sue Ryder Care.
The work on display in this exhibition has been produced by second year students and include a Bluetooth enabled speaker and a flat-pack plywood ‘Balance Bike’ suitable for computer-aided-manufacture (CAM) and home assembly. All projects incorporate a strong graphic identity and product branding.
Something a little different occurred at 78 Derngate on a balmy summer evening in July… on Thursday 21st July we welcomed 12 budding artists for our inaugural Prosecco & Paint at 78 Derngate - what an occasion!
Guests started with a swift, guided tour round 78 (for many this was their first visit) getting inspired by the unique and eclectic interiors of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh house. They then moved on to the Gallery Upstairs to find individual A4 canvas/easel, a selection of brushes and paints and a glass of prosecco at the ready for them to get to work creating their 78Derngate-inspired masterpieces.
Aware of the importance of using our spaces for a variety of events, and encouraging new and regular visitors to engage with the rich heritage of Northampton and the wider county, this unique evening heralded a terrific kick start into what we sincerely hope will become a regular fixture on the social calendar for the months ahead!
It was a delightful evening of brushes, bubbles and conversation and we can’t wait for the next session, so keep an eye out on the 78 website and social media pages!
Two much-loved Northampton heritage attractions - Delapré Abbey with its 900 years of history and 78 Derngate, the only house in England designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh - have announced a new partnership offering a day out for group visitors with lunch and a tour.
Groups of 12 or more are invited to explore the twists and turns of these fascinating places and uncover the captivating stories of the people that have helped shape their histories.
Richard Clinton, Chief Executive, Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust said: “Northampton has an incredibly rich history and we’re excited to share the stories of both the Abbey and 78 Derngate with new and current visitors. 78 Derngate is a fantastic jewel in Northampton, and we are delighted to be partnering with them. Collaborating with colleagues across Northamptonshire is a key priority to us here at Delapré as we strive to broaden access to heritage and culture for all.”
Liz Jansson, House Manager, 78 Derngate said: “Delapré Abbey stands just across the river Nene from us here at 78 Derngate and makes for the perfect partner in this exciting collaboration. So, it is with immense pleasure and satisfaction that we are able to offer visitors the chance to see both heritage sites on one lovely day out in Northampton, embracing two very different cultural highlights.”
For £40 per person, groups can include a guided tour of Delapré Abbey and 78 Derngate with a 3 course lunch in Delapré Abbey’s historic Dining Room. For £25 per person, groups can swap the 3 course lunch for cream tea. Tour organisers and carers are half price.
Located just one mile south of Northampton Town Centre, Delapré Abbey has an intriguing past for visitors to discover – from its origins as a Clunnaic nunnery, heyday as a country house following Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, and its time as the county Record Office before the recent restoration. It has witnessed key historic events including the 1460 Battle of Northampton, and as a resting place for Queen Eleanor's funeral cortege.
With interiors designed and remodelled by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1916, 78Derngate has been meticulously restored and opened to the public. Commissioned by visionary patron, Northampton model maker and engineer W.J Bassett-Lowke, it is the only place in England where Mackintosh’s mature architectural and interior style can be seen in their original setting. Visitors can discover this unique work from one of the world’s most influential and celebrated architects/designers up close.
Groups can book this new ticket offer now. To begin building your combined day at Delapré Abbey and 78 Derngate contact 01604 760817 or email email@example.com.
Press enquiries For more information contact Aimee Holmes on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To show our allegiance with all the people of Ukraine during these desperately sad and troubled times, we have produced an A5 postcard and an A4 poster, the design of which depicts the forest tree detail from the Hall/Lounge in Ukraine’s national colours. We’re sure that CRM won’t mind us altering the colourway, and all proceeds will go towards humanitarian aid. Postcards are £1.50 and Posters £3.00, so look out for them in the shop and online.
Having heard from one of our volunteers about a recent, fascinating talk given by Rebecca Shawcross, NMAG’s Senior Shoe Curator, on the practice of concealing shoes in buildings, we got in touch to learn a bit more as it seemed a fitting tradition for us to carry out whilst our new extension is being built. Thinking outside the (shoe)box, and bearing in mind the connection with that established company and our very own Florence Jane Jones (daughter of Charles Jones, founder of said firm), we contacted Crockett & Jones to see if they might be prepared to donate a flawed shoe or shoes for the occasion. They were very pleased to be of service and we were unexpectedly presented with a pair of smart men’s shoes, which were slightly damaged, in a gorgeous C&J box. To make it more of a time capsule, we added a small 78 Derngate-inspired wall-hanging, a 78 pin badge, a newspaper, an empty bottle of Becket beer and a piece of text on headed paper about the connections with Crockett & Jones and Bassett-Lowke, owner of 78 Derngate. It was on a warm spring morning that Rob Kendall, Les Patterson, Mick Young Chair of Trustees, Cllr Alison Eastwood, Trustees Arun Kotnis, Sheila Harris and Les Marriott and house manager, Liz Jansson stepped out onto the building site and presented the box/time capsule to site manager, Matt to conceal within the new steps. For context, here is an extract from Rebecca’s email outlining the details of hiding shoes within buildings:
In the 1950s Miss June Swann, former Keeper of the Boot and Shoe Collection at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery noticed that footwear was being regularly brought in for both identification and donation that had been found in unusual locations within buildings, such as up chimneys, within roof spaces and walls and under floorboards. It was happening too frequently for it to be ignored so to try to explain why shoes should be found in non-accidental locations she began to record all finds to gather the data to try to eventually explain this phenomenon.
In 2016-17, the University of Hertfordshire collaborated with NMAG to digitise the Index, producing a dataset that is both more accessible and more searchable. At its most recent count, the digitised Index contains a total of 2980 separate find entries detailing over 3,000individual shoes plus all the other objects that have been found with them.
There have been many theories over the years about why shoes were deliberately hidden. One is that they are very personal items and, when well-worn, contain - it was thought - the essence of the wearer. Infused with the good spirit of the wearer, once hidden in a perceived weak spot in the house – above doors and windows, in the roof space and in chimneys - the good spirit would help ward off any evil spirits that might try and harm the house or its occupants. This was the view for a long time and could still be a reason. But shoes were expensive items and in trying to give them as much wearable life as possible were more likely to be handed down, repaired and altered until they were no longer able to be worn. They were then discarded in the easiest way possible.
The general view is that it is unlikely that the occupants who hid them but a practice that builders might do during renovations to bring good luck in their work.
Current thinking suggests thinking less and less that they were specifically apotropaic items, ones that have the power to avert evil influences or bad luck – and that they were connected to notions of good luck and hope.
We are delighted to announce that the artist launching our new season is Northampton-based Sophie Slade. Entitled 'Paint the Town in Colour', Sophie's vibrant work does just that! The collection captures Northampton buildings and well-known landmarks in alternative colours. Each painting, whether illustrated in a realistic or abstract palette, is tonally accurate which allows for the building's surface and structure to be appreciated in its true form. These wonderfully colourful paintings of Northampton have already inspired viewers to take more notice around the town, spotting elements of familiar settings of which perhaps they hadn't previously been aware; seeing the town in a new light.
Northampton town has developed and evolved significantly over the years and acknowledging the vast range of both old and new architecture allows the paintings to encourage memories to be shared. Sophie feels a great sense of pride in the town and during the two years in which she has been working on the Northampton series of paintings, she has found that the collection has organically grown from community members suggesting particular places that hold special, personal memories.
All Sophie's paintings and prints are for sale and commissions gratefully accepted. Entry to exhibition is free and will be on until April 24th
The Northamptonshire Guild of Designer Craftsmen and their Swedish counterpart Konsthantverkarna i Örebro Län are holding a joint exhibition here at 78 Derngate – The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House – in Northampton.
With a membership of 35 designer-makers spanning furniture and musical instrument making to textile, glass and jewellery designers, ceramicists and weavers - to name but a few, the Guild aims to raise its profile in the context of British contemporary crafts by bringing members who generally work in isolation to promote their work collectively.
We are delighted to welcome the NGDC back to 78 Derngate and this exhibition, which is being held jointly with Swedish counterpart Konsthantverkarna i Örebro Län with whom the guild has had an association since 1996, promises to showcase a diverse array of exciting and inspirational work in many different disciplines from skilled craftspeople across both countries.
All the work is available to purchase and entry to the galleries is free, but why not combine your visit to view this wonderful range of work with a visit to our heritage house and perhaps an afternoon tea! Booking for house and tea strongly advised! There are some great ideas for Christmas gifts among the products on display and the launch event is being held on Saturday 6 th November between 1-3. The exhibition will close on Sunday 19th December.
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.