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New gates for Accrington art gallery remember the past
1:00pm Sunday 29th July 2012 in Accrington
A FORMER manor house and art gallery has been given a grand new entrance thanks to lottery funding and local craftsmen.
New gates based on an original 17th century design have been unveiled at the Haworth Art Gallery, Accrington as part of a bid to restore the building to it’s former glory. The green vinyl galvanised gates were produced and fitted by Burnley firm B. Rourke & Co, who used a picture of the gallery's original gates to design an updated version based on work by famous 17th century ironworker Robert Bakewell.
The house originally called Hollins Hill was built in Edwardian Tudor style for JP William Haworth. The park and mansion subsequently became known as Haworth Park and Haworth Art Gallery in recognition of the family and their generous gift for the public to enjoy.
Pictures of the original gates, surrounding the rose garden, show the wrought iron work, but it is thought they were removed some time during the Second World War.
The bulk of the funding for the gates came from a National Lottery grant, with English Heritage, Lancashire County Council and Baxenden Community Group contributing.
Andrew Hayhurst, senior parks development officer at Hyndburn Council, noticed a soft green colour under the undercoat of the old gates on Manchester Road, which came as a surprise - but as Brian Rourke, managing director of Rourke's, explained, this was typical for the period when the house was built in 1909. Established in 1961, Rourke's specialises in ironwork for a range of private and commercial clients.
Brian said: "Queen Victoria had all the gates in London painted black after Albert's death so people came to think of black as the norm historically, but they actually came in all kinds of colours. When Andrew told us about the original green colour we felt this would complement the gallery and its grounds beautifully as well as honouring tradition."
Sheila McVan from Baxenden Community Forum said: "This was a community-led project and we worked together to make sure the gates honoured the house's history - it's more than a hundred years old so we wanted the gates to last. We hope the house will be here for another hundred years, and the gates too!"