21.4.17

Clogs, steam, art and pace-eggers: Part 1. Art

I've wanted to see the Britannia Coconut Dancers for a long time, and this year made an effort to fulfil this ambition. The only guaranteed gig is Easter Saturday on their home turf of Bacup, a bus ride away from Bury. I also discovered from a Facebook group called Bury Olden Days that the Bury Pace-Eggers would be performing in Ramsbottom on Good Friday. And that the Middleton Pace-Eggers would be doing their longer mummers play with more characters on Easter Monday. And that it was Pacific weekend on the East Lancs Railway featuring A4 Union of South Africa and West Country Class City of Wells. But first, some Northern art...

Tiffany glass vase
I've been ticking off Northern art galleries - last time it was Blackburn, this time it was the turn of Accrington and Burnley... two in one day! I travelled up to Bury on Tuesday 11 April via the Doric Arch bar at Euston station. Had a rest day on Wednesday and on Thursday set off to the Haworth Art Gallery as you go into Accrington. I arrived at 11am, but it didn't open until 12. Luckily the cafe was open and there were Pokemons to catch in the grounds. The Haworth has the finest collection of Tiffany glass this side of New York, taking up the whole upstairs of the hall, thanks to Joseph Briggs who in 1891, aged only 17, left Accrington to seek his fortune in America. He worked with Tiffany all his working life and sent his collection back to his home town in 1933. They do have a small collection of Victorian art too, but most of the downstairs was taken up by local artists.

Towneley Art Gallery, Burnley
So, it was on to the central bus station and the M3 bus to Burnley. I knew getting to the Towneley Art Gallery would be tough, as it was in the middle of a park, but underestimated the amount of walking I had to do. Their website said bus no. 1 went near, but it was not that close - a dog walker said it'd take me half an hour to get there! So, plodding along the side of a stream, I finally made it to the stately home and got in free with my Art Fund card (a fiver to anyone else). After a few wrong turns (turn right at the mummy, the front desk woman said) I found the art gallery floor, and a splendid collection it was: with Burne-Jones, Alma-Tadema, Leighton, Poynter, Waterhouse and many other minor pre-Raphaelites represented. They also had a fine collection of Pilkington pots, and the postcards were only 25p each! Photography was forbidden, but the attendant allowed me to take some general views.

Pilkington Royal Lancastrian pottery
On my way out, I asked the ticket woman the best way to the nearest bus stop and she told me people generally call for a taxi. Oh, if only I'd taken her advice... I got totally disoriented and even the GPS on my phone was no use. At least it wasn't raining. But eventually I skirted a golf course and caught a bus back to Burnley bus station - and stayed on it as it travelled back to Bury.

 < Clogs, steam, art and pace-eggers: Part 2. steam and pace-egging
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