Dear Friends 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., Update no.3 November 2019
Two milestones reached
Dear Friends, 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. Les Patterson.
Update no.2 July 2019:
Dear Supporter 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.
Update no.1 July 2019: 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 here.
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 on the link below 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.
Smash hit TV series Call the Midwife creator, Heidi Thomas, and actor, Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Turner in the programme, entertained a capacity audience at Northampton High School on Friday 28 February.
The 78 Derngate fundraising event offered an exclusive behind-the-scenes audience opportunity with one of the show’s actors and the series creator, in a bid to raise funds for the current extension appeal.
Heidi and Stephen gave a lively and engaging insight into the events on and off screen of the award-winning series, providing a candid view on the exacting attention to detail required to accurately reflect how society and attitudes are presented in the (to date) nine series, with series ten to hit screens at the end of 2020.
Followed by a guest Q&A session, Heidi and Stephen spent time signing autographs, having photographs taken and chatting to members of the audience, some of whom had travelled several hours to attend.
£150,000 of the £200,000 target to match fund the sum already offered by Northampton Borough Council has been raised with over £4,000 raised from the event.
78 Derngate is ready for Christmas! Visitors can enjoy the interior of the Mackintosh house decorated for the season with Christmas tree, cards and all the trimmings. A visit after sunset is especially magical with the glow from Mackintosh’s lighting creating added sparkle and drama.
In our shop we’ve a full selection of fabulous and unusual gifts for everyone; with shopping online too - so even if you can’t make it to Northampton this Christmas, you can still enjoy a little Mackintosh magic by post.
We’re open up to and including Sunday 22nd December with our galleries shop and restaurant available to enjoy.
Volunteers' Week was established in 1984 by Volunteering England. They merged with NCVO in 2013 which now leads this UK-wide campaign. During this particular week in June many organisations across the UK take extra time to acknowledge and thank their priceless volunteers. It is a chance to celebrate all of the fantastic work and commitment they give throughout the year. Here at 78 Derngate we would not be able to survive without our 50-strong team of wonderful volunteers. All of them are passionate about keeping The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House open to the public and raising awareness of this award-winning attraction in Northampton.
We’re delighted to announce that 78 Derngate was the winner of a recent award as ‘Hidden Gem’ at the prestigious UK Heritage Awards 2019. The awards were handed out at an exclusive ceremony celebrating the best heritage experiences and places to stay in the UK in London on 25th March.
The Awards are arranged by the UK’s leading heritage, tourism and destination marketing company, Visit Heritage, publisher of heritage guide Hudson’s and hotel guide, Signpost.
The winners of the UK Heritage Awards 2019 were crowned across twelve categories, which were adjudicated by a panel of judges formed of leading figures and experts on UK Heritage.
Update: All Heritage Open Day free tours of 78 Derngate are now fully booked. Our regular ticketed tour programme continues to run - please follow this link for full details, ticket prices and times.
78 Derngate is once again offering an afternoon of free tours of the only house in England designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Contributing to the annual Heritage Open Days programme, members of the public can book to tour the house on the afternoon of Friday September 7th. Visits are by guided tour only which must be pre-booked via telephone: 01604 603407 - phone lines are open Tuesday to Sunday between 10am - 5pm. Four tours will be available, timed at 1.30, 2.00, 3.00 and 3.30pm. Each tour comprises 12 places and we can accept a maximum of two people on each booking. Booking is open from Friday 3rd August for these Heritage Open Day tours.
Please note that our regular tour programme runs throughout the year from February to December and full visiting details, ticket prices and other information can be found at 78derngate.org.uk/visit.
We’re delighted that 78 Derngate features prominently in a major TV documentary about Charles Rennie Mackintosh to be aired on BBC Four this week. Artist Lachlan Goudie visited back in March to film at the house for “Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Glasgow’s Neglected Genius”. Produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the architect’s birth the film traces his career from his peak successes in Glasgow, his work in Walberswick and London and his final years in the south of France. The film was first shown on BBC Two Scotland a few weeks ago and has since been re-edited in the aftermath of the destruction by fire of The Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building. Lachlan’s upbeat style gives a fresh perspective on 78 Derngate within the context of Mackintosh’s other work. The film provides a welcome and thought-provoking reflection at a time when Mackintosh’s legacy is very much in the public eye. Essential viewing. Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Glasgow’s Neglected Genius will be broadcast on Monday 16th July at 10pm on BBC Four. Post-broadcast viewing via iPlayer here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b5ydcz
Northampton is celebrating the shoe industry heritage this summer by giving out plants in shoes to local businesses in the Cultural Quarter. 78 Derngate has a rather fetching pair of yellow and purple stilettos fitted out with tone-matched sempervivums. 32 businesses are taking part in the project and lots of different pairs of shoes and single shoes can now be spotted around the town centre and on social media too. Check the #SHOEPLANTS hashtag to see more.
Staff and students from the University of Northampton gathered at 78 Derngate yesterday to officially mark the launch of a brand new retail range.
Third year students from The University developed the range following several visits to 78 Derngate towards the end of last year. Called “Contemporary Classics @ 78” it brings a fresh, young element to the existing retail offer and further strengthens a great relationship between a local place of learning and an important heritage site.
Pictured are Beth, Sharon, Amba and Seb with Subject Leader Alexis Taylor from The University of Northampton and Les Patterson.
Visitors to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh House at 78 Derngate this spring can view a contemporary artwork which explores Mackintosh’s lesser-known connection to a WW1 internment camp at Knockaloe on The Isle of Man. This unique story provides further intrigue and interest during the 150th anniversary of his birth.
Tom Krasny is a Glasgow-based artist, working mainly with Sculpture. Her current project, ‘Made In UK’ began in 2016 and has received research assistance from the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, Manx National Heritage, Isle of Man and the team at 78 Derngate. She created a body of work based on an historical event tying together Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Wenman Joseph Bassett Lowke, and German civilian internees at the internment camp, Knockaloe which operated between 1914 and 1919. The completed artworks were first exhibited at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art Degree Show in 2017. We are honoured that 78 Derngate has been chosen for their second public display.
Tom’s work asks to draw visitors’ attention to the fact that pieces of furniture designed by Mackintosh for 78 Derngate and other Northamptonshire properties and ordered by Wenman Joseph Bassett Lowke, were built at Knockaloe camp’s cabinet making workshop by members of the internee community, between 1916-1917. [ Link to external image ].
One of the artworks exhibited, ‘Spy Fever’, is a bronze cast of a wooden stool which was part of the 78 Derngate guest bedroom furniture suite. The original stool was acquired by the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow and is displayed there. Tom was granted both permission and funding from The Manx government, to install the sculpture permanently at Knockaloe Farm, which is the historical site for Knockaloe internment camp. The public sculpture will serve as a memorial for Knockaloe craftsmen, and will be incorporated into the Knockaloe visitor Centre, an ambitious interpretation project led by Alison Jones and the Knockaloe Foundation. The centre is planned to launch in March 2019. The installation of the sculpture is planned for August 2018. These evocative contemporary works and their exhibition at three sites form a moving reflection on an extraordinary period in British history.
Tom Krasny, Made In UK
1 February - 22 April 2018
Further information is available on our website and at the artists webpage.
It was a great pleasure to welcome expert Roo Irvine and actor Clare Holman to 78 Derngate back in June. BBC Celebrity Antiques Road Trip visited us during their trip around the Midlands. The Road Trip team is very efficient and it was obvious that they knew what they wanted to get from the visit and that they’d done their homework too! The narrative of the ‘story’ to be told had already been sketched out. The plan seemed to be that we would follow this loose outline but have a fairly natural conversation on camera aiming to include all of the key bits of information about Mackintosh and the house. Clare and Roo were taken on an informal tour of the house which was great fun and they seemed to be having a good time discovering and taking their own photos of all the details. The episode will be first broadcast on BBC at 7pm on 13th December 2017. David who hosted the visit has written a 'behind the scenes' on his blog with further photos and details. [ BBC iPlayer link UK only ]
Tuesday 21st March 2017 was the 100th anniversary of the marriage of Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke and Florence Jane Jones at Abington Avenue Congregrational Church. On that Spring day In 1917, after a four day honeymoon in Bournemouth, they returned to begin their married life at 78 Derngate, Northampton.
Exactly 100 years later the doors were thrown open at 78 Derngate to welcome Friends, supporters and visitors from all quarters in celebration of the historic anniversary. We were delighted to offer celebratory drinks, wedding cake, shop discounts and the opportunity to view our Centenary Exhibition, “Charles Rennie Mackintosh & The Great War”. Film footage of the 1917 wedding was rolling and many visitors posed on the famous doorstep of no 78 for commemorative photos which are now included in our special Centenary Day Album.
We were delighted to welcome The Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Christopher Malpas and Lady Mayoress Mrs Lynn Malpas to the opening of our Centenary Exhibition, "Charles Rennie Mackintosh & The Great War" on 31st January.
The Mayor and Mayoress were given a tour of the exhibition by Curator, David Walsh. With its focus on Mackintosh's later career around the period of the First World War, visitors to the exhibition will have a unique opportunity to understand in greater depth the context of 78 Derngate. The three month run will see the largest display of Mackintosh design in England.
We had great pleasure in also showing the Mayoral party around 78 Derngate for their first visit to the house.
July 31st is a landmark date in the history of 78 Derngate. It was on this day in 1916, 100 years ago, that W.J. Bassett-Lowke got the keys to his new house and wrote a letter to Mackintosh. According to his niece Janet, this was his first letter to Mackintosh and survives in part at The Hunterian in Glasgow. It is a response to earlier letters and drawings from Mackintosh. It starts, “Dear Mr Mackintosh, Many thanks for yours of the 28th inst., and 29th, all the drawings have safely arrived and the work is in hand. I have obtained possession of the house today and my friends are commencing the work…” The letter is incomplete but discusses width and type of carpet and an interesting issue of a curtain, ‘……I am still in doubts as to whether we are doing right by having a curtain across the hall, I still think it would be better if you design a screen for the floor, say about 3ft long and 7ft high and about 6 (text too faint to read here) back and re hang the door so that it opens back against the wall.”
To mark this historic day we are releasing a never-before published photograph discovered in our archives by Chris Sanderson who was recently doing some research. The photo is a lovely composition showing W.J Bassett-Lowke in a view of the back garden of 78 Derngate, probably about 1925. It features Wynne and who we assume to be his three nieces, June, Vivian and Janet with their mother.
The Friends of 78 Derngate celebrated this historic occasion on 31/7/16 - here’s a link to an informal live video we shared with our followers.
A 27metre-long mural detailing the history and culture of Northampton and Northamptonshire has been installed at Northampton’s new railway station.
The mural shows a timeline of events from ancient times to the 21st century and includes a section devoted to the town’s Cultural Quarter. Photographs of 78 Derngate, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Mr and Mrs Bassett-Lowke feature alongside information about The Royal Theatre and Bassett-Lowke’s model engineering fame. Even more prominent will be Bassett-Lowke’s appearance on one of 10 new banners, each of which is dedicated to a figure who has helped shape the identity of the County of Northamptonshire. Mr Bassett-Lowke keeps company with, amongst others, Francis Crick, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Walter Tull, John Clare, Elizabeth Woodville and King John.
Today, The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House - 78 Derngate, Northampton has received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, “78 Derngate: WW1 icon”, in Northampton. Supported by volunteers from the local community, the project focuses on the late career of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Britain during and after The First World War period. A special exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mackintosh's work in Northampton will open in February 2017.
The project will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the remodelling, during WW1, of 78 Derngate, Northampton by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his client, renowned model engineer, W.J Bassett-Lowke. A special three month exhibition – scheduled to open in February 2017 and produced in conjunction with a team of local volunteers will tell the story of Mackintosh's late career in Britain. This will be an opportunity for 78 Derngate staff and volunteers to share with the local community and beyond, the fascinating story surrounding Mackintosh's work in Northampton where he was to design the only house in England in his distinctive style. The project team will carry out research, organise events and produce publications to complement the exhibition; there will be opportunities for new skills and new insights for everyone involved – both visitors to the exhibition and those who produce it.
Exhibition visitors will have the opportunity to see stunning, little known designs by Mackintosh and be able to discover more about his work during WW1, the circumstances in which he worked and to learn more about how The Great War affected him. A linked programme of events will give opportunities for deeper involvement and a website will give access to an exhibition archive for years to come.
Commenting on the award, David Walsh, project Curator said: “We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. We're all looking forward to an unforgettable celebration of Mackintosh's great gift to Northampton, 78 Derngate. People often describe the house as a 'hidden treasure' – it's far too fantastic to be hidden, everyone needs to see it and we hope that this celebratory exhibition will help attract more visitors than ever before. If you think you know Mackintosh's work – this exhibition may hold some surprises for you!"
78 Derngate is dressed for the Season. Visitors to the house this month can enjoy a glimpse of an Edwardian Christmas with the interior of the Mackintosh house decked out in style with Christmas tree, cards and all the trimmings. A visit at dusk is especially magical with the glow from Mackintosh’s lighting creating added sparkle and drama.
In our shop we’ve a full selection of fabulous and unusual gifts for everyone; many now also available online too - so even if you can’t make it to Northampton this Christmas, you can still enjoy a little Mackintosh magic by post.
We’re open up to and including 20th December and, until then, we’ve a super Christmas offer for all purchases from our shop and online.
Jeeves and Wooster - who were appearing earlier this month at Royal & Derngate - were at 78 Derngate bringing their unique brand of perfect nonsense, dry wit and general confusion. Bertie ended up in the bath, fully dressed - Jeeves was not amused. For further photos head over to our Facebook. [ Pictured: actors Joseph Chance and Matthew Carter ]
We're delighted to have passed 5000 Twitter followers. This, and our Facebook audience places 78 Derngate amongst the leading group of social media sources for interest in and information about Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It is testament to the tremendous support we receive from visitors to and wider fans of 78 Derngate and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. If you don't currently follow us on Twitter, we invite you to do so - breaking news from the Mackintosh world, art and design, history and future trends - it's all there, and a little different to our Facebook feed.
Thankyou to all our lovely supporters both on Twitter and Facebook. We appreciate your continued support for 78 Derngate. Good things lie ahead!
We were glad, recently, to welcome Roger Billcliffe to 78 Derngate. Roger is the world's leading authority on Charles Rennie Mackintosh's furniture and the author of the definitive work on the subject. We were honoured in 2012 when he declared that 78 Derngate "sets the bar high for other owners of Mackintosh buildings" and commended the restoration of the house. We stock Roger's latest Mackintosh title, 'Visiting Charles Rennie Mackintosh' - which is a super guide to all major Mackintosh sites for visitors. It can also be purchased online from his website.
Antiques Roadshow legend and Patron of 78 Derngate Eric Knowles was in the house today. We invited him back to reshoot our tour video. The original was shot 10 years ago and needed updating. Eric filmed in the kitchen, dining room, hall/lounge, guest bedroom and at the rear of the house. He was in fine spirit and is still emphatic about 78 Derngate being an extraordinary house. Eric is a good friend to 78 Derngate, mentioning us often when he lectures. Visitors will be able to see the new video at the start or end of their tour. Video production by J motion.
A new exhibition at The Royal Academy from The 20th Century Society will feature 78 Derngate representing the year 1919. There will also be a related book too which will be published on 6th November.
The Twentieth Century Society protects outstanding architecture and design dating from 1914 onwards, so in 2014 it is marking 100 years of buildings under its protection. This book showcases photographs of 100 buildings - one for each year from 1914 - representing the range and quality of work the Society protects and the amazing range of fascinating buildings we have in Britain. Each photograph is accompanied by information about the building, including why it stands out in a 100 years of architecture. Authors include noted experts in the fields of architecture, heritage and design.