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.
Patricia Douglas, who died in 2016, was a housewife at a loose end when a part-time job ignited a passion for the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. While working at the New Glasgow Society her initial interest in Mackintosh burgeoned into a ceaseless quest to promote and protect his legacy, resulting in an MBE for services to preserving his architecture. Becoming the dynamic Honorary Secretary and, later, Director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, now at Glasgow's Mackintosh Queen’s Cross Church, she typically worked 13-hour days as a volunteer. Liaising with fellow enthusiasts and scholars worldwide, helping to deliver important initiatives highlighting the designer's achievements and forming a supportive network for his legacy.
Patricia’s connection with 78 Derngate started as early as the 1970s and she was an obvious choice to become a Trustee when the Charity was formed in 1998. As a tribute to Patricia her family commissioned a competition for students at Glasgow College to design and make a bench for the garden at 78. Greig Dunbar, the winning student writes: Patricia Douglas worked tirelessly to preserve many of Mackintosh's works, so when tasked with designing a memorial bench for her it was easy to draw inspiration from Derngate as it is quite a special example, and I think Patricia must have thought so, too. While researching the rooms and styles I found the main room very striking and loved the unforgettable first impression it leaves on you and I knew then that I wanted to include the focus- grabbing lattice wall into my design somehow.
My main idea with the design of the bench was to bring elements from other parts of the house to the outside and tie the bench to the rest of the building while keeping its style as close to Mackintosh's as I could. This concept quickly developed into a high, straight back and a simple clean design, with the lattice work forming the back and the long parallel lines forming the seat. Using the design of the planter from the front of the building to create a planter to go alongside the bench afforded the opportunity to mirror one of the first visually impactful sights that can be seen of the house.
As Mackintosh's work was the main inspiration for the project, oak had seemed the perfect material to use initially, but due to the outdoor location of the bench and the nature of the British weather it seemed a better idea to look to a more resilient timber, so iroko was chosen. This is African hardwood which is perfect for outdoors and is incredibly resilient. The stained glass look was achieved using an extremely hard wearing Perspex, so hopefully it will last a very long time. Each element was hand built in my small workshop and with a bit of help from some friends, the bench came together and the result is one of which I am genuinely proud!
It was quite an honour to make a small memorial for Patricia and to be allowed to incorporate Mackintosh's designs was a rare treat that few people get and I would like to extend my thanks to the Douglas Family and to 78 Derngate for the experience.
Photo of Patricia Douglas: courtesy of The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society