Rain and mist shrouded the Peninnes as forty-seven Chester Civic Trust members headed for Nelson. We received a warm and dry welcome from Jimmy and Katherine at the small British In India Museum.
This was the private collection of Jimmy’s father, who fell in love with the country whilst serving in the army. Often private collections are large and accumulated by rich individuals The Sainsbury Collection, which we visited in Norwich, is an example of this.
This collection is different. It is housed in a room in an old mill, and curated by Katherine and Jimmy. It was gathered together over a lifetime on a modest budget and also contains donations and loans.
Still in the mist and wet we next journeyed to the Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington.
Here is displayed the collection of Tiffany glass collected by Joseph Briggs and presented to his home town in 1933.
This now multi-million collection was not always appreciated. In the early 1960s only the vote of one trustee prevented its being sold to an American collector for two thousand pounds.
Briggs left Accrington to make his fortune in America. After a number of adventures, including working in a Wild West show, he was employed in the Tiffany works. He spent forty years there until its final bankruptcy. He finished an important figure in the company.
The Arts and Crafts Haworth House was also presented to the city by the Haworth mill owning family.
Not only did we enjoy this magnificent and well displayed collection, but also a superlative meal in the former billiard room of the house.
Visibility improved marginally as we arrived in Bury. Here the group divided : some went to the famous market with Christine and bought black puddings; others enjoyed a visit to Bury Art Gallery; for some it was military history at the Fusiliers’ Museum; Peter took a group to the Transport Museum and a few went to Crowther’s parish church of St Mary to see its Minton mosaic flooring.
We all finally rejoined in the Trainlines bar at Bury Bolton Street Station. This station is run by an active preservation society.
Luckily for us, rain did not stop play.
Account of visit written by Karen McKay