NEED TO KNOW
But there was a lot of work
– and elbow grease – required before the building could re-open. Although The Lodgings had been maintained while closed, it needed a massive deep clean with staff receiving training from a conservator.
‘It was a bit more complicated than an ordinary spring clean,’ Lynda said. Some paintings were returned to their original owners during the closure so wall space was filled with artworks from the county’s collections and needed specialist cleaning.
But all this effort was worthwhile as visitor reaction so far has been very positive and interest in the furniture is such that talks by Gillow expert, Susan Stuart, had to be repeated due to popular demand.
Lynda is particularly keen to see more family visitors, encouraging them to get ‘hands on’ with cleaning the historic kitchen utensils and offering weekend drop-in sessions as well as craft workshops and fun events on Fridays during school holidays.
Families often spend hours upstairs in The Museum of Childhood which features toys from 1800 to He-man and
She-ra and includes a playroom with plenty of opportunities to dress up.
Lynda hopes that some of the Friends fundraising activities will pay for costumes for stewards to wear as a way of improving the interpretation of all the rooms in the house. Sue said: ‘The building The Judges’ Lodgings is open Fridays-sundays 11am-4pm until November 3. Anyone 18 or over wanting to play their own part in keeping the building alive, can join the team of volunteer stewards or gardeners who plan to re-introduce historical planting to the outdoor space.
There’s a packed programme of special events planned for the summer including fun workshops and drop-ins on a justice theme and lunchtime talks. The Friends are also organising a chamber concert on
For more information, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/ museums,phone The Judges Lodgings on 01524 581241 or email judgeslodg[email protected] lancashire.gov.uk itself is magnificent and it seems to bring together a lot of the stories of Lancaster’s history – the justice system, the slave trade and its industrial connections with the Gillows.’
The Friends held their inaugural lecture by Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid from Preston who said that her 2007 ceramics commission for the Judges Lodgings – Swallow Hard – was a turning point in her career.
Her continuing work depicting the transformation of black African people from individuals into property earned her the MBE for services to black women’s art. Much of the impressive collection of Gillow furniture was made using wood from the West Indies via the slave trade.
Gillow’s former offices and workshops on Castle Hill can still be seen from The Lodgings so it’s appropriate that some of the finest examples of the furniture they produced during the 18th and 19th centuries have found a home there.
ABOVE: A youngster at one of the toy display cases BELOW: Lynda Jackson is the new manager of the museum