Lancashire Life - - PLACES TO VISIT -

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

July 7.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.lan­ mu­se­ums,phone The Judges Lodg­ings on 01524 581241 or email judges­lodg­[email protected] lan­ 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

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