Whitworth Gallery

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Trips & Adventures – 4 July 2019

We set off from Piccadilly Bus Station at 12.00 noon and arrived at the Turing Tap in the university area within twenty minutes or so. The pub was named after Alan Turing and features some photos of him, but oddly also had some old style telephones attached to the wall. Most of us had some food, which was very tasty, but Peter’s fish was so huge we thought he had been served with Moby Dick!

The Whitworth Art Gallery is only a block away and is set in Whitworth Park. Unusually, the gallery does not feature permanent exhibits, as the collection is too big (about 55,000 items) but changes displays every few months

There was a tour scheduled for 2.00pm and we met with our guide Jason, in the rear extension, which was only opened four years ago. He started with a history of the building which was previously owned by wealthy tradesmen who had made their fortunes in the cotton industry.

He explained that in recent years the Art Gallery had made a feature of the outside garden and park areas linking the building to the park and so we stepped outside to admire the sculptures. We walked around the building, whilst Jason gave us a very interesting and informative talk. He was also very attentive to our needs taking a route with few steps and finding us places to sit down.

A statue of King Edward VII commemorates the royal visit when the Royal Infirmary (just over the road) was opened in 1909. Jason told us that the bronze statue is often decorated with a traffic cone by university freshers each year. I wondered if one of those freshers was called “Jason”?

The garden has Japanese blossom, mint plants and linden trees and attracts green parakeets as well as migrating birds.

The gallery is free to enter and also has free Sunday concerts – it prides itself on being a “Gathering of Strangers”. However, in 2003, three paintings — Van Gogh’s The Fortification of Paris with Houses, Picasso’s Poverty and Gauguin’s Tahitian Landscape – were stolen from the gallery. They were later found rolled up in a nearby public toilet and were subsequently put back on display.

In our usual practice we made our way to the café for a much needed tea or coffee.

2 thoughts on “Whitworth Gallery

  1. A fabulous day out with great company and an amazing maze to get to to the loos in the Turing Tap; as to the phones maybe that was an oblique reference to code breaking…wire tapping maybe? Jason was indeed an excellent guide, and explained how Whitworth invented the screw which was named after him, which made his fortune as it was reproducible in mass production. As an aside he was the uncle of Breatrix Potter and when the house ( where the gallery now is) was built whats are now fences were solid brick walls…it was a substantial property back when Platt Fields could have actually been fields! The gardens outside were fascinating and many bushes had spiders webs core them as they like to let plants grow naturally.

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