Trips & Adventures – 20 February 2020
The train from Manchester Piccadilly to Warrington was so crowded that most of us had to stand, but the journey took just over twenty minutes, so it wasn’t too bad.
We walked from the station, through the shopping centre to avoid the rain, and ended up at The White Hart, a nice quiet pub. There was table service and the food was really high quality. Most of us chose jacket potatoes with various fillings which we enjoyed, but Walter had steak and ale pie and huge chunky chips. However, they forgot to put Peter’s meal through the till, so he wasn’t served until most of us had finished our meals! In the circumstances he was given a free meal.
We then walked to the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery to view an exhibition of paintings by Eric Tucker, known as “The Unseen Artist”. This special exhibition features work by Warrington artist Eric Tucker, whose prolific talent came to light after his death – family members discovered several hundred paintings and thousands of drawings while clearing out his home.
He has been dubbed Warrington’s ”secret Lowry” in recognition of his chosen topic – working-class life in a Northern town, from the smoky pub to the bustling street scene. Following a pop-up exhibition in Eric Tucker’s home last year, this is the first opportunity for the public to see a much wider selection of the artist’s work. We thought that the paintings also had the style of Beryl Cook.
His paintings show pubs filled with cigarette smoke as couples chat or men huddle together in groups, wearing flat caps, relaxing and enjoying themselves.
Eric Tucker lived with his mother and his stepfather before they died and he never married. He has been described as a “complex character and there was a lot of sadness in his life”. While “funny, sociable and affable”, he was also “shy and diffident and a bit of a loner”.
After our visit we went through the old fish market, and had a photograph at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the Golden Square shopping centre. The sculpture was fashioned in stone by Edwin Russell and depicts Alice joining the March Hare, Dormouse and the Mad Hatter for a tea party. Alice looks distinctly bemused, rather than amused!
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