Although already open to the pubic for a couple of weeks today marked the official opening of the Discover Preston gallery inside the iconic Harris Museum & Art Gallery in the centre of the City.Advertisement
Preston born historian, writer, and broadcaster, Professor Amanda Vickery did the honours cutting the ribbon to open the exhibition together with Preston Guild Mayor, Carl Crompton and the Mayoress.
In her dedication speech Amanda gave us tales of a childhood spent in the Harris gazing at the painting of the ‘woman in the yellow dress’ (Amanda said a condition on attending today would be that she could wear the yellow dress. It didn’t happen) and the painting ‘Why War’.
Old Prestonians will know exactly what Amanda is talking about as I think we all did the same. Amanda, who presents a popular BBC Radio 4 series, said that although she now spends most of her time in the South of England she is still in touch with her past and growing up in our historic mill town fostered her love of social and economic history. And she hasn’t quite lost her Prestonian accent yet.
Amongst the gathering I spotted Preston historians and authors Stephen Sartin and Dr. Mike Winstanley and I’m sure there were more Preston luminaries present but the gallery was surprisingly packed. Even the upper floor was chock full of on-lookers peering over the balcony. I heard the organisers were pleasantly impressed with the level of attendance which shows how we prestonians love our history.
The exhibition itself, built on previous displays, has been brought fully up to date with exciting audio and visual imagery as well as brand new collections of Preston related artefacts and memorabilia. A great place for those visiting the City for the first time to get a taste of what Preston is really about, especially in its Guild year. The elk is still there for all those of you who still remember the old displays.
We were reminded to keep buying lottery tickets as a large part of gallery funding came from the Heritage Lottery Fund together with many generous donations from various sources too numerous to mention. If you have a spare moment why not go and have a look yourself.