The Harris reaches milestone of 125 years

Posted on - 26th October, 2018 - 12:27pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
The Harris will see R&B and hip hop performances Pic: Tony Worrall
The Harris celebrates 125 years Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston’s famous grade-listed building of culture and art celebrates an impressive milestone birthday.


The Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library reaches its 125th anniversary today (Friday 26 October).

Opening in the late 19th century, its Victorian founder, Edmund Harris, had a vision to create a free place that focused on culture, arts and learning in the heart of Preston.

Read more: Harris Park orphanage site is up for sale

Inscribed on the outside of the building, the founder stated his vision: “The mental riches you may here acquire abide with you always.”

The Harris Inscription

Since then, the Harris has become a focal point of culture, art and history in the city, providing a range of exhibitions and events, fine art such as paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints, costume, and contemporary art including ceramics and glass, digital media and textiles.

The history of Preston and beyond can be found inside, along with magnificent archaeology.

To mark the special occasion, the Harris had some special ‘125’ balloons gathered inside the main entrance of the iconic landmark to signify the 125-year milestone.

Historical photographs were also displayed on The Harris’ social media pages.

Councillor for the Riversway ward and Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure at Preston City Council,¬†Cllr Peter Kelly, said: “She’s the grand old lady of Preston.

“Providing exposure to literature and granting access to knowledge, she’s an iconic building that stands in the heart of Preston.

“It’s massively important that Prestonians continue to visit the Harris. With the Reimaginng Project, we are adapting to the changes of today. The Harris is full of of digital technology, history, war memorials and more. It’s really important in getting people inspired.”

Inside The Harris as it marks 125 years

Cllr Peter Kelly stated the importance of children having exposure to art and culture.

He said: “Children especially, who regularly use iPads and tablets, get exposed to the culture and art inside. We had 500 kids visit with their parents the other day for clay-making, and instead of going home they went upstairs and looked around The Harris. When they visited, you could see their faces light up, and for some it may be their first time being introduced to art.

“The Harris provides an opportunity for local artists to have their work displayed in an art gallery.

“We need to celebrate the fact that she has been there through two World Wars and has remained solid throughout. Her inscription on the side has always remained the premise of The Harris.”

The view standing on the balcony of The Harris

Have you visited The Harris recently? What do you think about its milestone birthday? Let us know in the comments below

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