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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Posted 28th March 2011
Watts Contemporary Gallery


The light at the end of the tunnel - the completion of the Watts Gallery Hope Restoration Project - is growing brighter, as we start to see the miraculous transformation of the silver/gold and bronze arches in the Isabel Goldsmith Patino Gallery, and witness the landscape taking shape as it is planted and seeded. However, between now and 18 June, our formal date for opening Watts Gallery, there is a great deal to do. We are planning a number of opening events through May, we are developing the Information Point in the Old Pottery to become a Watts Welcome Centre housing the ticket office and shop, and we hope to tackle the damp in the Tea Shop wall and make some improvements in readiness for opening. Most important of all, we need to monitor the environment and security systems in readiness for bringing back the Watts Collection.

We are most grateful to our volunteers who have been busy coding and entering details on the database and placing the Christopher Wood Library and Archive in the John George Study Room. With its red and green colours, surrounded in shelves, this room is immensely enticing to those of us who would like to spend an afternoon learning more about the19th Century, its artists and ideas. John George was a tremendous supporter of Watts Gallery's efforts to become a centre for exploring Victorian art, social history and craft and I think he would be pleased to see the room and the amount of activity and study, which is taking place there. I am extremely grateful to all the volunteers who are providing an opportunity for anyone in the world to access the information we have available at Watts Gallery through our website.

Funnily enough, one of the restoration aspects which is taking the longest to complete is the manufacture of the front door. I feel when the beautifully made replica of the original door, adapted to ensure access for disabled people, arrives and is on its hinges the light at the end of the tunnel will burn bright! I remain forever grateful to all those who have made this project possible. It was a poignant moment when a Trustee of the George John and Sheilah Livanos Trust came to give their final cheque of their pledge and came to visit the Gallery, which will take their name and the Archive Store. Such supporters have been with us each step of the way for over five years. This is a manifestation of Hope indeed, let alone faith and charity. We would like to say, once again, thank you.