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You are in: London > London Local > Waltham Forest > Spare Time > The William Morris Gallery dispute

The William Morris Gallery dispute

The Waltham Forest Arts community are protesting against plans to close their most iconic gallery on weekdays.

Facts : William Morris

William Morris was a Designer, Craftsman, Writer and Socialist.

He was born at Elm House, Walthamstow, on 24th March 1834.

He died, 'having done more work than most ten men', at Hammersmith on 3rd October 1896

The William Morris Gallery was opened by Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1950.

It is one of a kind, the only public museum devoted to England's best known and most versatile designer.

The was the Morris's family home from 1848 to 1856, the former Water House, a substantial Georgian dwelling of about 1750.

Most famous Exhibits

Morris's medieval-style helmet and sword, made as 'props' for the Pre-Raphaelite murals at the Oxford Union.

The original design for Trellis (the earliest of Morris's many wallpapers)

The Woodpecker tapestry woven at Morris's Merton Abbey workshops.

The Beauty and the Beast and Labours of the Months tile panels

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer printed at Morris's Kelmscott Press.

William Morris Bust

The William Morris gallery is one of the very few arts venues in the borough. Situated on the Forest Road in Walthamstow, it was the birth place of the acclaimed Georgian artist, William Morris.

Scholars from around the world visit and study in this gallery, but soon this could all change.

Currently, the gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays and one Sunday a month. However, if the Councils cost cutting plans go ahead, it’s opening will be restricted to the weekends.

Councillor Naz Sarkar, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Arts and Culture says it should be open when it’s used the most.

He says:

“I think it’s most important to open it when people have got available time. Most people have got time on Saturdays and Sundays.”

School parties will be able to attend during the week by appointment. But, The Friends of the William Morris Gallery are furious at the proposals. They think tourists and the retired are not being considered and have called a public meeting to discuss the plans.

They also feel the Council is showing no confidence in the Gallery and believe it could lead to its eventual closure.

Martin Stuchfield from Friends of the William Morris gallery says :

“I’ve dubbed it the thin end of the wedge. I firmly believe as do my supporters that by closing the gallery during the week, visitor numbers will fall and when the visitor numbers fall, the London Borough of Waltham Forest will eventually close it.”

The Council has said the gallery will not be shut down as campaigners fear. Cllr. Naz Sarkar has also assured the Arts community that the changes will not scupper a major Lottery bid they were hoping to secure. A grant that would see the gallery expand and fully refurbished.

The William Morris Gallery

Praising Angel

To watch a video feature on this Gallery click on the link at the top of the page.

To email your views on this story write to your Waltham Forest Reporter:

last updated: 28/12/2007 at 15:07
created: 25/01/2007

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