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‘Natural Inspirations’ – Contemporary Watercolours by Joan Aitchison

Latest Exhibition at Lytham Heritage Centre

23 May – 11 June 2017

Joan grew up in Wrea Green, where her creativity was nurtured from a young age by her parents who were writers and painters themselves, and who encouraged an appreciation of the natural environment. These artistic leanings were also supported by teachers at Queen Mary’s School and she went on to study Art along with Education at Warwick University, with a specialism in ‘Creative Work with Fabric and Threads ‘ – she made huge textured embroideries and tubular wall hangings, always with natural materials.

Joan’s art then took a back seat for a number years, whilst she enjoyed exploring and encouraging creativity as a wife, mother, teacher and singer. Turning her hand to Amateur Operatics and Dramatics, Joan is probably better known in the Fylde area as Kiss Me Kate, Eliza Doolittle or The Merry Widow.

Inheriting her mother’ s watercolour paints catalysed Joan’s art and the adoption of a new medium. There was something comforting about using that same palette and, whilst spending time in the Lake District and abroad, she found that watercolours were just right for recording and interpreting what she saw.

Her love of the natural world, its colours, textures and shapes, and the smell and meditative absorption of walking in the countryside or by the sea, is what motivates a lot of her painting.

Pictorial pieces are inspired by four main subject areas:  ‘In the Hedgerows’,  ‘Trees Alone’, ‘Seas and Skies’, and ‘The Feeling of a Place’. Often, her work is a mosaic of different things arranged into a composition.

Her abstracts are also rooted in the natural world but the subjects are more fantastical and interpretation is open-ended. Joan believes we are all wired according to both our nature and nurture therefore we each see and appreciate different things from the same painting, which can also change with our mood. A number of her abstract paintings can be hung in different orientations to allow for shifting perspectives and interpretations.

Natural Inspirations
‘Natural Inspirations’ – Contemporary Watercolours by Joan Aitchison 23 May – 11 June 2017

“Vibrant Views Creative Canvases”

Vibrant Views Creative Canvases

Exhibition 1 – 20 November 2016

Elizabeth McMorran – Photographic Artist

Excelsior Arts

Having studied Art at Oakham College in Leicestershire and attended the local watercolour Artist Alan Oliver’s course, this inspired me to start painting watercolours 30 years ago. A lot of my watercolours were commissioned and received good reviews in the local press.

Having brought up 3 children, helping and inspiring them all with their Art qualifications, I now had the opportunity to continue my creative venture in the form of photographic Art. Inspired by my spring wedding awakening my creativity to illustrate my photographs on canvas as a progression artistically instead of painting from my photographs as I had done previously.

Living in Freckleton for the past 27 years, deciding to display my work in Lytham seemed the ideal opportunity as I am developing my portfolio incorporating local scenes, as well as my love for flowers. All with my individual perspective of the scene captured.I participated in Lytham Arts Festival 2015 and won a prize for my work being ‘Highly Commended’ and I have also displayed at St Anne’s Music & Arts Festival 2015.

Following on from the local Art Festivals and having created over 200 canvases, I then had the opportunity to curate an exhibition at Park View 4U. My exhibition of 35 canvases reflected a summer feel, personalizing the display with canvases of Park View’s beautiful garden flowers too during September. And a pumpkin head being the centre pieces for my October Autumnal display. Being delighted with the vibrant and colourful array of canvases, I was asked to continue my exhibition which reflected a Winter/Christmas theme. Park View 4U brought a great challenge in curating these exhibitions and proved fruitful too in the amazingly enthusiastic comments and resulting sales.

During the past year I have enjoyed compiling a collection of canvases to display at Warton Hall, Ribble Cruising Club, The Pavilion St.Annes and presently on display at Dotty Gallery in Rutland.

So Excelsior Arts that was formed when I was a watercolour artist painting and signing my last picture 30 years ago has flourished and matured to the exciting new venture I share with you locally today.

 

Lytham Windmill Museum

www.lythamwindmill.co.uk

Lytham’s best known landmark, the Windmill, contains a seasonal museum with a series of exhibits focused on the “History of Mills and Milling” and the “Heritage of Lytham St Annes and the Fylde Area”.

The Museum, which annually attracts an average of 25,000 visitors from all parts of the world, was established in 1989 by Lytham Heritage Group. It is run voluntarily by The Group’s members and houses exhibitions and displays spread over 4 floors, including explanations of the milling processes and a history of the grade II listed building. The basement shows a tableau of life in Victorian Lytham.

Fylde Borough Council man a Tourist Information Point during the season.

Lytham Lifeboat Museum to Reopen in August 2015

Lytham Lifeboat Museum to Reopen in August 2015

News Release – Lytham Old Lifeboat House to re-open as a Museum with a Victorian Lifeboat as the main exhibit.

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After over 10 years of closure the re-development of the museum is nearly complete at the Old Lifeboat House next to the Windmill museum.

The main exhibit will be a Victorian Pulling and Sailing Lifeboat named Chapman that has recently been restored to a very high level. The boat is due to be delivered on Monday 17 August 2015. It is hoped the Lifeboat museum will be opened shortly after the lifeboat delivery.

The theme of the museum will be the Great Lifeboat Disaster of 1886 when 27 lifeboat men from the St Annes and Southport crews lost their lives to rescue 12 men of the shipwrecked barque the Mexico.

The museum is being organised by Lytham Heritage Group who already manage the adjacent museum inside Lytham Windmill. The Group are working in close partnership with Lytham St Annes RNLI Heritage Team and Fylde Borough Council.

Volunteers are welcome to join The Group and assist with the day to day opening and stewarding of the museum. Contact thecentre@lythamheritage.co.ukfor more information.

This will be the first lifeboat in the Old Lifeboat House since 1931 when theKate Walker was replaced by the JHW. TheChapman lifeboat has strong links to the northwest and will make a prime attraction for the museum. She is also a sister vessel of the St Annes No1 lifeboat ON587 James Scarlet that was on station from 1908 to 1925, when the St Annes station was finally closed, and was launched 9 times saving 20 lives.

As an introduction here is the boat’s history…

History of Chapman Lifeboat

ON461 Chapman a Liverpool class pulling & sailing lifeboat was built in 1900 – 01 at Thames Ironworks. She is 35 feet long by 10 feet beam, the height to the top of the gunwhale is 5 feet and she originally weighed 4.5 tons. She is probably nearer 3.5 tons now. Built in the era before engines she was designed to be rowed and sailed by 15 men, 12 oarsmen, a coxswain, second cox’n and bowman.  The boat hull is 100% original – Honduran mahogony. Sadly this is no longer available as all the trees are gone.

Chapman was originally stationed in Groomsport, County Down until 1920. When Groomsport closed, Chapman joined the RNLI Reserve and in October 1920 was sent to Cromer, where she was briefly “cox’d” by Henry Blogg, the most famous of all lifeboatmen. Henry was awarded 3 RNLI gold medals, 4 silver medals, the George Medal and British Empire Medal during his 53 years RNLI service

In 1924 Chapman was sent to Hilbre Island where she was operated by the Hoylake lifeboat crew. As motor lifeboats succeeded “pulling and sailing” lifeboats and war approached, the Hilbre Island station closed in 1939 and Chapman left Hoylake.

Having left Hoylake in September 1939, it is believed that Chapman joined the war effort as a working boat on the opposite side of the River Dee estuary at Point of Air colliery.

The next we know of her is in the early 1950’s. By this time she has had an engine installed, has been re-namedHarbinger and is taking out day-trippers into Morecambe Bay.

A Lancaster man Harold Gardner and his brother Thomas bought the Harbinger on 10th March 1956. She was fitted out for piloting in the River Lune estuary by James Nicholson Ltd of Glasson Dock and commissioned for piloting on 16thMay that year. Harold and Thomas decided to rename their boat Peggy.

Peggy served as the Lancaster pilot boat for 35 years, being moored off Sunderland Point. On one occasion she resumed her role as a lifeboat, being summoned by Lancashire Police to save 2 men from a capsized dinghy in Glasson Dock.

Harold Gardner sold Peggy to Hoylake RNLI Mechanic Alan Tolley on 9th October 1992. Alan sailed her back to Hoylake under her own steam in order to convert her into a tripper. Alan’s intention was to return the lifeboat to her original RNLI livery. He removed the wheelhouse, decking and engine but found himself unable to complete the project. The boat was donated to the Burbo Caravan Park where she became a plaything for children.

Standing outside in all weathers saw the boat begin to deteriorate and, concerned, the owner of the Park decided to try to find a secure future for the lifeboat, recognising that she was something special. She was acquired by a Midlander who transported her to the Douglas Boatyard, Tarleton, on the Ribble estuary.

Unfortunately the lifeboat was then deserted. Left uncovered, rainwater played havoc with her deteriorating condition. The engine bed rusted badly and this penetrated her timbers. Each gunnel burst and she began to rot badly.

When John Parr and his father Bill visited the Douglas Boatyard in 1998, Peggy was in a sorry state. She was full of leaves and rubbish and also home to a small sycamore tree.

However, she was and always will be the last Hilbre Island lifeboat: unique. John bought the boat and brought her back to the Wirral to the Laird Foundation in Birkenhead. The expectation was that she would be restored by apprentices working at what was, in effect, the shipyard’s training school.

She was fully inspected by John Kearon, Keeper of Historic Vessels at Merseyside Maritime Museum. There was a great deal to be done. Delays occurred, however, and Chapman was laid up for over 3 years. Finally, however, the go ahead was given and Chapman was restored by a team of apprentices under the leadership and guidance of Graham Steedman, shipwright and training instructor. The project was financed by John Parr and his father Bill who proudly re-named the lifeboat Chapman at Hoylake’s annual Lifeboat Day in August 2003.

For the next 3 years Chapman formed part of Wirral’s Historic Warship display in Wallasey until this sadly closed in 2006. A period of storage followed.

With the vision of a Lifeboat Museum finally realised in 2011, Chapman finally returned to Hoylake, 72 years after she left at the end of her RNLI service.

Ready for some refurbishment, the volunteers at Hoylake Lifeboat Museum, under the painstaking leadership of Jon Britton, spent countless hours further restoring the lifeboat over the winter of 2011 and spring of 2012. Some original features were reinstated bringing Chapman even closer to her original appearance.

Since the unfortunate closure of the Hoylake Lifeboat Museum, in the coming weeks it is planned to place Chapman as the main exhibit in the new Lifeboat Museum at the Old Lifeboat House, Lytham.

As the oldest surviving example of the Liverpool-class lifeboat, of which around 100 were built, Chapman is of national importance and listed on the National Register of Historic Vessels. A local and national treasure!

John Parr/Steve Williams – August 2015

 

Lytham Lives Exhibition

“Lytham Lives” – Exhibition at Lytham Heritage Centre

Press Release – March 2015

The Lytham Lives exhibition at Lytham Heritage Centre is now on display and celebrates the release of a new book “Lytham Lives, A Community in Writing”. The exhibition was created by Park View 4 U and Fable Arts with Lytham Heritage Group.