Lancashire visitors had a unique chance to see the Open Bookcases of Gawthorpe Hall’s private library at a Heritage Open Day on Saturday 8th September.
Heritage Open Days offer free admission to a wide range of historical and cultural attractions, which are normally closed to the public or charge an admission fee. Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham, is one of the latter. Originally the family seat of the Kay-Shuttleworth family, it is a gem of Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture, with mid-Victorian interiors designed by Sir Charles Barry. Set in a picturesque corner of the Ribble Valley, the Victorian dining chairs, antique chests and other treasures at Gawthorpe include a number of pieces by A.W.N Pugin, who worked with Barry at Gawthorpe and the Palace of Westminster. The antique dining table and matching teapot in the Drawing Room are good examples of Pugin’s Gothic Revival style.
Although the hall has five floors of antique artefacts, some – such as a Tudor Revival Victorian oak partners desk , and antique balloon back dining chairs by Maples & Co – can be found only in the online gallery. However, on 8th September, the National Trust threw the doors of Gawthorpe wide open, giving visitors a unique opportunity to discover the antique treasures lurking behind the doors marked ‘private’. For the first time in history, this included a chance to browse the open bookcases of the library, notable for being the private reference library of the Gawthorpe Textile Collection, assembled by the late Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.
Similar antique bookcases can be found in Preston by visiting an antique dealer.
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