Recently I met up with a lovely man and his wife who I used to work with.
We had lunch in the Whitaker Park Museum and art gallery in Rawtenstall in Lancashire.
It's a stunning building in a glorious setting overlooking the old mill town.
Look how they have retained the original tiles in the entrance.
The museum is housed in the 19th century former mill owner's residence, which was built in 1840 for the Hardman family. At the time the house overlooked their woollen mill at New Hall Hey.
Eventually sold in 1902 to local businessman, Richard Whitaker, who presented the house and its grounds to his much loved home town of Rawtenstall with the intent that they be converted into parks and playgrounds for the community to enjoy.
Offically opened by The Mayor Alderman H W Trickett in 1902, the museum first exhibited collections acquired from a number of local sources creating a museum of general interest.
The first curator, also the local librarian, was a Mr Hargreaves Wilkinson, under his auspices the museum and its collection slowly started to develop through the years. Initially on the first floor and in two rooms downstairs (display space has always been at a premium) but in the 1930′s the museum endured significant growth and represented more of what you see in todays exhibits throughout the Natural and Social History rooms.
It has retained many of the original features including the beautiful ornate radiators. So much nicer than the drab white things we have now.
This is what I loved the most. The central light fitting in the cafe bar.
The walls are painted in the dark colours favoured at the time of the build but upstairs in the gallery it has the modern white walls with strip lighting required to show of the artwork at its best.
If you are in the area it is well worth a visit but I will own up to not liking the Natural History Room, its full of dead stuffed animals, its horrible. Maybe thats your thing though, I don't know.
Oh and the food is great.
For more information here's the link