Welcome to the first ever Friends of the Williamson Art Gallery and Wirral Museums blog

Firstly I would like to thank you taking the trouble to join us on our mission to impart more information to the Friends of the Williamson and hope this will be means to spread the word of all the wonderful activities at the Williamson in Birkenhead.

I would like to tell you a little about the Williamson itself.

The building is located just outside the centre of Birkenhead beside Oxton Village, the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum was purpose-built as a gallery and museum.  It was opened in December 1928 and named after John and Patrick Williamson, father and son, who each bequeathed a substantial sum of money to Birkenhead Borough Council.

The art collection is the largest feature of the gallery, numbering some 6,000 oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints; the collection’s strengths lie in British works, especially by artists with Wirral, Merseyside and North Wales connections. Many of the artworks are now listed in the BBC paintings collection online. Williamson Art Gallery collection on BBC

In addition there are important collections of local ceramics, especially Birkenhead’s own Della Robbia Pottery (1894-1906), the Knowles Boney collection of 18th century Liverpool Porcelain and Seacombe Pottery. We also have work in the new gallery shop made by Janet Holmes of Rathbone Studio which was one of the sites of Della Robbia pottery just off Hamilton Square. We are pleased to be selling the new book by Peter Hyland, "Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead, 1894 1906". Peter Hyland is also the author of 'The Herculaneum Pottery: Liverpool's Forgotten Glory' (2005) and is a member of many ceramic societies, including the Northern Ceramic Society (whose journal he edits) and the English Ceramic Circle. He is a Senior Volunteer at the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, Staffordshire.

Our permanent collection, includes ship models from the area, focusing on Cammell Laird shipbuilders and their contribution to marine history, the Mersey Ferries and the variety of vessels that used the River Mersey when it was at its busiest.

Recently the galleries have had a complete refurbishment with new doors to protect the collections internally,
a new cafe, new toilets, new internal doors and shop displaying work by local artists and craftspeople.The café is being run by Best Bites, an employment project for people with disabilities, which has already enjoyed great success elsewhere in the borough.

We currently have an artist residence, Pamela Sullivan who has been very active in the ats outreach room - engaging with the collections and presenting them in a new light to children and adults alike, running workshops on a regular basis. She has enthused many people recently to get creative with over 200 cardbaord reindeers heads!

The Friends of the Williamson Art Gallery was formed over twenty years ago to support the work of the Williamson Art Gallery in Oxton. The support we give enhances the work of the gallery staff as well as offering a summer programme of art workshops for childen aged 8 to 15, weekly summer serenades of music of the highest calibre and financial support for the private views of the exhibitions throughout the year. We have a very active page on Facebook and hope to use this blog to bring more people into the gallery through this blog.

Bear with me while I tinker with the format and visuals of the blog and please "follow us"...We will be very open to publishing writing and reviews from others.