Penlee House receives National Lottery funding for community engagement


Gibson & Sons, Funeral March, Market Jew Street, Penzance © Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance / Gibson Archive

Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Penzance has been awarded a £13,500 National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support a project called ‘Illuminations: Developing Community Engagement with Penlee's Photographic Collections’.

The project will work with members of the local community to introduce them to the photographic collections held at Penlee House. The community engagement project runs alongside the upcoming exhibition at the Gallery: ‘Luminaries: Victorian Photographers in West Cornwall’ and the National Lottery funding will also be used to support the production of the exhibition.

Members of the Gallery’s volunteer team have begun visiting local residential care homes and day centres to carry out oral history interviews with older people, using the photographs to stimulate memories of Penzance and West Cornwall.

The ‘Illuminations’ project will also benefit under-5s and their families, with the introduction of a new regular session for pre-schoolers.

The funding will enable Penlee House to work in the local community with those living with long-term mental and physical health conditions affecting their wellbeing. This will be through a series of workshops where participants will be able to create their own artwork in response to the exhibition.

Education & Outreach Officer Zoe Burkett said: ‘we are delighted to have received this funding from the National Lottery, which will enable us to reach new audiences and share our amazing Victorian photography collection. We are very pleased that the project will allow us to have new voices represented in the Gallery’.

Tamsin Daniel, Member of HLF South West Committee, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we’re pleased to support this project which bring the community together to explore the Victorian heritage of Penlee House and West Penwith.”

The ‘Luminaries’ exhibition will give visitors to the Gallery an insight into the lives of the local community in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through rare images of West Penwith from the dawn of the photographic age. The exhibition, which opens on 12 January and runs until 16 March, is a chance to showcase some of the Gibson & Sons Archive which Penlee House acquired in 2016 with the assistance of The Art Fund, ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and Cornwall Heritage Trust. In addition to images by Gibson & Sons, the show will include local professional photographers such as Robert Preston and the Richards Brothers, as well as amateur photographers such as William Colenso and John Branwell, son of the first owner of Penlee House.

The exhibition is the largest photography exhibition ever to be held at Penlee House and is sponsored by the Friends of Penlee House. The research and digitisation of the photographic collection has been undertaken by the dedicated volunteer-led Penlee House Photographic Research Group.

Exhibition sponsored by

friends LAGTC  logo

Luminaries exhibition

·        The exhibition will feature 100 photographs, all from West Cornwall, and a short film about the Gibson Family.

·         A fully illustrated book about the Gibson collection has been produced to accompany the exhibition.  Also showing at Penlee House will be a selection of popular Newlyn School paintings from the Gallery’s magnificent art collection, including Norman Garstin’s ‘The Rain it Raineth Every Day’ and ‘School is Out’ by Elizabeth Forbes.

       Penlee House Gallery & Museum opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10.00am to 4.30pm (last admission 4.00pm). Morrab Road, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 4HE.

 Penlee House Gallery & Museum is owned and operated by Penzance Town Council.

 For further information or images, please contact Katie Herbert, or call 01736 363625.