How important are the Arts in local public life?
Between 1980 and 1987 I spent some of my most enjoyable moments in public life serving as an elected Councillor member of Sefton Councils Arts and Library committee. Although the Arts weren't considered a front-line public service at the time, and probably, even now, It was the least politically contested function.
The Atkinson was restored by Southport Borough Council in the lead-up to the formation if Sefton in 1974,
In 1875, William Atkinson offered Southport Corporation £6,000 to build an art gallery and library for the town.
William Atkinson was a cotton manufacturer from Knaresborough who frequently visited Southport with his sick wife looking for the refreshing sea air. He eventually moved to Southport and generously donated approximately £40,000 to the town during his lifetime and played an active part in its development.
The architects Waddington & Son of Burnley designed the Atkinson Art Gallery and Library, which opened in 1878.
The Southport Arts Centre as it became known was closed again in 2010 for further refurbishment. Reopening its doors in May 2013.
The Atkinson is Southport’s beautiful new home for music, theatre, art, poetry, literature and history, right in the middle of Lord Street in Southport and just 3 minutes’ walk from Southport train station. Significant investment has been made in refurbishing the stunning 19th-century buildings, to create a really welcoming multi art-form venue with a sturdy contemporary feel.
It offers an exciting and varied destination for families, cultural tourists and art enthusiasts alike, with a full day and night time offer. During the day an opportunity to visit the new shop, that sells gifts and contemporary crafts from regional makers and then relax in the Bakery, choosing from a selection of artisan bread sandwiches, cakes and sharing platters.
Here's the latest short video from The Atkinson inviting families throughout our local area to make use if its facilities