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The Art

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The Atkinson, Southport



1878; 2013




Southport, North West


Museum Member (CAS)


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Photo credit: The Atkinson, Southport


In 1875, William Atkinson offered Southport Corporation £6,000 to build an art gallery and library for the town. His portrait is on display in the local history gallery in which he holds the plans for the art gallery. He was a cotton manufacturer from Knaresborough, North Yorkshire 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 Atkinson was redeveloped, with significant investment in refurbishing the stunning 19th-century buildings, including that adjacent which  was the Manchester and Liverpool Dsitrict Bank, built in 1879. It now houses a theatre, studio, cafe, shop, exhibitions spaces, library and museum and holds the collections of the Botanic Gardens Museum and Bootle Museum and Art Gallery (which closed in 1974), from where nearly half of the acquisitions from the Contemporary Art Society have been transferred.

In October 2014 the new Egyptology Gallery opened, the new home of the Goodison Egyptology Collection, which has not been seen for over 40 years. In February 2015 the redevelopment was completed with the opening of Between Land and Sea – 10,000 Years of Sefton’s Coast which tells the story of Sefton and its dramatic maritime history as well as how it links to the rest of the world and has grown into one of the most popular tourist destinations.

The Atkinson (Atkinson Art Gallery Collection) became a museum member again of the Contemporary Art Society in 2015 and has been presented with significant contemporary works by: Catherine Yass, Anthea HamiltonAlberta Whittle and Livia Marin.







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