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Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum Receives £36,000 from Bournemouth Civic Society for Recreation of Historic Children’s Garden Pavilion

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Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum Receives £36,000 from Bournemouth Civic Society for Recreation of Historic Children’s Garden Pavilion

Sarah Newman, Manager of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, receives a cheque from               Ken Mantock FRSA, President of the Bournemouth Civic Society.

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is thrilled to announce the receipt of a generous £36,303 donation from the Bournemouth Civic Society. The Bournemouth Civic Society was founded in 1972 to champion the historic environment and promote good quality new development but closed in September 2023.  This funding will be dedicated to the recreation of the historic Children’s Pavilion, also known as the Summerhouse, nestled within the museum’s picturesque garden. The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum extends its sincere gratitude to the Bournemouth Civic Society for its support in preserving the cherished cultural heritage of Bournemouth.

Annie and Merton Russell-Cotes, hoteliers and philanthropists in Bournemouth and founders of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, were not only influential figures in the community, but also devoted grandparents who regularly hosted joyful gatherings for the children of Bournemouth. Their commitment to the wellbeing of children was an integral part of their vision for Bournemouth. The reconstruction of the pavilion serves as a poignant tribute to their legacy, providing a dedicated space for children to engage in creative play, fostering imagination and exploration in the garden.

Postcard from the Russell-Cotes collection looking at the view from the museum terrace. Pictured in the garden is one of the four original Victorian red children’s pavilions (summerhouses).

“We are deeply honoured to embark on this reconstruction project, which celebrates the enduring legacy of Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes,” remarked Sarah Newman, Manager of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. “With the generous support of the Bournemouth Civic Society, we will endeavour to recreate the Children’s Pavilion to its former glory, using original photographs and working closely with experts specialising in custom-made playhouses.”

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, designated as a Grade 2* Listed building, will undertake the reconstruction with utmost care and respect for its architectural heritage. As part of this process, the museum will require planning permission to ensure that the project aligns with preservation guidelines and standards. The estimated timeline for the project is 12 months, during which meticulous attention will be paid to every detail to ensure the pavilion is recreated as faithfully as possible to its original design.

“We are committed to preserving the integrity of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum while providing children and families with a space to play, learn and create cherished memories,” said Ken Mantock FRSA, President of the Bournemouth Civic Society. “This project exemplifies our shared dedication to safeguarding our cultural heritage and nurturing the next generation of thinkers and innovators.  It provides a lasting legacy for the Civic Society’s 50 years of dedication to championing the town’s architectural heritage.”

Additionally, should there be funds remaining after the completion of the Children’s Pavilion Project, the Civic Society has requested that it be allocated towards repairing and restoring the stonework of the iconic Main Hall fountain. This restoration project aims to clear away years of limescale buildup, clean the mosaic, and apply a special protective wax coating to preserve the shine of the golden elements, echoing the stained-glass ceiling directly above. While the fountain cannot be brought back into operation with water, the museum will explore alternative audio-visual media solutions such as motion sensor-operated sound effects or digital projection.

Annie and Merton’s grandchildren used the garden pavilion as a playhouse.

Construction on the recreation of the Children’s Pavilion is due to commence this year. This project is part of the museums ongoing ambition to restore, rebuild and develop the Russell-Cotes building, grounds, and collection.

The Russell-Cotes is grateful to Bournemouth Civic Society for their support, and the museum invites individuals passionate about art and heritage to contribute to this cause by sponsoring specific restoration projects, becoming a Friend of the museum, leaving a legacy or supporting ongoing maintenance efforts.  There are numerous avenues for patrons to engage and support.

For more information about the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum and its restoration and development projects, and how you can support us visit here

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