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Bilston Craft Gallery, Bilston
(4.5/5 based on 25 reviews on the web)
Bilston Craft Gallery is the largest dedicated craft venue in the West Midlands, located at Mount Pleasant, Bilston, near Bilston town centre.BuildingThe two-storey stone residential house was built in 1905 as a home for the Harper family, the local lock manufacturers. It replaced a much older Regency building, Brueton House, built in 1818 by Thomas Brueton. Between 1918–30 the house was used by Bilston Girls High School. After the school had moved to a larger building and grounds, the house was re-modelled and a large extension at the rear of the building was added. From 1937-1990s, the building housed the Bilston Art Gallery and Museum. The building also houses Bilston Library.HistoryBilston Art Gallery and Museum was officially opened in 1937 by Professor Thomas Bodkin, the founding Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham. The core of the collection was formed from about hundred paintings which were donated in 1937 to the gallery by Mr William Thompson, formerly of Bilston, but then a resident of Colwyn Bay, Wales. In following decades, the Gallery regularly organised exhibitions of artworks by local artists, received various gifts and donations, and built a substantial collection of local art and artefacts related to local history.In 1990s, in the process of re-structure of cultural services across the area, the collection was transferred to Wolverhampton Art Gallery, and Bilston Museum was re-styled as Bilston Craft Gallery. At present, it shares the building with the Bilston Library. Bilston Craft Gallery is a part of Wolverhampton Arts and Museums Service.ExhibitionsPermanent displayBilston Craft Gallery has a permanent exhibition 'Craftsense' which showcases objects from eighteenth-century local industry alongside commissioned contemporary pieces that use similar techniques. Almost a hundred Bilston enamels form the main part of the display, but as part of the collection re-shuffle in the 1990s, the Bilston enamels, among other industrial and historical items, were removed to Bantock House, causing public outcry, but were returned in 2005 with the opening of the Craftsense gallery. Together with those remaining on show at Bantock form the largest collection of enamels apart from that of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • For a drop of quiet while the kids paint pottery and you drink tea, this is the place to try. Staff were lovely, though the exhibition / "museum" is limited, the craft cafe makes up for it! Free to vi...  more »
  • Clean establishment and friendly staff makes this a good place to spend an hour or so. Staff are knowlegable of the local area and happy to speak about it - nice place. 
  • We took our almost 3 year old twins here and everyone had a lovely time. The cafe had craft activities to do so the grown ups got to drink tea while for £4 a go the girls played with modelling clay. S...  more »
Google
  • It's got everything babies and toddlers need to stimulate the mind
  • Very interesting
  • Amazing place and very peaceful.
  • It is compact yet I believe that is an advantage in this case. One can then really take it all in and properly digest. I did enjoy the idea of placing older 19th century crafted pieces near contemporary examples. The special exhibits were fascinating as well and the space provided for these is top-notch. We caught the Raw Craft exhibit this time around. I am already thinking about making picture frames out of fallen branches... And the staff, let me tell you, above and beyond isn't superlative enough! This was an interesting look into local craft history that easily whiles away an afternoon. Time well spent. But keep a watch on Amber the Fire Breather, I think she gave my husband the eye!
  • Its very rewarding