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Bilston Craft Gallery, Bilston

Categories: Art Galleries, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.5/5 based on 20+ 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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  • 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...  read more »
  • Nice library with helpful, friendly staff and a small museum of Bilston and contemporary ceramics in a delightful old building. 
  • 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
  • Bilston Craft Gallery is a really nice place to visit: interesting displays, a varied programme of things to see and do, friendly staff, smart shop and its only 5 minutes walk from the metro station so it's easy to get to too. What I like about Bilston Craft Gallery is their temporary exhibitions of modern crafts. The exhibitions are always beautifully laid out with some lovely items from contemporary craft workers. I've not found any where else like in the Midlands. And its not too big: its not like going to some huge art gallery or museum where there is just too much to see in one visit, at Bilston you can see everything in one visit but at the same time because the displays change frequently its worth popping back every couple of months to see their latest exhibition.
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