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Exhibitions & Galleries

Phyllis Oberman

 By Phyllis Oberman, Art Aficionado

May is the perfect time to enjoy some glorious days out and explore some  fascinating new exhibitions, galleries and gardens.  This month I'll be highlighting the best art on show in some stunning locations and settings, for you to enjoy as the weather warms up.

St Ives in Cornwall, with its four sandy beaches and extraordinary crystal-clear light, has been a magnet for artists since the late 1800's continuing to attract them today along with many art-loving visitors and tourists. Since Tate St Ives opened in 1993 the town has gained even greater prestige and an enhanced international image.

Tate St Ives in Cornwall, overlooking Porthmeor Beach

           Tate St Ives in Cornwall,
      overlooking Porthmeor Beach

Now a new extension to Tate St Ives has partially reopened with plans for a full opening of the entire new extension later in the year doubling the space of the whole gallery.

The first event in the newly opened gallery is The Studio and the Sea - a season of exhibitions highlighting the wealth of talented art potters that St Ives has nurtured since the early 1900's. Artists and the Ceramics Studio, 1920 – Today shows work by more than 50 artists from Europe, Japan and North America.

Bernard Leach: Spherical Vase

    Bernard Leach: Spherical Vase,
             c.1927 © The Estate of
                     Bernard Leach

Most revered with a worldwide reputation is Bernard Leach (1887 - 1979) whose inspiration was the ceramics of Japan where he first spent time with his family as a child. After his education and art studies in the UK he was drawn back to Japan where he learned about etching and traditional Japanese craft ceramics.

He became friends with the artist-craftsman Shoji Hamada (1894-1978) who later travelled back to Britain with him. He set up the Leach pottery in the 1920's and it still functions in St. Ives to this day as a working studio pottery, museum, gallery and shop.

Shoji Hamada: Bowl

       Shoji Hamada: Bowl c.1930
     © The estate of Shoji Hamada

Aaron Angell: Flower, Bread Knife

 Aaron Angell: Flower, Bread Knife,
                    created in 2015

Tate St Ives has a stunning position looking down on Porthmeor Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

The exhibition continues until 3rd September, 2017. Concessionary tickets are available.

For more information about Tate St Ives visit

For Leach Pottery visit the website at 

Art of the Garden

Whether you enjoy gardening or simply prefer to look and admire beautiful gardens, an exhibition in Sheffield should be of interest. An Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Art is the show at the Graves Gallery until 1st July, 2017. It draws on Museums Sheffield's impressive collection and demonstrates ways in which artists have portrayed all sorts of gardens from the simple backyard to grand landscape gardens.

Paul Cezanne (1839 – 1906) was associated with the French Impressionists but tended to spend more time in his home region of Provence rather than Paris. His many paintings of still lives of fruits and views of Mont Sainte Victoire are recognised around the world. He was also a master at portraits and landscapes

The picture on show from Sheffield's collection shows part of the garden at Jas de Bouffin, the Cezanne family home near Aix en Provence, where he painted so many pictures.

Paul Cezanne: Le Bassin du Jas de Bouffan

  Paul Cezanne: Le Bassin du Jas
                de Bouffan, c.1874

Robert A Buhler, RA (1916 – 1989) was born in London of Swiss parents. He studied painting in Switzerland but his home was in the UK and, in fact, his paintings can be seen in galleries all over Britain including The Tate and The Royal Academy.

This picture in the Sheffield collection was painted in 1949 and is an idyllic summer scene in an orchard.

Robert A Buhler, R A, The Orchard

 Robert A Buhler, R A, The Orchard,
    1949 © Estate of Robert Buhler

One painting in this fascinating exhibition prompted me to explore a bit further. The picture was 'A Winter Garden, 1953' by Sheffield-born Harry Frank Constantine.

In fact the painter of this work became Director of Sheffield City Art Galleries from 1964 to 1982. He followed his father, the painter and picture conservator, George Hamilton Constantine, in a similar post.

Harry Frank Constantine: A Winter Garden

 Harry Frank Constantine: A Winter
        Garden (Brocco Bank) 1953,
                   © Artists Estate

Frank Constantine is respected for the lifetime he spent acquiring art works to build up the collections of Sheffield's galleries. He nurtured new generations of curators and encouraged access for all. In 1981 he was appointed OBE.

Admission to the exhibition is free and it continues until 1st July, 2017.

For further details about Sheffield's galleries visit

News in Brief

Watch out for the Museums at Night festivals this year from 17th to 20th May and 26th to 28th October

For more information about Museums at Night visit


     New VIP Box
   Office Service

Llandefalle, between Hay-on-Wye and the Brecon Beacons

  Llandefalle, between Hay-on-Wye
         and the Brecon Beacons

As the weather warms up so, too, does Britain's calendar of social events with music festivals, sporting spectacles and rural celebrations all vying for attention at the weekends. This year, forget Ticketmaster and instead use the new 'Box Office' service offered from ticketmistress Annabel Brooks, owner of Avenue – the Luxury Property Company.

The company has an unrivalled collection of beautiful houses around the country, many ideally located for the country's hottest events from Cornbury Festival to Cheltenham races. Avenue guests are now able to secure tickets to these much sought-after events alongside a stunning home-from-home – offering the complete package.

Avenue boasts an exceptional portfolio of over 500 houses: an unrivalled collection of luxurious properties, each hand-picked by the company's owner Annabel Brooks – the go-to-girl for A-listers and celebrities. Properties drip with historic significance, architectural splendour and design credentials, and can come with those important little extras, such as Michelin-level caterers to chauffeur-driven cars.

Culture Vultures

The Cotswold Hills are alive with the sound of music as, in recent years, this region of quintessential England has become one of the hottest music destinations, thanks to both the Wilderness and Cornbury festivals. But if the idea of camping leaves festival-goers cold, why not stay at Heythrop Rectory, a playfully-decorated 19th-century country house that is perfect for families, with its swimming pool, tennis courts, woods and ponds, and within earshot of the festivals' showground.

If tastes are a little more classical in leaning, Glyndebourne is a celebration of the finest opera performances in the world, set just outside Lewes in the Sussex countryside. For a suitably grand property nearby, the 1920s Odintune Place has an impressive collection of modern art and is located within a 300 acre family estate. Or, for fans of the written word the annual Hay Festival is not to be missed. Stay at the nearby Llandefalle, a grand manor house between Hay-on-Wye and the Brecon Beacons, with its own library into which book-lovers can retire after a day at the Festival.

Sports Fanatics

Stay at Boycott Manor for the Grand Prix at Silverstone

      Stay at Boycott Manor for the
         Grand Prix at Silverstone

Striped blazers and sculling, for five days each summer the Henley Royal Regatta captures the attention of rowing fans as they head to the pretty Thames-side town for some of the finest racing of the year. Henley House, a beautiful hill-top house, is just a five minute walk to the enclosures and a glass of Pimms.

For fans of the fast lane, Britain provides two of the most exhilarating motor events in the global calendar. Firstly, the Isle of Man TT, a whistle-stop, white knuckle motorcycle race around the Isle of Man. Those who maybe seek a slightly sedater stay on the island, the Lighthouse Property is an absolute gem.

Lighthouse Property at the Isle of Man is an absolute gem

    Lighthouse Property at the Isle
        of Man is an absolute gem

A collection of three white-washed cottages around a lighthouse, it is perfect for multiple families who want to enjoy a special break. The annual Grand Prix at Silverstone is a must-see for four-wheeled fiends, and the nearby exotically filled Boycott Manor has more twists than the racetrack itself. Guests will encounter a stuffed crocodile holding a drinks tray, plus a child's bedroom bedecked as a pirate ship.

Horsing About

Nothing quite beats the thundering hooves of a horse race or the balletic grace of a dressage event. For equestrian enthusiasts two highlights of the events calendar are undoubtedly the Blenheim International Horse Trials and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Churchill Manor is the perfect location for visiting Blenheim

      Churchill Manor is the perfect
      location for visiting Blenheim

For attendees at Blenheim, Churchill Manor is the obvious place to stay. Not only does this classic Cotswolds home have the space for up to 20 guests, in elegant yet sumptuous rooms, but riding lessons are available upon request for those inspired to hone their skills.

Coombe End Estate, located between Cirencester and Cheltenham and ideally placed for the Gold Cup, is the ideal luxurious property for those whose flutter on the races has come in. Formerly a monastery, this superb house is set in a private estate of over 2,000 acres and there is a spectacular medieval banquet hall that seats 22.

For further information contact Avenue at

Or call 020 3859 7763.

Retirement & Hobbies

GrandFest Returns This Summer

GrandMaker Arthur Martin teaching a Wood Turning Master Class

GrandMaker Arthur Martin teaching a Wood Turning Master Class

GrandFest, a one day mini festival that celebrates the heritage skills of talented older people and presented by charity, Royal Voluntary Service, returns to East London again this year.

Now in its’ third year, GrandFest, is expected to be even bigger and better than ever this summer. On Sunday 18th June, the one day festival will unfold at various restaurants, pubs and shops around Spitalfields, with a series of masterclasses – from crochet to preserve making and bread making to woodturning – hosted by our GrandMakers, all of whom are over 70.

GrandMaker, Clive Lillow teaching a Bread Making Master Class

    GrandMaker, Clive Lillow teaching a
             Bread Making Master Class

The masterclasses will be held at different times throughout the day at venues including Geffrye Museum, Anthropologie, English Restaurant, The Ten Bells, Blixen, AGA London and Hanbury Hall, and will hopefully inspire the younger generation to discover and learn new skills.

There will also be a variety of performers on the GrandFest stage in Bishops Square, Spitalfields, including the New Covent Garden Dance Orchestra and singing trio, Bella Donna Brigade, to entertain festival goers.

GrandMaker Sandra Talmey teaching a Knitting Master Class

GrandMaker Sandra Talmey teaching a
                   Knitting Master Class

This year, the festival is accompanied by new research from the older people's charity, Royal Voluntary Service, which revealed that millions of Brits aged 70+ contingent (52%) say they are in the prime of their life.

​The study revealed that two thirds say the best thing about getting older is having more time to do what they want.

GrandMaker Myra Poyser teaches the Art of Jewellery Making

  GrandMaker Myra Poyser teaches the
                 Art of Jewellery Making

Other benefits include worrying less about things that aren’t important (52%), no longer caring what people think (37%) and being able to speak their mind (27%)

The research reveals that the factors for this include:

· Honing a new skill (33%)
· Volunteering (29%)
· Finding romance (7%) and
· Planning a big travel trip (35%)

GrandMakers confirmed for this year

· ​Preserve-Making GrandMaker, Rae Wilson
· Crochet GrandMaker, Celia Dennis
· Knitter GrandMaker, Sandra Talmey
· Wood Turning GrandMaker, Arthur Martin
· Bread-Making GrandMaker, Clive Lillow​
· Felt Worker GrandMaker, Elizabeth Shinns
· Spinner GrandMaker - Kathleen Martin
· Quilter GrandMaker - Dian Smith
· Willow-Weaver GrandMaker - Ken Griffiths
· Wire Jewellery Maker GrandMaker - Myra Poyser
· Cider maker GrandMaker - Nevin Stewart
· Rag Rugger GrandMaker - Robi Thomas

The event is being supported by McCarthy & Stone, the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder as part of their 40th anniversary year.

GrandMaker David Peglar teaches the Art of Embroidery

  GrandMaker David Peglar teaches the
                       Art of Embroidery

The Royal Voluntary Service is one of the biggest volunteer organisations in the UK, which supports over 100,000 older people each month. Through its army of 35,000 volunteers, the charity runs services such as Good Neighbours (companionship), Meals-on-Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that alleviate loneliness and help older people.

Royal Voluntary Service also provides practical support for older people who have been in hospital through its On Ward support and Home from Hospital services and via its network of retail shops and cafes.


Masterclasses at the festival are available to book online now.

For more information please visit the website at ​

    Edwardian Life at
 Hever Castle in Kent


Edwardian Life at Hever Castle in Kent

Go back in time to enjoy a fascinating glimpse of the Edwardian era at historic Hever Castle in Kent over the May Bank Holiday and Half Term. From May 27th – June 4th families can experience life at a grand country estate just before the First World War when the Astors were in residence.

‘Edwardian Life’ has a packed programme of fun for all the family. Children can take part in an Edwardian school where old fashioned PE sessions will take place and the ‘three Rs’ of reading, writing and arithmetic are taught each day in an old fashioned classroom. While a fun time is promised for all, children need to mind their p’s and q’s to avoid upsetting the teacher!

The ‘three Rs’ of reading, writing and arithmetic are taught each day in an old fashioned classroom

Learn about the study and collection of butterflies and moths from our colourful resident lepidopterist. Meet costumed characters from the era as you explore the award-winning gardens, and look out for visitors arriving in full Edwardian dress with prizes for the best dressed boy and girl each day.

Roll up! Roll up! All the family can try their hand at traditional games of the period including a coconut shy, tin-can alley, and bean bag race, or enjoy a leisurely game of croquet on the lawn.

Play garden games on the lawn at Hever Castle

Learn about Edwardian history in the rooms of the Castle. Discover the Astor family’s ‘rags to riches’ story in an interactive exhibition in the Astor Suite. Listen to interviews with former ‘below stairs’ staff on old fashioned telephones and radios and watch rare archive home movies from the Astor’s collection.

Besides bringing the captivating ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ years of the period vividly to life, the event is a great opportunity to enjoy some old fashioned family fun in the magnificent grounds of this former Edwardian home.

Go back in time to enjoy a fascinating glimpse of the Edwardian era at historic Hever Castle in Kent

Admission Prices are Castle & Gardens: Adults £16.90; Seniors £14.70; Students £14.20; Children (5-15) £9.50 (under 5’s free); Family ticket £44.50 (2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children).

Discounts are also available for groups of 15 or more paying persons (see website for details).

Gardens open at 10.30am; Castle opens at 12 noon. Last admission 4.30pm; final exit 6pm.

Edwardian Life at Hever Castle in Kent

For more information about Edwardian Life at Hever Castle & Gardens and other events please visit


 Visit the RHS Chelsea
  Flower Show in May


Visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) will highlight the newest and most exciting gardening products for another year running at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (23rd – 27th May 2017), sponsored by M&G Investments, with its popular RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year competition. Featuring cutting-edge designs in gardening, the award recognises and celebrates products created for every gardener’s needs.

The finalists comprise 13 of the latest products, which will be available to buy throughout the show and online. They include Vigoroot Easy Table Garden by Haxnicks Ltd, an accessible raised, fabric, planter with a self-watering system and hidden reservoir that serves as a growing system for even the smallest of spaces; and Bosch Lawn & Garden’s compact and cordless, all-purpose saw, EasyCut 12, featuring the world’s first NanoBLADE technology.

Other shortlisted products at the Chelsea Flower Show include BigBoyAir, Bulkhead Outdoor Light, Harrod Metal Planters & Raised Beds, Hip-Trug, Leda and the Swan, Levity Two Chairs and Table Set, Permafelt, Pure Glass Greenhouse, Quiver, Solus Water Dome and Uuni Pro.

The winner of the 2017 RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year competition will be awarded at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on Press Day, Monday 22nd May, and will be chosen by a team of experts including esteemed entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den investor, Deborah Meaden.

Visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May

The product finalists have been selected against a criteria which focuses on enhancing the gardeners’ experience in all environments.

Tickets for the show on 23rd – 27th May are available to book at

  HaverfoodFest 2017
    at Pembrokeshire


Haverfoodfest takes place in the grounds of the County Hall and Picton Centre in Pembrokeshire

Haverfoodfest 2017, Pembrokeshire’s third annual Haverfordwest Food Festival, takes place in the grounds of the County Hall and Picton Centre on Saturday, 6th May from 10am to 6pm with a full programme of events and activities.

Sample local produce from the abundance of food and drink stalls, around 40 will be under cover, and watch cookery demonstrations by well-known Welsh chefs. In a separate marquee local fisherman will demonstrate how to prepare freshly caught fish and seafood for cooking on site for all to enjoy.

Haverfoodfest takes place in the grounds of the County Hall and Picton Centre in Pembrokeshire

Live music throughout the day will keep everyone entertained with a mix of local bands and solo artists playing everything from rock to contemporary original material, all conveniently close to the licensed bar.

Tickets are available at the gate (small entrance fee for adults). For details visit the website at

Or email

Further information about visiting Pembrokeshire plus suggestions for places to stay, activities, and things to see and do can be found on the website at

To request a copy of the free Pembrokeshire visitor guide call 01271 336100.

   Historic Heroes and
 Themed Workshops at
  Ironbridge Museums

Historic heroes and themed workshops at Ironbridge Gorge Museums

Discover more about your favourite heroes of history, engineering and sport during the spring half term, 27th May – 4th June, at a variety of fun family events across the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Shropshire with hands-on activities, interactive workshops and demonstrations. The events are part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s 50th anniversary celebrations, which will continue throughout the year.

Visit Blists Hill Victorian Town, near Ironbridge in Shropshire over the spring half-term break between 27th May and 4th June and join in a range of fun hands-on activities to discover more about Victorian engineering heroes and inspirational inventors, all of whom would have been regarded as superheroes of their day.

Have a go at packing tea in the Grocers and learn about Ferdinand de Lesseps. The French diplomat and engineer was the driving force behind the building of the Suez Canal, which halved journey times from India and made tea more affordable for working people. Then learn about Morse Code in the Town’s Post Office; Samuel Morse revolutionised long distance communication and allowed people to send messages across the world.

Transform your smartphone into a ‘Box Brownie’ camera with a special cover at the Photographers and hear about Julia Cameron, one of the greatest Victorian photographers who was known for her portraits of celebrities.

Go along to Speakers Corner at 2pm where all ages can follow in the footsteps of the famous Victorian social campaigner Millicent Fawcett, who fought for women to have the right to vote. Props and scripts will be available to help you get into character. And finally try the Izod tester in the Ironworks between 2pm and 4pm; named after its inventor, Edwin Gilbert Izod, the tester determines the impact strength of metals.

On Bank Holiday Monday, 29th May only, Blists Hill’s own ‘engineers’ will demonstrate how a large, steel oil drum can be crushed using less than a cup of water. This simple but very effective ‘trick’ was developed by Thomas Newcomen when he invented the world’s first steam engine.

    Decorate a frisbee flinger with your
     own superhero logo at Enginuity

Decorate a frisbee flinger with your own superhero logo

Go along to Enginuity, near Ironbridge during the spring half-term, between 27th May and 4th June, and join a hands-on workshop to discover more about your favourite heroes from the world of science, engineering, technology and sport.

Having been inspired, choose your favourite hero, or create your own; then use your imagination to create a logo, maybe featuring their invention. Cut out your design and use a heat press to transfer the image onto a fabric frisbee, or ‘Flinger’. The flexible frisbees can be twisted for storing in pockets or bags, ready to spring open again when you want to fly - or fling - them.

Do you have superhero style reflexes? Find out how fast you can react and measure your hand to eye co-ordination by challenging the Batak Wall. Try and hit as many of the illuminated targets as you can within 30 seconds. It’s a great fun way to test your skills and improve your powers. There’s also a chance to test how fast you can kick a football; the Enginuity team will measure its speed to find out who has superhero football skills.

The drop-in workshops will take place daily, between 10.30am and 3.15pm; there is a small charge of £1.50 for materials plus admission.

Heroes and villains tile decorating and ceramic clay workshops

Heroes and villains tile decorating and ceramic clay workshops

Between 27th May and 3rd June, excluding Sunday 28th May, join drop-in heroes and villains tile decorating workshops at Jackfield Tile Museum and use your imagination to decorate tiles using the traditional tube lining technique. Tiles cost from £5 each (plus admission) and can be sent home later for a small extra charge to cover postage and packing. It takes up to 1½ hours to decorate a tile so last admission is at 3pm.

Across the river at Coalport China Museum you can take part in hands-on superhero themed workshops between 27th May and 4th June. On Tuesday and Wednesday, you can try sculpting your own character from air-drying clay; while throughout the spring half-term holiday you can also paint ceramic items such as a money box, fridge magnet or delicate china flower as well as paper plates. Sessions take place between 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm and activities vary from day to day, all ceramic items carry a small charge of £1-£4 in addition to the museum entrance fee.

Information for visitors

Many of the museums are open from 10am until 4pm (Blists Hill until 4.30pm) during the spring half-term holiday. See website for details. A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children (16 years or under), £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply).

Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum. Activities will vary from day-to-day and some additional costs will apply. The Gorge is easily reached via the M54 motorway exiting at Telford junction 4 or 6.

For further information, call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424.

Or visit the Ironbridge website for full details at


    Charles Dickens
   Restless Shadow
 Exhibition in London

Charles Dickens used a walking stick as both a fashion accessory and a walking aid to help him walk long distances every day

The tireless work of Charles Dickens as a campaigner and investigative journalist will be given overdue recognition when a new exhibition opens in the Museum at his London home this spring.

Restless Shadow will follow the footsteps of Dickens as he pounds the streets of London, determined to make himself aware of the terrible conditions, injustices and hardships faced by the poorest and least powerful people in society.

Restless Shadow runs from 9th May - 29th October 2017 at the Charles Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street, the London townhouse where Dickens completed The Pickwick Papers, wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby and began Barnaby Rudge.

Drawing on the Museum’s vast and unrivalled Dickens collections, Restless Shadow will present a powerful collection of evidence of Dickens’s writing, public speaking and campaigning, including little-known and rarely-seen articles, speeches and letters. It will show that the social ills and struggling working class of London were not confined to his novels but also given life and a spotlight in speeches and weekly magazines that reached an audience of millions.

A powerful symbol of Dickens’s activism and desire to poke into all corners of society is also one of the star exhibits - Dickens’s wooden walking stick from the 1860s, the last decade of his life. As both fashion accessory and walking aid, the stick was a significant item for Dickens; he covered almost inconceivable distances every day and some nights - at speed - in an attempt to bring himself face to-face with people suffering on the streets in all parts of the city and beyond.

For a man with both an international audience of millions and the ear of the wealthiest and most powerful in society, his walks were vital journeys, which brought hidden hardships out into the open and helped Dickens promote practical solutions to the problems of the downtrodden.

His journeys helped him to pioneer investigative journalism, a type of writing he saw as a kind of shadow, "which may go into any place, by sunlight, moonlight, starlight, firelight, candlelight, and be in all homes, and all nooks and corners, and be supposed to be cognisant of everything, and go everywhere, without the least difficulty. Which may be in the Theatre, the Palace, the House of Commons, the Prisons, the Unions, the Churches, on the Railroad, on the Sea, abroad and at home: a kind of semi-omniscient, omnipresent, intangible creature."

Journalism ran through Dickens’s entire career, from his early days as a parliamentary correspondent (1831-34) to his years as editor of weekly magazines Household Words (1850-59) and All the Year Round (1859-1870). Each magazine allowed Dickens to entertain but also to speak out on issues and causes that troubled him and his contemporaries.

Charles Dickens's study

Another exhibition highlight will be the chair used by Dickens in the editorial office of All the Year Round at 26 Wellington Street, The Strand. The chair was used later by Dickens’s son, Charles Dickens Jr, when he took on the role of editor after his father’s death (he remained in the role for 25 years).

Several key pieces of Dickens’s writing from both magazines will feature, covering such subjects as homelessness, workhouses, conditions in the armed forces and for veterans, schools and schooling, and prisons and punishment. His reporting on the latter (notably in his graphic reportage A Visit to Newgate, from Sketches by Boz, published in 1836) informed his fiction, with Fagin’s sentencing and last night alive and Bill Sikes’s accidental hanging (both from Oliver Twist) clear examples.

Dickens’s fervent belief in the abolition of the death penalty was made clear in five long letters to the Daily News, letters to The Times and several pieces in his own magazines.

Several of the charities with which Dickens worked are still thriving today, including the Hospital for Sick Children (now Great Ormond Street Hospital), the Foundling Hospital (now Coram), Field Lane School and the Artists’ Benevolent Fund. Another, the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (originally Warehousemen & Clerks’ School) is a partner with the Museum on the exhibition, along with pioneering homeless charity and magazine The Big Issue.

Charles Dickens worked tirelessly for many charities many of which are still thriving today

Cindy Sughrue, Director of the Charles Dickens Museum says, “Dickens’s combination of a passion for walking and his periodic bouts of insomnia helped to create the ‘restless shadow’ that found its way into the darkest corners of society and exposed so many of the country’s inequalities.

His campaigning spirit never left him and, had he never written a word of fiction, Dickens’s journalistic career is worthy of great recognition. We are proud to throw light on this area of his life, especially as it allows us to strike partnerships with charities with which he either worked himself or of which, in the case of The Big Issue Foundation, I feel he would have heartily approved.”

The Charles Dickens Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dickens-related material. As visitors make their way through the house, they can see the raised reading desk he designed, and from which he gave countless public readings, and pore over original manuscripts of his great works, letters, personal items and photographs.

When Charles Dickens moved into 48 Doughty Street, he was a little-known writer, still using his pen-name, Boz. By the time he left, he was an international superstar, having written The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.

The rooms are still filled with the furniture he bought. Most of the fireplaces, doors, locks, window shutters and fittings are still in place as they were when the family resided there.

Visitor Information

Restless Shadow is at Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LX

Restless Shadow is at Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LX

Dates: 9th May - 29th October 2017

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm).

Admission prices: Adults £9; Concessions £7; Children (6-16) £4; Under 6 free.

More information:

Telephone: 020 7405 2127

    Steam Road Run
       at Ironbridge

 Steam Road Run at Ironbridge

An eclectic collection of over 30 machines will take part in a challenging road run around the Ironbridge Gorge on Saturday, 13th May when engines and drivers will be tested with steep climbs and gentle descents.

It will set out from Blists Hill Victorian Town, where they will also be ‘in steam’ on Sunday 14th May for all to see. The spectacular Steam Road Run will visit many of the Museum’s sites and historic monuments in The Gorge.

Part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the spectacular Steam Road Run will visit many of the Museum’s sites and historic monuments in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

The 32 steam machines will include a variety of makes and types ranging from traction engines and steam lorries to road locomotives and ploughing engines with Sentinels, Fodens and Fowlers. Some of these engines are especially rare, particularly The Chief, a huge early Victorian ploughing engine, as well as the Lord Doverdale, one of the last commercially working steam road engines.

The only surviving Agri Tractor from the six originally built will also be joining the Road Run along with the Gold Medal Tractor, which took part in the Land’s End to John O’Groats race.

Many of the drivers will be wearing Victorian costume and some will be pulling period living vans and tractors. The crews and engines will also be judged by roving assessors on their historical accuracy, time keeping and even crew cleanliness.

All the engines will be available to view on Sunday, 14th May to visitors at Blists Hill Victorian Town where steam enthusiasts get to meet the crews and see the magnificent machines.

Open 10am to 4.30pm Blists Hill is one of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all ten museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children under 18, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply).

Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum. Activities and workshops vary day-to-day and some carry an extra charge.
The Gorge is easily reached via the M54 motorway exiting at Telford junction 4 or 6.

For further information, call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424.

Or visit