This is the first of my series of blogs on galleries and event venues visits
Signature Gallery was established in 1997 by Peter Blaskett.
Inside this quaint gallery is a changing display of original 19th Century watercolours and modern art. As well as a small selection of ceramics, sculptures and jewellery. There is a regular exhibitions program with solo artists and group shows (mostly local artists). The gallery offers a quality picture framing service, from simple photo frames to full museum conservation framing.
Signature Gallery is located across from Abbot Hall Museum and Art Gallery and car park in historic Kirkland. Abbot Hall is a restored Georgian townhouse, its stable block is home to the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, showing life in Cumbria over the past 3 hundred years.
Kirkland is known as the ‘cultural quarter’ of Kendal and its history can be traced back to the 8th century when the settlement of Kirkland was established near a crossing point over the River Kent. The church built here was given to St Mary’s Abbey in York and Kirkland became a monastic estate administered from a nearby manor house.
The name Kirkland stems from ‘Kirkja’ old Norse for church and ‘land’, which has the same meaning as today, an enclosure or area of land.
Kendal is known as the ‘gateway’ to the Lake District, is just outside the Lake District National park and only 8 miles from Windermere. Its a market town – it received its market charter in 1189 – and it developed to the north of monastic Kirkland. They’re separated by the ancient boundary of the Black Beck.
The local barons laid out the town of Kendal with long burgage plots behind the street frontages, these were accessed through archways, which developed over time to become ‘yards’ filled with weaving, dyeing, shearing, salting and tanning workshops. The market town of Kendal developed rapidly as a trade centre for local goods, especially the woollen industry.
Kendal is situated in a valley on the River Kent and this is where its old Norse name stems from. Kendal = River Kent Valley. It was originally called ‘Kirkby in Kendal’ or ‘Kirkby Kendal’; ‘Kirkby’ is old Norse for church village.
Kirkland remained an independent township of Kendal until it was absorbed into the borough of Kendal in 1908, the administrative centre of Westmorland. Kendal is now the commercial centre of South Lakeland.
After visiting the gallery, I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon in Kendal. I love wandering down the ‘gates’, small streets, lanes and alleyways and reading about the history of Kendal on its civic signs that are dotted about.
Its a lovely old market town and when I visit it in better weather, I take a picnic and walk up to the castle ruins or along paths by the river… and I’m looking forward to my next visit.
Sam Rowena x