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Battle of Britain Day remembered at Gawthorpe Hall

The lace panel

A commemoration of the Battle of Britain and the sacrifice made by RAF aircrew in 1940 will take place at Gawthorpe Hall this week.

Numerous activities will be available at the stately home on Saturday 15 September, national Battle of Britain Day, to mark the large-scale aerial battle that took place on this day in1940, during the Battle of Britain.

From 1pm to 4pm, exhibitions, events and activities will take place for visitors of all ages.

An exhibition highlighting the strong link between the Kay-Shuttleworth family of Gawthorpe Hall, and the Battle of Britain will be on display.

The exhibition, entitled Brothers in Arms, will be available until Sunday 4 November.

Flying Officer Richard Shuttleworth, heir of the Kay-Shuttleworth family from Gawthorpe Hall, was killed in action flying a Hurricane during the Battle of Britain. Richard was the only peer to have been killed in this battle.

The display will also tell the story of the lives and the tragic deaths of two other main heirs of the Kay-Shuttleworth family, Lawrence and Edward, while serving in 1917. They were sons of Sir Ughtred James Kay-Shuttleworth, 1st Baron Shuttleworth. Richard’s younger brother Ronald was killed in North Africa in 1942.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see personal archives from the Kay-Shuttleworth family on display for the first time.

The newly purchased Battle of Britain lace panel will also be available to see on the day. This panel now forms part of Gawthorpe Textiles Collection.

The panel was woven in Nottingham between1942 to 1946 to commemorate the Battle of Britain and as a tribute to those who fought in it. The 38 panels depict scenes of the bombing of London, the aircraft used in the battle, the badges of the Allied Air Forces and Winston Churchill’s famous phrase ‘Never was so much owed by so many to so few.’

Woven by Dobson’s and M. Browne and Co.Ltd, it is believed that 19 panels still exist in both public and private collections around the world. The panel on display at ‘the Downton of the North’ came from the engineering firm Blackburn and Sons in Nottingham, who made the jacquard equipment on which the panels were woven.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “I’m sure that the activities at Gawthorpe Hall for Battle of Britain Day will convey the impact of the war on the Kay-Shuttleworth family, and their loss.

“The lace panel looks incredible. Being one and a half metres wide, and four and a half metres long, I’m sure that this will be a sight to see. It took two years to transfer the design of the panel onto the 40,000 punched cards for the weaving process and 975 bobbins and 41,830m of cotton were used in weaving each panel. Certainly an amazing feat.

“The exhibition looks really interesting, with a fascinating insight in to the contribution made by members of the Kay-Shuttleworth family, in various conflicts.

“I really hope that people take this opportunity to visit the Hall, and to recognise this annual national day.”

Visitors to the Hall on Battle of Britain Day will also be able to meet textile artist, lacemaker and researcher Carol Quarini. Carol has created contemporary art to complement the panel.

Carol’s exhibition ‘Battle of Britain Lace Panel: Then and Now’ will be on display in the textile gallery of the Hall until Sunday 4 November.

Activities will also be available for younger visitors to Gawthorpe Hall on Battle of Britain Day, including the opportunity to have fun making mini biplanes.

Entrance to the exhibition is included in the normal admission price to Gawthorpe Hall which is £6 for adults and £4 for concessions. National Trust members and children go free.

For more information telephone 01282 771004 or email gawthorpehall@lancashire.gov.uk

Gawthorpe Hall is run by Lancashire County Council’s museum service on behalf of the National Trust.

Normal opening times are 12pm to 5pm Wednesdays to Sundays, with last entry to the Hall at 4.30pm. The museum is open on Bank Holidays.

To find out more about Gawthorpe Hall and other Lancashire County Council museums visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/museums

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