On Sunday, the 6th November the Saddleworth Museum and Gallery in Uppermill held a formal ceremonial grand opening after a yearlong £1.2 million refurbishment. The museum, which was opened to the public in September, has been transformed thanks to National Lottery players and a £1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The chairman of the Saddleworth Museum and Gallery, John Hodges, said: “We have been open to the public for just over a month, and we are delighted with the museum’s success so far. This weekend, we were delighted to invite the Mayor, Mayoress and other local council representatives to help us formally celebrate the re-opening of this wonderful community museum. More importantly it also gave us an opportunity to pay homage to our founder, Roger Tanner, and express our gratitude to all the major stakeholders, partners, patrons, major donors, committees and volunteers without whom this specific refurbishment project would not have been completed.”
The museum’s founder, Roger Tanner, aged 94, was unfortunately unable to attend the event due to a sudden illness in Ireland earlier in the week and he hopes to be back in Saddleworth as soon as he can travel.
The event started with a private reception at 11:15 and the Mayor and Mayoress arrived at 11:30 prompt. Those invited were then able to assemble outside the museum to witness the ceremonial re-opening at noon by Sir Norman Kelvin Stoller, CBE (accompanied by Lady Sheila).
At 12:30 around 60 guests assembled within the community gallery for the speeches. The chair of the museum, John Hodges, welcomed the guests and had a special thank you for a few specific organisations and individuals, John also unveiled a bust of the founder, major patron and founder Mr Roger Tanner MBE DL. The bust had been commissioned by the family as a replica of the original sculpted by Jean Fenton many years ago. This was Jean’s second bust of Roger and unfortunately could not be present on the day, but Jean’s husband Cliff could unveil the bust on her behalf. Tiffany Hunt MBE, –Chair Heritage Lottery Fund North West committee then provided a brief perspective followed by a more in-depth review from Rosemary Allen– Director Headland Design Associates. A major patron’s interesting and unique perspective was then provided by Sir
Norman Stoller-the founder of the Stoller Charitable Trust and the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Derek Heffernan closed this section with a few words at around 13:10 when a break was taken.
I was here in 1962 when it opened. This is an incredibly special place”. Mayor Councillor Derek Heffernan – “I’m delighted to be here and see the amazing job that has been done. – Sir Norman Stoller 6th November 2016
At around 13:30, 50 guests (the speakers plus local dignitaries, patrons, major donors, project partners and museum committee members) sat down for the private luncheon and many took the opportunity afterwards to visit the exciting new museum galleries. The luncheon was supplied by Manns Wharf and drinks by Saddleworth Wine Vault.