RAT 21…

The number of open studios and other events making up ROSSENDALE ART TRAIL 2021 have been growing and the programme now looks very good. There are still one or two to add, so in terms of the number of participating venues the new-style Art Trail we can say that it has been a success.

I’m aware that we all now need to help in publicising the event, as we don’t have brochures or posters to distribute in the way we’ve had in the past. This website and, in particular, the ART TRAIL 2021 page is one of the main ways of doing this, so please forward links to it to you contacts, whenever and wherever possible.

All best wishes…


In the first of two live theatrical adaptations, the tale of ‘Mother Red Cap’ will be brought to life by David Chatton Barker and Sam McLoughlin. Narrated by the poetess Emily Oldfield | With an ensemble cast | Sets designed by Vincent James | Masks designed by Helen Davies | Percussion and voice by the Turney family | Featuring members of The Whitworth and Healey Vale Brass Band.

The Tale of Mother Red Cap tells of the vengeful witch in red and her raven who curse passers by from the top of Monstone. The innocent couple Ted and Grace fall victim to Red Cap’s wicked ways and it only the astronomer and alchemist John Dee who can lift the curse.

Adapted by David Chatton Barker from the book ‘Tales of the Monstone’ with artwork by Bob Frith and Lucy Atherton. The Rossendale legend of Mother Red Cap will be brought to life in a thrilling theatrical experience!

ANALOGUE FARM – Slacks Farm, Acre St, Whitworth OL12 8XH

PARKING: please be aware that Analogue Farm is a 5 minute walk from the nearest road parking. It’s at the top of Acre Street, and you can only drive part way up the road. Road parking is available at the bottom of Acre Street, Long Acres Drive and Market Street – please be mindful of our neighbours.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Analogue Farm is a real farm! There are no steps to the venue but the road is uneven. If you require wheelchair access please contact us on analoguefarm@gmail.com.

TOILETS: our toilets are compost toilets only. There are no baby changing facilities or disabled access toilets.

October Wellness Event

We’ve had an email from Stephie Jessop who is organising an arts event on the 28th October in Rawtenstall. There’ll be a range of creative and art activities and various things are planned throughout the day. The theme of the event is wellness – and taking the time to appreciate what’s on your doorstep.

Stephie is hoping to have some of the Rossendale Arts Trail Artists involved in the day.

One idea she has is to have various artists based around the town painting and sketching different buildings/sites, and encouraging passersby to take notice/have a go themselves.

She has a budget to pay artists for this work, so would like to get an idea of people’s fees so she knows how many people she could ask to help in this way.

Her contact email is stephie@culturapedia.co . You can see that she works for culturapedia – please contact her if you are interested in helping

Illustration courtesy of Alan Birch

The Boo: Artists Networking Event

Here’s a tempting invite from Jenn Trethewey at The Boo to join her for an Artists Networking Event on Friday 6th August.

It doubles as a relaunch of the Boo’s Gin Bar, and an unveiling of Caroline Johnson’s mural at the Bar. I’ve seen photographs of this and it looks stunning.

Please note that Jenn is asking for RSVPs as space will be limited.

The Whitaker re-opens!

This weekend – Saturday 24th July – the Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery re-opens after a long, long break for a major rebuild and overhaul. This has been funded largely through a Heritage Lottery Grant.

It’s now open Wednesday through to Sunday, 10am until 4pm, with a late night on Thursdays until 8pm. Plus there’s a kitchen and bar that will stay open later still. There’s also a new shop area in the entrance area. The building now includes a back cobbled yard area and a ‘Coach House’, both of which can be used for a wide range of activities.

Several local artists have been involved in the process of recreating the museum. Ruth Evans ‘Irwell Tapestry‘ is a highlight of the upstairs corridors. There’s a newly commissioned film showing, which features local craftspeople and poetry. Bob Frith has created a Cabinet of Curiosities (above) in the old Drawing Room, with help from Nicola Hebson and Kay Kennedy. Liam Spencer, Paddy Campbell and the Apna group also have their artwork on display. Chinese animator Kain Leo, and Manchester musician Chris Davies, have worked with Bob to create a short animation that shows in the Cabinet at 15 minute intervals.

Current art exhibitions are spread over three galleries and show the work of Kara Lyons and David Hancock. The museum is beginning an open application process for artists wishing to exhibit in the galleries. For further details contact info@thewhitaker.org

Jill’s Sheds at The Bug!

Jill Randall will be showing a set of her shed constructions at The Bug from 23rd July until 20th July 2021.

The Bug is on Tong Lane, in the centre of Whitworth, and will be open Wednesday 4pm – 6pm, and Saturdays 10am – 12 midday.

Jill’s Sheds are an ongoing series of small constructions inspired by the almost infinite number of ad-hoc constructions found locally – on allotments, in gardens, and industrial sites.


It can’t have escaped your attention that Rossendale Art Trail is encouraging everyone involved to join the group’s Instagram feed. Thanks to Scott Sadler, Ella Cole and Anthony Black this has now been set up.

I’ve had an Instagram account for a while, but haven’t used it much until now. This past week I’ve tried to make it better suited to the RAT group – mainly by deleting images that weren’t of my work. I was a bit confused as to how best to make it work, and wrote to Scott. He got back to say:

“We just need people to email pictures to me, Ella and Anthony, and we can then add them to Our account. Using hashtags (#) is the best way to get people who don’t already follow you to see the images. If you click on #rossendalearttrail it will take you to all images with that tag, regardless of whether it is from our account or not. So others will use this hashtag when they are visiting RAT and/or sharing their own images. This will then direct others to our page. We will eventually build momentum so others will be promoting the RAT for us. 

“At the moment we are mainly sharing with our own followers, but we have built a small audience pretty quick already. I’ve held off sharing too much initially to avoid sharing with nobody!”

I though I would pass this on as I found it helped me understand the process.

Grayson’s Art Club

RAT contributor David Tomlinson has had one of his paintings selected for Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4. The painting was ‘Out of My Window’, one of the pieces David created during lockdown. The guest on the show, comedian and actor Jim Moir, said “I love it….it looks like a theme park has just been dropped onto the middle of the lawn”.

Bob Nancollis 1947-2021

It is extremely sad to report the death of Bob Nancollis. Bob lived in Chorlton, Manchester, but he had a studio at Globe Arts at Tollbooth, Stacksteads. Bob was a highly active supporter of all art events in the Valley, and was a familiar face at the Art Trail since its inception. In fact Bob was one of the founders of the Globe Studio Open Days during the 1990s that created the template for the Art Trail.

Bob’s work is unforgettable, and his highly distinctive style was formed early on in his career, during his student years in the Fine Art Department at Manchester School of Art during the late 1960s.

Bob’s powerful sense of fun, and his quirky good humour and positivity will be much missed by everyone who knew him. Rossendale’s art scene will find him impossible to replace.