Saddleworth’s Weavers Factory closes doors

A MUCH-LOVED Saddleworth art gallery has been forced to close its doors permanently.

The Weavers Factory, on New Street in Uppermill, has proved a huge hit since opening in April 2019.

But owners Nigel Durkan and Julian Bovis have revealed it is now shut.

However, the work of textile designer, botanical artist and teacher Joan Charnley, who lived at what became The Weavers Factory, will not be lost.

Weavers Factory on New Street

For in 2024, Nigel will begin digitally archiving Joan’s work at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Special Collections Museum, which is home to several notable collections and archives of everything from artists’ work to photographs to books.

And together he and Julian will write the story of Joan and the Weavers Factory.

Inside the Weavers Factory

When Joan died in 2016, she left the Grade II listed building to close friends Nigel and Julian, with a wish that it be converted into an art gallery.

And in a farewell message, they said: “Thanks to all the super-talented artists who exhibited, and to every person who visited the gallery and made it such a wonderful place.

“It’s been the best five years of our lives and we’ll never forget it.

“But Joan’s unique artistic legacy will live on.”

Manchester Metropolitan University said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of the archive of Joan Charnley – botanical artist, textile designer, teacher and alumni of the Manchester School of Art.

“Joan was a student at the School of Art in the late 1940s, studying textile design.

“After enjoying some success as a commercial textile designer, she went on to have a successful career teaching art in higher education.

“On retiring from teaching, she established herself as a botanical artist.

“The archive records Joan’s life and work, including fabric samples, original designs, source material, student work, travel diaries and teaching material.”


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