Hard(man) Times

We finally visited the Hardman House last week. Home and studio to the photographers E Chambre Hardman and his wife Margaret from the 1930’s until their death, and now owned by the National Trust and open for small pre-booked tours. We were a little nervous about taking Eve and Leah but I think four years of taking them round museums and galleries must be paying off because they earned the sobriquet of best behaved children from the lovely National Trust volunteers. (Not that we’ve turned any sort of corner on behaviour otherwise, they were brats on the commute home tonight!).

We spent over an hour and a half exploring the house and studios and looking at photographs by Hardman and Margaret. We both thought Margaret’s photos were stunning. She’s almost been forgotten but you can see some of her photographs here. Her clothes and cosmetics are still in the house, including her silk stockings over the bath, evoking a connection that’s left me wanting to know more about her.

A few days later we were in Southport and visited the Botanic Gardens. I have such wonderful childhood memories of the boating lake, palm house and especially the museum. The eclectic collection including an ancient long boat and Victorian costume collection, inspired a life long love of museums and I was keen to show it to Mr Rush Hour. Too late

This is so upsetting and has brought home the harsh realities of recession more than any of the closed shops and job cuts we saw and heard about during our trip up North. I haven’t been able to find out anything about any local action to save the museum or what has happened to the collection. The cafe and palm house are still just as I remember them but without the museum it was a depressing visit.  A walk down Southport Pier restored spirits a bit, although the youngest Rush Hours look pretty grumpy.

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