Northampton university students launch retail range with 78 Derngate

L-R: Students Beth, Sharon, Amba and Seb with subject leader Alexis Taylor from The University of Northampton, and Les Patterson, secretary of 78 Derngate Northampton Trust.
L-R: Students Beth, Sharon, Amba and Seb with subject leader Alexis Taylor from The University of Northampton, and Les Patterson, secretary of 78 Derngate Northampton Trust.

78 Derngate – The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House in Northampton – has this week launched a new retail range, designed in collaboration with The University of Northampton.

Third-year students from the university gathered research and inspiration during several visits to the house before they presented their concepts to a panel from the 78 Derngate team towards the end of last year.

On Tuesday (April 24) staff and students from the University of Northampton gathered at 78 Derngate to officially mark the launch of the new six-item homeware range, Contemporary Classics @ 78.

Les Patterson, Secretary of the Trust said: "Each group offered such a lot of wonderfully imaginative ideas that it was very difficult to make decisions on the final range - but it had to be done.

"After much deliberation, however, six products were chosen to be developed further, which were then created for sale in the shop."

The items include a tea towel, a tote bag, apron, oven gloves as well as two different poster prints.

"This exclusive range, called Contemporary Classics @ 78, brings a fresh, young element to the existing retail range and is also available to purchase online," he added.

"We are keen to embrace local businesses and working together is a great way to do this and put us both on the map!"

The 19th century building – and adjoining 80 Derngate – has been open to visitors in its current guise since 2003, following an elaborate £1.4 million restoration project.

Visitors can not only explore the old house and garden but also enjoy modern exhibition areas and find out more about the creative minds, which made the property famous, namely the well-known Northampton model-maker Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke and the designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

When Bassett-Lowke met Mackintosh in 1916, the artist’s career was dwindling but Charles was commissioned by Wenman (commonly known as Whynne) to remodel the house at 78 Derngate.

The house had been purchased for Wenman by his father for £250, but more money was spent on a plot to allow the garden to be extended and to pay for a remodelling.