‘We need to bounce back with a vengeance’: 78 Derngate ready to reopen with a new exhibition next week
The new exhibition is a textile one created by local artists, inspired by the house
A Northampton indoor attraction that has suffered a lot during the pandemic is excited to reopen to the public next week.
78 Derngate, which is the only house in England designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, has been closed since the end of 2020, following two previous closures in the earlier lockdowns.
The closures have seriously impacted the business, which relies heavily on visitors’ support, shop sales and restaurant bookings.
Now the historic house is ready to reopen on Tuesday (May 18), a day after indoor attractions are allowed to reopen, as Monday (May 17) will be spent setting up the first exhibition.
Entitled 'Visualise at 78', the exhibition will display an array of contemporary, stitched art textiles, a lot of which take inspiration from Charles Rennie Mackintosh and 78 Derngate.
Liz Jansson, house manager, said: “We will get the exhibition ready on Monday ready for visitors to, hopefully, surge through the doors on Tuesday.
“The house has been empty since the end of last year so we are looking forward to welcoming visitors back.
“We’re very excited because we have lost a lot of revenue and we’re lucky that we can survive.
“‘We need to bounce back with a vengeance.
“We need people to come back, spend money in the shop and enjoy what we have here because we have lost a lot.”
As the attraction reopens, the one-way system implemented last year will remain in place and the shop has been moved upstairs to give visitors more room to socially distance.
Liz added: “We’re a small house and we will not have customers rushing so visitors will be able to take their time throughout the house.
“It will almost be like a private viewing for them.
“It will be a slow start, but we’ve had quite a lot of interest for later in the month and into June.”
The Dining Room, the independent restaurant within 78 Derngate, will reopen on June 1 and the textile exhibition will be on display until July 18.
Pre-booking is preferred for a visit to 78 Derngate, which can now be completed online or by calling 01604 603407.
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