Guernsey Press

Hatton Gallery set to be new home for Millennium Tapestry

THE Hatton Gallery in the Upper Barracks will be the Millennium Tapestry’s new home when it moves to Castle Cornet later this year.

Lt-Governor Lt General Richard Cripwell and his wife Louise recently paid their first visit to the tapestry before it moves its based to Castle Cornet. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33331440)

The Guernsey Press revealed in April that the tapestry had been saved after years of uncertainty when an agreement was reached for it to move from the Whittaker Gallery at St James to the castle after the current summer season.

At that time, the tapestry’s trustees were still waiting to find out where the castle would find space for the 10 panels, which tell 1,000 years of local history and were hand-stitched by hundreds of islanders 25 years ago.

They now know the Hatton Gallery is being refurbished to provide the panels with the correct conditions.

The new location, which is on the first floor of the Married Quarters, has undergone various works, including a new roof, climate control system and wall gaps filled. Work on electricity, carpeting and wall brackets will continue into the summer.

The trustees are working together with Guernsey Museums and States Property Services about the design of the new room.

They are not yet certain when the gallery will be open in its new location, but expect it to be when the castle opens for its 2025 season.

‘If we need to store the tapestry for a couple of weeks or months, it will be in dark, climate-controlled storage, which Guernsey Museums has,’ said trustee Ian Hunter.

‘Guernsey Museums are taking control and responsibility for the care and upkeep of the tapestry.

‘Currently, there are eight trustees, but it is becoming increasingly hard to find more.’

Audio guides to the tapestry will still be available when it moves to the castle, and tapestry-themed stock will be sold in the castle shop.

There will be no additional fees to enter the tapestry beyond the normal entry costs to the castle.

Lt-Governor L tGeneral Richard Cripwell recently made his first visit to the tapestry before its move southwards in Town.

‘We have always wanted to invite the Lt-Governor, but we weren’t sure what our opening times were or when he was available,’ said Mr Hunter.

‘Once we knew our opening times, we invited him.’

Earlier in the year, Mr Hunter admitted that trustees had become so concerned about the future of the tapestry that they had even considered selling or passing on the panels to a museum in France.

As the trustees faced up to the prospect of closing in Guernsey, an informal meeting with a small group of deputies, including Jonathan le Tocq, gave them a glimmer of hope of saving the tapestry for locals and visitors.

They encouraged officials at the States’ property unit to find a solution, which led to the agreement to move to the castle.