Starting an Art Gallery

"Lichfield seemed to be an arty town without an art gallery where people could browse and buy pictures" was good enough reason for Brian Murray and his wife Mary to convert the former stable and hay loft in Friars Alley into the Greyfriars Gallery. Evidence of its former ownership by a fishmonger was provided by the number of shells which are still being exposed in the garden but the French onion seller, who is said to have lived there, has left no evidence.

In his relaxed and matter-of-fact talk to Civic Society members on the evening of Thursday 21st June, Mr Murray described some of the problems that had to be overcome in restoring a building derelict almost to the point of total loss. Sensitive retention of the building's character and the use of materials in keeping with its period had been recognised in 1988 when the Civic Society awarded a certificate of commendation to the Murrays. Describing his enterprise as "building a little of the past into the present", Mr Murray reminded us that Michelangelo never has a green field site! He also described architecture as the unavoidable art, often remaining unseen.

This meeting had to compete with the World Cup and a 'stay-at-home' wet evening; those who attended were well rewarded for their decision. If you haven't already done so you should visit the Gallery!

Ivor Mitchell
June 1990