Made in Preston, the website about Preston, Lancashire


To quote Grayson Perry in his book 'Playing to the Gallery':

'It's easy to feel insecure around art and its appreciation, as though we cannot enjoy certain artworks if we don't have a lot of academic and historical knowledge. But if there's one message that I want you to take away it's that anybody can enjoy art...'

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery building and the library is now closed until 2025


125th birthday of The Harris on 26th October 2018

Harris Museum & Art Gallery Preston

Photo of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston,. Grade 1 listed by English Heritage


The Harris is scheduled to become a 'blended' museum, art gallery and museum. This will blend art, objects and books by topic to give a more rounded view. There will also be a drive to broaden its appeal and create a community hub. As long as there isn't a zip wire from the roof, but maybe that's not a bad idea.


On 5th October 2023 it was announced that the re-opening is being delayed to 2025 due to more asbestos being found and the new lift on the south west corner will no longer be included due to difficulty creating room. A new set of steps will be included.


The Harris is the prime tourist attraction in Preston and is bedly missed. Walking round Avenham and Miller Parks via Winckley Square is the second best attraction. The other attraction was the Lancashire Museum on Stanley Street but that has also been closed.


The Harris in early December 2023

The facade of the Harris is revealed with its Elgin style marbles cleaned and covered with pigeon proof netting. Re-opening in spring 2025.

The Harris Museum Preston on 5th December 2023


The Harris Preston, still being refurbished 5th Dec 2023

Undressing the Harris 21st October 2023


Removing the plastic cover to reveal the newly cleaned front beneath scaffolding.

The Harris Museum Preston 21st October 2023



Outside the Harris after handover to the Building Contractors


The Harris Museum, Preston on 29th September 2023




Photo of the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library while being refurbished June 2023.

The Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library Preston under wraps while being refurbished June 2023



1st December 2022

The Harris Museum Preston  being refurbished 1st Decembewr 2022


1st November 2022

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery Preston during refurbishment November 2022




Inside the Harris after being emptied for the renovation

6th May 2022

Tours of the empty Harris Museum and Art Gallery were arranged for the Friends of the Harris and members of the public on the 6th and 7th May 2022.

The Lantern in the roof will be removed for renovation and the Foucault Pendulum moved to the centre.

The Harris, Preston,  emptied prior to renovation and the lantern that will be removed for renovation

The frieze was split for removal by conservators and the busts placed prior to packing for storage:

Harris renovation May 2022


Photographs of the last exhibitions at the Harris before its renovation closure

August and September 2021


Look, Listen and Make Things:

Harris, Preston

Amy Whitehouse, Look, Listen and Make Things by Bob and Roberta Smith:

Harris, Preston

The artists posing after giving a school workshop:

Harris, Preston

Potential blended display of the future, 2024:

Harris, Preston

Potential broadening of culture, 2024

Harris, Preston

A wide angle shot of the gallery core:

Harris, Preston

One of many fine bronze pieces in the Harris:

Harris, Preston

The entrance to: What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mouth cannot speak of

by Tao Lashley-Burnley

Harris, Preston

Can it be improved? We wait until 2024:

Harris, Preston

Harris, Preston



Renovation Closure of the Harris 2021 to 2024

It's disappointing that the Harris will be closed from October 2021 to early 2024 to re-vitalise the building following successfully obtaining the funding needed.


Friends of the Harris, May 2021

The Friends of the Harris are a group who enjoy the Harris, meet and raise funds. Recently Hilary Machel who was the Harris Capital Fundraising Manager and key contact for the Friends left the museum. Hilary was a great representative of the museum who always made members feel they were valued. Hilary had been working on raising the £10m needed to update the museum and that has been achieved. We wish her well.

To join the Friends of the Harris see the Harris website.


June 2020 #HarrisYourPlace Proposal and Survey


An outline of the plan to update The Harris has been published and public views are sought before early July 2020. Click Here To Find Out More On Our Blog Page


Until February 24th 2019 The Museum of the Moon.

Read our blog post click here

The Museum of the Moon, Harris Preston until 24th Feb 2019


The Harris is beautiful inside with splendid collections, thought provoking exhibitions and craft activities. 1st August 2018

The Harris, Preston.  Art Gallery, Museum and Library. August 2018

The Harris Art Gallery, Museum and Library is Preston's focal point building. Grade 1 listed and a very fine late 19th Century building with a large balcony area overlooking the old Flag Market (flag as in paving stone).

The building was funded by the legacy of Edmund Robert Harris 1803-77, his incredible legacy also funded several other fine education and health buildings which still exist. Read more about Edmund Harris in our history section, page 2

Harris legacy, Preston

Special events such as sporting successes are celebrated from the balcony as crowds applaud in the market square. In late August and on the 1st September 2012 Preston Guild was proclaimed as it has been every 20 years for hundreds of years.

The Harris, Preston. Reach for the Sky


Community Library

In April the Community Library was re-opened with its new look including a focus on Heritage.

The Harris Community Library




December 2018 The Harris, Preston, Achieves Heritage Lottery Funding

An extract from the minutes of the below meeting at the Heritage Lottery Fund Board Meeting:

National Heritage Memorial Fund Board of Trustees Meeting on 11 December 2018 Summary report of the Board meeting held on Tuesday 11 December 2018 at 9.30 a.m. at 7 Holbein Place, London, SW1W 8NR


64. Re-imagining the Harris: Capital development of the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library; HG-18-00605 B 2018 (8) 64


Applicant: Preston City Council

Request: First round pass of £4,702,400 including development grant of £180,900 (23%)

Project: To re-vitalise Preston's museum, art gallery and library, transforming the visitor offer whilst strengthening its financial resilience in response to the moving landscape of public funding. The project would widen access to collections, enhance visitor facilities and reach new audiences through an inclusive programme of learning with a community focus.

The Committee for North West recommended the project to the Board as a HIGH (1 of 4) priority for support.

The Board considered that the project represented a HIGH priority for support and AWARDED a first round pass of £4,702,400 including development grant of £180,900 (23% of total eligible development costs).



2018 #HarrisYourPlace

Creating the UK's first blended museum, art gallery and library.

The Harris is fundraising to create a richer visitor experience, support for the local economy, an inspirational central hub, the first blended library, museum and art gallery in the UK - in a beauifully refurbished, animated space, a better welcome for more people.

The blended museum, art gallery and library displays items from each area together to create a fuller story.

The Harris - blended sample


This is expected to cost £10.7m and with £3.45m match funding the Harris has applied for £4.7m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Plans to raise the remaining £2.65m include through UCLan. The Heritage Lottery Fund has allocated nearly £200k development funding meaning a grant can be made by Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council in 2020.

The Harris logo



2015-2018 Project: Re-imagining the Harris

A new director, Jon Finch, was appointed to re-imagine the Harris and further develop it as a cultural hub and tourist attraction. There is ambition and vision.

In August 2016 Hemingway Design have been contracted to interpret the public interface and Purcell, the conservation architects, to design the adaptation.

In October 2016 Preston Council website contains the image below showing a new front into the Flag Market and mentions re-opening the entrance on Lancaster Road.

October 2017 the Re-imagining didn't get the Heritage Lottery Funding and needs some re-shaping mainly to get the councils to commit their funding and to create a single team by transferring Lancashire's staff to Preston Council. Also to ensure buy-in by the citizens of the front reshaping. This will take an extra year's funding as well.

November 2018 a new proposal is to be submitted and donations are being sought from the public to provide evidence of their support.

Jon Finch left at the end of his contract.

December 2018 an award was granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund to take the proposal forward. The plan is to make the Harris the first blended museum, art gallery and library.

See our blog which provides more information and has links to the Funding Page.

Link to blog page


The early proposal for an entrance from the Flag Market has been dropped:

re-imagining the Harris, Preston, new frontage



Inside the Harris Building

The centre of the building is topped by a large glass lantern from which hangs a metal ball that swings with the earth's rotation and gently precesses anti-clockwise. This Foucault Pendulum, named after the French scientist who first displayed it, has given me that unexplainable sense of awe and wonder of our planet for over 50 years and still does.

Foucault Pendulum in the Harris Museum Preston

The ground floor holds the Lancashire library which is useful as you can borrow books there and take them back locally in Lancashire unlike the unitary councils who are limited to their own. There is a small shop selling tasteful momentos, books and cards, and a cafe in the central part next to the Foucault Pendulum.

The 1st floor has the Discover Preston display which was upgraded in 2012 at great expense to show the history of Preston, photo below, and perfume bottles. There is also the Reference Library.

Discover Preston

The Discover Preston display has the 12,000 year old Poulton Elk as its main feature and it is possible to listen to it. There is a collection of Elk heads and a wooden canoe found in the River Ribble during excavation of the docks. Cotton, gold thread, film producers, temperance, Park School, Bleasdale, Arkwright: there is a wide range of displays. Football as well, Preston North End.

A report of a tour of Discover Preston during the guild is contained here.

Discover Preston display in the Harris Museum

There is also a coin display that won a prize in 2015.

The 2nd floor has a modern and fine art section and a display of clothing. The modern art and clothing displays are frequently changed. In May 2006 there is a display of the drawings done by animals and plants (sic) which is fascinating and imaginative.

The building was started in 1882 and completed in 1893. A very large bequest of £300,000 had ben left to Preston Corporation by Edmund Robert Harris, a local lawyer. It was in memory of his father Reverand Robert Harris who had been vicar of St Georges for 64years. He also had the main college named after him, the Harris College, now the University of Central Lancashire and the Harris Institute and an Orphanage. The architect was James Hibbert.

It is free to enter and is open every day, please check their website for special displays, talks, tours.

Harris Museum Preston


The Friends of the Harris

Friends of the Harris Museum, Preston

The Friends of the Harris are a group with a special interest in the building and its collections. They meet, have events and talks and collect funds that help to unlock grants towards new exhibits and improvements. Their webpage is on the Harris Museum and Art Gallery website: Click here.



Sydney Paviere 1891-1971

Curator and Art Director at the Harris between 1929 and 1959.

Said to have transformed the Harris with the objective of making it 'a hub of the north' and set out to specialise in artists' works of Lancashire, which the annual Open Exhibition at the Harris is an example. He also wrote several books one being 'The Devis Family of Painters' an artistic dynasty which originated in Preston. (ref the poster below from the Fylde Gallery, Booths, Lytham, Oct 2016).


Paviere Director of the Harris Preston



Beautiful and Brutal: 50 years in the life of Preston Bus Station

21st September to 24th November 2019

An exhibition about the iconic Grade II Listed Preston Bus Station once the biggest in Europe and opened in 1969.

The Harris Beautiful and Brutal


Fearsome Craftsmen, Vikings 15th June to 26th August 2019

Using items loaned from Jorvik in York and the Silverdale Hoard an exhibition of Viking life in Britain was created. Family oriented with blacksmith, weaver, viking house and dried fish. A shop for momentos too.

Fearsome Craftsmen at The Harris

Fearsome Craftsmen at The Harris


The Preston Open Art Exhibition January 2019

The annual Preston Open Art Exhibition for artists living in the PR postcode area. See our blog post on the link below> The Harris Preston Open link




Whittingham Lives, Windrush Generation, Preston Indoor Market, 13th October to 25th November 2018 plus Harris 125th 26th October 2018

Three exhibitions of interesting local topics. Plus 26th October 2018 is the Harris's 125th birthday Click here to go to our blog post


Comics, 23rd June to 23rd September 2018

A great exhibition of comic strip original art at the Harris. Including Leo Baxendale, born in Preston, artist of the Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx. Click here to go to our blog post


Iconic Art, April 24-26 2018

Talk and workshop about making religious icons by the Sisters from St Elisabeth Convent, Minsk, Belarus. Much more as well that week, read more on the blog. Click here.

Preston Open Exhibition Dec 17/Jan 18

Local artists display their work. Click here to read our report on the blog

Preston Open Art Exhibition at the Harrris Art Gallery and Museum


Potter and Winckley in November 2017, link to the report on the blog


Preston Street Style Autumn 2017

Harris Museum Preston Street Style 2017


Click here for our report of the Launch of Preston Street Style and Streets of Change October 2017


Lancashire Festival of Art, work by UCLan students June to 2nd July 2017

Lancashire Festival of Art, work by UCLan students June to 2nd July 2017


Harris Exhibition: Artist's Rooms - Martin Creed to Jan to 3rd June 2017

Interesting exhibition with a good soundtrack.

Don't Worry Martin Creed, Preston

The Restored Painting 'The View of Preston from Penwortham Hill'

After a public collection the restored and cleaned painting was re-hung at the Harris in August 2016 and exhibited with a collection of etchings of a similar scene.

Harris Art Gallery 'the view of Preston from Penwortham Hill'

View of Preston Conservation

Michael Foreman: Painting With Rainbows July to Nov 2016

A matter of taste but for us this is the best exhibition at the Harris in 2016. In a word it's 'uplifting'. A big collection of Michael Foreman's work which would appeal to children and adults. Painting in a simple outline and washed colour style often used in comics it nevertheless offers a sense of detail and emotion. Michael being a small child during the war says this made him opposed to conflict. He also took to painting and held close to the lasting comment of his teacher in his earliest lessons to 'go outside and paint what you see'. He followed this advice all over the world.

The exhibition is nicely presented using all 3 of the large exhibition rooms and having tables for people to try their hand at painting and a smaller room setting to display particular themes. These themes include the war paintings, the tortoise brought back from Galipolli that lived for 90 years, his children's fantasies, worldwide painting. On the wall are motifs, mainly quite lifting, related to the themes. You could really relate to them.

Michael Foreman: Painting with Rainbows at the Harris, Preston

Harris Open Exhibition for local artists - Dec 2015

Almost 400 entries of several styles including pottery. Photo of local scenes:

Harris Open Exhibition, Dec 2015

Harris Open Exhibition, Dec 2015

Harris Open Exhibition, Dec 2015

Art from Elsewhere - Sept-Nov 2015

Art from other galleries portraying life in other countries. This was one of the best exhibitions for a while although a Green and Pleasant Land was also very good. Ideas of life in Communist Central Europe, life of an Algerian in Paris, life in Bombay and on borders plus a lot more. Thought stimulating.

The simple scene below touches five of the displays, each developing their own stimulating thoughts.


Style & Substance: Fashion, Society, Change 1880 to 1930s 18th July 2015

A dress in the exhibition:

Harris Style & Substance Exhibition

World War 1 clothing:

Harris Style & Substance Exhibition

Pauline in the Yellow Dress and the Rossall Hoard 8th January 2015

The Harris Museum bought the painting by Sir James Gunn in 1944 for £1000 and more recently obtained the dress. Until 28th Feb, an exhibition of the life of Sir James Gunn and display of paintings held in private collections.

Harris Museum Pauline in the Yellow Dress

A display at the Harris of the Rossall Hoard found at Rossall near Fleetwood. The collection is very finely made on very small coins, dating from around the year 400. It is believed the original hoard was dated from 200 and that this was mistakenly sold in its place. An appeal for information about the auction in 1844 has been made.

Rossall Hoard at the Harris Museum


Conservation Day 11th October 2014 including Marian Clayden exhibition

The Marian Clayden exhibition of tie dyed clothing. Marian was born in Penwortham and moved to California via Australia.

Emma Heslewood, curator, cleans the ceremonial wheelbarrow used while removing the first turf for the railway in Preston.

Storing and cataloguing shoes and other accessories.

Storing dresses.

Cleaning coins. New displays are being created for the museum.

Cataloguing Beattie's paintings.

Marian Clayden 'dyers journey' display.

30th August 2014

Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston

Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston

'Behind the Scenes' exhibition in late 2013 shows how the 1000's of textiles in many forms that form the collection at the Harris are preserved, and how students from all over the world make use of this resource. A photo of part of the display:

Behind the Scenes, Harris Museum, Preston


2011 marks the 250th anniversary of the donation of the Shepherd Library to Preston. Some of the rare books were displayed around the building until 26th May 2012. The library was donated by the Preston doctor Richard Shepherd (1694-1761). 

More recently a display of books by the Preston born author Angela Brazil are on display on the landing. November 2012

.books by Angela Brazil author born in Preston

Click below to see:

YouTube video by Preston Council showing the Harris Museum in 2010

Harris Flights, a staircase into the museum for one month only in 2013. Nice way to enter, good view from the top.

Harris Flights August 2013

Harris Museum Preston, Lancashire Rosettes

March 2020 The Harris launches a revamped website with a payment and donation section. Plus a volunteer section. Click here


September 2015 Jon Finch appointed leader of the Harris Re-imagining Project

Click on the link above to go to the original description of the task..


Link to Art in the Preston area

Link to Theatres in Preston

04-Feb-2024 Contact the site author