New Shipping Brow Gallery Will Put Famous Art On Show

The Maryport creative 'Vibe' gets a boost
February 14, 2023

Work has now begun on a new gallery and visitor attraction in Maryport that will display works of art which have never before been seen in public. 

Workington-based contractor Stobbarts Ltd has won the tender to transform the historic building at 1 Senhouse Street, which used to be the town’s Maritime Museum and will now be known as ShippingBrow Gallery. 

The first two floors will become a free-to-enter gallery displaying the work of many local artists, particularly Workington-born Percy Kelly whose scenes of Cumbria are famed throughout the world, and Maryport’s own William Mitchell, who has been described as ‘one of the county’s most underrated artists’.  

And the project will benefit the community too. The top floor will be converted into an apartment for an artist-in-residence, who will help run the gallery and be instrumental in wider creative work in and around Maryport.  

The refurbishment and repair will reinstate the building’s corner door entrance, enhancing the architecture. The existing door will be remodelled to improve disabled access. New windows, heating system and solar panels will make the building more energy efficient, and the creation of a residential apartment will bring another new home to the town centre. A distinctive mosaic will also be restored.  

The Former maritime Museum

The project is being managed by the building’s owners, Allerdale Borough Council, and £461,248 of funding from Historic England and the Council has been approved for the works. In addition, a charitable trust has been set up with a board of trustees to oversee the operational side of the gallery. The trust is headed up by Maryport residents Dolly and Brian Money, who have invested in the project and will be putting their private collection of Percy Kelly and William Mitchell paintings on public view. 

Number 1 Senhouse Street stands on land developed by Humphrey Senhouse who was responsible for transforming vast areas of Maryport and its harbour in the 1700s. It was once The Queen's Head pub and its exterior still features that original mosaic showing the head of Queen Victoria and her VR initials.  

It opened as Maryport Maritime Museum in 1975 and now Allerdale Council is giving the museum a new home in the landmark Christ Church building which frees up 1 Senhouse Street to become a new attraction.

Councillor Mike Johnson, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, said: “The new art gallery will be a brilliant cultural venue. Being able to see original paintings by renowned artists will give enthusiasts a new reason to visit Maryport, supporting the town’s growing creative movement. I look forward to its opening later this year.”  

Dolly Money added: “We hope the gallery will be a real Maryport asset. We wanted to put something in to the community that would foster and encourage Cumbrian art, and include a slight twist by incorporating the artist-in-residence. This will give a newly qualified art graduate the opportunity to run a gallery and curate its collections. 

“West Cumbria has traditionally been in the shade of Lake District artists but there is a real appetite now for seeing works like this. Maryport has a very arty vibe and we are excited for the gallery to play a part in this.” 

Header Image: The historic Senhouse Street mosaic