Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
In 1898 the third Baron de Ferrieres, a former Mayor and MP for Cheltenham, gave 43 important paintings, mostly from Belgium and the Netherlands, to the town, together with £1000 towards the building of a gallery in which to house them. This was opened in 1899.
In 1905 the Schools of Art and Science left the premises they occupied next door to the Art Gallery, and the Museum was opened in these rooms two years later. From that time the collections grew in number and in quality, with the great majority generously given by the people of Cheltenham. In 1975 a branch museum was opened in the birthplace of Gustav Holst, the composer, which was completely furnished from the collections. This became an independent museum in 2000. In 1983 a museum was opened to display the costume collection in Cheltenham’s most important historic building, the Pittville Pump Room: this was closed in 1999.
The first real increase in space and visitor facilities came in 1989 when HRH The Princess Royal opened an extension to the Art Gallery & Museum. This is the building in which the main entrance is sited.
In due course we hope to expand still further: the quantity and quality of collections are certainly there to fill these spaces, not least the last surviving Cheltenham tram!