Stratside Gallery

(Incorporating Stratton Museum)

"The market town of Stratton has nothing in it or about it worth our making any remarks!"

I came across this dismal assessment whilst researching the history of my native town. It had been
written in 1724 by none other than Daniel Defoe in his book "A Tour Through Great Britain by a Gentleman".
Nearly three centuries later his remarks still seem to haunt us. Stratton, although one of the most beautiful towns in North Cornwall has been in steady decline for fifty years and suffers badly from the loss of it's former status and individuality. Naturally any new enterprise could prove vital to the future prospects of the town, and it's people, for there is no doubt that Stratton folk remain fiercely proud of their ancient town -despite any mention of decline!

Stratton....
Nestling between the River Neet and the River Strat, the town is steeped in legend, antiquity and architecture. It has a chequered history, being one of the few Cornish places mentioned in the Domesday Book. It was also the birthplace of the Cornish giant, Anthony Payne, remembered for his role in the Battle of Stratton. It has many other historical connections too, but sadly attracts too few visitors nowadays.

....a wasted opportunity....
One reason for the dwindling number of visitors is clear. The neighbouring coastal resort of Bude has grown considerably over the last century, encouraging a constant stream of traffic through Stratton. Unfortunately this bounteous supply of visitors is directed straight to the coast because motorists are discouraged from stopping here.
Yellow lines and scanty parking facilities ensure that any potential from passing traffic is utterly wasted, so Stratton fails to gain any advantage whatsoever.
I believe Stratside Gallery and Museum could help to overcome this problem and could prove to be of long term benefit to the town. The plan is very simple to understand.

....so what can I do?
My name is Philip Jackson. I was born here in Stratton in 1942 and work as an artist. I have been reasonably successful and, as much of my work has been sold abroad, I decided to assemble a collection of my paintings to exhibit in this country. I have always had a high regard for my home town so, when the former Stratton School came onto the market, I thought this would be the ideal place to exhibit my paintings.
It seemed the plan might be beneficial both to myself and to the town so, a
fter a combined effort by myself and my supporters, the site was purchased and work commenced.

Stratside Gallery....
The buildings are extensive and the once dilapidated Victorian buildings and gardens are being sympathetically renovated. The whole site had been abandoned and vandalised, so the work has been painstakingly difficult. There have been many setbacks along the way, but the re-development of the site is now in the advanced stages.


....with galleries and an archive....
Several other facilities will be incorporated into Stratside Gallery to augment the steadily-developing collection of my own paintings.
The centre will be home to the Stratton Museum and there will be exhibition facilities for other artists, but only those who paint from life. Facilities will also include a small retail area and a tearoom. Full facilities for the disabled will be included.
During the re-development period many local residents have helped with exhibits for the Museum, so I hope this will persuade them to adopt the Stratton Museum as "their own" museum.

....attracting visitors....
Perhaps the most important part of the development is the new access road and large car park, which could prove to be a priceless asset. At last the town should be able to take full advantage of the potential presented by passing visitors.

....to our town!
Stratside could become a stimulus for the growth of other cultural, tourist and business amenities in Stratton and, with luck, the town will also benefit from the improvement in business and employment opportunities.
I, for one, would feel very proud if Stratside played a part in restoring our town to it's former busy status, - then we can all blow a raspberry at Daniel Defoe!

Click to blow a raspberry at Daniel Defoe!