Council’s £500k art collection

The World of Glass.
The World of Glass.

ST Helens Council owns art works worth more than half a million pounds.

The bulk of the 236-piece collection is stored or displayed at the World of Glass, with the remainder kept at the Town Hall.

Despite their high value - and the strained financial position of the council - it’s unlikely any will be sold to help plug the borough’s funding deficit.

Rules governing museum collections dictate cash raised by the sale of any art sold must be used to replenish the collection.

The figures were released by St Helens Council following a Freedom of Information request by the St Helens Reporter.

Many of the pieces have been owned by the borough for decades. The total value of all 236 pieces is put at £547,060.

Cath Shea, arts development manager at St Helens Council, said a significant majority of the council’s collection was regularly put on public display.

She said: “The World of Glass are committed to exhibiting as much of the collection as possible. However because of the limitations of space they do this in rotation.

“As an example from January to June of this year they had on display as part of the Art is Here exhibition 90% of all artworks which are in frames or stretched onto canvas frames. This exhibition along with the rotating heritage exhibitions are all free admission to members of the public.”

She added: “As an accredited museum it is a condition of the Museums and Libraries accreditation which is now governed by The Arts Council, that any monies raised should any pieces be sold would be used to replenish the collection within the guidelines of The World of Glass collections policy.

The World of Glass was opened in the mid 1990s and close to the site of some of Pilkington Glass’ early factories and is also the site of the Godfrey Pilkington Gallery, which was previously housed at St Helens Central Library.