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Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum

Founded: 2000        Governance: Local authority      Scope: Local history   Visited: Autumn 2019

Pre-Georgian Leamington was an unremarkable little place with a healing spring - a Holy Well, some say - in the corner of the churchyard. Then a pair of entrepreneurial coves, observing the money to be made from therapeutic waters elsewhere, sunk their own well not far away and the Spa was born. Grand parades of houses and shops spread up the hillside, and eventually the Royal Pump Rooms opened just south of the river. It is the Pump Rooms which house the Art Gallery & Museum, among other public facilities.

As a result, the Museum is presented with surroundings which mean it just can't lose. Most of the time the visitor can move around unaware of where they might be in relation to the former use of the building, but at its centre yet glimpsed from a variety of angles is the Turkish Bath, restored to jewel-box-like splendour. I had no idea that the Spa functioned as part of the National Health Service (basically for physiotherapy) until the 1980s, and the Museum presents this history notwithstanding the slightly queasy quality of some of the objects it has to display as a result! Together with insights into the wider history of the town, which was not all Regency grandeur, and the art displays, this amounts to something unique.

Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
Leamington Spa Art Gallery & MuseumLeamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
Leamington Spa Art Gallery & MuseumLeamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
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