Abdul - enough by Hugh Lohan

Graffiti through the ages - New Forest reflections

Let us spray. Graffiti through the ages.

There's another side to nearly everything - reflections from the New Forest

Mark and Hugh writer and cartoonistThis week's reflections by Mark with cartoon by Hugh, consider the "other sides" of graffiti!

"I have a question for you. When does graffiti become art? Never! I hear you scream, how on earth could the inane daubs of a teenage oik ever be considered art? You are furious when you see a slogan sprayed onto a wall in a quiet cut somewhere. Incandescent when you see paint on a gravestone! How could they, you mourn."

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Graffiti through the ages

"Graffiti is a little like art though in that, when a medium is in its infancy it is almost automatically scorned by the people. When impressionism arrived, challenging photo-realism, the new artists were ridiculed. After all, where was the craft, where was the detail? These simple daubs and splodges could never be art! As you know, things are a little different now and impressionist paintings are highly sought after. Perhaps if we return to the original question, if you were walking in the forest and you came across a teenager carving the name of his one true love deep into the bark of an old oak, what would your immediate feelings be? Probably not pleasant ones.

The simplest art of all, probably

In Argentina there is a cave where many thousands of years ago someone felt compelled to daub paint over their left hand leaving just the outline many times over. The result is a riot of colour and a fascinating, yet simple, design. I wonder, again, what you would think if you saw someone, of any age, doing the same anywhere in Hampshire? I visited the Tower of London where inmates facing death had scratched their own graffiti into the walls that imprisoned them, some of it incredibly intricate. They do say that a hanging in the morning concentrates the mind wonderfully although I would prefer not to take that particular route for mental stimulation. Presently this graffiti is protected by Perspex sheets in order to preserve it for future generations.

I visited Salisbury Cathedral and saw graffiti gouged into gravestones, the floor and walls. Heresy!

If you were to wander around our New Forest, in certain places you would find some very old graffiti carved by lovers into trees. Some trees are still marked for destruction with a deeply cut King’s arrow, they might have been destined for the next Agamemnon. With the advent of iron and steel as the new materials for shipbuilding the trees were spared, but they are still scarred though. What makes these marks interesting instead of offensive?

 Abdul - enough

Abdul, enough!

It’s an age thing. How art appreciates over the years.

To return to the original question we could also consider the artist Constable (from a previous article). In his lifetime he was never a financial success but look at his paintings now! It would seem that age confers grace (and desirability). We would happily demolish an ugly seventies tower block but would never dream of so much as putting up a coat hook in a three-hundred-year-old cottage. So, why is age so powerful? Why is it that ancient graffiti is revered yet modern graffiti despised? Let’s face it, the inscriptions cut into the gravestones in Salisbury Cathedral are not exactly what we would term high art, merely the modern equivalents of Kev 4 Trisha.

Yet the passage of time has conferred value on these marks, these vandalisms. Roman soldiers cutting their marks into pillars were no different to young men today with their spray cans. Both had the urge to record something, to leave a message, something that might leave a memory after they have departed this earth. During World War Two bomber crew used to scratch messages into the mirrors in their favourite café. They are still there today if you care to find them. Bearing in mind the extremely high mortality rate that the crews suffered we can be sure that many of the graffiti artists didn’t make it to the end of the conflict. Again, one person’s vandalism is another’s historical document."

Signing online

From watch the birdie to the brilliance of Constable

Who remembers watch the birdie

New Forest reminiscence and reflections on the passing of time in the art world

Mark and Hugh writer and cartoonistThis week's musings and cartoonings from our resident pair Mark and Hugh begins... 

"Here’s a little memory test for you. Do you remember the palaver of holiday snaps back in the eighties? Remember how you snapped away, hoping the exposure was right, the composition acceptable, the image not shaken? The joy and laughter as you, the snapper, shouted ‘Bananas!’ before pressing the button on your Instamatic?

Then, once back home, the dreaded, brightly coloured envelope with the accusatory questions on the lip which reminded you before you licked the gum. Have you included a cheque (remember them?), your address slip, the film?

Then the ten-day wait before the photos plopped onto the hallway carpet and then, after all that, probably two or three went straight to the bin. Now, of course, you think nothing of taking a selfie with a friend as you both smile happily and then, effortlessly, transmit the results across the globe.  How astonishing!

Read on below but first sign up to receive Mark and Hugh's little gems weekly's free weekly e-newsletter brings positive news and articles direct to your inbox on a Friday morning. If you don't already receive it do sign up here:


Continuing with Mark...

"Recording a portrait in days gone by was a teensy bit more involved. The process required something called an artist and a client and a chair. Also paint, canvas, an easel, a studio and time; oodles of it. There was something else that the client needed and that was patience, and a good cushion.

If you were asked what sort of paintings you would associate with John Constable I wonder what would your answer be? Landscapes perhaps, scenes of the Suffolk countryside? You would be right of course but what about Winchester Cathedral, what about Weymouth Bay, what about portraits?

Drawing with the right side of the brain.

This is the title of a wonderful book by a lady who disagrees furiously with those familiar words “Oh I can’t draw, never have been able to”. In it she takes the reader through simple but effective exercises which prove that the reader can draw. Her argument is that we need to engage the right side of the brain, something that artists do subconsciously.

John Constable, like many artists I suspect, tried most genres in order to bring the bacon home, it’s what a man does! Particularly a man with seven children to support! He tried portraiture which he found boring and he also painted occasional religious pictures. How odd that an artist who has painted what are arguably the most striking, most evocative and powerful images of English country life was not a commercial success. In fact, he did far better in France than in England. Thankfully many of his wonderful works can be found in galleries in this country although some did go abroad.

Praise be to the specialists.

They do say that in nature specialisation can be the death of a species. For example, there is a humming bird which is supremely adapted to feeding on the nectar of just one plant. Its bill and tongue have evolved for one specialist purpose. However, if the plant were to die out then so would the bird. Alan Turing, an utter genius who saved many lives through breaking German codes during the second world war was, seemingly, incapable of basic bodily hygiene. Offer him a bar of soap and he might look away disinterestedly. Offer him a page of seemingly unintelligible letters and numbers and you could lose him for months. Constable was lined up to take over the prosperous family grain business but he preferred his art. He turned away from a comfortable and secure future and chose his calling, not an easy thing to do in the days before the advent of the state safety net that many of us take for granted. The result of this determination and iron will was that he was able to devote his time and his imagination to the paintings that so many of us love today. There are some younger artists that dismiss his more traditional style as they self-publicise their brave new ‘creations’ or ‘installations’. To us though, and by us I mean ordinary British people, the utter beauty that Constable gifted us has given us joy for a very long time and will certainly outlive butchered animals in oversized fish tanks or unmade beds. 

15may20 Excuse me constablecould you tell me the time please NO BORDER

 "Excuse me constable, could you tell me the time please?"

Finally, a message to Mr or Mrs Covid 19.

Go to hell, please. We want our culture back! Once the restrictions are eased, I shall be off to the St Barbe Museum or any of the other galleries nearby, or perhaps up to Town to take in some of the more well known galleries for a little time spent nourishing the right side of the brain. For the moment you are a nuisance, but we, and our delight in the beauty of art, will survive whatever you throw at us. So there!

Please take care and please stay safe.



St Barbe Open Exhibition Sarah Clarke Summer Party (cropped)

New Forest St Barbe Art Gallery Open Exhibition 2020

Open Sesame! Calling all artists and would be artists too...

The St Barbe Art Gallery Open Exhibition is open for entries - and welcomes all ages, levels of ability, and subjects!

Open sesame squared smallerSt Barbe invites you to stay at home and let your imagination run riot! The Coronavirus may have forced the museum and art gallery temporarily to close its doors and postpone its exhibitions, but will not let that discourage it.

And right now, it is re-launching submissions for its popular annual Open exhibition, which it is now hoped will be bigger and better this year than ever… Open Sesame!

Time is for once on our side, for more budding artists to have a go!

One of the few benefits of enforced isolation is that we suddenly have time. All those unfinished projects and ideas that we set aside when we were too busy can now come to fruition. If you always wanted to try your hand at watercolours, imagined a textile creation or planned a collage, St Barbe invites you to go for it!

Artists have been in contact thinking that, as the exhibition was postponed, so were the submissions. For anyone who missed the original deadline, Open Sesame!

New, online submissions

Online submissions are open

Paintings, drawings, prints, textiles and sculpture are all eligible for entry as jpg images (do not be deterred, all is explained in the detail) at

Get inspired to paint: meet New Forest Artist Pete Gilbert

This year's prizes

Highly regarded, indeed revered and coveted, prizes are to be won! (Although it's the cuedos that counts the money will undoubtedly be welcome too.)  Prizes include:

  • People’s Choice Award £200
  • The Blake Morgan Award for best painting (£250)
  • The Mary and John Symons Memorial Award for best print (£250)
  • The Coastal Gallery Award for best contemporary abstract work (£100)
  • The Ted Marsh Memorial Award for best work by an artist aged 18-21 (£100)
  • The Beaulieu Fine Arts Award for best work by a non-professional artist (£100 of framing)

st barbe open exhibition Sarah Clarke Summer Party 1080This year's judges

This year’s esteemed judging panel comprises:

  • Stephen Powell - artist
  • Phil Smith – arts professional and curator
  • Caron Penney – textile artist

This year's details

Each artist may submit a maximum of two works, which must not previously have been exhibited at St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery.  Works will be available for sale unless the artist requests otherwise. 

It is also recognised that artists who have already submitted may wish to swap their work, so when the new dates have been agreed, the team from St Barbe will be in contact with everyone concerned to give them that opportunity.

Full details including exactly how to submit entries with jpg images (contact the museum if you do not have access to a computer!) together with all the T’s and C’s can be found on the St Barbe website by clicking this link to the details about the Open exhibition:

The picture featured in its full glory here (with our apologies cropped for our introductory image for this article which has to be a precise shape!) is by Sarah Clarke and entitled "Summer Party" - which we thought strikes an appropriately optimistic tone for a positive future. 

Young Artist’s Open Exhibition

Budding artists under 18 are included in the exhibition

The St Barbe Young Artist’s Open was launched in 2018 and now coincides annually with the St Barbe Open Exhibition.  

There is no set theme, artists can choose their own subject.  The only stipulation is that by entering the artist agrees that their artwork can be used for the promotion of the Young Artist’s Open. The exhibition is selected by museum staff. Successful entries will be exhibited in Gallery 3 for the whole of this year’s Open Exhibition.

There are three age groups:

  • Under 7s
  • 7 – 11
  • 12-17

How to enter the Young Artist's Open - a variation for this year

The usual method of entering for young people is by collecting an art board from St Barbe which obviously isn’t currently possible.

Open Sesame! Young people up to and including age 17 are invited to submit an artwork 20 x 25cm in any medium they like… a collage, painting or textile.

Your masterpieces can be brought into the museum when it reopens, along with £1 and the entry form from the website. All Young Artists will have the chance to win a Ted Marsh Memorial Award.

As above, see website forall the details and the T's and C's:

An exhibition of which the New Forest will be proud!

The organisers will be thrilled if the coronavirus crisis and current lockdown results in entries from many more artists than in other years – and would love it if the St Barbe gallery walls are smothered with artworks on a scale to compare with the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London!

Maria Ragan, Director at St Barbe adds “Whilst we cannot release the dates for the postponed Open exhibition it will go ahead as soon as we can make it happen. Open Sesame! is an opportunity for us to look forward to when these challenging times are over. Our doors may be closed but we are still working behind the scenes to bring you exciting exhibitions in the, hopefully not too distant, future”

If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To quote Albert Einstein “Imagination is everything, it is the preview of life’s coming attractions”

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Pete Gilbert seascape

New Forest St Barbe Art Gallery re-stART online art auction

Bag yourself some fabulous New Forest art for Christmas!

Place your bids before Sunday night for the St Barbe Art Gallery Lymington re-stART online art auction!

Johon Illsley painting items on table

Like so many organisations closed once again in Lockdown, our very own St Barbe Art Gallery and Museum has come up with an ingenious way to ensure we all get the opportunity to have some new Art on our walls for Christmas.  Please support this if you possibly can - and help to ensure that St Barbe itself can be here for us in the years to come, for long after we are finally able to consign the year 2020 to the history books - and eventually to the Museums which survive!

St Barbe Art Gallery and Museum: re-stART online auction: 9-15 November

This is St Barbe's first ever silent auction which will raise much needed funds in aid of the museum and art gallery. It offers you the opportunity to buy online high quality, collectable art including paintings, prints and photographs, with something to suit every taste.

The seven-day online auction is promoting 38 works of art, all generously donated by artists of national standing. These include work by our very own locally living rock legend and artist John Illsley plus other well konwn art names Chris Whittaker, Pete Gilbert, Will Rochfort and more.

Bids until midnight on Sunday 15 November 

Andrew Halliday trees in sunshine

Bids can be placed until Sunday 15 November at midnight, at

Bidders will be kept updated by text and email (the auction works like eBay).

John Illsley is of course well known as the bass guitarist of the brilliant Dire Straits, he is also a keen artist and a patron of St Barbe. His words, echoed by the other artists who have so generously donated their art: “I’m happy to donate my painting to support St Barbe and hope that it raises lots of money for them.”

All proceeds will go to support St Barbe's Community and Schools programme over the coming year. This is just one of the many important St Barbe initiatives working locally within the community to keep art alive for the future: St Barbe works with children, families, older people and minority groups to provide education, social engagement and fun!

Like all cultural institutions, St Barbe has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and it's up to all of us to do our bit as and when we can, to preserve these wonderful places for the future, of Lymington and the New Forest and for our children and grandchildren!

As Penny Curry of St Barbe said: "During another lockdown your support is even more important…please buy for yourself or start your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own home - support a local charity and help us raise funds for our community projects."

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St Barbe museum and art gallery

New Forest St Barbe Art Gallery Open Exhibition 2021

The 2021 St Barbe Art Gallery Open Exhibition

The St Barbe Art Gallery Open Exhibition, 17 May - 12 June is open for entries from 19 March 

The St Barbe Art Gallery Open Exhibition 2021 open to any artist, amateur or professional, who can submit up to two paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics or textile works. Click here for all the lowdown about the 2021 St Barbe Open!

If you don't already receive our weekly e-newsletter full of useful local information and news told with a personal twist do sign up for it here - and then read on!



17 May – 12 June 2021

abstract frying pan eggs utensilsThe St Barbe Open Exhibition was held for the first time in 1999 and 21 exhibitions later it is firmly established as a highlight in the local arts calendar: a celebration of the incredible array of talent found in Hampshire and Dorset. Each year hundreds of artworks are submitted to be considered by the panel of professional artists who select the exhibition and award the prizes. St Barbe is proud to provide this showcase for the wonderful creations of our local artistic community.

Despite two years of lockdowns and disruption the St Barbe Open has continued and returns this spring for its 21st showing. In the unprecedented circumstances of 2020 and 2021 the Open has given local artists a chance to display the fruits of their creativity during enforced periods of isolation. Last year works referenced the challenges of lockdown and were inspired by the wonders of nature that we have the good fortune to be surrounded by here in the New Forest.

Click here for all the lowdown about the 2021 St Barbe Open!

The exhibition is open to any artist, amateur or professional, who can submit up to two paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics or textile works. Usually around 80 are selected and shown to stunning effect in St Barbe’s national-standard galleries. There is no theme and the judges only selection criterion is quality. A wide range of subjects and media is guaranteed including the beautiful, the strange and the humorous. Prizes sponsored by Kate Welsh, Coastal Gallery and Beaulieu Fine Arts are awarded for the best print, abstract and work by a non-professional artist, while the Lymington Business Centre Award gives all exhibition visitors a chance to vote for the People’s Choice prize.

For the last three years the museum has also run a Young Artist’s Open which welcomes entrants from a few months to eighteen years old to exhibit alongside the adult entries, encouraging our young people to get creative from their earliest years. Long-time St Barbe supporter Gordon Young generously offers four ‘Ted Marsh Awards’ in cash and artists materials in memory of the museum’s founding chairman.

coastal landscapeKey dates for 2021

Website open for submissions: Friday 19 March

Deadline for submissions: Sunday 11 April

Results published on St Barbe website: Thursday 22 April

Handing in days: Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 May 2021

Exhibition opens: Monday 17 May 2021

Exhibition closes: Saturday 12 June 2021

Full terms and conditions available at

Click here for all the lowdown about the 2021 St Barbe Open!

John Illsley supporting the St Barbe Reaching Further campaign

St Barbe Lymington Reaches Further with Dire Straits John Illsley

St Barbe is reaching ever further! 

Lymington New Forest museum and art gallery welcomes support for its new Reaching Further campaign from John Illsley

John Illsley of Dire Straits lends his support to the St Barbe Reaching Further campaignSt Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington has welcomed the support of John Illsley, founding member of Dire Straits and rock legend, for its “Reaching Further” fundraising campaign launched last week.

Dire Straits founder member and St Barbe patron, familiar locally, less well known himself an artist  too...

John has been to see the fantastic current St Barbe exhibition of paintings by leading contemporary artist Jeremy Gardiner, a joint project between St Barbe and the artist over a 5 year period.  Do go and see this fabulous exhibition until 24 March!

John, who is a Patron of St Barbe and also an accomplished artist in his own right, has been a strong supporter of our wonderful New Forest museum and art gallery which has been transformed in recent years into a beautiful and really welcoming venue for all to enjoy.

Speaking at the exhibition John said:

‘The creation of such an excellent Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington has been an amazing achievement and this fantastic exhibition shows that St Barbe is continuing to attract artists of national reputation for their gallery. 

It was great to hear about the launch of St Barbe’s “Reaching Further” project which will help to raise funds from local business and the community to help a much wider range of groups to benefit from the cultural activities at St. Barbe.

I fully support what St Barbe is trying to achieve and I do hope that the community also continues to support this fantastic asset for the cultural life of Lymington and the wider region.’

As reported in last week's feature article on registered charity St Barbe's new campaign ‘Reaching Further’ has two aims:

St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery Reaching Further CampaignFirst: providing new services to parts of the local community who currently have little or no contact with heritage and the arts. Developing innovative work with children under 5, school groups, teenagers with autism, people with dementia and socially isolated older people.

And second: reaching out to the whole community to raise the funds necessary to replace grants previously received from both central and local Government.

If you would like to know more about ‘Reaching Further’ or how you can help please see the St Barbe website St Barbe Reaching Further Campaign or speak to Maria Ragan, Director 01590 676969 - or email Michelle Kirwan for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Everybody is welcome at St Barbe! Click to read about current exhibitions and displays plus a raft of activities for all and also details about the very rewarding "job" of volunteering at St Barbe on the website: St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery

St Barbe museum and art gallery reaching further to the community:  storytelling

St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery Lymington Reaching Further

New goings on aplenty at New Forest St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery 

Whether you're an arts enthusiast or not take a look at what's on offer - and take pride in our fabulous New Forest heritage in the heart of Lymington!

st barbe museum art gallery - the front entranceSt Barbe Museum and Art Gallery has this week announced the launch of its "Reaching Further" campaign.

This includes a number of new services for the local community, with lots to tempt you inside, including those of you who have until now had little contact with heritage and the arts.

"Reaching Further" is also about raising funds to replace grants which used to come from both central and local Government, and thus enable all these fantastic new initiatives to happen! 

Reaching Further with St Barbe...

st barbe story telling - reaching further As part of the Reaching Further project, St Barbe is developing innovative work with children under 5, school groups, teenagers with autism, people with dementia and socially isolated older people.

In the next few months they will start a community Access Panel, a group that includes a range of disabled people to help improve their access and engagement. A Young Curators Panel is also being developed to help look at the museum collections with fresh eyes and develop services for young people.

Speaking at the launch of the Reaching Further campaign, St Barbe Director Maria Ragan said:

“St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, which is a registered charity, is a vital part of the cultural life in the region. We have ambitious plans to ‘Reach Further’ with a range of community outreach projects to bring these services and new initiatives to the wider community.

As an independently run museum, St Barbe values the freedom that this brings, whilst appreciating the support we have received from local and national Government that allowed us to build the fantastic new museum building, which is such a major asset for the town and the wider region.”

Much more about this to come... watch this space!

Meanwhile there's a real need for funds right now 

Fundraising is vital to the Reaching Further project, ensuring that the museum can continue the high level of services currently provided while at the same time launching the new range of community initiatives that enable the museum to take its services to current visitors and the whole community.

There are many ways people can help with fundraising and sponsorship to replace the lost government funding:

  • The ‘Inspire Fund’ a simple and inexpensive option, that allows people to help St Barbe with regular small payments on a monthly basis.
  • Become a Friend of St Barbe
  • Sponsorship opportunities for business, or individuals
  • Leaving a gift in your will

Museum Chair John de Trafford explains:

We are proud to have so many St Barbe Friends, Patrons and Business Partners and we really value what they contribute to St Barbe. However, the big reduction in funding from local and national government that we have experienced since the new building opened, is putting all this at risk unless the local community can be encouraged to step in to help support St Barbe for future generations. 

We hope that the wider community will recognise the excellent work that St Barbe does for the town and will support this vital fundraising effort.”

Can you help, in any way?

For full details of how you can help please visit 

Or for more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Reaching Further fundraising campaign for St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery Lymington



Lymington care home choir strikes a chord on BBC Music Day

Lymington care home choir strikes a chord on BBC Music Day

An inspirational concert from the Linden Voices Choir, making a stand against dementia in the New Forest with Lymington Infant School

Residents of the Colten Care dedicated dementia community Linden House in Lymington have formed a choir called Linden Voices. The choir was joined by young singers from Lymington Infants School for a concert to mark BBC Music Day (September 26).A care home choir, which is using song to make a stand against dementia, staged an inspirational concert with local schoolchildren to mark BBC Music Day on 26 September 2019. The Linden Voices Choir was formed earlier this year following the screening of the BBC documentary Dementia Choir.

Inspired by how the programme highlighted music's power in the fight against dementia, staff and residents of the Colten Care dedicated dementia community Linden House in Lymington decided to get together for their own afternoon of song. The event was such a success that the choir was born.

Residents of the Colten Care dedicated dementia community Linden House in Lymington have formed a choir called Linden Voices. The choir was joined by young singers from Lymington Infants School for a concert to mark BBC Music Day (September 26).BBC Music Day is a UK-wide annual celebration of the power of music to change lives and features over 1000 musical events around the UK.

To mark the day the choir invited children from Lymington Infant School’s Robins Choir, members of the community and residents from all of Colten Care’s New Forest homes to sing with them in the spectacular new roof terrace room at Linden House.

Residents of the Colten Care dedicated dementia community Linden House in Lymington have formed a choir called Linden Voices. The choir was joined by young singers from Lymington Infants School for a concert to mark BBC Music Day (September 26).Fiona Pritchard, Colten Care’s Music and Arts Partner and leader of the Linden Voices said: “The success of the choir speaks, or rather sings, for itself. We all know there is something very uplifting about singing alongside others, but the engagement singing brings, along with the sheer fun it, creates also has the potential to have a long-term benefits for the wellbeing of our residents.”

Residents of the Colten Care dedicated dementia community Linden House in Lymington have formed a choir called Linden Voices. The choir was joined by young singers from Lymington Infants School for a concert to mark BBC Music Day (September 26).She continued: “The structure of a rehearsal, the repetition of familiar and new songs learned over several weeks and the opportunity to participate in an informal or formal performance, not only improves concentration and focus, it also increases socialisation, builds relationships and creates feelings of inclusion and validation.”

The Linden Voices Choir now meets every week and is also performing regularly at community events.

Fiona added: “We sang at the recent St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery 'Inspire' Open Weekend in Lymington, which took place on 15-16 September and will also perform at the Open Day Festival at Lymington Community Centre on 5 October.

Colten Care and Lymington Infant School join forces for Linden Voices Choir“The event for BBC Music Day was simply magical. The residents and children had practised two songs in advance, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' and The Beatles’ 'I Get by With a Little Help from My Friends'. They sat side by side - and in some cases held hands - while they sang them together. To see everyone singing with such gusto and joy was a very emotional experience for everyone.”

Linden House resident and choir member Helen Davison said: “I can’t remember feeling so moved by hearing children sing as I did today. They were wonderful and this experience will stay with me for a long time.”

One of the schoolchildren agreed: “It was exciting - really fun!”

The Linden Voices Choir is just one of many life-enriching activities that Colten Care residents have the opportunity to enjoy. Every day, in each home, there are meaningful and exciting activities - including a number that are also open to non-residents who many be feeling lonely in their community. 

Every Wednesday is Come Dine with Us at Belmore Lodge - come and join the residents for a sociable lunch (booking essential!). Ladies, on the first Wednesday of each month join the residents at Court Lodge for Ladies' Afternoon Tea and gentlemen, on two Tuesdays a month come along to the Gentlemen's Lunch Club, also at Court Lodge.

Find out more about Colten Care's New Forest homes

Colten Care operates six residential nursing and care homes in the local area, including three in Lymington: Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and dementia specialist Linden House. There are also homes in Brockenhurst (Woodpecker's), New Milton (Kingfisher's) and Mudeford (Avon Reach). Click on the links to find out more about each home...

Colten Care's Avon Reach    Colten Care Court Lodge Lymington    Colten Care Linden House Lymington 

Colten Care Belmore Lodge Lymington    Colten Care Kingfishers New Milton    Colten Care Woodpeckers Brockenhurst



Inspire Weekend at St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery

Get inspired at St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery

Lymington's arts and heritage centre throws open its doors with free entry and fun activities all weekend

Inspire Weekend at St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington 600x400St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery is throwing open its doors and inviting everyone to an Inspire Weekend on 14 and 15 September - there will be FREE ENTRY all weekend for visitors to come in, explore, engage and find out more about what St Barbe do for the local community.

A full programme of activities throughout the weekend will include live music on the sunny terrace featuring acoustic guitar, tabla and harp, a choir and swing/jazz trio. The museum will be brought to life by costumed characters; come and meet a local smuggler, master shipbuilder, plus Anne St Barbe who will tell you about their lives in times gone by.

Visit the NEW autumn exhibitions on their opening weekend!

neo romantic art exhibition st barbe museum and art galleryCurator, Steve Marshall, will be talking about the new art exhibition (opening Saturday!) Neo-Romantic Art: the McDowell Collection, giving an insight into the rarely seen works in this private collection.

Gallery 3 has a new exhibition on Wellworthy. Based on the oral-history interviews of past employees, the exhibition explores the history and impact of the engineering firm Wellworthy, once Lymington’s largest employer. There was also a strong social element to working at Wellworthy which had its own social club, sports clubs and even a brass band!

Maria Ragan, Director of St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery will be giving talk on the current and future collections at St Barbe.

Free craft activies - and a giant community weave!

Have a go at a free craft activity! Children’s crafts will take place in the McCarthy Room, giving the opportunity for all to create something to take home. Adults will enjoy the Wet Felt and Needle Felting demonstrations by Pippa Crouch and Kirsty Eustace, showing you how to create Textile Art with free motion embroidery, appliqué, hand embroidery and beading.

How about contributing to the giant community weave? Throughout the weekend, the St Barbe team will be encouraging all to interpret the Solent in recycled rags on fishing net… or maybe you’d like to pause to listen to the master story-teller as he weaves his magic.

Cafe Shop st barbe museum and art gallery lymingtonRecharge in the Old School Café!

Such a lot going on, the good news is it’s free, you can come in as many times as you want! Come and enjoy all St Barbe has to offer - we're so fortunate to have such a wonderful thriving cultural hub with heritage talks, artist workshops, the old school café and a delightful giftshop...

And when you're ready for a pitstop, recharge and relax for a moment and try the great coffee, speciality tea and delicious lunches in the Old School Café.

St Barbe will be open on Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

The Inspire Weekend coincides with ‘Heritage Open Days’ which is a National initiative.

Find out more about St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery.



Solent Music Festival returns to Lymington in September 2019

Solent Music Festival returns to Lymington for the 7th year

Inspired by romantic tradition, the 2019 festival at the beautiful St Thomas Church will run from 16th to 22nd September

Tenebrae Paris Mezzo June 2016The Solent Music Festival was founded in 2013 with the aim of attracting the highest possible calibre of classical music performances to the beautiful sailing town of Lymington. Concerts take place in the beautiful St Thomas Church. 

Inspired by the romantic tradition, each year different ensembles feature within the programme - echoing past customs. In Schumann’s time, for example, it was common to programme individual movements of symphonies along with piano solos, string quartets, singers – even poetry readings. 

2019 Solent Music Festival Programme

This year's festival will open on Monday 16 September with Tenebrae, sponsored by Global Telecommunications. Described as “phenomenal” (The Times) and “devastatingly beautiful” (Gramophone Magazine), this award-winning choir, under the direction of Nigel Short, is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles. Their 'Hymn of Heavenly Beauty' programme will include works from the Renaissance to the present day, ranging from Allegri's 'Miserere mei, Deus' to Whitacre's 'I thank You God'.

Navarra QuartetIn a special concert honouring women composers on Tuesday 17 September, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn and others will feature alongside Australian composer Hollis Taylor's 'Absolute Bird' for clarinet and recorded birdsong.

Since its formation in 2002, the Navarra Quartet has built an international reputation as one of the most dynamic and poetic string quartets of today. They return to the Solent Music Festival on Wednesday 18 September with three different chamber music formations: Schubert's Quartetsatz, Schumann's Piano Quintet and Brahms' Sextet in G major.

On Friday 20 September, SMF Artistic Director Sam Haywood will present a solo piano programme of Mozart, Bartók and Liszt's B minor Sonata, which he is currently performing in Germany and South America. He will be using the beautiful Steinway Concert Grand piano the festival hires every year.

Sam HaywoodThe evening concert on Saturday 21 September, sponsored by Rathbones, will feature the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Marta Gardolińska. They will perform Beethoven's Fourth Symphony, Haydn's Sixth Symphony and Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream Suite.

And bringing the festival to a close on the afternoon of Sunday 22 September, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra Nonet, consisting of the very best past and present members of the the NYJO and a showcase for some of the most talented young jazz musicians working in the UK.

Book your tickets online or purchase from The Solent Cellar, Lymington.

Tickets are available online and from The Solent Cellar. Early booking is advised. Find links to tickets below:

BSO conductor Marta Gardolinska

Monday 16th September, 7.30pm: Tenebrae - A Hymn of Heavenly Beauty
Tuesday 17th September, 7,30pm: Great Women Composers
Wednesday 18th September, 7.30pm: The Navarra String Quartet and Friends.
Friday 20th September, 7.30pm: Sam Haywood in Recital
Saturday 21st September, 7.30pm: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Marta Gardolińska
Sunday 22nd September, 4pm: National Youth Jazz Orchestra Nonet

Rover tickets are available, allowing entry to all festival events and saving £30! Book your Rover ticket here!

Thank you to all who have supported the festival

Over the years many local people have kindly offered to help in whatever way they can, contributing to the relaxed and friendly atmosphere which pervades the festival. The Solent Music Festival is a registered charity and relies on the generous support of individuals and local businesses. Less than half of the costs are covered by ticket sales. If you would like to support the Solent Music Festival, find more details here.




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