Downton Abbey creator unveils art centre at Bury Grammar School

This Is Lancashire: Lord Julian Fellowes Lord Julian Fellowes

A NEW £2 million centre designed to inspire the next generation of artists at Bury Grammar School Girls has been officially opened.

The centre was unveiled by the creator of TV show, Downton Abbey, Lord Julian Fellowes, and his wife, Lady Emma Kitchener, who is a relative of the school’s first headmistress.

The building will provide state-of-the-art facilities for students, including sky-lit studios, facilities for textiles, English and ICT lessons and an extensive library.

The new sky-lit roof has also been designed to ensure it sits comfortably with the original building which dates back to 1903.

The funding of the centre was assisted by a campaign by current and former students, as well as a “revolving credit facility” with Barclays bank.

The centre will hold a permanent exhibition of artwork, and the first pieces were donated by Janina Cebertowicz, who is the school’s former head of art, and her artist husband Don McKinlay.

Headmistress Bobby Georg-hiou said: “It is hard to imagine a more brilliant addition to our school than our arts centre.

“It is ambitious and forward looking — just what we want for our pupils.”

Mrs Georghiou said she hopes that the new facilities will inspire students to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.

She added: “We have former pupils in theatre, film, television and radio. We have professional artists and writers.

“I expect that there will be current pupils who will go on to contribute to this country’s great cultural tradition. I am in no doubt too that they will be inspired by the arts centre.”

It is not the first time that Lord and Lady Fellowes have visited the school, after pupils had the chance to quiz Lord Fellowes on his work last year as well as his links with their school.

Lady Fellowes is the great-grandniece of Lord Kitchener, who was the Secretary of State for War from 1914-16, and famed for his depiction in the famous Your Country Needs You wartime poster.

The school’s first head-mistress Jane Penelope Kitchener was his cousin, and a plaque commemorating the opening of the arts centre notes the connection.

Mrs Georghiou added: “We are honoured that it is to be opened by Lord and Lady Fellowes.

“Lady Fellowes reminds us of the great history and traditions of our school while Lord Fellowes, as a highly respected writer and film director, could not give a better example to our pupils of the importance to our society of the arts.”

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