The Friends group was set up in 1987/1988 against the backdrop of a threat to close the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. That was the time when the Government ordered local authorities to reduce expenditure and the Council raised the possibility of shutting the Gallery to make a twenty per cent cut in the libraries and arts budget.
Local residents and admirers of Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement in Britain and throughout the world protested through the international media, and the Gallery was saved. The Friends sprang again into the global spotlight in 2007 when they campaigned to save the Gallery in the face of renewed cuts to the service.
Throughout its existence, the Friends have not been idle. As a registered charity, we have publicised the gallery and raised over £100,000 towards its collection purchase and display funds. When the plan to extend and refurbish the Gallery was put on the table and the Heritage Lottery agreed a substantial grant towards the work, the Friends committed to and succeeded in raising more than £1 million towards the work. The Gallery reopened in August 2012 to widespread acclaim and had attracted around 100,000 visitors in its first ten months before it was named Museum of the Year 2013 in the Art Fund’s prestigious annual awards scheme.
Membership of the Friends entitles you to receive our beautifully produced quarterly newsletters by post, and to enjoy all the meetings and outings planned throughout the year.
At a time of reduced public spending in the arts, the contribution of the Friends is invaluable. By becoming a member you will be helping to maintain the high standards of this unique museum.
Friends of the William Morris newsletter