Nothing doing: The noticeboard outside Penarth's Grade II listed Art Gallery Turner House doesn't even say "Sorry we're still closed"

Nothing doing: The noticeboard outside Penarth’s Grade II listed Art Gallery Turner House – which has already been shut for four months –  doesn’t even say “Sorry we’re still closed”

Penarth’s Turner House  – the Grade II listed art gallery bequeathed  to the people of town by local philathropist James Pyke Thomson will not be re-opening for Easter.

The gallery – which is held in trust for the people of Penarth by the National Museum of Wales – is sub-leased to the photographic charity Ffotogallery. At  the end of November last year Ffotogallery abruptly closed Turner House without notice and in the middle of an exhibition which still had three weeks to run.

David Drake - the director of Ffotogallery

David Drake – the director of Ffotogallery

At that time, the Ffotogallery director David Drake had said:-

We’re taking a short break from presenting new exhibitions at Turner House while we plan our programme for 2016/17.”

No date was given for any re-opening what Mr Drake described as “ a nationally important art gallery“.

In 1921 Turner House – along with its priceless collection of Turner paintings and drawings – had been handed over by Penarth Urban District Council to the  National Museum of Wales on the basis that the Museum would continue to operate it as a gallery exhibiting works of art from its “reserve collection” there  – artwork which currently languishes unseen in the Museum’s basements and storage facilities.

The blinds remain drawn at Turner House

The blinds remain drawn and the doors closed at Penarth’s Turner House art gallery.

In 2003 however Turner House was  leased by the National Museum to the “lens-based” charity Ffotogallery – purely for the exhibition of photographs.

Turner House has now been closed for 4 months – the longest closure in the gallery’s recent history – and although it’s understood there are plans to re-open the premises sometime in April with a photography exhibition,  no firm date has yet been fixed and Ffotogallery has yet to say what the new exhibition will actually be .

Prominent figures in the local tourism industry say Turner House – centrally located as it is in Plymouth Road – could, and should, be a major attraction for visitors to Penarth as well as being a valuable resource for residents.

As of today Turner House remains closed –  as it has been since November last year .

Alongside the main entrance is a  future attractions noticeboard … It’s blank.

The full story of how Penarth lost its multi-million pound collection of Turner paintings – and Turner House itself –  is on

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
This entry was posted in Penarth Daily News. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Brickie says:

    Come on, NMW, let’s have a few of your ‘reserve stock’ pieces on view here. This Penarth treasure has been ignored by you for long enough.

  2. Philp Rapier says:

    The longer it is left empty the more the case is strengthened for the restoring of the Turner Gallery to its rightful owners the People of Penarth to be held in Trust on their behalf thereafter forever by Penarth Town Council. .Archive Documentary Evidence exists as proof of the People of Penarth’s entitlement which would withstand the most incisive High Court scruitny ( see numerous discussions ad nauseum on PDN articles passim as to its whereabouts). Informal discussions have already been held with both the National Museum and Welsh Government who are frameworking Legislation out later this year that will make our fully Legal reposession of the Turner Gallery much easier.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      P. S. i have been advised that the proposed Welsh Government Legislation referred to in my comment above receives Royal Assent on Monday next.21 March 2016.
      I will be doing everything i can to ensure we in Penarth are one of the first Communities in Wales to re-gain control of what the First Minister himself describes as ” under used community assets”.

  3. Christopher David says:

    Wow- agree with P Rapier again (although I’m not qualified to comment on the merits of a court action). 1951 “A letter-writer in the Penarth Times encapsulates the argument – saying “The Turner House is doing Penarth the honour of being here- and not Penarth doing the Turner House a favour by giving it the money” Quite- lets have it back- give the failure funny Ffoto and its snaps the boot and get regular art exhibitions back. .

  4. This seems like such a waste…

    surley if ffoto are not going to use it the NMW should either use the space to displa some of the many things it probably doesnt have space for elsewhere? or

    hand it back to penarth – worst case it could house regular comminity project or display art from local schools to encourage the next generation who will actually want to use a buildiing than see it ignored?

    so many empty / unused buildings such a shame such a waste

  5. Christopher David says:

    Great comment Mr Bottle and yes the museum for starters is packed with works that rarely if ever get displayed. What’s the point of that. A few academics pondering in secret.

  6. snoggerdog says:

    i would love to see ben salters (capn gorgeous,captain,chief petty officer &purser of m/v daffodil, photo stock on show in this fine building,he has a wonderful collection of penarth & its environs.

  7. Slum Dog Pauper says:

    Sell it off and turn it into a Wine Bar, far more “people of Penarth” would then use it.

  8. Penarthians deserve better than closed doors, especially when such a splendid collection of artworks was donated to the town all those years ago for the town’s benefit. Selling it off is not an option and we deserve a little bit of culture, so I too will be supporting any moves to get the gallery back and open in the Plymouth Ward of Penarth.

  9. Chris says:

    We hear that Turner House will be re-opening its doors around the 15th April, showing work by Arturas Valiauga who was a part of European Prospects.

  10. Christopher David says:

    I’m sure it will be very good but in between waiting for Lithuanian snappers no matter how good to entertains us, perhaps we could have some nice paintings eh 😉 Just as intended. Cmon Clr Ernest- litter us with original ideas- plans, anything.

Comments are closed.