burton art gallery and museum
gallery highlights




Kingsley Road, Bideford, Devon EX39 2QQ

Telephone: 01237 471455
Email: info@theburton.org

Admission is Free
Open Daily 10am - 4pm
Sundays 11am - 4pm

History of the Burton

History of the Burton

The Burton Art Gallery and Museum was established in 31 October 1951, by Thomas Burton, a local businessman, and Hubert Coop, a successful artist. The gallery was opened to commemorate the untimely death of Burton’s daughter, Mary. In a letter to the Bideford Gazette in October 1949, Coop wrote;

‘It’s a happy chance that two old townsmen have come together to make a last effort to leave the town richer than they found it. The gallery should be a peaceful haven where one may take a quiet look at beautiful things; a gallery for the enjoyment, education and good of all, old and young, inhabitants and visitors, - everyone and as far as one can tell, of lasting credit to the living and those to come…’

Throughout Coop’s life he amassed a fine collection of paintings, porcelain and antiques, and because he felt that there was a special appreciation of the arts in Bideford, he left his collection to the town, provided that it would be ‘properly housed’. He was eventually instrumental in assisting Thomas Burton, Mayor, Alderman, Freeman of the Borough, and philanthropist, to build the Burton Art Gallery in memory of his daughter, Mary, who died in 1949. The Coop collection was truly ‘properly housed’ and it forms the basis of The Permanent Collection.

The Gallery architect was Frank Whiting, who also designed Coop’s home on Goats Hill, Northam, overlooking the river. Hubert Coop died in 1953 aged 80. In his obituary in the Bideford Gazette, January 1953, it was said: ’ His generosity in connection with the starting of the Burton Gallery will be a lasting reminder…’

In 1994 the gallery was significantly extended and refurbished increasing its capacity to approximately 4 times its original size. As such it now incorporates 3 exhibition spaces, a museum display space, a craft gallery, a retail shop area, an education space and a coffee shop.

In 2008 the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) service was brought within the provision of the BAG&M as one of the facilities it provides. In addition, the long serving curator retired, and new roles were created, including that of the Visual Arts Manager, the lead managerial role, and the Collections and Exhibitions Officer. The BAG&M now sits within the Culture and Leisure department at Torridge District Council, overseen by the Culture and Leisure Service Manager (C&L manager).

lottery funded