Keynsham artist Mary Fairclough's map back on display as exhibition of her work planned

April 03 2015
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As a map of Keynsham painted for local children in 1946 goes on display once more, a group of residents are planning an exhibition that will celebrate the artist’s work as well as her lasting contribution to the town.

As a map of Keynsham painted for local children in 1946 goes on display once more, a group of residents are planning an exhibition that will celebrate the artist’s work as well as her lasting contribution to the town.

Mary Fairclough’s illustration was painted for Keynsham’s first children’s library and features landmarks and characters that help tell the town’s story across the centuries.

With the completion of Keynsham’s new library, the colourful artwork is back on show, on the first floor next to the entrance to the Community Space.

Besides being a talented artist and illustrator, Mary was also a writer, historian, lecturer, a founder member of Keynsham and Saltford History Society and Keynsham Civic Society and, as those who knew her recall today, “a great friend to Keynsham”.

As a history scholar, Mary specialised in the Roman period, but had a passion for conserving all aspects of her hometown’s past. She put together the first list of Keynsham’s important buildings, helping to gain them listed status, and in the 1970s pushed for the conservation area that still protects homes and buildings in Dapps Hill and nearby today.

Now 15 years after her death at the age of 90, members of Keynsham Civic Society are hoping to hold a retrospective exhibition at the library to celebrate the role Mary played in the town.

They are appealing for anyone who may have purchased or has inherited pieces of her artwork, or has examples of her writing or other items, to get in touch to share them with residents as part of the exhibition.

Besides illustrating books and painting pictures, Mary also used her skill to create Cloughstones – smooth pebbles featuring painted figures – and society members believe many may still be in local homes, possibly unnoticed.

  • Mary Fairclough’s map of Keynsham is on show to the public during library opening hours.
  • If you have items to share in the Mary Fairclough exhibition, contact news@keynshamvoice.co.uk or call 07887 561567.
  • Photo courtesy of Dan Brown