13 Popular Places Inside The Harris
To mark our 130 birthday we are looking at 13 places at The Harris. We certainly miss these iconic parts of The Harris and can’t wait for you to visit them when The Harris reopens.
The Pediment Sculpture
Before you even get inside The Harris you can’t stop and marvel at the remarkable architecture of the building and you tend to notice the magnificent pediment sculpture at the top of the building. The monumental figure group on the pediment was sculpted by Roscoe Mullins. It represents famous figures from the Hellenistic era with Pericles the commander, statesman and orator at the centre surrounded by distinguished contemporaries such as Sophocles and Socrates. The father of history Herodtus reclines on the far left with his books beside him and Ictinus the architect of the Parthenon is shown with a plan of the temple.
The words emblazoned around the four sides of the exterior of the building express the vision the Victorian founders had for The Harris. These inscriptions form a sequence, first, there is the dedication at the front of the building that reads ‘To Literature, Arts and Sciences, second a declaration ‘On Earth there is nothing great but man, in man there is nothing great but mind’. Third a precept ‘Reverence in man, that which is supreme’ and a promise ‘The mental riches you may acquire abide with you always’. There is also a further inscription in the original Greek of Thucydides surrounding the four sides of the frieze of the crowning lantern from Pericles funeral oration.
Stained Glass Window
This beautiful stained glass window created by Henry Holiday is a favourite spot of many inside The Harris. Henry Holiday visited Greece in 1885 and made studies of Athenian architecture for a large painting on the theme of the Panathenaic procession. Unfortunately, this work was never made, but the studies were used twenty years later when he designed this beautiful window specifically for The Harris.
Gates of Paradise
The Gates of Paradise replica is a popular spot for people to stop and take a moment and marvel at the different magnificent scenes. This replica of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s ‘Gates of Paradise in Florence’ is created from plaster, which has been painted and gilded to give an impression of the appearance of the original doors. ‘Gates of Paradise’ was a nickname given by Michaeloango who said that they would be suitable for the gates of paradise and his description stuck. The detailed doors contain ten scenes from the Old Testament and the portrait heads between the panels represent prophets and sibyls. This Harris special collection item was obtained through the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund in 1890/91.
Planning and design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates
Foucault’s pendulum is certainly a memorable part of The Harris and a part of The Harris that many people remember from their childhood. Did you believe if the pendulum ever stopped that the world would end? Foucault’s pendulum is an example of the scientific experiment by Jean Bernard Leon Foucault that demonstrates that the Earth rotates on its axis.
The rotunda on the ground floor has always been a central spot in The Harris for visitors to meet and begin their journey around The Harris. Known as the ‘heart of The Harris’ when The Harris reopens, visitors will be excited to venture into the new rotunda space which will be a social space to introduce and discover connections with the Harris and its collection items. All central rotunda spaces will tell stories of the Harris across time through a variety of different lenses.
Ever since the Discover Preston Gallery Opened back in 2012, it has been a popular spot inside The Harris, allowing visitors to explore an insight to Preston-based collections. Prestonians will be pleased to see the return of Discover Preston when The Harris reopens to reunite with familiar collections such as the much loved Ice-Age Elk discovered in Poulton, A.K.A Horace.
Roll of Honour
The Roll of Honour is an emotional spot that brings many visitors to The Harris. This memorial remembers the lives of Preston men who served and died in the First World War. This poignant piece of history connects with many visitors who visit to see their relatives’ names recorded on the war memorial.
One of the most prominent decorative elements of The Harris interior is the use of casts of sculptures from the Parthenon. The ‘Panatheanic Frieze’ which can be seen on the first-floor and second-floor balconies and the staircase shows the procession which took place every four years in honour of Athena. The original sculptures known as the Elgin Marbles, are in the British museum and are among the best known examples of classical art and have been the source of inspiration for successive generations of artists.
The Egyptian Balcony at the very top of The Harris is an interesting part of the museum that many are excited to discover. Special tours have taken visitors to marvel at the incredible paintings of Egyptian sites by John Somerscales which make up the balcony.
The Harris Cafe
We certainly miss stopping for lunch inside the magnificent Harris building. You’ve told us how your favourite thing after browsing our amazing collections was indulging in a delicious cake!
We can’t wait for The Harris to reopen and see the brand new cafe and the selection of yummy treats to enjoy. The cafe is going to be the ideal place to stop by for a coffee on your way to work. We are the perfect place for your meetings, coffee dates, family reunions and you can even mark your special occasion and celebrate with us by enjoying a slice of cake or two!
Don’t forget that your visit to the cafe helps the work that we do at The Harris, every sip and bite helps us maintain The Harris for future generations to enjoy.
The Harris Library
The Harris Library was always a popular spot, from the early days to the present, filled with people who want to explore the world through books. Visitors will be excited to see the development of the new Library and Family Library when we reopen. Prepare for a unique blended offering of library services visible amongst the art and history collection items when we reopen.
The Harris Shop
The Harris shop was a much-loved area of The Harris and will be returning when we reopen. Visitors will be able to discover beautiful gifts, many of which are unique to us including Preston memorabilia. Take a piece of The Harris home with you with our Harris collections merchandise – there are also handmade gifts from local artists to treat yourself to!
Whilst we are closed, The Harris Gift Shop is temporarily operating from the Guild Hall Preston, Monday to Saturday, from 9.00am – 5.00pm. Not local? No problem! You can purchase Harris favourites from our online shop.
Harris Your Place
Harris Your Place is a £16 million project set to restore and reimagine the Harris for 21st-century audiences as a cultural learning space. The aim of this project is to protect the building and the architecture for future generations whilst enhancing accessibility options and positioning the Harris as a community hub for Preston and Lancashire.
The capital project is more than simply preserving this much-loved building; Harris wants to ensure that it remains a vibrant heart of the community. A place where people want to spend their time.