Our relocation to Southampton city centre took place in 2018 as part of a brand new arts complex, Studio 144, based on the old Tyrrell & Green site on Southampton’s Guildhall Square. The project, which also includes a new base for film and media organisation City Eye, was led by Southampton City Council and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, in partnership with Grosvenor Britain and Ireland Developments Limited.
The mixed-use development across two iconic buildings was designed by architects CZWG, and the arts complex, comprising of around 75,000 sq ft of galleries, performing arts spaces and film/media studios was designed by Glenn Howell Architects. Arts Council England were responsible for funding £7.2 million towards the project, which represents a major milestone in bringing Southampton’s cultural quarter to fruition and the John Hansard Gallery’s programme of exhibitions and events to the heart of the city.
The John Hansard name
The John Hansard Gallery is named after John Henry Hansard (1895–1979), an honorary graduate, good friend and benefactor of the University of Southampton in recognition of his encouragement and interest in the visual arts. John Henry was a descendent of Thomas Curson Hansard (1776–1833), an early printer and publisher after whom the transcripts of parliamentary debates in Westminster are named.
Establishing John Hansard Gallery
John Hansard Gallery was created in 1979 under the leadership of the subsequent Gallery Director, Leo Stable and established by the Arts Council of Great Britain and the University of Southampton so that two existing galleries at the University could be united under one roof.
As one of only two purely photographic galleries in Britain outside of London, The Photographic Gallery, housed in the University’s Administration Building, enjoyed a strong national reputation. During the 1970s, the Fine Art Gallery, attached to The Nuffield Theatre (now the Nuffield Southampton Theatres café), mounted a number of outstanding exhibitions including Richard Long, Bruce McLean and an infamous performance by Genesis P. Orridge and Cosy Fanny Tutti. The new building sought to bring these galleries together, with the John Hansard Gallery originally designed as a laboratory built in 1956 to house a giant tidal model of the Solent.
Our directorship history
Since its establishment in 1979, the John Hansard Gallery has been developed under the leadership of four Directors: founding Director, Leo Stable (1979–1980); Barry Barker (1980–1987); Professor Stephen Foster MBE (1987–2017) and Woodrow Kernohan (2017-date).